George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)

George Harrison at peace

George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)
This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Beatles and Hare Krishna

George: It’s really the same sort of thing as meditation, but I think it has a quicker effect. I mean, even if you put your beads down, you can still say the mantra or sing it without actually keeping track on your beads. One of the main differences between silent meditation and chanting is that silent meditation is rather dependent on concentration, but when you chant, it’s more of a direct connection with God.

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Unalloyed Devotion

Druva

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Today I woke up thinking about Dhruva Maharaja. It was nothing specific, it was more just a visual picture of this small boy doing austerities in the forest and opening his eyes to discover the Lord standing directly in front of him. So I had to tax my mind…where is that picture? It was located in the Second Canto, Part Two of the original Srimad Bhagavatam. It became my morning meditation, and the following is from some of the reading I did on the life of Dhruva Mahārāja. For the full story on the life of Dhruva Mahārāja one can go to the Forth Canto, Chapter Eight of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Today we have posted the 25th Chapter from the Teachings of Queen Kunti, entitled Unalloyed Devotion.

…The incidents in the life of Dhruva Mahārāja are very attractive for devotees. From his pious actions, one can learn how one can detach himself from material possessions and how one can enhance one’s devotional service by severe austerities and penances. By hearing the activities of pious Dhruva, one can enhance one’s faith in God and can directly connect with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus one can very soon be elevated to the transcendental platform of devotional service. The example of Dhruva Mahārāja’s austerities can immediately generate a feeling of devotional service in the hearts of the hearers. (from purport to SB 4.8.8)

…When Dhruva Mahārāja was undergoing penance and meditating upon the form of Viṣṇu within his heart, the Viṣṇu form suddenly disappeared, and his meditation broke. Upon opening his eyes, Dhruva Mahārāja immediately saw Viṣṇu before him. Like Dhruva Mahārāja, we should always think of Kṛṣṇa, and when we attain perfection we shall see Kṛṣṇa before us. This is the process. We should not be too hasty. We should wait for the mature time. Of course, it is good to be eager to see Kṛṣṇa, but we should not become discouraged if we do not see Him immediately. (Teachings of Queen Kunti Chapter 25)

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Saints and Swindlers

Bury Place Room Conversation Photo by Gurudas

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Saints and Swindlers
London Times Interview with Srila Prabhupada
Excerpted from the Science of Self Realization

Every day the number of people interested in practicing yoga and meditation increases by the thousands. Unfortunately, a person looking for a suitable guide is likely to encounter a bewildering array of magicians, self-styled gurus, and self-proclaimed gods. In an interview with the London Times, Śrīla Prabhupāda explains how a sincere seeker can tell the difference between a counterfeit and genuine spiritual guide.

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Chanting Hare Krishna (Japa)

Hare Krishna Maha Mantra

Japa

Chanting a mantra or hymn softly and slowly is called japa, and chanting the same mantra loudly is called kīrtana. For example, uttering the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) very softly, only for one’s own hearing, is called japa. Chanting the same mantra loudly for being heard by all others is called kīrtana. The mahā-mantra can be used for japa and kīrtana also. When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kīrtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.

In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement: “For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.” (from Nectar of Devotion Chapter 9)

click on link; Srila Prabhupada Chanting

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Meditation Goes Mainstream

george harrison

We are All Hare Krishnas now, Meditation goes Mainstream
by Brendan O’Connor
Sunday Independent

Gradually they are coming out the woodwork. And suddenly it seems that half the people I know are secretly meditating. They range from casual transcendental meditators to practically full-blown Buddhists or Hare Krishnas.

And the strange thing is that these are not hippies or crusties or drop-outs or people living alternative lifestyles on an ashram-inspired commune near Sligo. Just regular blokes, a few of them quite senior in what they do. There are thrusting business types and entrepreneurs and generally pretty serious people. These are not people who go for reiki or acupuncture or any of the other usual trappings of the “I’m not religious but I am a very spiritual person” lifestyle. They are fairly practical people. And meditation is just one of their tools, a technology for modern living.

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The Process of Meditation

Radha Ramana Lotus feet

…The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void.

The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified. (SB 2.2.13)

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The Culmination of Yoga Practices

Syamasundara

“Of all yogis, he who abides in Me with great faith is the highest of all.”

It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogī. (from purport to Bg. 6.47)

This is more or less a continuation of yesterdays post Freedom From All Miseries as it is the last verse in the Chapter 6, entitled; “Sankhya-yoga”. This is one of the very best verses and purports in the Bhagavad-gita for study if one is an aspiring yogi…

…The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. (from purport to Bg. 6.47)

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Yoga as Action

kirtan

…In the Sixth and Eighth Chapters of Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explains that the eightfold yoga system is a means to control the mind and senses. This method, however, is very difficult for people to perform, especially in this age of Kali, an age characterized by ignorance and chaos.

Although this eightfold yoga system is particularly recommended in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is superior.

…No one really wants to sit down and meditate. Why should we? We’re meant for positive activity, for recreation, for pleasure. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our recreation is dancing and chanting, and when we get tired, we take prasāda. Is dancing difficult? Is chanting difficult? We don’t charge anything to dance in the temple. If you go to a ballroom, you have to pay to enter, but we do not charge. It is natural to enjoy music and dancing and palatable foods. These are our recreations, and this is our method of meditation. So this yoga system is not at all laborious. It is simply recreation, susukham. It is stated in the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (9.2) that this yoga is susukham—very happy. “It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” It is natural, automatic, and spontaneous. It is our real life in the spiritual world. (The Path of Perfection)

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The Process of Meditation

Radha Raman

The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified. (SB 2.2.13)

…The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void. The meditation should concentrate on the person of the Supreme Godhead, either in His virāṭ-rūpa, the gigantic universal form, or in His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], as described in the scriptures. There are authorized descriptions of Viṣṇu forms, and there are authorized representations of Deities in the temples. Thus one can practice meditating upon the Deity, concentrating his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and gradually rising higher and higher, up to His smiling face.

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Meaning of Yoga

yoga_beach-sunset

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When we think of Yoga, we used to think of some old bearded yogi standing on his head, or more recently of young beautiful men & women in athletic clothing posing serenely, or a class full of people stretching on yoga mats. But actually the meaning of yoga is far beyond any of the physical gymnastics we tend to associate with the word. There are many systems of yoga, namely; karma yoga, jnana yoga, dhayana yoga, hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, and so many patterns of yoga. But as we understand from the Bhagavad-gita:

…in the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that…yoga means to get into touch with the Supreme Lord. The process, however, includes several bodily features such as āsana, dhyāna, prāṇāyāma and meditation (from purport SB 1.2.28-29)

…The word yoga means “link.” Any system of yoga is an attempt to reconnect our broken relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are different types of yoga, of which bhakti-yoga is the best. In other yoga systems, one must undergo various processes before attaining perfection, but bhakti-yoga is direct. (from purport SB 10.2.6)

…The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, rāja-yogī, haṭha-yogī, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.

It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogī. (Bhagavad-gita 6.47)

The very word yoga means connecting link with the supreme being. We accept Krishna as the supreme being, and nobody is equal to him or greater than him. (Letter to Sri Krishna C. Batra – Vrindaban 8 December, 1975)

Full Letter + References More

The Way of Chanting and Knowing Kṛṣṇa

On the Way to Krishna

The following chapter “The Way of Chanting and Knowing Kṛṣṇa” is from one of the small paperback books entitled On The Way to Kṛṣṇa that was printed back in 1973. I always liked these smaller paperback books because I could take them with me wherever I went. For a Free PDF download that you can save or read online follow the link at bottom of post.

On the Way to Kṛṣṇa
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Two

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Devotional Service

Krishna riding on Garuda  Plate 33

In this 12th chapter of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is entitled Devotional Service, the path of liberation is explained…

For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pṛthā, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

Also a nice description of the qualities of a devotee are given…

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me—he is very dear to Me.

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Rightful Claim

Back to Godhead - Volume 11, Number 01 - 1976

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This morning as I was reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, I was feeling the aches and pains of age, and I was reminded of one of my most favorite verses:

tat te ‘nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk

“My dear Lord, any person who is constantly awaiting Your causeless mercy to be bestowed upon him, and who goes on suffering the resultant actions of his past misdeeds, offering You respectful obeisances from the core of his heart, is surely eligible to become liberated, for it has become his rightful claim.” (SB 10.14.8)

…A devotee of the Lord never thinks that he is a paramahaṁsa or a liberated person. He always remains a humble servant of the Lord. In all reverse conditions, he agrees to suffer the results of his past life. He never accuses the Lord of putting him into a distressed condition. These are the signs of an exalted devotee. Tat te ‘nukampāṁ susamīkṣyamāṇaḥ. When suffering reversed conditions, the devotee always considers that the reverse conditions are the Lord’s concessions. He is never angry with his master; he is always satisfied with the position his master offers. In any case, he continues performing his duty in devotional service. Such a person is guaranteed promotion back home, back to Godhead. (from purport)

When I did a computer search on the phrase “rightful claim”, this of course brought me to the different references from the Srimad Bhagavatam (ie., SB 5.10.14, and SB 8.14.13) but also to the “Nectar of Devotion”, chapter ten. Reading from it was so nice, that I decided to post the entire chapter. More

How to Approach God

Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Five

How to Approach God

Actually all Vedic literature directs the human being toward the perfect stage of devotion. The paths of fruitive activities, speculative knowledge and meditation do not lead one to the perfectional stage, but by the process of devotional service the Lord actually becomes approachable. Therefore all Vedic literature recommends that one accept this process. In this regard, Caitanya Mahāprabhu quoted from the Lord’s instructions to Uddhava in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

na sādhayati māṁ yogo
na sāṅkhyaṁ dharma uddhava
na svādhyāyas tapas tyāgo
yathā bhaktir mamorjitā

“My dear Uddhava, neither philosophical speculation, nor meditational yoga, nor penances can give Me such pleasure as devotional service practiced by the living entities.” (Bhāg. 11.14.20)

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The Syllable Om

om

The Syllable Om

Many years ago as a young aspiring yogi, and with my very first attempts at meditation, I began my practice with the sacred syllable Om. Many years later and although I may have advanced somewhat spiritually, and practice bhakti-yoga, devotional service and the chanting of the Maha-mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, still all my morning prayers still begin with the syllable Om. Such as “om namo bhagavate vasudevaya” before my reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam. And my morning offering of respectful obeisances to my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada with the prayer “om ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā, cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ” and “nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale,śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine”. Today we are looking at a few slokas from the Bhagavad-gita where the syllable Om is used.

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Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, What’s So Special About Chanting Hare Krishna?

spiritual enthusiasm

This will begin a new 6 part series on ‘Chanting Hare Krishna’ written by Sri Nandanandana Prabhu (Stephen Knapp).

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
What’s So Special About Chanting Hare Krishna?

By Stephen Knapp

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

We’ve all heard the Hare Krishna mantra at some time, but what the heck is so special about this mantra? Why are we supposed to spend time chanting it? What can it do for us?

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Self Realization in the Age of Kali

By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahmā’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.

…This age of Kali is not at all suitable for self-realization as was Satya-yuga, the golden age, or Tretā- or Dvāpara-yugas, the silver and copper ages. For self-realization, the people in Satya-yuga, living a lifetime of a hundred thousand years, were able to perform prolonged meditation. And in Tretā-yuga, when the duration of life was ten thousand years, self-realization was attained by performance of great sacrifice. And in the Dvāpara-yuga, when the duration of life was one thousand years, self-realization was attained by worship of the Lord. But in the Kali-yuga, the maximum duration of life being one hundred years only and that combined with various difficulties, the recommended process of self-realization is that of hearing and chanting of the holy name, fame, and pastimes of the Lord.

The sages of Naimiṣāraṇya began this process in a place meant specifically for the devotees of the Lord. They prepared themselves to hear the pastimes of the Lord over a period of one thousand years. By the example of these sages one should learn that regular hearing and recitation of the Bhāgavatam is the only way for self-realization. Other attempts are simply a waste of time, for they do not give any tangible results. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached this system of Bhāgavata-dharma, and He recommended that all those who were born in India should take the responsibility of broadcasting the messages of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, primarily the message of Bhagavad-gītā. And when one is well established in the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā, he can take up the study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam for further enlightenment in self-realization.

Further information on the Age of Kali More

Fix Your Mind Upon the Personality of Godhead

In our previous post Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, which is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m, was discussed. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, was a means of changing the habit of the mind, to bring the mind under control. But in this next verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step in God Realization, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

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Our Relationship With God

…As soon as one understands his identity, his relationship with God, then immediately he becomes happy. We are so full of miseries because we have identified ourselves with the material world. Therefore we are unhappy. Anxieties and fearfulness are due to our misidentifying with the material world.

A Lecture Given At Conway Hall, London,
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

We Are All Eternal Servitors of Krsna

Today’s subject matter is our relationship with God. That is self-realization. The sankirtana movement is the easiest process for self-realization because it cleanses the heart. Our misunderstanding of our identity is due to the dust covering the mirror of the mind. In a mirror which is covered with dust one cannot see himself. But if it is very clear, then one can see himself. So meditation is a process for cleansing the heart. Meditation means to try to understand one’s relationship with the Supreme.

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Meditation Through Transcendental Sound

Journey of Self-Discovery
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5, Yoga & Meditation

Meditation Through Transcendental Sound

Lecturing at Boston’s Northeastern University in the summer of 1969, Śrīla Prabhupāda introduces a meditation system renowned for its extraordinary power and the fact that it can be easily practiced almost anywhere and at any time. “If you take up this simple process,” he says, “chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare, you are immediately elevated to the transcendental platform.” He adds, “No other meditation is possible while you are walking on the street.”

My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for attending this meeting. We are spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because there is a great need of this consciousness throughout the world. And the process is very easy—that is the advantage.

First of all, we must try to understand what the transcendental platform is. As far as our present condition is concerned, we are on various platforms. So we have to first of all stand on the transcendental platform; then there can be a question of transcendental meditation.

In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, you’ll find an explanation of the various statuses of conditioned life. The first is the bodily conception of life (indriyāṇi parāṇy āhuḥ). Everyone in this material world is under this bodily concept of life. Someone is thinking, “I am Indian.” You are thinking, “I am American.” Somebody’s thinking, “I am Russian.” Somebody’s thinking he is something else. So everyone is thinking, “I am the body.”

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Previous Older Entries

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

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam 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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