George Harrison Interview 1982

George-Harrison-and-Srila-Prabhupada

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In the following conversation, taped at George’s home in England on September 4, 1982, George reveals some memorable experiences he has had chanting Hare Krishna and describes in detail his deep personal realizations about the chanting. He reveals what factors led him to produce “The Hare Krishna Mantra” record, “My Sweet Lord,” and the LPs All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, which were all influenced to a great extent by the Hare Krishna chanting and philosophy. He speaks lovingly and openly about his association with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya (spiritual master) of the Hare Krishna movement. In the following interview George speaks frankly about his personal philosophy regarding the Hare Krishna movement, music, yoga, reincarnation, karma, the soul, God, and Christianity. The conversation concludes with his fond remembrances of a visit to the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Vrndavana, India, home of the Hare Krishna mantra, and with George discussing some of his celebrity friends’ involvement with the mantra now heard and chanted around the world.

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Everyone is Eligible for the Supreme Destination

Krishna leaves Hastinipur

This I found this extremely interesting from my reading this morning, how even the prostitutes some 5,000 years ago in the time of Lord Krsna were accepted as necessary citizens for the proper upkeep of society. They were not condemned by the Lord, but rather He greeted them with the proper etiquette. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita… “even the low-born caṇḍālas and those who are born in a family of unbelievers, and even the prostitutes, shall attain perfection of life if they take shelter of unalloyed devotional service to Me, because in the path of devotional service there are no impediments due to degraded birth and occupation. The path is open for everyone who agrees to follow it.”

At the same time, many hundreds of well-known prostitutes began to proceed on various vehicles. They were all very eager to meet the Lord, and their beautiful faces were decorated with dazzling earrings, which enhanced the beauty of their foreheads.(SB 1.11.19)

…We may not hate even the prostitutes if they are devotees of the Lord. Even to date there are many prostitutes in great cities of India who are sincere devotees of the Lord. By tricks of chance one may be obliged to adopt a profession which is not very adorable in society, but that does not hamper one in executing devotional service to the Lord. Devotional service to the Lord is uncheckable in all circumstances.

Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, a great ācārya of the Viṣṇusvāmī Vaiṣṇava sect, in his householder life was overly attached to a prostitute who happened to be a devotee of the Lord. One night when the Ṭhākura came to Cintāmaṇi’s house in torrents of rain and thunder, Cintāmaṇi was astonished to see how the Ṭhākura could come on such a dreadful night after crossing a foaming river which was full of waves. She said to Ṭhākura Bilvamaṅgala that his attraction for the flesh and bone of an insignificant woman like her would be properly utilized if it could be diverted to the devotional service of the Lord to achieve attraction for the transcendental beauty of the Lord. It was a momentous hour for the Ṭhākura, and he took a turn towards spiritual realization by the words of a prostitute. Later on the Ṭhākura accepted the prostitute as his spiritual master, and in several places of his literary works he has glorified the name of Cintāmaṇi, who showed him the right path. (SB 1.11.19 Purport)

It is clearly declared by the Supreme Lord, that in devotional service, there is no distinction between the lower or higher classes of people. In the material conception of life, there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord, there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. (Bg 9.32 Purport)

In the second part of the post there is a conversation with Allen Ginsberg on the life of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

This is the index to the Contents of “The Hare Krishna Explosion” by Hayagriva dasa. We have posted it here almost in its entirety. This index will give you immediate access to the chapters by clicking on the following underlined links.

Also for a free PDF download, you can click on link at bottom of post.

The Hare Krishna Explosion
The Birth of Krishna Consciousness in America 1966 – 1969
by Hayagriva dasa

Contents

Note and Preface

Part I: New York, 1966

1) Visitor from Calcutta
2) Transcendental Invitations
3) Who Is Crazy?
4) Second Avenue Fire Sacrifice
5) The Hare Krishna Explosion
6) Back to Godhead

Part II: San Francisco, 1967

7) Swami in Hippieland
8) Flowers for Lord Jagannatha
9) Mad After Krishna
10) Soul Struck
11) San Francisco Rathayatra
12) Passage to India

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969

13) Enter, Srila Prabhupada
14) New Vrindaban, West Virginia
15) Seven Temples on Seven Hills
16) Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring
17) The Guru and The Poet
18) Paramhansa in the Hills

Glossary of Non-English Words
The Author

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The Macmillan Miracle

To purchase a copy of the original 1972 Macmillan Edition of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is, click on image to visit online store

The surprising events surrounding the initial publication of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

The Macmillan Miracle
By Sriman Satyaraja Prabhu

The Bhagavad-gita was important to Srila Prabhupada. He saw it as the perfect book to convey Krishna consciousness, as it consists of the Lord’s own words and His interactions with His loving devotee. In 1939, just seven years after Prabhupada was initiated by his spiritual master, he wrote a lengthy introduction to the book in English, presaging his full translation and  commentary, which appeared soon after he began his mission in the West.

When Prabhupada arrived in New York in 1965, he gave priority to his work on the Gita. In India he had already completed a translation, spanning well over a thousand pages, but it was stolen. In March 1966, Prabhupada was adjusting to life in the Western world when he met with another loss: his typewriter, cassette recorder, and several books were taken from him. But he was resilient and determined to complete his work. In 1967 he finished the new manuscript, again over a thousand pages, and resolved to get a major publisher so that his message would be heard throughout the world.

At the time, Allen Ginsberg, famous poet of the Beat Generation, was visiting the New York temple, and he was enjoying a friendly relationship with Srila Prabhupada. Since Ginsberg was an experienced published author, Prabhupada asked him to show the manuscript to his benefactors, which Ginsberg did. But they were unimpressed, claiming the book had little commercial value.

Prabhupada then gave the manuscript to Rayarama Dasa, an early disciple with some experience in the publishing world. Rayarama, too, was unsuccessful in his attempts, his contacts explaining their hesitation in much the same way that Ginsberg’s did.

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The Guru and the Poet (Chapter 17)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 17

The Guru and the Poet

In his room, Prabhupada reads from an advance copy of Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, which he has paid Dai Nippon Press to print. Prabhupada is very pleased.

“Now that they have done this nicely,” he says, “we can make immediate plans to print our Krishna book.”

Kirtanananda and Pradyumna prepare prasadam for distribution tomorrow. New announcements are posted on campus: SWAMI BHAKTIVEDANTA AND ALLEN GINSBERG: A NIGHT OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS IN COLUMBUS. MAY 12. TRANSCENDENTAL PASTIMES. ECSTATIC ILLUMINATIONS.

Prabhupada talks about the financing of “the Krishna book,” which is to be a summary of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, dealing specifically with the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Vrindaban and Mathura. George Harrison is particularly interested and has offered to donate printing expenses.

“Just see how these books are attracting,” Prabhupada says. “My Guru Maharaj always said that books are the big mridanga.“

At nine p.m., Allen Ginsberg enters. He has just flown in from Louisville, Kentucky. Concluding a long tour of college poetry readings, he is eager to return to his Cherry Valley farm in upstate New York. When he sees Prabhupada, he smiles broadly.

“Hare Krishna!” he says. As always, Allen touches Prabhupada’s feet, offering obeisances, then sits cross-legged on the floor. “So, we’ll sing tomorrow?”

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Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring (Chapter 16)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 16

Krishna, The Flower-bearing Spring

I return to West Virginia in time for a major snowstorm. Aghasura Road becomes a shimmering white path through a fantasy land of icicles. In the little farmhouse, nucleus of our transcendental village, it is impossible to keep warm. Cold air somehow seeps through the old floorboards and cuts through cracks. We stoke the woodfire in the steel oil drum. At night, the oil drum glows crimson, like a self-contained galaxy in the dark blue cold of space.

We are spared the worst northwest winds sweeping down from the Arctic and Canada, and across the plains from northern Ohio, for our wise pioneers built the little house on the eastern side of Govardhan Hill. Still, the sun rises late, reluctantly. We sit two hours in the predawn darkness, chanting aratik mantras, reading Bhagavad-gita, and stoking the fire. There are always logs to cut, brambles to break, firewood to haul in to dry before burning.

The predawn hours are the coldest. We stand wrapped in blankets before the little altar as Kirtanananda offers incense, camphor, ghee, water, handkerchief, flower, peacock fan, and yak-tail whisk to the Radha Krishna and Jagannatha Deities.

“When making aratik offerings,” he writes Prabhupada, “is it proper to meditate on the different parts of the Lord’s body?”

Prabhupada writes back no. “The Lord is actually there with you,” he replies. “And you are seeing all of His bodily features, so there’s no need to meditate that way. Food should be offered before aratik…”

Of course, this means getting up earlier to cook. We take turns tending the fire. I don’t thaw out until I’m in my office in Columbus.

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Forever Grateful to Srila Prabhupada


Forever Grateful to Srila Prabhupada
By Sriman Padmapani Prabhu

Thinking back to the late sixties and early seventies, I fondly remember how the Hare Krsna mantra had already infiltrated contemporary culture due to Srila Prabhupada’s extraordinary efforts to spread the holy names throughout the world. A number of famous musicians and artists had begun to discover the chanting and were promoting it in their records and books.

For example, the Broadway musical “Hair” was a big hit and the accompanying record — which included the chanting of Hare Krsna — became a popular staple on the radio. George Harrison recorded the song “My Sweet Lord” with the melodious chanting of Krsna’s names in the background, and prior to that, the words “Hare Krsna” could be found on one of the Beatles’ albums. Poet Allen Ginsberg, a self-styled leader of the new counterculture, had visited India and picked up the mantra there. He subsequently wrote about the chanting in at least one or more of his poetry books. After meeting Prabhupada at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side of New York, Ginsberg increased his dedication to the holy names and often chanted them during “be-ins” and poetry readings. When John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous “bed-in” at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969, the devotees were there singing Hare Krsna during the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” The “Radha Krsna Temple” album produced by George Harrison in 1970 in co-operation with the London devotees could be found in record stores throughout Europe and North America. Such was the widespread influence of Srila Prabhupada’s dynamic preaching efforts even though he had only been in the western world for a short period of time. Srila Prabhupada was already expertly fulfilling the order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj.

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Swami in Hippyland (Chapter 7)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part II: San Francisco, 1967
Chapter 7

Swami in Hippyland

January 17, 1967. When Swamiji descends from the plane and enters the San Francisco airport, he is greeted by a group of about fifty young people. As he is questioned by the press, he extends his usual transcendental invitations.

“We welcome everyone, in any condition of life, to come to our temple and hear the message of Krishna consciousness,” he says.

“Does that include Haight-Ashbury hippies and bohemians?” a reporter asks.

“Everyone, including you or anyone else,” Swamiji says. “Whatever you are—what you call an acid-head, or hippy, or whatever—what you are doesn’t matter. Once you are accepted for training, you will change.”

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Back to Godhead (Chapter 6)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva das

Part I: New York, 1966
Chapter 6

Back to Godhead

“October 21, 1966. I walk into Swamiji’s room, offer obeisances, and he hands me the first three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which he had printed in India.

“Here,” he says. “Take and read.”

I open the books. In the front of each, he has written my spiritual name. “With my best blessings, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.”

“Oh, thank you, Swamiji,” I say.

“That’s all right,” he says, smiling. “Now you compile this Back To Godhead magazine.”

Back to Godhead! That is, we were there once. It’s a question of recovering a lost land. As Swamiji says: “I have come to remind you of what you have forgot.”

Following the orders of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Swamiji began Back To Godhead in 1944. Published bi-monthly in India from 1944 to 1956, Back To Godhead established Swamiji as one of India’s leading personalists. Now Swamiji enjoins Rayarama and me to introduce it to the West.

“Work sincerely,” he tells us,”and make it as big as your Time Magazine.”

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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