What is Krsna Consciousness?

The following interview with freelance reporter Sandy Nixon took place in July 1975, in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters at the Kṛṣṇa center in Philadelphia. This discussion serves as a superb introduction to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and covers such basic topics as the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the relationship between the spiritual master and God, the difference between genuine and fake gurus, the role of women in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the Indian caste system, and the relationship between Christ consciousness and Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

What is Krsna Consciousness?

Ms. Nixon: My first question is very basic. What is Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa means God. We are all intimately connected with Him because He is our original father. But we have forgotten this connection. When we become interested in knowing, “What is my connection with God? What is the aim of life?” then we are called Kṛṣṇa conscious.

Ms. Nixon: How does Kṛṣṇa consciousness develop in the practitioner?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is already there in the core of everyone’s heart. But because of our materially conditioned life, we have forgotten it. The process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—revives the Kṛṣṇa consciousness we already have. For example, a few months ago these American and European boys and girls did not know about Kṛṣṇa, but just yesterday we saw how they were chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and dancing in ecstasy throughout the whole Ratha-yātrā procession [an annual festival sponsored by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in cities around the world]. Do you think that was artificial? No. Artificially, nobody can chant and dance for hours together. They have actually awakened their Kṛṣṇa consciousness by following a bona fide process. This is explained in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22. 107)

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No Personal Ambition

Srila Prabhupada warns about the danger of personal motivation
compiled by: Yasodanandana Dasa

But the question may be raised as to why is it that we have seen so many devotees, even senior devotees with many years of direct physical association with the acarya, Srila Prabhupada, were [and are] seemingly incapable of clearly understanding Krishna Consciousness philosophy, with so many examples of distortion, blatant philosophical deviations, concoctions, misrepresentations etc. What is the reason for this? The acarya, Srila Prabhupada, explains:

In my books I have tried to explain clearly this simultaneously one and different philosophy acinta beda beda tattva propounded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But sometimes it happens that this philosophy is given a self-interested interpretation. As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy. (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 21, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada describes the key of success for the mission of Lord Caitanya

“…Hundreds of people join in our Sankirtana Party daily in downtown Calcutta, and I am confident that this mission of Lord Caitanya’s will be successful if only we continue to push on this great movement, without any personal motivation. Hope this finds you and your good wife and child in good health…” (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 19, 1970)

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Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day

 Srila Prabhupada's 2014 disappearance day  Vyasasan 054

Picture taken before Guru-puja

Today we honor His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s disappearance day. We are observing today with a half day fast, with beautiful offerings, a Pushpanjali (an offering of flowers) followed by a feast The beautiful Vyasasana decoration was done by Her Grace Lokadrsti devi dasi, in 2014

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day homage
by Vyasasan das

Dear Srila Prabhupada

Please accept my fallen obeisance’s, and my love, on this auspicious day of your disappearance. With your arrival on the shores of America, you brought with you the shinning lamp of knowledge; the wisdom on India and the Supreme Absolute Truth. You appeared on the shores of America the way the sun appears on the Eastern Horizon. Slowly revealing itself at first, then dominating the sky with its blazing effulgence. Illuminating the entire world with its golden light. Where there is light there is no darkness. And wherever your words are being sung and repeated, there is a glimmer of hope for the materially conditioned souls.

Your words and instructions are the very life and soul of a genuine disciple. It is said that the best process of understanding Krishna is to hear about Him, either from Krishna Himself as given in statements from the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, or from the self realized pure devotee. One does not even need to change his worldly position; he simply has to hear the message of Krishna.

It is from you only, Srila Prabhupada, that I know anything at all about Krishna or the spiritual world. By your grace only, the knowledge is revealed, and you become revealed to your disciples and listeners. Anyone who submissively hears from you, either by reading your books, or hearing your lectures, can attain the highest perfectional platform. Just as there is the sun and the sunshine, so, there is Krishna and Krishna’s pure representative. When we feel the sunshine, we know the sun is there, and when we hear from you, we know that Krishna is there.

Your fallen servant

Vyasasan das

 Srila Prabhupada's 2014 disappearance day  Vyasasan 068 after Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpanjali

The Original Bhagavad-gita As It Is

“… When I was in America in 1966, one American lady asked me to recommend an English edition of Bhagavad-gītā so that she could read it. But honestly I could not recommend any one of them, on account of their whimsical explanation. That gave me impetus to write Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. And this present edition, Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, is now published by Macmillan Company, the biggest publisher in the world. And we are doing very nice. We published this Bhagavad-gītā As It Is in 1968, in small edition. It was selling like anything. The trades manager of Macmillan Company reported that our books are selling more and more; others are reducing. Then recently, in this 1972, we have published this Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, complete edition. And Macmillan Company published fifty thousand copies in others, but it was finished in three months and they are arranging for second edition.

So this Bhagavad-gītā should be read by every individual person to know the science of God. It is a great science.”

[SP Lecture:
Bhagavad-gītā 7.1
Sydney, February 16, 1973]

Kartik: Month of Prayer and Giving


Kartik: Month of Prayer and Giving

Kartik, or the month of Damodar, is considered the best of months and is most auspicious for spiritual advancement. In the Skanda Purana it is stated:

“As Satya-yuga is the best of yugas, as the Vedas are the best of scriptures, as Ganga is the best of rivers, so Kartik is the best of months, the most dear to Lord Sri Krishna.”.

Also in the Skanda Purana it is stated:

“A person who offers a ghee lamp to Lord Krishna during Kartik burns away a collection of sins as big as Mt. Meru or Mt. Mandara, will not take birth again in this world and attains to the eternal spiritual realm where there is no suffering. Even if there are no mantras, no piety, and no purity, everything becomes perfect by such an offering.”

The Padma Purana describes the month of Kartik as Krishna’s favorite month. Devotional activities performed during this holy month are rewarded with greater spiritual results than usual so devotees often take vows to increase their spiritual practices or to simplify their material needs for the entire month. It is a way that they can remember Krishna more and increase their service to Him.

Month of Damodara (Kartika)

mother-yasoda-krishna

” Upon seeing His mothers whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, who is bound with His devotee’s love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Damodarastakam)

We are now in the month of Damodara (Kartika). In honor and in celebration of the month of Damodara, we will be focusing our attention on the pastimes of Krishna in Vrndavan. Especially Krishna’s childhood pastimes. The following song is sung morning and evening and it is customary to offer a candle or gee lamp as well to a picture of Lord Krsna and Mother Yasoda.

Following song lyrics is a link of Vishnujana Swami chanting the Damodara Prayers

Full song
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Formula for Success: Without a Doubt

Srila Prabhupada describes the formula for success: “Our request to all our students is that they daily chant at least sixteen rounds of this harer nāma mahā-mantra offenselessly, following the regulative principles. Thus, their success will be assured without a doubt.”

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The World Acharya Dream


His Divine Grace
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

The following is the written memories and description by Govinda dasi, of her dream which inspired the above picture and her description of the painting.

About “The World Acharya Dream”
by Govinda dasi

Some time after Srila Prabhupada left this world, I had a very powerful dream….In that visionary dream, I saw Srila Prabhupada sitting on a huge lion-flanked and jewel-bedecked Vyasasana. His Vyasasana rested on the brightly shimmering globe of Mother Earth, and was positioned just above the sacred land of India. Behind him, the vast curvature of the earth planet was visible. A silvery bluish-white light emanated from the center of the vision, forming a giant oval, in which Srila Prabhupada sat.

Below him were many crowds of people–all races, nationalities, and all ages–all the people of the world, reaching out from darkness. They were pointing toward Srila Prabhupada, in awe and wonder, exclaiming, reaching out, praising, and acknowledging him according to their various abilities. Many were in darkness, in worldly life, yet they were all reaching out toward Srila Prabhupada, seeking his mercy.

Above Srila Prabhupada, in the shimmering silver-blue sky, many swan-shaped airplanes circled. In these airplanes, devas were singing praises and showering flowers. Cascades of colorful blossoms tumbled down from their swan planes, as they glorified Srila Prabhupada. With sweet sounding instruments, and heavenly chorus, they sang “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare…” Their joyful mood spread throughout the universe.

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The Biography of a Pure Devotee

For a while Srila Prabhupada lived
In this building, in a windowless fifth floor room.

The Biography of a Pure Devotee
Srila Prabhupada in New York City, 1965 – Struggling Alone
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

On arriving in New York, Srila Prabhupada had nowhere to stay but the asrama of an impersonalist svami. To see students submissively listening to a speaker who denied the Personality of Godhead was painful for the pure devotee. But was he to go homeless and beg in the streets? A holy man might have been able to do that in India, but not in Manhattan.

Srila Prabhupada knew no one in New York City, but at least he had a contact. In India he had met a publisher of religious books, Paramananda Mehra of Bombay, who had, written a note introducing him to a guru based in New York City, Dr. Rammurti Misra, While still in Butler, Pennsylvania, Srila Prabhupada had sent Mr. Mehra’s note and one of his own to Dr. Misra. He had also phoned Dr. Misra, who had told him he was welcome to come join him in New York.

A student of Dr. Misra’s met Srila Prabhupada on his arrival, from Butler and brought him directly to an Indian festival in the city. There he was introduced to Dr. Misra, as well as to Ravi Shankar and his brother, the dancer Uddhar Shankar. Srila Prabhupada then accompanied Dr. Misra to his apartment at 33 Riverside Drive, beside the Hudson River, The apartment was on the fourteenth floor and had large windows facing the river. Dr. Misra gave Srila Prabhupada a room to himself.

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Serving Srila Prabhupada

Leaving Vrindavan (July15th 1977)
by Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Serving Srila Prabhupada personally in Bombay, Hrishikesh and Vrindavan were the best days of my life. I had entered India on a three month tourist visa. I had applied for an extension but since I was already granted one and that was the limit, I was denied the extension. I considered just staying past my expiration date so I could remain with His Divine Grace because he said that he would

I had packed all of my belongings and loaded them onto a horse drawn cart for my trip to the Mathura train station. I went to offer my obeisance’s to Tamal Krishna Maharaja in his office before leaving. He told me I couldn’t leave without telling Srila Prabhupada. I replied that Srila Prabhupada knows everything anyway and I didn t want to bother him. Tamal K.G. said to wait and he entered Srila Prabhupada’s room. A moment later he stuck his head out of the door and told me to come in. Now I was getting really nervous. This would turn out to be the last time I would see Srila Prabhupada before his divine departure for Goloka Vrindavan.

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Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Is the Attraction for the All-Attractive / Hlādinī—Pleasure Potency

Radha Vrindavan Candra

This morning there was this nagging voice that kept saying “read Adi-lila chapter 4, of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta” I haven’t read from the Caitanya-caritamrta for a while because I was re-reading the Bhagavad-gita and Krsna Book and because it is summer, I am busy with work… But I responded to the nagging voice…and pulled Vol. 1 from the shelf. As I read I became more and more enlivened and the words jumped out at me…. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the attraction for the all-attractive. What is attracting the All Attractive? Srimati Radharani!

And the other thing that jumped out at me was the word hlādinī. Here is another word for your vaishnava vocabulary. So today is a two part post from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, describing the hladini energy, and the attractiveness of Srimati Radharani.

Lord Kṛṣṇa enchants the world, but Śrī Rādhā enchants even Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. (Adi 4.95)

Śrī Rādhā is the full power, and Lord Kṛṣṇa is the possessor of full power. The two are not different, as evidenced by the revealed scriptures. (Adi 4.96)

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is as fully spiritual as Kṛṣṇa. No one should consider Her to be material. She is definitely not like the conditioned souls, who have material bodies, gross and subtle, covered by material senses. She is all-spiritual, and both Her body and mind are of the same spiritual embodiment. Because Her body is spiritual, Her senses are also spiritual. Thus Her body, mind and senses fully shine in love of Kṛṣṇa. She is the personified hlādinī-śakti (the pleasure-giving energy of the Lord’s internal potency), and therefore She is the only source of enjoyment for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa cannot enjoy anything that is internally different from Him. Therefore Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are identical. The sandhinī portion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency has manifested the all-attractive form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the same internal potency, in the hlādinī feature, has presented Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the attraction for the all-attractive. No one can match Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the transcendental pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (from purport Adi 4.71)

…All the desires of Lord Kṛṣṇa rest in Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. (from purport)

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Lecture on the Teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

“On The Teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu”
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
BTG Year-1967 Volume-01 Number-06
(Notes transcribed from a lecture given Wednesday, December 7, 1966.)

If you want Lord Krishna, then there is no other way except by devotional service. As for yoga, ritualistic performances, and the study of Vedic or other scriptural literature-all these forms are recommended to help us further ourselves. But, if you want to be in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you have to engage in devotional service.

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Sri Vyasa-Puja; The Most Blessed Event

Vyasa-puja 2019

Decorations by Lokadrsti devi dasi

The Most Blessed Event: Sri Vyasa-Puja
by Vyasasan das

Dear Srila Prabhupada

On this most auspicious day, please accept my humble obeisance’s, and kindly forgive my offences. Although I am and insignificant disciple of your Divine Grace, and full of faults, still I am constantly awaiting your causeless mercy to be bestowed upon me. I have never given up my faith, or my love, nor the hope that someday I may be a worthy disciple. As you know my daily prayers always include the words “please forgive my offences”, as I am always feeling myself unworthy to be receiving your mercy. Srila Prabhupada you have been the one constant in my entire adult life, my best friend and ever well wisher. And I remain chaste to you, my lord and master, unconditionally.

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Śrī Vyāsa Pūjā Address New Vrindaban, September 2, 1972


Śrī Vyāsa Pūjā Address
New Vrindaban, September 2, 1972
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

…So this Vyāsa-pūjā means one day in a year, on the birthday of the spiritual master, because he is representative of Vyāsa, he is delivering the same knowledge which has come down by disciplic succession without any change, he is offered the respect. This is called Vyāsa-pūjā…

Prabhupāda: Ladies and gentlemen, this ceremony… Of course, those who are my students, they know what is this ceremony. Those who are visitors, for their information, I may inform you something about this ceremony. Otherwise, it may not be misunderstood. A outsider may see it that “Why a person is being worshiped like God?” There may be some doubt. So this is the etiquette. This ceremony is called Vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa. Vyāsa means the original author of Vedic literature. He is incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. He gave us all Vedic knowledge. He received the knowledge from Nārada. Nārada received the knowledge from Brahma. Brahmā received the knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. So in this way, by disciplic succession, we get transcendental knowledge.

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Janmāṣṭamī; Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Appearance Day Lecture

srila-prabhupada-2-2

Today, being Janmastami, we thought we should include a lecture given by Srila Prabhupada on Janmastami. The following lecture given on August 16, 1968, in Montreal Canada, is very sweet and reminiscent of how this society grew in a very personal and organic way. With Srila Prabhupada inviting his students and guests to speak on their realizations of Krsna, and Krsna Consciousness.

…So today is that auspicious day, Janmāṣṭamī, when Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared five thousand years ago in India, Mathurā. Those who are Indian ladies and gentlemen present, they know very well where is Mathurā. It is about ninety miles south of New Delhi. Mathurā is still existing and it is eternally existing. Kṛṣṇa appeared in Mathurā in His maternal uncle’s house in a very precarious condition. That birthplace, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s birthplace, is now maintained very nicely. One who goes to India, they see.

So anyway, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. Now Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. Divyam means “not ordinary.” It should not be understood just like we take our birth. Kṛṣṇa does not take his birth like us.

…So we shall invite today to speak about Kṛṣṇa from our students, as well as all the members who are present here. So I shall request Janārdana to speak something about his realization of Kṛṣṇa. (pause) All right. Let him speak.

Full Lecture More

Photos by Gurudas

From time to time, I like to post some of the old photos from Gurudas Prabhu’s camera. He was one of the first ISKCON photographers and took many of the famous and beautiful pictures of Srila Prabhupada. The following were from Parikama with Srila Prabhupada in India.

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Padayatra

padayatra

Last evening we had the good fortune to spend it with Lokanath Swami at a home program here in New Vrindaban. He spoke for 2 1/2 hours on village life, simple living-high thinking, the padayatra, how he joined the Hare Krishna Movement, meeting Srila Prabhupada, and ending it with a very moving account about Srila Prabhupada’s final request to go on parikrama in a bullock cart. Then in summary, hw spoke about Srila Prabhupada’s last desire to travel to all the holy places of pilgrimage, and the continuation of the Padayatra program Srila Prabhupada wanted.

“…However in the evening of the 14th of November, Srila Prabhupada left this mortal world. Some days after his departure, in order to fulfill his last desire, the devotees performed parikrama on Govardhana Hill with a bullock cart, carrying a portrait of their eternal well-wisher. Thousands of disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada participated in this last procession. Something to deeply think about Only a few days before his departure, Srila Prabhupada wanted to go on pilgrimage with a bullock cart. Every moment of Prabhupada’s life had a purport that is meant to teach us some lesson. It is something for his followers to deeply think about, especially since traveling on a bullock cart was one of Prabhupada’s last desires, as well as to visit the holy places of pilgrimage. The Padayatra idea remained dormant for the next seven years, but then in 1984, at the advent of the 500th anniversary of the appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the GBC requested Lokanath Maharaja to be the leader of an all-India Padayatra party that would travel from Dvaraka, Gujarat to Mayapur, West Bengal.”

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Srila Prabhupada

srila-prabhupada-103

Srila Prabhupada

At various times people have called him a scholar, a philosopher, a cultural ambassador, a prolific author, a religious leader, a spiritual teacher, a social critic, and a holy man. In truth, he was all these things and more.

Over five hundred years ago, Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa, a village in West Bengal. The purpose of His appearance was to inaugurate the Sankirtana Movement, the Yuga Dharma for this age of Kali. He declared that the chanting of His holy names would spread beyond the shores of India to every town and village in the world. He predicted that His commander-in-chief would appear to accomplish this mission.

Yes… Srila Prabhupada appeared to fulfill this prophecy.

On September 01, 1896, the day after Janmashtami (the auspicious appearance day of Lord Sri Krishna) in a little house in the Tollygunge suburb of Calcutta, a male child was born. His father, Gour Mohan De, and his mother Rajani, named him Abhay Charan (one who is fearless – having taken shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna).

An astrologer prepared the horoscope for the baby and revealed: When this child reaches the age of seventy, he will cross the ocean, become a great teacher of religion and establish 108 Krishna temples.

And this is exactly what happened.

Srila Prabhupada set out to America in 1965 and established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness at the age of sixty-nine. He travelled around the world fourteen times, established more than 100 temples of Krishna and initiated more than 10000 disciples into Krishna consciousness.

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Lord Sri Krishna

Lord Sri Krsna by Muralidhara dasa

“I Have No Capacity to Repay You”

 

Mohana-Madhuri

“I Have No Capacity to Repay You”
by Yadurani Devi Dasi
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol. 26, No. 2, 1992

Srila Prabhupada placed great spiritual value on the sometimes crude paintings of ISKCON’s first artists.

TWENTY-SIX SECOND AVENUE, New York City, 1967: Govinda Dasi had recently painted Srila Prabhupada’s quarters—blue walls with gold borders. His desk was his trunk from India. He sat on second-hand mats donated by his disciples.

Prabhupada showed me a beautiful print of Radha and Krsna with the eight principal gopis, standing together in the moonlight in a garden in the Vrndavana forest. He wanted me to copy the scene onto a large canvas.

Prabhupada told me that the gopis in the picture had Bengali beauty because they’d been painted by a Bengali artist. The flowers at Krsna’s feet didn’t seem very clearly painted to me. They looked like colored blobs. I asked Prabhupada what kind of flowers I should paint. “You can take any flower and transport it to Vrndavana,” he answered.

“What color should I paint Krsna’s eyes?” I asked. Sometimes we read that Krsna’s eyes are red.

“They are reddish, reddish black,” he said.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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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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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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