There is an interesting story that I wrote about. It took place when”Govinda” first came out, when the recording was first released. I was inEngland, and Yamuna was in England, and we sent this recording to the devotees in Los Angeles to show how we were really preaching big time to the Beatles and had done this record. But the devotees in Los Angeles didnít want Prabhupada to hear this, because they thought it was very strange that a womans voice would be leading the Hare Krishna mantra. And so they didnít let Prabhupada hear it. So, one morning, just before the greeting of the Deities, Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasasana. When the Deity doors open in Los Angeles, there is a big billow of incense smoke from the charcoals. The devotees use a lot of incense, and when they open the doors, it kind of pours out like a big cloud coming out.So, right before this, Prabhupada said, “What about that record that the devotees sent from London?” He had heard about it. So they told him, “It is just Yamuna singing; we don’t want you to hear it.” And they added, “There is no place to play it.” So he said, “Just play it on the system, the speakers.” They said, “Okay” and very reluctantly went and fetched the recording and played it. And it was just at the right time, and the song is about five minutes long. As the Deity doors opened, Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasasana, and he didn’t say a word. He just listened with his eyes closed. And devotees got to see streams of tears coming down his cheeks. And that day Prabhupada ordered that the song be played in all temples all over the world at the time of greeting the Deities.
This Sunday morning, as most Sunday mornings, I cook and offer the Lord either nice egg-less pancakes or waffles. But because my wife made a large cake last night, I opted to go with a more savory pancake. The following recipe is taken from “Great Vegetarian Dishes” by Kurma Dasa. I followed the recipe for the most part…but because I didnt have hot green chilies or fresh coriander leaves on hand I substituted them with green peas and green pepper. It was the first time I ever made them but they turned out great.
Check out Kurma Dasa’s website Cooking with Kumar for other great vegetarian recipes. Or look for his cookbooks.
Savoury Wholemeal Pancakes (Dosa)
Each country of the world has many varieties of pancakes, and India is no exception. Each region has its favorite versions, dosas are a favorite in South India. Whereas traditional dosas are quite large, this following recipe presents smaller pancakes to fit a household pan. And whereas traditional dosas are prepared from varieties of dal and rice combinations, these are prepared from basically just chapati flour, spices and fresh herbs. Serve these slightly crisp pancakes with tomato chutney, mango pickle or plain yogurt.
If I had to pick one book that inspired me the most throughout my devotional life, I guess I would have to say it is “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”. I recently went to open it the other day, and it fell open to the Introduction. I took a moment to re-read it. We share it with you here today.
Introduction by Acyutananda Swami
It was my good fortune to be in the service of Srila Prabhupada at Sri Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, in setting up the groundwork of our Society’s international center there. That year (1971) there was a terrible flood, but although for many days the water was rising, it was diverted from floodinging the Society’s property solely due to the embankment created by a road constructed by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our Parama Guru Maharaja. I wrote a letter to His Divine Grace explaining the situation and I mentioned, “The water has not entered our property. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s road has saved us.” Srila Prabhupada, however, wrote back in answer in a different tone: “Yes”, we are always saved by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s road, so go on glorifying the disciplic succession, and your life will be a great success.” Later on, when I suggested writing down the songs of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Narottama Dasa Thakura in English translations, His Divine Grace said, “Yes, we must push on this mission of Bhaktivinoda.” So here in this book, which is the first of a series of translations of the complete works of the Vaisnava acaryas in the line of succession coming after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I have also included a short life sketch of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. In the following volumes, the lives of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, and other Vaisnava acaryas will appear.
The following article compiled by Ananda devi dasi, has always been one of my favorites. She has captured the essence of the relationship between the disciple and spiritual master in a very scholarly or academic way.
Vani Seva by Ananda devi dasi May 12 2009, UK
In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.47 we read: “The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.”
Srila Prabhupada makes it crystal clear that after the disappearance of the Spiritual Master, the disciple follows the instructions of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master left His instructions in the form of Books, verbal instructions, letters, tapes, videos, all these are instructions from the Spiritual Master,Vani.
I met Vishnujana Swami off and on from 1970 to 1976. From the first time I met him to the last, he was always the same, always on a mission, and he was unstoppable. I believe he found his relationship with Krishna in his brief time here on Earth as Srila Prabhupada’s dear disciple. He came to Portland, Oregon temple in 1971 or ’72 I believe, and gave a lecture that put me into a sort of trance that I think I never recovered from. Then he did it again in Los Angeles, and again in New York when I saw him there. So each time I was more inspired to go out on harinamwith him and his traveling group of devotees and experience the real thing, the nectar of the holy name in congregational chanting. Anyone who knew him can tell you that he was created for Harinam Sankirtan. His kirtans set a precedent for full-speed-ahead, lose-yourself-totally-in-the-sound-vibration kirtans. When he danced and sometimes ran with the mridanga in his arms chanting till his voice was cracking, like he was crying out to Krishna, and sweating, and losing contact with the world around him, I would say it affected everyone in an emotional way that would make them also transcend the world around them and transport them into spiritual bliss. He was contagious. The milder side of his nature was deep and mysterious, thoughtful and intelligent. His lectures poured out like some kind of hypnotic river of perfectly timed overflow of nectar. And to this day I have not heard anyone ever preach like that.
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).“
So Krsna consciousness means not to make any distinctions of black or white, Christian or Muslim or Hindu, African, American or Indian. Krsna claims everyone as His son. This movement of Krsna consciousness is an attempt to enlighten the whole world on the spiritual platform. We are trying to do this. Please try to help us. By your letter, you appear to be a very intelligent young man. Try to understand this whole philosophy and work cooperatively with Brahmananda Swami to spread Krsna consciousness to all of your countrymen.
Your letter is so nice that I have asked that it be published in our Back to Godhead magazine. Thank you very much for your nice sentiments. I hope this meets you well.
Last week a friend of mine shared this photo with me. It was a picture I had never seen before, one taken a long time ago in Potomac Maryland, 1976. This was the first time I ever met His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
I was told that I could go on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada, so I tagged along. I remember the morning very clearly. I never took my eyes of Srila Prabhupada the entire time I was in his presence. I don’t remember a thing he said because I was just so in awe of his person.
Seeing him reminded me of a book I read before I joined the Hare Krishna Movement, “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse. When young Siddhartha meet the illustrious Gautama Buddha and could recognize by his every movement and gesture that this was an enlightened being, so was my impression of Srila Prabhupada on that morning walk.
My insignificant self is looking over his shoulder, on the right in this picture. -Vyasasan das
This is another fine compilation of quotes, in chronological order, put together by Prabhupada Connection, this time Srila Prabhupada blessing and praising George Harrison.
“When Bhaktivedanta Manor was donated, Srila Prabhupada said of George, ‘Because he has given shelter to Krishna by providing this temple, Krishna will surely provide shelter for him.’ Just before Srila Prabhupada left this world in 1977, he removed the ring on his right hand and said to the disciples around him, ‘This is for George, give it to him.'”
“The Words of the Spiritual Master” by Ananda devi dasi
“Believing in the words of His Spiritual Master, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the Sankirtana movement, just as the present Krishna Consciousness movement was started with belief in the words of our Spiritual Master. He wanted to preach, we believed in his words and tried somehow or other to fulfill them, and now this movement has become successful all over the world. Therefore faith in the words of the Spiritual Master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the secret of success. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never disobeyed the orders of His Spiritual Master and stopped propagating the Sankirtana movement.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, at the time of his passing away, ordered all his disciples to work conjointly to preach the message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. Later, however, some self-interested, foolish disciples disobeyed his orders. Each one wanted to become head of the mission, and they fought in the courts, neglecting the orders of their Spiritual Master, and the entire mission was defeated. We are not proud of this, however the truth must be explained. We believed in the words of our Spiritual Master and started in a humble way-in a helpless way – but due to the spiritual force of the Supreme Authority, this movement has become successful.” (From the Chaitanya Charitamrita written and presented by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada Cc Adi 7.95-96)