Saturday, January 13th, 2018
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Vaughn, Ontario

Application of Our Faculties

As Doctor prescribed, I need to relax those legs, apply the Ayurvedic oil and take digestive aid in capsules (organic).  “With that, you’ll get better.”  And so I’ve been complying.

In the meantime things must go on.  Correspondence.  Counselling.  Planning.  Leading a chanting session before a crowd in Vaughn.  Also, there was an appreciation lunch for the cast of “Many Mothers, Many Fathers.”  We watched a video of the January 1st performance.  Not bad.  A one camera angle shooting doesn’t do justice but we thank Sati for putting it together.  We see the embellishments that the play carries, and many saw where there is need for fine tuning.

For the pleasure of guru and God, one puts their best effort forward and keeps striving for excellence.  Endeavouring toward improvement keeps a person alive, otherwise you are facing dry routine.  It’s a matter of application of the heart that brings us beyond the mechanics.

When leading the chant at the large home of one particularly sizeable and extended family, we asked participants to use their voice, hands, heart and smile.  That combination of our faculties seems to work.

We also applied leg power—dance—and got the crowd to form circles of fun.  After all it was Saturday and you’re supposed to have a fever—“Saturday Night Fever,” is how the Toronto Star described our ecstatic dance procedures at the Sunday Love Feast back in the early 80s.  A John Travolta film, if I'm not mistaken.

May the Source be with you!

1 km

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Holy Name Day 2018 – Bhaktivedanta Manor – 14/01/18 (13 min…
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Holy Name Day 2018 - Bhaktivedanta Manor - 14/01/18 (13 min video)
“Devotional service begins with the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra and side by side trying to understand Krishna in truth.” - Bhagavad Gita, 9.20, Srila Prabhupada
Watch it here:

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Group Photograph of Srila Prabhupada’s Disciples at the…
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Group Photograph of Srila Prabhupada’s Disciples at the 40th anniversary of ISKCON Juhu celebration, Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Temple in Mumbai.
Srila Prabhupada Patita Pavan ki Jaya!

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Naimisharanya Yatra – (Day-4) (Album of photos) ISKCON…
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Naimisharanya Yatra - (Day-4) (Album of photos)
ISKCON Kurukshetra extends blessings & best wishes to all its viewers & supporters straight from the land of penance - Naimisharanya. Today we’re sharing pictures from that exact place from where Lord Krishna’s Shakta Vesha Avatar (Knowledge distributor) Srila Veda Vyasa started to preach. Srila Veda Vyasa compiled the entire Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads etc. in Badrinath, Uttrakhand, India As He completed compiling all the Vedic scriptures He came to this place in order to spread this topmost Knowledge for the benefit of the entire human mankind. Let’s all fall in the lotus feet of Srila Veda Vyasa & beg that we may all become powerful preachers in the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
Find them here:

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Why are we not fainting when we see the Deities? Kadamba Kanana…
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Why are we not fainting when we see the Deities?
Kadamba Kanana Swami: Another point that I find is very nice in the purport of Gajendra, the elephant, is how Srila Prabhupada speaks of when Gajendra assumed a spiritual body when his body was touched by the Lord. We see how Srila Prabhupada’s mind works as he describes, “Gajendra assumed a spiritual body when his body was touched by the Lord,” and immediately he writes, “Similarly, Dhruva Maharaj assumed his spiritual body in this way,” and then goes to the arcana-paddhati, the process of deity worship. He is thinking of the deity and we can see that he is so much appreciating that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he immediately makes the association that in deity worship, we are allowed to touch the lotus feet of the Lord. For example, when waking up the deity, one can touch the lotus feet of the Lord and thus attain a spiritual body. Prabhupada is consistent. When one touches the deity, one touches the Lord; the deity is non-different from Krsna – there is no hesitance in Srila Prabhupada on this matter.

Whereas in our case, although we know that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are not fainting! Maybe we would faint if Krsna personally would step in front of us. We are just taking darshan in this kind of casual way. Do we really believe that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Yes and no, if we really think about it. But for Srila Prabhupada, there is absolutely no question, there is no hesitance in Gajendra being touched by the Lord is similar to arcana-paddhati – touching the deity’s feet in devotion. I thought it was nice to see here how Srila Prabhupada’s mind worked and how the purity is just coming through; these things have just struck me in that way. Then Prabhupada expands on it and says, “Not only by touching the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but also hearing his pastimes, chanting his glories, offering worship and any other type of devotional service is sufficient to purify us from material contamination. And we might again attract the mercy of the Lord.” So, this is wonderful!

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Daily Darshan: January 16, 2018

The post Daily Darshan: January 16, 2018 appeared first on

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Cultivating the mode of goodness: Soho temple talk

Varnasrama series.

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Invitation to the VIHE International Vaishnavi Retreat….
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Invitation to the VIHE International Vaishnavi Retreat.
Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education (VIHE), is heartily inviting you to take part in the forthcoming 8th Annual International Vaishnavi Retreat, which will be held on March 20-25, 2018 at Govardhana.
Our beloved teachers for this year will be Her Grace Yasomati Devi Dasi, Her Grace Kisori Devi Dasi, Her Grace Damodara Priya Devi Dasi and Her Grace Prasanta Devi Dasi
The aim of the event is to facilitate spiritual association among women in bhakti. Focused on hearing and chanting, it offers a wonderful opportunity to female sadhakas from all over the world who are eager for sadhu-sanga. The program is enhanced by the participation of many disciples of Srila Prabhupada, who generously share the lessons they have learned from him. The retreat is held under the banner of “Celebrating Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy.”

We wish to encourage you to come and experience for yourself the marvel of Vaishnavi association in this intimate and safe setting, in the Holy Land of Vrindavana. You may come for the entire program or for a few days. We shall stay all together at a welcoming guesthouse right on the lap of Sri Giriraja at Jatipura, overlooked by the temple of Gopala once established by Srila Madhavendra Puri.

Krsna-katha, philosophical presentations and practical workshops by senior vaisnavis, sharing of realizations by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, kirtana, inspirational readings before japa, mridanga and karatala lessons, dramas, dance and more have been the regular highlights of the previous retreats.

This year the theme of the retreat is “The Art of Deity Worship.” Her Grace Damodara Priya Devi Dasi, who has been for many years the head pujari at the ISKCON temple of Goloka Dhama in Germany, will lead us through classes, demonstrations and workshops. In connection with this theme we are preparing an exhibition of pictures of Deities worldwide.

We hope that it will be possible for you to attend and are looking forward to your association.

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Creating Empowered Spiritual Leaders. One of the most ambitious…
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Creating Empowered Spiritual Leaders.
One of the most ambitious and universal purposes Srila Prabhupada set for ISKCON is the very first one “To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world”
How can this be realized?
Creating partnerships and alliances with emerging spiritual networks, government, corporate and non-governmental organizations, providing spiritual solutions to material problems. Become instrumental in establishing the Golden Age in the social, educational, cultural, environmental, spiritual and welfare fields around the globe.
Read more:

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Some serious advice for those who complain and worry even for…
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Some serious advice for those who complain and worry even for the buffalo they don’t have: Practice joy (Krishna consciousness) (2 min video)
Watch it here:

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The glory of deity worship
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 17 August 2017, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.4.5-6)

Another point that I find is very nice in the purport of Gajendra, the elephant, is how Srila Prabhupada speaks of when Gajendra assumed a spiritual body, when his body was touched by the Lord. We see how Srila Prabhupada’s mind works as he describes, “Gajendra assumed a spiritual body when his body was touched by the Lord,” and immediately he writes, “Similarly, Dhruva Maharaj assumed his spiritual body in this way,” and then goes to the arcana-paddhati, the process of deity worship. He is thinking of the deity and we can see that he is so much appreciating that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he immediately makes the association that in deity worship, we are allowed to touch the lotus feet of the Lord. For example, when waking up the deity, one can touch the lotus feet of the Lord and thus attain a spiritual body. Prabhupada is consistent. When one touches the deity, one touches the Lord; the deity is non-different from Krsna – there is no hesitance in Srila Prabhupada on this matter.

Whereas in our case, although we know that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are not fainting! Maybe we would faint if Krsna personally would step in front of us. We are just taking darshan in this kind of casual way. Do we really believe that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Yes and no, if we really think about it. But for Srila Prabhupada, there is absolutely no question, there is no hesitance in Gajendra being touched by the Lord is similar to arcana-paddhati – touching the deity’s feet in devotion. I thought it was nice to see here how Srila Prabhupada’s mind worked and how the purity is just coming through; these things have just struck me in that way. Then Prabhupada expands on it and says, “Not only by touching the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but also hearing his pastimes, chanting his glories, offering worship and any other type of devotional service is sufficient to purify us from material contamination. And we might again attract the mercy of the Lord.” So, this is wonderful!

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The Best Utilization of Time, January 13, Houston
Giriraj Swami

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.17.

“A living being, especially the human being, is seeking happiness because happiness is the natural situation of the living entity. But he is vainly seeking happiness in the material atmosphere. A living being is constitutionally a spiritual spark of the complete whole, and his happiness can be perfectly perceived in spiritual activities. The Lord is the complete spirit whole, and His name, form, quality, pastimes, entourage and personality are all identical with Him. Once a person comes into contact with any one of the above-mentioned energies of the Lord through the proper channel of devotional service, the door to perfection is immediately opened. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.40) the Lord has explained such contact in the following words: “Endeavors in devotional service are never baffled. Nor is there failure. A slight beginning of such activities is sufficient even to deliver a person from the great ocean of material fears.” As a highly potent drug injected intravenously acts at once on the whole body, the transcendental topics of the Lord injected through the ear by the pure devotee of the Lord can act very efficiently.” SB 2.3.17 purport

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.17 (Right-click to download)

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The Bhagavad-gita as a leadership guide
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Changing ourselves by changing our situation, standpoint and self-identification
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Can harmonization with contemporary culture lead to dilution of tradition?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Screening of "Hare Krishna" Film – January 22, 2018
→ The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple!

The Toronto Hare Krishna Temple is very excited to announce that the hit film "Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami who started it all" is having another screening in Toronto on Monday, January 22 at 7:00pm at the Cineplex Theatres at Yonge and Dundas.

TO BOOK TICKETS PLEASE CLICK HERE! 50 tickets must be booked before the screening is confirmed so please book as soon as possible!

The following is a synopsis about the film, from the official website:

1965: America is in turmoil. Unprecedented introspection and questioning of societal norms roil the country. Prabhupada, an unassuming 70-year-old Swami from India, arrives in New York City alone and without support or money. He carries only the ancient scriptures he has translated, and the firm faith in his teacher’s request: “offer spiritual wisdom to the people of the world!”

Suddenly thrust into the raging counterculture movement, Prabhupada speaks of the world’s real need, which is not necessarily satisfied by political or social revolutions, but by a revolution of consciousness. This divergence from the status quo successfully captures the attention of a generation of youth seeking answers to life’s existential questions. From a tiny storefront on 26th 2nd Avenue, Prabhupada shares with them the idea that the way to find real happiness, love and freedom is to search within and connect to your true self. All this, the Swami says, begins by simply chanting a rhythmic, meditative 16-word mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

This universal message resonates with more and more people, including musician George Harrison whose hit song ‘My Sweet Lord’, features the Hare Krishna chant. From there, Prabhupada’s movement explodes, and his followers – now known as the Hare Krishnas – become infamous for chanting and dancing in the streets.

Not everyone is enamored by the enthusiastic, and at times overzealous, fervor of Prabhupada’s young followers. As more people join the movement, parents and community leaders begin to view it as a dangerous cult. Devotees are charged with brainwashing and are taken to court in a controversial case that threatens to undermine everything that Prabhupada has worked for...

Hare Krishna! is the true story of an unexpected, prolific, and controversial revolutionary. Using never-before-seen archival verite, Prabhupada’s own recorded words, and interviews with his early followers, the film takes the audience behind-the-scenes of a cultural movement born in the artistic and intellectual scene of New York’s Bowery, the hippie mecca of Haight Ashbury, and the Beatle mania of London, to meet the Swami who started it all.

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Co-operation – Srila Prabhupada’s key principle for…
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Co-operation - Srila Prabhupada’s key principle for ISKCON. Presentation by Vraja Vihari Prabhu in Iskcon Silicon Valley Recorded on 01-13-2018 (2 parts)
Watch them here:
and here:

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ISKCON Juhu 40th Anniversary Celebration – Afternoon Session on…
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ISKCON Juhu 40th Anniversary Celebration - Afternoon Session on 15th January 2018 (video)
Wonderful narrations about the rich h...

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bhaki yoga in three steps
→ Servant of the Servant

Srila Prabhupada in simple English explains the process of Krishma Consciousness in three steps;

  1. In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. 
  2. In the next stage, one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. 
  3. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes freed from all material attachments, attains steadiness in self-realization and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. 
 - purport Cc Antya 3.251

Hare Krishna

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Today we met Ashwini Kumar Choubey ji. Minister of State for…
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Today we met Ashwini Kumar Choubey ji. Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and a member of the 16th Lok Sabha. He is an ...

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Preaching program in the Supreme Court of Justice (Santiago-Chile)
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Hare KrishnaBy Sri Bhakti Das

For the second time in the history of Chilean Courts Krishna Sambandha made a cultural preaching program in the Supreme Court of Justice. This time the President, Mr. Hugo Dolmestch received the biography of his Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. The activity consisted of a concert with devotional dance by the renowned maestra Usha Vikas, a brief talk on Vaisnava philosophy, a prasad cocktail and free distribution of Srila Prabhupada's books to all attendees. Krishna Sambandha was the first band in the history of Chile to perform a concert in the Hall of Honor of the Supreme Court, a very solemn and reserved place for the most important functions of the judiciary. (that was in 2016). That time everyone was so grateful and happy that they decided to do a second version, now in the new Conference Room of the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »

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ISKCON Dwarka New Delhi: A program organized by BAMS doctors…
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ISKCON Dwarka New Delhi: A program organized by BAMS doctors society at Gaziyabad for fundraising for Temple.
108 Bhagavad Gita...

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The launch of “Bombay Is My Office”
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Hare KrishnaBy Lokanath Swami

Today, 14 January, on the eve of Makar Sankranti and the 40th anniversary of Juhu Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari temple, the most awaited book launch of Bombay Is My Office took place amidst a respected gathering of nearly 10000 devotees, congregation members, friends and well wishers who had gathered on Jamnabai Narsee School Ground, Juhu Mumbai to celebrate the occasion. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Cowherd Boy Dhirasanta Das Goswami: Once there was a little…
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The Cowherd Boy
Dhirasanta Das Goswami: Once there was a little boy called Gopal who lived in a rural area with his mother, who was a widow. When he was five years old his mother sent him to school.
The road to the village school passed through a forest and seemed very long; at first the little boy thought he had lost his way. He walked on and on, until he saw the other village boys going to school and at once joined them on the path and finally reached the school.
Gopal spent his time very happily at school. When lessons were over he played games with the other boys. It was almost dark when he finally set out for home and a long way back through the forest. It got darker and darker, Gopal became very afraid and did not know what to do, so he began to run very fast and did not rest until he was in his mother’s arms.
The next morning Gopal told his mother that he did not want to go to school. “But,” said his mother, “You had such a happy time at school yesterday, and learnt many wonderful things! You said you loved your lessons, why do you not wish to go to school today?”
“I love school and my lessons, mother,” Gopal replied, “but I am afraid to go alone through the woods, they are thick and dark.”
Gopal’s mother stood for a minute, thinking about what to say, she was too poor to pay anyone to accompany her son to school. At once the name of Lord Krishna came to her mind, so she said to Gopal, “You don’t know it my child, but there lives in these woods another son of mine who is always there nearby on the path. Whenever you are afraid, call out to Him, ‘O Cowherd brother, come with me to school!’ He will come at once and take care of you, and then you will not be afraid.”“
Gopal said, "Is it really true, mother, that my brother, the cowherd, will come to take care of me on my way to school?”
“Yes, it is true,” said his mother, “He loves you as a brother does and will never fail to come to help when you call out to Him.”
So Gopal set out the next morning bravely, but he had not gone far when he began to feel afraid, so he called out, “O brother cowherd, brother cowherd come and play with me!”
A boy then appeared from between the trees and taking the child’s hand, led him to school. When they came near to the school he parted from him, saying, “Call me again on your way back home.”
Every day Gopal would call the cowherd boy while going to and coming back from school. They would play together all the way, the cowherd boy was so kind and good that Gopal came to love him as he had never loved anyone before.
Day after day Gopal told his mother all about the cowherd boy, she was not in the least surprised for she knew it was Lord Krishna who came to her son’s help every day.
So time passed by, then one day the school master said, “ Tomorrow I want to give a feast - all of you, my boys, must bring presents.”
That night Gopal said to his mother, “Mother, our noble teacher is going to give a feast tomorrow - what should I take to him?”
The child’s words made the mother sad, for she knew they were very poor and so she could not give anything to her little boy for his teacher, but at the same time she did not wish her son to go without a present to give to his school master.
So she said to him, “My son, I am too poor to give you anything for your teacher, but on your way to school in the morning ask your brother to give you something.” She knew that Lord Krishna would help them.
So, in the morning when Gopal met the cowherd boy he said, “O brother, my teacher is going to give a feast today, all the other boys will bring presents, it will look so bad if I have no present to give… but I am much too poor to give anything - can you give me something for my school master?”
“What can I give you, O brother? What am I but a cowherd? But here is a little bowl of milk, that’s all I can give you, Gopal - It is only a cowherd’s present, but you must give it to your teacher”, said the cowherd boy.
Gopal went to his school master’s house with the present, he stood behind a crowd of boys who were handing over the gifts they had brought. Gopal waited a long time, but nobody noticed him. The poor boy became very sad, but then the teacher happened to look at him and accepted the small bowl of milk from Gopal’s hands and went to empty it into a big pan. But, to his amazement, the little bowl filled up again… he tried to empty it and again the little bowl was full. And so he went on emptying it again and again, and each time the little bowl was full.
All those present there wondered what it meant, Gopal also wondered, but he now understood for the first time that his cowherd brother was none other than Lord Krishna Himself.
The teacher asked him, “From where did you get this milk, Gopal?” The boy replied, “From my brother, a cowherd boy who lives in the woods.”
“Who is he?” asked the teacher.
“One who comes to walk with me and play with me on the way to school,” replied Gopal.
“Could you take me to him?”
“Yes, if you come along with me, Sir.”
So that evening the teacher and Gopal went out together into the forest. When they got there, Gopal called out, “Cowherd brother! Brother! Won’t you come?” but no cowherd appeared. Gopal did not know what to do, he called and called, but there was no answer.
At last the boy, full of grief, cried, “O brother cowherd, if you do not appear, they will think I do not tell the truth.”
Then from a far-off place deep in the forest they heard a voice calling to them which said, “No, my little brother, I cannot show my face, the teacher has long to wait. But tell him that he shall see me some day when he needs me as did you, my little Gopal.”
With a humble heart we have to take shelter of Krishna’s words and with a humble heart we have to cry for the shelter of Krishna’s holy names. Shelter comes when the Lord is pleased with our intention and spirit of service.

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Harinam at Sanur beach, Bali (Album with photos)
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Harinam with HH Kavicandra Swami Guru Maharaj @ Sanur beach, Bali, 14.1.2018 (Album with photos)
Srila Prabhupada: The holy nam...

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Chanting And Dancing With Abandon (Album of photos) Giridhari…
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Chanting And Dancing With Abandon (Album of photos)
Giridhari Swami: The third day of Kirtan 50 started just after Bada Haridas Prabhu’s kirtan on Dec. 30, ending at 11pm. The youth then cleaned the temple room and chanted enthusiastically until Mangala-arati. Many talented kirtaniyas continued to chant throughout the day. I was honored to be present during the kirtans of Gopi Gita Mataji and Bada Haridas Prabhu in the morning. After Gaura Arati, Niranjana Swami Maharaja, Geethika Dasi, Kirtan Premi Das, Akincana Krishna Dasa, and Kalindi Dasi chanted beautifully until 11pm. B.B. Govinda Swami Maharaja took over and ended up chanting until 2:30am on Jan. 1. That’s when things went completely wild with devotees chanting and dancing with abandon! We offer our most humble obeisances to Srila Prabhupada, who most mercifully gifted us the Holy Name on behalf of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Hare Krishna maha-mantra ki-jaya!
Find them here:

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6+ hours of kirtana from the Manor Sunday night

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Karuna Kishori asks how vows are different from making a resolution or a commitment?

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Srila Prabhupada on Varnasrama College

Varnasrama series.

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Attracting the mercy of the Lord
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 17 August 2017, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.4.5-6)

In the pastime of Gajendra, the elephant, (Srimad Bhagavatam, canto 8, chapters 2-4) the first significant point is that Gajendra managed to attract the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting a mantra. He remembered the mantra from a previous life during this time of the extreme distress that he was going through when a crocodile was attacking his leg, and that cut through the layers of the fog of ignorance! This prayer, from his previous life, emerged and this is what attracted the Lord’s mercy. It was not that Gajendra was completely perfect. It was not that he had completed the process of sadhana bhakti to a point that there was no trace of ignorance or no trace of conditioning left. Rather, he was still in a covered stage to a degree but he had engaged in devotional service sufficiently to attract the mercy of the Lord and afterward, he was touched by the Supreme Lord and that purified him of all the remaining contamination.

So I find this very encouraging and significant to note because the same principle applies to us – where one has not necessarily attained full perfection. It is not that we have to be cent percent free from the three modes of material nature in order to attract the mercy of the Lord. So many times we think, “Oh, I have all these impurities and he has those impurities and therefore how can we go back to Godhead!?” But here, we see that it does not entirely work like that. It is not that one has to be cent percent pure; rather one has to attract the mercy of the Lord.

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Three sections from “I’ll Build You a Temple: A Good Fight and a Promise Fulfilled”
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Hare KrishnaBy Giriraj Swami

Yesterday, Makara-sankranti, January 14, 2018, was the fortieth anniversary of the Juhu temple. On this occasion, I share with you three sections from my forthcoming book, *I’ll Build You a Temple: A Good Fight and a Promise Fulfilled*, about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu-—“Opening the Juhu Temple,” “After the Opening,” and “Concluding Reflections”—-and a link to me reading those sections in video I have also attached a scan of the Newsweek magazine article about the opening, mentioned in my account. May Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari bless us all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Central London Harinam
→ simple thoughts


New Year’s Eve Harinam in Central London.

The great thing about London on New Year’s Eve is the whole of central London becomes pedestrianised, millions of people come to celebrate on the streets, but there is no entertainment to focus on. Then in comes the Hare Krishnas, with an explosive , joyful , sound and beat. Causing the real party of Lord Caitanya to take off in a blissful celebration. It is on the streets where you feel that the mercy of Lord Gauranga could sweep away the black tide of Kali Yuga. Enjoy the movie .

While planing last New Year’s Eve Harinam , our dear friend Bhaja Hari prabhu left this world, this Saturday we will have a Harinam procession in his honour. The link below is from last years one , enjoy the movie.

Your servant
Parasuram das

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Daily Darshan: January 15, 2018

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How can we get rid of unwanted thoughts?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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The Fortieth Anniversary of the Juhu Temple
Giriraj Swami


Today, Makara-sankranti, January 14, 2018, is the fortieth anniversary of the Juhu temple. On this occasion, I share with you three sections from my forthcoming book, I’ll Build You a Temple: A Good Fight and a Promise Fulfilled, about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu—“Opening the Juhu Temple,” “After the Opening,” and “Concluding Reflections”—and a link to me reading those sections:

May Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari bless us all.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Opening the Juhu Temple

Before the Vrindavan temple opening, Srila Prabhupada had instructed us to organize it the way Maharaja Yudhisthira had organized the Rajasuya sacrifice, with a prominent person in charge of each department. As stated in Krsna, “King Yudhisthira arranged to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice. He invited all the qualified brahmanas and sages to take part and appointed them to different positions as priests in charge of the sacrificial arena.”

For the Juhu temple opening, leading devotees came from all over the world. Ramesvara, as the trustee for the North American BBT, based in Los Angeles, gave Mukunda three thousand dollars—quite a lot then—and free rein to promote the event.

“So,” Mukunda recalled, “using the money he gave me, I took a flight from Los Angeles to New York, and I went to a street-side copy shop on 6th Avenue and made printouts of all the slides I had of the Juhu temple, some of which were truly magnificent.

“I then took an Air India flight to New Delhi and got a list of all the foreign media located there. My first stop was to be the Los Angeles Times. I arrived about fifteen minutes later than my appointed time. The woman who was the bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times was wearing tennis shoes and was angry that I was fifteen minutes late, because she said that I would make her late for her tennis match. So I left her the printouts of the Juhu temple and moved on.

“At the office of The New York Times the bureau chief was very friendly and had a copy of the MacMillan edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is on his bookshelf. I then visited a few more people, including some Australian media and the ABC Television bureau chiefs, and I left printouts of the Juhu temple with all of them.

“A few days later, I was visited by a news representative named Ramanujan. He said that he thought the Juhu temple opening would make a good story for Newsweek, and he also wanted to publish another article, ‘Hare Krishna Is Here to Stay.’ He was very favorable. A photographer named Jahengir Gazdir was eager to take photographs of the events at the temple.

“In Bombay, working with Gopal Krishna and others, I met many people eager to promote the event, and the Indian Express published a two-page article with the headline stating that A. C. Bhaktivedanta was the greatest ambassador of Indian culture to the world.

“Most of the people I visited in Delhi were actually going to come for the opening—from The New York Times, Australian television, ABC News, and others. Barry Came, from Newsweek, flew in from Hong Kong. Most of them stayed at the nearby Holiday Inn. Apparently, their bosses thought the event was important enough to justify their flying to Juhu.” We gave Mukunda a room in the guesthouse for the media people to keep their cameras and other gear, and, assisted by Abhinanda, he organized gift packets for them.

Along with preparations for the grand opening ceremonies, we also had to arrange for the functioning of the project after it opened. Bali Mardan, one of the most prominent temple leaders in America, based in New York, came to run the guesthouse, now finished in finely carved red and white sandstone, which kept the salty ocean air from penetrating the reinforced concrete and corroding the structural steel. Each of the fifty guest rooms, half of which were air-conditioned, had a balcony overlooking the palm trees. The west tower had an extension counter of the Indian Overseas Bank on its ground floor and Srila Prabhupada’s quarters on the top floor.

Michael Lord, who for a decade had managed London’s historic and prestigious Carlton Club, arrived to oversee the restaurant, which would serve Continental and Indian-style vegetarian dishes, all offered to the Lord before being relished as prasada.

Jagat Purusa had always done what was necessary for the project, from cooking to Deity worship to life membership. He had a flair and a passion for Krishna conscious theatrical performances, and he would take charge of the Bhaktivedanta Auditorium. The theater would be among India’s most sophisticated and versatile, with a seating capacity of 425, the most advanced sound and lighting equipment, 16 and 35mm projectors, stage lifts for special effects, a recording studio, and green rooms and dressing rooms for the performers. Burjor Mistry, the consulting architect for Bombay’s National Center for the Performing Arts and the foremost theater builder in India, had done the design. When he had heard that ISKCON was planning a theater for devotional performing arts and that it would be part of a project that would include a modern guesthouse and classical temple, he had been moved to donate his services. And Dravida, who had come from America to do an article about the temple opening for Back to Godhead, wrote, “Srila Prabhupada’s inspiration provided a modern setting where everyone can delight in India’s rich devotional culture. In fact, many people say that the Bhaktivedanta Auditorium will herald a renaissance of devotion in the performing arts.”

Narottamananda, who had a fine artistic sensibility and had served as a pujari in Vrindavan, came to be the head pujari and set up the expanded deity program, as he had done in Vrindavan. As per Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, the installation of the deities was performed by a combination of brahmans and Prabhupada’s disciples. There was one procedure for installing the new deities and one for moving the already installed Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari to Their new location. Different senior devotees sat with different small utsava deities; I was with Sitadevi.

Interviewing me for the Back to Godhead article, Dravida began, “Could you tell us how you got involved in the Bombay project?”

“In March of 1972, Srila Prabhupada asked me to take charge,” I replied. “This was one month after we had gotten possession of this land at Juhu Beach. When the first few devotees came here, we were living in a hut. It was really difficult, but eventually we built an additional floor on top of some apartment buildings that were already on the land, and we moved up there. From the beginning Srila Prabhupada emphasized that this project was for spreading Krishna consciousness. Every time he would come to Bombay, he would ask us how the rooms were being used, and he was very critical if we were not making full use of each room. The point was that every available facility should be used for spreading Krishna consciousness.”

“What were some of the highlights of those early days?”

“As soon as we got possession of the land, which we named ‘Hare Krishna Land,’ Srila Prabhupada had us put up a pandal and hold a big Hare Krishna festival. We brought the Deities, Radha-Rasabihariji, from our temple in the city, and every night hundreds of people came to hear Srila Prabhupada speak and to chant Hare Krishna with us and take in a Krishna conscious drama or musical performance. It was then that we started seeing how right Prabhupada had been in making Juhu Beach the site for a temple and cultural center.”

“This was all in March of 1972?”

“Yes, but because of legal difficulties, it wasn’t until October of 1973 that we finally acquired full title to the land and could really begin construction.”

“This project is amazingly unique. Whose idea was it, and what are its main features?”

“From the very beginning, the idea was completely Srila Prabhupada’s. Although no one else could understand it at the time, he knew that this land at Juhu Beach would make for a perfect center for spreading Krishna consciousness: it was far enough from the city to have the peaceful, spiritual atmosphere of the country, but at the same time it was near enough to the city to be convenient for most people.”

“So the temple-hotel-theater complex was originally Srila Prabhupada’s idea to make it easy for people to come and experience Krishna consciousness?”

“Yes, exactly. Srila Prabhupada had written that it is the duty of the acarya to engage everyone in serving Lord Krishna. So Prabhupada’s idea was that whatever people like to enjoy—a comfortable building, good food, beautiful art, music, drama, dance—whatever they want, they should have in superlative form, with Krishna in the center. In other words, people should be able to experience what the Indian culture really is: glorification of the Lord. And above all, visitors should have the opportunity to chant the Lord’s names and read Srila Prabhupada’s books.

“Have the people of Bombay responded favorably?”

“Well, Srila Prabhupada was so farsighted that at first the people here couldn’t appreciate his vision. But now that Juhu has developed into the most important section of Bombay, and now that the people have seen the project take shape, they’re very enthusiastic about it. Many of them want to take an active part.”

“What does the future hold for the new cultural center? Do you have plans for more construction?”

“Yes. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to construct one more large building—six stories—that would include a children’s school, a diorama museum, a retirement home, and a book warehouse. He felt that many of Bombay’s pious and aristocratic families would want to send their children to our school to cultivate character and self-realization—in other words, Krishna consciousness. He also said that we should include a section for older people, that there are many old people who want to give everything up, surrender to Krishna, pass their last days in a Krishna conscious community, and then go back home, back to Godhead. So we should provide a facility for them.”

“When people come to stay here, at either the guesthouse or the retirement home, will there be guidelines for them to follow?”

“Yes. To preserve the spiritual atmosphere here, Srila Prabhupada said that we should begin by requesting every guest to follow our four regulative principles: no gambling, no intoxicants, no illicit sex, and no meat, fish, or eggs.

“And this would keep the atmosphere pure.”

“Yes. ‘Purity is the force,’ Prabhupada always said. He told us never to concoct some materialistic scheme for becoming successful. He just wanted us to stay Krishna conscious, do our best, and leave the rest to Krishna.”

We could hardly sleep for nights before the grand opening: There was so much to do—and we were so excited. Many devotees had participated in the effort, but I also began to notice that some of our leaders preferred to work with—or accommodate—only their friends. Tamal Krishna commented that we had entered a new era: During Prabhupada’s time we had all worked together, for his pleasure. Now many devotees would return to their home countries and cities to be in places where and among people with whom, based on their conditioning, they felt most comfortable. But generally, everyone had cooperated wonderfully and worked hard to publicize and organize the event.

Finally, the big day arrived, Saturday, Makara-sankranti, January 14, 1978—exactly two months after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. Visitors started streaming through the gates from early in the morning, and our loyal supporters, who had stood by Srila Prabhupada and the devotees through thick and thin through all the years of struggle against so much opposition, were there to relish the triumphant occasion. Altogether, fifteen thousand people attended the inaugural function.

The temple was decorated with elaborate flower arrangements, including festoons of marigolds strung from the large chandelier hanging from the center of the ceiling of the darshan mandapa to the pillars and balconies at the perimeter of the hall.

When the conch shells sounded and the doors opened to reveal the Deities in Their new home, the devotees were overwhelmed with joy. “Rasabihari had such a big smile,” Pundarika Vidyanidhi remembered. “That was one time when I saw that the Deity was really alive. He had such a big smile on His face when the doors opened.”

A row of ornate chairs, like thrones, was arranged for the special guests: Sri Vasantdada Patil, Chief Minister of Maharashtra; to his left, Sri Prabhudas Patwari, Governor of Tamil Nadu; and to his left, Sri Raj Narain, Union (Central Government) Minister of Health and Family Welfare. To his left was Tamal Krishna, and to the chief minister’s right was Sri Dharamsinh Dadubhai Desai, MP; I sat on his right, at the end of the row.

My heart was pounding with excitement. Scenes from the years of struggles flashed through my mind, and now it was actually happening—Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari’s new temple was about to open. How I wished Srila Prabhupada could have been personally present to relish the occasion and to bless the honored guests, the throngs of visitors, and his disciples, who had labored so long and hard to bring us to this stage, with his personal presence and divine words.

But Krishna had another plan: We were to experience Prabhupada’s presence even in separation and assume the responsibilities for which he had so carefully and patiently trained us all those years. I prayed that everything would go well, that there wouldn’t be any mishaps or missteps, and that in my nervousness I wouldn’t balk or bungle anything. And, as we had realized so vividly when we were trying to leave Vrindavan for Calcutta and Mayapur, I knew that I was completely dependent on Srila Prabhupada’s mercy at every step.

I had arranged for a framed painting of Shrinathji to be installed, to appeal to His followers, who were mainly Gujaratis, and I gave the honor of unveiling it to Sri D. D. Desai, who had helped us in so many ways.

In his talk, Chief Minister Patil said that all people should follow Lord Krishna’s advice in the Bhagavad-gita for eternal peace and happiness. Raj Narain spoke in appreciation of the devotees, saying, “It is amazing to me that now Westerners have taken to the Indian culture just when we are losing it.”

Governor Patwari spoke extensively about the temple’s universal value and appeal: “I deem it a blessing to be associated with this solemn function. The Krishna consciousness movement is a divine spark, a movement which is meant to give peace and happiness to millions of people all over the world. So I welcome the construction of this temple and the opening of the Bhaktivedanta Center of Vedic Culture in this great cosmopolitan city of Bombay, where people of all races, nationalities, castes, and communities, high and low, live in amity. I have no doubt that this Vedic institution will proclaim to the world that here flourishes a great movement, which has become the symbol of eternal religion (sanatana-dharma).

“Krishna appeared like a common cowherd boy, and therefore He is attractive to the common man. Numerous incidents of His life, from childhood onward, reveal how easily He destroyed evil forces and brought success for the good. Now the Krishna consciousness movement has become an international movement, and this is due to the spiritual stature of Sri A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who, with single-minded devotion, dedication, and love for humanity, spread the gospel of Sri Krishna from continent to continent. Through the exalted mission of Swamiji, the life and teachings of Lord Krishna have inspired millions of men and women throughout the world. The departure of this great world-teacher of God consciousness is a severe loss for the whole world, but I am sure he will continue to guide the Krishna consciousness movement through his teachings, as he was guided by Lord Krishna.

“What is Krishna consciousness? It is an eternal awareness of Lord Krishna’s greatness and glory as revealed by Him in His avatar. Krishna consciousness teaches us that prema-bhakti and nama-sankirtana [loving devotion and the chanting of the Lord’s holy name] constitute the best and easiest pathway to God for all people, a pathway free from perils and pitfalls. Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada added new dimensions to this divine mission.

“No one in this world can call himself happy at all times, because trials and tribulations sometimes shake a man’s faith and life itself becomes a burden. Material prosperity alone cannot give us genuine peace. For that we need spiritual wisdom. Turn the pages of Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam Maha-Purana. Each verse in each chapter contains the quintessence of spiritual wisdom. Those scriptures have through the centuries inspired saints and sages in India. Mahatma Gandhi used to consult the Gita whenever he was in doubt or difficulty. He once said, ‘The Gita is the universal mother: she turns away nobody; her door is wide open to anyone who knocks. A true votary of the Gita does not know what disappointment is. He ever dwells in perennial joy and peace that passeth understanding, which are reserved only for the humble in spirit. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad-gita. I find a verse here and a verse there, and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies. My life has been full of external tragedies, and if they have left no visible mark, no indelible scar, on me, I owe it all to the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita.’

“In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says:

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge

‘For the protection of the good, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness, I appear in every age.’ The greatest savants of the world have been moved by the Lord’s teachings. Out of great concern for us, the Lord, the supreme benefactor of mankind, teaches us through His Gita to do every act as a yajna [sacrifice], without attachment to the fruit of our actions. It is only by a detached outlook in life that we can overcome sorrows and get peace of mind. Attachment takes us away from God, and detachment takes us nearer to Him. By doing everything as a sacrifice to Him, for His sake, we remove false egoism from ourselves and free ourselves from such ideas as ‘I,’ ‘my,’ and ‘mine.’ Lord Krishna says:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

‘Abandoning all other duties of the body, mind, and intellect, ending the false ego and developing introspection, come to Me alone for shelter. I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not.’ What Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna in the Gita, or what He teaches Uddhava in the Bhagavatam, is the highest and most sublime philosophy, which offers wise guidance to us in day-to-day life. The merciful Lord says that He expects nothing from His devotees except single-minded devotion. The devotee can offer Him even a leaf, a flower, or a drop of water, but it is the devotee’s love for Him that matters. The Lord’s love for us has to be matched by our love for Him.

Srimad-Bhagavatam enjoys universal popularity as the bhakti scripture par excellence. It has inspired the writing of extensive devotional literature, not only in Sanskrit but also in many other Indian as well as foreign languages. The Bhagavatam holds out hope even for the chronic sinner if only he will open his heart to the gentle influence of the love and charm of Lord Krishna. Like the Gita, it presents a program of practical spiritual training through a harmonious combination of jnana, bhakti, and karma (knowledge, devotion, and action) suited to the temperament and limitations of the aspirant. Let us, on this occasion, make a solemn resolve to strengthen the Krishna consciousness movement by untiringly spreading the teachings of Lord Krishna through many languages, to all people in all the nooks and corners of the world. In this way, by our genuine devotion to Krishna and by our austerities, we may create an international climate of peace and happiness and lay the foundation for a religious order acceptable to all on the basis of universal love and brotherhood. May we chant, ‘Hare Krishna! Jaya Sri Krishna!’ to purify our hearts and minds, and may Lord Krishna shower His blessings on humanity and make our humble endeavors a success.”

The next day, Sunday, we had a massive, festive harinama-sankirtana on Juhu Beach, with hundreds of devotees, many carrying orange flags that blew in the wind, with a framed photo and a small brass deity of Srila Prabhupada at the front of the procession. There were even fireworks, mainly in coconut shells, making big popping noises and flashes in the sky.

Because my parents had come to India in October, they hadn’t been able to come again for the opening, but my “second parents,” Grace and Mitchell Block, from the neighboring suburb of Highland Park, in Chicago, attended. I never imagined that they would come all the way to Bombay to see me—what to speak of timing their visit to coincide with the temple opening. I was elated. They were highly impressed with the entire complex, especially the temple. And, of course, we were delighted to be together again, especially after so much time had passed and so much in my life had changed. I arranged a special lunch for them on the mezzanine floor of the restaurant, overseen by Michael Lord in his most dignified and charming manner, and again they were duly pleased and impressed. Mitchell’s firm, Block and Company, manufactured products related to banking and other industries that interacted with the public, and seeing the needs at the reception counter in the guesthouse, he sent a key cabinet and some other items (which are still being used today).

One of the first-time visitors, a lawyer, R. K. Maheshwari (later initiated as Mahaprabhu das), later remembered hearing about the opening day: “I was playing cards at Khar Gymkhana, a well-known club in this area, and all of a sudden I saw a newspaper with a full-page advertisement about the Hare Krishna temple opening that day. So I thought, ‘How much money do these people have?’ A full-page advertisement in The Times of India! Being a Marwari, I always thought of everything only in terms of money.

“Then I decided, ‘Let me see what this place is.’ So I immediately drove to the Juhu temple. At the gate they asked me, ‘Have you got a pass or invitation card? Vaijayanti Mala is giving a dance performance, and the hall is booked, and Raj Narain, Union Minister, and Patwari, governor, are invited for the inauguration, so there’s a big crowd and only important people are invited today.’

“ ‘Is this a temple or what?’ I asked. ‘Well, today is inauguration day,’ the devotee replied. So, I approached another devotee, an Indian devotee—Rama Tulasi dasa. He was telling a group of visitors that in the material world nobody is happy. He said that a fish can never be happy out of water. The original constitutional position of a fish is to be in water, and if we take the fish out of water and put it in an air-conditioned room and give it all facility for enjoyment, the fish will be miserable. Similarly, we are souls, he was telling these people, and the soul’s original constitutional position is to be connected to the Supreme Soul, God, Krishna. If the soul is not connected, whatever facility you give the soul—because we are living beings, once the soul is out of the body, we are dead. So the soul, even if you give it all facilities, if it is not connected to the Supersoul, it will be miserable, like that fish. So material prosperity—having an air-conditioned car, office, diamonds, bangles, the latest gadgets—will not give you satisfaction, because your constitutional position is different. You are searching happiness in the wrong atmosphere. This material world is not the place where you can be happy. In the Gita it has been confirmed that this material world is duhkhalayam. Everybody is unhappy in this material world.

“The visitors were asking about the temple, why these foreigners were so much interested in Indian culture. ‘We are having some doubt,’ one said, ‘because when the British came to India . . . Now most of the people here are American. They are coming in the guise of religion and teaching us our sanatana-dharma. We cannot understand all this. We know Krishna very well.’

“But Rama Tulasi was speaking philosophy. ‘If we want to be happy, we have to be put back in the water,’ he told them. ‘If you want to be happy, connect yourself with Lord Krishna by chanting the holy name of the Lord. That is the connection. And if you chant the holy name of the Lord, wherever you may be, whatever situation, you will be blissful. I’m not talking happiness—you may be happy, you may not be happy—but blissful is something different. I cannot explain to you what is spiritual bliss. You have to experience it.’ So yes, that much I understood.

“Somehow I got a little convinced on the point of fish and water, and I wanted to know more. I wanted to go inside. So I found some stairs, and by those stairs I got to the second floor and saw the program. I spent the whole day in the temple, and the next day too, and I came regularly thereafter. I could see that these people were genuine, and I made up my mind that I wanted to get involved in their institution and become a life member. My membership card was signed by the temple president: ‘Giriraj das Brahmachari.’ I was keen to get his association, and once I met him, that changed the lifestyle of this practicing lawyer of the Bombay High Court.

“For me, that was a total change. I had been so much involved in material things that when my wife would go to a temple, I would sit in the car. I was never interested to go to any temple because my impression of temples was that they were all cheats, fooling people and making money and not following any rules or regulations or guiding people—just making a business. But all that changed with my first visit to Hare Krishna Land, on the day of the grand opening.”

“After the grand opening,” Mukunda recalled, “I took a stroll down Juhu Road, thinking that Srila Prabhupada would be very pleased. I felt that somehow or other, even though he was no longer physically present, the movement was going on.

“Then I took a flight back to Los Angeles, and one of the first things I did was get a copy of Newsweek magazine, because I didn’t know for sure but I thought there must be an article in there. Back at the temple, I worked out approximately what the cost would have been if we had purchased advertisements on ABC News, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, etc., and it came to nearly three hundred thousand dollars, which was about a hundred times the amount of money I was given to promote the event. So I thought the event was very successful, and I used the financial analysis to justify my work to Ramesvara and the other leaders of the temple and the movement.”

After the opening, Back to Godhead described the temple: “The heart of the Bombay center is the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Rasavihariji. (Radha is the name of Lord Krsna’s eternal consort, and Rasa-vihari is a name for Krsna that means ‘the enjoyer of the transcendental rasa dance.’) The temple is a majestic structure, replete with twenty-four domes of sculpted marble. The visitor passes through a finely carved red sandstone gate and up [three marble stairs]. Then he enters a large courtyard bordered by marble pillars and floral-engraved arches. Graceful trees shade the courtyard’s marble floor.

“In alcoves on either side of the courtyard, fifteen colorful dioramas depict scenes from the ancient Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and Ramayana.” I had arranged the dioramas to both attract and educate visitors, particularly Hindus, many of whom worshipped various incarnations of Krishna and also different demigods, misunderstanding them to be equal to or independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To satisfy pilgrims looking for deities of Vithala or Dattatreya, who were especially popular in Maharashtra, or demigods and goddesses such as Siva, Ganesa, and Laksmi, we had dioramas depicting them and signboards describing them in relation to Krishna consciousness. The signboard for Nrsimhadeva, for instance, told the story of Him vanquishing the demon Hiranyakasipu and protecting His devotee Prahlada, concluding, “Materialistic plans of godless demons are always frustrated by the all-powerful Lord.” The board for Laksmidevi noted that according to her desire, “the Supreme Personality of Godhead made His bosom her residence so that by her glance she could favor everyone, including the demigods and ordinary human beings” but that although karmis seek her favor and mercy, “because they are not devotees of Narayana, their opulence is flickering. The opulence of devotees who are attached to the service of Narayana is not like the opulence of karmis. The opulence of devotees is as permanent as the opulence of Narayana Himself. (SB 8.8.25)” There was also a diorama summarizing the transmigration of the soul from one body to another; one on the rasa dance, with a quotation from Krsna explaining that the rasa dance was a spiritual performance and that to establish this fact, Krishna expanded Himself into many forms and stood beside each gopi; one with an elaborate text highlighting the glories of Lord Chaitanya; and one depicting Srila Prabhupada speaking in New York’s Tompkins Square in the summer of 1966, with text in first-person, as if Prabhupada were speaking directly to the viewer.

As the article explained, after entering the temple, “to the right of the courtyard, near the temple’s front side, the visitor finds a darsana-mandapa (a roofed area from which to view the Deity) and a vyasasana (a massive marble chair used only by the spiritual master). In front of the three altars are huge teakwood doors with brass castings that depict Krishna’s twenty-four main incarnations, and beyond the doors stand the Deities, on handsomely carved, silver-plated teakwood simhasanas (altar platforms).” On the left altar stood Lord Nityananda and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and at Their feet, also carved in marble, sat Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. On the center altar were Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari and Lalita and Visakha. And on the right altar were Sri Sri Sita-Rama, Laksmana, and Hanuman.

“At the new Bombay center,” the article described, “India’s rich spiritual culture can express itself in thoroughly modern setting. The center lies on four acres in Bombay’s picturesque Juhu Beach and includes a spacious marble temple, a theater, a restaurant, a bank, a Vedic library, and a twin-towered seven-story hotel. The project cost more than $2 million and took nearly three years to build.

“Now, people who are unfamiliar with the philosophy of Krsna consciousness might well ask, ‘Why would a spiritual group that prizes renunciation and detachment want to build a theater and a modern hotel?’ For an answer, we may turn to one of the Krsna consciousness movement’s spiritual giants and founders, Srila Rupa Gosvami. In his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Nectar of Devotion, written in the sixteenth century) he provides many of the philosophical and practical guidelines for today’s International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and here is what he writes about renunciation: ‘When one is not attached to anything but at the same time uses everything in Lord Krsna’s service, one is situated in complete renunciation. On the other hand, one who rejects everything, not knowing how to use things in Krsna’s service, is not as complete in his renunciation.’ So renunciation doesn’t mean walking around in a loincloth or fasting for weeks on end. Rather, in the spirit of detachment we should use everything (including modern hotels and theaters) to glorify God.

“There are several reasons why Srila Prabhupada chose Bombay for this ambitious project. First, Bombay is to India what New York or Los Angeles is to the United States—a leader in commerce and culture. (For instance, the main offices of Air India are in Bombay, as are the headquarters of India’s burgeoning film industry.) Bombay is perhaps India’s most modern and cosmopolitan city, and more important, it is a city whose people cherish their spiritual heritage. In fact, many of its leading citizens are great devotees of Lord Rama and Lord Krsna. So Srila Prabhupada knew that Bombay would welcome the kind of center he envisioned. And through their overwhelming encouragement and assistance, these people have borne out not only Srila Prabhupada’s clarity of vision but also modern India’s continuing spiritual vitality.”

Two days after the opening, The New York Times ran an article on the front page of its second section, with the headline “Hare Krishna Sect Displays Vitality At Its New $2 Million Temple in India”:

“JUHU, India, Jan. 15—Several hundred members of the Hare Krishna sect, chanting and singing and clapping, opened a $2 million temple and cultural center here this weekend in a colorful festival of devotion.

“To the young American monks of the movement the dedication of their sumptuous carved marble temple on the Arabian seacoast here, 10 miles north of Bombay, symbolized a kind of coming of age of the sect, which they hope is becoming less controversial.

“ ‘We are gaining a broader base among the general public, in both India and America,’ explained Tamal Krishna, a 32-year-old New Yorker who is a member of the organization’s 23-member governing board. ‘We’re learning that there’s no way we’re going to give Krishna consciousness a general appeal if we make everyone shave their heads and chant “Hare Krishna” all day long.’

“But like most leaders of the movement, Tamal Krishna, who was named Thomas Herzig when he was growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, does have a shaved head, a saffron?colored flowing garment called a dhoti and streaks of Ganges River mud on his forehead. Like all of them, he chants this mantra at least 1,728 times a day: “Hare Krishna, hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, hare hare, hare Rama, hare Rama, Rama Rama, hare hare.”

“The chant, which has been sung with stomping feet on hundreds of American street corners in the 12 years since the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was started in New York, was the motif of the weekend here. Crowds shouted it to the beat of drums and cymbals as each statue of Krishna was anointed, as each of the huge teak and brass temple doors was opened and as marigolds and bananas were laid in offering beside the silver?plated altars.

“But one difference between this celebration and the performances in the United States was reflected in the fact that India’s Health Minister and other high Government officials were among the speakers at the dedication ceremony, lending respectability. As a saffronclad monk from Miami Beach put it, ‘When we come to India, we are coming home.’

“Spiritualism is common to Indians, and several thousand of them visited the new temple here during the opening ceremony, joining enthusiastically in the chant of homage to Krishna, a Hindu god, and responding with alacrity when the American monks greeted them in the Hindu fashion, palms pressed together under their chins, as if in prayer.

“But the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is still essentially American, as it has been ever since it was founded by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, an Indian?born ascetic who went to New York in 1965 with the idea of combining Indian spiritual wisdom and American resourcefulness—a lame man and a blind man helping each other to walk, in the analogy he used to make.

“By the time of his death two months ago at the age of 81, Swami Prabhupada had built up a movement that has 10,000 full?time monks and an annual income, its present leaders say, of $16 million from the sale of its books—mostly the swami’s translations and interpretations of the ancient Vedic scriptures.

“The Hare Krishna people (a term they use themselves) are reluctant to disclose the details of their finances. But it is known that they have at least a few very substantial donors, including George Harrison, the former Beatle, and Alfred Ford, a great grandson of the founder of the Ford Motor Company and a nephew of Henry Ford 2d. In the last few years the society has acquired working farms in several American states, as well as two dozen big urban properties, including a 14-story temple and hotel at 340 West 55th Street in New York, which it bought for $1 million.

“Another sign of what its leaders like to think of as its move into the Establishment was a ruling in Queens last year by Justice John J. Leahy of the State Supreme Court. He turned aside allegations of brainwashing and ruled that the members of the movement should be allowed to ‘practice the religion of their choice.’

“To the Hare Krishna people, that ruling drew the line between their sect and what they disdain as ‘the modernistic cults,’ such as the Children of God. They also see a great distinction between themselves and the thousands of other young Americans attracted by Indian mysticism in the fact that instead of the self?indulgence offered by some swamis, Krishna consciousness demands an extraordinarily rigorous routine in which gambling, smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and eating meat, eggs and fish are all forbidden, as is any sexual activity that does not have conception as its immediate goal.

“But beyond the extremely religious vanguard, there is a growing body of other members of the faith who believe to one extent or another in the society’s interpretation of the ancient texts of Lord Krishna. The society, which regards itself as the most orthodox exponent of Hinduism, decrees that spiritual purification, through the omnipresent Lord Krishna, can lead to a life free of anxiety and to ‘pure, unending, blissful consciousness.’

“Its leaders say there are tens of thousands of sympathizers in America and perhaps more than that attending its temples in India. Tamal Krishna, who is called His Holiness and carries a six?foot orange staff as a symbol of complete control over his senses, looks toward a day when Krishna consciousness will be unexceptional in American society.

“ ‘When you go to the factory or the office and the guy at the next bench or the next desk is a Krishna follower, then we won’t be regarded as weird anymore,’ he said. ‘And believe me, that day is coming.’ ”

The article carried two photos, one with the caption “A young American Krishna follower gives Sanskrit discourse to Indian counterparts at festivities,” and the other with “Hare Krishna devotees chanting at dedication of their new temple in Juhu, India, on Saturday.”

The January 30th edition of Newsweek carried nearly a full page about the opening in color, a rare feature for the time, with the heading “KRISHNA-BY-THE-SEA.” At the top of the page was a photo of the diorama of Srila Prabhupada standing in Tompkins Square Park, next to one of the new temple and guesthouse, with the caption “Rags to riches: Diorama of swami teaching, $2 million complex.”

“The rituals performed,” the article stated, “were as old as India itself—the Sanskrit chants, the sacrificial ?re, the bathing of the marble deities in sacred Ganges water—but the celebration was essentially American. For three days last week, several hundred saffron-robed U.S members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness descended on a fashionable beach resort in suburban Bombay to dedicate their new $2 million temple complex, complete with hotel, library, theater and neon signs that flash such blessings as YOUR LIFE WILL BE SUBLIME. The affair was aimed at establishing a legitimacy for the Krishna-consciousness movement, founded in a Greenwich Village storefront twelve years ago by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who died last November. Today, the movement numbers only 10,000 devotees, half of them in the U.S. Still, the sect—which forbids meat, alcohol, tobacco and illicit sex—claims to earn close to $20 million a year, largely from sales of the prolific swami’s writings.

“The dedication ceremonies attracted 15,000 spectators, including Indian Health Minister Raj Narain. ‘It is amazing to me,’ he said, ‘that now Westerners have taken to the ancient Indian culture just when we are losing it.’ ”

At the bottom was a photo of the procession on Juhu Beach and one of a devotee speaking at the foot of Prabhupada’s vyasasana. The caption read, “Spreading the swami’s word: A joyous procession on the beach, a devotee lecturing inside the temple.” At the front of the procession was a portable seat with a photo and a small brass deity of Srila Prabhupada, and standing near the deity I was fanning him with a camara. The devotee preaching in the temple was Tamal Krishna. At the front of the magazine was a small photo with the caption “Barry Came with a Krishna follower” (Gopal Krishna) and a preview of the main article, to which the reader was directed.

“The rituals were as old as India itself,” the preview began, “but the celebration was essentially American. Hundreds of U.S. members of the movement for Krishna consciousness dedicated their flashy new temple last week in a beach resort near Bombay—and Barry Came joined 15,000 Indians during the devotions.”

I thought of how perfectly Krishna—or Srila Prabhupada—had arranged everything. There I was fanning Srila Prabhupada, happy in my position as his simple servant. And there was Tamal Krishna sitting behind one of Prabhupada’s books, his right arm extended, preaching forcefully on Srila Prabhupada’s behalf—his natural position. And Gopal Krishna, who always worked with the media, was shown with the reporter.

It all seemed perfect. Mukunda had done a great job. How happy Prabhupada would have been to see the coverage—how major news media were recognizing and appreciating his and ISKCON’s progress “from rags to riches.” I could just picture him smiling broadly, his eyes wide open—beaming with pleasure.

After the Opening

There was tremendous momentum from the grand opening, and I was enthusiastic to offer Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari’s mercy to everyone—but there was also much work to be done. Now that the temple complex had been opened, our challenge was to manage and use it as Prabhupada wanted. His vision for Juhu included many programs, and I reviewed his instructions to me:

“Recently we have received one letter from Cox & Kings, one of the world’s biggest travel agencies, requesting us to kindly assist them by providing facilities for all the tourists coming from foreign places who are interested in seeing the real spiritual life of India. So in this way we shall work here.” (December 28, 1971)

“As soon as possible we should open our own school and teach children Krishna consciousness through English medium—that is one of our programs. Our school will not be government recognized, because we cannot follow the government syllabus. We want to teach only Krishna consciousness. . . . Try to introduce immediately Krishna conscious instruction to the students through English medium. I know many parents are eager to educate their wards through English medium. If we can introduce this system, our girl disciples may be engaged for teaching them—a little English grammar, reading and writing, geography, arithmetic, history, Sanskrit, but all of them should be Krishna conscious—that is Bhagavata program: kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha.” (April 12, 1972)

“This food distribution program is to be done very, very nicely . . . Generally people make a plea that why are there so many hungry and naked. So we invite all hungry and naked people to come to us and we will give them food and clothing and Krishna consciousness as well. . . . Our temple should be the via media for feeding the poor with food and spiritual knowledge. Our Bombay program should be based on giving Krishna consciousness through the English medium and distribution of prasadam without any discrimination. This will enhance our prestige and will accelerate our spiritual life as well.” (April 23, 1972)

“You can introduce the bhetnama system, whereby one person purchases the use of one room or some rooms for his lifetime, and whenever he may come to stay, the room must be vacated immediately for his residence for as long as he likes, but if he leaves, someone else may use the room in his absence. . . . All good men should spend their weekends with us, away from business, and they may bring family, and it will be Vaikuntha in Hare Krishna Land.” (June 8, 1972)

“If we make our Deity worship program extremely opulent and gorgeous, and if all of the devotees are always attending arati and holding kirtan in front of the Deities, that will be the best program for attracting the Indian people to Krishna Consciousness Movement. So you try to give the pujaris all assistance to improve the standard of Deity worship and always render Radha and Krishna the most sincere attention.” (June 8, 1972)

He had also written in a Bhagavatam purport (3.25.36), “It is a prescribed duty in temple worship that not only should one visit the temple to see the Deity nicely decorated, but at the same time he should hear the recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, or some similar literature, which is regularly recited in the temple. It is the system in Vrndavana that in every temple there is recitation of the sastras. Even third-class devotees who have no literary knowledge or no time to read Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita get the opportunity to hear about the pastimes of the Lord. In this way their minds may remain always absorbed in the thought of the Lord—His form, His activities, and His transcendental nature.” So we knew that sastra recitation—preaching—had to be part of our regular temple program.

The temple would no doubt attract throngs of visitors, but they would come with different mentalities and motives, and our mission would be to purify them and engage them and elevate them in Krishna consciousness. Some visitors would come just to offer obeisances to the Deities and pray, put some money in the box, and leave feeling good, considering that they had done some pious act and hoping for some material return. The Balaji Deity in Tirupati, for instance, had the reputation that if you gave Him some amount, you would get more in return. So people give with that hope and sometimes they try to strike a deal with the Deity: “I will give you such-and-such donation if You give me such-and-such a result.”

But when, some time before the temple opened, Prabhupada’s friend Brijratan Mohatta had told him, “If you want to get a lot of money in the donation box, you have to start spreading rumors that people who give money to these Deities get good results; they get a lot of benefit,” Prabhupada had replied, “No! We don’t make business with our God.” So our challenge now was to give people the message of Krishna consciousness so that they would actually surrender to the process and engage in unmotivated devotional service. In Calcutta, Prabhupada’s son Vrindavan Chandra had asked Tamal Krishna and me, “Now with Prabhupada gone, who will speak to people about Krishna the way he did?” And Tamal Krishna looked at me and said, “That is a very good question.”

Prabhupada had explained to me how he spoke about Krishna. In January 1972 he had written me, “The fact is that I am the only one in India who is openly criticizing, not only impersonalism and demigod worship, but everything that falls short of complete surrender to Krishna. My guru maharaja never compromised in his preaching, nor will I, nor should any of my students. We are firmly convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that all others are His part and parcel servants. This we must declare boldly to the whole world, that they should not foolishly dream of world peace unless they are prepared to surrender fully to Krishna as Supreme Lord.”

That was Prabhupada’s mood, that had been his guru maharaja’s mood, and that was the mood he wanted us to have. But I felt so tiny compared with them. And with all humility, feeling quite inadequate, I prayed that I, we, would be able to represent Prabhupada and present his message properly.

I was also concerned that we would not be distracted by the opulence and facility of the temple. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had built a grand temple in Bagh Bazaar in Calcutta for his disciples to preach, but later he lamented that they hadn’t really used the project as he had intended. They had become attached to the opulence and fought over who would occupy which office. Even in our current situation, I thought there was a risk that neophyte devotees could become attached to the opulence and prestige of the big temple and use it for their own personal gain—for power and prestige, money and facility—and I was determined that we should not fall prey to such material allurements, to maya.

Prabhupada had explained his purpose in constructing such big temples—and his concern that we use them in the proper mood—in a talk in Mayapur in 1974: “We have got this nice, grand building. If we think, ‘This is my building,’ then there will be mishap. My guru maharaja personally said, ‘When we were living in a rented house, if we could collect two hundred or three hundred rupees we were living very nicely at Ultadanga. But since we have been given this marble palace, there is friction between our men: “Who will occupy this room? Who will occupy that room? Who will be proprietor of room?” ’ Everyone was planning in different way. . . . If we forget our position—if we become pound-shilling men, property men—then Krishna will be lost, because Krishna is akincana-gocara. Therefore we should always remember that we possess this nice house not for our comfort, but so people will come, because they are not accustomed. If we would have invited people, ‘Come and sit down on this ground,’ there would have been no possibility. Therefore we must keep Krishna’s temple very nice so that people will come, and we shall preach. That is the philosophy—not that because we have got this nice house, therefore we should be very much attached. Attachment must be there, but for Krishna’s service. The temple must be very clean. The establishment must be very nice. What for? For attracting devotees. This is the purpose. Not for our personal benefit. That is the way.”

I prayed for us to be proper instruments of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, to use the temple for the purposes for which it was intended—to practice and preach pure devotional service—and not be distracted or become materially attached.

Prabhupada had told me that Sripada Madhvacharya had established mathas just to give his disciples a platform to preach. “In the same way,” he had told me, “I am giving you this temple.” Thinking of his words now, I felt honored and humbled. And when in Calcutta I had asked him, “Suppose in the course of time I become a perfect preacher and at the same time a perfect manager, what should I do?” he had replied, “You should preach.”

But there was so much management. All along I had preferred preaching, and Prabhupada had encouraged me to preach—and also to do whatever was needed, just as he did. But if we neglected the management, everything would be spoiled. In Juhu Prabhupada had told Tamal Krishna, “Do not let one inch of my property deteriorate.” So I was trying my best to manage also, but I felt quite burdened by it.

A few days after the grand opening, I met Bhavananda at the entrance to the guest house. I told him that I was chafing under the weight of management—that I wanted to preach.

“We only think that we are preachers,” he told me. “Actually, Srila Prabhupada is the preacher. You just follow his instructions and maintain his project, and he will do the preaching.”

Concluding Reflections

Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental desire to establish a center of Krishna consciousness in the remote Bombay area of Juhu began even before he left for America, when, visiting Sumati Morarji, he would pass the land and think, “This would be a nice place for a temple.” Years later, Mr. Nair had offered him the very same land, to be “profitably utilized for big purpose, as yours,” and Prabhupada brought Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari from Their residence in a posh flat in Akash Ganga, overlooking the Arabian Sea, to a rented pandal on the property. From there They were moved onto a wood-plank platform under cloth supported by bare bamboo poles; then, for the rainy season, into a chatai hut with devotees; and on Janmastami 1972 into a makeshift structure of bricks and asbestos sheets. But Prabhupada had vowed to Them, “I will build You a temple.” And finally, after years of struggle, we had been able to offer Their Lordships the temple Prabhupada had promised.

Impersonalists are afraid of desire, which they consider will bind them to the material word, but as Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.22.39) explains, spiritual desires are different:

karmasayam grathitam udgrathayanti santah
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo ‘pi ruddha-
sroto-ganas tam aranam bhaja vasudevam

“The devotees, who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, can very easily overcome hard-knotted desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the nondevotees—the jnanis and yogis—although trying to stop the waves of sense gratification, cannot do so. Therefore you are advised to engage in the devotional service of Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.”

In his purport, Prabhupada elaborates: “The waves of a river flow incessantly, and it is very difficult to stop them. Similarly, the waves of desire for material enjoyment are so strong that they cannot be stopped by any process other than bhakti-yoga. The bhaktas, by their transcendental devotional service unto the lotus feet of the Lord, become so overwhelmed with transcendental bliss that automatically their desires for material enjoyment stop. . . . It is stated herein by the Kumaras that the lotus feet of Lord Krsna are the ultimate reservoir of all pleasure. One should therefore take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord instead of trying unsuccessfully to stop desires for material enjoyment. As long as one is unable to stop the desire for material enjoyment, there is no possibility of becoming liberated from the entanglement of material existence. It may be argued that the waves of a river are incessantly flowing and that they cannot be stopped, but the waves of the river flow toward the sea. When the tide comes over the river, it overwhelms the flowing of the river, and the river itself becomes overflooded, and the waves from the sea become more prominent than the waves from the river. Similarly, a devotee with intelligence plans so many things for the service of the Lord in Krsna consciousness that stagnant material desires become overflooded by the desire to serve the Lord.”

Srila Prabhupada had expressed his spiritual desire to build Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari a temple with great, intelligent endeavor. And in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.13.50 Prabhupada explains, “The word svakarthanam refers to great desires. As mentioned in this verse, the glance of Lord Visnu creates the desires of the devotees. A pure devotee, however, has no desires. Therefore Sanatana Gosvami comments that because the desires of devotees whose attention is fixed on Krsna have already been fulfilled, the Lord’s sidelong glances create variegated desires in relation to Krsna and devotional service.” Prabhupada had concluded the purport by describing “a place where there was no temple, but a devotee desired, ‘Let there be a temple and seva, devotional service.’ Therefore, what was once an empty corner has now become a place of pilgrimage. Such are the desires of a devotee.”

By the strength of Prabhupada’s desire, an overgrown plot of land in Juhu had become a place of pilgrimage and devotional service. And in the long process, Prabhupada had engaged so many of us in devotional service. As he had explained in his introduction to The Nectar of Instruction, “This devotional service is a sort of cultivation. It is not simply inaction for people who like to be inactive or devote their time to silent meditation. There are many different methods for people who want this, but cultivation of Krsna consciousness is different. The particular word used by Srila Rupa Gosvami in this connection is anusilana, or cultivation by following the predecessor teachers (acaryas). As soon as we say ‘cultivation,’ we must refer to activity. Without activity, consciousness alone cannot help us. . . .

“We can offer many services with our bodily activities. But all such activities must be in relationship with Krsna. This relationship is established by connecting oneself with the bona fide spiritual master, who is the direct representative of Krsna in disciplic succession. Therefore, the execution of Krsna conscious activities with the body should be directed by the spiritual master and then performed with faith.”

Srila Prabhupada had engaged us—his disciples, and so many others—in devotional service authorized by the principles of scripture and the instructions of previous spiritual masters. In developing Hare Krishna Land, he done so on a grand scale, and after his departure, by his mercy, we were left with tremendous challenges of work and responsibility—for our own spiritual benefit and for the benefit of all those who would associate with the temple.

Along with Srila Prabhupada’s desires as a preacher, he also had his personal commitment and service to Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari. “My dear Sir,” he had told Them, “You just stand here and I will build You a temple.” And he did. He fulfilled his promise. And what a temple he built! And what a struggle to do it! But he did it. It was a good fight, but he did it: he kept his promise and built Them a temple.











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“Bombay is my Office” Book Launched by Lokanath…
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“Bombay is my Office” Book Launched by Lokanath Swami on 14th January 2018 on the 40th Anniversary of ISKCON Juhu. (Album of photos)
Find them here:

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Bhaktivedanta Manor: The present children’s playground at…
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Bhaktivedanta Manor: The present children’s playground at Bhaktivedanta Manor is being dismantled and closed. There will be no playground for the duration of the Haveli construction. With the completion of the project in July 2019, a new playground will be opened.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
To learn more about the Haveli project:

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13.000 youth learn how to lead a meaningful life (Album with…
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13.000 youth learn how to lead a meaningful life (Album with photos)
On 13th Jan 2018, Gaur Gopal Das addressed 13,000 youth in Nagpur on occasion of Yuva Divas. The event was organized by “Khasdar Sanskrutik Mahotsav Samiti” which is headed by Shri Nitin Gadkari. Shri Nitin Gadkari is the current Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation in the Government of India.
Gaur Gopal Das inspired the youth by presenting the key principles for leading a successful and meaningful life. The event was covered by leading newspapers.
Thank you Shri Nitin Gadkari for inviting for this event.
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Auckland Retreat
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Some of the congregational leaders from the New Varshana Auckland temple organised a Bhakti Shastri retreat for a group of devotees studying for the degree.

It was in a beautiful area of Auckland called Huia and the devotees stayed in a lodge there for two days.

I was asked to come and give a class on the life and significance of Srila Prabhupada and how he spread Krsna Consciousness all over the world.

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Blissful events in Iskcon Mumbai with many disciples of Srila…
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Blissful events in Iskcon Mumbai with many disciples of Srila Prabhupada present (Album with photos)
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