Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Q&As #5 Srila Prabhupada’s passport
3 April 2009

April 3 2009 – Ramnavami ki Jaya!

Here’s question 5 of 11 from Vanamali Nrisimha das:

Hare Krishna, Hari Shauri Prabhu!
Can you please tell me the exact dates of Srila Prabhupada’s visit to Moscow in 1971? I had an information that he arrived on the 20th of June but I couldn’t find any bona fide confirmation of that date.

Answer:

Srila Prabhupada’s passport shows that he entered via Moscow on June 20 1971 and he left on June 26. If you check my website blog on lotusimprints.com you will see a photocopy of the passport entry.

And here it is:

p4200106.JPG



On yer bike! — I’m on a road to nowhere
6 November 2008

November 6 2008

So much for diets. Now here’s the other half of my get healthy program

exercise

Nice, huh. Its been sitting in my living room for the last six days, a sight to inspire me to do something I haven’t cared for before – exercise. I haven’t actually used it yet, but it looks good. For Rs. 8,700 it should. And what to speak if I begin to use it!

Now, one might ask, why bother spending so much on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere? Surely it would be more healthy and wise to just get out on a real bike, buzz around Mayapur and stay healthy that way.

Well here are a few good reasons. Some keen wit observed the state of the Indian traffic about 25 years ago and wrote the Indian Road Rules

START: Traveling in India is an almost hallucinatory potion of sound, spectacle and experience. It is frequently heart-rending, sometimes hilarious, mostly exhilarating, always unforgettable – and, when you are on the roads, extremely dangerous. Most Indian road users observe a version of the Highway Code based on an ancient text. These are the rules of the Indian road:

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Apologies
30 October 2008

October 30 2008 – Vrndavana

 sorry-2.jpg

My humble apologies if you have been logging in and not seen any new entries for the last week or so. I have been traveling to Delhi and now Vrndavana. I have to use a public internet facility so its rather difficult to put up anything substantial. I will be back in Mayapur in two days time, Nov. 1st and normal service will resume.

For those that don’t yet know, you can keep getting updates on Jayapataka Swami’s health at http://www.jpshealth.info/.

Your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa



Good times, bad times
18 October 2008

Ocotober 18 2008

dali clock

Here’s a good follow-up to my entry on October 2, “Just in time” regarding inauspicious times to travel and why Srila Prabhupada didn’t travel on Thursday afternoons. These questions come up periodically and the following explanations from Shyamasundara prabhu and Bhanu Swami give the detailed and technical explanations. When in doubt, go to the experts! 

[Shyamasundara prabhu is one of the foremost Vedic astrologers and you can find a link to his site on the ”Contacts” page.]

 From: Shyamasundara (Dasa) ACBSP (Astrologer)
Date:     01-Aug-94
Subject:  travel and Muhurta
————————————————————
Mother Urmila requests information about why Srila Prabhupada didn’t travel on Thurday afternoon and asks:

“Is this a general principle or something Prabhupada did because of personal astrological considerations?”

My understanding is that he learned this habit from his association with his own Guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta who was a renowned astrologer in his purva-ashrama. The reason is that on Thurday afternoon the Rahukalam–the time of Rahu becomes prominent.

 strange times

(This is mentioned in the philosophy paper.)

The method of calculating when the Rahukalam will take place is as follows. First you must know when the sun rises for each day of the week. Then for each day the Rahukalam starts at a different time after sunrise and lasts for 90 minutes. The start times of the Rahukalam for different weekdays are:

Sunday–         10.5 hours after sunrise
Monday–          1.5     ”
Tuesday-          9         ”
Wednesday      6         ”
Thursday        7.5       ”
Friday             4.5       ”
Saturday         3          ”

If the Sun were to rise at 6:00 AM then the Rahukalam on Thursday would correspond to 1:30-3:00 PM. [From Muhurta by B.V. Raman pg 201.] Needless to say the sun rises at various times at different seasons and at different latitudes. We also see that Rahukalam is not on Thursday only.

If one doesn’t have the facility to calculate the exact planetary positions at the time of a journey then the above calculation would serve as a ready reckoner. But it should be stressed that this is really only for layman.

From astrological texts it is noted that there are numerous flaws which could severely afflict a time for travel. This is especially significant in the case of long or important journeys. No time is perfect.

clock 

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KSC (not KFC!)
14 October 2008

October 13 2008

 The last two days have been spent in the very pleasant company of their holinesses Lokanatha, Bhakti Vikash and Janananda Swamis, discussing the work of the Kirtan Standards Committee (KSC).

KSC meeting Oct 12 2008 

Bhakti Vikash Maharaja

Lokanatha Maharaja looking serious

Janananda Maharaja taking my photo as I took his

yours truly

Two other members couldn’t be here, Jagajivan and Aniruddha prabhus. It was formed in 2006 and set the task of trying to define the standards for kirtana and all things connected with that, in ISKCON.

The last two days we saw a bit of progress. We are aiming to make a presentation to the GBC meetings in February 2009. We have divided Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on kirtana into three broad categories- rules, strongly recommended, and general. Then we looked first at kirtana in the temple, with mainly ISKCON devotees. And then from the angle of tunes, instruments, dancing etc.

 There are lots of other aspects to be looked at but to make a start these are the topics under current discussion. Sorry, can’t tell you what we came up with yet. You’ll have to wait till February. If it gets passed, it will be released for public consumption.



Mumbai
13 October 2008

October 11 2008

I was off-line for a couple of days, traveling to Mumbai. I will be here ’till October 23. I have a series of meetings over the next week or so, some connected with the GBC meetings that are to be held here, and some with the TOVP

I don’t come to Mumbai much. If I travel out of Mayapur at all (summer excluded), its mainly to Vrndavana. Last time I was here was 2 years ago. They were still constructing the massive extension at that time. Now its finished. 

They call the new extensions to Sri Sri Radha Rasabehari’s temple ‘Heaven on Earth’ and it really is. Amazing place.

Heaven on earth 

If you come to India, you must visit Hare Krishna Land Juhu. The guest house is 4 star.

view from my guest house window 

The restaurant is huge and the prasadam served is delicious. Yesterday, Sunday over 50,000 people went through the temple and other facilities. There are so many people they have to keep the line moving so that everyone gets a chance to see the Deities.

 darshan of Deities

That’s regular traffic, on special events days its much, much bigger.

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Just in time
2 October 2008

October 2 2008

Here’s an interesting question from Vishal Gauranga prabhu. He’s been reading Kurma prabhu’s excellent book The Great Transcendental Adventure (If you haven’t read it, beg, borrow or steal it; its as good as his cooking).

 Great Transcendental Adventure

Respected Kurma prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, all glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

I was going through this passage as mentioned below ..

“Srila Prabhupada had been booked on a flight to Honolulu via Fiji that was scheduled to leave that afternoon. After deliberation, however, considering travel on Thursday afternoons to be inauspicious, Srila Prabhupada decided to extend his stay in Melbourne for an extra day.

“Madhudvisa Swami requested Srila Prabhupada, since the devotees and congregation were so eager to be with him, that he allow them a special darsana before he left for overseas. Prabhupada agreed on an afternoon meeting in his room. Such an open darsana would be the first of its kind in Australia, and the devotees eagerly looked forward to the special event.”

**************************

I  would like to know what this inauspicious time here means?? Travelling on Thursday afternoons?
It may certainly not be “Rahu kala “ since that time falls between  1:30 to 3PM (on thursday’s). It’s bit confusing for me to understand this one as we all know that Srila Prabhupada is transcendental, how can these things affect HDG?.
Did Srila Prabhupada followed “rahukala” times through out his world travel? If not, why only in Melbourne? Sorry prabhu for taking your time, I appreciate very much in advance your time taken for answering this one ..

PS: Marking HG Harisauri prabhu just in case he has any add on to this scenario…

ys, Vishal Gauranga das

Kurma prabhu provided a good reply. (see his blog http://www.iskcon.net.au/kurma/)

Kurma 

He confirmed the inauspicious time as Thursday afternoon and commented:

“Why ‘it may certainly not be Rahu Kalam?'”

“According to my understanding, there are different calculations of Rahu Kalam. Some talk about a fixed time, others talk of a different calculation, which is calculated in connection to sunrise: Rahu Kalam on a Thursday falls 7.5 hours after sunrise. So if we calculated Rahu Kalam for Thursday in mid-summer, it would be at a very different time to mid-winter.

“As I said, this is my limited understanding of a vastly complex system. Shyamasundara dasa ACBSP the Astrologer has a lot to say on the topic of auspicious and inauspicious times, and in comparison to him, I know little more than what I have just said, so I will keep my mouth shut.

“By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on Thursday afternoons.

“One could extend your question and say that if he was ‘transcendental’, why bother to look after the body at all? So why did Srila Prabhupada take medicine, take massage, and go on morning walks?

“I’ll pass this one over to Hari Sauri, because I know he’s itching to answer ;)”

So on the request of my dear Godbrother, here’s my ‘two cents’:

“I have forwarded your comments to Shyamasundar prabhu for his insights. He knows a lot of the technical details on this topic.

> By the way, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also did not like to travel on
> Thursday afternoons.

 So much so that if he absolutely had to travel on Thursday, he would have a suitcase placed at the door on a Wednesday and that was considered an indication that the journey had started.

 Your answer is fine Kurma prabhu. Pure devotees still work within the general laws of material nature. Otherwise why do their bodies grow old, get diseases and become subject to the same physical laws as everyone elses?

The main reason is that they exhibit their pastimes within the framework of the conditioned souls. If they didn’t, noone would follow their teachings. If we had an acarya that could leap over skyscraper buildings in defiance of ‘gravity’ a la Superman mode, it might attract a big following, but who would bother to pay attention to his teachings? Then you get a great personality like Jesus who is made into an icon and a bunch of followers who say, “Only Jesus can walk on water. Only Jesus can multiply the loaves and five fishes. Only Jesus can die on the cross and be resurrected. Only Jesus can be pure. We don’t need to do anything because noone can be like Jesus.”

 In this regard I recall Hayagriva prabhu’s dream at Dr. Misra’s asrama in 1966:

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August 21 2008 — Sri Dhama Mayapur ki jaya!
24 August 2008

August 21 2008

An easy morning, did the puja, went to the bookstore, had a decent meal at Little Italy, a modern restaurant just near our Albert Road temple with a fully sattvik menu (no meat, fish or eggs, except for a little onion in one or two of the minor dishes). And then it was back to home, back to Mayapur. The traffic in Kolkata is horrendous; I only realized how bad it was when I compared it to the many American and European cities I have visited recently. It took nearly 11/2 hours to get out to the airport from the city center-a half hour without traffic. And the road out to Mayapur is really disgraceful. Potholed, crumbling, rutted. I am surprised how the communist govt. gets away with it and still gets voted in. Finally, around 6.30 PM we pulled up outside our apartment in the Hati building. Its great to be back after 14 weeks on the road. We need a couple of days to settle in, and then its going to be Janmastami and Vyasapuja.

All credit to Rasarani-priya. She’s been away for two months. Most of her friends were just upstairs but instead of going straight up to see them, she shot out the door and went over to the temple for darshan of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, even as they spotted her through their windows and tried to call her back. After that it was an evening of unpacking.

I gained 8 kilos on the trip; extra luggage that is (although judging from the size of my expanding waistline, I could have easily done the same–I really must exercise. Yeah, right, I hear you say again. ‘We’ve heard that one before.’ No, seriously, I am going to do it…)



August 19-21 – Travel, travel, travel!
24 August 2008

August 19 2008

Travel, travel, travel! Four and half hours from Skopje to Sophia. I had to smile going over the Macedonia border into Bulgaria. Surya prabhu dropped me off at the check point and Varada Hari prabhu was there to walk with me through the immigration posts. No problems on the Macedonia side but on the Bulgarian side we had to stop at customs. The officer, a tall imposing young man, asked me where I was going. “Sophia tonight and India tomorrow,” I replied.“Ah! India. That’s a long way. It will take you a long time,” he said sympathetically.

Then he asked me about my three bags. “So, these are your bags. And you have nothing to declare. And they are all your personal possessions.” He didn’t really ask, but stated it, and without waiting for a reply he smiled, “OK, no problem, you can go through.” It would be nice if all Customs were the same.

Actually, in EU countries now there are no customs or immigration. Driving over the border from Germany to Poland was the same as driving from one city to another within a single country. As Srila Prabhupada said many times, nationalism and immigration visas etc. are simply politics that’s all.

With no program in the evening, I had a chance to relax

resize-of-cool-bear.jpg

 do a little reading and hit the sack early.

August 20 2008

I was up at 1.30 AM, thanks to a bunch of barking stray dogs outside the building.

 strayed in the wrong place

It reminded me of when I was giving Srila Prabhupada his evening massage on the roof of his Vrndavana rooms. Some dogs were fighting in the back alley:

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August 18 2008 Skopje – Its all over…
19 August 2008

August 18 – 10:30 PM

That’s it, the last program here Skopje. Actually, not just the last program here, but the last program of my summer tour.

goodbye all you angels!

“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”
 

 (Romeo and Juliet- Will Shakespeare)

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August 17 2008 Skopje — Hey Hey we’re the monkeys!
17 August 2008

August 17

 three monkeys 

 I was expecting to have a peaceful night. Skopje is a small place. But no such luck. I took rest at about 11.30 PM. At 3.00 AM I am woken by some drunken woman yelling and screaming at her mother down on the road outside our three storey apartment. It went on for two hours. I couldn’t shut the window because it was so hot, and I don’t have a fan. So I gave up and got up at 3.30 AM. At least I could get my rounds done early.

After the morning session, one of the devotees Yadavendra Gopa das, who is also a sometime-resident of Mayapur, asked an unusual question. He cited the story in Hayagriva prabhu’s book “Vrindavana Days” where Yamuna dasi hears Srila Prabhupada speaking to a monkey in the monkey’s own language. Yamuna comes in afterwards and Prabhupada advises her not to tell anyone what she had just heard.

Yadavendra Gopa wanted to know what I thought Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual position was and why would he tell Yamuna not to tell anyone else?

My immediate answer was, ‘no comment.’ Unless I could check the story back with Yamuna, I wouldn’t want to say anything about it. It was such an unusual story, who knows if Hayagriva got it right? And it didn’t really jell with my own experience with Prabhupada and monkeys:

[From TD 4] September 7, 1976 – Vrindavana

Prabhupada sat quietly, leaning against the soft cotton bolsters as he relaxed and listened to the rain gently drip off the thatched roof He surveyed the garden — the fragrant chameli jasmin, the malati creepers, the croutons, the gardenia, and the tall and flourishing banana trees. He said that in Bengal, the village people eat off the broad flat leaves of the banana trees. “Very good. Common man in Bengal, Orissa, they’ll take on banana leaves all vegetable preparations. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when he was invited by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, he was taking on banana leaves.”

Then he requested me to serve him his lunch on banana leaves from his garden. “Because there are so many banana leaves, you can utilize it. One leaf is sufficient for four plates at least.”

Caranaravindam said that the monkeys also like the banana leaves, to eat, and especially they like to eat the new shoots in the center of the tree.

Prabhupada shook his head with disapproval. “That is destructive; they do not know. Because they do not get anything, they make mischief. They’re very mischievous. If they do not get any eatables, they will cause mischief.”

Thinking of the groups of monkeys that have become a nuisance in taking up residence on the open verandas of the guest house rooms and inside the domes of the temple until we sealed them up, I laughed and asked, “Do monkeys have any use?”

Prabhupada’s reply surprised me a little. “They have only use — their fat is very good medicine for burns. Some portion is burned, monkey fat is very good medicine.” Then even more surprisingly, “The Chinese eat their brains.”

 They eat their what!!     Not this little dude they don’t!

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August 16 2008 Skopje — Lord Balarama’s Appearance day
17 August 2008

Saturday August 16

Lord Balarama’s Appearance day. Half day fast.

An auspicious day which I hope reflects upon this blog, because this is the day I have chosen to beta-test my website. I sent out invitations to visit lotusimprints.com to maybe 50 + devotees and I hope they like it. The whole site was set up for me by a young brahmacari who is now in the Chowpatti temple. He doesn’t want me to mention him by name but at least I can say a very big “Thanks!” and “Hare Krishna” to him here for all his hard work and persistence in putting it all together.

For the Lord’s glorification we had special class this morning, not a reading about His pastimes but a compilation of things I heard Srila Prabhupada say about Lord Balarama. Here’s a couple I always like:

[TD 2] May 4, 1976 — Honolulu

 Balarama is so powerful

Tamal Krishna Goswami and Dhrstadyumna Swami are here. They came in from New York with a written report to give Srila Prabhupada on their China preaching endeavors. Since the Mayapur festival, when Srila Prabhupada ordered Tamal Krishna Maharaja to begin something in China, they have been very seriously studying books like The Religious Policy and Practice in Communist China, and investigating ways and means to establish links there. Srila Prabhupada spoke with them for almost an hour following his afternoon rest. He was eager to hear how things are going in New York under Madhudvisa Swami’s leadership. Hearing their favorable report, Prabhupada complimented Madhudvisa. “Yes, he is the right person.”

Tamal Krishna mentioned that even with no advertising their new restaurant attracts fifty people a day, each paying $2.50.

Prabhupada said it would be automatically advertised. People would hear ‘Oh there is a nice ISKCON restaurant’ and come. He compared it to the Krishna-Balaram Mandir he opened in Vrndavana; he had thought that it was so far away from the center of Vrndavana town that no one would come. But it has proved very popular. “People are coming by thousands. … ” He laughed. “Balarama is so powerful, He’s bringing: ‘Come out here!'”

   Balarama is powerful 

[TD 3] July 11, 1976 – New York

There was a letter from Bhagatji, Sri Visvambhar Dayal, bringing Srila Prabhupada up to date with the Vrndavana temple affairs. Srila Prabhupada is extremely pleased he has come forward to help us. Srila Prabhupada has gradually induced him to take a more active role in the temple affairs, telling him, “So kindly help the management as Krishna Balaram is your worshipable Deity.” He spoke very encouragingly to him, revealing a glimpse of his own intimate relationship with Sri Sri Krsna and Balarama. “Kindly guide our foreign disciples to manage nicely and increasingly you will be able to please Their Lordships Krishna and Balaram. Although I’ve established Their temple, Their Lordships want me to keep outside the temple for touring.”

 Krishna and Balarama, Vrndavana 

In the evening we had a full house, about 50 devotees packed into the tiny temple room to see two short dramas and then hear me continue with my Chanting seminar.

The first play was unusual, at least I found it so. In short: Lord Balarama begs a peacock feather from Krsna, and Krsna also gives Him His flute. Kamsa sends the Kesi demon to Vrndavana to find Krsna and kill Him. Kesi sees Balarama with peacock feather and flute and thinks He is Krsna. Kesi gives Balarama an almighty kick and knocks him flat. Kesi goes off thinking he has killed Krsna in one simple kick. Balarama meets up with Krsna again and gives back the flute and feather because they are attracting too much trouble from the demons. He tells Krsna all about Kesi. Krsna goes out looking for Kesi and this time the demon is finished.

I hadn’t seen this version before but the devotees assured me it was in the writings of Srila Visvanatha Chakrovarty Thakur. I guess I had better get reading.

I spoke till 9.30 PM and then there was a delicious feast, all cooked by Vaideha prabhu, who was my contact for coming here. The prep. I liked the best was a pizza-like dish, but made in strips about 6-8″ long x 1-2″ wide rather than the usual disk shape. Very tasty. I complimented Vaideha that he was the Kurma of Macedonia. He liked that.



August 15 2008 Skopje
17 August 2008

Friday August 15

Its hot here, over 100 deg. F. I like hot weather and I can’t function in the cold. That was one of my prime motivations for emigrating from England in 1971. When me and my two old school friends, Chris and Bob, landed in Australia we went to the north west and got jobs for six months on the mining camps. For the first six weeks we didn’t see a single cloud in the sky. I felt like I had been liberated.

A bit of sun and she’ll be right mate!

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August 14, Skopje Macedonia
15 August 2008

Thursday August 14

I am staying at the flat of Bhavana das and his wife Irena. They have a nice place just inside the city. After a short rest, bath and setting up Srila Prabhupda, we headed out to the new temple in the city center.

Macedonia yatra is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and they just paid about 60,000 euros for a small two story building in the city. Its the first place they have owned outright. Tucked in behind a restaurant its hard to spot. But it has a nice vibe to it, and the small wooden Deities of Nitai Gaurasundara are among the most beautiful I have seen. You can fit about 60-70 persons in the temple room and they are painting the walls with beautiful murals of Caitanya and Krsna lila. Read the rest of this entry »



August 14 in transit to Skopje, Macedonia
15 August 2008

August 14

Up at 2.45 AM, did my puja and then off to the airport at 4.30 AM for a 6.00 AM departure to Munich. No hassles this time. A couple of hours wait in Munich and another flight put me into Sophia at exactly midday. Ananda Caitanya and one brahmacari picked me up and we immediately set out for the Bulgarian/Macedonian border. I confess I was a bit dismayed when I saw the transport–a battered old Lada that sounded a bit like a tractor on a race track. It was over 90 degs. F outside and there was no air conditioning in it. Ah well, whatever the Lord supplies. Actually the passenger seat was quite comfortable and three hours and one speeding ticket later we arrived at the border. Read the rest of this entry »



August 13 2008 – Back to Bratislava
13 August 2008

August 13

 Back for an overnight stay before moving on to Sophia Bulgaria this afternoon. We did two more seminars on Prasadam last night and this morning. Its always a popular topic. Especially when I get talking about cooking for Srila Prabhupada.

 Upendra learning how to use Prabhupada’s three-tiered cooker:

 Upendra and Srila Prabhupada with 3-tiered cooker

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August 6 – 12 2008 Prostejou, Czech Rep. summer festival
6 August 2008

August 6 

It took about 3 hrs. easy drive to get to Prostejou and the small summer camp they hire every year in the midst of a pine forest. Kadamba Kanan Swami arrived just after me, and Danavir Maharaja in the evening. Mahadhutyi prabhu, now an itinerant monk after serving many years as TP of Soho St. temple, is also attending.

About 250 devotees have gathered from Czech and Slovakia. They have been putting this festival on for 8-9 years now. Association is the most important feature of spiritual life and Europe has a proliferation of these small festivals during the summer. Its a chance for the devotees to get together and celebrate, and hear from senior devotees and just perform congregational chanting of the holy names.

 August 7-9

We have a pretty easy schedule. I am speaking from 10-12 noon and we settled on the topic of Health. About a hundred attend the seminars, so it’s a nice group.

Kadamba Kanan Swami left on the 8th afternoon and was replaced by Lokanath Maharaja and Bhakti Vaibhava Swami. I was surprised to see Lokanatha M. with a few days growth on his face and head. His hair is pure white and he reminded me a bit of Santa Claus on his day off. He grinned and explained that B. Vaibhava M. is making a new movie called Lost Village. Its about the loss of natural living and local village life in the midst of our ecologically challenged planet. Lokanatha M. has already done some filming with his family members in his village in Maharasthra.

I was surprised when B. Vaibhava M. asked me to shoot a short segment also. The reason? He arrived just as I was giving Srimad Bhagavatam class yesterday morning. I mentioned how I heard that in America, a couple of weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the govt. made an appeal to everyone to go out and start shopping. Apparently everyone was so depressed in the aftermath that noone was buying anything. The whole economy was threatened so the govt. prescribed shopping therapy to relieve everyone of their depression and save their economy.

Are we happy? Are we really, really happy?

 shop till you drop1  … 

 shopping …

 shopper …

 shop drop

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August 2 – 6, Bratislava, Slovakia
2 August 2008

August 2 

I never re-confirm my tickets because most airlines say there is no need. But when I arrived at Berlin airport at 7.30 AM after a two and half hour drive, I found out my flight for 9.10 AM to Munich had been cancelled. No warning, no emails, nothing.

They had re-booked me for 10.30 AM but I had a connecting flight from Munich to Bratislava at 11.10 AM. Fortunately there was an earlier flight leaving for Munich at 8.30 AM and I was just in time to make it. Maybe I should start re-confirming.

August 3-6 The devotees have rented a different place from last year. Its on the outskirts of the city, in a fairly new housing development in the hills. It’s a much better place, with a back garden about 75′ X 300′ and a few apple trees, grape vines and flower beds already established. The house is nice, with a pleasant frontal aspect across a small valley and friendly neighbors. The landlord allowed the devotees to remove a wall so that they could create a temple room big enough for 60 people. Best of all it only costs the same as what they were paying before.The yatra here is small, about a dozen full time devotees to run the temple, sankirtan and a popular restaurant downtown. But I like visiting. The devotees are eager to hear about Srila Prabhupada and do their best to make my stay pleasant.

I presented my new seminar on Association morning and evening and completed it on the last session on Wednesday 6 morning. Good timing because we all set off for the annual Czech Rep. summer festival at midday.



July 28 – August 2 2008, Woodstock Festival, Poland
28 July 2008

July 28 – travel to Poland Woodstock festival

Yet another full day of travel. I think I will have to plan my travel better next year. These full day treks are getting a bit difficult.  Chanakya Pandit says that a horse grows old by standing still and a man grows old by traveling:

 on the road again

I had to fly down to Heathrow, spend 2 hrs in transit, take another flight of a couple of hours to Stockholm, run the length of the airport terminal, check in on a different airline, then another flight to Berlin where I was picked up and driven for another two hours to the small town of Kostrzyn just over the border in Poland where Woodstock is held. Read the rest of this entry »



July 21 – 27 Karuna Bhavan, Scotland
21 July 2008

Monday July 21

I sent off from Trollhatten at 8.30 am, flew to Stockholm, had a couple of hours stopover to take lunch with Yogindra and pick up Srila Prabhupada and my suitcase, then a flight to London, another 2 hrs. transit and another flight to Glasgow. I arrived at the temple at Leshmahagow at 10 PM so it was a whole day just traveling. Needless to say I was a bit wiped out. And a throat infection I picked up in WDC has come back, so I hope it doesn’t impair my speaking in the seminars.

July 22

Now I am settled in and begin my seminars this evening. Things here seem to be quite stable. They have had some major leadership changes in the past two years and just recently changed temple presidents but now things are going fine. Prabhupada Prana, the new TP is a gentle and serious devotee and the rest of the devotees are enthusiastically maintaining their book distribution activities. They have about 16 houses in the immediate vacinity, and the temple property stretches over three plots up a hillside. Its all nicely maintained and the community is solid. The unusual feature of this temple is that they have 12,000+ (yes, that’s thousands) of saligram-silas!

Its a pretty amazing sight to see the Lord in his multiple forms in one big stainless steel tank. The devotees don’t worship each shila individually of course, they have one or two that get bathed and decorated each day. The others are simply washed en masse so to speak. Then periodically there is a one week marathon when each and every shila is picked out, washed, cleaned and oiled before being returned to the tank. Now there are few less devotees in the temple this has become a bit of a strain for the pujaris (not surprisingly).

One bummer: I sent a letter to Kesihanta in Alachua with $620 worth of cheques in it to be banked in my account there. These were from book sales in Dallas and Houston. The letter hasn’t arrived, so it seems lost. And I have no record of who sent me the cheques. Now I have to try and find out who gave me the cheques and get them to re-issue them. I knew I should have insisted on cash…

We drove to Edinburgh in the late afternoon for a weekly program in a new age bookstore situated underneath the main Edinburgh Cathedral. We had a good turn out, about 20+ guests, some regulars and a few new ones, and I also sold a couple of books so everyone was pleased with the attendance.

July 23-27

My throat got worse as the week progressed. After the Edinburgh program it was really sore. So I ended skipping a couple of the morning sessions and just doing the evenings. I felt bad about it, its my standard to speak morning and evening at whatever temples I visit unless their program is different. I feel I should justify the help I get with my ticket by speaking as much as possible.

Wound up a pleasant visit to Karuna Bhavan with a Sunday feast talk and then a showing of the ppt. presentation on the Archives. It went over well. Everyone who sees it is surprised to see how much work has been done, and still needs to be done, to preserve and disseminate Srila Prabhupada’s legacy. Its one of the most important projects in ISKCON.

Karuna Bhavan has been noted in the past for their generosity in supporting various projects (they gave me $5,000 to help publish my first book in 1992) and Prabhupada Prana indicated that he would approach their temple council to see if they would like to give some financial support to the Archives so I am happy about that.

I also saw one nice gentleman, a retired Indian doctor Dr. Prem Pancham, who spontaneously offered some substantial financial support last year when I visited and he bought a full set of my books. He is an avid reader of Srila Prabhupada’s books and although we didn’t get to spend any time together this visit, he did kindly drive over an hour to get to one of the programs. May Krsna and Srila Prabhupada bless him with more and more realization and advancement in devotional service.



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