Hearing is Most Important

22-Varabasi-River-Ganges-Uttar-Pradesh-India

By associating with persons for whom the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mukunda, is the all in all, one can hear of His powerful activities and soon come to understand them. The activities of Mukunda are so potent that simply by hearing of them one immediately associates with the Lord. For a person who constantly and very eagerly hears narrations of the Lord’s powerful activities, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead in the form of sound vibrations, enters within his heart and cleanses it of all contamination. On the other hand, although bathing in the Ganges diminishes bodily contaminations and infections, this process and the process of visiting holy places can cleanse the heart only after a long time. Therefore who is the sane man who will not associate with devotees to quickly perfect his life? (SB 5.18.11)
…Bathing in the Ganges can certainly cure one of many infectious diseases, but it cannot cleanse one’s materially attached mind, which creates all kinds of contaminations in material existence. However, one who directly associates with the Supreme Lord by hearing of His activities cleanses the dirt from his mind and very soon comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
…All the great ācāryas strongly recommend that people be given a chance to hear about the Supreme Lord. Then success is assured. The more we cleanse the dirt of material attachment from our hearts, the more we will be attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and activities. This is the sum and substance of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. (from purport SB 5.18.11)
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The Purpose of Pilgrimages is to Remember the Lord Constantly

Indian-Railways

Whenever I plan a trip to India, it seems the first thing I do, is start looking at maps. I have always been a map person, as there is some romantic imagery for me, especially when I look at a map of India. The shape of this country has always invoked in me, a sense of spirituality and wonderment, as if the very shape of it is somehow what a spiritual holy land should look like.

There are so many ways to travel in India; on foot, by bicycle rickshaw, or the motorized “cockroach” rickshaws, by bus, by plane, or my favorite, by train.

Train in India

Actually we are planing to go to Vrndavana, but will take in some other places of interest as well. The following are some selections from Srila Prabhupada’s books which describe India, Vrndavana, and the purpose of pilgrimage etc.

The purpose of pilgrimages is to remember the Lord constantly, and therefore the Lord is known as tīrtha-kīrti. The purpose of going to a place of pilgrimage is to get the chance to glorify the Lord. Even today, although times have changed, there are still pilgrimage sites in India. For example, in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, where we had a chance to stay, people are awake from early in the morning at 4 A.M. up until nighttime and are constantly engaged, some way or other, in chanting the holy glories of the Lord. The beauty of such a pilgrimage site is that automatically one remembers the holy glories of the Lord. His name, fame, quality, form, pastimes and entourage are all identical to the Lord, and therefore chanting the glories of the Lord invokes the personal presence of the Lord. Any time or anywhere pure devotees meet and chant the glories of the Lord, the Lord is present without any doubt. It is said by the Lord Himself that He always stays where His pure devotees chant His glories. (from purport SB 3.1.45)

Places of pilgrimage yield a special advantage for a devotee in quickly advancing his spiritual life. Lord Kṛṣṇa lives everywhere, but still it is very easy to approach Him in holy places of pilgrimage because these places are inhabited by great sages. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that He lives wherever His devotees are chanting the glories of His transcendental activities. (from purport SB 4.8.42)

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Double Mercy; The River Ganges and the Pure Devotee

Brahmanda Ghat

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Here are two nice verses describing the glories of bathing in the river Ganges, and association with the pure devotee. How fortunate is this devotee who is helping the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada into the river.

O Sūta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use. (SB 1.1.15)

Dear Lord, Your personal associates, devotees, wander all over the world to purify even the holy places of pilgrimage. Is not such activity pleasing to those who are actually afraid of material existence? (SB 4.30.37)

…Pure devotees of the Lord are more powerful than the waters of the sacred river Ganges. One can derive spiritual benefit out of prolonged use of the Ganges waters. But one can be sanctified at once by the mercy of a pure devotee of the Lord.

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The Flow of Attraction to Krsna


The Flow of Attraction to Krsna
Back to Godhead Magazine
Volume 01, Number 60, 1973

tvayi me ‘nanya-visaya matir madhu-pate ‘sakrt
ratim udvahatad addha gangevaugham udanvati

“O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.8.42 -Prayer by Queen Kunti)

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In the previous verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam Queen Kunti prayed that the Lord kindly cut off her attraction for her kinsmen, the Pandava and Vrsni families. However, giving up one’s attraction for material things is not sufficient. The Mayavadi philosophers say, brahma satyam jagan-mithya: “This world is false, and Brahman [spirit] is truth.” We admit this, but qualify it. As living entities, we want enjoyment. Enjoyment means variety. It is not possible to enjoy anything without variety. Why has God created so many colors and so many forms? In order to create enjoyment out of variety. Indeed, variety is the mother of enjoyment. Mayavadi philosophers wish to negate this variety, and therefore they are called impersonalists.

The human form of life is meant for reestablishing our relationship with God. This material world means forgetfulness of our relationship with God. There is no Krsna consciousness in this material world, for as soon as there is Krsna consciousness, as soon as there is action on the basis of Krsna, there is nothing material. Everything is spiritual.

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Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You

Srila Prabhupada, His Movement & You
By Sriman Hansadutta Prabhu

…that although garbage, debris and dead bodies are to be seen floating in the holy Ganges, it is understood that the Ganges never becomes impure or polluted on that account. So ISKCON may also have apparent undesirable and non-spiritual aspects, even demons amongst its members–still ISKCON should be accepted as pure always. As with the Ganges, we simply push the undesirable debris and garbage aside and take our bath, similarly, in ISKCON we may brush aside or avoid the apparent non-spiritual members and their effects and try to dip deep into the instructions of Srila Prabhupada (books, instructions, etc.).

ISKCON is Like the Great Holy River Ganges

Here I would like to humbly suggest a positive alternative for the future development of ISKCON, which necessitates an understanding of what ISKCON is. Everyone says, “ISKCON, ISKCON, ISKCON….” But what is ISKCON?–That is the question.

ISKCON is like the great holy river Ganges. The discrepancies we see there should be considered just like the foam or stool and dead bodies we see occasionally floating in the holy river Ganges. They never contaminate the river Ganges; rather, Ganges can absorb unlimited contamination and sins of unlimited sinful persons, and still it remains pure.

As the mighty Ganges flows down from Vaikuntha and Lord Shiva, through the Himalayan mountains, through the plains of India, ending finally at the Bay of Bengal and apparently enters the salt water ocean, but in fact does not merge into the salt water ocean but goes underwater and descends to other lower planets, returning eventually to Vaikuntha, so similarly, ISKCON flows down from Goloka Vrindavan through the mighty mountain peaks of the great acharyas, through His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his disciples who appear to be merged into the mainstream of the human society for preaching Krishna consciousness and who are all destined to go back to Godhead.

No one has any proprietorship over the Ganges. However sinful one may be, no one can throw him out of the Ganges. That would be ridiculous.

If we accept the holy river Ganges as being analogous to the flow of transcendental teachings coming down from the spiritual world to the material world via the disciplic succession (Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, Madhvacharya, Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada), then some of the incongruities which we as devotees sometimes experience in ISKCON may be resolved in a realistic way.

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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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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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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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