Archive for the 'Devotees' Category

different strokes for different folks
18 December 2008

December 17 2008

Here’s an interesting (to put it mildly) follow up on my posting about recognising strokes and taking early action.

This one is from Sriman Jayatirtha Caran prabhu (JTC) in NZ. He’s an expert purohit (priest) and runs the website

This is JTC conducting the pujas for the opening of the new Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple, Bhakti Bhavan, in Auckland January 2004. As you can see, he’s a man of substance:

Auckland temple opening - Chakra installation

From JTC:

pamho., agtsp., agtsg&g.,

Thought you might like this after reading your thing on strokes, and yeah I did all those tests that you said.

About ago (Friday)(three weeks now) I was doing the Salagram puja and pondered over how it would be nice if we could relieve Jayapataka swami of his stroke effects and restore him to good health much the same way as Vasudev Datta took the suffering of the people, obviouly a nice sentiment but way too much for an aspiring devotee like me rather than Vasudev Datta.

That day I had a cardiologist appointment at Tauranga hospital, and he was really pleased at my progress since the heart attack in March. The ECG was good, blood pressure was 136 over 85, kidney function was good, they did a diabetes check at the hospital also it was 7.9 which they said was good too. Now they are booking an appointment in a TIA clinic and CT scan later in the week to see if there is some blockage in the neck arteries which they say they may be able to fix in that be the case. Meantime I’d still been drinking Fenugreek tea morning noon and night hoping it will help clean the cobwebs out……

Then on the Monday I was out in the Lord’s garden trimming the edges with the whipper snipper and my wife called me and I went to answer and the words were muddled in my head to reply, and I struggled like anything to finally slur the words out, and she noticed a full right side facial droop. We called an ambulance and off I went to hospital where I was admitted for tests.

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techno whizzes
15 October 2008

October 14 2008

These two gentlemen are chiefly responsible for the creation and maintenance of this website:

Paras and Suman

Paras Sharma (left) and Suman Sankar

Suman is one of the bhaktas on the training program here in Chowpatti. He hails originally from S. Africa which is where I met him in 2005. He spent a lot of time and his own money designing and constructing this website. I have had a lot of devotees compliment me on the beautiful design, so now you know who was responsible.

Paras has taken over the maintenance in the last few months, since the launch. Suman was unable to give much time because he joined the temple full time so I advertized for help on  We contacted Paras through another devotee in America, Damodar Nityananda prabhu and although he is not yet a devotee, he provides all his services free.

Paras lives in Bhopal and with Suman and myself scheduled to be in Chowpatti together, Paras thought it would be good to meet both of us personally, since previous contact has always been through email and phone. He travelled 12 hrs. on the train overnight to get here and this is his first visit to an ISKCON temple. He’s a polite, bright young man of 23, and works full time for Reliance industries maintaining their servers.

the three of us

We had a few hours this afternoon going over the website discussing ways to improve our services to you the reader.  We will be adding a bit of video for downloading soon so please watch out for that. We also want to add streaming video and audio files to this blog and I hope that feature comes shortly.

I am deeply indebted to these young men for their kindness and service. Suman and Paras, many thanks!

“He was previously Vaisnava…”
30 September 2008

September 30 2008

Narayan and Madhusudan

These two bright young men are Narayan and his brother Madhusudan. They are two of the 500+ students who attend our Bhaktivedanta National School (BNS) here in Mayapur.

Their father Advaita prabhu came to see me early this year asking if I could find someone to help sponsor them to attend the school. He was struggling to find the necessary fees for them. Life for a lot of our local devotees is not easy and even a few rupees a month can make a huge difference.

Their combined schools fees are only Rs. 500 a month so I decided to sponsor them myself. Its a very satisfying feeling to be able to help these young devotees get a good education while growing up in the holy dhama. The school has a regular curriculum but is run by our ISKCON devotees and they have a  solid spiritual component. Whenever we have festivals the kids from the BNS put on devotional dramas and music.

In France in 1976 Srila Prabhupada took special delight in seeing the gurukula children. Each morning they would eagerly line up to see him and on one occasion they had a special darsana in his rooms. He told us how easy it is to make advancement in Krsna consciousness:

[TD3] August 2, 1976 – New Mayapur [room conversation]

Lamenting the horrible condition of modern society, Prabhupada said, “This meat-eating, chicken juice, tea — these things are unknown to India. No, why India? By nature, you say that you refused meat, although you were born of a father and mother meat-eaters, still. What a horrible civilization they have made. He’s human being born, making him animal by culture. Instead of making him more cultured toward the spiritual life, making him redirected again to animal life. This is the Western civilization.”

He told us how fortunate our children are, and in doing so revealed his own innocent nature. “Yesterday I was astonished how these children were receiving just like friend, laughing and something saying. You have seen it? As an old friend. Their mother pushes, they would not come. But they were very glad to see me.”

My remark that everyone was glad to see him did not infringe on Prabhupada’s humble mood. “I was astonished, that how these children take me as friend.”

“I don’t think that’s too difficult. You’re the best friend for everyone,” I said.
blessings for the kids 

 “No, but after all, they are children. How they can take it as it is? So they are fortunate children, and their parents and everyone should take care of them. A very difficult age [Kali].”

I said, “You always said they’re our asset for the future.”

* * * 

 About twenty-five or thirty gurukula children and some of their parents had a special half hour darsana with Prabhupada in his room this afternoon. One by one the children filed in to offer their dandavats in front of his desk. They then settled in a semicircle, facing him, on the opposite side of the room.

  New Mayapur gurukula darshan

   He had them chant the maha-mantra loudly for about fifteen minutes. It wasn’t singing and it wasn’t japa, but a rythmic chant in unison that grew in pace and volume. They began to clap in time, getting caught up in a swell of enthusiasm for Krsna’s holy name and His pure devotee. The bright faced children were eager to reciprocate Prabhupada’s smiles of encouragement, and Prabhupada’s pleasure at seeing their innocence and purity being nurtured by the lifestyle he has given them was clear to all.
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Another transit – Bhaktirasa prabhu claims his inheritance
24 September 2008

September 24 2008

08:25 AM

I was just informed by my wife Sitala that Sriman Bhaktirasa prabhu from Christchurch New Zealand, left his body a short while ago. He was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney about two years ago. Bhaktirasa was a well liked devotee who joined (I think) in the late 1970s or early 80s. He was a disciple of HH Tamal Krishna Goswami.

Tamal Krishna Goswami with Srila Prabhupada 

He was being cared for by Srikari dasi, his first wife. She said that for the last couple of months he was in a good deal of pain and was having a difficult time. However, just shortly before he left, his countenance changed and his face became clear and bright. He looked just like a small innocent child. His eyes opened and he was looking at something others could not see. He was smiling beautifully. He said, “Krsna. Krsna. Krsna!” and then he left.

I had heard yesterday he was about to leave and I sent him the following letter. I don’t think that he will have received this in time, so I want to post it here as a short tribute.

September 23, 2008 – 23.37 Dear Bhaktirasa prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Last year I wrote to you because I heard you were coming to the end of your earthly stay and you were about to move on. Somehow that was not the time and you have remained for more than a year and half.

Now today I have learnt that you are on the verge of leaving us. I am sorry I have not written earlier to keep up with your condition. I am sorry I cannot be there to wish you well and assist you in your journey.

There is nothing much to be said. I am sure you have heard it all before over the last couple of years. I am sure you have prepared for this moment and that therefore you will have fixed your mind at the lotus feet of our transcendent Lord. Still I want to offer you my heartfelt best wishes one final time. Just this week we have heard about the departure of Sriman Sadaputa prabhu and Sriman Sundararupa prabhu. Now your time has also come. One day it will be my turn. All of us have made this transition many times before. This time, by the grace of Srila Prabhupada we have a chance to make this one the last. By chanting and hearing about the glories of Lord Krsna He tells us that we no longer have to take birth again in this material world.I sincerely pray to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai that you will meet with no impediment on your journey home back to Godhead. I am sure you have detached yourself from all material identifications and as such you have qualified yourself to become an eternal associate of the Lord.Chant Hare Krsna, glorify Krsna, serve Him with your heart and soul. He is waiting to welcome you into his eternal pastimes. Please accept his invitation and go to Him.

Please accept my humble well wishes and be successful in all respects. And please, when you meet the Lord, request Him to not forget this lowly soul but to bring me back also to his Holy dhama.

All glories to your lotus feet, all glories to your glorious departure, all glories, all glories, all glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

I remain your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa

So today, September 24 2008, Bhaktirasa prabhu has reached his denouement. A very successful one, and one that Srila Prabhupada often told us is our rightful inheritance if we remain faithfully serving:

 [TD 3] Bury Place London, July 25 1976: 

 “Describing the material world as a very dangerous place, he advised the devotees to remain sober. They should stick to the spiritual principles, read his books and avoid being discouraged. If the karmis were successful in having them evicted, he said that Lord Krsna would certainly provide another suitable place.

“But go on executing your routine work,” he said. “I am very glad to see that you are taking care of the Deities very nicely. Whenever I come I see. This is very encouraging…. So God consciousness means you have to face difficulty, but you should not be discouraged. You must go on with your business, then success is sure. When there is difficulty, a devotee thinks, ‘It is my good fortune that Krsna has given some difficulty to counteract my previous bad action.’ So in this way, if we live, then
mukti-pade sa daya-bhak. If one is not opposed by all these difficulties and with determination he goes forward, then for him going back to home, back to Godhead is guaranteed. Daya-bhak means it is inherited. Just like the son gets the father’s property, there is no law to check it. Similarly, those who are humbly, tolerantly, going on with Krsna consciousness with full determination, for them going back to home, back to Godhead, is fully guaranteed.”

Early last year when I first learned of Bhaktirasa’s condition, I had a very affectionate exchange with him. Its a little long but I think it is worth the read because it shows how devotees prepare for death.

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