July 2010


nama om visnu padaya krishna presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta swamine iti namine

namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascyata-desa-tarine

My Dear Aindra prabhu, please accept my prostrated dandavat obeisances at your lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Service and all glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I don’t really know what to say because I can’t really separate my experience of Krishna consciousness from you, Aindra prabhu. It is like part of my spiritual experience is now gone. Yet, in a strange way, it is still here. And that ‘spiritual experience’ is you.

Your Prayers To The Dust Of Vraja capture the mystery and depth of the Vrindavan experience for me. In fact, I cannot separate my experience of Vrindavan from your presence there…in the 24-hour kirtan, in front of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasudara and Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama. What will Vrindavan be without you, prabhu? I feel like one of the goswamis has left our presence.

I remember asking you a question the first time I met you in 1997. ‘How can we be humble?’ You replied, ‘By serving great souls, like the six goswamis. Like Srila Prabhupada. We have to accept Krishna consciousness in parampara, disciplic succession.’ I have asked you many questions since then and your answers cut deep through the maya of conditioned thought. Aindra prahu, you are a genuine sadhu. Sadhu means ‘to cut’…the knot of material attachment in the heart.

I appreciate the way you took me under your wing in Kartik 2007. You were so kind to me and gave me a lot of attention. Every time you saw me you encouraged me to get involved or initiate harinam-sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna. I never left your room without a rasagulla or some other delicious prashadam from your Deities. And I always left with two or three copies of each of your CD’s, especially Prayers To The Dust Of Vraja. One time, when I offered a donation you said, ‘Place Laxmi at the feet of Mahaprabhu.’ Whenever I receive donations, I place them at the feet of my Deity of Mahaprabhu. I am thankful that I was able to make a small donation last year when Arne visited Vrindavan. And, where I am able, I will continue to support the 24-hour Kirtan.

Visiting your room in the brahmacari ashram is something I cherish and will do so until the rest of my days. Sitting there with Your Grace, Govinda and several other devotees was like being with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. A sense of excitement. A glimpse into a more esoteric, off-beat space of Krishna Consciousness. You would have devotees read from Rupa Goswami’s Govinda Lilamrita and would relish detailed descriptions of Radharani’s nose-ring or similar poetic descriptions. What a treat to be there, relishing Krishna consciousness with you and your associates.

Last time I was in your room you told me about your new book, Kirtan Is Bhajan: The Heart Of Book Distribution. You mentioned that book distribution is like the Krishna playing his flute; and kirtan, in the Temple, is like Krishna’s rasa dance. Then you said, ‘They are playing the flute, but there is no rasa dance.’ In other words, we are distributing the books, but there is no kirtan in the Temple. Harinam and book distribution go hand-in-hand, you taught. You informed us that this was Prabhupada’s method of spreading the movement in the 1970’s.

You also mesmerized us with your esoteric descriptions of japa. The chanting of japa was an intimate offering of love between the devotee and Krishna. Unlike kirtan, japa is performed alone, in a kunja (a forest-grove), between the beloved (the devotee) and the lover (Krishna).

I remember proudly announcing to you in 2005 that we had been performing Harinam Sankirtan in Cape Town every day for three months as an extension of a collective Kartik Vrata. You replied, ‘How may of you are performing nam-kirtan?’ I said, ‘About 12.’ And you replied, ‘Why not 112? In Prabhupada’s time we would do Sankirtan with over 100 devotees.’

You also defined what is Sankirtan. First it was Harinam-Sankirtan, chanting in the streets with the accompaniment of musical instruments. Then it became book distribution. Then incense. Then paintings. You emphasized that Sankirtan meant congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna – not the sale of incense and paraphernalia. You also emphasized the principle of madhukara (receiving in charity): ‘Only go to the person once. Don’t go all the time.’

I appreciate your straightforwardness. A devotee gave me a whole lot of your lectures and, although you are considered controversial at times, everything you said made sense and was backed up by sastric references or exact quotes by Srila Prabhupada. That makes your lectures very authoritative and it is understandable that you would find detractors – since you could back up your realizations with accurate references to sadhu, sastra and guru.

I remember standing next to you at Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s Pushpanjali Ceremony during His Disappearance Day in 2007. We both had those sweet-smelling red rose petals in our hands. We were quite far from the Vyasasana. Our flowers were falling way short of the Vyasasana, over the heads of the devotees in front of us. After the last pushpanjali, you turned around and looked at me, ‘Anyway, it’s the thought that counts.’ That was reassuring.

I had the good fortune of being in Vrindavan in Kartik 2007. I was standing by the Temple entrance near Radha Shyamasundara, watching the 24-hour kirtan. You were standing next to me. I was so happy to be in Vrindavan. The atmosphere at Krishna-Balarama Mandir was electric. Every night was an ecstatic festival of chanting and dancing before the Deities. I was wondering why I had not been to Vrindavan in Kartik for so many years. I turned to you and said, ‘Vrindavan in Kartik. There is nothing higher.’ You looked at me and said, ‘Oh yes there is!’ You know of something higher. And now you must be experiencing bliss beyond our, and perhaps even your, comprehension.

You were offering dandavat obeisances to your Deities while your body was been scorched by flames. What tolerance! What surrender!

I am going to miss you, Aindra. Vrindavan will never be the same for me again. Your kirtans and your tunes – which are on the tongues of most devotees all around the world – are going to mean more to me now that you are departed. I will try to follow your instructions with respect to chanting and sharing the Holy Names with others.

These are just some thoughts, by way of an offering on Your Disappearance Day, my dear Aindra prabhu. I see in you all the qualities of great souls described in the Vaishnava scriptures. I see in you total dedication to the process of bhakti, Prabhupada and Krishna. Please be merciful upon us. Give us the shade of your lotus feet. For your fame is spread all over the three worlds. And we take shelter at your divine lotus feet.

Vrindavan will never be the same without you. Then again, you are always in Vrindavan.

His Grace Aindra prabhu ki jaya! His Grace Aindra prabhu ki jaya! His Grace Aindra prabhu ki jaya!

‘The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna/Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama/ Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness.

As living spiritual souls, we are originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, or illusion. Maya means “that which is not”. And what is this illusion? The illusion that we are all trying to be lords of the material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, he is said to be in illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krsna consciousness.

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna/ Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare is the transcendentl process for reviving this original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am lord of all I survey.

Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original, natural energy of the living entity. When we hear this transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method of meditation is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum.

In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification, as if we were in the lower, animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes – within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness – namely sensual, mental and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It is automatic, coming from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offences on the grounds of spiritual understanding.

But there is no doubt that chanting takes one immediately to the spiritual platform, and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved.

The word Hara is the form addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krsna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krsna and Rama mean “the supreme pleasure”, and Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare in the vocative. The suprem pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multienergies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are the marginal energy of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely Hare, Krsna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hare helps the devotee achieve the Supreme Father’s grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

No other means of spiritual realization is effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna/ Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama/ Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – from the LP ‘Krsna Consciousness’

The Vedic City Project will be hosting a Mantra Meditation Seminar in Parkwood, Johannesburg from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 17 July 2010. A healthy Vegetarian Lunch will be served during the break. Twenty spaces are available

MANTRA MEDITATION SEMINAR

Course Facilitator

Mukunda Charan Das has immersed himself in rigorous spiritual practice and study for the past 14 years. He now shares his knowledge with seekers of truth at temples, yoga workshops, retreat centres and universities all over the world. Many of his students testify that their lives have changed after his courses.

Key Elements Of The Seminar

* The Vedas, Mantras and Mantra Meditation
* Different kinds of Mantras
* How to live a more Spiritual Lifestyle
* How to incorporate Mantra Meditation into our daily lives
* Learning how to meditate with the assistance of Japa Mala or sacred chanting beads
* Yoga and Mantra Meditation
* How to overcome unwanted habits and desires through Mantra Meditation
* Spiritual Discipline
* Awakening Love through Mantra Meditation
* Developing a broader Spiritual Vision
* Making the most of the Human Form of Life
* Kirtan

Venue: 102 Hy Len (above “David Krut Art Books”), 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg

Time and Date: 10am to 3pm, Saturday 17 July 2010

The Seminar:

Session One (10am to 12pm): ‘An Introduction To Mantra Meditation’

Session Two (1pm to 3pm): ‘Chanting Hare Krishna On Beads’

A healthy vegetarian lunch will be served at 12pm

The Seminar is R250 (students R150)