As I flew to L.A. from Hawaii, I brought a very fragrant flower garland. When I arrived at the Temple, I wanted to personally garland him, but a devotee guard downstairs from his room stopped me. I thought about going into his room anyway, though I was too hesitant and fearful. Eventually Prabhupada came down to give his lecture---it was the disappearance day of his guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. I was introduced by the local GBC and gave him the garland. He didn’t seem to really notice me, which upset me a bit. I was able to consider that he likely was absorbed in other thoughts, perhaps of his guru. This was the year he gave a famous talk about his guru where he became choked up with tears saying how we were all helping him serve Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta.
At the airport reception, a huge kirtana was going on with devotees from Berkeley, San Francisco and L.A. We were oblivious to our surroundings and took over the waiting lounge. Perhaps there were over 100 devotees. As we waited the kirtana got more and more wild and ecstatic, which was not what the other arriving passengers were expecting as they filed out of the plane. We were at the top of a ramp with devotees on either side of the pathway. After what seemed a very long time Prabhupada appeared at the bottom of the walkway. Then the kirtana went into warp speed and intensity difficult to describe.
From Sacinandana Swami' newsletter:
Today, I chanted, prayed, sang, and deeply connected at Govinda Kunda. What an atmosphere!
Before me the kund, or pond, and towering behind-tall and majestic-Giriraja Govardhana. A cool breeze moves the leaves of the trees of desire whose arms dance in the wind as if offering arotika to Radha Govinda. This breeze cools my body and mind as well as those of my roommate-a small bat who listens intensely to my japa and singing.
The soul takes on a material body and mind, with an ego that says, “This is me.” The false ego (“false” because we have a real spiritual identity beyond physical forms) or our material “I” defines itself by what it thinks it possesses--what is mine, our “mys”. This “my-ness” is the basis of all problems the soul faces in the material world, including our problems in dealing with other persons, or souls also conditioned by “my-ness”. It is interesting how “my-ness” sounds like minus, since our material conceptions of identity can only exist if our spiritual identity is forgotten (the soul minus its true eternal identity is a forgetful soul habituated to living under the conditions or laws of matter.)
I received this very sad news last night after the Damodarastaka prayers. That His Holiness Jayapataka Swami in the hospital as a result of suffering two brain haemorrhages. Last night the devotees at the temple performed kirtan late into the night in prayer for HH Jayapataka Swami. This is a photo of Jayapataka Maharaja offering blessing to my wife. So much he has done in the service of Krishna, opening temples, transforming hearts, and compassionately distributing Krishna in the form of His Holy Name.
The Bhagavat [scripture]tells us that
both the rising and setting sun
decrease the lives of all, save those
who are endeavoring for Krishna.
Today was another wonderful day for the Japa Weekend. As Mahatma Prabhu instructed, Japa Weekend does not just mean the 10am - 6 pm time period that you are at the seminar/workshop, no it is actually the whole weekend that you must commit to so that you can get full benefit.
Japa Workshop Day One.
I have just had the privilege to attend day one of the japa workshop here in Dallas and it is wonderful. There is so much could be said but I would just like to focus on one element, the mood. Upon arriving at the program it was immediately noticeable the loving mood that was present amongst the devotees. Mahatma Prabhu and others very intelligently arranged everything that somehow it produced a very loving mood amongst the devotees.
In my view the primary challenge for the Krishna consciousness movement is to both preserve and understand the essence or spirit of the teachings, and to be dynamic in our outreach. The understanding I have gained from reading Prabhupada and other Gaudiya teachers is that being a devotee means being a compassionate, introspective, thoughtful, and broadminded person, looking for the good in all, while sharing the truth of Krishna in a way that is accessible and practicable to our audience.