First and second loves.
→ Clouds.

It's funny how everyone here in Damodardesh associate Kirtans with me.

This was the scene in Atlanta:

It is Saturday around 9a.m after the morning program. Time for Mrdanga class with Vedasara.

"Where is Anuradha?"
"She is in the pujari making garlands..."

It is the Sunday feast night and you can see and hear all the smiles and 'haribols' going back and forth. It is 'socializing' time......that is prasadam time.

"Where is Anuradha"?
"Oh she is on the altar with Madhavi helping her do the evening service"

(Yup, Madhavi always maganged to lure me to help her on the altar even though it was not my day to do evening seva :) ......and i'll always be grateful for that!)

It is time for the Sunday night kirtans. And I would be scrubbing the altar or putting away necklaces, earrings as Uttam Prabhu drowned everyone in Mayapur mellows :) Oh I would also completely lose myself in UttamPrabhu's transcendental tunes......but I would be doing so in the pujari room as the holy names waft in through the doors.

(Shhhh....but it also used to be my excuse.... "Can you help us wash these pots?", "Nope, sorry, have to do the evening arati!" :D )

It was quite hard for me in Dubai initially. No temple. No Deities. What seva would I do? Now I realize my immaturity during my 'depressed' days. My only solace was turning to my second love - Kirtans.

When I was talking to Mandali recently in Chowpatty, she expressed that one of her realizations when she wasn't able to do as much deity worship in India, was that it was an opportunity to internalize deity worship. Women can't be on the altar doing abhishek, but who can stop you offering a manasa abhishek to Krishna?! :)

And I realized another aspect of deity worship! What I was doing as my 'second' love in Damodardesh was really just another aspect of my first love. So now, I regularly peform deity worship in Damodardesh. I regularly serve the deities - the deities of the holy name. Kirtan is a beautiful way of internalizing worship. Getting absorbed in Kirtan, meditating on his form with the holy name just engulfing you.... Staying in Damodardesh has opened my eyes to another beautiful form of the Lord - his transcendental name....

"Nama-bhajana is not bound by any rule—the holy name is beyond all virtuous acts—He is spiritual—He is virility and luster in a person. All the Vedas have been manifested from this holy name. The holy name is bliss, the holy name is ananda. We can excellently be devoted to Him. The holy name is worship and is to be worshiped; Your feet are to be held in veneration. "
- Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Hari Nama-cintamani

Kirtaniya sada hari... :)


What to Do When There’s too much Mercy
→ the world i know






First wrap the contents tight and store it in a blue box 6 meters high and 93 meters wide and 108 meters long. Click your feet four times- not three, learn to say abracadabra in Polish and then after you- oh wait! Wrong audience.
But the question still remains what to do, what to do...
I have heard, and dare to write it before verifying these statements, that magnanimity, a very rare gift is still more rare in the Spiritual world. Why? Well its like Never land up there where every being is seriously satisfied and is in danger of breaking sweat at any moment due to ever-increasing perfection.
Cows have way too much milk up there and so the land is soaked with milk ( when you're God, you can water your lawn- or sand- or touchstone particles with milk), H2O isn't enough either and so all water is nectar. And dare ask a mango tree for peaches; but I'm sorry you walked up to it and didn't dance, and you asked, not sang- you must be in the material world again. Still perfect is when that hippie in you can use your “be here now” skills when a new to town traveler asks you for the time: “ time”, you'd say, “ is now.” And yesterday? “ Still now.” While we're at it, your soul mate happens to be there, so is Mr. Right, Prince Charming and your knight in shining armor. And for the guys, you won't find damsels in distress, and the damsels I'm sorry to say belong to the Knight in shining.... Better yet, your knight and his shining Armor are non different! So magnanimity, although part of the spiritual world is sort of conspicuous by its absence.
On the other hand (are five fingers), down here Prince Charming might be found hanging out with Mr. Right, intimately... Your knight's armor may have been traded for some thick green cloth and yesterday means- yesterday. We could go into filtered H20 and scarce cow's milk, but I don't want to mirror my thoughts; so back to magnanimity.
When Krsna descends he needs a place to call base, just as when a king travels, at least in the old days, he went with an entourage for his utility. Mayapur, Vrindavan and other holy places are exact replicas of the eternal abode with equal potency available here to help us understand the nature of eternity, knowledge and bliss. Here in Mayapur that magnanimity factor can be perceived by anyone whether qualified to practice spirituality- and who is, or not. The atmosphere is so surcharged that mercy just flows even when a person is asleep. (Sleep is considered paying prostrated respects to the holy land)
But how to get this mercy an open secret expressed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoting the Mahabharat : dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam, true spiritual revelation lies within the hearts of great souls. One is advised to sincerely serve those great souls by following whatever instructions they may give; and also by intelligently staying away from what they stay away from. Each great soul is like a mercy station; a place where the matter of business is magnanimous blessings given for a little price- one's faith.
Srila Prabhupada has opened the doors to Mayapur for us and beckons us to come and experience real life everyday, and when we're satisfied beyond measure, go and give it to others. Even if we just take a drop and give it to another person, we'll find ourselves with two drops. The more we give the more we get. Like that ol
d saying, “the gift that keeps giving.”






What to Do When There’s too much Mercy
→ the world i know






First wrap the contents tight and store it in a blue box 6 meters high and 93 meters wide and 108 meters long. Click your feet four times- not three, learn to say abracadabra in Polish and then after you- oh wait! Wrong audience.
But the question still remains what to do, what to do...
I have heard, and dare to write it before verifying these statements, that magnanimity, a very rare gift is still more rare in the Spiritual world. Why? Well its like Never land up there where every being is seriously satisfied and is in danger of breaking sweat at any moment due to ever-increasing perfection.
Cows have way too much milk up there and so the land is soaked with milk ( when you're God, you can water your lawn- or sand- or touchstone particles with milk), H2O isn't enough either and so all water is nectar. And dare ask a mango tree for peaches; but I'm sorry you walked up to it and didn't dance, and you asked, not sang- you must be in the material world again. Still perfect is when that hippie in you can use your “be here now” skills when a new to town traveler asks you for the time: “ time”, you'd say, “ is now.” And yesterday? “ Still now.” While we're at it, your soul mate happens to be there, so is Mr. Right, Prince Charming and your knight in shining armor. And for the guys, you won't find damsels in distress, and the damsels I'm sorry to say belong to the Knight in shining.... Better yet, your knight and his shining Armor are non different! So magnanimity, although part of the spiritual world is sort of conspicuous by its absence.
On the other hand (are five fingers), down here Prince Charming might be found hanging out with Mr. Right, intimately... Your knight's armor may have been traded for some thick green cloth and yesterday means- yesterday. We could go into filtered H20 and scarce cow's milk, but I don't want to mirror my thoughts; so back to magnanimity.
When Krsna descends he needs a place to call base, just as when a king travels, at least in the old days, he went with an entourage for his utility. Mayapur, Vrindavan and other holy places are exact replicas of the eternal abode with equal potency available here to help us understand the nature of eternity, knowledge and bliss. Here in Mayapur that magnanimity factor can be perceived by anyone whether qualified to practice spirituality- and who is, or not. The atmosphere is so surcharged that mercy just flows even when a person is asleep. (Sleep is considered paying prostrated respects to the holy land)
But how to get this mercy an open secret expressed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoting the Mahabharat : dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam, true spiritual revelation lies within the hearts of great souls. One is advised to sincerely serve those great souls by following whatever instructions they may give; and also by intelligently staying away from what they stay away from. Each great soul is like a mercy station; a place where the matter of business is magnanimous blessings given for a little price- one's faith.
Srila Prabhupada has opened the doors to Mayapur for us and beckons us to come and experience real life everyday, and when we're satisfied beyond measure, go and give it to others. Even if we just take a drop and give it to another person, we'll find ourselves with two drops. The more we give the more we get. Like that ol
d saying, “the gift that keeps giving.”






THIS IS SADHU LIFE
→ the world i know


Many people I meet express their most difficult problem- too little time to actually relish, or absorb themselves in life. When you wake up the rush starts- class, work, cram!
Here's a small experience that I relish here in India and hope to really inspire people with in the near future. Do few things diligently, consciously and properly.
An example of my schedule in the last few months:
3:00 am wake up (shower, dress, chant japa, mangala arati, class.)
9:00 am wash laundry, eat.
10:30 bhakti sastri class (lunch also)
3:00 pm  one hour nap
4:30 study
6:30 return clean and folded laundry
7- 8: socialize
8:30 give massage
9:30 bed
as this happens, I perceive how the mind becomes calm. When the mind is calm, thinking about deeper topics is possible. Most people are interested in Spiritual life, but their

external world is a bit in disarray  and so a war between outside and inside leaves on between a rock and a hard place.
 I suggest association of people who do what challenges you most. So if you're trying to be more spiritual and its difficult, associate with spiritual people.
There's so much to learn in spirituality, but our very minds stop us.

After a few days in Mayapur, my Spiritual Teacher asked me how I was doing, so I explaind my schedule and he was very encouraging. He said, “ that is sadhu (spiritual) life; doing
the same thing over and over will steady the mind, when the mind is steady then one can proceed nicely in Krsna Consciousness”
Plus, you'll find you have so much time because everything starts to have its place and quality
tatata tatata tatata tatata tatata- steady

THIS IS SADHU LIFE
→ the world i know


Many people I meet express their most difficult problem- too little time to actually relish, or absorb themselves in life. When you wake up the rush starts- class, work, cram!
Here's a small experience that I relish here in India and hope to really inspire people with in the near future. Do few things diligently, consciously and properly.
An example of my schedule in the last few months:
3:00 am wake up (shower, dress, chant japa, mangala arati, class.)
9:00 am wash laundry, eat.
10:30 bhakti sastri class (lunch also)
3:00 pm  one hour nap
4:30 study
6:30 return clean and folded laundry
7- 8: socialize
8:30 give massage
9:30 bed
as this happens, I perceive how the mind becomes calm. When the mind is calm, thinking about deeper topics is possible. Most people are interested in Spiritual life, but their

external world is a bit in disarray  and so a war between outside and inside leaves on between a rock and a hard place.
 I suggest association of people who do what challenges you most. So if you're trying to be more spiritual and its difficult, associate with spiritual people.
There's so much to learn in spirituality, but our very minds stop us.

After a few days in Mayapur, my Spiritual Teacher asked me how I was doing, so I explaind my schedule and he was very encouraging. He said, “ that is sadhu (spiritual) life; doing
the same thing over and over will steady the mind, when the mind is steady then one can proceed nicely in Krsna Consciousness”
Plus, you'll find you have so much time because everything starts to have its place and quality
tatata tatata tatata tatata tatata- steady

Gopidots
→ Clouds.


Gopidots.
Scent of rosewater making me heady
bathing your glowing white body
The silence of the altar
Hum of the mahamantra
It is just you and me
as I play with your skirts
Which earrings would you like today ?

The ache is back my dear Rani
Is some of that mercy saved for me?
One desire.
One day again....just to hold that brush
be absorbed in those patterns.......just to paint gopidots on your moonlike face.....When?

Gopidots
→ Clouds.


Gopidots.
Scent of rosewater making me heady
bathing your glowing white body
The silence of the altar
Hum of the mahamantra
It is just you and me
as I play with your skirts
Which earrings would you like today ?

The ache is back my dear Rani
Is some of that mercy saved for me?
One desire.
One day again....just to hold that brush
be absorbed in those patterns.......just to paint gopidots on your moonlike face.....When?

Mayapur in Winter
→ the world i know

My Alarm goes up at three....
I finally get up at 3. 30, bathe and then warm up for 20 minutes before getting ready for the temple
Why all this headache?
Because it pleases Krsna.
Why should we do anything? Because it pleases Krsna.
So much is happening here that I won't digest for another lifetime or few. Lets just say reality as we know it is dead, and recycled over and over again. But there is another reality, hidden the hearts of those great souls who have dedicated many years to spiritual life. Find one, serve one, and be happy

Mayapur in Winter
→ the world i know

My Alarm goes up at three....
I finally get up at 3. 30, bathe and then warm up for 20 minutes before getting ready for the temple
Why all this headache?
Because it pleases Krsna.
Why should we do anything? Because it pleases Krsna.
So much is happening here that I won't digest for another lifetime or few. Lets just say reality as we know it is dead, and recycled over and over again. But there is another reality, hidden the hearts of those great souls who have dedicated many years to spiritual life. Find one, serve one, and be happy

Peep Through the Door
→ ridewithin

Peep through the door
It seems as though the grass was much greener before
The dead life has been washed upon the sea shore
Money and greed deluded what is truly pure
And yet our flesh keeps screeching out for more

Now you’re trapped
A hole in the ozone about to make the world collapse
Pollution fills the air and minds with bullet twisted facts
Midnight is now upon us people righteous laws are coming back

Don’t turn your head away cause you can’t get away
Your mind is lost because your spirit has been led astray
Don’t ever say you gave it all if you ain’t gave it all
Just fade it in the hazy purple twilight
No more time I tried to warn you all it’s now approaching midnight

Panic’s in the air
Some jumping out of buildings others on their knees in prayer
Some cry out to the sky and yell they aren’t quite prepared
You looked god in the face and said forgive me all he did was stare.

Now you can run,
But where you gonna hide from all the power of the sun?
The cosmic reprecussions of what human kind has done
No understanding of the fullness everything is simply one

Soon to be none again so that new life can come again
Illusions rule the mind your soul is never gonna end
So don’t pretend you gave it all if you ain’t gave it all
Just fade it in the hazy purple twilight
No more time I tried to warn you all it’s now approaching midnight

So I bid farewell.
No more good times or bad times, no more heaven no more hell.
Now brace yourself for impact it’s a half hour to twelve
Complete in total darkness empty space is where you’re left to dwell.

And all you had to do was live today for your tomorrow
But now it’s over and you’re drowning deep inside your sorrow
You could’ve led but instead you confirmed and chose to follow
So once again I bid farewell

There’s only seconds left you’d like to second guess
But through your foolish ways you’ve literally beckoned death
So just don’t say you gave it all if you ain’t gave it all
Just fade it in the hazy purple twilight
No more time I tried to warn you all it’s now approaching midnight
[ Midnight In A Perfect World (Gift Of Gab Mix)

Kirtan Down Under – No Worries! Dancing with the Kangaroos!
→ Mayapuris.com

oz21

I was sitting in our big white van cruising through the streets of LA, when Gaura, who was driving and eating and talking on the phone (always multitasking!), threw the question to us over his shoulder, “hey guys, how would you like going to Australia?” Need I make our unanimous answer explicit?!

When Australia sent out initial feelers to Gaura, they were thinking to bring him and maybe one more person, that’s it. Ultimately there was six of us! Due to a combination of Gaura’s love for all of us and his insistence that we come, and the Aussie organizers giving in to Gaura’s “demand”.

And so it happened, that six of us stepped out of the airport coming to Australia for the first time. It didn’t take Vish and Gaura long to figure out that now we’d done kirtan on every continent (save for Antartica).
It’s an amazing thing when total strangers met for the first time and immediately feel bonded. This was the case with the Australian crew that brought us over, took care of us, and traveled with us through the country. I didn’t feel that I was among strangers at all. Maybe our goal, or interest, in kirtan simply took over and connected us on a higher level.
Before we arrived Sitapati, the main organizer, sent us a forty-page playbook, indicating every show, every meal, basically every detail. We were quite blown away by such detailed pre-planning. The person behind such meticulous planning had to be a seasoned older gentleman. When Sitapati met us at the airport, I think everyone of us asked him a version of the question, “Who are you?” Because we simply didn’t expect the force behind such a major tour to be our age.

And this turned out to be one of the many sweet things about the Australia tour. The guys who brought us out there were not rich people dipping into large bank-accounts. They hustled to get us over there, called everyone they knew with the idea, collecting funds as one person here and there would donate. There was a real grassroots feel to it.

We did around ten shows and one 24-hour kirtan during the fourteen days we were there. But because the organization was seamless and our reception so enthusiastic, we did not feel drained or tired but enthused and inspired. So many Aussies love kirtan! I was delighted by Janardan in Brisbane, Tina in Sydney, Krsnagraja in Melbourne, to mention a few. Notably, this enthusiasm was not limited to experienced kirtan-singers like the above, but to those completely new to it.

“Is there anything bad about Australia?” I kept asking our hosts as we drove through the beautiful country side from Brisbane to Sydney, then Sydney to Melbourne.

I was particularly happy when Sitapati, who had never seen The Mayapuris and As Kindred Spirits play together, commented that “We couldn’t imagine you without each other. You complement each other so well. ” His observation highlighted something I’d been reflecting on for a while. Gaura and As Kindred Spirits are melodic, sweet as honey, soulful, while we are passionate and fierce, with an edge that would border on aggressive without the soothing vibe of our kindred spirits. We feel so blessed to be singing, dancing, and serving together.

And being Down-Under only made it more dreamy and surreal. Did we dance with Kangaroos? No, didn’t even see one (though Gaura did chase a wallaby up a hill with his iPhone for a close-up) But everyone we did kirtan with put a kangaroo’s jump to shame, as they reached their arms high in the sky, jumping high, spirits soaring! Singing the holy names!

What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulences are of no use to me, my only wish is to have these pastimes constantly appear in my mind. :)

-Vrinda

oz12 oz17

oz24

oz26

oz7

oz10

oz31oz15oz16

oz13

Forgive!
→ Clouds.

"We brahmanas are worshipable by others only due to our quality of forgiveness. It is through this quality of forgiveness that Lord Brahma has achieved the post of master of the entire universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Hari, the remover of obstacles, becomes pleased with those who are forgiving. Forgiveness is illuminating like the sun, and cultivation of this quality is the brahmana’s duty.”
- Srimad Bhagavatam 9.15.39 - 41

You think you have forgiven and forgotten and then the bad taste in your mouth creeps in along with all the memories of unpleasantness and distress.
Brahmana? Ha.

Forgive!
→ Clouds.

"We brahmanas are worshipable by others only due to our quality of forgiveness. It is through this quality of forgiveness that Lord Brahma has achieved the post of master of the entire universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Hari, the remover of obstacles, becomes pleased with those who are forgiving. Forgiveness is illuminating like the sun, and cultivation of this quality is the brahmana’s duty.”
- Srimad Bhagavatam 9.15.39 - 41

You think you have forgiven and forgotten and then the bad taste in your mouth creeps in along with all the memories of unpleasantness and distress.
Brahmana? Ha.

Classic ISKCON Vinyl – Vrindavana LP from France and/or Holland (and Spain, too)
→ Sit Properly

This album was requested some time ago and I’ve been meaning to get around to it. It wasn’t the easiest to clean up, but now that it’s finished, it really does sound great! I hope you enjoy it. Happy downloading. Haribol!

Vrindavana - Cover

Vrindavana
Parampara Productions
RPI 102

The Vrindavana LP, released by Parampara Productions, is tied for my favorite Classic ISKCON record with Temple Radha Krsna, also released by Parampara. It’s got almost everything you could want, including an amazing rendition of “Kesava Kali Mala” by Acyutananda Swami.

Sure, if you wanted to, you could see this as the poor-man’s Radha Krishna Temple (the George Harrison-produced LP that everyone has). Vrindavana seems to be trying mimic Radha Krishna Temple to a large degree. Most of the instruments are traditional, save a bass guitar and an often haphazardly played flute.

To me, however, the Radha Krishna Temple LP has always seemed over-produced. It’s too slick in many places and while a beautiful album, it doesn’t capture what you’d hear in the temple. Vrindavana pretty well fills that gap. It’s fairly well produced, but keeps enough of the temple spirit to satisfy my uselessly picky tastes.

Vrindavana - Back Cover (French) Vrindavana - Back Cover (Dutch)

Unlike many of the other records, there’s nothing weird or overly mysterious about this release. I have two copies of it and it’s obvious that they’re different pressings, but nothing too wacky.

The pressing from Holland has a purple stripe around the cover image. The French one has a blue stripe. Holland’s back cover gives a bit more information about the songs and places captions on the pictures (albeit, in Dutch). The Holland release came with an insert containing lyrics and purports (again in Dutch), while the French release (at least my copy of it) didn’t.

Vrindavana - Insert

If I could find one odd thing about this release it’s that each country’s release is a completely different pressing. The French vinyl is of higher quality and much thicker. Holland’s label is the same as the French label, except they printed some copyright and “Made in Holland” info around the outer edge (probably for legal reasons specific to Holland).

The mixes are the same on each release, though the French release has two songs (the last songs on each side) that were mixed a bit too high, clipping a good deal of the vocals. Luckily, I was able to lift those two songs from the Dutch release. My copy of the French release was in much better shape than my copy of the release from Holland, which is why I chose one over the other.

There’s also a Spanish release from 1978 on the Producciones Govinda label. I don’t have that one though.

As interesting as I’m sure this is, let’s get to the songs themselves.

Vrindavana - Side A (French) Vrindavana - Side A (Dutch)

Kant A / Face A
1. Sri Rupa Manjari (6′30″) par Kausalya dasi
A beautiful flute and sitar accompany the beautiful voice of Kausalya dasi. I’ve never heard of her before, but she’s a great singer. This is a pretty mellow piece and a fine way to start a great album.

2. Manasa deha geha (5′) par Manibandha das
The first of two “Manasa deha geha”s. This is slow, but kind of funky too. There’s definitely a bit of swank going on here. Especially with the bass guitar and the what is probably an autoharp. The flute adds to the swankiness, especially during the flute-freak-out towards the end.

3. Bhaja hunre mana (5′) par Achyutananda Swami
It’s Achyutananda Swami! There’s some pretty steady sitar work going on here. This is very Indian. Even more so than Achyutananda Swami’s bhajans usually are. This is practically a song ripped straight from a Bollywood movie. You can almost picture some chubby and sweaty Indian guy patting his chest and doing a well-choriographed dance while inexplicably kicking piles of colored dust.

4. Gopinatha (4′30″) par Manibandha das
Very slow and mellow. There’s a great rolling rhythm to this. Something very bassie about it. Maybe it’s just the bass guitar. There’s a lot going on here. The kartalas seem to be playing in a 3/4 meter (like “Damodarastakam”) while the rest of the music is in 4/4. Not totally sure about this, but it works.

Vrindavana - Side B (French) Vrindavana - Side B (Dutch)

Kant B / Face B
1. Srita kamala (4′30″) par Kausaya dasi
Back with Kausaya dasi! A very sweet voice, twice overdubbed. It’s quite nice.

2. Kesava kali mala (3′20″) par Achyutananda Swami
Hey now! This is just funky! Totally worth the price of admission right here. Again, nearly Bollywood in its swankiness. Is that a bongo drum I hear? No idea, but it’s great. Check out the kartalas! And yet again with the funky flute. Please listen to this. There are maracas!

3. Manasa deha geha (7′30″) par Kausalya dasi
Kausalya dasi gives “Manasa deha geha” a try. This is a very mellow, yet menacing take on this classic. It works, even with the oddly placed bass guitar.

4. Hare Krsna kirtana (4′30″) les bhaktas assembles
Let’s all get together and chant Hare Krishna! Kausalya dasi leads and everyone follows. This is the same melody that’s used on the Radha Krishna Temple.

Vrindavana - InsertAs I said before, my copy of the French album was in pretty ok shape – better than my copy of the Dutch album. Still, this was a tough one to clean up. Some of the pops were probably from the source tapes as they didn’t sound like vinyl pops. I fixed what I could and I think you’ll really enjoy this one.

The Vrindavana LP is my friend Rati’s favorite and I’m really happy that I can offer it to her in a much better quality than it was before. Vaisnavas should always leave a record cleaner than they found it! Hopefully they’ll play it for their beautiful deities, Nitai-gauracandra.

Vrindavana - InsertI’m unaware that any of these songs were ever officially rereleased by ISKCON (or anybody else for that matter). The album itself isn’t too difficult to track down. Some copies are selling for $100ish, but I see others for less than $10. This is definitely one you’d want to pick up.

And as always, this LP is available as high quality mp3s and as “lossless” FLAC files. For most of you, the MP3 at 320kbps will be more than sufficient.

Fairly high-quality scans of the album covers, records and insert are included as well (and as usual).


Just click on the button and it’ll take you to a page where you can download the zip file. Then open the zip file with WinZip (or whatever program you use to open zip files). Add to your MP3 library or burn it to a CD-R. Easy as pie!

Download the FLAC files, if you like: Part One, Part Two




Technical Information:
Media Used:
Vinyl LP from my personal collection.

Hardware Used:
Turntable: Audio Technica PL-120A
Cartridge: ATP-2XN (Stock)
TCC TC-750LC Audiophile Phono Preamp
Soundcard: Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB external soundcard

Software Used:
Audacity 1.3.7 on Linux Mint 7
-Digital recording from soundcard
-Editing and splitting of tracks

Gnome Wave Cleaner 0.21-10
-Manual and automatic click/pop removal

SoundConverter 1.4.1
-Converted WAV to 320kbps MP3 and FLAC

Artwork Scanned from Original @ 300 dpi with XSane .996
Edited and Restored Using GIMP Image Editor 2.6.6

Classic ISKCON Vinyl – Srila Prabhupada’s Krsna Meditation Double LP
→ Sit Properly

Let’s move back to some Srila Prabhupada bhajans, shall we? Next in the series of high quality rips of Classic ISKCON records is a double LP (in a gatefold sleeve!) of nothing but Srila Prabhupada. Enjoy!

Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003)

Krsna Meditation
Radha Krsna Productions
RKP 1003 (also covers RKP 1005)

There aren’t many Krishna-related double LPs out there. And only one that is fully Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada’s Krsna Meditation was released by the Radha Krsna Productions label. That label’s first release was Acyutananda Swami’s India LP. Their third was this double LP of Srila Prabhupada, Krsna Meditation ( I still don’t know what their second release was).

Though it’s a very long record, it contains only six songs, the first five seemingly recorded at the same session. Those five tracks feature Srila Prabhupada (here called A.C. Bhaktivedanta Gosvami Prabhupada) on vocals and harmonium and Hansadutta dasa Adhikari on mrdanga drum (and not vocals). A tampura and a couple of kartalas are in the mix as well.

Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003)

Unlike the Acyutananda Swami release, there’s nothing really mysterious about this one. No odd cross-record label antics, no strange cut-out markings, no bootleg quality recordings. This is a very straight forward Srila Prabhupada record. That is, until the last song rolls around. More on that in a bit.

Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003) - Gatefold

One of the cool things about double LPs is that they often have gatefold covers. Krsna Meditation is no exception. The inside of this gatefold sports a huge picture taken during the recording session of Srila Prabhupada in the studio with Hamsadutta, Haimavati and, I assume, Cakravarti or Purijit das brahmacari (the latter three played kartalas on this record).

A paragraph appears on the lower left corner of the gatefold. It reads:

The singing of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Gosvami Prabhupada is pure devotional music in praise of Krsna – Meditation, Srila Prabhupada explains, is not inactive, impersonal or void. Meditation is the awakening of the soul’s eternal relationship with the Supreme Person, Krsna. One who has experienced such an awakening cannot stop meditating on Krsna even for a moment, just as a young boy who has fallen in love with a young girl cannot stop thinking of her at any time. One can sing for Krsna, dance for Krsna, cook for Krsna, think for Krsna, work for Krsna or even fight for Krsna. In this way doing everything for Krsna, in the end one returns to Krsna.

By Hearing the spiritual sound vibrations of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Gosvami Prabhupada, the listener is immediately elevated to the platform of Krsna meditation which brings supreme peace and bliss within the heart.

This mixing on this album is interesting. Srila Prabhupada’s vocals are up front and in both channels, as you’d expect. The kartalas are in both as well. The tampura is lurking somewhere in the right channel while the mrdanga’s small, higher head pops up in the left channel as the larger, bass head hangs out in the center – an fun idea that works nicely.

Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003) - Part I Side A Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003) - Part I Side B

Here’s the track listing…

Krsna Meditation Part I
Side A

1) Prayers to the Six Gosvamis

Side B
1) Gaura Prahun
2) Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu

Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003) - Part II Side A Krsna Meditation (RKP 1003) - Part II Side B

Krsna Meditation Part II
Side A

1) Jaya Radhe Jaya Krsna

Side B
1) Yasomati-nandana
2) Cintamani

My copy of this album is in very near mint condition. The cleaning up process that I do was amazingly easy. The few stray pops and clicks that I had to deal with were no problem at all (except for the beginning of track two). The first three and a half sides of this double LP were a relative breeze to complete. That leaves “Cintamani,” with oodles of pops, clicks, weird flutters and lower volume as a bit of an anomaly.

RKP-1005 - Back CoverBut it was no mystery. Acyutananda Swami’s India LP was the same way. The record was in near mint condition, yet the whole thing was full of pops, clicks and general noisiness. And so just like the India LP, “Cintamani,” the last song on Krsna Meditation is a recording recorded directly off another record. The pops and clicks don’t come from my copy, but from someone else’s dusty, dirty copy of some other record that apparently featured Srila Prabhupada singing “Cintamani.”

While the rest of the album has cleaned up very well, there are still quite a few blemishes within “Cintamani.” I did what I could and it’s not at all hard on the ears. It features Srila Prabhupada on vocals and harmonium with a devotee or two on kartalas and a very buried mrdanga. No tampura here. This comes from a completely different recording session.

Radha Govinda ProductionsTwo releases later, Radha Krsna Productions took Part I – Side A and Part II – Side B of this record and released it as Krsna Meditations (RKP-1005). Same title, same exact front album cover and nearlyidentical back cover, but half the music. Even the matrix etching reads: RKP-1003-A for the first side and RKP-1003-D for the second, just like RKP-1003, the subject of this post, indicating that RKP’s fifth release used the same plates to press the vinyl as their third release (which means that the shoddy sound quality of “Cintamani” is still there).

Sometime later, a record label calling itself Radha Govinda Productions threw together a hodge podge of recordings from other records and used a ten minute edit of “Prayers to the Six Gosvamis” from Krsna Meditation. That was mysteriously punctuated “Prayers to the Six: Gosvamisos.”

Krishna Meditations - BBT releaseKrsna Meditations is one of the few records that was ever (partially) made available on cassette and CD under (basically) the same name. It was released by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust as Krishna Meditations in the late 80s as Timeless Meditations And then later, in the mid-90s as Krishna Meditations, part of the “Gold Series.” Both rereleases, however, lops off the last song (the noisy “Cintamani”) and seem to have edited “Prayers to the Six Gosvamis” (the first song) down to less than eight minutes (it’s original is just under 18 minutes). Also, the song titles on the newer release are changed to their more “proper” titles. “Prayers to the Six Gosvamis” becomes “Sri Sri Sad-gosvamy-astaka,” while “Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu” becomes “Savarana-Sri-Gaura-pada-padme.” This edited down CD is still available.

As for “Cintamani,” I’ve searched through the Srila Prabhupada Vintage Series recordings and found no trace of this version of “Cintamani” (which is usually renamed “Brahma-samita”). Where this came from and where it’s gone is beyond me and seems to be only available on this album (and it’s smaller re-release – #1005).

So, why settle of rehashes and edits when you can get the whole thing right here!

This Double LP is available as high quality mp3s and as “lossless” FLAC files. For most of you, the MP3 at 320kbps will be more than sufficient.





Just click on the button and it’ll take you to a page where you can download the zip file. Then open the zip file with WinZip (or whatever program you use to open zip files). Add to your MP3 library or burn it to a CD-R. Easy as pie!

Download the FLAC files, if you like: Part One, Part Two, Part Three




Technical Information:
Media Used:
Vinyl Double LP from my personal collection.

Hardware Used:
Turntable: Audio Technica PL-120A
Cartridge: ATP-2XN (Stock)
TCC TC-750LC Audiophile Phono Preamp
Soundcard: Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB external soundcard

Software Used:
Audacity 1.3.7 on Linux Mint 7
-Digital recording from soundcard
-Editing and splitting of tracks

Gnome Wave Cleaner 0.21-10
-Manual and automatic click/pop removal

SoundConverter 1.4.1
-Converted WAV to 320kbps MP3 and FLAC

Artwork Scanned from Original @ 300 dpi with XSane .996
Edited and Restored Using GIMP Image Editor 2.6.6

Classic ISKCON Vinyl – Hare Krsna Festival 7″ (HKR-2003)
→ Sit Properly

Here we are at the third (and final?) 7″ release by Hare Krsna Records out of Germany. This one tacks on “Amsterdam” behind the usual “Hare Krsna Festival.” There is, of course, no explanation as to why it’s called “Amsterdam.”

hkr2003

Hare Krsna Festival Amsterdam
Hare Krsna Records
HKR-2003

Both of the songs on this release are sung by Hansadutta das Adhikary. One thing to take note of on all of these records is who is attributed to writing the song. The writing credits are usually listed in parentheses under the song titles. In this case, since a “traditional” song is being sung, the writing credit would read “(Traditional).” However, for some reason “Hans Kary” is credited as writer. Hans Kary is the legal name of Hansadutta. Hansadutta didn’t write either the Hare Krishna mantra or the lyrics to “Vande Ham,” he arranged the song. The writing credits should have read “(Traditional – arr. by Hans Kary).”

It’s a trifling matter, but also a bit telling at the same time.

Side A gives us Hansadutta’s take on “Vande Ham.” This was also on the last 7″ that I posted (HKR-2002). Though this version is pretty nice and mellow. It’s a good version, though not as pleasing to the ear as Avinas Chandra’s version on the last release. Recording it again seems almost unnecessary. “Vande Ham” was recorded on many of these records by many different people (including several versions by Srila Prabhupada). You almost never hear it these days.

Side A Side B

“Jaya Radha, Jaya Krsna” is our B-side. It’s a really sweet song, no matter who is at the helm. Hamsadutta hogs it a bit, but not enough to really ruin it. A female devotee’s voice (Krsna Premi’s?) floats in and out of this recording and that adds quite a bit to it. I really like her vocals. This time, the main vocals start in the center, but after about a minute, they slide to the left channel, leaving the reverb in the right channel with the the responses. It’s an interesting touch. I love this song. There are better versions of it out there, but this will do in a pinch. It’ll be in my head all day.

Side A
Vande Ham

Side B
Jaya Radha, Jaya Krsna

For the first side of this 7″, everything went along smoothly. The record is clean and relatively click/pop-free. But the second side was complete chaos. First, the source recording’s vocal track is clipping. It’s not really bad enough that the casual listener would notice it, but trying to de-click/pop this, it made for a rough morning.

On top of that, somehow the record got a skip in it. This is bad. Very bad. And it’s my fault. Click and pops I can usually take care of. Skips, on the other hand, I can’t. It literally skips over one whole rotation of the record. Nearly a second of music was gone.

My first thought was to dig up my old recording of this and just patch it up. But when I listened to that old recording, I found it to be completely unusable. It didn’t even sound like the same record.

So what I did was sort of like a skin graft. I lifted a very very similar part of the song and grafted it over the skip. It took about an hour to get the timing right, but it matches up almost perfectly. You will not notice it. I just thought I’d mention this, in the spirit of geeky full disclosure.

This 7″ is available as high quality mp3s and as “lossless” FLAC files. For most of you, the MP3 at 320kbps will be more than sufficient.


Just click on the button and it’ll take you to a page where you can download the zip file. Then open the zip file with WinZip (or whatever program you use to open zip files). Add to your MP3 library or burn it to a CD-R. Easy as pie!

Download the FLAC files here.




Technical Information:
Media Used:
Vinyl 7″ from my personal collection.

Hardware Used:
Turntable: Audio Technica PL-120A
Cartridge: ATP-2XN (Stock)
TCC TC-750LC Audiophile Phono Preamp
Soundcard: Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB external soundcard

Software Used:
Audacity 1.3.7 on Linux Mint 7
-Digital recording from soundcard
-Editing and splitting of tracks

Gnome Wave Cleaner 0.21-10
-Manual and automatic click/pop removal

SoundConverter 1.4.1
-Converted WAV to 320kbps MP3 and FLAC

Artwork Scanned from Original @ 300 dpi with XSane .996
Edited and Restored Using GIMP Image Editor 2.6.6

Few Weeks Til Now
→ the world i know

Just a couple of things happening lately.

Arrived in Mayapur a few days ago, Spiritual energy flows here like ...i dont even know.

I took a morning walk by the side of Govardhana the other morning and have never felt so peaceful... will put up some pictures later.

One thing on my mind lately is about the importance of passing down clear transparent Knowledge. I've been following the editing of Srila Prabhupada's books online at www.bbtedit.com and have gained a deeper respect for th eeditors. It i svery hard to sit and read Srila Prabhupada's books because of the deep subject matter, so imagine having to proofread, edit for strength and clarity, layout and publish, etc etc. Srila Prabhupada's whole mission rests on his books, and in order to work on these books, one must be very strict in his devotionla practice. I know some of the editors and I must admit, I couldn't naturally wake up at 2am, give clear concise lectures, be jolly like molly- on a daily basis. My conclusion, there must be a God somewhere, and he's guiding these devotees to help fulfil the desire of his devotee, Srila Prabhupada.
Check out the website and see what it takes to be a spitirual editor.

Few Weeks Til Now
→ the world i know

Just a couple of things happening lately.

Arrived in Mayapur a few days ago, Spiritual energy flows here like ...i dont even know.

I took a morning walk by the side of Govardhana the other morning and have never felt so peaceful... will put up some pictures later.

One thing on my mind lately is about the importance of passing down clear transparent Knowledge. I've been following the editing of Srila Prabhupada's books online at www.bbtedit.com and have gained a deeper respect for th eeditors. It i svery hard to sit and read Srila Prabhupada's books because of the deep subject matter, so imagine having to proofread, edit for strength and clarity, layout and publish, etc etc. Srila Prabhupada's whole mission rests on his books, and in order to work on these books, one must be very strict in his devotionla practice. I know some of the editors and I must admit, I couldn't naturally wake up at 2am, give clear concise lectures, be jolly like molly- on a daily basis. My conclusion, there must be a God somewhere, and he's guiding these devotees to help fulfil the desire of his devotee, Srila Prabhupada.
Check out the website and see what it takes to be a spitirual editor.

Winter is almost here…
→ Arcanam: Worship of the Deity...

With fall well underway and the cold weather already here, I decided it was time to bring out my Deities' winter clothes. With the cold Canadian winters I had always wanted to try and knit some scarves for my Deities, however my attempts never quite worked out. These sweaters and scarves were knitted for them by one Mataji last winter. If anyone with experience knitting would like to share some tips please leave a comment.

Winter is almost here…
→ Arcanam: Worship of the Deity...

With fall well underway and the cold weather already here, I decided it was time to bring out my Deities' winter clothes. With the cold Canadian winters I had always wanted to try and knit some scarves for my Deities, however my attempts never quite worked out. These sweaters and scarves were knitted for them by one Mataji last winter. If anyone with experience knitting would like to share some tips please leave a comment.

Thread of the holy name
→ Clouds.

Meshed in my short sightedness
Influenced by expectations
Lamentations of ignorance
a thread of sanity holding me
the thread of the holy names
Hope binds this thread to me
Hope that this thread will lead
to that world of Krishna prema...

trinad api sunicena

taror api sahishnuna

amanina manadena

kirtaniyah sada harihi

"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly."


Chant.Chant.Chant.

Thread of the holy name
→ Clouds.

Meshed in my short sightedness
Influenced by expectations
Lamentations of ignorance
a thread of sanity holding me
the thread of the holy names
Hope binds this thread to me
Hope that this thread will lead
to that world of Krishna prema...

trinad api sunicena

taror api sahishnuna

amanina manadena

kirtaniyah sada harihi

"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly."


Chant.Chant.Chant.

The Mridunga Drum
→ Mayapuris.com

Our Favorite DrumThe Mridunga – Our Favorite Drum

If there wasn’t the Mrdunga, there would be no such thing as the Mayapuris. We feel that it’s the best drum in the whole universe, especially for kirtan. That is our happy bias. Today we play other instruments, like tabla, flute, harmonium, etc, but the mridunga was the first instrument each of us, the Mayapuris, learnt to play. Actually, my mother played mridunga often when she was pregnant with me, so I began to learn the rhythms from within the womb. The first mridunga I played was a nicely decorated Quaker Oatmeal box, with a strap attached to it. Kish practiced on a wooden block for years, because his little arms couldn’t reach both sides of the mridunga. In fact, Kish’s dad remembers him playing on one side, ti ti ti, then crawling to the other side, ta ta ta.

There is a mridunga pranam mantra that I learnt from my teacher, Bablu Mashai, whom I studied under from the age of ten. We would chant thismantra before each class to offer respects. The mantra begins by offering respects to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of kirtan, who also invented the mridunga five-hundred years ago. Earlier they played big heavy wooden drums. Instead, the mridunga makers used the clay from the nearby banks of the Ganga to create a light-weight drum. “Mrid” means clay and “anga” is body, so literally clay-body. It’s the primary instrument in Gaudiya Vaishnava kirtan, the kirtan of Western India, the style that our music is rooted in. Bhaktivinode Thakur, a scholar and poet from the Gaudiya tradition, says, “When I hear the sounds of the mridunga, all my worries, all my problems and sorrows fly away like crows at the sound of thunder, and my heart dances in ecstasy.”

Another interesting point of the mridunga is the range from the small, high side to the larger, low side. There is a symbolism inherent here as well; the sweet sound of the high side represents the feminine energy, or Radhe, and the low, bass side is the masculine energy, Shyam. Practically speaking, it’s a very dynamic drum. It can be played very softly and sweetly with lots of intricacies, and also very loudly with full vigor and passion. You can sit with it, dance with it, walk, and twirl with it. It’s the heart-beat of the kirtan.

- Vishvambhar

Our Favorite Drum

The Name “Mayapuris”
→ Mayapuris.com

mayapur_01

The kirtan movement was inaugurated in Mayapur, which lies along the banks of the Ganga in West Bengal, India. This special place is very close to our heart. My brother Bali and I studied and lived in the ashram there, Vish lived there with his family, and Vrinda was four the first time her parents brought her all the way from Sweden. Even now when we go to Mayapur, there is a feeling of having gone back in time, five-hundred years ago, to the time when Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced in kirtan through the villages. The story of how kirtan started is one we relate to quite a bit. Initially, the kirtan movement started surreptitiously. The doors were open only to Caitanya’s intimate associates who gathered together blissfully singing the night through. They dove deep into the essence of the holy names. This was the secret “nocturnal school of kirtan.” Eventually, Caitanya, full of compassion for the lost souls in the world, brought kirtan out into the streets of Mayapur and eventually all of India. Everyone was encouraged to join in this kirtan, which caused quite a revolution in the caste-divided India.

We love the history of kirtan because we’ve been singing at home and in our temples for many years before the idea of becoming kirtan-musicians even crossed our minds. Unknowingly, we’ve spent all our life doing kirtan, preparing in a sense to do what Mahaprabhu did, go out into the world and share this singing, this dancing, this happiness!

We were also quite inspired early on by the Manipuri drummers from Manipur, who have a well-developed style of dancing and seemingly flying with their drums. Once we had our mridunga-techniques down, we spontaneously began dancing with our drums, and the name “Mayapuris” manifested from this joint love of the mridunga-dance and the place Mayapur.

-Kishor

Month of Kartik Around the Corner!
→ Arcanam: Worship of the Deity...

The month of Kartik is just a few days away (beginning on Saturday, October 3rd). This auspicious month also marks the one year anniversary of this blog! I am currently working on some new posts that will hopefully be ready soon. As always any suggestions for content are always welcome.

As a special treat, you can view a wonderful animation of the Damodarastakam prayers (complete with lyrics and translation) below:


Animation from my other blog: http://www.torontokrishna.com/

Month of Kartik Around the Corner!
→ Arcanam: Worship of the Deity...

The month of Kartik is just a few days away (beginning on Saturday, October 3rd). This auspicious month also marks the one year anniversary of this blog! I am currently working on some new posts that will hopefully be ready soon. As always any suggestions for content are always welcome.

As a special treat, you can view a wonderful animation of the Damodarastakam prayers (complete with lyrics and translation) below:


Animation from my other blog: http://www.torontokrishna.com/

the academy
→ Unplugged Ice

I'm taking a seminar on Bhakti this semester. Part of the course involves reading the Bhagavad Gita's twelfth chapter and commentaries by the four Vaisnava sampradayas. The translation we are using is by someone who hails from a branch of the Sri Sampradaya. It's much better than the standard nirvisesas and sunyavada renderings that permeate the academy, so i'm not grumbling. But, still, i always go back to Prabhupada's Gita so that i can understand what is being said. Even on the simple level of just being clear about what each verse of the Gita means, Prabhupada's translations and purports far surpass any others that i have read.



the academy
→ Unplugged Ice

I'm taking a seminar on Bhakti this semester. Part of the course involves reading the Bhagavad Gita's twelfth chapter and commentaries by the four Vaisnava sampradayas. The translation we are using is by someone who hails from a branch of the Sri Sampradaya. It's much better than the standard nirvisesas and sunyavada renderings that permeate the academy, so i'm not grumbling. But, still, i always go back to Prabhupada's Gita so that i can understand what is being said. Even on the simple level of just being clear about what each verse of the Gita means, Prabhupada's translations and purports far surpass any others that i have read.



Leisure Pleasure
→ Clouds.

lei·sure: : freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially : time free from work or duties

I have been missing this little noun for eons now. Finally I've caught a hold of this elusive little thing today - today being a holiday for Eid. This is such an interesting definition of leisure. Are we ever free from activity? The very nature of the soul is to be active so where do you draw the line between activities that count as work and activities that count as pleasure? When we engage in activies of pleasure, it becomes leisure.

In yesterday's program, Yadav prabhu made such beautiful points. He mentioned that one of the Radha raman pujaris from Vrindavan once said that, "Krishna gives himself to us in our old age, if we give him our youth".

And then I realized how I'm slowly crossing this stage of 'youth'. After my wedding in December, my day is just going to get busier. I will have officially become an adult with so many responsibilities to juggle. How to juggle? How do I immerse myself in the Lord's name, pastimes, service with a household to take care of? How am I going to give my youth to Krishna, when I am struggling with paperwork, phonecalls etc from dawn to dusk?

Well, here is where I get lucky :) Even though the world seems to get too big to handle, my day seems filled with meangingless phonecalls and paperwork - offering all this to Krishna makes it seem so much lighter at the end of the day. Leisure? Well, who needs it when you are blissful in your busy day anyway. Trick is to link my meaningless paperwork to Krishna.......well not so successful sometimes, but I'm getting there. It's going to get easier to do this when I have a half hour of kirtan together with family to look forward to. Or 15 minutes of Bhagavatam reading. And really, the light at the end of the tunnel - Mayapur.

Thank you Nitai. For everything. :)

Leisure Pleasure
→ Clouds.

lei·sure: : freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially : time free from work or duties

I have been missing this little noun for eons now. Finally I've caught a hold of this elusive little thing today - today being a holiday for Eid. This is such an interesting definition of leisure. Are we ever free from activity? The very nature of the soul is to be active so where do you draw the line between activities that count as work and activities that count as pleasure? When we engage in activies of pleasure, it becomes leisure.

In yesterday's program, Yadav prabhu made such beautiful points. He mentioned that one of the Radha raman pujaris from Vrindavan once said that, "Krishna gives himself to us in our old age, if we give him our youth".

And then I realized how I'm slowly crossing this stage of 'youth'. After my wedding in December, my day is just going to get busier. I will have officially become an adult with so many responsibilities to juggle. How to juggle? How do I immerse myself in the Lord's name, pastimes, service with a household to take care of? How am I going to give my youth to Krishna, when I am struggling with paperwork, phonecalls etc from dawn to dusk?

Well, here is where I get lucky :) Even though the world seems to get too big to handle, my day seems filled with meangingless phonecalls and paperwork - offering all this to Krishna makes it seem so much lighter at the end of the day. Leisure? Well, who needs it when you are blissful in your busy day anyway. Trick is to link my meaningless paperwork to Krishna.......well not so successful sometimes, but I'm getting there. It's going to get easier to do this when I have a half hour of kirtan together with family to look forward to. Or 15 minutes of Bhagavatam reading. And really, the light at the end of the tunnel - Mayapur.

Thank you Nitai. For everything. :)