The Gita as a book of love – The significance of the first and last words spoken by Krishna and Arjuna

[Bhagavad-gita class at ISKCON, Brisbane, Australia]


Podcast Summary


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Srimad Bhagavat Katha Yajna by HH Radha Govinda Goswami

On the banks of Ganga, HH Radha Govinda Goswami Maharaja ‘s Srimad Bhagavat Katha Yajna is taking place from 12 Nov.In a grand inauguration organised by Mayapur Ganga Puja Seva Committee, Maharaja was welcomed in a colorful procession with auspicious sounds of conch and vedic mantras and shower of flowers. For the next seven days,Maharaj […]

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ISKCON Birmingham, UK, volunteers preparing for the book…

ISKCON Birmingham, UK, volunteers preparing for the book distribution Marathon (Album with photos)
Thank you to all of yesterday’s volunteers who took out their time to assist in packing 2300 of Srila Prabhupada’s books which will be distributed in December as part of the 5000 effort.
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“Hare Krishna” movie premiere release in India…

“Hare Krishna” movie premiere release in India (Album with photos)
Sri Fort Auditorium, Delhi.
A heart’s delight… don’t miss it.
All India Release in PVR cinemas on the 10th of December.
The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami who started it all was appreciated by many great souls including the Vice President of India Mr. Venkaiah Naidu and the hall was filled with a maximum number of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada !!!
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Dealings with peers. Disrespect, disregard, hatred and criticism…

Dealings with peers. Disrespect, disregard, hatred and criticism are forbidden.
A devotee should not ignore any living entity. The devotee must know that in every living entity, however insignificant he may be, even in an ant, God is present, and therefore every living entity should be kindly treated and should not be subjected to any violence. [SB 3.29.22 purport]
In this verse, two phrases, bhutesu baddha-vairasya (“inimical towards others”) and dvisatah para-kaye (“envious of another’s body”), are significant. One who is envious of or inimical towards others never experiences any happiness. A devotee’s vision, therefore, must be perfect. He should ignore bodily distinctions and should see only the presence of the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord Himself in His plenary expansion as Supersoul. That is the vision of a pure devotee. The bodily expression of a particular type of living entity is always ignored by the devotee.
It is expressed herein that the Lord is always eager to deliver the conditioned souls, who have been encaged within material bodies. Devotees are expected to carry the message or desire of the Lord to such conditioned souls and enlighten them with Krsna consciousness. [SB 3.29.23 purport]

We may offer many valuable items to the Deity, but if we have no real sense of devotion and no real sense of the Lord’s presence everywhere, then we are lacking in devotional service; in such a state of ignorance, we cannot offer anything acceptable to the Lord. [SB 3.29.24 purport]

VCT writes in his commentaries on how to deal with devotees and how not to deal:

However, in such bhakti, offence creates restriction. Offence generally stems from disrespect to the great devotees. Though such devotees are difficult to see, many exist. In order to avoid offences to them, one should pay respects to all living entities, thinking that the Lord is present in all of them. Without doing so, even worshiping the deity forms of the Lord will not give any result. Since he is the Supreme Lord, Kapila then speaks in six verses somewhat angrily, out of affection, to benefit his devotee who does not respect all beings. In these verses disrespect, disregard, hatred and criticism are forbidden. This person performs imitation worship of my deity forms (arca-vidambanam). [SB 3.29.21 purport]

Sridhara Svami explains: he does not behave well with the devotees and even with other people. Prakrta means “new or unrefined in nature.” Now, in verse 25, it will be explained that the new, immature devotee gradually becomes the highest devotee.

Bhinna-darsinah means one who does not recognize that his own suffering is also felt the same way in others.

Avamaninah means “of one who criticizes.” One who criticizes others is worse than one who hates others because it is said:

na tatha tapyate viddhah puman banais tu marma-gaih
yatha tudanti marma-stha hy asatam parusesavah

Sharp arrows which pierce one’s chest and reach the heart do not cause as much suffering as the arrows of harsh, insulting words spoken by materialists that become lodged within the heart. SB 11.23.3

Since those practicing pure bhakti by their nature have pure antahkaranas, they generally do not disrespect any living being. However, karma-misra-bhaktas can disrespect other living entities. Until the impurities of the antahkarana no longer remain disrespect is possible. When the antahkarana is pure, disrespect is not possible. At that time he should no longer perform karma with his bhakti. Sva-karma-krt means the person performs karma-misra-bhakti in sattva-guna. With the appearance of the state of seeing the Lord in all beings, the person should no longer perform karma-misra-bhakti, since he is no longer qualified for karma. Performing jnana-misra-bhakti, he should worship my deity form.

They should not abuse those who criticize them and try to beat them because they are hungry. They should respect them with praise, giving them greater respect than themselves. The Lord himself says:

ye brahmanan mayi dhiya ksipato ‘rcayantas
tusyad-dhrdah smita-sudhoksita-padma-vaktrah
vanyanuraga-kalayatmajavad grnantah
sambodhayanty aham ivaham upahrtas taih

Just as I am controlled by you, I am controlled by those who worship the brahmanas who have offended others, who see those brahmanas as non-different from me, who remain pleased in heart in spite of their harsh words, showing lotus faces moistened with sweet smiles, and who pacify them by praising them with words filled with love, just as a son praises an angry father. SB 3.16.11

They should treat them as friends, equal to themselves, without speaking and with sincerity, for the Lord, treating all beings without duplicity, situated within, does not get angry, even though people become angry at him.
Radheshyam Dasa

GitaWise Bhakti Vrksha Group Wisely Support the TOVP

GitaWise – is a Bhakti Vrksha program in Cumming, Georgia, U.S.A. that involves many families in devotional activities and learning experiences through the teachings of Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Srimad Bhagavatam. Part of the education is to learn to contribute to worthy causes. They have donated previously to the TOVP, and recently they

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Applying Principles of Forgiveness in our practical life as…

Applying Principles of Forgiveness in our practical life as Sadhaka.
I am paraphrasing the following principles taught in this Chapter “Brahma satisfies Lord Siva” with respect to forgiving someone :
1) Observe Paramātmā in each and every being and do not differentiate between one living being and another.
When someone praises me, I may feel, “He is my friend.” When someone finds fault with me, I may feel, “He is my enemy.” These conclusions arise due to false ego and identification with superficial observations. If I see the reality that every living entity has a Supersoul in his heart and are offered Remembrance, Knowledge, Forgetfulness as per their surrender, then I can easily ignore the `mistakes’ of others, which they commit with the sanction of Supersoul; I can avoid giving too much feedback to others, after all I should allow some feedback for his Supersoul to give, instead of posting myself as a second Supersoul in others’ lives. Also I will respect all devotees and even non-devotees, because they are accompanied by their Supreme father, the Supreme Lord as Supersoul in their hearts. I will try to see all souls to be of one quality, but only with different degrees of material coverings, that makes me see them as friend or enemy wrongly.

2) Never become overwhelmed by anger like animals, who can see nothing without differentiation.

I’ll try to remember the good qualities, great services rendered, the spiritual stature of devotees with whom I had an unpleasant encounter. By gratefully remembering these, I can avoid holding a negative opinion about them. I will try to see the reality that I have 8.4 million brothers and sisters, only wrapped up in different types of dresses. One brother wears a squirrel dress, another wears a plant dress, a third one wears a cow dress etc. This vision will help me see everyone as a child of God. Remembering the pure qualities of great Vaisnavas can help me to emulate their model of peaceful disposition, calmness, kindness, courtesy, benevolence even to enemies.

Although I theoretically understand that we should forgive those who act enviously towards us due to their minds infected by illusory energy and their attachment to fruitive activities, it will take me many years of practice to learn unconditional love, especially towards those who behave inimically. It is possible for me to have working relationship with even such people, but to have a open heart and sweet relationship, as if nothing has gone wrong is difficult. Probably I have to dissolve my false ego by sincere and pure chanting to be able to see everybody as a lover of Krishna and thus lovable.

3) When unexpected situations come our way, we should not find fault with Lord for sending adversities.

4) Mean-minded people cannot tolerate flourishing condition of others and thus they utter harsh and piercing words to cause pain to them; such people are already killed by providence (due to the anxiety and envy in their hearts); there is no need to take revenge.

5) A Vaiṣṇava is described as para-duḥkha-duḥkhī because although he is never distressed in any condition of life, he is distressed to see others in a distressed condition. Vaiṣṇavas, therefore, should not try to kill by any action of the body or mind, but should try to revive the Kṛṣṇa consciousness of others out of compassion for them. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started to deliver the envious persons of the world from the clutches of māyā, and even though devotees are sometimes put into trouble, they push on the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in all tolerance. “trinad api sunicena” [Cc. Ādi 17.31]

6) Knowing that the materialists are overpowered by illusory energy due to which they commit offenses, a devotee of the Lord should feel sorry for them and not show his prowess to counteract them.

7) The un-bewildered devotee should be merciful and forgiving towards those who are under the clutches of illusory potency and also attached to fruitive activities. A Vaiṣṇava should take care of those who are bewildered by this māyā instead of becoming angry with them, because without a Vaiṣṇava’s mercy they have no way to get out of the clutches of māyā.

8) Beauty of a tapasvī, or saintly person, is forgiveness. Even if a saintly person is unnecessarily harassed by someone, a saintly person tolerates. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was the emperor and was full in power both spiritually and materially, but out of compassion and out of respect for the brāhmaṇa community, he did not counteract the action of the brāhmaṇa boy but agreed to die within seven days. Because it was desired by Kṛṣṇa that Parīkṣit Mahārāja agree to the punishment so that the instruction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would thus be revealed to the world, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was advised not to take action. A Vaiṣṇava is personally tolerant for the benefit of others. When he does not show his prowess, this does not mean that he is lacking in strength; rather, it indicates that he is tolerant for the welfare of the entire human society.
Radheshyam Dasa

TOVP: Lord Nrshimha Dev’s Dome progresses towards…

TOVP: Lord Nrshimha Dev’s Dome progresses towards completion (Album of photos)
Sadbhuja Das: Nrshimha Dev Dome’s middle Tier Arch and Columns are being installed.
Beautifully designed and made in-house, they will consist of the GRC Cornices (top and bottom) and Timber Wooden windows with concealed lighting which will wash the Dome.
Marble cladding will be executed on the back walls.
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Krishna conscious presentation in Mumbai’s Institute of…

Krishna conscious presentation in Mumbai’s Institute of Engineers (Album with photos)
On 11th Oct 2017, Gaur Gopal das gave a keynote speech at awards function of ‘The Institute of Engineers (IEI),’ Local Nasik Centre.
IEI celebrated Engineers Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of the eminent engineer and statesman, Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya. On this occasion, they arranged a grand celebration by a gathering of prominent engineers, businessmen and other eminent personalities from diversified Engineering fields.
As a part of this event, selected engineers were awarded under different categories such as “Outstanding Engineer”, “Engineering Achievement”, “Lady Engineering Achievement”, “Promising Engineer” and “Lady Engineer”.
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Harinama in Uruguay (Album with photos) The Krishna…

Harinama in Uruguay (Album with photos)
The Krishna consciousness movement is chiefly engaged in chanting the maha-mantra all over the world. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra to give everyone a chance to hear Krishna’s holy name, for simply by hearing Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, one becomes purified (ceto-darpana-marjanam)
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Rare photos of the historical Mantra-Rock-Dance in the Avalon…

Rare photos of the historical Mantra-Rock-Dance in the Avalon Ballroom with Srila Prabhupada, Allen Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead and others (Album with photos)
Mukunda Goswami: In January 1967, Srila Prabhupada, along with counterculture icon Allen Ginsberg, introduced hundreds of San Francisco hippies to the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra.
Our Publicity worked. at 7:45 on show night the Avalon was filled to capacity. I was at the top of the staircase above the front door taking tickets for the first hour. From the top of the long red-carpeted stairway that led up to the hall from the entrance, I could see the line of colorful late arrivals waiting to get into the Avalon. We’d stuck with our “first-come-first-served” policy in selling tickets, so late-comers were out of luck. Specially deputed agents of the San Francisco Fire Department stood outside at the hall’s main entrance, monitoring the number of people inside.
Prabhupada at the Avalon Ballroom – Back To Godhead
When someone came out, they’d let someone in, although that wasn’t happening much, because those inside really wanted to hold onto their places.
Chet poked his head out of his office door and yelled to me. “Looks like a sell-out,” he said. “you don’t usually get the place full before the show starts. and this is a Sunday!” “yeah, it’s great,” I said, feeling excited.
“Thanks for letting us do this here.” as I scanned the crowd, I spotted Timothy Leary and Augustus Owsley heading up the stairs toward me. as I took their tickets, I was surprised to note the strong smell of alcohol wafting around Leary.
“That’s weird,” I thought. “Leary’s so anti-establishment, but getting drunk is the ‘establishment’ way of getting high. Shouldn’t he of all people be high on LSD? I took the ticket from him, and he proceeded to a nearby phone booth where he sat talking on the phone for the rest of my ticket shift.
Finally, at 9:00 PM, Malati came to relieve me of my ticket duties so I could get back to managing the show. Inside the ballroom, devotees were handing out thousands of orange wedges to the crowd. I pushed my way through the crush and up the stairs to the balcony to check on how Ben and Roger were doing with their light show.
“Hey, how’s it going” I asked.
“Yeah, great, man. We’re all ready to go here,” Roger said. “Hey, we just brewed some tea really nice stuff. you want some?
“nope, it’s OK,” I said. “I’d better get back out there.” “Hey, no, come on,” Ben said. “Have some. It’ll relax you. you look like you need it.”
I hesitated. “Well, OK, just a small cup.” Roger grabbed a little Japanese-style cup without a handle and poured me some of the liquid from a blue ceramic teapot. I took a couple of sips to be polite. It had a bitter undertone.
“Thanks a lot. I’ve really got to get going.” They waved to me, smiling, and as I headed down the stairs to the dance floor, I realized that the tea had been spiked with acid. “no wonder it tasted bitter,” I thought, my head spinning.
It was time to start the show, so in my mildly altered state, I did my best to round up the devotees for the opening act a sort of overture an Indian-style chant that we hoped would set a mystical, spiritual atmosphere for the evening. We’d managed to get exotic clothing to wear on stage merlin gowns for the men and saris for the women and when we came on the stage, the crowd began to cheer. We sat on brightly colored cushions in front of microphones and began to sing a mellow Krishna mantra with tamboura, harmonium, hand cymbals, and drums.
As we sang, I looked out into the crowd. everyone appeared to be high on something mostly pot and acid, I thought. many people had brought their own cushions tasseled, jeweled, patchworked and embroidered and they sat on these during our chanting, closing their eyes or joining in with their own wooden nutes or bells. Some stayed standing and swayed in time to the music. a few cried, whether because they were moved by the chanting or simply high I couldn’t tell. What I hoped was that the swami’s chanting and presence would in the jargon of the Haight “lift everyone to a higher level of consciousness,” not through drugs but through genuine spiritual experience.
After our serene opening, Moby Grape took the stage and the crowd went wild.
Malati was right they were fantastic. The ballroom shook with their amplification, and the crowd gyrated in time with Ben and Roger’s strobe lights and their multicolored oil shapes projected onto the walls. The colors bounced, cascaded, broke into beads, morphed together and separated, jumping to the beat. The music was deafening, the light show mesmerizing.
Things seemed to be going fine, so I headed backstage to the readying room, where Big Brother was tuning up for their performance. With a bottle of Jim Beam in her hand, Janis Joplin turned away from her mirror as I entered the room.
“Hey, you’re one of the Krishnas, right? she asked. I nodded. “Why do you feel you have to chant that mantra” She sounded challenging, if not a bit hostile.
“Because it makes you feel good,” I said moving quickly out of the room. I didn’t want to get into that discussion now. I’d seen her three days earlier walking two large Dobermans down Haight Street holding a half-finished pint of Smirnoff.
When moby Grape finished playing their hour-long set, fifteen of us stepped onto the stage in preparation for the swami’s appearance. allen Ginsberg came into the hall and joined us on stage to the accompaniment of loud applause. Finally the Swami entered the Avalon through the main door, followed by Ranchor and another new york devotee named Kirtanananda, whom I’d met briefly before we’d come to California. The stage was about five feet above the dance floor, so I had a good view of the swami as he made his way across the length of the ballroom toward the stage, walking slowly with his wooden cane. The crowd grew quiet as he walked and parted to allow him to pass through. The hush was broken by a few isolated cheers and some scattered applause. It was a bit like the greeting the swami got at San Francisco airport, only this was bigger much bigger.
When the Swami reached the stage, he stopped for a moment and glanced around; then he saw a small stairway to his right, which he climbed slowly as if he were deep in thought. Ginsberg greeted him with folded palms when he reached the top. “Welcome, Swami,” he said. “Let’s sit.” He gestured toward two large fluffy yellow throw cushions at the front of the stage.
They made a funny pair, Ginsberg with his bushy beard and slightly rumpled brown suit with a white T-shirt underneath, and the swami with his clean-shaven head looking regal in his soft saffron robes as he sat cross-legged, his cane resting across his lap. The hall was quiet except for a few muffled voices and the sounds of some people I didn’t know in khakis who were rushing around the stage positioning microphones in front of Ginsberg and the swami. The hall darkened and the crowd sat down. I started playing the droning tamboura just as color slides of Krishna began appearing on the walls. up on the mezzanine, Ben and Roger projected the sixteen-word Hare Krishna mantra on the wall behind the stage and focused spotlights onto Ginsberg and the swami. Ginsberg said something into the swami’s ear, and the swami nodded. Ginsberg moved closer to the microphone.
“When I was in India,” he said, “I got enthralled with the mantra we’re going to sing. I’d like you to sing loud with me. It’s meditation that’s musical. It’ll take you into another dimension like it does for me every time.”
He paused and squinted through the spotlight.
“The mantra is called the maha-mantra. In Sanskrit, the word maha means ‘large’ or ‘great,’ and man means ‘mind.’ Tra means ‘that which delivers.’ So the word mantra literally means ‘mind deliverance.’
“Sometimes you can have a bad acid trip, and I want you to know that if you ever do, you can stabilize yourself on re-entry by chanting this mantra.” He looked earnest and serious, like he was discussing literature with a group of poets at a university. “now,” Ginsberg continued, “I want to introduce you to Swami Bhaktivedanta, who brought this mantra to the place where it was probably most needed, to new york’s Lower East Side to the dispossessed, to the homeless, the lost, the anarchists, the seekers.” The crowd applauded and cheered.
“He left India, where life is peaceful, where he could have remained happily chanting in a holy village where people never heard of war and violence, where life is slow and meaningful. But instead, he’s here with us tonight, his first time in this city, his first time in America, and he’s come to share with us something precious, something to treasure, something serene.”
Ginsberg gestured to the swami to speak. The swami’s countenance was bright as he responded to the invitation. He spoke slowly, and his aging voice exuded confidence. “Thank you for inviting me to your beautiful city of San Francisco to speak here,” he said. “This chant comes from India. It will lead us to the spiritual world. you may begin tonight or anytime. The mantra is not only for Indians. Hare Krishna chanting is for all people because Krishna is everyone’s father. We should not think that Krishna is Hindu god or is for the Indians and not others. He is for everyone.” I was excited to hear him as he looked admirably around at the rapt audience. “If He were not, how could He be God? God cannot be God simply for a particular type of man or for a particular section of society.
“God is God for all human beings, beasts, aquatics, insects, trees, plants all varieties. That is God. The words of this chanting are Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Ben or Roger bounced the words on the wall behind the swami.
“These words are a transcendental sound incarnation of the absolute Truth. Incarnation means … the Sanskrit word is avatar, and that is translated into english as ‘incarnation.’ The root meaning of avatar is ‘which descends or comes from the transcendental sky,’ the spiritual sky to the material sky. Or His bona fide representative comes from that sky to this material plane. That is called avatar.”
A female voice at the other end of the ballroom yelled, “yeah!”
Another voice somewhere in the hall yelled out, “I’m God!”
The swami continued unfazed. “So this sound is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord. material or spiritual, whatever we have got experience, nothing is separated from the Supreme Absolute Truth. nothing is separated.
“Everything has emanated from the Absolute Truth. just like earth. earth, then from earth, you have got wood, fuel. From fuel, when you get fire, first of all there is smoke. Then, after smoke, there is fire.
“Similarly, there is a link. The whole material cosmic situation, manifestation, what we see, it is just like the smoke. The fire is behind it. That is spiritual sky. But still, in the smoke, you can feel some heat also.
“So similarly, this sound vibration of the spiritual world is here, so that even in this material world, where there is a scarcity of that spiritual fire, we can appreciate, we can feel the warmth of that fire.
“So I wish to thank Mr.Jinsberg and all of you for participating. now Mr.Jinsberg will chant. Thank you very much.”
The audience burst into applause that lasted nearly a minute. Some people stood up and a few whistled and many banged the floor with their hands. A trumpet sounded from the back of the room. “Thank you, Swami,” Ginsberg said. “So I’m going to chant the mantra. These are the words,” he said, glancing behind him. “They’re on the wall behind me for you to follow. I’ll chant the whole thing once and then you repeat it. I’m going to sing a melody I learned when I was in Rishikesh in the Himalayas.” He paused. “everyone sing loud! and dance if you feel like it too!” Ginsberg began to sing, and all the devotees on the stage sang the repeat of the mantra. everyone began playing their instruments after the first few mantras, except for me; I had to quickly re-tune the tamboura to be in tune with Ginsberg. Fortunately, he stayed in the same key throughout his chant.
The audience caught on quickly. encouraged by the fact that the mantra was being sung by one of their icons, the crowd responded enthusiastically.
Everyone sang along, and most people stood up and began to sway with the beat. as the tempo began to pick up, Ben and Roger made sure the oil pulsations were in time with the beat. The chanting reached a fast tempo quickly; Ginsberg and the few devotees who were keeping time with the instruments had to start everything over again. The audience still stood, waiting. This time Ginsberg started the chanting slowly and kept the tempo constant. The audience’s response singing was a roar that echoed through the ballroom.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, the swami stood up from his cushion and raised his arms, gesturing for everyone to do the same. all the devotees on the stage exchanged surprised looks. janaki and I had seen the swami dance once before at Dr.Mishra’s ashram in upstate new york, but no one else had seen him do this before. and none of us had expected it tonight.
The few still sitting now stood up, and the whole audience danced as one body in one giant motion: left foot over right, right foot over left, left over right, just like the swami was doing. Thousands of arms waved like willows in a grove, nuid, silky and hypnotic. It was rhythmic, yet languid and ballet-like. everyone, including the snack sellers and bouncers, was swaying back and forth and singing. Only a few stood motionless at the periphery of the ballroom, excluded from the dancing probably because they were too high to take part. Their mouths hung open as they stared at the spectacle and drooled.
Ginsberg removed his microphone from its stand and unwound the cord so that he could hand it to the swami. For a few minutes the swami led the chanting.
As he did so, musicians from the bands joined us on the stage with their instruments. Don Stevenson from Moby Grape sat down behind his set of drums, which was still on stage from their set, Phil Lesh, and Pig Pen from The Grateful Dead plugged their guitars into amplifiers, and Peter Albin and Sam Andrew from Big Brother started plucking the strings of their guitars. They all began by caressing their instruments as only musicians do, testing the sound levels cautiously, tuning the strings and adjusting the tones and levels, experimenting as to how they could best accompany and augment the chanting.
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Hindu Heritage Month in Ontario with Bhaktimarga…

Hindu Heritage Month in Ontario with Bhaktimarga Swami.
Saturday, November 4th, 2017 – Richmond Hill, Ontario
Getting Around.
Ontario proclaimed November as Hindu Heritage Month and the celebrations at the Vishnu Temple at Yonge and Hwy. 7 were the venue for this event. I was invited. Several mayors were present including those from Richmond Hill and I believe, Markham. Other dignitaries were also there. Principle organizer Lajput got up on the stage and mentioned my name twice in the capacity as his guru. It was flattering.
But in reality, the real boost for me, at this event, was the kirtan that Godbrother Gaura and I led. Gopal is an excellent drummer on the mrdunga, and Subal, our driver, is a happy dancer. The projecting of mantras must be a flattery for God.

After the program, when back home, I had the chance to clean, or mop, the floors in the temple and ashram. It’s always a heart-cleansing involvement.

That was followed by leading a discussion at Sacred Space, a weekly program for newcomers. It was a good bunch of humans who turned out—meaning they had a sincerity of purpose. One of the attendees brought up the subject of ‘evil’, questioning its origin and objective. It is a classic topic for Man. Generally I’ve found that if you’re a theist, it is a principle that can be accommodated. When one is an atheist, even of the philosophical mold, one is left baffled with the reality of evil. Theists tend to swallow the concept and can wrestle it down because they have someone to help them. They have a Divine connection.

My final engagement for the day was doing a nighttime walk—west on Dupont, south on Christie and east on Bloor, before making the turn to Avenue Road, in Toronto.

May the Source be with you!

“Chant-anuga” Danakeli Dasi: We again met many nice students…

Danakeli Dasi: We again met many nice students this week while distributing books at the Univ. of Tennessee in Chattanooga.
One student was impressed w/ the colorful art & original Sanskrit in the Bhagavad-gītā, saying several times, “This is so beautiful.” When he disclosed he was a musician & composer & that he wanted to write lyrics w/ philosophical import, I told him about how George Harrison incorporated Krishna consciousness into some of his songs. He replied, “Oh, yes, I know his song ‘My Sweet Lord.’ That’s where I heard the chanting.”
After conversing for a few minutes, he took BG & a copy of “Chant & be Happy.” He left, shaking my hand, saying, “I just want to thank you for finding me amongst these thousands of students!”
One boy who talked w/ my husband was happy to be a recipient of BG. He said his girlfriend’s grandmother has been into this for a long time as a “non-Indian practicing Hindu”. When he saw Śrīla Prabhupāda’s photo, he exclaimed, “That’s him! That’s the person she has in her home shrine.”
Another student who spoke w/ him, a pre-med student, explained she will be going to India over the semester break for an internship. She was excited to receive BG, as she’s known about it for awhile. She additionally took two other books & a copy of “Origins” magazine, saying, “As a scientist I’ll appreciate reading this magazine.” She also happily acknowledged having heard the Hare Krishna mantra in George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.”
The last BG of the day went to a thoughtful girl who, although previously reading excerpts of a different translation of BG, didn’t know it was a dialogue on a battlefield. When I told her Arjuna was entering a fratricidal war & was having existential questions, she embarrassingly said, “That’s me!” I told her that human life begins when we ask such questions. She seemed relieved. She gratefully took the gift of BG, saying she would definitely read it, apologizing she had no donation to give.
Even the gardener at UT took interest! He approached me asking, “Where’s the kirtana?” because he saw that my jacket said “Sadhu Sanga Kirtana Retreat.” He’s played in a kirtana band before, though they didn’t chant Hare Krishna. He took an “On Chanting Hare Krishna” pamphlet & promised to try the mantra.
We’ve decided to rename Chattanooga “Chant-anuga.” 😃

The Bhagavad-gita’s message of love comforts and enlightens

[Sunday feast class at ISKCON, Sydney]


Podcast Summary

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Gambling is the gross result of our subtle inclination to cheat…

Gambling is the gross result of our subtle inclination to cheat or lie.
Gambling is the gross result of our subtle inclination to cheat or lie. I once snitched on my friends who decided to bunk school. I denied it so vehemently that years later I wondered, “Did I lie or didn’t I?” I wasn’t so sure anymore. Truthfulness is one of the pillars of dharma that gambling attacks. Who hasn’t hidden that unreturned library book or told your child that the tall-needled injection would not hurt? A person looks into the eyes of a dying man and smilingly says, “Don’t worry. You will get better soon,” when neither of them believes it. When the lines between real and unreal blur, we gamble with the truth.
Let us look a little deeper into the mentality behind a gamble. It is more than just developing the “green fingers” seasoned to make money grow. I can hear the critics say that life itself is a gamble. By definition, gambling implies taking a risk with a potentially positive outcome. By stepping into your car in the morning, you take a risk. The odds may be against you reaching work safely. Is not a theistic lifestyle also a gamble? How can we tell if the dividends will truly pay off? However, these risks are considered reasonable acts of faith, guided by proper knowledge and honest endeavor, and therefore different from gambling. They don’t result in character degradation and are leaps of faith in the mode of goodness.
The problem arises when a person buys into the passionate “winner mentality.” A simple lotto ticket bought together with the bread and milk is an innocent chance at fortune that you slip into your top pocket. You didn’t harm anyone to get it. You paid for it with your hard-earned cash. What could possibly be so wrong with it? In that lotto ticket you have now invested your faith and with it, two negative philosophical affirmations. The first is that life moves by chance and that there is no Superior Designer in the grand scheme of things. The second is that you have the ability to manipulate the natural laws of karma and the beat the odds. This “winner mentality” progresses to the ultimate fantasy that in one stroke, all problems will be solved. It condenses into an obsession (symptomatic of the mode of ignorance), an intoxicating greed where one is willing to lie, cheat or steal, all to be part of the game. Far-fetched? Tell that to the one million people with gambling addictions and families in counseling. Governments, religious societies, and charities around the world benefit from legalized gambling, resulting in a hush over the social collapse that it brews.
Surprisingly the majority of gamblers are from lower income brackets with their gambling expenditure (proportionate to their income) outweighing the big guns. What moves people to wager what they obviously don’t have? The desperate hope that the next card, dice, or spin of the wheel will earn back their losses multifold. Statistics say that no one beats the odds. The odds are always cleverly tipped in favour of the “house.” What you win today can hardly ever surmount what you lose in a lifetime. Of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in legalized gambling, only 8.75 percent is ever won. Casinos are expert in subtle, psychological manipulation: offering free alcoholic drinks, rooms, and complimentary tickets to entice the regular gambler into thinking he is the center of the universe and everything is for his taking. The link between intoxication and gambling is evident; one who can ‘loosen up’ is more likely to spend. “The mentality that seeks an easy high will invariably strive for easy cash.” In a nut-shell, gambling enforces the mentality of lazy rewards that short-cut hard work. Yet it is a fantasy: ultimately one never beats the odds. The odds beat us.
In the brickwork of life, blocks of untruth are cemented by fear, laziness, convenience, or the thirst for a thrill. Soon we believe the lies we tell others. Even more insidious is the lies we tell ourselves. Bhagavad-gita lists arjavam or honesty as one of the qualities that truly intelligent people imbibe. It can also be translated as simplicity of heart. The gambler and the spiritualist are both involved in acts of faith. The former places faith in chance with the hope that it will help him cheat the system. The latter places faith in a higher power, knowing that the system is a learning ground in the first place. One tries to escape the tests whilst the other tries to rise above them by aligning with the Supreme and thus developing simplicity of heart.

TOVP Tour to Australasia – Departure

On Sunday, November 5th ,immediately following Mangal-arati, His Grace Jananivas prabhu and Brajavilas prabhu left Sridham Mayapur with the Padukas of Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Lord Nrisimhadeva’s helmet, to distribute mercy throughout Australasia. They will be joined by Their Graces Ambarisa prabhu and his wife Svaha mataji for a one month tour of Australia, New

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Our Other Family Business: The TOVP

By Svaha Devi Dasi (wife of Ambarisa Prabhu, TOVP Chairman) His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu has written about book distribution in “Our Family Business.” Closely connected to it, or inseparable from it, is the manifestation of the TOVP as funds from book distribution around the world directly contribute to the TOVP every year. These two heartfelt

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