December 2016

 
The Brhat Mrdanga
 
Based on the realizations of His Grace Rameshvara Prabhu
"Your book distribution is real samadhi."

            The sankirtan yajna or public glorification of the Lord was traditionally done through only harinama sankirtan, but with the brhat mrdanga, or greater mrdanga, now the pure transcendental sound vibration can be heard everywhere throughout the world, further than with just the mrdanga and cartels that can be heard for a few streets. The brhat mrdanga was introduced with the advent of the great acaryas, teachers and examples, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, and Srila Prabhupada.

           Srila Prabhupada disclosed that he was sent into this world to present the essence of Vedic knowledge in written form, like his predecessors the 6 Govswamis of Vrindavan. All of the aspects that Srila Prabhupada established in spreading Krishna Consciousness are on the absolute platform and therefore equal; distributing prasadam or sacred food, managing Temples, worshipping the Deities, etc. These are all absolutely pleasing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and fill the devotee’s heart with love for Krishna. At the same time, the performance of sankirtan yajna in this day and age is the prime medicine of salvation for conditioned souls in today’s age of Kali.

           As such, Srila Prabhupada’s primary mission in leaving India and coming to the West was to write these books and have them distributed. He said, “The books I am writing will be like the lawbooks for mankind for the next 10,000 years.” Way after our lifetime is over, these same books will be distributed, throughout the Kali-Yuga. In hundreds of letters, he revealed that this is our most important activity and nothing would please him more. He sacrificed his health, his sleep - he gave up everything to write these books. The people who knew Prabhupada could not believe he was going to America with no money, no contacts, and no place to stay at the age of 70. His contemporaries were astounded.  Out of love for Srila Prabhupada, his followers give up everything to distribute these books, which makes it the perfect relationship with him.

           Prabhupada said in one of his letters, “Your book distribution is real samadhi.” Samadhi is an unbreakable trance in which you are connected to Krishna, it is the highest state of meditation. You are thinking day and night of how you can save others. You are practicing to save yourself but also praying to be used by Krishna to help others. There is no higher consciousness. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, no one is more dear to Him than one who shares this message with others (BG 18.69). The upcoming Christmas Marathon is a special time for distributing books because people are more receptive. We can take advantage of it and save as many of them as we can.

 
Book Distribution Highlights

The Mrdanga (clay-drum) attracted this nice man from Jamaica. He wanted to know the origin of such a beautiful instrument and the meaning of the chanting.

 

I put a Bhagavad-Gita in his hands and told him this book explains it all.

As I greeted him, he revealed that was a soldier from Japan. Earlier he met other Nepalese soldiers who told him about the Bhagavad-Gita.

 

Interested in learning more, he took a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is and his girlfriend took a Japanese Perfection of Yoga.

This man was very grateful to receive Srila Prabhupada's books in Arabic from Bhaktine Stella.

A few guys were passing by from out of state and one yelled,

"I've seen you guys at music festivals." 

I went over to them with a couple of books in hand and one of them excitingly said,

 

"Is that a Bhagavad Gita! I want it! How much?"

This gentleman came up to me asking if I remembered who he was. Exactly one year ago I stopped him and convinced him to take a Perfection of Yoga.

 

He ended up reading and re-reading it and came back to take a few more books.

This women was very interested in self-realization. She said she wanted more information about the soul and understood that this was the most important thing in life.

 

She bought 5 small books so she could share them with her children and friends.

He was passing by and said,

 

"No English, I'm Japanese".

 

I took out a Japanese Perfection of Yoga and he gave back a smile and donation.

I told her,

 

“You look like my sister. We are all here to love God and this book will show you how to love God.”

 

Curious and interested, she took an Arabic book.

This enthusiastic soul was eager to receive the Bhagavad-Gita and a few other books at Atlantic-Ave Barclays station

I met this guy at Union Square and realized that he was Arabic. So I quoted a few verses from the Quran glorifying God.

 

He was intrigued and gladly took an Arabic book with him.

 
New Years Eve Sankirtan Festival
 

            On New Years Eve and Srila Jiva Goswami’s holy disappearance day, more than 50 devotees from Brooklyn, Queens, Boston, NJ, and NYC came together for a blissful Sankirtan Festival. Following Jiva Goswami, who had gone on pilgrimage in Navadwipa with Lord Nityananda as his guide, we went through a parikrama or pilgrimage of the Lower East Side that was made sacred by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

            First, we passed by Matchless Gifts 26 2nd Ave, where Prabhupada began ISKCON 50 years ago. Then we passed by Tompkins Square Park and circumambulated the blessed tree where Srila Prabhupada started the first public harinama sankirtans. We concluded by returning to Sri Sri Radha-Murlidhara’s Temple at the Bhakti Center and listening to His Grace Rama Raya Prabhu speak about the glories and importance of the yuga dharma harinama sankirtan in today’s day and age.

            Generally, New Years Eve is a time for introspection and change. Over glasses of liquor, people contemplate how they can fill the purposelessness and anxiety of their lives that result from a materialistic and Godless life. In a similar spirit of enthusiasm and optimism, but with our energies dedicated to God’s holy names, we used this day to try to help ourselves and others convert the lifeless and dull material energy into the dynamic and blissful spiritual energy.

            If we know the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, we can use New Years time to make a resolution to increase our eligibility to receive the gift of the treasure of divine love from Goloka Vrindavan that has descended into this world as the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna, golokera prema dhana harinama sankirtana (Narottama Dasa Thakur, Hari Hari Biphale Janama). And how can we increase our eligibility?

            There is no amount of austerity, yoga, or charity that we can do to obtain it. Narada Muni, achieved the darshan or personal audience of the Lord through his determined meditation in a short period of time. But when the Lord disappeared and he tried again with the same methods, he had no success. There is no mechanical process or means by which we can achieve God realization. It can only be given by the grace and mercy of God and His bona fide representatives when He is pleased with us. In this Kali-Yuga, Lord Caitanya has given us the Yuga Dharma, the process of Harinama Sankirtan. By engaging in this process with our sincere intentions and full heart of dedication, our desires can become purified and we can come closer to pleasing Lord Caitanya and receiving the gift of pure love of God, Krishna Prema.

 
Sankirtan Stories
 
Krishna's Transcendental System
By Mahottsaha das

       For some reason while I was going to the bathroom, I was inspired to stop and talk with this guy.

 

      I said, “You have a cool necklace. I’ll see you on my way out!” But I didn’t see him, so I thought to forget it.

       While on the escalator back to the Harinama I ran into him again and asked him if he liked meditation and yoga. He went into ecstasy and started jumping and chanting.

       I said, “We’re having meditation right here. Come check it out!”

 

       He came with me and saw the entire Harinama and then said, “You won’t believe it but some time ago I got a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. I ran into a guy from Michigan who showed me a card with the Hare Krishna mantra and I chant it 1,500 times every day.”

 

       The person who gave him the Bhagavad-Gita was Deva Madhava Prabhu, a fellow devotee from Michigan.

 

       I told him that he would like the Srimad Bhagavatam and Chant and Be Happy, two books similar to the Bhagavad-Gita, and he gratefully took them.

New York City Harinam

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