Memory of 26 2nd Ave
distributing books on Broadway -&- 3rd St. When someone came
Hari Nam is the answer
Hari Nam is the answer. The inspiration and courage the N.Y. trip gave me to go to the streets will and IS saving both me and the project here in this area for Prabhupada's temple of Brhat Mrdanga Mandir.
We are going out every Saturday for Hari Nam in Carbondale and it is incredible. Everyone is coming up to us with big smiles and giving us hugs and thanks for being there and chanting. They are bringing their own instruments (drumming circles especially are real big in C'Dale) so it is just bliss!!! pure and simple like old times with Jayananda and Vishnu Jana Maharaja.
Also a miracle...the twins brought friends and everybody brought bhoga dishes to offer the Deities this Sunday to the temple program. Much more participation is starting to flow. Everything comes from samkirtan. I set up a little book table along with our Hari Nam party on the street. I had forgotten until New York how interesting it is to hear people's hearts and speak with them about the books. They are very down to earth here and humble for the most part, so their questions are sweet and their input positive. No big sales deal, just sweet and what Prabhupada always said was the key to success "preaching is the essence".
By Dhanistha Dasi
Hare Krsna brothers and sisters, I have said a few times I would describe the festivals I have been too but it almost seems to be a case of "you had to be there" and I do not know if I can give sufficient description, as Locanananda prabhu does in sharing the Times Square harinams, or Dhamaghosa does in describing the Seattle programs (and where is Makhancora, who also used to write so wonderfully about these special days?). But maybe I will try a little, I feel I owe some reciprocation as I read here with relish but say so little myself. I must say I am impressed with New Jagannath Puri, the Berkeley temple. They put so much into the daily puja, and then so much more into the festivals, and with such joy and enthusiasm, that it really does atound me how they keep it up. The decorations in that large and high-vaulted temple room are elaborate, and I was lucky enough to be able to make as many garlands as I wanted, to decorate the gorgeous swing that hangs from that ceiling. Tasteful white streamers and thin colourful streamers hung from chandelier to the faux balconies, and helium-fed giant metallic parrots were tied to these streamers, though one escaped of its own accord during a particularly ecstatic kirtan on the morning of Radhastami and remains to this day with its head at the ceiling, maybe thinking to get to the higher realm. The abhiseka arch was a joy to watch the assembly of, with magical little white lights and loads of asparagus fern and palm fronds and large deciduous branches. A woman named Carol created beautiful rings of flowers and greenery for this gazebo, as well as many many huge and wonderful vases for the temple room. This temple uses a lot of ginger flowers which look like the crests of some exotic birds. The Deities looked absolutely wonderful this day, and the abhiseka went on for a very long time, as there were so many substances to offer. At this point in the day the temple wasn't as crowded as later, so we got to go back and pour even more conches full of mango, or banana, or yogurt, rose water, etc., on the beautiful forms of Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda, Who look absolutely sweet in Their simple bathing robes, with no crowns, and Who shine with kindness in allowing us to perform such intimate service. Sri Gokulanandaji has a very attractive topknot which is not normally seen, due to His crowns and turbans.
A word about the kirtans. There were beautiful singers and much chanting of the mahamantra, along with Radhe Jaya Jaya Madhava Dayite, and other songs to Srimate Radharani. These kirtans and melodies had a way of sweeping one along with them, so that chanting felt natural and flowing as one gazed at the Divine Forms, and felt Their Causeless Mercy.
After the abhiseka the Deities were again dressed, and I must say I never saw Them look more beautiful or sweet than They looked then. Radharani had small perfect flat kind of pink roses framing her face, and a line of rhinestones inside that arch, in the depths of Her hair, and She looked all cuddled up with elaborate clothing and jewels and flowers. I felt Her sweet kindness more than ever before, as if She mercifuly made it easier to perceive this, just as many reported feeling the particularly personal reciprocation of Srila Prabhupada during his last visit to Bhaktivedanta Manor in August 1977. Sri Gokulananda also looked especially sweet, and seemed to take pleasure in giving Radharani frontstage. Forgive me if that sounds sahajiya. I can only relate my feelings at the time. I do not claim them to be real. But because they are in relation to The Lord, I relish them all the same, and await the day when I will feel more than the shadow or show of attachments.
The afternoon feast was marvelous, as was the evening one which was cooked by the Hare Krsna Youth (more about them in another post). Actually I didn't have the second feast, but the pappadums were great, and I know from other feasts that these young people know how to cook.
After the first feast the abhiseka commenced, and continued for a good hour or so. People lined up in eagerness to get a chance to swing these Deities. One old woman did not let go of the rope so quickly, and had the most beautiful smile on her face as she sang and swung the Deities.
The morning and evening festivals can be seen on video, which were recorded by Radhika devi dasi, and given for a very small charge. If anyone is interested, I can check and see if she has been able to produce more (I got the only one so far, to take back with me to my isolated situation) and hook you up with her. This video is ecstatic I can tell you. You will have to bear with me in my silly dance steps, when I thought she was videoing my feet as I sat there, and tried to oblige the artistic effort by making them move (which drew the camera in for a closeup).
Well, that's all for now, and I will sooon be back to talk of the Hare Krsna Youth, who I have felt much encouragement, for the sake of the future of Srila Prabhupada's mission, to have had the fortune of associating with.
Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai! and all glories to the assembled devotees! your sister, Jayaradhe
Ravana fights back
We had a nice Rama Vijaya Mahotsava festival last night. Some devotees made a large effigy of Ravana by the lake up from the temple. So we had a program in the temple for a while and then it was time for Rama to go slay Ravana. I was kind of dreading having to go outside for a ceremony because it was so severely cold that day. There was a cold front going through our region and the wind and cold were reminding us that “we were not our bodies” throughout the day. The wind was biting right through my coat all day as we had to do some shopping. Walking from the car to the store was excruciatingly painfully cold. So I was in complete dread, thinking in the temple about how more freezing it would be at 8 o’clock in the evening. But the time came to go, and miraculously, the cold front had passed while we were in the temple, and it was relatively nice outside as we paraded with some very nice Deities of Sri Sri Sita Rama up to the lake chanting “Jai Rama Sri Rama Jai Jai Rama.” Lord Rama led our procession up to the lake and we beheld a gigantic effigy of Ravana, made of cloth and logs and bales of hay. We chanted on and on and then finally the moment came when a stout devotee lifted a mighty bow with a flaming arrow and aimed for the Bin Laden T-shirt pinned to the upper chest of Ravana. The flaming arrow pierced the head of Bin Laden and the effigy erupted into gigantic flames. I was told that this explosion of flame had something to do with an earlier abi-sheka of gallons of kerosene upon the body of Ravana. We kept chanting and warming by the huge bonfire of Ravana’s conflagration. Then the fireworks began, firecrackers going off with loud reports, and then missiles exploded up into the blackness, lighting up the night with showering balls of light. Alas, as the structure burned and lost it’s shape, the mountings of the remaining rockets crumbled and lost their hold and the trajectory of the rockets were compromised and went off course, much to our consternation, as those screaming meemies shot out into our crowd in all directions. We ran for our lives as Ravana retaliated with a firebrand of rockets into our midst. The demon wasn’t about to go down easy, not without a fight! One prabhu felt a scorch near his eye. One rocket blazed dangerously past a baby in her carriage. One prabhu spied a can of kerosene about 5 feet from the inferno and raced over to grab the can and bring it to our spot. I thought, “thanks for bringing it here, if it goes off now, well...” We turned and ran when it seemed that the whole thing was about to blow. I remember distinctly at that moment, how one must feel in a terrorist situation when a bomb is about to go off, how helpless one must feel. Then Ravana finally took his last gasp and died and the rockets were all spent, and we just enjoyed the roar of the bonfire for a bit. Somehow, the rockets going haywire and everyone running helter skelter was hilarious to us when we went back to the temple for a feast. We thought it was so funny, and amazing that no damage was done, and then again, we pondered what it would be, if anyone was hit? Rockets in a bonfire, not such a great idea. Firecrackers?, yes, but Rockets? Oh well, the things devotees will do, Jai Rama Sri Rama, Jai Jai Rama.
by Visoka dasa
story from the book "Gopal Jui"
is a delightful story of how Ghanashyam Giri was to donate the Deity of
Gopal Jiu to HH Gour Govinda Maharaja, and how there was a delay in this
giving, and how some extraordinary dreams expedited the final transfer of
Gopal Jiu into the care of HH Gour Govinda Maharaja.
is the account:
2:30 one morning (this is Ghanashyam Giri telling) I had a dream. Gopal
(the Deity) came and was standing near my head. He said, “Why are you
sleeping? Wake up! So many troubles have come to you, but have you felt
any difficulty? No, because I am always behind you. Now you are alone. How
can you arrange all type of festivals for Me? I am always very interested
to hear nama-sankirtan. Gour Govinda Swami is your own relative.
Why don’t you give Me to him? So, now tell Me, will you give Me or
In the dream I said, “Yes. Yes. I will give.”
Suddenly my wife woke me up and said, “What are you saying? What
will you give? To whom will you give? You are speaking like a madman. What
I told her that Gopal had just come and asked me if I was going to
give Him to Gour Govinda Swami or not and I said, “Yes. Yes. I will
give. I will give.” I told her, “Gopal was standing near that window.
He just left.”
My wife said gently, “Go and donate Gopal to Srila Gurudeva.
Whatever property you have you should also give to him. If he takes Gopal
then Gopal will be happy and He will be taken care of nicely. You will be
able to see Gopal here every day. Why are you hesitating?” in this way
my doubts were cleared.
The next day I was preparing to go to Bhubaneswar to see Gour
Govinda Swami, but I heard that Gurudeva was coming to Gadeigiri. So I
stayed and waited for his arrival. He came a few days later and I met with
He asked me, “How are you? What about Gopal?”
Gurudeva looked at me for a moment and laughed. He said, “What
has happened to you? What has brought about this change?” He said,
“Has Gopal spoken to you?”
I said “Yes Gurudeva, Gopal spoke to me.”
Then Gurudeva asked me, “What day was it that He spoke to you,
and what time?”
I told him, “Twelve days before, at 2:30 in the morning.”
Gurudeva nodded his head up and down. “Gopal came and spoke with
me on the same morning at 2:00 a.m., then at 2:30 He came to you. That
morning I was translating the Bhagavatam into Oriya. I dozed off
for a few moments. Gopal came to me and said, “You installed Radha-Gopinatha
here. Has Gopinatha replaced Me in your life?”
[Srila Gour Govinda Swami had commissioned a sculptor to make
deities of Radha and Krishna to be exactly the same height, width,
standing position, etc., as Radha Gopal in Gadeigiri, and had installed
them on the ISKCON property at Bhubaneswar, naming them “Radha-Gopinatha”.]
Gopal again asked Srila Gurudeva, “Is Gopinatha the same for you
With folded hands Gurudeva replied, “No.”
Then Gopal said, “You are worshipping here, but I can’t come
here. Gadeigiri is the house of My devotees. They have no wealth, but
their mind is always on Me. Even if they only offer Me a tulasi leaf
and a little water I am happy there. They are always saying, ‘Gopal!
Gopal!’ I cannot leave them and come here. You are not doing any service
for Me because Ghanashyam has not given Me to you. He promised, “Unless
Gopal tells me to give Him to Gour Govinda Swami I will not give Him.”
Gopal then said, “I will speak to Ghanashyam. First I have met with you
and now I am going to Ghanashyam.”
While Gurudeva and I were speaking, one of my family members
was there. They said, “you are always talking about donating Gopal, but
you are only speaking and not giving.”
I said, “No, today I must donate Gopal to Gurudeva. Bring tulasi
and water and chant mantra.”
Gurudeva asked, “How will you donate to me?”
I said, “As Srimad-Bhagavatam describes that Bali Maharaja
donated to Lord Vamanadeva, like that I will donate Gopal to you. You
place your hand under mine and I will donate three times with water and tulasi
I called for Brahmin who put tulasi and
water in my hand. I said, “First I donate to you Sri Radha Gopal Jiu.
Secondly I give you all of Gopal’s paraphernalia. Thirdly I donate the
property to you. From tomorrow you will take charge.
An Ecstatic Denver Harinama
was an incredible Harinam experience I had in Denver.
We would regularly go on Harinam in Denver, with Apurva prabhu and
the devotees. One day Madhuvisa came into town. Madhuvisa was known as the
“emperor of sankirtan” in the old days. He and several young gurukulis
were traveling around the USA hitting all the Ratha-yatras in every big
city. Janaka and Nandu were two of the boys that I remember. They were on
their way to LA, and stopped in Denver. And we decided to have a big
Harinam in down town Denver. My daughter, Vrindadevi and her friend,
Devaki, came along for the fun.
the van on the way to town, Madhuvisa gave an inspiring talk on Harinam
Sankirtan. And on the sidewalk, he stopped the party and gave a little
talk. He said that we weren’t meant to be entertainers for the people,
that they had much better entertainers than us. He said that we are only
out there to chant Krishna’s holy name to satisfy Krishna and Him only.
And if we just try to satisfy Krishna, and then the people will
benefit. My daughter told me later that she was inspired by those
thoughts, and it worked for her. Normally, when we first go out on the
street to chant, we are caught up with self awareness, and “I’m the
doer” consciousness. My friend Brajendranandana once told this nicely,
he said that when he first shaved up, and went out on the streets to
chant, “his head felt like it was a balloon, a 100 miles thick.” Then,
if we don’t snap out of this consciousness, then we start thinking our
kirtan is really bad, people don’t like us, and feel self conscious and
Madhuvisa’s talk really worked. We completely forgot our own little selves, and chanted in wild abandon. I remember that was one of the most wildest kirtans I’ve ever been in. The people of Denver would always try to act like they were ignoring us, but this time you could see their astonishment, and they couldn’t stop themselves from relishing Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan movement. My daughter and her friend were dancing around in circles madly. And the young gurukulis, especially Janak and Nandu, were like transcendental madmen. At times the boys were just running back and forth through the crowds as they watched in astonishment. There were moments when it seemed like everybody on the sidewalk, was Krishna consciousness and in total bliss. by visoka dasa
Despite having had the coldest December in New York City in ten
years, the Harinam party still went out to Times Square each
Wednesday and Saturday evening. On December 30th, we chanted over to
Rockefeller Center near the big tree where we used to collect
donations at Christmas time wearing Santa suits. Being there brought
back the memory of shaking hands with President Nixon who wished me a
merry Christmas when I told him I was from the Hare Krishna society.
That was back in 1984, but this Saturday was different. We were there
to directly glorify Krishna by chanting His Holy Name. The
temperature was about 28 degrees (10 degrees with the wind chill
factor) but chanting and dancing with exuberance made us oblivious to
the cold. The devotees felt extremely blissful to be chanting
together and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books.
While we were chanting, someone approached the kirtana party and
offered obeisances on the sidewalk. He rose and began to chant and
dance with us. He chanted so nicely that we asked him to lead the
kirtana and he immediately began to chant Prabhupada's tune.
Afterwards, he introduced himself as Jaya Govinda dasa. He had joined
the Krishna consciousness movement in 1976 and was later initiated by
Hrdayananda Maharaja. Just see how Krishna arranged for him to meet
our party! I would like to add his name to the list of devotees I
posted earlier who have participated in our program to broadcast the
Holy Name at Times Square, the crossroads of the world.
Devotees will be interested to know that the media is also taking
notice of our ecstatic kirtanas. Last week, we were filmed by a
camera crew from Channel 7 WABC TV, the same station that aired
the 20/20 show about the abuse of Gurukulis. A brief segment was
broadcast on the evening news showing the harinam party as one of the
attractions found at Times Square.
All glories to Sri Krishna Sankirtana!
Your servant, Locanananda dasa
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