Gaura Purnima Sankirtan Address
 
By His Grace Rama Raya Prabhu

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We have just celebrated the 531st Appearance Anniversary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - Gaura Purnima. It is described in the Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila Ch. 7 verses 20-22 describing the Panca Tattva:

Caitanya Caritamrta

Adi Lila 7.20-21

sei panca-tattva mili prthivi asiya

purva-premabhandarera mudra ughadiya

pance mili lute prema, kare asvadana

yata yata piye, trsna badhe anuksana

Caitanya Caritamrta

Adi Lila 7.22

punah punah piyaaiya haya mahamatta

nace, kande, hase, gaya, yaiche mada-matta

Translation

          The characteristics of Krsna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krsna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with His associates of the Panca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krsna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.

Purport

          Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is called maha-vadanyavatara because although He is Sri Krsna Himself, He is even more favorably disposed to the poor fallen souls than Lord Sri Krsna. When Lord Sri Krsna Himself was personally present, He demanded that everyone surrender unto Him and promised that He would then give one all protection, but when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to this earth with His associates, He simply distributed transcendental love of God without discrimination. Sri Rupa Gosvami, therefore, could understand that Lord Caitanya was none other than Sri Krsna Himself, for no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can distribute confidential love of the Supreme Person.

Translation

          Sri Panca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed, and chanted like madmen, and this way they distributed love of Godhead.

Purport

          People generally cannot understand the actual meaning of chanting and dancing. Describing the Gosvamis, Sri Srinivasa Acarya stated, krsnokirtana-gana-nartana-parau: not only did Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates demonstrate this chanting and dancing, but the six Gosvamis also followed in the next generation. The present Krsna consciousness movement follows the same principle, and therefore simply by chanting and dancing we have received good responses all over the world. It is to be understood, however, that this chanting and dancing do not belong to this material world. They are actually transcendental activities, fo rthe more one engages in chanting and dancing, the mor ehe can taste the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead.

          Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself and He has inaugurated the prema dharma, the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, to distribute the topmost form of loving reciprocation that is available in Goloka Vrindavana. Srila Prabhupada has affirmed that the following statements of Narottama Dasa Thakur are as good as the Vedas or the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead:

"Golokera prema dhana harinama sankirtana"

Translation: "The treasure of divine love of Goloka Vrindavana has descended to this world in the form of the chanting of the holy names of Krishna, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra."

 

(Hari Hari Biphale)

          Srila Prabhupada says in CC Adi Lila 7.20-21 Purport that this chanting and dancing do not belong to this material world – they are transcendental activities. So let us not be like the people in general who cannot understand the actual meaning of the chanting and dancing. Let us go forward with the blessings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on His appearance day to take more stock of this process of harinama sankirtan, which awakens transcendental love of Godhead in people in general, what to speak of ourselves.

          We should always remember that our time is very short in this human form of life and the instruction of our disciplic succession. Srila Prabhupada, following the encouragement and instruction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur, says “Finish your business in this life. Do not risk having to take another life to finish the course of Krishna consciousness.” So by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, by pushing on the Krishna consciousness movement, we will reach the goal.

          We are also now celebrating 365 days a year harinama sankirtan since March 25th, 2012. At that time, we did not know what things would turn into, but some very good devotees came forward to assist and begin this program. One thing led to another and here we are 5 years later. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the devotees who participated along the way and we pray for the blessings and goodwill of all the Vaishnava devotees that the harinama sankirtan movement of Lord Caitanya grows more and more here in the place where Srila Prabhupada began the Krishna consciousness movement in 1966, in New York City.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Hare Krishna

Yours in service to Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada,

Rama Raya das

 
Life-Changing Impact - Morris
As narrated by His Grace Rama Raya Prabhu

Morris: “Excuse me - me and you need to come to an understanding.”

Piano Player: “C’mon bro. They’re spreading peace and love, I’m spreading peace and love. There isn’t any difference.”

Morris: “This is America - everybody is entitled to their opinion. George Washington is sitting on the horse right there protecting your 1st amendment rights. Now I would want the common decency that you should respect that I’m also entitled to my opinion.”

“First, this is an established spot. You don’t come into an established spot and start doing whatever you want without checking with those are already thus established.”

“Second, you say you’re spreading peace and love and they’re spreading peace love. That’s your opinion. I respect that. But from my side, I say they’re spreading peace and love – you on the other hand are giving me a headache.”

“When you play that piano, I become angry in my mind. Less people come in the park to play chess. I can’t play the game properly. I don’t win as much. I don’t make as much money.”

“But when the Hare Krishnas are chanting here, more people come in the park, my mind is very peaceful, my intelligence becomes very clear, I play a good game, and I make more money. So you see there is a difference.”

“So just between me and you just so that we’re clear just like bright sunshine in the sky. Later down the road, I don’t want there to be any kind of a cloud or fog. If that comes about brother, there’s going to be a big storm coming and you don’t want that.  I know me 12 brothers totally loyal to me in Newark, New Jersey and you don’t even want to think about opening up that book. So clear sunshine – me and you understood. This is your last day here.”

Piano Player: “Yes sir.” He got the piano out of there and never came back.

          To date, Morris is always around to support us and making sure we’re doing alright. If something happens, he comes right over and tells the aggressor, “Excuse me – this type of behavior is unacceptable. I’m going to have to ask you to modify that or to leave.” Brahminical culture, coming from the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, brings back varna ashrama dharma as we see it bringing out a true ksatriya in Morris.

          The cause of happiness is knowing Krishna to be the supreme enjoyer of all activities of the human being, proprietor of all lands and planets, and the sincerest friend of all living entities. Anything contrary to that principle, Morris rightly pointed out, gives you a headache, as Narrotama dasa Thakur enunciated hundreds of years ago in the Prema Bhakti Chandrika - “The numberless different conceptions and philosophies of life are all symptomatic of the conditioned souls false pride. Trying to understand them brings no real benefit but only a pain within the mind.”

 

          4 years ago, coming into the 2nd year of daily Harinama in our established spot, 1 piano player tried to set himself up there everyday in the beginning of the season. With the help of assistants, he would wheel in an upright piano and he would play a 25-30 minute repeating spool of barroom music songs on the piano. We tried to reason with him to find another spot, but he wouldn’t listen.

          In Union Square Park there are many chess players and there is one very nice gentleman named Morris. He has a black body 6 foor 6 inches tall that is like a fully manifest angry Lord Nrsinghadeva. He’s a personal trainer, body builder, body guard, and bouncer. He approached us and said, “Are you having trouble over there? Listen I like you guys a lot. I’m going to take care of this.”

Austerity
The Wealth of the Devotees
 
 
By Natabar Gauranga das

          All living entities are searching for happiness but only able to get a drop in the desert-like material existence. A fitting example is the rats here in New York, they wake up early and go out in all types of harsh cold weather to sort through the garbage. They must always be alert for some human who may kick them, rodenticide on their food will kill them, or a car will quickly squish them. Their whole life is centered on stressfully collecting rejected rotten food and then death suddenly comes in some cruel way. Sadly, the life of most of the so-called humans living here isn’t much different than the poor rats. Hence, modern employment is commonly called “the rat race”. The two-legged rat racers also get some chewed-up garbage of sense enjoyment. Their garbage culminates in sex life, which is all but a sad, unsatisfying tasteless drop labored for with so much pain and stress; not the ocean of blissful nectar required by the soul. Prabhupada illustrates this rat race nicely in the first purport to Rshabdeva’s teachings to his sons:

“A man travels to earn his livelihood, leaving home early in the morning, catching a local train and being packed in a compartment. He has to stand for an hour or two in order to reach his place of business. Then again he takes a bus to get to the office. At the office he works hard from nine to five; then he takes two or three hours to return home. After eating, he has sex and goes to sleep. For all this hardship, his only happiness is a little sex.” (SB 5.5.1 purport)

          This human form of life gives the opportunity to obtain what every entity really wants, an eternal home, Vraja, with an eternal super intelligent body, which is always filled with the perpetually increasing variegated bliss due to associating with the reservoir of all pleasure, Krishna. If one wastes time in the rat race in pursuance of sense gratification and materialistic life with a painful ignorant body that is sure to embarrassingly break down and eventually die, they are unintelligently giving up their best shot at obtaining what they actually want. Everyone with a human body should recognize the great value in having such a body so as to not miserly cheat themselves out of their potential for spiritual advancement. Choose the futile, fearful, painful rat race to death or the voluntary accepted blissful challenge of making spiritual advancement back to Krishna.

 

          Obviously, therefore, human life should be one for spiritual advancement.

So those in human life should take on austerity, or voluntary trouble meant for spiritual advancement. Austerities keep us away from sinful life and push us forward in spiritual life. Every initiated devotee must promise to abstain from sex outside of begetting Krishna conscious families, eating meat, taking intoxication, and gambling. Giving up these frees one from the heavy reactions of sinful life. The other item promised is to chant a minimum of 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna maha mantra, which is our main source of advancement.

 

            Austerities highlight the desire to serve Krishna. By fasting on appearance days, chanting extra rounds on Ekadasi, or making an extra endeavor to perform service the soul is given an opportunity to highlight the purity of desire to serve Krishna. Krishna’s eternal servitors are 108% fully engaging all their energies for his pleasure. The conditioned soul’s effort to come closer to this goal of unmotivated, uninterrupted pure devotional service gives Krishna a reason to bestow further mercy and advancement. Alternately, if one performs less than capacity, Krishna is shown the proportionate insincerity and correspondingly one stagnates in spiritual life.

 

          So in New York City, when all the rats (both four and two-legged) are bitter, freezing and miserable in the frigid winter, the devotees of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtan movement (although certainly also externally miserable) are very happy to have the special opportunity that the cold weather affords. They can show Krishna how strong their desire to please him is no matter the circumstance by continuing to perform their duty of propagating the Holy Name of the Lord. The more snow there is and the more cold it gets the more that desire is highlighted and brought out. Any externally troubling situation can be seen as a test given by maya for the opportunity to make spiritual advancement. Diamonds are made from extreme pressure, and so pure devotees are made from remaining fixed in their service despite all opposition and obstacles.

 

          Austerity is the wealth of the devotees because it purifies us from the rat race platform. It is also an expression of the pure desire to please Krishna. Even the greatest pure devotees undergo austerities that show their purity. Prabhupada suffered and struggled to start ISCKON, Prahlad was tortured, Haridas Thakur beat. In the end the world became purified by their examples. Anyone in the human form of life is left with the choice: accept non-voluntary suffering life after life with a few drops of sense pleasure as the reward; or accept suffering voluntarily for Krishna’s pleasure with a reciprocal unlimited constitutional ecstatic eternity.

 
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