Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 05 October 2019
Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Even though it appears that summer may be coming to a close, at least as far as my Sankirtan Life is concerned, the summer of Sankirtan continues on, thanks to blessings from the spiritual master and the devotees!
Being out on Sankirtan is the most adventurous thing one can do. When we are out on Sankirtan, we literally put our lives in the hands of Sri Krishna. We beg for His mercy, we remember Him intensely, we make ourselves vulnerable as beggars, and we just go out on a limb to serve the disciplic succession. It is truly a privilege and pleasure to serve in this way.
Sankirtan is also the surest way – second only to marriage 🙂 to remind oneself about one’s false pride in action, and to see what a sad and sorry state the present world in, and just how much everyone just suffering.
Like all genuine pleasures, it takes time to begin to appreciate, and it takes time to practice and hone, it takes time to appreciate every single experience, but once one is in that circle of mercy, truly in that circle of mercy, then one hankers to be back in that flow, that zone of intense Krishna consciousness.
Nowhere does one witness the magic of Krishna consciousness more than being out on Sankirtan. Miracles happen at every moment, and the most unlikely experiences occur, and each experience is hand-picked by Krishna for one’s own betterment.
If you want to see Krishna’s hand in your life, then go out on Sankirtan! If you want to lose attachment to material pleasure, then go out on Sankirtan,. If you want to be humbled, then go out on Sankirtan. If you want to feel pride for Krishna, then go out on Sankirtan. Little or a Lot, PLEASE, do go out on Sankirtan!
10 Aug 2019 – Old City Hall
14-17 Aug – Vaishnava Sanga (3 outings in Shawinigan, Quebec)
23 Aug – Sri Krishna Janmastami (2 outings in the temple)
31 Aug – Trinity Bellwoods Park
31 Aug – Sri Radha Shyamsunder Janmashtami
4 Sep – Downtown Individual Outing (after a LONG time!)
8 Sep – Cabbagetown festival
17-30 Sep – Business Trip Sankirtan in Toronto, New York, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.
Total 11 Outings
Vaisesika Prabhu and His wave of Sankirtan mercy
Whenever great Sankirtan warriors descend, in their presence and in their footsteps we experience tremendous empowerment. Old City Hall was another magical experience, with the devotees performing Harinam right in front of Old City Hall, and so many devotees greeting the souls milling about. We also got an opportunity to bathe in the nectar shower that was his Vyasa Puja in ISV.
Michael, Dennis, and Wes all gave me their contact information, in fact that’s the only reason I still remember them – they gave me their contact information! Especially Dennis was coming “home” to Canada via Russia, China, and London, England. He felt at home with Krishna too, saying “Hey you’re a Krishna guy, I’ve seen your guys all around”. Wes was back to Toronto after a long stretch in Australia.
Right after that outing, in the temple, I met Karishma and Raghav who were visiting the temple for the first time. They both also took books, gave donations, chanted Hare Krishna and heard all about Radha Kshir Chor Gopinath! And yes, they did share their contact info.
If I can only follow up effectively with everyone I meet (remember these are the cream of the crop, they stopped, gave their time, attention, money, took a book, and left a contact!), ISKCON Toronto will surely be forced to expand into the church across the street! 🙂
Vaishnava Sanga magic
Right after Vaisesika Prabhu left, we got a solid dose of inspiration from the great souls gathered in St. Mathieu Du Parc in Quebec. I got to serve in the kitchen on 2 days, it was blissful service, cooking for all these delightful Vaishnavas! But what’s more, I got to go out on the famous Shawinigan Harinams, not once, not twice, but thrice!
These Shawinigan Harinamas are directly from the spiritual world (like every other Harinama, but I experienced the magic most here. First of all, its not a bunch of shy newbies, but veterans of the art of Harinam, senior devotees, disciples of Srila Prabhupada, advanced souls like Bhaktimarga Swami, Mahatma Prabhu, Krishnadas Kaviraj Prabhu, Lakshminath Prabhu, Guru Prasad Prabhu, and many more elevated souls! And accompanied by such young veterans of the art of Harinam as Krishna Dulal Prabhu and Prana Gauranga Prabhu! It was a pleasure to take the little town of Shawinigan by the storm of Sri Harinam Sankirtan.
Right before, we had stopped at ISKCON Montreal and stocked up on those elusive French books on Krishna consciousness. With a nice box full of books, we set out, only to almost run out on day 1! 🙂
Here we witness the power of the Holy Name. One can’t speak French or Quebecois to save one’s life, except for a hearty Bonjour (surely said with the wrong accent)! So how these books get distributed, and how donations come in is just a complete mystery to me. Well, not only me, but many many devotees took books, our own Vrajalalana Mataji, and Mathieu Prabhu from Ottawa, and many others, they just congregated on the books and within a very short time almost all the books were gone!
A few years ago, I had met the wife of the owner of a restaurant, she was from Mauritius. Now this time I met her husband and his employees, who all took books and made donations! Now the circle is complete, the whole family has Srila Prabhupada’s books. I am convinced that Krishna has a GRAND plan for this family – I mean he sent a whole Harinam Party after them, not once, not twice, but SO MANY times! 🙂 And His pure devotee’s books! He has accepted donations from them, and allowed them to serve the devotees with drinking water (in that hot weather, it is the most precious thing)… I can’t wait to see what Krishna unfolds in due course of time!
Also followed up with another contact I met a couple of years ago – her family attended one of the events at the Vaishnava Sanga!
I met a couple visiting Quebec from Brazil!
Many many souls took books, not only French, but also English. Very successful in reaffirming the magic of Sri Harinam to me!
A lady who accepted books 3 years ago in Shawinigan texted me excitedly “Hi Krishna das do you have Mahabharat in French?”. So I’m asking around.
Here are a few I remember from the other Sankirtan outings…
On Sri Krishna Janmashtami, I was almost exclusively at the book table, eagerly approaching visiting guests with our books, some took, some didn’t but so what, “next”! Our two little Sankirtan warriors, Govinda and Vitthal Bhakta wanted to distribute books too. And they did. Not only did they distribute books, but also collected handsome donations for Krishna. I was distressed to see these little children treated badly by a couple of guests who treated them as if they were some sort of street urchins begging for themselves! But they are small enough not to notice the insults, and happily and enthusiastically carried on. However, this drives home to me how careful we need to be to protect these little innocent devotees from nastiness (unlike some other Sankirtan warriors who did not get that kind of protection as children or vulnerable adults), so their Sankirtan outings need to be carefully planned and arranged so that they have happy childhood experiences of Sankirtan.
At the Janmashtami celebration of Sri Radha Shyamsunder close to Toronto, there was this one lady who wanted to begin the Bhagavatam but couldn’t commit to the full set. So she took the personal copy of teh first Canto copy Mother Sucaru! Mother Sucaru was in the midst of reading that particular copy, but she graciously allowed the distribution of her own copy… I had thought that the devotees could replenish, but apparently that big First Canto is not being printed at the moment! She reminded me of Srila Prabhupada who gave his personal copy away for distribution!
Two sisters from Wales visited our booth, and said “cool, our Mum is a yoga teacher” and “she probably has tha’one and tha’one”, until suddenly one of them said “tha’one, tha’one I’d like to read”, and took a couple of books, made a donation. They also chanted Hare Krishna “no problem, we’ve chanted before”.
Abhishek was a gas station attendant, a bright young man from Nepal. This was at a gas station close to ISKCON Berkeley – New Jagannath Puri Dham. He didn’t know about this amazing temple! He told me he was reading Paramahamsa Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a yogi”. He said he’d read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is before, promised to read again, accepted a couple of books, and said “sometimes we follow this path, sometimes that path”. And then he acknowledged “without guru we cannot make spiritual advancement, so a group of us are looking for a genuine guru”. He gave me all the contact information and responded with a “Hare Krishna. Thank you very much”
David chanced upon us – on a bike with his toddler son, in Trinity Bellwoods, and was gracious enough to ask very intelligent questions, get a Bhagavad Gita and make a generous donation. He didn’t want to go further in terms of giving me contact details etc., but at least he has the Gita!
Krishna the gas station attendant at a Shell said “Hare Krishna” and pointed to his name badge. He didn’t know about the ISKCON of Silicon Valley, so I wrote down the address for him. He passed the book back to me saying “and your contact information also, in case I have questions”.
Syed, from Lahore, Pakistan had been chased out of a cushy job in Dubai after it was discovered that he was the wrong kind of Muslim – a Shia instead of a Sunni. He’s arrived just 5 months ago, and we could tell he was feeling the cold – with his car warmed up like an oven and togged up with a hoodie with the hood on inside that baking hot car today with 18C weather outside. We had a good philosophical conversation about how God is fair to all and no one sect has a monopoly on God. He had said he liked to cook, found it amazing that I liked to cook too, and accepted a Higher Taste, saying “I like vegetarian food”.
J, a colleague in California, has steadily accepted (and read) Srila Prabhupada’s books over the last couple of years. I started with Prasadam, and cookbooks, and now she has Devamrita Swami’s Hiding in Unnatural Happiness and the Bhagavad Gita As It is.
Wonderful Serendipitous meeeting with Book Distribution General Vijaya Prabhu – on our way to Los Angeles we stopped at Ahimsa Cafe for some Prasada. This is a restaurant run by Tukaram Prabhu and his wife, in Long Beach California. I was reluctant, but the family was eager… and as I parked the car and walked over, what do I see but Vijaya Prabhu relishing Prasada! I got some undeserved mercy from a very humble Vaishnava who was out distributing the Bhagavad Gita at the Long Beach College. I pray that I may be able to follow in his footsteps, and 10, 20, 30, more years from now always continue to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, Srila Gurudeva’s books, my spiritual mentors’ books.
In Los Angeles lives a saint, His Holiness Amala Bhakta Swami. About 87 years of age, he doesn’t travel anymore, but is the prime example of “tirtham kurvanti tirthani”, for him, a picture of Sri Krishna is not just a picture, but directly Krishna. He took us around a tour of his Ashram, asking us “why would I need to go anyplace else”? He said his focus was on chanting and praying and purifying himself, and that he would preach in New Dvaraka but not leave those auspicious premises. He was extremely encouraging with my book distribution efforts. He told us about some of his early experiences, how he transitioned from a Hollywood actor to a Sadhu gradually, but with firm determination. Meeting him was a great highlight of my life, and when I distribute books, I do so in the hope of pleasing great souls such as him. He is one of the few, in addition to my spiritual master, who have taken the effort to actually correct me, caution me, warn me and guide me in the right direction. To these souls I remain grateful.
I’ve been writing this in bits and pieces for many days, actually over 3 weeks, but I fear that it is already too long and may tax you, dear devotee more, so even though I have a lot of amazing stories, they will have to wait for some other day.
My Sankirtan outings goal for 2019 is 108, and write about them all, and I now have 37 to go. Please bless me that I may humbly perform this service. I am very greedy for your blessings. In fact, I am 100% convinced that I can only go out on Harinam Sankirtan because of your blessings, because otherwise I am just a useless fool.
Praying to be always out on Harinam Sankirtan, or at least be in Harinam Sankirtan consciousness 24X7, this is my humble desire, though I must admit that unfortunate as I am, I still maintain all sorts of material attachments.
Chaitanya Das, 05 October 2019,
Hare Krishna Prabhuji. Dandavat Pranam. Please accept my humble obeisances.
Thank you so much for sharing, hope one day i should also be able to do it, seeking your blessings Prabhuji.
Rasika Krishna Das, 6 October 2019
Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
Jaya!! All glories to your Sankirtan outings.
Rasika Krishna Das
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 08 October 2019
Dear Chaitanya Prabhu,
Thank you for your kind encouragement.
Why not let today be the day? Today you can give a book by Srila Prabhupada or Srila Gurudeva to one of your family members, friends, or colleagues. And if no one is around, then give to yourself, meaning, read to yourself 🙂 The power emanated by vibrating the contents of a pure devotee’s writings changes the world for the better. Please try it.
Chaitanya Das, 08 October 2019
Hare Krishna Prabhu. Please accept my humble obeisances. Thank you so much Prabhu, will do. Will read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday and distribute whenever i can. Hare Krishna.
Tapas Chakraborty, 09 October 2019
Thanks for sharing the enormity of your involvement in spreading the Krishna conscious movement and experience which will benefit us immensely in our determination to progress with higher enthusiasm. We firmly believe setting targets will enable the resolve to reach greater heights of spiritual and transcendental knowledge.
With warm Regards
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