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C O N T E N T S Founded 1944. Vol. 8 No. 4 April 2011

Features

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ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA ON

JÏANA-YOGA

ITS ALL IN THE MIND

DEITY WORSHIP

Mäyäpur Dùämä is inviting the whole world to accept Lord Caitanya’s mercy.

Mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. It depends on how we deal with it.

Are millions carrying out worship of dead stones?

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COME TO MÄYÄPUR

Linking knowledge with devotion to God

12 DAM MÄRO DAM, HARE KÅÑËA HARE RÄMA An early ISKCON devotee recalls how a Hindi movie song popularized the Hare Kåñëa mantra.

An interview with Kälakaëöha Däsa

By working on real problems, one can attain permanent happiness.

AIÑËAVA

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Time

CENTERS IN INDIA

IN YOUR OWN WORDS

MY EXPERIENCE

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What do you think is the symbolism of spring?

EVERY TOWN AND VILLAGE EDITORIAL

SPIRITUAL SCIENTIST

SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS—IV

ALENDAR

POETRY

HARE KÅÑËA PEOPLE

A GOD WHO DANCES

Departments V 2 L C ETTERS

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MÄYÄPUR SOUNDS

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31 26

Forgive and Forget

Columns P 7 29 Eight verses OETRY

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Would You Rather Reign in Laìkä Than Serve in Ayodhyä?

glorifying the spiritual master

12 April 2011: Räma Navamé: Appearance of Lord Çré Rämacandra

OUR PURPOSES • To help all people discern reality from illusion, spirit from matter, the eternal from the temporary. • To expose the faults of materialism. • To offer guidance in the Vedic techniques of spiritual life. • To preserve and spread the Vedic culture. • To celebrate the chanting of the holy names of God as taught by Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu • To help every living being remember and serve Çré Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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LETTERS

BACK TO GODHEAD The Magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement FOUNDER (under the direction of His Divine Grace Çré Çrémad Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Prabhupäda) His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda BTG INDIA: EDITOR Çyämänanda Däsa • ASSISTANTS Nimäi Devé Däsé, Muräri Gupta Däsa, Nanda Duläl Däsa, Mukunda Mälä Däsa • EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Caitanya Caraëa Däsa • PROOFREADERS Täriëé Rädhä Devé Däsé, Revaté Vallabha Däsa, Kaiçoré Devé Däsé • PUBLISHER Yudhiñthira Däsa (Ujwal Jajoo) • PRODUCTION Saccidänanda Däsa (Sanjiv Maheshwari), Sundar Rüpa Däsa (Sudarshan Sapaliga) •GENERAL MANAGER (CIRCULATION) Pänduraìga Däsa (Rajendra-kumar Pujari) •ACCOUNTS Sahadeva Däsa (S.P. Maheshwari) • SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Manjaré Devé Däsé (Mira Singh) OFFICE Back to Godhead, 33 Janki Kutir, Next to State Bank of Hyderabad, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049, India. SUBSCRIPTIONS Back to Godhead is published twelve times a year. Subscriptions charges—one-year: Rs. 150/-, two-year: Rs. 300/-, five-year: Rs. 700/You can start subscription from any month. Send the amount to Back to Godhead, 302, Amrut Industrial Estate, 3rd floor, Western Express Highway, Mira Road (E) 401 104. Tel: (022) 28457751 E-mail: BTGINDIA@pamho.net To change your address or clear up any questions about your subscription, write to BTG Service Center & Marketing Office at the above address. We can answer your questions faster if you send a recent mailing label or invoice. Allow eight weeks for changes to show up on your mailing label. PRINTING Magna Graphics Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai. © 2011 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. All ® rights reserved. (Trustee for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust: Jayädvaita Swami.) ISSN: 0005-3643. Published for The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust by Ujwal Jajoo , 33, Janki Kutir, Next to State Bank of Hyderabad, Juhu, Mumbai and printed by him at Magna Graphics Pvt. Ltd. 101-C&D, Govt. Industrial Estate, Kandivli (W), Mumbai-400067, India. Editor: Çyamänanda Däsa, Çré Çré Rädhä-Gopénätha Temple, Chowpatty, Mumbai- 400 007, India.

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BTG IN A BUDDHISM CLASS I teach Buddhism at Dooly State Prison, Georgia. Originally, I was invited to share my insights, and I have shared BTG with interested inmates to educate them on the Vedic culture, Buddhism comes from. I haven’t met anyone, even narrow-minded people, who has not appreciated at least one article in BTG. The articles are always so relevant, meaningful, and Kåñëa conscious. —Hardik Kaswala Unadilla, Georgia SIGNIFYING THE BODY One of the primary spotlights of Vaiñëava philosophy is to realize that we are not the body but the soul and that the body is just a garment/instrument for the soul. Then why do we waste time in signifying this garment with tilaka? —Rupin Takkar Via the Internet Our reply: Yes, our body is our instrument for a lifetime, but it is a very special instrument. We can use it to realize Kåñëa and go back to Him. When we mark it with tilaka, we meditate on the fact that it is a temple where the Lord resides. Therefore we care for this instrument and use it fully in the Lord’s service. By wearing tilaka we also help other spirit souls begin to remember the Lord in their hearts and awaken their lost and covered consciousness. When we wear tilaka and people ask what it is and why we wear it, we can tell them that this body is a temple where the soul and the Supersoul live side by side. Our scriptures say that the Yamadütas, who come to punish the sinful at death, do not approach persons wearing Vaiñëava tilaka and neck

beads. Çréla Prabhupäda wanted his disciples to wear tilaka and neck beads, which he said made them look like they were coming from Vaikuëöha, the spiritual world. LOSING THE CONNECTION I used to feel a connection with Kåñëa, but now, not so much. I feel separation. And I feel that if I try to learn more about Kåñëa, I will just offend Him even more. How do I please Kåñëa and stop offending Him? —Reshma Via the Internet Our reply: Lord Kåñëa is very kind, and He is pleased when we feel separation from Him and try to get closer to Him. You need not feel that you are offending Him by trying to get to know Him more. We get to know Kåñëa by hearing and chanting His name, reading books about Him, speaking what He said, and serving Him and His devotees. If you have a humble service mood and show Kåñëa your desire and effort, even if flawed, to know Him, He will be pleased and gradually reveal Himself to you. Feelings of separation from Kåñëa are good. They help us remain humble and aspire to get closer to Him. Feelings that prevent us from trying to serve and know Kåñëa are not genuine feelings of separation, but rather frustration coming from not meeting our own desires. For example, we may want to experience Kåñëa before we’ve developed the necessary qualifications. We have to be careful not to indulge in self-pity, which will prevent us from doing the work necessary to get to know Kåñëa. He is eager for us to return to Him and will respond to our efforts and spiritual desires.

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GRASSROOTS KÅÑËA CONSCIOUS MATERIAL I loved the article “Becoming Wealthy On Rs 80 a Day,” by Dhaneçvara Däsa, in the Feb 2011 issue. It’s true that the U.N. sets a false bar for poverty and for measuring “having enough.” I loved the photos with the article. —Bhaktimärga Swami ISKCON Toronto TONE-DEAF BHAKTA I am a fairly new bhakta, reading Back to Godhead regularly. I have one major question that has been plaguing me and hindering my further involvement. In the Hare Krsna movement there seems to be so much emphasis on the musical glorification of Krsna’s holy names. I have a complete lack of musical talent. In fact, any attempts of mine are sorely offensive not only to any present listeners but I fear unto the Lord Sri Kåñëa Himself. How am I to participate further in this movement? —Bhakta Daniel Via the Internet Our reply: Many devotees can’t carry a tune, but that doesn’t matter at all. You probably won’t be asked to lead the singing in the temple, but that’s not necessary for your spiritual advancement. You can sing along with everyone else to the best of your ability. It is said that Prabhupäda’s spiritual master, Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura, would sometimes ask someone to lead the chanting who was not a good singer. He did this apparently for at least two reasons: (1) to remind the good singers that their musical ability was not the most important thing (so they shouldn’t be proud of their beautiful singing), and (2) to remind everyone that it is one’s

devotion and not the musical quality of one’s singing that pleases Kåñëa. We can apply this principle to our spiritual life in general: If we offer the best we have to Kåñëa with devotion, He will accept it. It can be somewhat disturbing to others if someone sings loudly out of tune, but if you sing along with others at a moderate volume, Kåñëa will be pleased, and no one should be offended. WHO OR WHAT TO BELIEVE IN? It is very difficult for me to choose my creed—that is, which set of religious principles to follow. I am afraid to dedicate myself to abiding by some set of regulations because I am not sure that I am able to hold fast to those commitments and not change my mind and follow another way or abandon spiritual life altogether, in which case bad reactions may occur. In short, I am afraid to believe in God because I am afraid of offending Him by my improper actions or inaction, and hence the reactions may follow and make my condition even worse. —Alex Via the Internet Our reply: Our relationship with the Supreme is based upon love, not upon the religious principles one accepts as a means of expressing that love. As in any loving relationship, each party is always looking out for the best interest of the other and doing everything within their power to give the other full protection from harm. It is only because of that deep loving relationship that the Supreme Lord, through the agency of His pure devotees who act as our teachers (gurus), gives

guidance through religious principles for our purification and protection from sinful reaction. Lord Kåñëa guarantees His full protection from sinful reaction to those who surrender their lives to their spiritual loving relationship with Him. He gives this promise at the end of His instructions in the Bhagavad-gétä. So you need not worry about taking to spiritual practice, for Kåñëa is even more interested in our true well-being than we are. As our love for Him develops, under the direction of the qualified spiritual master, unwanted habits of sinful activity will naturally diminish, and we will begin to realize our true spiritual potential. The laws of nature already dictate that we suffer or enjoy according to the reactions to our activities. So what harm can their be in taking up a spiritual practice that will permanently end all good and bad reactions on the material plane? That you have such deep concern about offending God in the course of your spiritual pursuit and practice is evidence of your seriousness and sincerity. Such qualifications exemplify your eligibility for advancement in spiritual life. Write to us at: Back to Godhead, 3rd Floor, 302, Amrut Industrial Estate, Western Express Highway, Mira Road (E)-401104. Email: ed.btgindia@pamho.net

Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare

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ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA ON

EXCERPTS FROM ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA’S TEACHINGS

Jïäna-yoga, Linking Knowledge With Devotion What is absolute knowledge? How can this knowledge help in attaining devotion to God? What happens to one who is devoid of this knowledge?

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda Founder-äcärya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness

ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE Jïäna refers to knowledge of self as distinguished from non-self, or in other words, knowledge that the spirit soul is not the body. Vijïäna refers to specific knowledge of the spirit soul’s constitutional position and his relationship to the Supreme Soul. It is explained thus in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam (2.9.31):

Gétä 3.41, purport) “He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone’s heart.” (Gétä 13.18) JÏÄNA-YOGA, JÏÄNA-YOGÉ,

jïänaà parama-guhyaà me yadvijïäna-samanvitam sa-rahasyaà tad-aìgaà ca gåhäëagaditaàmayä “The knowledge of the self and Supreme Self is very confidential and mysterious, but such knowledge and specific realization can be understood if explained with their various aspects by the Lord Himself.” Bhagavad-gétä gives us that general and specific knowledge of the self. The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord, and therefore they are simply meant to serve the Lord. This consciousness is called Kåñëa consciousness. So, from the very beginning of life one has to learn this Kåñëa consciousness, and thereby one may become fully Kåñëa conscious and act accordingly.

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Scriptures like Bhagavad-gétä gives us general and specific knowledge of the self.

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AND THE IGNORANT Empirical knowledge overcoated with devotional service is called jïäna-yoga. (Bhägavatam 1.2.15, purport) Jïäna-yoga is the process of liberation from the material conditions. (Bhägavatam 2.2.12, purport) The jïäna-yoga system aims at the impersonal Brahman effulgence. (Bhägavatam 3.25.29, purport) The group of transcendentalists who follow the path of the inconceivable, unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord are called jïäna-yogés. (Gétä 12.5, purport) The jïäna process theoretically speculates about the reality of the soul. (Bhägavatam 1.18.26, purport)

CHARACTERISTICS OF REAL KNOWLEDGE 1. Most sublime: “Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.” Proper understanding of one’s constitutional position in relationship to Kåñëa is so nice that it can at once lift one from the struggle for existence which goes on in the ocean of nescience. This material world is sometimes regarded as an ocean of nescience and sometimes as a blazing forest. In the ocean, however expert a swimmer one may be, the struggle for existence is very severe. If someone comes forward and lifts the struggling swimmer from the ocean, he is the greatest savior. Perfect knowledge, received from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the path of liberation. The boat of Kåñëa consciousness is very simple, but at the same time the most sublime. (Gétä 4.36, translation and purport)

A sannyäsé, or one in the renounced order of life, must be situated in fearlessness, sattva-saàçuddhi (purity) and jïäna-yoga (knowledge). (Gétä 16.1–3, purport)

2. Acts like fire: “As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.” Perfect knowledge of self and Superself As far as jïänés are conand of their relationship is cerned, they are interested in compared herein to fire. This jïäna-yoga, but even if one elTranscendental knowledge is like a solid boat that will help us cross the ocean of miseries. fire not only burns up all reevates oneself, after a great actions to impious activities, performance of austerity, to the Brahman effulgence, there is a chance of falling but also all reactions to pious activities, turning them down again to the material world. Therefore, jïäna- to ashes. There are many stages of reaction: reaction yoga does not actually end material existence. in the making, reaction fructifying, reaction already achieved, and reaction a priori. But knowledge of the (Bhägavatam 3.25.29, purport) constitutional position of the living entity burns evUdära-dhéù means one who has a broader outlook. erything to ashes. When one is in complete knowlPeople with desires for material enjoyment worship edge, all reactions, both apriori and a posteriori, are small demigods, and such intelligence is condemned consumed. (Gétä 4.37, translation and purport) in the Bhagavad-gétä (7.20) as håta-jïäna, the intelliWORK, KNOWLEDGE, gence of one who has lost his senses. (Bhägavatam AND DEVOTION 2.3.10, purport) “O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice performed

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in knowledge is better than the mere sacrifice of material possessions. After all, O son of Påthä, all sacrifices of work culminate in transcendental knowledge.” Depending on differences in consciousness, sacrificial activities are sometimes called karma-käëòa (fruitive activities) and sometimes jïäna-käëòa (knowledge in the pursuit of truth). It is better when the end is knowledge. (Gétä 4.33, translation and purport) Direct Kåñëa consciousness is bhakti-yoga, and jïäna-yoga is a path leading to bhakti-yoga. Kåñëa consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the

devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Gétä 10.10–11, translation) SYMPTOMS OF A KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSON “One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.” (Gétä 4.19)

One who follows the instructions of the Gétä becomes free from all doubts by the grace of transcendental knowledge. perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Kåñëa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Gétä 5.29, purport) HOW CAN ONE ATTAIN IT? Knowledge is always highly esteemed. And what is that knowledge? Perfect knowledge is achieved when one surrenders unto Kåñëa, as is said in Bhagavadgétä (7.19): bahünäà janmanäm ante jïänavän mäà prapadyate. After passing through many, many births, when one perfect in knowledge surrenders unto Kåñëa, or when one attains Kåñëa consciousness, then everything is revealed to him, as everything is revealed by the sun in the daytime. (Gétä 5.16, purport) “To those who are constantly

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A MAN OF KNOWLEDGE IN ACTION “The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.” (Gétä 4.23) When he knows that the goal is Kåñëa but he takes pleasure in mental speculations to understand Kåñëa, he is acting in jïäna-yoga. (Gétä 10.10, purport) THE GREAT BENEFITS One who follows the instruction of the Bhagavad-gétä, as it is imparted by the Lord, the Personality of Godhead Himself, becomes free from all doubts by the grace of transcendental knowledge. He, as a part and parcel of the Lord, in full Kåñëa consciousness, is already

established in self-knowledge. As such, he is undoubtedly above bondage to action. (Gétä 4.41, purport) One whose mind, intelligence, faith, and refuge are always in Kåñëa, or, in other words, one who is fully in Kåñëa consciousness, is undoubtedly washed clean of all misgivings and is in perfect knowledge in everything concerning transcendence. A Kåñëa conscious person can thoroughly understand that there is duality (simultaneous identity and individuality) in Kåñëa, and, equipped with such transcendental knowledge, one can make steady progress on the path of liberation. (Gétä 5.17, purport) Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and the knower of the body, and can also understand the process of liberation from bondage in material nature, attain to the supreme goal. (Gétä 13.35) WHAT IS BEYOND KNOWLEDGE? Jïäna (or knowledge that one is not this material body but spirit soul) is not sufficient for liberation. One has to act in the status of spirit soul; otherwise there is no escape from material bondage. (Gétä 5.2, purport) After one is liberated from the conditions of material existence, i.e., when one is nivåtta, as previously stated herein, or when one is freed from all material necessities, one becomes qualified to discharge the process of bhakti-yoga. (ÇrémadBhägavatam 2.2.12, purport)

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MÄYÄPUR SOUNDS

Come to Mäyäpur This holy place on the bank of the river Gaìgä is inviting the whole world to accept Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s mercy.

by Braja Sevaké Devé Däsé

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or each of us, there is special meaning or purpose to some particular words Çréla Prabhupäda spoke. I’ve often heard devotees say that while sitting in front of Çréla Prabhupäda with hundreds of others that they felt Prabhupäda was speaking to them, that he saw right into their heart and spoke words that changed their lives. It’s not sentiment or imagination or simply wishful thinking. Nor did it have to happen in the physical presence of Çréla Prabhupäda: his books have changed many more lives than his physical presence did, and they will continue to do so for centuries to come; his lectures and recorded conversations will also, as long as a mechanism for hearing them exists in the world. His influence is timeless, his words a powerful medium to self-realization and transcendental knowledge. In 1999 I experienced the effect of Çréla Prabhupäda’s words in this way. I was living in London and working for the Mäyäpur Project when I read a brief conversation that Çréla Prabhupäda had had with Ambaréña Dâsa: Prabhupäda: How do you like this idea, Vedic Planetarium? Ambaréña: It seems like a very nice idea.

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Prabhupäda: You also like? So finance this project. (laughter) Vedic Planetarium. Ambaréña: Where will this be? Prabhupäda: Mäyäpur. My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mäyäpur. It goes without saying that this conversation held a purport that changed the life of Ambaréña Däsa, whose life has been dedicated to fulfilling those four little words:“So finance this project,” whose personal funding has launched the temple construction, and who is now heading the team that is building the Vedic Planetarium in

(Top) The upcoming Temple of Vedic Planetarium in Mäyäpur; (above) Ambaréña Däsa, chairman of this project

Mäyäpur. It’s impossible to imagine how such a tiny sentence can have such a huge impact on so many worldwide and result in a project

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that will change the world. On a much smaller scale, that same conversation had a powerful effect on me when I read it some twenty-plus years later in London. I remember my first “unedited” thought was, “How on earth would he bring the whole world to Mäyäpur?” I didn’t know how, but I wanted to do something to help Çréla Prabhupäda do just that. As I write this, it is early spring morning in Mäyäpur—fresh-smelling, picturesque, tranquil. Birds are singing, temple bells are ringing in the distance, bhajanas are being broadcast on speakers across the village, and an occasional distant train horn reaches us from across the Jalaìgé River. As my gaze drifts out the window and across the fields, I wonder why I would possibly want to contribute to attracting world attention to this pocket of the universe that is so beautiful and peaceful. And green—I never imagined a green so lush, so rich, so intense. So many shades of green. I can’t believe anyone who comes here would not walk away with a stunningly beautiful impression forever embedded in his or her mind—in his or her heart. When I write about Mäyäpur, I can only capture a tiny portion of its beauty, its lushness, its tranquility—its personality. It’s impossible to describe. One would have to experience it personally to truly appreciate its beauty. Then again, there are so many beautiful places in the world. This morning I was looking through a magazine from Thailand. There’s a beautiful country. Or Indonesia—similarly appealing. I’m from Australia where white sandy beaches and turquoise water is the norm, especially in the northwest corner of the country, where the Indian Ocean rolls gently into remote, still-untouched coastal towns. So many places on this planet

capture the mind, enchant the senses, bury themselves in the heart. But Mäyäpur attracts the soul. Think about that. How many places can claim that? Mäyäpur is no ordinary tourist destination. It’s not even an extraordinary tourist destination. It’s actually the spiritual world. It is described in the scriptures as “non-different” from the spiritual world. That’s no tourist brochure byline…that’s some kind of important. The most important: Mäyäpur is not only a feast for the senses; it satisfies the soul. The spiritual energy of Mäyäpur is undeniable. Along the main road—the only road—there are around forty temples, all with the same reason for being there: to propagate the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. That is the key to its specialness. No other destination can offer that. The state of the world at the moment only increases Mäyäpur’s attractiveness. The world in general is struggling. It’s hell out there. I haven’t always lived in this peaceful village. London, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockholm: I might not have “seen it all,” but I’ve certainly seen enough. None of them have the answers. They may be cool places—they may even temporarily satisfy—but they don’t exactly exist for the eternal benefit of mankind. The message of Lord Caitanya and the preaching mission of His envoy, Çréla Prabhupäda, exists to reinforce the genuine identity of the soul amid a world intent on borders, boundaries, and bodily designations. Çréla Prabhupäda’s International Society for Krishna Consciousness crosses those boundaries, fuelled by the most crucial element of Lord Caitanya’s character: His compassion for the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, all of whom are searching for peace—within themselves and their environment. As a stone

thrown into the middle of a pool creates concentric circles, so a global community, with its attention focused on the center, can create an international environment of harmony. That center is the essence of spirituality. That essence is Çré Mäyäpur Dhäma. So that’s my problem. This most stunning place I call home is something I want to cherish, to keep as it is, to protect. I love Mäyäpur like I have never loved a place before. And it returns that love. Really. So why would I want to bring people here and “ruin” what is, to me, peaceful perfection? Because, like I mentioned, it’s the spiritual world. And in the spiritual world, nothing is “ruined” by being shared with thousands, or millions. It loses nothing; it does not detract from its charm, it won’t deteriorate or diminish or become something less. It will expand on and on and on for thousands of years to come, into a place that the entire universe will know and love. Just like I do. And I can’t stop that, as much as I wish I could sometimes. In a way, I don’t want to stop it, of course. I want everyone to see Mäyäpur, to feel Mäyäpur, to love Mäyäpur the way I do. When something’s that good you want to keep it to yourself, but after a while, you know that to really “enjoy” it as much as possible, you’re going to have to tell someone. So here it is: Mäyäpur is the ultimate destination. Get a ticket, whatever way you can, but just come here. And bring a really good quality suitcase, because you’re going to have to drag your heart home … it won’t want to leave. Braja Sevaké Devé Däsé joined ISKCON in Australia. She has lived in Mäyäpur for nine years with her husband, Jähnudvépa Däsa.

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IT’S ALL IN THE MIND Mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. It depends on how we deal with it. by Ninad Gandhi “Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

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ften we see that the mind creates more problems than those caused by adverse situations. For some it comes in the form of psychosomatic diseases such as schizophrenia, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression or mania, while for others it might be in milder forms such as insecurity, inattention or lack of interest. They come under adhyätmika-kleças, sufferings caused

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by one’s own body and mind. The disturbances caused by the mind can be traced to previous conditionings or experiences called anarthas that are not limited to this lifetime. The most prominently observed effect of the mind is inattention, a common condition faced by all categories of people, especially students. Inattention sometimes also causes irrevocable mistakes leading to severe losses in various fields of life. Those practicing different forms of yoga and meditation too encounter this problem of inattention, for the mind gets easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. Practioners of mantra meditation too are involved in the struggle as the mind fails to pay attention on the transcendental sound vibration. While chanting on beads, despite engaging most of the senses, the mind steers off in its own direction, the realization of which comes very late. HOW TO CONTROL THE MIND? Why is it so difficult to control

the mind? In the Bhagavad-gétä, Arjuna raises this question: caïcalaà hi manaù kåñëa pramäthi balavad dåòham tasyähaà nigrahaà manye väyor iva su-duñkaram “For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.” (Gétä 6.34). Kåñëa admits this, but He reveals the key to control the mind. asaàçayaà mahä-bäho mano durnigrahaà calam abhyäsena tu kaunteya vairägyeëa ca gåhyate “O mighty-armed son of Kunté, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.” (Gétä 6.35) Elsewhere in the Gétä, Kåñëa talks about the need to employ intelligence: “Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in

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trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else.” (Gétä 6.25) And in the next verse Kåñëa says, yato yato niçcalati manaç caïcalam asthiram/ tatas tato niyamyaitad ätmany eva vaçaà nayet: “From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.” (Gétä 6.26) The mind by nature is flickering and unsteady and one should bring it back and thereby control it rather than be controlled by it. Also if one engages in Kåñëa conscious activities, the senses can be brought under full control. This is the highest perfection of yoga practice. DO NOT FEED GARBAGE TO THE MIND If we put in the garbage displayed by the media via television, movies, newspapers and internet, then we will certainly be disturbed by ill thoughts. Furthermore, if we contemplate on these thoughts, then it becomes increasingly difficult to put an end to them. On the contrary if we choose to be in the association of devotees and engage in devotional activities—chanting, reading, dancing, honoring prasäda and serving—then slowly the mind gets cleansed and its fickle and contrary nature is laid to rest even though it might show reluctance initially. Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura used to say People engaged in different forms of mind control: (from top) mantra meditation, präëäyama, and yoga.

that in the morning our first business should be to beat the mind with shoes a hundred times. And, before going to bed, to beat the mind a hundred times with a broomstick. In this way one’s mind can be kept under control. In a lecture, His Holiness Rädhänätha Swami Mahäräja correlated the shoes with the lotus feet of the spiritual master, which in turn are non-different from his instructions. Beating with shoes thus means repeatedly contemplating on his divine instructions. And the holy name of Kåñëa is like the broom that cleans the mirror of the mind (ceto-darpaëamärjanam). So beating with the shoes refers to constant chanting of the holy names. The great devotee-poet Govinda Däsa sings in his prayer to the mind, bhaja hüre mana, çré nanda-nandana, abhaya-caraëäravinda re: “O mind, just worship the lotus feet of the son of Nanda, which make one fearless.” If one follows the prescribed process one can free oneself from the shackles of the prison house of the uncontrolled mind and attain true tranquility.

Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare

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Dam Märo Dam, Hare Kåñëa Hare Räma An early ISKCON devotee recalls how a Hindi movie song popularized the Hare Kåñëa mantra.

By Giriräja Swami

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fter the Delhi paëòäl program in 1971, Çréla Prabhupäda got an invitation to go to Madras. But he was planning to go to Våndävana, taking his disciples there for the first time. Still, he wanted someone to go to Madras. No one wanted to go; everyone wanted to go with Prabhupäda to Våndävana. Somehow I had the idea that the secret of success in Kåñëa consciousness was to follow the order of the spiritual master and please him, so I volunteered. In Madras I was alone for much of the time. I kept asking for help, but it was hard to get devotees. THE NEW MOVIE SONG While I was in Madras a song came out. In Çréla Prabhupäda’s purports he sometimes mentions cinema songs, which are the most popular in India. The refrain of this song was “Dam märo dam . . . Hare Kåñëa Hare Räma, Hare Kåñëa Hare Räma, Hare Kåñëa Hare Räma.” We didn’t have a center in Madras then; I was just staying with different people. Because I kept hearing the song I finally asked my host what the translation was. I don’t know if he misunderstood the actual meaning or was just being polite, but he said, “With every breath I take, Hare Kåñëa, Hare Rama”—which sounded very nice. So for a while we were in the illusion that that was what the song meant. Eventually we found out what it really meant: “With every puff that I take, Hare

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Hippies blissfully chanting Hare Kåñëa with Çréla Prabhupäda, which was improperly depicted in the movie as drug-induced hallucination.

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Kåñëa Hare Räma.” ISKCON MISREPRESENTED From Madras we went to Calcutta, and there the movie that featured this song was playing. We didn’t really know what the movie was, but in those days in America whenever the musical or the movie Hair would show, devotees would do harinäma-saìkértana in front of the theater and distribute books, because Hair featured a song with the full Hare Kåñëa mahä-mantra. We thought, “Oh, the movie Hare Räma Hare Kåñëa will be a great opportunity,” so we had harinäma and distributed books outside the theater. But when most of the customers had entered the theater I thought, “Let me steal a peek. Let me see what this movie is.” I went inside just as it was about to begin. It was very impressive on a big screen, with loud amplifiers. The film began with shots of the ocean—the waves of the ocean on the shore. The narrator, with a deep, resonant voice, intoned, “For centuries India’s spiritual culture remained within the shores of India, but one man . . .” —then it showed a picture of Çréla Prabhupäda—“took India’s spiritual culture across the ocean.” Then it showed the London Ratha-yätra, so dramatic on the big screen, and I thought, “Wow! This is amazing!” And then it showed a bunch of hippies smoking gäïjä and hashish and chanting Hare Kåñëa, Hare Räma. They were dressed just like hippies, with boys and girls mixing. It was really bad—the theme of the movie was that Çréla Prabhupäda was degrading the sacred Indian culture by giving it to hippies who were just misusing it, chanting Hare Kåñëa, Hare Räma and smoking dope and indulging in free sex and everything else.

That was a blow. Later, Çréla Prabhupäda said the government was behind the film because they were afraid our movement would become too popular, and they wanted to turn people away from it. Yet Çréla Prabhupäda had such faith in the holy name that he said, “In the long run, the film will actually help us, because eventually people will forget the dam märo dam and just remember the Hare Kåñëa, Hare Räma.” And it came true. From Calcutta I went to Bombay, and especially the street urchins there—so many street urchins stand at corners and beg or sell magazines—whenever they saw us they would gather around us and put their hands to their mouths, as if they were smoking chillums with charas (hashish), and sing in a mocking way, “Dam märo dam, dam märo dam . . .” Most of the time they wouldn’t The BTG Yatra Seva has been organizing conducted tours of spiritual places (dhams) as part of a sincere effort to revive the true Indian culture in these changing times. Pilgrims on these wellplanned tours shall gain much spiritual insight from authentic guidance based on indepth study of the scripture. We welcome all spiritual seekers to participate in this blissful exploration of THE SPIRITUAL INDIA.

even get to the “Hare Kåñëa, Hare Räma”—just “Dam märo dam.” It was like a plague. Wherever we went these little kids would surround us and taunt us: “Dam märo dam.” It went on like that for some time and it was difficult. Then after maybe a year of the song playing—it was extraordinarily popular—the emphasis shifted. The two parts—the dam märo dam and the Hare Kåñëa, Hare Rama—became equal. And eventually, just as Prabhupäda had predicted, the dam märo dam dropped out altogether. It was a mundane sound vibration and had no real attraction. But the Hare Kåñëa, Hare Rama was transcendental and ever fresh. After the dam märo dam dropped out, when people saw us they would simply smile and say, “Hare Kåñëa, Hare Räma.” That came to pass.

BTG Yatra Seva presents

Char Dham Yatra

Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri Yatra Dates: May 17– 29, 2011 For further details, please contact: Panduranga Däs : 09324581718, Sunderrupa Das: 09324207533, Manjari Devi Dasi : 09322005944

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Deity Worship Not Idol Worship, but Ideal Worship Most people misunderstand worship of the Deity to be a mere worship of dead stones with imaginary forms. Let us understand the actual science behind it.

by Caitanya Caraëa Däsa [Extracted from the book Idol Worship or Ideal Worship?, which is a conversation on the logical, philosophical, scriptural, and sociological aspects of Deity worship between two non-historical personalities, the teacher Sanätana Swami (SS) and the seeker Rahul Vaidya (RV).] SS: Deity worship is a powerful and practical method to gain sensory experience of the divine. RV: Sensory experience of the

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divine? What does that mean? SS: Generally our senses drag us away from the divine; among the most powerful of all the senses are the eyes, which crave alluring forms. For most people, resisting this sensory pull is extremely difficult, if not impossible. But resisting the pull toward the material is essential if we want to get closer to God, who resides on the nonmaterial, or spiritual, plane. That’s why

curbing the unruly senses is an injunction common to all religions. Deity worship offers us an extraordinarily potent and easy method to help us follow this universal injunction. Deity worship provides a spiritual channel for the senses. Without Deity worship the appetite the eyes have for beauty has to be starved to death. But with Deity worship, that appetite can be satisfied by letting the eyes feast on the

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beautiful form of the Deity. Moreover, the devotees can express their love for the Deity by offering Him the best they can: gorgeous dresses and lavish decorations. The Lord does not need these things; it is we who are benefitted by offering Him garments and ornaments because such devotional offerings reduce our own infatuation with these things as objects for our own enjoyment. The Lord’s beauty is not dependent on what we offer Him—He is the ornament of all ornaments—but our eyes appreciate His beauty all the more when He is dressed and decorated artisti-

little or no understanding, or deep faith in Godhead—may become overtly materialistic and even develop aversion toward the Supreme Lord as a result of the absence of a Deity form upon which to fix their minds. Therefore, Deity worship is the foundation of religion for general humanity.” RV: Why will the lack of Deity worship lead to aversion to God? SS: Approaching God requires that we give up our selfish sensuous desires. Giving up these desires is painful—at least initially—because we feel we are being deprived of our rightful enjoyment. Without

In modern times, Deity worship has taken the perverse form of worship of mundane superstars.

cally. Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura explains the necessity of Deity worship: “For when spiritually neophyte people somehow become inspired to approach the Supreme Lord, if they do not find a Deity form of him, they may feel disappointed and disconsolate. The religions which have no provision for Deity worship face the danger that those children born into the religion and those just beginning spiritual life—both of whom may have

practical spiritual methods like Deity worship, spiritual happiness remains largely an abstract, unrealized concept. So sometimes people tend to think that God is simply torturing them by demanding that they deny their senses, and they become averse to him. And in fact we see this aversion evident in the rise of militant atheism in the West, where self-proclaimed atheists imagine that religion is “the source of all evil” and

mouth-perverted slogans like “For humanity to live, religion must die.” These atheists want to eradicate God and religion from humanity’s cultural and intellectual landscape. MATINEE IDOLS Another effect of rejecting Deity worship predicted by Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura is the increase of overt materialism. This is something we can see all over the world, and it is much more widespread than atheistic fundamentalism. People have been misled into rejecting the Deity as material, but because they are naturally attracted to forms, they have ended up idolizing material forms as if they were special. The sheer infatuation that people have for good-looking film stars and entertainers borders on the ridiculous. The bodies of these stars are as material as ours; like ours, their bodies eject dirty excrements, become wrinkled with age, and end up deformed and dead in a few years. Still people adore the bodies of entertainers as if they were sacred; fans treasure shreds of their favorite actors’ clothes, fill their homes with photos of their sports heroes, and constantly think about and dream of meeting them. To the spiritually astute eye, this is nothing but a perverted version of Deity worship. Instead of worshiping the true God, who has an eternally youthful and attractive form, and experiencing everlasting fulfillment, people are adoring false gods, physically attractive entertainers and sports heroes who can offer only temporary sensory titillation—and often not even that. This form of idolatry is so rampant

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in our culture that it has even been acknowledged in the dictionary: the word idol is now defined as both “a material effigy that is worshipped” and “someone who is adored blindly and excessively.” In fact, a popular magazine that spreads gossip about matinee idols is named Stardust; the name belies, perhaps unintentionally, a perversion of Deity worship, wherein the devotee humbles him or herself in front of God by bowing down and taking the dust from his lotus feet. People are also perpetually infatuated with forms they imagine will provide sexual gratification. So even more widespread than moviestar worship is the “idolization” of the bodies of the opposite sex or of

they fuel each other. The fundamentalist religions feel alarmed by the rapid spread of rampant materialism, which jeopardizes their traditional values, and so they react by imposing religious doctrines all the more strictly—including, unfortunately, the doctrines against Deity worship. These fundamentalists demand that everyone conform to their particular brand of rituals and deem all those who don’t threats, enemies, or “agents of Satan,” fit only to be terrorized and destroyed. TO GOD THROUGH MATTER Seen from a spiritual perspective, both material and religious fundamentalism are caused in the same

Practice of Deity worship balances the two extremes of materialistic fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism. the same sex. The corollary of this infatuation is the obsession with one’s own body—with dressing and decorating and perfuming and coifing it. People live and die with the hope of making their bodies sexually attractive enough that they can compete in the sexual marketplace. If only these people had the facility to direct their desires toward the Deity, then they would become free from their sickening infatuation with temporary forms. RV: I never thought that the lack of Deity worship in our culture has such grave and far-reaching ramifications. SS (gravely): The ramifications reach even farther. Ironically, the rise in hedonism— we can call it materialistic fundamentalism—is paralleled by a rise in religious fundamentalism, because

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way: by the inability to experience spiritual happiness. Materialistic fundamentalists respond to this inability by saying that all religion is a hoax and that there is nothing beyond matter. Confronted with this materialistic onslaught, religious fundamentalists want desperately to preserve their faith in a world beyond the material. But as they have rejected matter as profane and as they are not spiritually advanced enough to immediately experience nonmaterial happiness, they try to fulfill their craving for pleasure by substituting spiritual fulfillment with political achievement or power brokering in one form or another. Their religion then degenerates from the search for spiritual truth to the pursuit for power. To save the world from being devoured by these two dragons of fun-

damentalism, we need to offer people tangible divine experiences of God, including direct experiences of the beauty and joy of serving him. Deity worship is one of the best ways to provide such experiences because it offers a channel through which our material senses can flow toward the source of spiritual happiness. Reverentially beholding the beauty of the Deities with our eyes, participating in the ärati by singing prayerfully and dancing gracefully, bowing down respectfully and offering fervent prayers, circumambulating the Deity, ringing the temple bell, smelling the flowers offered to the Deity, drinking the sacred water that has bathed the Deity, receiving a sprinkle of the water offered to the Deity—all these practical forms of Deity worship offer spiritual experiences one can touch through the material senses. Deity worship is not merely an isolated ritual; it is the foundation and herald of a spiritual, God-centered way of life. For the devotee who adopts Deity worship, the temple where the Deity resides becomes the heart of his or her community and the home altar where he worships a smaller Deity becomes the heart of his or her home. As the best part of the community—generally the most beautiful or majestic building— should be reserved for the Deity’s temple, so the best part of the home is reserved for the Lord’s altar. In this way, the Deity becomes the master of both the community and the home, not just figuratively, but literally. With the Deity present in the heart of the home, the devotee can more easily develop the consciousness of service—that he or she is the servant of the Lord and all living beings. Devotees can lovingly offer to the Deity food they have cooked and then honor the Deity’s mercy in the

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form of prasäda. By thus eating sanctified food, their lives become spiritualized. Materialistic fundamentalism “worships” matter as the only reality and source of enjoyment, and religious fundamentalism states that since matter is the source of illusion, it must be entirely abandoned if one wants to make spiritual advancement. The Vedic culture, through Deity worship, cautiously and expertly utilizes matter to offer us glimpses of spiritual happiness. Thus Deity worship comprises a sound spiritual pathway that is a balanced intermediate between the two extremes of materialistic fundamentalism and religious fundamentalism. Therefore Deity worship is one of the greatest needs of the world today. RV (impressed): Wow! That was quite an insightful analysis of the cause of the current problems of the world. But do you really feel that Deity worship can make such a big difference? SS (emphatically): Yes. In fact, it is already making a significant difference. RV (intrigued): How so? DEITY WORSHIP GOES GLOBAL SS: The very resilience and revival of Deity worship in India is a strong testimony of its living potency. Despite nearly a thousand years of physical and intellectual attacks by Semitic fanatics, Deity worship continues strong and is growing ever stronger. Today, millions of people daily flock to the thousands of temples that dot the Indian landscape. Even today, festivals centered on Deity worship, like the Jagannätha Ratha-yäträ, attract hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, in the sixty years

since India achieved political freedom from Semitic rulers, Indians have built more temples than in the five hundred years prior to that. And these temples have been built not just in India by Indians but also outside India by non-Indians. This global spread of Deity worship is the harbinger of a new age of higher, spiritual consciousness. Çréla Prabhupäda, founder-äcärya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the pioneer of this new age. At the advanced age of sixty-nine, he traveled alone to America and, within eleven years, empowered thousands of people to taste spiritual happiness and transform themselves into selfless servants of God and his children. He also inspired the building of 108 temples worldwide and established magnificent Deity worship in these temples. His followers have built several hundred more temples and expanded his legacy of Deity worship. Why are Indians (and now nonIndians) continuing to worship the Deity? Is it because they are being forced? No, not at all. Unlike the Semitic traditions, the Vedic tradition as it exists today in India doesn’t have any central enforcing authority to compel Indians to either worship the Deity or punish them if they don’t. Indians continue to worship the Deity because they experience God and His love through it. RV (reflectively): That’s true. Deity worship is like a magnet that spontaneously attracts many Indians. SS: Yes, Deity worship is at the heart of India’s spiritual culture. In fact, India’s spiritual culture is the most deep-rooted and widespread among all the spiritual cultures in the world. That’s why India continues to attract serious spiritual seekers from all over the world, who

brave diseases, lack of amenities, and cultural barriers to search for the spiritual treasures of India. And what is it that makes Indian spiritual culture so attractive? Many factors could be listed, but there’s no doubt that Deity worship would be among the top factors in the list. In fact, not only Indians but people all over the world are worshipping the Deity. Most of the non-Indians who come as spiritual seekers to India are from Semitic cultures. Due to their past Semitic aversion to idolatry, most of them are initially skeptical or even averse to Deity worship. But the more venturesome among them are openminded enough to at least give the benefit of doubt to Deity worshippers: if the Deities are being worshipped by so many millions of people—and these millions includes many educated, intelligent, compassionate, and saintly people, then surely there could be something more to Deity worship than the worship of “sticks and stones,” as Semitic dogma portrays it. When these open-minded seekers inquire from competent spiritual teachers and come to know about the profound philosophy and meticulous practices that underly Deity worship, then they understand that Deity worship is as different from idolatry as light is from darkness. The book Idol Worship or Ideal Worship? can be obtained either at the local ISKCON bookstalls or from Krishnakishoredas@gmail.com Caitanya Caraëa Däsa holds a degree in electronics and telecommunications engineering and serves full-time at ISKCON Pune. To subscribe to his free cyber magazine, visit thespiritualscientist.com

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The dancing form of God

A God Who Dances An Interview with Kälakanöha Däsa (Carl Woodham) An English poetic rendition of the Tenth Canto tries to remove stereotyped notions of God as a static and unsociable person and presents Him as the most dynamic personality. “I could only believe in a God who dances.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

T

his well-known statement of the German philosopher Nietzsche was his rhetorical way of expressing his disdain and disbelief as regards the stereotype of God that he learned from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of his times: A God who is remote, static and entirely unsociable; a God who is so grandly aloof that it would be

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demeaning for him to enter into any personal relationships with anyone; a God who, if given a choice, most people wouldn’t even care to know, leave alone love. Indeed, such poisonous stereotyped notions of God contributed greatly to the spread of godlessness and atheism. But God does dance, as the Vedic literature profusely reveals. And though Nietzsche is no longer around, maybe his soul in some other body may be around to know about the God who dances. Even

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Kälakaëöha Däsa


if his soul is not around on this planet, there are still many who are similarly alienated from God due to the stale conceptions of divinity being fed to them. A God who dances: Kåñëa for you, an upcoming book by Kälakanöha Däsa, is a panacea for people like these—as well as for all those who want to know more about the personable, loving side of God. The heart of this book is the love-life of God as revealed in the Tenth Canto of ÇrémadBhägavatam, which describes how God dances, plays and has fun with his devotees. What makes this book unique is that it renders the dance of God into engaging English poetry. It presents the ninety chapters of the Tenth Canto in thirtyone English poems set to tunes that correspond to the tunes of the original Sanskrit. To help readers get a basic philosophical orientation, the Tenth Canto poetry is preceded by short, sweet summaries of the Bhagavad-gétä and the first nine cantos of the ÇrémadBhägavatam. Overall, the book is an excellent introduction for those who may want to know why the revelation of God as Kåñëa has charmed the hearts of millions throughout history and is charming millions all over the world today. And the book is also a charming refresher for all those who already know Kåñëa: reciting his pastimes in English poetry is an easy and pleasant way to rejuvenate one’s devotional memories of the Lord in the heart. The author-cum-poet Kälakanöha Däsa already has already written two poetry books, with his poetic rendition of the Gétä, The Song Divine, which received critical acclaim. Here we present an interview with Kälakanöha Däsa, who is well-

known and much-loved as a Vaiñëava-poet. BTG: Could you please tell us how you were introduced to Kåñëa consciousness and your services sincethen? Kälakanöha Däsa (KD): I was introduced through a harinämasaìkértana party in downtown Portland, Oregon. It was 1972 and I was 18. A small band of devotees maintained a small temple in a rented house. I was immediately attracted and joined as a brahmacäré shortly after attending my first Sunday feast. I soon met Çréla Prabhupäda and thus began my new life of service to him. After ten years as a brahmacäré I married and have now been a gåhastha for twenty-eight years. During that time I’ve had a successful real estate career while maintaining service in ISKCON as a fund raising consultant and mediator. For the past five years I’ve returned to being a temple president, something I did for ten years in my early gåhastha life. BTG: What inspired you to present the Vedic literature in English poetry? KD: It is my favorite way to study. Poeticizing the verse forces me to examine every word and nuance of meaning, to distill the message, to think of synonyms and to communicate the essence of it in a concise and rhythmic way. Somehow that fits my nature, and it allows me to contemplate verses naturally throughout the day. BTG: Did you have an interest in composing poetry before being introduced to Kåñëa consciousness?

KD: Yes, a little. Kipling’s “If“ inspired me; a meaningful message, brilliantly composed, compact and poignant. I later discovered I could spend pleasant hours just trying to piece together the right words. BTG: Have you noticed any similarities or differences between Western poets like Shelly and Tennyson and Vedic poets like Narottama Däsa Öhäkura and Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura? KD: No, because the content is driven by such different motivations, they do not seem to me to be

Unfortunatley, Nietzsche was unaware of a dancing God.

very similar. BTG: Your book has an appealing title “A God Who Dances”. Can you tell us briefly how the Vedic revelation of Kåñëa as God is different from the conventional notions about God that you grew up with? KD: I grew up with a concept of God so vague that everything associated with it became tasteless.

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When my sibling and I lost interest in church, so did my parents, and that was it. Later, after encountering the suffering and the chaos of adolescence, I started looking for a different, more meaningful understanding of God. There was so much confusion and junk on the subject that several times I almost gave up. The very fact that Çréla Prabhupäda could speak so forthrightly on God astonished me, and when I understood what he was saying, I realized he was right. No one else had such a complete concept of God.

Tenth Canto. What are the distinctive features of your presentation? KD: The language is relaxed and meant for a contemporary audience. The meter of the poem generally changes according to the Sanskrit meter of the original. There is a subtle attempt to identify the main speakers (Vyäsa and Çukadeva) without a lot of interruptions. The main feature, though, is the simple volume; there are 2160 quatrains (four-line stanzas) distilled from the 3932 original verses. Though some are simply harder to poeticize than others, I

Kåñëa expanded into millions of forms and danced with each gopé during the

BTG: You are the first person to have presented an English poetic rendition of the full Tenth Canto of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam; others have done poetic renditions of the Géta Govinda of Jayadeva Gosvämé or the räsa-païcädhyäya (the five chapters of räsa-lélä) in the

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have worked hard to make the quality of the verses even. Doing this forced me to go more deeply into Sanskrit pronun-ciation. I realized I’d long been mispronouncing many Sanskrit names. Lokanätha Swami has written an amusing book on this subject, which I found helpful.

BTG: You have mentioned that in your book you wanted to give readers unfamiliar with Sanskrit a feel of the poetics and aesthetics of the Tenth Canto. What were the challenges in rendering poetry from one language to another—especially poetry imbued with profound wisdom and surcharged with deep emotion? KD: Çréla Prabhupäda, Hådayänanda Gosvämé, Gopéparäëadhana Däsa and Draviòa Däsa have done most of the work by their original translations. The challenge is picking out the essential parts of their erudite, thorough and academic translations without compromising the meaning. Then that essential meaning must be packaged as something pleasing to the ear with rhyme, alliteration, rhythm and style. After publishing two previous poetry books I have found that poetry polarizes; those who like it (the minority) love it; the rest can’t get the beat and move on to something else. The wisdom and drama and humor of the Tenth Canto really is extraordinary. räsa-lélä. When poeticizing it, I try not to get in the way. The practical benefit of this book is that you can read the whole Tenth Canto three or four times faster than the translations on which it is based. Thus for those who know the pastimes, it is a good, quick review.

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One other observation: the Tenth Canto beautifully intertwines poetry and lélä. Lélä lends itself much better to poeticization, but the philosophy flows in and out very naturally.

of the austerities and penances adopted voluntarily by saintly persons. Saintly persons may freely associate with those who are poverty-stricken, but not with those who are rich. A povertystricken man, by association with saintly persons, very soon becomes uninterested in material desires, and the dirty things within the core of his heart are cleansed away.

another reason destitutes can spiritually mature.

BTG: What advice would you give budding devotee-poets? KD: Do it for self-purification and because you enjoy it. Avoid taking your writing hobby too seriously. Especially with poetry, don‘t expect to get published, and don’t expect others to be very interested.

BTG: Can you explain, through a sample of your poetry, how you convey the Sanskrit verse into a corresponding English meter while also attending to the various nuBTG: What is the best way in ances of meaning and aesthetics? which readers can relish the poetry KD: Here’s an example from Illusion makes the rich try to of A God Who Dances in particular the 10th chapter of the 10th Canto, enjoy what they cannot, and devotional poetry in general? Narada’s instructions to the sons of but poor folks, on the other KD: I’d hoped people would be Kuvera. hand, can hardly give a able to read it aloud, but the inflecBy seeing their faces, one thought tions, so clear in my mind but hard whose body has been pricked by to sense enjoyment, seeking, pins can understand the pain of to translate in print, as well as the as they do, a decent meal. others who are pinpricked. Reaforementioned Sanskrit names, In poverty, one learns how alizing that this pain is the can make it a little hard. Still I hope other starving people feel. same for everyone, he does not readers will try. I plan to record the Avoiding wealthy sensewant others to suffer in this enjoyers, saints live with the poem in a simple way and put it on way. But one who has never poor— our website, agodwhodances.com. been pricked by pins cannot That may help those who are understand this pain. interested. A poverty-stricken man Otherwise, one way to enmust automatically undergo joy devotional poetry is by austerities and penances bememorization, smaraëaà. cause he does not have the Some scholars can rattle off wealth to possess anything. Sanskrit without a clear idea of Thus his false prestige is vanthe meaning. The rhyming, quished. Always in need of succinct translation can be food, shelter and clothing, he easier to internalize. Draviòa must be satisfied with what is Däsa has turned shorter obtained by the mercy of Vaiñëava texts into brilliant and providence. Undergoing such highly memorizeable poems. compulsory austerities is good Rhyming poetry can also for him because this purifies capture children’s attention him and completely frees him from false ego. when read aloud for them. Always hungry, longing for And, on a lighter note, A God sufficient food, a povertyWho Dances, like my other stricken man gradually bebooks, is likely to be excellent comes weaker and weaker. for insomniacs. Having no extra potency, his senses are automatically paciThe interview was conducted fied. A poverty-stricken man, by Caitanya Caraëa Däsa on therefore, is unable to perform behalf of BTG. harmful, envious activities. In A God who dances: Kåñëa for you is based other words, such a man auon the Tenth Canto of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. tomatically gains the results

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the Search for

Happiness

Part

4

Understand the difference between real and temporary problems. By working on real problems, we can attain permanent happiness.

By Vraja Vihäré Däsa Continued from the previous issue . . .

FROM RELATIVE TO REAL HAPPINESS We need to first ask ourselves what kind of happiness we are looking for. Most people would agree that they seek a happiness that is permanent, ever increasing, that can be shared with others, and that offers variety. When these four characteristics are present we refer to it as real happiness; if they are absent it is relative happiness. With these we can now analyze the types of pleasure we get in this world. Are they relative or real? We’ll probably find that almost all our experiences of happiness are relative because they are both impermanent and dependent on many other factors. For example, I may celebrate India’s winning a cricket match, but that happiness is relative because others are mourning their team’s loss. I may become happy by watching a movie, but that happiness wane safter some time, which makes it relatives because it’s impermanent. To revive my sense of happiness I may need to see another movie, or even while

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watching the same movie that both of them had flunked their brought so much happiness the first exams. The friend who was enjoytime, I am miserable because of ing the samosas would have to resomething else that happened to me peat the year. The news hit him so earlier in the day. hard that he lost all his enthusiasm The question of how to become for eating, and his samosas were finhappy has intrigued people for millennia. If we had to boil down all the causes of unhappiness to one words, we could simply choose the word “problems.” We are constantly beset by problems. Even when we get what we want the existence of problems keeps us from remaining happy or feeling happiness fully. I once watched a friend relish samosas, his favorite food, at a college canteen. Just then, another Modern humans are constantly friend arrived with plagued with so many problems. the bad news that

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rain is a benediction, and he wishes real or relative. The Vedic scripit would rain year round. Farmers tures declare seven problems to be also like the rain, but if it did in- “real.” Solving them allows us to deed rain all year, their crops would access real happiness—happiness be ruined. What that is permanent and increases about corruption, over time. Remember the over-population, Mahäbhärata call imploring us to u n e m p l o y m e n t , seek the perfection of our human and the plethora lives by solving our real problems of other issues and thereby attaining an eternal plaguing the na- life of unending happiness. tion? Are these SOLVING THE SEVEN real all or relative REAL PROBLEMS problems? I once The first of the seven real probread an interview with a multi-mil- lem is birth. When a woman gives lionaire industrial- birth we say she is in labor. Labor is ist from Mumbai painful for both the mother and who was asked to child. We hear of labor pain, not name his heart’s labor pleasure. When children are deepest desire. He born they cry in pain as they inOne should employ one’s intelligence to said he would like flate their lungs for the first time. inquire into the real problems of life. to go to a remote If a child doesn’t cry, the doctor village in northern will assume the child is not breathject more deeply, let us now study India and relax amid nature and ing and slapit till he or she cries. problems as they relate to real and with a minimum of necessities. It So all who take birth suffer during made me wonder: If you ask a the process. It’s common to all. relative happiness. simple villager living in northern Neither could any of us avoid birth. India what his heart’s desire is, he Neither do we want to take birth. RELATIVE AND would probably say he would like The Çrémad-Bhägavatam, a Vedic REAL PROBLEMS Like happiness, problems can to make himself rich in either be relative or real. Solving Mumbai. The grass is alrelative problems brings us relative ways greener on the other happiness; countering real prob- side! So it appears that where lems brings us real happiness. Relative problems—“one man’s and how to live to one’s food is another man’s poison.”If best advantage may be uniyou ask a dentist, “How’s business” versal questions, they are and he replies, “Fantastic,” what no real problems but relaconclusion can you draw? That the tive ones. What, then, are dentist’s prosperity depends on our real problems? For a someone else’s dental problems. problem to be real it has to The dental problem is therefore fulfill three criteria: (1) It relative—it’s not universal. Neither must be common to all; (2) does solving it bring happiness uni- No one should want it; (3) versally. For the dentist, the fact No one can avoid it. Consider the various that people’s teeth rot is a blessing Undergoing repeated births must in disguise. Is rain a problem or a problems in this world and be understood as a real problem. boon? For the umbrella seller, the decide whether they are ished by another samosa enthusiast. Happiness does not depend on objects like food but on a problemfree mind. To understand the sub-

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epic describing the science of God, describes the plight of a child while in the womb of its mother. The Bhägavatam tells us that a child is constantly praying for deliverance from the cramped conditions in the womb. Fun fairs have roller coasters, and pregnant women are discouraged from riding the Ferris wheel because the unborn child wouldn’t be able to tolerate the

pressure. Even if we were asked to sit inside a well-furnished room for nine months, we would be miserable, craving fresh air and freedom. Being in the womb is like being inside a water-filled sack. Old age is the second real problem. Old age affects not only the physical body but brings emotional pain. Running up or down stairs may seem effortless for a teenager, but an elderly person often struggles with stiff bones and muscles, especially on stairs. Children generally have good digestion and can eat all kinds of foods, but the old have to think twice before eating anything. I once saw an old

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man cut his toenails. His vision was so bad that he struggled to properly align the nail cutter with his toe nail. Later, with help, the task was accomplished. Such a simple task! But it took this man over an hour. Some may argue that old age is not common to everyone because many die young. But if you define old age as proximity to death, then we can understand that no one escapes it. If a ninetyyear-old man is destined to live another ten years, while a fiveyear-old is destined to die tomorrow, the child is older than the ninety-yearold man. One may avoid the symptoms of old age, but

proximity to death is real for everyone. And nobody wants to be near death. Disease is another unavoidable real problem in this world. One may be cured of a particular disease, and medical science may even eradicate certain diseases like small pox, but no one avoids disease wholesale. Is there anyone who has never fallen sick? The flourishing pharmaceutical industry is evidence of the well-being of disease. Diseases are common to all and nobody can avoid them. Both old age and diseases are now common even among the youth. I have heard of seventeenyear-old young men suffering from arthritis and twenty-four-year-old women dying of heart attack. Lower back pain is common among professionals who work at desks on computers for long hours. These things used to plague only the elderly, but the distinction between young and old is fading. Thanks to modern lifestyles, the miseries of old age and disease are catching up more quickly with the youth.

(Top left) Old age bring about terrible physical and emotional pain; (above) diseases are common to all, and no one can avoid them.

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The pain of death is equivalent to the stings of 40,000 scorpions.

Death is the fourth real problem. “As sure as death” is an old maxim we all know. We may have the best doctors treating us with the best medicines in the best hospital, while we are being cared for by the best nurses. Yet despite all that we might still die. And when death comes, even a rich man cannot bribe it, a beautiful woman cannot charm here way out of it, a scholar cannot defeat death with his intelligence, and a strong man cannot wrestle death to the ground. As the Chinese say, “After the chess game, both the king and pawn lie in the same box.” The Vedic scriptures tell us that the pain of death is equivalent to the stings of 40,000 scorpions. Sometimes people say, “I don’t fear death at all,” but this is just rhetoric. After a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai, people became fearful yet masked that fear in a show

of resilience. Trains continued to fill with people going to work. It looked good from the outside, and one could easily be fooled into believing that these people don’t fear death. But one of my friends during this time forgot his large bag of Bhagavad-gétäs on a local train when he got off at Dadar station. Later, realizing his lapse, he took another train and rushed to Churchgate, the train terminus, only to discover a crowd gathered at a distance fearfully staring at his bag. Nobody had touched it. It sat there, surrounded by police officers and sniffer dogs. Our coolie friend walked up and took the bag, much to the surprise of the anxious passengers and the police. Death is especially painful because it means an end to all our attachments and possessions. Few face it bravely. Equipping ourselves with spiritual

technology helps us face this inevitable and real problem maturely and soberly. Besides these four problems, there are three more miseries: Miseries caused by (a) one’s body and mind, (b) other living entities, and (c) natural disturbances. Innumerable examples from our daily lives reveal our fragile state at the hands of these three miseries. Psychiatric illness is now common; the female anopheles mosquito is one among many ‘other living entities’ that can make life miserable. Tsunamis, droughts, and earthquakes can strike anywhere at any time. The seven miseries affect the residents of this planet constantly. Thanks to our own abuse of Mother Earth, the disturbances will become more acute and more frequent in the coming years. In our quest for real happiness we need to first identify these real problems—then discuss how to relieve them. As long as we are plagued by these miseries, real happiness will elude us. To be continued… Happiness— From Superficial Attempts to Permanent Solution Vraja Vihäré Däsa holds a master’s degree in International Finance and Management (MBA). He serves as a full-time resident devotee at ISKCON Chowpatty and teaches Kåñëa consciousness to students at universities. He also conducts devotional seminars and training programs for the temple’s congregation members.

Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare

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MY EXPERIENCE

Forgive

by Rashi Parikh

&

Forget by Rashi Parikh

E

very child has quarrels with his or her siblings. So did I. However, every time I’d complain to my mother stating how badly my brother behaved with me, she’d say, “You must learn to forgive and forget.” These words irritated me. They made me feel I lacked self-respect and the spirit to fight. As I came in touch with the Kåñëa conscious philosophy, I began to hear this phrase more often.“Forgive and forget”—It seemed so hard. Still, I was told, it is crucial. Let me narrate an enlightening encounter I had the other day. AN ENLIGHTENING EXPERIENCE The traffic at seven that evening was surprisingly scanty. I was on my way homewith. The breeze was refreshing, and I was absorbed in thought. Suddenly, a blare of horns jolted me out of my daydream. I turned around in the backseat of my car. A biker, a young man, was trying to overtake us. He was tailgating our car. But we couldn’t move out of his way; in front of us a truck that couldn’t go faster was preventing others from speeding. But the biker wouldn’t stop honking. His relentlessness reminded me of the phrase hallabol, “pounce with full force.” So out of desperation to make him stop, we changed lanes and allowed him to pass. While overtaking us, though, he slowed his bike and looked in at us with such wrath. It was as if we had blocked his oxygen supply

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rather than just the road. My driver refused to acknowledge his angry face, which only made him linger for a few more seconds trying to get a reaction. His concentration onto us he didn’t notice the road ahead of him. Suddenly, the truck in front of us slowed. “Kåñëa!” I shouted, as my driver hit the brakes. The young man raced ahead, straight to the truck. He veered to the right,the bike skidded, andhe almost lost his balance. “Oh my God,” I prayed on his behalf. As we ourselves passed the truck only a second later, we looked back through the rear view mirror and saw that the motorcyclist had recovered himself. He was now driving soberly, utilizing his second chance with focus and wisdom.

devotees. The person who sets out on his journey to Kåñëa can never do justice to it by holding odious feelings in his or her heart against anybody. One bad thought has the power to make us lose focus on our goal and channel all our energy into ridicule. This abuse, whether physical, verbal, or mental, is detrimental to spiritual life. And we do not always get a second chance. A few moments of ill feeling toward somebody made the motorcyclist lose his balance. His Holiness Rädhänätha Swami said in one lecture, “When we forgive someone for the injustices against us, we liberate ourselves of the poison of that negativity that is within our own heart.”

ROAD BLOCKS IN LIFE Our spiritual path often brings us to a circumstance where we stand face to face with the one thing or person whom we hold responsible for pulling us back. Even after we’ve crossed the hurdle, we often wait to humiliate the “culprit.” When we’re offended in even the smallest of ways, we may find our peers encouraging us to seek revenge or at least not forgive until we see the guilty suffering repentance. Little do we realize that these obstacles (or persons) come by the arrangement of the Almighty with explicit lessons for us. Like the rider in the story, we can manage to find our way across most hurdles,but just as we’re about to pass through the problem, we step back to abuse its cause. This may be pleasing to the evilminded ego, but Kåñëa is pained to see it, especially when this fight occurs between two or more of His

FORGIVE AND FORGET: NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS Any such circumstance may remind one of Mahäräja Påthu. He was about to begin the sacrifice of the hundredth horse, the end of which would mark the end of a successful açvamedha-yajïa. But Indra, faced with this most powerful fruitive action, couldn’t tolerate Påthu’s sacrifice. In a fit of envy and unseen by anyone, he stole the sacrificial animal when the son of Vena was performing the last horse sacrifice meant to please the Lord of all sacrifice. King Indra confused religion with irreligion. (ÇrémadBhägavatam, Canto 4, Chapter 20) says, “The most intelligent of favor to others in this world, of God orman, belongs to the best human beings; they never resort to malice in relation to other living beings, as they never forget the soul within this vehicle of time.” But Mahäräja Påthu, out of his great compassion, decided to withdraw, and ended the

ceremony before he could complete it. By doing this, he immensely pleased Lord Viñëu. The Lord said, “My dear King, I am very captivated by your elevated qualities and excellent behavior, and thus I am very favorably inclined toward you. You may therefore ask from Me any benediction you like. One who does not possess elevated qualities and behavior cannot possibly achieve My favor simply by performance of sacrifices, severe austerities or mystic yoga. But I always remain equipoised in the heart of one who is also equipoised in all circumstances.” (Bhägavatam 4.20.16) Mahäräja Påthu apparently lost a lot. How many of us have the heart to reject the prestigious post of Indra? “It is easy to reject something when it’s not offered to us,” His Holiness Rädhänätha Swami said once. But would we really be losing something when we are able to please the Lord as part of our sacrifice? Indra had to complete one hundred horse sacrifices to earn his position, but Mahäräja Påthu, in his performance of only ninety-nine, not only won the heart of the Supreme Lord Çré Kåñëa but was offered any benediction he desired. What was it that pleased the Lord so much that He was willing to appear to Påthu? He was willing to forgive Indra his envy in stealing the sacrificial horse. Such is the greatness of forgiveness. Forgive-and-forget always seemed like something losers did— out of weakness.Then I realized that forgive-and-forget is precisely what losers don’t do.That’s what makes them losers. Rashi Parikh is a freelance graphic designer and lives in Mumbai.

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In your own words ... What do you think is the symbolism of spring? The budding light-green soft leaf; the flowering of yellow mustard seed plants; the fresh grass changing the color of the landscape; fragrant flowers blooming in abundance-this transformation is spring, the emergence of new life. It symbolizes the time when I took the path of Kåñëa consciousness seriously. The landscape of my life began to change. Association of professional and worldly friends changed to association of devotees and gurus who were storehouses of love. Reading of mundane novels and newspapers changed to acquiring the wealth of knowledge from ÇrémadBhägavatam and Caitanyacaritamåta. Humming of old film songs changed to singing bhajanas of the Vaiñëava äcäryas and chanting the holy names on sacred beads. Eating items favoring the taste buds changed to eating only kåñëaprasäda. As Çré Kåñëa in His yellow garments and Çrématé Rädhäräëé in Her yellowish golden complexion become more worshipable in spring, my commitment to the service of Çré Guru and Çré Kåñëa went deeper. —Kalyani Ajrekar, Mumbai

the enveloping worldly matter. The quintessential, sacred touch of the Bhagavad-gétä enlivens and renews our life and introduces us to ourselves—to our finer, more potent aspects, and unleashes our hidden spiritual potential. This divine intervention lifts us from a mediocre vision toward the realm of broader mental horizons. Filled with an unconditional love for humanity, we experience certain serenity, feeling as though our life were blessed by an unseen hand. This really is the true spring of life, the muchawaited spring, spreading its celestial fragrance all around us. —Dr. Aparna Chattopadhyay New Delhi

If Kåñëa consciousness comes, can spring be far behind in life? When His grace prevails over us, a blossoming takes place in our life— a blossoming of the spirit, an inner awakening. It fills us with divine faith and love, gradually and effortlessly unlocking our real self from

In India, the spring season is known as vasanta-åtu, the season of happiness. Our farms and gardens are full of flowers and greenery, and this renewal of nature provokes our energy and efficiency. The color of our Mother Earth is yellow, and during this season everything appears

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Spring means new, fresh beginning—leaving behind all grudges, misgivings, forgiving ourselves and others, learning something new for Kåñëa, loving everyone like we love our tender newborn, and working on a long neglected ailment. —Gayatri Gaitonde, Mumbai

yellow as if father God seems to meet it. The beauty of nature fills the heart with joy and makes us hale and hearty. It is certainly a merrymaking season. God, nature, and

The advent of spring

humans—all dance with full energy and are nourished by new hopes. Lord Kåñëa says in Çrémad Bhagavadgétä (10.35), åtünäà kusumäkaraù: “Of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.” That’s why celebrations are held in all Kåñëa temples during the two months of this season. —Swami Sumedhanand, Våndävana

IN YOUR OWN WORDS QUESTION FOR THE FORTHCOMING ISSUES

Which Kåñëa conscious practice reminds you of your relationship with Kåñëa the most? Deadline for submission is April 25

Answers will be published in June 2011

Word limit: 150 words/ 15 lines E-mail: ed.btgindia@pamho.net

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EVERY TOWN AND VILLAGE BOOK RELEASE Miracle on Second Avenue Author: Mukunda Goswami

ISKCON guru Mukunda Goswami’s long-awaited memoir of the early days of the Hare Krishna Movement in New York, San Francisco, and London—entitled Miracle on Second Avenue—was ceremonially “offered” to the Deities of Çré Çré Païcatattva at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal on February 23, 2011. Harmony and Bhagavad-gétä Author: Viçäkhä Devé Däsé Torchlight Publications This is a contemplative memoir from the enchanting Çaraëägati Valley, British Columbia, Canada. It demystifies the Géta, making its verses a clear source of enlightenment and personal development, and revealing why the reader needs the Géta’s wisdom. The book discusses contemporary concerns—the ecology, stewardship, interpersonal conflict, peaceful living, priorities, values—in a way that is easy to understand and of immediate importance to readers. REBUILDING AFTER EARTHQUAKE Christchurch, Nea Zealand: After a 6.3-magnitude earthquake completely destroyed their Deities and temple building on February 22, Christchurch devotees are trying to stay positive during one of the most difficult times in their lives. They have made a temporary home for the forms of Çréla Prabhupäda, Giriräja, and their small Gaura-Nitäi Deities, Who survived the earthquake, in a devotee’s house.

ISKCON IN CAPE VERDE ISLANDS Cape Verde, West Africa: Yadunandana Swami recently completed a twenty-day saìkértana expedition to Cape Verde, a cluster of ten islands off the coast of

Senegal, West Africa. It was the first time that Kåñëa consciousness has been systematically presented in the country. VALUE EDUCATION IN HYDERABAD Hyderabad, AP: ISKCON is set to open a play school to impart value-based education for children in Hyderabad. With an initial strength of 100 children, it will open on March 13 and provide pre-primary education and will be later extended up to the fourth standard.

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The International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Correct as of 28 Feb 2010

CENTRES IN INDIA Founder-Äcärya: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada

Agartala, Tripura— Tel. (0381) 22-7053/ Fax: (0381) 22-4780/ premadata@rediffmail.com; Ahmedabad, Gujarat— Tel. (079) 2686-1945, 1645, or 2350/jasomatinandan.acbsp@pamho.net; Allahabad, UP—Tel. (0532) 2416718. iskcon.allahabad @pamho.net, Website:www.iskconallahabad.com; Amritsar, Punjab— Tel. (0183) 2540177; Bangalore, Karnataka—Tel. (080) 23471956/ Fax: (080) 3578625/ ard@iskconbangalore.org; Bangalore, Karnataka— Tel: (080) 2356-5708/ Mobile 9844-234108/ vibhav.krishna.jps@pamho.net; Baroda, Gujarat— Tel. (0265) 231-0630, 233-1012 or 235-0885/basu.ghosh.acbsp@ pamho.net; Belgaum, Karnataka— Tel. (0831) 243-6267 or 2400108; Bharatpur, Rajasthan— Tel. (05644) 22044.; Bhubaneswar, Orissa—Tel. (0674) 255-3517, 253-3475, or 255-4283/ iskconbhubaneswar@rediffmail.com ; Brahmapur, Orissa—Tel. (0680) 2485720; Brahmapur, Orissa—Tel. (0680) 2350100, 09437179400/ panchratna.gkg@pamho.net; Cachar, Assam— Tel. (03842) 34615; Chandigarh— Tel. (0172) 260-1590 or 2603232/ bhaktivinode.gkg@pamho.net; Chennai, TN— Tel. (044) 24530921/23, 32911472; Coimbatore, TN— Tel. (0422) 2574508, 2574812, 2574813/ info@iskcon-coimbatore.org; Dwarka, Gujarat—Tel. (02892) 34606/ Fax: (02892) 34319; Ghaziabad, UP—Tel.(0120) 2824200, 09310969623/ snd-gkg@ rediffmail.com; Guwahati, Assam—Tel. (0361) 254-5963/ iskcon.guwahati@pamho.net; Hanumkonda, AP—Tel. (08712) 77399; Haridaspur, West Bengal—Tel. (03215) 57856; Haridwar, Uttaranchal— Tel. (01334) 260818/ Mobile: 9411371870.; Hyderabad, AP—Tel. (040) 2474-4969 or 2460-7089/ vedantacaitanya@pamho.net.; Imphal, Manipur—Tel. (0385) 2455693, manimandir@sancharnet.in; Indore, Madhya Pradesh— Tel. (0731) 4972665; Jagatsinghpur, Orissa— Tel. (06724) 238112/ E-mail: srigopalccd@yahoo.co.in; Jaipur, Rajasthan—Tel. (0141) 2782765 or 2781860/ jaipur@pamho.net; Jammu, J&K—Tel. (0191) 2582306 Jhansi, U.P.— Tel. (0510)2443602; Kanpur, U.P.—Tel. 09307188117, E-mail: iskcon.kanpur@pamho.net; Katra, J&K —Tel. (01991) 233047; Kharghar, Maharashtra—Tel. (+91)9820039911/ iskcon.kharghar@gmail.com; Kolkata—Tel. (033) 2287 3757/ 6075/8242/ Fax: (033) 247-8515/ iskcon.calcutta@pamho.net; Kurukshetra, Haryana—Tel. (01744) 234806.; Lucknow, UP— Tel. (0522) 223556 or 271551; Ludhiana, Punjab—Tel. (161) 2770600 or(161) 3118897 or 98159-40005/ iskcon.ludhiana@pamho.net; Madurai, TN—Tel. (0452) 2746472.; Mangalore, Karnataka—Tel. (0824) 2423326 or 2442756, 9844325616; Mayapur, WB—Tel. (03472) 245239, 245240 or 245233/ Fax: (03472) 245238/ mayapur.chandrodaya@ pamho.net; Mira Road, Maharashtra—Tel. (022) 2811-7795 or 7796/ Fax: (022) 2811-8875/ jagjivan.gkg@pamho.net; Moirang, Manipur— Tel. 795133; Mumbai-Chowpatty, Maharashtra— Tel. (022) 2366-5500/ Fax: (022) 2366-5555/ radha.krishna.rns@ pamho.net; Mumbai-Juhu, Maharashtra—Tel. (022) 2620-6860/ Fax: (022) 2620-5214/ iskcon.juhu@pamho.net; Nadia, West Bengal—Tel. (03473) 281150 or 281226/ shyamrup.jps@pamho.net; Nagpur, Maharashtra—Tel. (0712) 6994730, 937015638/ 9371064102/9423635311/ iskcon.nagpur@pamho.net; Nasik, Maharastra—Tel. (0253) 6450005/ 9850071227/ siksastakam.rns @pamho.net; Nellore, AP—Tel. 0861-2314577/ Mobile: 9215536589/ sukadevaswami@gmail.com, New Delhi—Tel. (011)26235133/ Fax: (011) 2621-5421 or 2628-0067/ neel.sunder@pamho.net; New Delhi—Tel. 25222851, 25227478, 55136200.; Noida, UP—Tel. (095120) 245-4912 or 245-5015/ vraja.bhakti.vilas.lok@pamho.net; Pandharpur, Maharashtra— Tel. (02186) 267242 or 267266/ Mobile: 9423335991/

iskcon.pandharpur@pamho.net; Patna, Bihar— Tel. (0612) 687637 or 685081/ Fax: (0612) 687635/ krishna.kripa.jps@pamho.net; Pune, Maharashtra—Tel. (020) 41033222, 41033223/ iyfpune@vsnl.com; Puri, Orissa—Tel. (06752) 231440; Raipur, Chhatisgarh— Tel. (0771) 5037555, 9893276985/ iskconraipur@yahoo.com; Salem, TN— Tel. (0427) 2360012, 9442153427 iskcon.salem@pamho.net; Secunderabad, AP—Tel. (040) 780-5232/ Fax: (040) 814021; Siliguri, WB— Tel. 09800865104/ Email: abd@pamho.net; Solapur, Maharashtra— Tel. 09371178393; Sri Rangam, TN—Tel. (0431) 433945; Surat, Gujarat—Tel. (0261) 2765891 or 2765516/ surat@pamho.net; Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala—Tel. (0471) 2328197. jsdasa@yahoo.co.in; Tirupati, AP—Tel. (0877) 2231760, 2230009 Guest House Booking: guesthouse.tirupati@pamho.net; Udhampur, J&K— Tel. (01992) 270298 or 276146; Ujjain, MP— Tel. 0734-235000/ Fax: 0734-2536000/ iskcon.ujjain@pamho.net; Vellore—Tel. 0416-2241654, 9790392143/ akinchan_bvks97 @rediffmail.com; Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat—Tel. (02692) 230796 or 233012; Varanasi, UP—Tel. (0542) 276422 or 222617; Vijayawada, AP—Tel.(08645) 272513/ mmdasiskconvijayawada @gmail.com; Vishakapatnam, AP—Tel. (0891) 5537625/ samba.jps@pamho.net; Vrindavan, UP—Tel. (0565) 254-0021 (Guesthouse:) 254-0022/ Fax: (0565) 254-0053/ vrindavan@pamho.net; (Guesthouse:); Warangal, AP—Tel. (08712) 426182

V AIÑËAVA C ALENDAR 1 April 2011 - 15 May 2011

8 Apr: Çré Rämänujäcärya – Appearance 12 Apr: Räma Navamé: Appearance of Lord Çré Rämacandra (Fasting till noon) 14 Apr: Fasting for Kämadä Ekädaçi 15 Apr: Break fast (Mumbai) 06:22 am - 10:33 am, Damaëakaropaëa Dvädaçé, Tulasé Jala Däna begins. 18 Apr: Çré Balaräma Räsayäträ, Çré Kåñëa Vasanta Räsa, Çré VaàçévadanaÖhäkura – Appearance, Çré Çyämänanda Prabhu – Appearance 24 Apr: Çré Abhiräma Öhäkura – Disappearance 27 Apr: Çréla Våndävana däsa Öhäkura – Disappearance 28 Apr: Fasting for Varüthiné Ekädaçi 29 Apr: Break fast (Mumbai) 09:57 am - 10:28 am 3 May: Çré Gadädhara Paëòita – Appearance 6 May: Akñaya Tåtéyä. Candana Yäträ starts. (Continues for 21 days) 10 May: Jähnu Saptamé 12 May: Çrématé Sitä Devé (consort of Lord Çré Räma) – Appearance, Çré Madhu Paëòita – Disappearance, Çrémati Jähnavä Devé – Appearance 14 May: Fasting for Mohini Ekädaçi, Rukmiëé Dvädaçé, Tulasé Jala Däna ends. 15 May: Break fast (Mumbai) 06:04 am - 10:24 am, Çré Jayänanda Prabhu – Disappearance APRIL 2011

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EDITORIAL

Would You Rather Reign in Laìkä Than Serve in Ayodhyä?

I

met him in my morning walk. He is employed in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation as a sweeper. Every time I enter the municipal park I see him collecting trash and keeping the walkway clean. This time he saw me and said, “Hare Räma Hare Kåñëa.” I too responded, “Hare Räma Hare Kåñëa.” The next day he decided to change his greeting and seeing me enter the garden shouted, “Jaya Hanumän.” I responded, “Jaya Hanumän.” Our wavelengths matched. He came over and asked in a very friendly tone, “Is Hanumän a real person?” I smiled. I walked up to him and explained in as easy terms as possible about the evidence for Hanumän’s existence. Then we discussed about the glories of Hanumän’s love for his lord, Çré Räma. How once Hanumän tore opened his chest in order to find the enshrined lord of his heart and His beloved consort inside, and also how he jumped all the way up to Lanka to find Sétä and wreak havoc on Rävaëa’s evil city. As we are chatting one security guard unexpectedly (or expectedly, for it is common for us Indians to take part in an informal chat) asks me about räma-räjya—or the way in which Lord Rämacandra ruled over his subjects. Indians continue to wax over the bounties of having a glorious king like Räma but seem oblivious to the conditions which have to be fulfilled before we can have such a king. Çréla Prabhupäda talks about the disadvantages of democracy and the shortcomings of tyrannical rule by despotic tyrants. Don’t get me wrong—democracy is the most popular form of governance today, but it is hopelessly inadequate to stop criminals from abusing it. I was under the impression that it is actually difficult to convince the general populace about the importance of having a good king rule over us. I asked both of them that how can we complain about the lack of good politicians when we (the voting public) are the ones to place them in office? Isn’t it a fact that in a democracy the masses have nobody to blame but themselves. But to my surprise the security guard said

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matter-of-factly, “Actually society is happy under a good king?” I exclaimed (to myself, of course), “How right Çréla Prabhupäda is!” In a poem of eight stanzas (called Vaiçiñöyäñöakam) Çréla Prabhupäda paints a perfect picture of räma-räjya. He begins by asking the paramount question: Why do people cry for rämaräjya? Räma-räjya means a happy, perfect life. But the only cause of such a räma-räjya would be a God-centered kingdom. During Lord Kåñëa’s times he sat Yudhiñöhira on the king’s throne and the whole world became full of wealth and fortune. The rivers, streams, trees, fields and hills were all producing abundantly. And the cows were so full of milk that they floated in the abundance. The birds, beasts and animals were all free of envy. All this happened only because of the personal qualities of the king. Even a cursory glance at the headlines today can give us an idea of how far are we from such an achievement. Today’s leaders have personal assets matching their country’s foreign debts; the leaders’ ill-gotten wealth is stashed away in some secret bank account (the account is so secret that sometimes even his own family members are not allowed to access them, and as a result after the leader’s death the whole thing is transferred to the banks’ assets). Why such madness? Where will it all end? In his Bhagavad-gétä purports, Çréla Prabhupäda suggests a formula for making a positive change. First and foremost is the training imparted to future leaders that the royal order is meant for the protection of inhabitants. More specifically this protection is from material bondage to lust. Secondly, human life is meant for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. And the most important component of any kind of spirituality is to understand the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord. The royal order has to utilize three kinds of methodologies to impart lessons to their masses—education, culture and devotion. — Çyämänanda Däsa

APRIL 2011

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