Battlefield Bhajans Vol. 25
Battlefield Bhajans Vol. a5
Written en-route to LA
Dedicated to HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
" I grew up a Bhuddist…"
I met with my lawyer this week, and the first thing she asked me was " What religion are you?" I told her I was a Hare Krishna, and she explained that she grew up buddhist. I asked her why she wanted to know. She went on to tell me how she called my cell about our appointment and left a message. My voice mail was interesting to her, so she googled Krsna. She asked me to explain some aspects of Krsna Consciousness and was pleased with the explanation. She was satisfied and asked if I had any books she could have. "Why yes, I have some in the car." So we went down stairs and she was so excited, she took four books and promised to discuss them with me in the future.
Another interesting event took place. My Squadron Commander was thinking of not approving my paperwork. My commander found out and went to see him. He listened to all the reasons why Colonel felt the request should be denied. The commander handed the Colonel a Bhagavad-Gita and said,"Sir read this book, this soldier is trying to answer the true calling of the soul. Just read a few pages and you will understand for yourself why he is asking to be released and dedicate himself to God." The Colonel took the Gita and told my commander to step out and come back. My commander said about one hour later he got a call asking for him and my First Sergeant to see him and discuss the paperwork. When they entered, the Colonel said " I had no idea that this is what those Hare Krishna were about, and placed an x in the recommend approval block and signed his name. He told my commander and first sergeant, "Who am I to stop this guy from wanting to go back to heaven."
I have not been to Portland in almost two years. Myself and Jagannatha Puri Dham Prabhu (Jpdd) were really excited about spending time with the devotees there. After a hellish traffic jam we reached the home of Brhad Mrdanga Prabhu and Jaya Radha Syama Mataji. They are my favorite householders in the US to spend time with. We ate a small feast and off to take rest. I woke up the next morning and started to chant japa, and then had an amazing darshan of Sri Sri Panca Tattva!! I prayed to Them during the morning program that I become more serious in my devotional service. Every Saturday during the school year, the devotees take over the Food for Thought Cafe at Portland State University and serve out prasadam. Also they recently opened a nice preaching center and Radha Syama DD has a radio show that I regularly listen to via internet. So Portland is a great field for preaching. The plan was for Brhad M Prabhu and Brhad Bala Prabhu to start cooking and I would distribute books. Portland is an amazing place to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books. The people are very favorable and interested in spiritual life. Today the university was having a farmers market, which meant many people would be around. As we were walking to the cafe, I stopped one boy and explained what I was doing, he was so fired up that he gave the last of the money he had and decided to walk home instead of taking the bus. Another man in a wheel chair also took a book and said he needs help getting over his situation. I explained that these books teach the Absolute Truth and a huge smile appeared on his face. For about two hours I would just walk up and down the farmers market stopping and talking with people. I was approached by one girl, she asked if I had a minute, she was preaching the glories of Barrack Obama, I said sure, but after you tell me what you have, I'll tell you what I have. She agreed and after she said her mantra, I explained to her that I am giving her a chance to make a descion bigger than any decision that any president ever made. She looked on intensely, I said now is your chance to end the suffering that you have experienced life after life, birth after birth. And with that said I handed her a Bhagavad-Gita, I explained the basis of the philosophy, and she commented that she believes in karma, vegetarianism , etc. She took the Gita and promised to come to the program. After two hours, I felt some pain in my kidneys and decided to go take some rest. On the advice of many devotees, I am trying not to over due it and recover.
At the cafe, the devotees were cooking up a storm. When it came time to serve, there were people already waiting outside the door. You could see the genuine smile on their faces as they came in. One boy said he feels so at home when the devotees are running the cafe. I noticed that many people came into the cafe with a very sullen look on their face. But once they started to honor prasadam, they forgot about all the problems life has to bring and every single person left with a smile on their face. As for me, I sat at the book table with Jagannatha Prabhu. On the way out the door, we would call them over and talk with them about spiritual life. One girl I called over as she walked in. We spoke and it turns out, were form the same area in NY. I showed her a small book and she gave a donation and sat down. As I was looking around, I noticed that this girl was so absorbed in reading the book she took, she didn't even notice the devotee serve her prasadam. She spent about an hour reading and honored her prasadam. As she was walking out she stopped at the book table again and took a Teaching of Lord Caitanya. The program was a huge success, over 50 people honored Prasad. Some have been coming to this program for a year already, the devotees running this program are all householders, some with kids but all have outside responsibilities. I took a lot of inspiration from it, that no matter our situation we can always preach.
tasmat sarvesu bhutesu
daya° kuruta sauhidam
bhavam asuram unmucya
yaya tusyaty adhoksajaº
"Therefore, my dear young friends born of demons, please act in such a way that the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the conception of material knowledge, will be satisfied. Give up your demoniac nature and act without enmity or duality. Show mercy to all living entities by enlightening them in devotional service, thus becoming their well-wishers." SB 7-6:a4
"The Lord says in Bhagavad-Gita [18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan ya3 casmi tattvataº: "One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service." Prahlada Maharaja ultimately instructed his class friends, the sons of the demons, to accept the process of devotional service by preaching the science of KÎDÔa consciousness to everyone. Preaching is the best service to the Lord. The Lord will immediately be extremely satisfied with one who engages in this service of preaching KÎDÔa consciousness. This is confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-g´ta (18.69). Na ca tasman manuDyeDu ka3cin me priya-kÎttamaº: "There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear." If one sincerely tries his best to spread KÎDÔa consciousness by preaching the glories of the Lord and His supremacy, even if he is imperfectly educated, he becomes the dear-most servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is bhakti. " Excerpt from SB 7-6:a4
New Dwarka is starting to become a regular stop for me in my travels. I flew in late Thursday night, and after myself and Ratna Bushana Prabhu jimmy the door to my room open, I took rest. I woke up about 1:50 am the next day and chanted my rounds outside the temple. Morning program was super nice and it felt good to dance and sing for the Lord's pleasure with close friends. It was ekadasi, so I decided I wanted to start the day off early. I went to UCLA for harinama and distribute books. The program was nice, chanting and preaching. The devotees set up a nice book table and sat next to it and chanted while someone handed out flyers and sweets. I sang for a little bit and decided to start trying to distribute books. For anyone who has ever been to UCLA, it is a very hard place to distribute. At first I found myself not able to even stop one person. I remember a quote from my good friend Omkara Prabhu, "We can't make the Lord give us His mercy, when it comes, it comes." I chanted out loud and meditated on some verses in between each person. Some interesting souls are at this campus. One women was a homeless women that is studying hindi at the college. She was excited to see the devotees. I approached an older woman, probably in her sixties and explain about the books . She was fascinated and while skimming through the Science of Self Realization, she had a huge smile on her face. She ended up taking the book and thanked me many times for performing this service. I took this as Krsna encouraging me and it gave me the motivation to keep going. While I was leading bhajans, a group of people approach us. They were from a bible study group and were out distributing some ice cream and some literature. They asked if we wanted some ice cream. I declined and asked them if they wanted to increase their faith and dependence on God. I started to explain our philosophy and this one man was very interested. I showed him a Bhagavad-Gita and explain this is the Absolute Truth and by reading this book, one can realize the true nature of the soul and develop a wonderful relationship with the Lord. He was blown away and gave a donation for the book, the amazing thing about him taking this book was that he could realize what a special treasure it it. He stated " Actually I am not giving enough, because this book is priceless."
The next day, I took it easy, read, chanted and worked on some projects. That night I went to a program in Hollywood Hills with HG Vijaya Prabhu. The program was small and intimate and very simple. Bhajans, class, prasadam, and more bhajans. The house was over looking the hustle and bustle of LA and made for a really sweet and meditative environment. Vijaya Prabhu gave an excellent class and fielded a wide range of questions. I really enjoying having his association. He is teaching me a lot about preaching and how to maintain brahmacarya. The final bhajan he sang was my favorite tune and I tried to really allow the Holy Name to enter my heart. On the way home I was thinking how wonderful it is to introduce souls to KC, how you can immediately see the impact Srila Prabhupada's teaching make in ones life. We returned from the program and I stayed up talking with some devotees. Krsna is very kind and has given me some really sweet and potent association in LA. I spent the following day (Sunday) preparing my Sunday Love Feast lecture and spending time with the devotees. The class was fun, and some people asked very nice questions. Bhakta Antony's wife was in LA and she told a wonderful story during class about how her husband met a man in Iraq and saw that his name is Syama. Prabhu asked, "Is it short for Syamasundara?" The man was amazed that he knew who Syamasundara is. The morale of the story, every where we are, we should find away to preach or talk with people about Krsna. We should act like vaisnavas and discuss the glories of the Lord.
jiv jago, jiv jago, gauracanda bole kota nidra jao maya-pisacira kole
"Wake up, sleeping souls! Wake up, sleeping souls!" Lord GauraÒga calls, "You have slept so long in the lap of the witch Maya!" -âr´la Bhaktivinoda ¨hakura
Japa: We are always trying to improve the quality of our rounds. Our japa notebook is helpful and we have some rules we follow. If we mispronounce a mantra, then we say again. We are praying to the Lord to allow us to understand and see Him while chanting out japa. This japa is a great gift given by the Lord and we should not take advantage of it. We should not chant 16 rounds then say… "all done for the day!" No, we should always increase but never decrease. I am trying to chant japa like my life depends on it, which it actually does.
Seva: The Lords are engaging all that come in contact with Them. How kind is Krsna, He allows us a chance to serve Him directly. We should give all our heart to Him in His service.
Reading: Since it is beginning of Kartika, we are making a goal of reading the Srimad Bhagavatam in one year. The idea is one Canto a month. With this said, we have developed a nectar notebook of quotes that inspire us from sastra. Also we are reading the and Volume of Srila Prabhupada Siksamrta. How much nectar in contained in these pages? While reading this, I have found that Prabhupada gives individual instructions to each disciple. I am trying to better understand Prabhupada and instead of just quoting a letter in class, to understand the situation and circumstances behind these instructions.
Sankirtana: BOOKS!!! BOOKS!!!! BOOKS!!!
We are traveling and going out on sankirtana where ever we go. Here are our scores so far this month:
Maha Big: Soft: 5
Big: 10 hard: 6
Not so many, and I apologize for it.
We are very close to ending our military commitment. We submit all paperwork on Monday and could have an answer within three days! We are requesting all the devotee to pray for us, that we can move on form this service. We are understanding now that our commitment to Krsna needs to increase and this anxiety of our paperwork being approved is a way for the Lord to create dependance on Him.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Partha Sarathi Dasa Traveling Preacher