Sankirtan Adventures – Old City Hall, Guelph, Online, Janmashtami

Sankirtan during the Pandemic, a look back at 2020…

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 21 August 2020

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krishna!

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I pray that you are all well and in good health and spirits.

By your blessings I am able to participate in this Hare Krishna movement, despite my disqualifications. Thank you!

Summary:

14 Jul 2020 Old City Hall

16 Jul 2020 Old City Hall

19 Jul 2020 Downtown Guelph Harinam

23 Jul 2020 Old City Hall

23 Jul 2020 Walking Harinam Old City Hall to ISKCON Toronto

28 Jul 2020 Email/WhatsApp Sankirtan

11 Aug 2020 Janmashtami Sankirtan

21 Aug 2020 Old City Harinaam

————————————-

Total 8 Outings

It has been a very nice summer generally. The Pandemic is a pity, because it is really hard to meet Canadians at close quarters when it gets cold. Yes, there is the phone, email, WhatApp, zoom, etc., Sankirtan, but a majority of “laying the groundwork” happens out there, on the street, in summer festivals, knocking on doors… The devotees have been largely absent from public consciousness.

As the Pandemic wears on, the attention to social media has waned, and many are not as receptive to online platforms as they were before. So, at least based on the reception we’re getting outside, the devotees should cautiously resume outdoor Harinaam Sankirtan, even though it will probably not immediately result in a lot of books distributed. Right now, we are circling amongst ourselves, preaching to ourselves, which, no doubt,needs to be done, but we also need to distribute the mercy outside of those we know presently.

I had some really nice experiences, in Guelph with Paramahamsa Prabhu, on Janmashtami, with Yogesh who had never been out on Harinam Sankirtan before. He took many books home with him, especially the smaller ones we don’t seem to be distributing a lot of these days. What is more, he is a customer for books that we could not distribute because they were “old looking”! 🙂 And Yogesh is reading those books intently – Mahaprabhu has already brought Yogesh into His tidal wave.

Especially now, the people are very needy for Harinam Sankirtan, while a lot of Harinam may be going on behind closed doors and behind virtual closed doors like Facebook and Zoom, we do need to get out there.

Especially in Toronto – the restaurants are open, the bars are open, the cinemas are open, the liquor shops are open and liquor is now being sold in the grocery stores. The brothels are open, the casinos are open, the malls are open, the offices are open. But the devotees are indoors. Harinam Sankirtan is a closed club. It is indeed a cause for concern that those who know we are not the body but spirit souls are sitting indoors even when the risk has gotten so low. We are supposed to be the fearless Hare Krishnas. Where is our “abhayam”? We are supposed to be surrendered to the Lotus Feet of Sri Abhaya Charanaravinda, where is our Abhaya?

Where possible, I’m urging devotees to get out there and not be lazy/afraid/overly cautious. Please, the world needs us and what we have.

Writing about one experience from yesterday, though there were many more…

I was on Harinam yesterday… Many were responding, many were not, but one man, unsteady on his feet due to being inebriated, cigarette in hand, came close. He asked “Indian song?” I said “yes I am from India but this is the song of the heart”. He listened really intently, thankfully he kept his distance. But I felt somewhat uncomfortable… I  mean, it is easier to be ignored than to be scrutinized like that. He then started singing, suddenly asked me, “Do you need some change”, I asked him “Do you need a book”, so he took 2 books, one by Srila Prabhupada and one by my spiritual master Sankarshan Prabhu. He gave me a donation and immediately started reading the book. He did say “Always Christ” and I said “All the way my brother”. I was intensely praying to Lord Chaitanya “please give this man your mercy and the Lord did shower His mercy upon that soul! So we can see how one can get instant feedback while out on Sankirtan.

Go out where you can. Go out when you can. Go out in ones or twos. Go out with a mask if you have to. Stay outdoors. Wash your hands, stay far away from others, but let the sound of your voice become the humble vehicle for the Holy Name to go out there and do His magic. There is no other way, no other way, no other way, except Harinam Sankirtan Harinam Sankirtan Harinam Sankirtan.

I reported my Sankirtan outing this morning and my spiritual master was pleased. So, dear devotees, please let us please our spiritual masters.

quote

So we have to be very careful. The age is very bad, the Kali-yuga. You are experiencing. We have to simply take shelter of krsna and always cry,

krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, he!

krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, he!

krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, raksa mām!

krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, pāhi mām!

krsna, keśava, krsna, keśava, krsna, keśava, raksa mām!

rāma rāghava, rāma rāghava, rāma rāghava, pāhi mām!

Like that, as Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us. The time is very dangerous. And still, in this dangerous time… Just like in epidemic condition where every people is being contaminated and dying, still, the doctors appointed by the government, they have to go into the epidemic area and try to treat the person and save them. Our duty is like that. The whole atmosphere is epidemic, whole atmosphere, this Kali-yuga. And still, by the superior orders we have to preach this krsna consciousness movement. Therefore our only shelter is krsna. krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, krsna, raksa mām. Very dangerous position. The foolish people, they are thinking that “We are very happy and we are very safe.” But nobody is safe. Nobody is safe. So we have to deal with persons very carefully, and at the same time, we have to push our missionary activities. Aho kastam dharma drsam.

– from SB 6.2.1-5 in Calcutta, India

unquote

My 2020 goal is 108 outings, and I have 88 left to go, with just over 130 days left. 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.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

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Slavery by Subscription

Do you know that most of us subscribe to slavery? We actively seek it and choose to remain enslaved. How can you be free?

Do you think slavery is history? Yes, it may be so in some cases, but do you know most of us in the modern world are really slaves?

To understand this better, consider what slavery is – the enslaved person has absolutely no freedom to make major decisions, or maybe they have some minor choices.

Consider this now, there was a time when people used to own something… they used to own their land, they used to own their own homes, they owned their vehicles and conveyances… however grand or however humble.

But in a subscription-based world we have begun to rent everything. We rent our homes, we rent our vehicles, we rent absolutely everything. We pay every month. When someone wants to get something, they say “Can I afford the payment?”

This slavery… Every month, $1900 here, $450 there, $29.99 somewhere, $9.95 somewhere… $2.99 to store pictures of your child safely? Not to forget you paid a hefty tax on your paycheque to start with.

In effect, you are working for someone else, the only freedom you have is to decide what you can rent with your $125 left over this month.

In other words, you are a slave.

In fact, through subscriptions to this, that, and the other, you have lost even that which was yours outside of your financial situation, your attention, that most precious possession is gone too – think TV, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, WeChat, WhatsApp, Mundane Newspapers, Mundane Magazines, Materialistic Clubs, and much worse.

You spend all your time working to pay others. You spend all your energy falling into the funnels and plans of others. You don’t even own your own attention anymore!

Instead of accepting status quo – ask yourself, do I really need this? Cut the cord, Then pay off some of that debt, earn a bit more choice, pay off more debt, and don’t ever make choices where someone is renting something to you. Even if a subscription to something materialistic sneaks in, as soon as you realize it, unsubsribe!

Ultimately though, while it may be easy enough to rant against those who enslave others, please pause to reflect that even though no one wants to be a slave, everyone is actually a slave.

To what or to who, one may ask.

Everyone is a slave to the desire to be a master – this is the key reason for our enslavement here in the material realm.

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूत: सनातन: ।
मन:षष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥ ७ ॥

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi
prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

…As fragmental parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, the living entities also have fragmental portions of His qualities, of which independence is one. Every living entity, as an individual soul, has his personal individuality and a minute form of independence. By misuse of that independence one becomes a conditioned soul, and by proper use of independence he is always liberated….

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/15/7/

Where attention goes, energy flows, dear spirit soul.

What are you paying attention to?

Flex those choice muscles, go on, and be free of slavery. If I may assist you in your emancipation, please let me know. Subscribe to yourself, dear soul and to the Eternal Source of you.

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