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Vol 10, No. 12   Dec 2009

Vol 10, No.12                           Dec 2009

Liberation In Service to Lord Krishna
                               A lecture in Vrindavana on November 2, 1972,
has become freed from the three modes of material nature. After being freed from those three modes, then one
can talk of v...
koti means millions. So there are unlimited universes. And in each universe there are millions and trillions of planets,
                Become A Rascal And Suffer
Here we continue an exchange between His Divine Gra...
spiritual platform."                                             "pleasure." Who is stopping you? Enjoy this "pleasure."
News from Mysore
                                               Celebrated on October 18,
Akshaya Patra wins Tech Museum Award 2009
                                                              The Akshaya Patra ...
Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Akhanda Parayana
                                               ISKCON Bangalore’s Sri Krishna
Curbing The Animal Instinct                   by Vishnurata Dasa
Since a major cause of car accidents is inattention, a si...
The Bhagavad-gita was important to Srila Prabhupada.                                                                      ...
Wade shared his thoughts about Prabhupada’s                     Prabhupada’s Gita went on to become the most important
Once the illustration was submitted to the publisher,           “There is little question that this edition is one of the
Evidence for Krishna                         by Nagaraja Dasa
People who doubt there’s life after death
sometimes say, “No...
Kuchipudi Arts Academy’s dance drama
“Sri Krishna Parijatam” was a colourful
performance by a cast of expert dancers.
The artists of Chennai’s Kalakshetra
                          Foundation had the audience spellbound with
The artists of Kalakshetra also staged “Sabari
     Moksham” from the Ramayana series. The dance
     drama follows the ep...
The eagle king Jatayu battles Ravana to save Sita (above) but in vain. His wings are cut off by the
  demon and he stays a...
After Sita is kidnapped by Ravana in his flying chariot (above) Rama and Lakshmana search
        the forest. The old asce...
Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 12(dec)
Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 12(dec)
Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 12(dec)
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Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 12(dec)


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Madhu Pandit Dasa the president of ISKCON Bangalore | Madhu Pandit the chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

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Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 12(dec)

  1. 1. Vol 10, No. 12 Dec 2009 Rs.15
  2. 2. Vol 10, No.12 Dec 2009 CONTENTS Liberation In Service to Lord Krishna 4 Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out 8 Curbing The Animal Instinct 13 The Macmillan Miracle 14 Evidence for Krishna 18 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder- Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to Please chant... America in 1965, at age 69, to fulfill Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare his spiritual master’s request that he ...and be happy! teach the science of Krishna consciousness throughout the English- Published and owned by Sankirtana Seva Trust, speaking world. In a dozen years he editing by Chamari Devi Dasi. published some seventy volumes of Layout, design and graphics by ISKCON Design translation and commentary on India’s Group, Bangalore. Vedic literature, and these are now For all information contact: Editor, Krishna standard in universities worldwide. Voice, SST, Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Bangalore - 560 010 INDIA Phone: 91-80-2347 Meanwhile, travelling almost nonstop, 1956, 91-80-2357 8346 Fax: 91-80-2357 8625. Srila Prabhupada moulded his © 2009 Sankirtana Seva Trust, Bangalore. All international society into a world wide Krishna art and the works of Srila Prabhupada confederation of ashramas, schools, are © BBT International. temples and farm communities. He All rights reserved throughout the world. passed away in 1977, in Vrindavana, Reproduction in any manner is strictly prohibited. the place most sacred to Lord Krishna. Printed for ISKCON, Bangalore, at Manipal His disciples and followers are carrying Printers (P) Ltd., Manipal. forward the movement he started. Cover pages-4 Text pages-24 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 3
  3. 3. Liberation In Service to Lord Krishna A lecture in Vrindavana on November 2, 1972, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ato vai kavayo nityam bhaktim paramaya muda vasudeve bhagavati kurvanty atma-prasadanim "Therefore all transcendentalists have been rendering loving service with great delight to Lord Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, from time immemorial because such devotional service is enlivening to the self. (Srimad- Bhagavatam 1.2.22) Atma means self, mind, or body. We are living in three stages: the bodily concept of life, the mental concept of life, and the spiritual concept of life. Those who are grossly in ignorance think in terms of the bodily concept of life. Those who are a little more advanced think in terms of the mental or psychological concept of life. And those who are still more advanced think in terms of the spiritual concept of life. The spiritual concept of life was described in a previous verse: vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam. Tattvam means truth. The truth is spirit, not matter. Matter is truth but subordinate to spirit. On the basis of spirit, matter grows, just as our body has grown on the basis of our spiritual existence. So spiritual realization is the ultimate goal of our life. Jivasya tattva-jijnasa nartho yas ceha karmabhih. Inquiry about the truth is the main business of the living entity. But living entities lower than human beings—animals, birds, beasts, trees, aquatics, insects—have no privilege to inquire about the Absolute Truth. It is in the human form of life that one can inquire about the Absolute Truth. When one is actually inquisitive about the Absolute Truth, he realizes three transcendental subjects: brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate—the all-pervading Brahman, the localized Supersoul, and Bhagavan, the Personality of Godhead. Ultimately one has to reach the platform of Bhagavan, Vasudeva. Vasudeva sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah. One who reaches the point of understanding Vasudeva, Krishna, is the perfect mahatma. Others may be transcendentalists (kovidah, "men of knowledge"), but one who has reached the point of understanding Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is called mahatma. Mahatma is a very common word in India. Any saintly person is called a mahatma. But according to Vedic description, a mahatma is one who has reached the point of understanding Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In another place it is stated: mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimuktes tamo-dvaram yositam sangi-sangam. There are two ways of life. One way is liberation, and the other way is bondage. For example, when a reel of thread turns one way it draws in the thread, and when it turns the other way it releases the thread. Similarly, we can lead our life in two ways, either towards liberation or towards the darkness of bondage. By gradual evolution we come to the human form of life. Now we can move in two ways, either towards liberation or towards bondage. Modern education has no information about bondage and liberation. There is no education to enable students to understand God, themselves, and their relationship with God, Vishnu. These things are unknown to the modern educationist. The Vedic literature therefore says, andhah yathandhair upaniyamanas te 'pisa-tantryam uru-dhamni-baddhah. Uru means "very strong." Dhamni means "rope." If your hands and legs are tied strongly, it is very difficult for you to move. Similarly, by the laws of nature every living entity is bound up very strongly—isa-tantrya, "by the laws of the Supreme Lord." We are bound up. We cannot deviate. We cannot violate the laws of nature. Everyone can experience this. A little violation, a little deviation from the laws of nature, and we suffer. That is our daily experience. For example, the laws of nature dictate that you can eat only as much as you can digest. If you eat more, by the laws of nature you will suffer from indigestion. You cannot violate the law without suffering. Daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya. Nobody can violate the laws of nature. We have discussed how to get out of the laws of nature: mukta-sangasya jayate. Mukta-sanga means one who Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 5
  4. 4. has become freed from the three modes of material nature. After being freed from those three modes, then one can talk of vasudeva-bhakti. From another point of view, one can become free from this bondage of material nature simply by devotional service to Vasudeva. That is stressed in this chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam from the very beginning: vasudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogah prayojitah janayaty asu vairagyam jnanam ca yad ahaitukam If one simply learns how to render devotional service to Vasudeva, Krishna, then very soon one becomes detached from material bondage. And one gets knowledge, real knowledge. Material knowledge is the cause of bondage. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that advancement of material knowledge means more and more bondage. And advancement of spiritual knowledge means more and more liberation. Our problem, therefore, is how to liberate ourselves from material bondage. We are bound up. I am a spirit soul, you are a spirit soul, but we are put into material bondage. And because we are in material bondage we have no freedom. People do not understand this. The spirit soul is described as sarva-ga. Sarva-ga means that the spirit soul can go anywhere he likes. But due to this material bondage—because we have material bodies—we are checked. We cannot even go to other planets. Of course, the yogis by yogic processes become a little free from this material body. Therefore they can transfer from one place to another very quickly—even yogis who are on the material platform. On this planet they travel very quickly. There are many yogis still in India who take bath in four places daily early in the morning. They take bath in Jagannatha Puri, Rameshvaram, Haridwar, and Dvaraka. We met some yogis, and they said how quickly they can go from one place to another. From our own experience we can all understand how they can do this. Just consider the mind. The mind is so swift that in a second it can reach thousands of miles away. And the spirit soul is still more subtle. So the speed of the spirit soul is very, very great. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, tayktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna: "Just after giving up this body, one can immediately come to Me in the spiritual world." These are the Vedic statements. You can try to understand. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti—we accept another body immediately after death. When you are walking you take your second step when your first step is secure. Similarly as soon as the next body is arranged by superior arrangement, we give up the present body and enter into another gross body. This is the law. So Krishna says, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. If the living entity does not enter into another gross body, where does he go? Krishna says, mam eti: "He comes to Me." Now, imagine the speed of the spirit soul. Just after leaving the body at death he immediately goes to Goloka Vrindavana, or at least to where Krishna is, to join Krishna's nitya-lila, His eternal pastimes. How Krishna's nitya-lila are going on has been described in the Chaitanya-charitamrita. Krishna is always present in one of the universes in His bhauma-lila, His pastimes in the material world. Lord Chaitanya has given the example of the movement of the sun. By the movement of the sun, we divide the day into twenty-four hours, into sixty minutes, into sixty seconds. Yet each time of the day is always existing. For example, our sunrise today was at six-thirty. This six-thirty passed here, but somewhere else it is now six-thirty. And when six-thirty passes there, somewhere else it will be six-thirty. Similarly, Krishna is passing from one universe to another, and when He's visible in this universe, we find Krishna's appearance. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has informed us that a soul who has become competent to associate with Krishna goes first of all to Krishna within some universe where He is having His pastimes, bhauma-lila. Then, just as a person is trained as an apprentice and then given a post, so when a living entity eligible by Krishna consciousness gives up his body he is transferred at once to the universe where Krishna is. And after being trained up thoroughly, he's transferred to the original Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrindavana. How swift the spirit soul is—in a moment he goes either to Krishna or to one of the universes! There are millions and trillions of universes. We have information of our universe, but from Vedic literature we get information that there are millions and trillions of universes like this. We can see only one universe. But we get this information from Brahma-samhita: yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti. The word jagad-anda means one universe. And 6 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  5. 5. koti means millions. So there are unlimited universes. And in each universe there are millions and trillions of planets, each different from the others. This is the creation. So just imagine the vastness of God's creation, how He enters every universe continually, and how His lila is going on. As soon as Krishna's birth is finished in one universe, immediately in another universe His birth takes place. This is called nitya-lila. So the spirit soul has immense power, and the soul is only a fragment of Krishna. Now you can imagine the power of Krishna. The living entity has so many potencies. So what potency must Krishna have, who is full of spiritual potency? Actually if we want to be happy, as part and parcel of Krishna, we must join Him. That is our value. This example I have given several times: a small screw from a machine has immense value when it is attached to the machine. But the same small screw when detached from the machine has no value. Not even a farthing. Similarly, we are part and parcel of Krishna, Vasudeva. Our value is in full when we join Krishna, when we dovetail our activities in Krishna consciousness. Then we are valuable. Otherwise, so-called progress is simply illusion. Therefore if we actually want happiness, we must dovetail our activities with Krishna, Vasudeva. It is for your interest. It is not for Krishna's interest. Krishna can create millions of living entities like you. He doesn't require your service. He's complete. But if you want your satisfaction, you have to dovetail yourself in devotional service to Krishna. That is intelligence. Otherwise—foolishness, ignorance, illusion. Thank you very much. Dasara Dolls Fest As a part of the Dasara celebrations, a dolls festival was organized at ISKCON, Bangalore. The special attraction was the Shesha Shayana Alankara by Smt. Anu Vishveshwar. The scene depicts Lord Vishnu lying on the serpent Ananta while He is being served by Srimati Lakshmidevi at His lotus feet. Lord Brahma is seated on the lotus flower that emanates from the navel of Lord Vishnu. The scene is witnessed by Narada Muni and Garuda Deva - two exalted devotees of the Lord. Fasting Festivals Dec 12 Ekadashi Dec 28 Vaikuntha Ekadashi Dec 13 break fast Jan 2 Ratha Yatra in Mysore Jan 10 Ekadashi Jan 9 Ratha Yatra in Mangalore Jan 11 break fast Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 7
  6. 6. SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT Become A Rascal And Suffer Here we continue an exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples that took place on October 18, 1975, during a morning walk in Johannesburg, South Africa . Srila Prabhupada: In the Vedic system, man is going to have sex for begetting a child." sex is allowed only for begetting So there is a dignified heralding. Not that children. In other words, restriction. sexual activity is simply done in the heat Sex is allowed, but with great of the moment, like cats and dogs. restriction—under religious rules and even cats and dogs do not have sex regulations. secretly. Human beings do it secretly and things, such as the garbhadana, or use contraceptives, because they do not seed-giving, ceremony. Even when want the botheration of having a child. sex is employed properly, for Therefore, their "scientific advancement" begetting a child, it is not undertaken especially means how to kill the child: secretly, without anyone else's how to take and distribute contraceptive knowledge. There should be a pills, how to arrange for abortions, and how ceremonial function, garbhadana- to allow the young people, "Yes, you go on samskara. All the brahmanas and having sex, but take these pills so that you relatives come, and everyone knows, may not be bothered." "Some time soon, this Why not stop all the botheration of sex altogether? That they cannot do, because they are animals. Because they have created an animal civilization, they cannot escape all this botheration. Kandutivan manisijam visa-heta dhirah. Why don't they teach people to become dhirah, sober? "Let me tolerate this itching sensation [the urge for sex]. Let me remain brahmachari [celibate], remain on the Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  7. 7. spiritual platform." "pleasure." Who is stopping you? Enjoy this "pleasure." Their teaching is not good: "You should have sex But if everything in this material world is made for your repeatedly"—and then suffer the consequences. And unrestricted pleasure, then why are you taking up a in trying to avoid suffering the consequences, people countermeasure? Why do you make a plan to kill the incur more suffering. Bahu-duhkha bhajah: after sex— child? Because everything is pleasure? Why do you illicit or licit—the consequence is suffering. Even when take up the contraceptive method—if the real the sex is licit, then you still have to take care of your arrangement here is not for punishment and spiritual wife, and you also have to take care of the children, correction but for your sensual pleasure? and be always in anxiety about their food and clothing, That is the proof of what rascals they are. Mudha their education, their upliftment, and so on and so forth. nabhijanati: Krishna says, "Rascals can never understand Always undergoing suffering. what is what." Try to understand why Krishna has said And if the sex is illicit, then you have to undergo these so many times, mudhah ... mayayapahrta-jnana: "These sufferings: Because you commit the sin of killing the people are rascals, whose so-called knowledge is stolen child by contraceptives or abortion, therefore in your by illusion." Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is speaking like next life you must be killed. And in the meantime you that, so there must be some meaning. have to go to the doctor and pay his exorbitant fees, Human civilization means giving spiritual relief. and so on. So where is the relief from suffering? Whether Enlightened life, comfortable life—not simply repeating illicit or licit, sex means you have to suffer. the dark, sensual ordeal of the animals. That is human But trpyanti neha krpana bahu-duhkha bhajah. These civilization. rascals, once they have had sex, they cannot be done Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, in everyday life we see with it: "That's all right. I have already got one child to that only the devotees are somewhat free from anxiety. take care of." No. "I must have sex again and again." You would think that once someone had committed Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That's a fact. We have little sinful activities such as killing the child in the womb, anxieties, simply because we have to deal with this then he would say, "All right. Stop it now." No. "Again." rascal world. Otherwise, we have no anxiety. But we have taken this mission, to go and approach people Trpyanti neha krpana: such a miserly person is never and tell them the truth. Therefore, we have got a little satisfied. He knows that following his sinful activity there anxiety. Otherwise, there is no question of anxiety. will be suffering. Still, he'll not stop this sinfulness. Because we are mixing with these rascals—and we Therefore, a man should be educated to become sober: have to do that, we who have taken up this mission— "Let me tolerate this itching. That's all. I'll save so much therefore, we have some little anxiety. That is also not trouble." This is knowledge. To become a rascal and very much. But anyway, you must know, the whole world then more and more of a rascal and then suffer—is that is full of rascals and fools. That is not an exaggeration. civilization? Does civilization mean simply making people Or have you got a different opinion? rascals, so that they can suffer and commit spiritual suicide? Disciple: No. Just tell people that they have created this civilization Srila Prabhupada: Hm? What do you think? Do you of "Become a rascal and then suffer." And all their agree? sufferings are nature's arrangement. Nature says, "You Disciple: They are mudhas [fools]. have forgotten Krishna. Now you must come under my Srila Prabhupada [laughing]: Our verdict is final: "All control. You've become a rascal. Now suffer." Daivi hy rascals and fools." Therefore, when I ask these rascals, esa guna mayi mama maya duratyaya. Krishna says, "Any question?" they are stopped. [Laughter.] "Come "My material nature is very severe, very punishing." on—any question?" What question can they ask? I Why is she doing that? She is teaching us, "Surrender challenge them, "Any question?" They know, "We have to Krishna. Otherwise, you will go on suffering like this." been proved rascals." This is nature's way. During my lecture last night I quoted Krishna's But the rascal—because he is a rascal—does not know chastisement of Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita. Asocyan that prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani: "I am under anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams: "Your words are very the full control of prakrti, material nature, and her business high-sounding, but do you know what you are doing? is to keep me a rascal and make me suffer." And yet Talking like a low-class fool. Overlooking your inner these rascals are thinking themselves advanced in soul, your real, spiritual self. Stupidly taking yourself to education. be this outer covering, this material body. But this material Disciple: Prabhupada, they will say that this suffering body is the very cause of all your suffering." And I said, is actually pleasure. "This is the position of everyone. Everyone is a fool, a Srila Prabhupada: That's all right. Go on with your rascal, ignoring life's actual problem." Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 9
  8. 8. News from Mysore Celebrated on October 18, 2009, Govardhan Puja was a grand festival. The programme began with Go Puja in the evening followed by Govardhan Puja, sandhya arati and finally Damodara Deepotsava. Devotees had made a beatuiful hill of semolina halva. Various holy sites in the actual Govardhan Parikrama path were depicted with food items. 1000 Gulab jamuns, 1400 Mysore pak pieces, 800 bajjis and numerous other sweets and savouries decorated the hill. Various kundas were depicted with fruit juices and milk shakes. Devotees from all over Mysore came to celebrate. The hill was offered to the Vasudeva Saligrama shila being worshipped in the temple and distributed as prasadam to the 3000 devotees who attended the festival. Srila Prabhupada's Disappearane day was celebrated on October 22, 2009 with an elaborate abisheka for the deity of Srila Prabhupada in the evening. A lecture on Srila Prabhupada and his contribution to the world was given. Then Guru Puja for Srila Prabhupada was performed. This was followed by sandhya arati and Damodara Deepotsava. All present were then served prasadam. 10 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  9. 9. Akshaya Patra wins Tech Museum Award 2009 The Akshaya Patra Foundation bagged the Tech Awards 2009, a signature programme of The Tech Museum, San Jose, California, USA. Akshaya Patra won the Microsoft Education Awards in the category of education under The Tech Musuem Awards 2009. The award was presented with a cash prize of $ 50,000 at a glittering ceremony in San Jose, USA, for social entrepreneurs leveraging technology to benefit humanity. The Tech Awards of The Tech Museum and presented by Applied Materials, Inc., selected Akshaya Patra from among 650 nominations representing 66 countries. News from Mangalore Giridhari alankara on Govardhana Puja Annakoota of cake and other special items offered to the Lord. Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 11
  10. 10. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Akhanda Parayana ISKCON Bangalore’s Sri Krishna Kalakshetra had organized Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Akhanda Parayana as a special prayer for the betterment of the flood victims of North Karnataka and welfare of the society at large. Devotees performed special puja to Lord Sri Krishna, Rukmini and Satyabhama. Thousands of devotees from the All India Vishnu Sahasranama Cultural Federation (Chennai) and Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Maha Mandali (Bangalore) participated in this Akhanda Parayana. They chanted 30 rounds of Sri Vishnu Sahsranama non stop from 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. on Nov 1, 2009. Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice President ISKCON-Bangalore delivered the welcome address. Addressing the devotees on this occasion, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President ISKCON- Bangalore and Sri Tiru Dasa, Director, Sri Krishna Kalakshetra explained the significance of chanting the holy names of the Lord and scholar Dr. Aralumallige Parthasarathy emphasized on the importance of congregational chanting of Lord Vishnu's holy names for the welfare of society. Sri Tiru Dasa felicitated the guests and coordinators - Sri A K Ganeshan, Secretary, All India Vishnu Sahasranama Cultural Federation (Chennai) Dr. Aralumallige Parthasarathy, Smt. Suvarchala Devi, Sri Vijay Kumar and Sri Narasimhan. 12 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  11. 11. Curbing The Animal Instinct by Vishnurata Dasa Since a major cause of car accidents is inattention, a sign like the one at a busy New York intersection—"CURB YOUR ANIMAL INSTINCT"—might be helpful. The animal instinct surely diverts many drivers. Maybe that's one reason why collisions on city streets are as common as wolf whistles. To curb the animal instinct, we have to keep a tight rein on our senses. An animal always responds to the dictates of its senses, not caring what is proper or improper. But as the term animal instinct and the drawing on the sign imply, a human being who acts the same way misuses the most sophisticated form of existence. Only when a human being controls his lower instincts can he perceive a more subtle and far superior instinct: the tendency to serve the Supreme Lord. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that this instinct is real because the living entity is by constitution an eternal servant of Krishna. When the propensity to serve God is misapplied, it degenerates into animal instinct. Then, rather than using the senses for a higher purpose, one becomes a servant of the senses and tries to satisfy them with pleasing objects. Lord Chaitanya taught that by the science of bhakti-yoga, which begins with the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, we can control our senses. Bhakti- yoga is a pleasing system of self- control culminating in love of God. By chanting God's names, Lord Chaitanya taught, one can immediately engage in His service. Chanting removes undesirable things from the heart. And as loving service to Krishna is reestablished, the animal instinct disappears. Lord Chaitanya likens this process to cleaning dust from a mirror. With a clean heart one sees the spiritual reality of the self and its eternal master, the Superself, Lord Krishna. When one chants perfectly—with attention and without offense— love of Godhead results. One's spiritual awareness fully awakens, and one drowns, as it were, in an ocean of bliss. One drop of this ocean, we are told, can flood the universe. And an ocean of the highest material pleasure cannot equal one drop of pure spiritual pleasure. The pleasure of the senses— the same pleasure available to animals—cannot approach the bliss tasted by chanting Hare Krishna. And that spiritual taste can easily help us curb the animal instinct. Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 13
  12. 12. The Bhagavad-gita was important to Srila Prabhupada. I found James Wade, and he confirmed the events in He saw it as the perfect book to convey Krishna consciousness, as it consists of the Lord’s own words and His interactions with His loving devotee. In 1939, just seven years after Prabhupada was initiated by his spiritual The Macmillan Miracle By Satyaraja Dasa question. He remembered the incident with tremendous clarity, supporting Brahmananda’s story. And he offered an addendum. “I vividly remember the stir caused in our rather sedate master, he wrote a lengthy introduction to the book in The surprising events surrounding the initial publication of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is. and boring office the day the Swami came to visit, English, presaging his full translation and commentary, accompanied by followers in orange robes.” which appeared soon after he began his mission in the West. were receiving orders from various parts of the East repeat Prabhupada’s words verbatim. “He has translated Apparently, Prabhupada himself brought the manuscript Coast. the Bhagavad-gita.” the day after Brahmananda’s brief visit to Macmillan. When Prabhupada arrived in New York in 1965, he gave priority to his work on the Gita. In India he had already One such order came from uptown Manhattan, relatively “What?” Wade completed a translation, spanning well over a thousand close to the little storefront serving as a temple for r e s p o n d e d , pages, but it was stolen. In March 1966, Prabhupada Prabhupada and his early disciples. Brahmananda brought incredulously. “We’ve was adjusting to life in the Western world when he met the letter to his master. just published a full line with another loss: his typewriter, cassette recorder, and of spiritual books, and “Look, Swamiji [as Prabhupada was then called]. It’s an several books were taken from him. But he was resilient we were looking for a order from Macmillan. They’re one of the biggest publishers and determined to complete his work. In 1967 he finished Bhagavad-gita to fill out in the world.” the new manuscript, again over a thousand pages, and the set.” resolved to get a major publisher so that his message Prabhupada gazed knowingly into his disciple’s eyes and Brahmananda’s mouth would be heard throughout the world. gave the following directives: “Do not mail out this order dropped open. Though as we do with others. Instead, bring the record to At the time, Allen Ginsberg, famous poet of the Beat at a loss for words Macmillan’s offices and hand deliver it to the person who Generation, was visiting the New York temple, and he himself, he sent us the letter.” was enjoying a friendly relationship with Srila Prabhupada. contemplated the Since Ginsberg was an experienced published author, Brahmananda nodded, aware that Krishna was using potency of Prabhupada asked him to show the manuscript to his him as an instrument. Prabhupada’s: “They benefactors, which Ginsberg did. But they were will publish it. Do not “When you deliver the album,” Prabhupada continued, worry.” unimpressed, claiming the book had little commercial “tell them that you are a disciple of a guru from India and value. that he has translated the Bhagavad-gita. They will publish Wade then broke the Prabhupada then gave the manuscript to Rayarama it. Do not worry.” awkward silence. Dasa, an early disciple with some experience in the Brahmananda was stunned. Prabhupada seemed so “You bring in the publishing world. Rayarama, too, was unsuccessful in confident. There was no doubt the book would get manuscript tomorrow,” his attempts, his contacts explaining their hesitation in published-and by Macmillan! One couldn’t do much better he offered, “and we’ll much the same way that Ginsberg’s did. than that. publish it, sight The Miracle Begins unseen.” Wading in the Ocean of Nectar Enter Brahmananda Dasa (Bruce Scharf), one of Brahmananda raced The next day, dressed in suit and tie, Brahmananda made back down to the Prabhupada’s earliest disciples. He vividly relates the his way up to the Macmillan skyscraper at 866 Third story as if it were yesterday, though it was more than storefront and told Avenue, just off 52nd Street. His expectations as large Prabhupada the news. forty years ago. as the building itself, he was disappointed when he learned In his own inimitable “I didn’t know anything about publishing,” he admits. “But that the order for the album had come from a clerk in the way, Prabhupada was Prabhupada put the manuscript in my hands, saying, mailroom. nonchalant, as though ‘You must get this published.’ So I knew what I had to “This really had nothing to do with the publishing company- he knew what would do.” it was just a simple worker who had some interest in transpire before it mantras and meditation.” happened. What he didn’t know was how to do it. If Ginsberg and Rayarama couldn’t get the book published, how would So Brahmananda dutifully delivered the album and had Firsthand he? pretty much given up hope that his teacher’s Gita would Corroboration “I bought a couple of books on publishing, and I was get published. Just then, in the midst of polite small talk Now, are these the about to take a publishing course at New York University- with the clerk, a young executive happened to appear, memories of an over- I just didn’t know what to do. Still, Prabhupada wanted hoping to collect his mail. The clerk introduced him to zealous disciple, an me to get the book published, and that was that.” Brahmananda. exaggerated footnote “This is James O’Shea Wade, our senior editor.” in ISKCON’s forty-year Around this time, the devotees had released the history? I decided to “Happening” album, an assortment of devotional songs Brahmananda seized the moment. find out. sung by Prabhupada with musical accompaniment. They had placed an ad for the record in the Village Voice and “I am a disciple of a guru from India,” he said, trying to 14 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 15
  13. 13. Wade shared his thoughts about Prabhupada’s Prabhupada’s Gita went on to become the most important spirituality. edition in the modern world, often outselling both popular and scholarly translations. Claiming millions of readers “I remember the Swami as being a very imposing and in some fifty-five languages, from Polish to Japanese, striking figure, with a powerful spiritual aura. His like German to Azerbaijani, Danish to Croatian, English to had never before been seen in the Macmillan offices. numerous Indian languages, Srila Prabhupada’s Gita Around that time we also published Alan Watts and is a phenomenon. It can be found in homes, bookstores, John Bleibtreu, who was involved in the spiritual and research libraries, and academic institutions around the communal movement called Arica. Macmillan had a world. tradition of publishing books about spirituality and religion at that time. I think that ended not long after I left to The history of Prabhupada’s meeting with Macmillan become the editor-in-chief of the now defunct World shows that James Wade, then a senior editor, served Publishing Company. But the Swami was special. That as an instrument in the hands of Krishna, who had was clear.” already signed the contract. I asked Wade to elaborate on that fateful meeting. Other Stories About the Macmillan Gita “Our office was a rather austere, coolly modern place (1) To fit into the Macmillan series of spiritual classics, as far as decor. I remember having some apprehension Prabhupada’s Gita had to conform to a certain size and about how comfortable the Swami would feel in this style, which meant that it had to be cut down from its rather alien setting, but it turned out that he was a man thousand-page manuscript to just over three hundred who was at peace and at home in any environment. I pages. What to do? Would Prabhupada want this? remember him as a rather tall man, physically imposing. Brahmananda was surprised when his spiritual master But of course, he wasn’t, being rather small in stature said, “Do whatever the publisher wants. But our men and not at all daunting. Quiet, modest, and surrounded must do the editing so the meaning is not changed.” by a kind of stillness, a peacefulness that was, well, welcoming. I can’t think of a more precise word. He was Hayagriva and Rayarama, two of Prabhupada’s more in the world and, at the same time, not of it. He knew literary disciples, did the editing and gave Macmillan that we live in a world of illusion-something science has the abridged Gita ahead of the deadline. But Prabhupada also taught us, as we go from sub-atomic particles and made it clear that he would eventually publish his full, quantum mechanics to string theory. I remember that unabridged version. he wanted the Bhagavad-gita As It Is to get the widest possible exposure in the US. As I recall, things like the (2) Brahmananda wrote to famous literati, poets, and Hare Krishna movement were in the very early stages. religious scholars, hoping they would contribute Alternative spirituality-ranging from Zen to Tibetan forewords to Prabhupada’s work and thus help secure Buddhism, for example-had not then touched the minds sales. He approached Thomas Merton, Allen Ginsberg, and spirits of people the way such alternatives do today Denise Levertov, and Allan Watts. All but Watts agreed. for so many.” In his reply to Brahmananda, Watts wrote that Prabhupada’s philosophy of presenting the Gita “as it James Wade was senior editor at Macmillan from 1965 is,” without interpretation, was itself an interpretation to 1969. But in his few years at their offices, he made and thus intellectually dishonest. history by publishing a pure devotee’s edition of the Bhagavad-gita. The abridged version came out first, in Brahmananda was worried, not because he doubted 1968, and because of seeds James Wade planted, Prabhupada but because Watts was a popular author Macmillan published Prabhupada’s unabridged who published with Macmillan. Would James Wade Bhagavad-gita As It Is in 1972. reverse his decision to publish Prabhupada’s book when he saw the response of one of his own authors? A Translation with Spiritual Power Not at all. Wade said that while Watts wrote good books, Srila Prabhupada’s translation and commentary are not he didn’t understand the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition merely his own; they bring to bear the insights of his of the Swami. Prabhupada’s book was in, no matter predecessors in disciplic succession. And so he titled what. his edition “As It Is.” The name boldly announces to his readers that this is not yet another interpretation but (3) Prabhupada engaged Govinda Dasi in Hawaii to rather the original message of the book’s initial speaker: illustrate the cover of his first Macmillan edition. They Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. discussed the anti-war demonstrations at the time and Accordingly, Prabhupada’s Gita was the first English decided not to put the Gita’s usual battlefield scene on edition to bring people to Krishna consciousness, to the cover. Instead, Prabhupada told Govinda Dasi to make them devotees of Krishna, which is the book’s depict the Universal Form, with His many heads, tongues, intended purpose (see Bhagavad-gita. 18.65). arms, and so on. The “psychedelic” nature of it, they agreed, would appeal to the hippies. 16 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  14. 14. Once the illustration was submitted to the publisher, “There is little question that this edition is one of the however, Macmillan had reservations. Considering it best books available on the Gita and devotion. too otherworldly for their usual audience, they opted to Prabhupada’s translation is an ideal blend of literal discard the many arms and heads, leaving only four accuracy and religious insight.” — Dr. Thomas J. arms and one head. Govinda Dasi was upset that they Hopkins, Professor of Religion, Franklin and Marshall had changed her work. College. “Think nothing of it,” Prabhupada said. “It is now Vishnu, “The Bhagavad-gita, one of the great spiritual texts, is which is more advanced than the Universal Form.” not as yet a common part of our cultural milieu. This (4) Prabhupada had always wanted his name to appear is probably less because it is alien per se than because at the bottom of his books, underneath the painting of we have lacked just the kind of close interpretative Krishna or of one of His incarnations that might be used commentary upon it that Swami Bhaktivedanta has on the cover. He never wanted his name at the side of here provided, a commentary written from not only a the Lord, in equal position, for that would be improper scholar’s but a practitioner’s, a dedicated lifelong etiquette. devotee’s, point of view.” — Denise Levertov, Poet. When the Macmillan book came back with Prabhupada’s “The increasing numbers of Western readers interested name right next to the image of the Lord, Prabhupada in classical Vedic thought have been done a service looked at it long and hard, and then he said, “It’s all by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and right. The energy of the Lord is always at His left side, living interpretation of a text already known to many, and the devotee is an expansion of that energy. So it he has increased our understanding manyfold.” — Dr. is all right.” Edward C. Dimock, Jr., Department of South Asian, Scholars Praise Bhagavad-gita As It Is Languages and Civilization, University of Chicago. Critical acclaim came quickly after publication, with “The scholarly world is again indebted to A. C. scholars and literati of the day praising Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although Bhagavad- Prabhupada’s work. gita has been translated many times, Prabhupada adds a translation of singular importance with his “It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully commentary.” — Dr. J. Stillson Judah, Professor of the explained work. I don’t know whether to praise more this translation of the Bhagavad-gita, its daring method History of Religions and Director of Libraries, Graduate of explanation, or the endless fertility of its ideas. I have Theological Union, Berkeley, California. never seen any other work on the Gita with such an “Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism important voice and style.… It will occupy a significant or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is will be place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man extremely profitable. For many this will be the first for a long time to come.” — Dr. Shaligram Shukla, contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal Professor of Linguistics Georgetown University India.” — Francois Chenique, Professor of Religious “No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because Sciences, Institute of Political Studies, Paris, France. none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad- “I am very excited to see the publication of Bhagavad- gita. Translation of such a work demands not only gita As It Is by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with Prabhupada. It will help to stop the terrible cheating of the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things.… The false and unauthorized “gurus” and “yogis” and will give Swami does a real service for students by investing an opportunity to all people to understand the actual the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever meaning of Oriental culture.” — Dr. Kailash Vajpeye, our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the Director of Indian Studies, Center for Oriental Studies, labour that has led to this illuminating work.” — Dr. The University of Mexico. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor “I can say that in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is I have of Philosophy, University of Southern California. found explanations and answers to questions I had “I am most impressed with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami always posed regarding the interpretations of this sacred Prabhupada’s scholarly and authoritative edition of work, whose spiritual discipline I greatly admire. If the Bhagavad-gita. It is a most valuable work for the scholar asceticism and ideal of the apostles which form the as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference message of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is were more book as well as a textbook. I promptly recommend this widespread and more respected, the world in which edition to my students. It is a beautifully done book.” we live would be transformed into a better, more fraternal — Dr. Samuel D. Atkins, Professor of Sanskrit, Princeton place.” — Dr. Paul Lesourd, Author, Professeur University. Honoraire, Catholic University of Paris. Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 17
  15. 15. Evidence for Krishna by Nagaraja Dasa People who doubt there’s life after death sometimes say, “No one has ever come back to tell us about it.” But what if someone claimed to have come back? Would we believe him? What kind of proof would we want? Trying to prove that Krishna is God presents a similar challenge. Someone might ask, “If Krishna is God, why doesn’t He come and prove it?” Well, there’s evidence that He does come. For example, when He came five thousand years ago, millions of eyewitnesses saw Him, He did things only God can do, and Vyasadeva, a reporter with impeccable credentials, kept track of it all. Vyasadeva recorded not only Krishna’s matchless deeds but also the testimonials of the greatest spiritual authorities of the time, a time when large numbers of people pursued spiritual realization with every ounce of their being. The consensus of these saints and sages—masters of spiritual learning and discipline—was that Krishna is God. People today tend to doubt the credibility of Vyasadeva’s writings, thanks in large part to a smear campaign started by the British during their takeover of India. Yet despite their efforts, the light of the Srimad- Bhagavatam and Like many nineteenth-century scholars, anyone who other books from Vyasadeva’s prolific pen keeps shining. reads the Vedic literature with an open mind is sure to Great Western thinkers who received the Vedas without be awed. But readers need help, too. Traditionally, a prejudice were astounded. Vyasadeva’s writings were student of the Vedas gets guidance from a self-realized superior to anything they had ever come across. person coming in a line of authorized teachers. Four But what about the “stories” Vyasadeva wrote? Was main lines have directed India’s spiritual culture for there really a boy named Krishna who lifted mountains hundreds of years, and each of them asserts that and killed monsters? Scholars for whom Vyasadeva’s Krishna, or His expansion Vishnu, is God. “mythology” seems incompatible with his erudite I find it disturbing to read media coverage of Krishna philosophical works might propose that Vyasadeva didn’t conscious events that refers to devotees as worshipers write both things. But that argument fails if we look at of “the god Krishna.” For the average person in the just one example of his work: Srimad-Bhagavatam. West, the writer might as well be saying we worship There Vyasadeva has written both profound philosophy “the god Zeus.” Why would anyone take seriously a and—as the climax, no less—charming stories about group of people who have arbitrarily chosen to worship Krishna. one god out of a whole stable of contenders? The great leaders of India’s spiritual lineages since But our choice is far from arbitrary. It’s founded in the Krishna’s time have concluded that a great philosopher Vedic scriptures, the credibility of saints of respected like Vyasadeva wouldn’t frivolously insert fanciful stories spiritual lines, and the realized conviction, persuasive into his treatise on the Absolute Truth. Vyasadeva’s writings, and pure character of Krishna’s emissary His gravity alone is solid evidence that his stories of Krishna’s Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. exploits tell of actual events. 18 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  16. 16. Kuchipudi Arts Academy’s dance drama “Sri Krishna Parijatam” was a colourful performance by a cast of expert dancers. Choreographed by the legendary Dr. Vempatti Chinna Satyam, it is the story of how Lord Krishna brought the parijata tree to Dwaraka. 20 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  17. 17. The artists of Chennai’s Kalakshetra Foundation had the audience spellbound with their masterful performance of two episodes from founder Rukmini Devi Arundale’s six part Ramayana series. On this page, are glimpses of “Rama Vanagamanam” with Manthara poisoning Queen Kaikeyi’s minds (top) by making King Dasharatha banish Rama to the forest for fourteen years (left) and the King’s utter shock and helplessness (below). Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 21
  18. 18. The artists of Kalakshetra also staged “Sabari Moksham” from the Ramayana series. The dance drama follows the epic story from the entry of Shoorpanaka, the ten-headed Ravana’s sister, her punishment for trying to harm Sita (left), Ravana’s resolve to kidnap the celestially beautiful Sita (above) and the tricks that he orders the demon Maricha in the guise of a golden deer to employ, to take Rama and Lakshmana away, leaving Sita unprotected (below). 22 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009
  19. 19. The eagle king Jatayu battles Ravana to save Sita (above) but in vain. His wings are cut off by the demon and he stays alive only long enough to inform Rama that she was carried away towards the South by Ravana (below). Krishna Voice, Dec 2009 23
  20. 20. After Sita is kidnapped by Ravana in his flying chariot (above) Rama and Lakshmana search the forest. The old ascetic, Sabari, has waited all her life to see Rama, the object of her meditation and worship. She offers Him her simple hospitality but wins Him with her devotion and she attains liberation by His transcendental association (below). 24 Krishna Voice, Dec 2009