Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
That’s when I came up with the idea of chanting at the park. Devotees can sit around the park and chant. We can even call it “Krsna Picnic."
I talked to Lalita didi about it and she was excited to do this. But it had to be after the Kartik month since she was going for parikrama. I also talked to some other devotees and they were just as eager.
Nitai Gauranga Jaya!! Gaura Hari!!!
Unfortunately, a day before the scheduled nagar sankirtan, Lalita didi had some emergency meeting. She informed that a senior Vaishnavi, Srimati Uma didi was coming for a stop over before flying off to Oakland.
Also, whomever I’ve requested to come could not make it as well.
I assured Lalita didi that it was alright and perhaps I will take Uma didi to the park instead. I’ve known Uma didi for a long time. She is such a sweet, gentle and great soul.
So on Sunday (15th November), as soon as I parked my car outside our preaching centre, a loud clap of thunder was heard. The whole day seemed fairly ok, and I feared of a heavy down pour.
I quickly went to the centre, met Uma didi and her assistant Rangavati didi and mentioned of my intentions. They very happily decided to join in the harinama chanting. This despite the fact they flew in only that morning.
We headed to the park, less than 5 minutes drive and picked a spot. We chanted loudly for about an hour. People passed us by. Some noticed, some nodded, some ignored. Many families were there with their children. Some playing, some just sitting by and some doing their evening exercises.
After that I took out my home made almond cookies prasadam and we relished it together. I also mentioned to Uma didi, how Srila Gurudeva used walk around the perimeters of the lake in the park.
Home-made almond cookies
Soon little silver droplets from the heavens started to sprinkle upon us. We made it to the car and headed towards the centre.
Later that evening Uma didi spoke on the importance of nagar sankirtan. (will blog about the class soon).
All's well, that ends well.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This ashram is being opened today. What is its position? In Srimad Bhagavatam we find:
vanam tu sattviko vaso gramo rajasa ucyate
“Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I (the Supreme Lord) reside is transcendental.”
Rajasa-vasa is a life where one is engaged in various activities in the uplifting of society, the world and civilization. That is rajasa, where a maximum amount of energy is spent to improve the paraphernalia where we live to make us comfortable.
Tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam is a life without caring for any social life, only for the maximum amount of sense pleasure and minimum amount of giving to others, to society or any paraphernalia. It is a reckless life, a life in the clubhouse or hotel – something like that. It is irresponsible life – tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam.
Man-niketam tu nirgunam – if we spend our life in the house of the Lord, we may live in any amount of grandeur, or anything of the type – but still it is nirgunam, because we are not masters there, we are servants.
In the vana-vasa, we lead so simple a life with a minimum of material things with which we surround ourselves to live, but still there, we are masters to command others. Here we are all servants – everything is to be served. Whatever we shall see, all around, even a tree, even a creeper or even a particle of dust is to be served and is not to be enjoyed or renounced. That is the form of life, a life of worship, a life of devotion. It is not only to please the Lord but also all of His paraphernalia and to see that they are also serving the Supreme Entity. With this idea – to be a serving factor in the all-serving environment of the Lord – this is man-niketam tu nirgunam.
So, we have come here to a nirguna life, crossing all sorts of relativities of this material world, whatever conception it may be, and to learn that isavasyam idam sarvam, the fundamental truth given in the Isopanisad, that isavasyam idam sarvam – everything here is the presence of the Supreme Entity, the Supreme Lord. With this conception we are to live in such a training house.
I was told that in Back to Godhead one gentleman wrote that the so-called universities, colleges, and schools are slaughterhouses. I am very much pleased with this idea. Yes. They are nothing but slaughterhouses, and this sort of institution, that our Guru Maharaja (Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) has inaugurated in this world is to uplift us and all jivas toward the worship and loving service of the Supreme Entity. Each is like an oasis in the desert. They are life-giving and not flattering institutions, like so many educational institutions that we find.
Sa vijna mammate jaya – where this sort of training comes, that goes towards the centre, towards reality, towards beauty, towards harmony, towards a solution of life, towards nectar giving life – these institutions are only helpful and this is necessary.
Once Madana-mohana Malaviya, a famous leader in the recent history of India, came to visit our Guru Maharaja and after listening to his words he told, “Every village should have one centre of your Divine Grace.” But our Guru Maharaja answered in return that, “I want to make everybody a temple of the Lord, every human being, every human body I want to make a temple therein, not only villages.” So, that was his idea.
prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
With this idea he started his mission, Gaudiya Math, Gaudiya Mission. And we are seeing that Swami Maharaja (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja) by his grace, he is able to spread it around India and throughout the world and different continents. We are very happy to see new faces around us for the preaching purpose and spreading the news of Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and Sriman Mahaprabhu, and the vision of Sri Krsna and His beloved.
There are elevationists, there are renunciates, but we are servitors. Geham jusam api mansy udiyat sada nah – true to the kindred point of the heaven and the heart. Cloister and the heart, the knowledge of these – but the hearts has been made the cloister. The gopi-bhajana is to make the heart the cloister. Not that the cloister has a separate place. The heart is the cloister and this is only possible with the Krsna conception of Godhead. All will be converted wholesale, every nook and corner. Nothing should be left out. No vacancy should be left out for any other purpose but to devote all respects to the Supreme Entity, to be faithful to the extreme. Nothing should be left. This is only possible in the Krsna conception of Godhead (akhila rasamrta murti). All sorts of ecstasy, happiness, and everything of the type can be possible in its divine form when we find Sri Krsna as the Supreme Lord and nowhere else.
One western gentleman told that there are many conceptions of religion in different parts of the world, but we do not find any conception of religion where twenty-four hours can be devoted in the service of the Supreme Lord. Not only engaged on Sunday, not only twice in the day, not only thrice in the day, but every hour and second should be devoted in the service of the Supreme Entity and then nothing will be left behind. This sort of service is only possible in kirtaniya sada harih and in the asta-kaliya-lila of Sri Krsnachandra Himself in the madhurya-rasa. Sri Chaitanyadeva came down to this world to preach that, to give that nectarine life to one and all. Nrmatrasy-adhikarita – take the Name of the Lord and you will find yourself in His harem one day. For religion, money is not necessary, physical energy in great quantity is not necessary, nor are other helping things necessary. Only try to take the Name sincerely.
It should be acquired through the right channel, otherwise there will be some disturbance tampering with it. Trade in the name of religion is also going on here and there, and we should save ourselves from those difficulties by following a bona-fide path. So, on the day of the advent of Sri Krsna Chaitanya, which means serving Krsna in all aspects, this laudable attempt is being done in great quantity by our Svami Maharaja. We are very happy to get the chance to attend this function. Swami Maharaja ki jaya!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Also, there are those who are bent on saying they cannot get along with non-devotees. They rather not work for them and find all kinds of excuses just to be judgemental about non-devotees.
I personally feel such persons are living on a self-denial mode. Krsna is in everyone’s heart. If we know how to conduct ourselves as devotees, then even the non-devotees will know how to reciprocate with us.
It is not that now ‘I am initiated, I should only be with devotee group.’ Although, there is no doubt it is for good association, we must not neglect the outside world when we are not ready to do so. Artificial renunciation is definitely not accepted.
Why not start making friends with them and slowly bring them to Krsna consciousness. After all we are Krsna’s one big family.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
(Devotee): I have given up everything. My job, my house, my family, my wealth. Everyhing!
(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja): Yes, that is monkey renunciation.
(One who has really given up would not realise they have given up anything. Only a great soul, maha-bhagavata knows our hearts.)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
When we point a finger at others, 3 other fingers are pointing at us.
It is difficult to clean our own backyard first, but by constant chanting and praying, it is possible for us to cross over this insurmountable task. Therefore, we must constantly beg for the mercy of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaishnavas.
Monday, August 31, 2009
It sure was a frantic night, having to stage a drama on Krsna-lila called Dan-ghati or toll collection. The children whose ages range from 5 to 18 years did a good job performing on Radhasthami. They were really nervous. Performing in front of so many people obviously saw some glitches.
3 days later, with a proper stage put up, courtesy by one of the parents, the children were to perform live yet again. Now, in front of Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja and Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja.
All the kids came to the temple at around 6:30 p.m. or earlier. I did a trial run on stage with them, pointing out their positioning and everything. It was almost 7:00 p.m. One of the main actress as "Srimati Radhika" was no where to be found. After some panic, one of the older girls in the cast said, "'Srimati Radhika" will come, and that she will be delayed as she had to attend a function."
The time now was almost 7:30 p.m. Panic turned into desperation. The younger ones were almost in tears as they were practising really hard for this drama. They certainly don't want their drama to be cancelled because of this one missing actress!
That's when the neighbour girl, Zara, about 8 years old, was watching us rehearse. Her grandmother gestured her to behave over the wall fencing.
I really did not know what came over me. I coolly walked over to her grandmother and said, "O she can watch us rehearse. It's alright. In fact, your grand-daughter is going to take part."
Zara's grandmother simply smiled and nodded her head.
What happened later was a miracle of sorts. I scuttled Zara and the rest of the cast into an empty room in the temple to change into their costumes. Obviously, Zara did not have any "gopi dress" or what so ever with her.
We had to get another girl's skirt and blouse. Luckily she brought an extra. The skirt was too big and we had to pull it up all the way to her chest and secure it with pins. Then came the blouse and a golden belt. I roped in another lady devotee, Gomathi didi, to do Zara's make-up and hair.
And so we had our replacement "Srimati Radhika." All I had to tell Zara was to learn up the simple dance steps and I will mimick her voice. Voila!!! Perfect.
Everyone cooperated. The rest of the cast, I believe gave another 10% more because of Zara.
What did I learn from all this. ----- Krsna arranges everything. He can create a drama within a drama. Now, it's up to this insignificant soul to propel even further.
Zara, looking all dolled up as "Srimati Radhika."
Zara and the rest of the cast performing a dance. The "gopis" are taking many palatable food-stuffs for the yajna of Bhaguri Rsi.
"Krsna" stops the "gopis" and demands toll from the "gopis." This angers "Lalita-devi."
"Krsna" claims He is married to Vrnda-devi. And anything that belongs to the wife automatically belongs to the husband. "Vrnda-devi" then denies having anything to do with "Krsna."
"Krsna" and the gopas did not care. They forcible took the "gopis" offerings.
Later the "gopis" hatched a plan to teach the gopas and "Krsna" a lesson. They made "Srimati Radhika" walk alone with many palatable foodstuffs. "Krsna" demanded toll. Just then all the "gopis" came out of hiding and beat up the "gopas." "Krsna" was made to wear a skirt and the "gopis" did abhishek of Him.
The cast beat the boys in Kung-fu style!!
"Krsna" and the "gopas" asks forgiveness from "Srimati Radhika" and proclaims that She is the Queen of Vrindavan.
The cast singing the Maha-mantra dikir barat style.
Singing the glories of the Lord.
Sweet Zara with Nitya, Vidya, Yasodhan, Arvind Junior, Arvind Senior, Radha-priya and Tamal-kishen with their presents.
The cast cutting a cake with Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja.
Later Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja told me, "O this drama should appear in TV!!"
(Phew! As far as I am concerned: 'All is well, that ends well. Krsna is behind all our drama.)
I really must thank my students Darren Chan who lend his CD player for Janmasthami, Mr. Wong Peng Nam for repairing his CD player, Joee Heng for assisting me during the play on Janmasthami and downloading the songs, Rachel Lau for giving me her pom-pom to make "Krsna's" flute look really attractive and her cousin Louis for downloading the songs and last but not least Zara for standing in as the replacement for "Srimati Radhika."
These souls do not have an inkling what Krsna consciousness is all about. Little do they know how much spiritual piety they have accumulated. Only Krsna can repay them.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Only when we actually do seva without enjoying the results of it, we are on our way to peace and bliss. Everything is in Srila Gurudeva's hand. Success or otherwise, if it gives pleasure to the Divine Couple, then so be it. We have to accept.
O When will I realise such truths?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
I want a nice big car and house,
I want a good husband,
I want a beautiful wife,
I want delicious foodstuffs,
I want lots and lots of money.
Always wanting this and that. Most of the time we contemplate of these things.
Why not start to want:
I want to serve the Vaishnavas more,
I want Sri Guru to sit in my heart,
I want the Divine Couple to sit in my heart,
I want to see only the good in others,
I want to see the bad in me,
I want to go home, back to Godhead.
O I want these prayers answered.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
So, are we the doers?
Sometime back His Holiness Hrishikesh Maharaja mentioned what Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja said about service.
"It is not the service itself. But the attitude towards the service."
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
When we arrived here, Lalita didi wanted to go inside the temple premises to check things out. I said I will wait for her outside near a stall with a big shady umbrella. Many people passed by me. Some did not even bother to look. I tried really hard to distribute. The heat was getting to me.
I was thinking to myself: “What am I doing? Am I able to distribute here?”
The gentleman who was manning his sweets-stall asked me to come closer towards his shady umbrella. Out of desperation I said: “I will, if you take a book from me.”
The man smiled. And I was like: “O Krsna, Gurudeva, how am I to do this?!”
After about 20 minutes, the man came up to me and asked my name. I then handed out our preaching centre’s address. We exchanged names and what do you know, he bought a book!!
By this time, Lalita didi came out and we thought we will wait at the junction towards the temple. It was much cooler there as the road was lined up with some nice shady trees.
As we were walking I spotted a familiar face at one the many make-shift stalls selling all kinds of everything. The individual was another “missing-in-action” devotee. I called out to this person. Startled, the devotee returned a wide, warm smile. While talking, other book distributors from the centre joined us.
Now my spirits were high. Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja, Krsna Kanta Brahmacari, Prem Ras Prabhu, Jaya Govinda Prabhu and Ramesh Prabhu were very happy to see us both.
Somehow after that my distribution techniques changed. I would shove our centre’s address to whomever I met. And then place a book in their hands. This would be followed by a small amount of donation.
I also learnt one very valuable lesson during my book distribution. These books are transcendental personalities. They would decide on whose hands They wished to go.
A case in point. It was almost 5:00 p.m. I was thinking of making one last hit before calling it off. Besides Lalita didi wanted to head home and so did the rest of the party of book distributors. I walked up and down the sweltering heat. I managed to give out the invitation to our centre but not one person wanted to give even RM1.00 for a book of considerable thickness. I tried to appeal to them by saying 3 books for RM10.00 or even RM5.00, but no one wanted it.
I thought to myself that I have to call it quits. I headed where the rest of the party was and started packing my stuff.
And what do you know. A young lady rushes to me and gushed, “Are you Hare Krsnas?” I want the Mahabharata. It’s for my friend.”
I was taken aback and told her I don’t have those but I have the ‘Essence of Bhagavad-gita’ and others. She looked at them and bought 2 books right away!
Book distribution really opens up a new understanding about Them. That They are the masters and we are the servants taking Them around. They decide on whom They wish to shower Their causeless mercy.
As for a desperate book distributor like me, well, in trying to help others, I’m actually helping myself.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
One god-brother who was "missing-in-action" for a long time, decided to join us at this function as well. He said house programmes are more convenient for him to attend as it does not clash with his work commitments.
Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja explaining the importance of chanting to the 2 university students.
Listening intently to Hari-Katha
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Once there was a guru living in an ashram on the bank of the Gangä with a few brahmacari, celibate students, disciples. He was engaging them in varieties of devotional service, like cooking, serving prasädam, gardening, cleaning pots, taking care of the cows, etc.