Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA -165/3

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA  

For Real Knowledge
(Hare Krishna Community)
  phone number and email is (212) 674-0698,
e-mail: pss108@juno.com.

Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga Mandir of Manhattan Now Expanding

Meditational Yoga — The Prerequisites

To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusa-grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should neither be too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and should practice yoga by controlling the mind and the senses, purifying the heart and fixing the mind on one point. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verses 13-14)
Today yoga has become fashionable and popular in big cities. However what goes on in modern so-called yoga studios has nothing to do with the real yoga system. In this Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita Krishna, after explaining to His friend Arjuna the importance of controlling the mind, is explaining the meditaional yoga system as a way for him to control his mind.
The yoga system Krishna is teaching Arjuna is the pure and original form of what we know today as Hatha Yoga or Astanga Yoga. However from this introduction by Krishna we can understand that meditaional yoga can not be performed in a group. It is solitary engagement. One has to go to a sacred secluded place and make a sitting place by laying kusha grass on the ground and then covering it with deer skin and a soft cloth. Then the yogi must sit on this asana, or sitting place, and practice yoga by controlling his mind and senses, purifying his heart and fixing his mind on one point.
“Sacred place” refers to places of pilgrimage. In India the yogis, the transcendentalists or the devotees all leave home and reside in sacred places such as Prayaga, Mathura, Vrndavana, Hrsikesa and Hardwar and in solitude practice yoga where the sacred rivers like the Yamuna and the Ganges flow. But often this is not possible, especially for Westerners. The so-called yoga societies in big cities may be successful in earning material benefit, but they are not at all suitable for the actual practice of yoga. One who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation.
One should hold one’s body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verses 13-14)
Here Krishna is informing us an important prerequisite for practicing yoga is one must be completely free from sex life. Most modern so-called yoga societies teach the exact opposite, generally they teach that by practicing yoga one can improve his sex life. But the mind can never be peaceful if it is hankering after trying to satisfy the senses. So one who is still addicted to sex life can not have a peaceful mind and therefore can not practice yoga.
The idea that one can satisfy the senses is false. The actual substance, the actual bliss, is not there in any sort of material sense gratification. Even if there is some momentary pleasure the soul is not looking for momentary pleasure. Our soul is hankering after eternal pleasure. We can not reach the platform of eternal pleasure without making the mind peaceful and the mind can not be peaceful if we are trying to satisfy our senses.
Therefore the greatest enemy of the yogi is sex desire. Sex desire is the most bewildering aspect of maya and it is the shackles or chains that bind us to the material world and force us to take birth and die over and over and over again… The endless cycle of samsara that we can never escape from without become free from the sex desire.
Another important point we learn from Krishna is the object of meditation in yoga. Modern yoga schools are very vague about this. But here Krishna clearly says “one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life.” So the object of mediation for a yogi is Krishna who is present within his heart as the Paramatma or Supersoul. And the perfection of yoga is to come to the platform of Krishna consciousness.
The goal of yoga is to know Krishna, who is situated within the heart of every living being as Paramatma, the four-handed Visnu form. The yoga process is practiced in order to discover and see this localized form of Visnu, and not for any other purpose. The localized visnu-murti is the plenary representation of Krishna dwelling within one’s heart. One who has no program to realize this visnu-murti is uselessly engaged in mock-yoga practice and is certainly wasting his time. Krishna is the ultimate goal of life, and the visnu-murti situated in one’s heart is the object of yoga practice.
To realize this visnu-murti within the heart, one has to observe complete abstinence from sex life; therefore one has to leave home and live alone in a secluded place, remaining seated as mentioned above. One cannot enjoy sex life daily at home or elsewhere and attend a so-called yoga class and thus become a yogi.One has to practice controlling the mind and avoiding all kinds of sense gratification, of which sex life is the chief. In the rules of celibacy written by the great sage Yajnavalkya it is said: “The vow of brahmacarya is meant to help one completely abstain from sex indulgence in work, words and mind–at all times, under all circumstances, and in all places.” No one can perform correct yoga practice through sex indulgence.
Brahmacarya is taught, therefore, from childhood when one has no knowledge of sex life. Children at the age of five are sent to the guru-kula, or the place of the spiritual master, and the master trains the young boys in the strict discipline of becoming brahmacaris. Without such practice, no one can make advancement in any yoga, whether it be dhyana, jnana or bhakti.
One who, however, follows the rules and regulations of married life, having sexual relationship only with his wife (and that also under regulation), is also called brahmacari. Such a restrained householder brahmacari may be accepted in the bhakti school, but the jnana and dhyana schools do not admit even householder brahmacaris. They require complete abstinence without compromise. In the bhakti school, a householder brahmacari is allowed controlled sex life because the cult of bhakti-yoga is so powerful that one automatically loses sexual attraction, being engaged in the superior service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said: “Whereas others are forced to restrain themselves from sense gratification, a devotee of the Lord automatically refrains because of superior taste. Other than the devotee, no one has any information of that superior taste.”
Krishna also stresses that to practice yoga one must be fearless. One cannot be fearless unless one is fully in Krishna consciousness. A conditioned soul is fearful due to his perverted memory, his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krsna. The Bhagavatam says that Krishna consciousness is the only basis for fearlessness. Therefore, perfect practice is possible for a person who is Krishna conscious. And since the ultimate goal of yoga practice is to see the Lord within, a Krishna conscious person is already the best of all yogis. The principles of the yoga system mentioned herein are different from those of the popular so-called yoga societies.
The practical problem for a would-be yogi in this age of Kali is hardly anyone has an undisturbed and controlled mind and very few people can go to a sacred and secluded place and live there alone to practice yoga and it is very difficult to find anyone who is free from sex desire… And one who is not self-controlled and whose mind is not undisturbed cannot practice meditation. Therefore, in the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is said that in the Kali-yuga (the present age) when people in general are short-lived, slow in spiritual realization and always disturbed by various anxieties, the best means of spiritual realization is chanting the holy name of the Lord.
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”
So the perfection of yoga, and the only practical yoga system for this age of Kali yuga is the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra can be performed anywhere, in any place and at any time. There are no hard and fast rules in regard to this. And the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is so powerful that a sincere chanter can get all the results of yoga very quickly by this simple method. So chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

My View on Hatha-Yoga and Raja-Yoga

I am surprised at the condemnation of other methods of Yoga, especially Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga. Are these methods not as divine as BHAKTI Yoga?…
Dear Guruji,
I have seen in many books published nowadays and have also heard about the method of attaining oneness with SHRI KRISHNA. That method is the method of BHAKTI.
Attaining oneness with Sri Krishna is certainly NOT the method of Bhakti. Bhakti means love. To develop a loving relationship there has to be two people. You can’t have a loving relationship with yourself and exchange loving relationships with yourself…
I am sure you are familiar with the Vedanta-sutra The Vedanta-sutra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidehya-jnana. This relationship with the Supreme Lord is described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as jivera ‘svarupa’ haya krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’. “The living entity is an eternal servant of Krishna, the Supreme God. Therefore to act in that relationship one must perform sadhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jnana. The forth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (pryojana-jnana). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. The words anavrttih sabdat in the Vedanta Sutra indicate this ultimate goal.
The culmination of all kinds of yoga practice lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward this destination. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga executed without fruitive desires, is the beginning of this path. Then when karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation that stage is called jnana-yoga [raja-yoga]. When jnana-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul [paramatma] by various physical processes, and when the mind is on Him, one has reached the stage called astanga-yoga. And when one surpasses astanga-yoga and comes to the point of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, one has reached bhakti-yoga the culmination.
Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but if one analyzes bhakti-yoga minutely he can understand the other, minor yogas. The yogi who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal auspiciousness, whereas one who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogi, jnana-yogi, raja-yogi or astanga-yogi. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that one has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore to become Krishna conscious is the highest stage of yoga. Just as, when we speak of the Himalayas, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered the culmination.
If someone practicing Raja-yoga thinks that he is finished, that is wrong. He has to make further progress. For example suppose you want to go to the highest floor of a building–say the hundredth floor–by walking up a staircase. You will pass the thirtieth floor, the fiftieth floor, the eightieth floor, and so on. But suppose when you come to the fiftieth or eightieth floor you think, “I have reached my goal.” Then you are unsuccessful. To reach your destination you have to go to the hundredth floor. Similarly, all the processes of yoga are connected, like a staircase, but we shouldn’t be satisfied to stop on the fiftieth floor or the eightieth floor. We should go to the highest platform, the hundredth floor–pure Krishna consciousness.
Now, if somebody who wants to reach the hundredth floor is given a chance to use the elevator, within a minute he will be able to come to the top. Of course he may still say, “Why should I take advantage of the elevator? I shall go step by step.” He can do this, but there is a chance he may not reach the top floor. Similarly if one takes help from the “elevator” of bhakti-yoga, within a short time he can reach the “hundredth floor”–the perfection of yoga, Krishna consciousness.
Krishna consciousness is the direct process. You may go step by step, following all the other yoga systems, or you may take directly to Krishna consciousness. Lord Caitanya has recommended that in this age of Kali-yuga, since people are very short-lived, disturbed and full of anxiety, they should take up the direct process. And by His grace, by His causeless mercy, he has given us the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, which lifts us immediately to the platform of bhakti-yoga.
However, I am surprised at the condemnation of other methods of Yoga, especially Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga. Are these methods not as divine as BHAKTI Yoga? Does it imply always that RAJA Yogins do not have Bhakti Bhava? In fact, RAJA Yoga is called RAJA Yoga because it encompasses all the methods of attaining God consciousness. It is a very divine and graceful method, since it has been propounded by Lord Krishna himself in the sixth chapter of the Bhagvad Gita and I do not think that RAJA Yogins are in any way INFERIOR to Bhaktas, because to practise RAJA Yoga, one has to be a Bhakta first. It is necessary that a RAJA Yogi has to be a believer and worshipper of God to start with.
Where is the question of Bhakti when your first statement is “Bhakti means to attain oneness with Sri Krishna”? You do not even know what Bhakti means! Of course it is not possible to practice any yoga system at all without at least a tinge of bhakti. However it is possible to practice bhakti-yoga without practicing any other yoga system as it is the culmination of all yoga systems, it includes all other yoga systems.
You are quoting from Sri Krishna’s Bhagavad-gita but why stop at the sixth chapter where Krishna describes the meditational yoga system to Arjuna? There are eighteen chapters in the Bhagavad-gita. If one wants to understand the Bhagavad-gita in completeness he has to read the entire book, not just the first six chapters. And have you not realized even though Krishna explained the meditational yoga system in the sixth chapter Arjuna was not able to follow it?
cancalam he manah krsna
pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva suduskaram
We can not imagine how exalted and qualified Arjuna was. Five thousand years ago Arjuna was born in the royal family and was a great warrior. He was so qualified that he could talk to Krishna as an ordinary friend. But he said to Krishna, “Krishna, I cannot execute this yoga system. It is not possible.” cancalam he manah krsna pramathi balavad drdham, tasyaham nigraham manye “My mind is so disturbed that controlling my mind is like trying to control the wind.” Suppose there is a very strong wind and one tries to stop it by spreading his hands, is it possible? It is not possible. Arjuna has given this example, pramathi balavad drdham. The mind is so uncontrollable.
A personality like Arjuna was advised by Krishna to practice this meditational yoga system. But he declined saying, “I cannot execute the yoga system. So Krishna pacified Arjuna, telling him indirectly that he was the best of all yogis because he was always thinking of Krishna.
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately related with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.
Krishna certainly explained the meditational yoga system to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita [sixth chapter] Compared to us, Arjuna was very qualified. He was Krishna’s personal friend and was living 5,000 years ago in a time much more suited to meditational yoga practice. But Arjuna never practiced the yoga system Krishna describes in the sixth chapter at all. In fact, Krishna spoke the last verse of the sixth chapter I have quoted above to reassure Arjuna that he did not need to practice Raja-yoga or Jnana-yoga at all as he was already practicing Bhakti-yoga which is the “highest of all.”
Also, I hear about the feeling that RAJA Yoga cannot be performed in the current age. This also, I think, is a bit too pessimistic. There are some people who are capable of practicing it even today. Hence, I think that instead of completely sweeping away this divine path, it would be better to look correctly into it. The problem lies not in the path or method, but in the attitude that modern people tend to take towards it. The RAJA Yoga path has to be divine, since it has come from the mouth of the Great Lord, The Lord of Yoga (Yogeshwara), Bhagvan Shri Krishna himself. What is the problem, then, if this path is followed with perfect devotion to God and self-surrender to the Guru?
The problem is you are giving us so many nice words, but you are not at all following the path of yoga Krishna has delineated in the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. If one carefully studies that chapter he will find that system of yoga can not be practiced in a city. One has to go to a sacred, sanctified place like the Himalayan mountains or the bank of the Ganges. Then there are so many regulations about the sitting place, the method, etc. But I don’t think you are sitting on the bank of the Ganges or in the Himalayan mountains at all so you are not following the system Krishna recommends in the sixth chapter.
Pranayama is very important. The hatha-yogis and astanga-yogis practice pranayama, but generally they do not know the purpose behind it. The purpose of pranayama, or mystic yoga, is to stop the mind and senses from engaging in fruitive activities. The so-called yogis who practice in the Western countries have no idea of this. The aim of pranayama is not to make the body strong and fit for working hard. The aim is worship of Krishna.
The minds of those who are addicted to fruitive activity are always filled with unclean desires. Fruitive activities are symptomatic of our polluted desire to dominate material nature. As long as one continues to be subject to polluted desires, he has to accept one material body after another. So-called yogis, without knowledge of the real purpose of yoga, practice it in order to keep the body fit. Thus they engage themselves in fruitive activities, and thus they are bound by desire to accept another body. They are not aware that the ultimate goal of life is to approach Krishna. In order to save such yogis from wandering throughout various species of life, the sastras warn that in this age of Kali-yuga such yogic practice is simply a waste of time. The only means of elevation in this age is the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
In this age of Kali the practice of yoga is misunderstood by fallen souls who are not capable of practicing anything. Consequently the sastras enjoin: kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. The conclusion is unless the karmis, jnanis and yogis come to the point of devotional service to Lord Krishna, their so-called austerities and yoga have no value. If Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is not worshipped, there is no point in practicing meditational yoga, performing karma-yoga or culturing empiric knowledge. As far as pranayama is concerned, chanting of the holy name of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy are also considered pranayama. The actual aim of pranayama is to strengthen the mind and senses in order to engage them in devotional service. In the present age this determination can be very easily acquired simply by chanting the holy names–Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The moment itself is divine, when one thinks of following the RAJA Yoga path for attaining God consciousness. It should be a matter of duty for us to implement this great ancient Yoga of our motherland, at least for those whom it is possible.
Your desire, as you revealed at the beginning of your letter, is to “attain oneness with Sri Krishna.” This desire is completely incompatible with Bhakti-yoga, which aims at reestablishing our original relationship as SERVANTS of Krishna. You want to become “one” with the master whereas a bhakta wants to become the servant of Krishna… You have completely misunderstood bhakti and Krishna’s teachings in the sixth chapter of Bhagavad-gita so how can you “implant this great yoga of our motherland” to others? First we have to understand the message of Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita AS IT IS ourselves and then we can impart it to others. I would strongly recommend you seriously study Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is You will find it amazingly enlivening and enlightening and simply by studying this one book you will understand all systems of yoga and if you put the teachings into practice in your own life you will easily rise to the topmost platform of yoga in a very shout time.
So, I request you to please comment on the above and send me your reply at the earliest.
Nikhil Navare
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!!

The Beatles: George Harrison, John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Krishna

In September 1969 Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, arrived as a house guest at Tittenhurst Park, John Lennon’s estate in England. 1969 was for John Lennon a year of intense search for social and personal liberation. He had already been to the Maharishi and later would enter primal therapy and left-wing politics. He was in a major transitional period; he had married Yoko Ono in March.
On a cold December night in 1966, an elderly Indian Swami climbed into a Volkswagen van with about fifteen of his followers and their instruments (including a harmonium loaned by Allen Ginsberg) and drove uptown to a recording studio near Times Square. They weren’t professional musicians, but in a few hours they’d recorded an LP that even the producer was excited about. it was a special album, more than just music. it was chanting and meditation; it was worship. A few months later a letter arrived at a small storefront temple on New York’s Lower East Side. Someone had heard the album and told the Beatles about it. They ordered one hundred copies.
George Harrison would later recall in a November 1980 interview the impression Swami Bhaktivedanta’s album, Krishna Consciousness, made on them. “I remember singing it [the Hare Krishna mantra]. just for days, John and I, with ukulele banjos, sailing through the Greek islands–Hare Krishna. Like six hours we sang, because you couldn’t stop once you got going. You just couldn’t stop. It was like as soon as you stop, it was like the lights went out.”

In September 1969, Swami Bhaktivedanta, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement arrived as a house guest at Tittenhurst Park, the beautiful eighty acre British estate owned by John Lennon. Three or four times a week, the Swami, who later became known to the world as Srila Prabhupada, gave public lectures in a tall, stately building at the northern end of the property a hundred yards from the main house, in which John and Yoko lived.
The building had been formerly used as a hall for chamber music recitals, but now several of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, who resided along with him in a block of guest houses on the property, installed a small Deity altar and a podium for Srila Prabhupada. The building never really had a name, but after Srila Prabhupada’s arrival, everyone called it “the Temple.”
They still call it “the Temple” today, and except for the recent addition of an enormous crimson-and-gold pipe organ nearly covering the towering west wall, it exists unchanged, now surrounded by a recording studio complex owned by Ringo Starr.
Nineteen sixty-nine was for John Lennon a year of intense search for social and personal liberation. He had already been to the Maharishi and later would enter primal therapy and left-wing politics. He was in a major transitional period; he had married Yoko Ono in March, and the Beatles were about to break up.
On September 14, John, Yoko, and George Harrison, after enjoying an Indian vegetarian meal prepared by the devotees at the Temple, walked over to Srila Prabhupada’s quarters for their first meeting. Three months before in Montreal, some of the Hare Krishna devotees had sung with John and Yoko during the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” And now they were about to meet the guru who brought the Hare Krishna mantra to the West.
Their lively discussion with Srila Prabhupada, which you can hear by listening to the RealAudio clip on this page,, deals with the path to peace and liberation, the eternality of the soul, reincarnation, the nature of God, qualifications of the guru, and the authority of Bhagavad-gita (the Indian spiritual classic still sacred to 600 million people.
In a conversation sometimes lightly humorous, sometimes intense, the reader will be struck by Srila Prabhupada’s prophetic use of President Kennedy’s assassination to dramatize the temporality of human life and how the soul lives on after death, subjects that John would explore in his later songs. Explaining that John should have nothing to fear either in life or death, Srila Prabhupada declares:
“When this body ceases to exist, you will continue to exist… The soul is eternal and the body is temporary…. But that minute quantity of the Absolute within us [the soul] is very great when compared to material knowledge. Material knowledge is practically no knowledge whatsoever. It is covered knowledge. But when one is liberated and attains liberated knowledge, his knowledge is very much greater than the greatest material knowledge.”
John had searched for a guru in India and was anxious to understand how one could recognize a genuine spiritual master,
John: Yes, we should go to a true master. But how are we to tell one from the other?… That’s what we’re doing. We’re going around. Actually, Yoko never met the Maharishi. So, we’re asking for advice about how to know what’s real.
Yoko: We want to ask your advice on that. In other words, what is your answer to this question of authority?… What is the authority, and who has the authority?

Harrison’s ashes to be immersed in Ganges

NEW DELHI, India — The ashes of the late Beatle George Harrison are to be immersed in the sacred Ganges River, according to a spokesman for the Hare Krishna movement.
Maha Mantra Das, a New Delhi spokesman for International Society for Krishna Consciousness, told wire services that Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and his son, Dhani, 23, would be accompanied by two Hare Krishna devotees who performed Hindu rites on Harrison’s ashes with the family in London, England. Harrison was a devotee of the Hindu faith.
Olivia and Dhani Harrison were headed for the holy city of Varanasi to carry out the rites, according to Reuters. The Associated Press reported that the ashes also would be sprinkled at Allahabad, where Hinduism’s three holiest rivers — the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati — converge.
The timing of the ceremony was unclear for the guitarist known by many as the “quiet Beatle,” who died Thursday in Los Angeles, California, at age 58 after battling cancer. Britain’s Press Association reported that Harrison’s family was to scatter his ashes in India to coincide with a requested worldwide minute of meditation, which would take place 9:30 p.m. in London, or 3 a.m. Tuesday (2130 Greenwich Mean Time) in India.
Das said that this was likely. “Early morning is a very auspicious time for Hindus,” he said.
Das said the family wanted to make the ceremony “very private.”

Long tradition for Hindus

In a tradition dating more than 3,500 years, Hindus are cremated on riversides and their ashes immersed in holy waters. Hindus believe this ritual releases the soul from the body for its heavenward journey and frees it from the cycle of reincarnation.
Thousands throng the banks of the Ganges River, considered the holiest by Hindus, for cremation ceremonies each day.
Harrison was cremated in a cardboard coffin hours after his death in keeping with his Eastern faith.
Das said Hare Krishna members had been praying “for the soul” of the musician who believed in reincarnation and was a faithful member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement.

‘He looked so peaceful’

In 1966, Harrison came to India to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar. Shankar, whom Harrison helped make famous during the Beatles’ visits to India, was present during Harrison’s final hours in California.
“We spent the day before with him, and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love,” Shankar said in a statement Friday. “George has left so many precious memories and moments in all our lives which will remain with us forever.”
In 1967, Harrison introduced the other Beatles to the teaching of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who pioneered Transcendental Meditation. Harrison and fellow Beatle John Lennon traveled to Rishikesh, a holy city in northern India on the Ganges, to study meditation under the Maharishi.
Harrison was the only one who remained a follower, and he visited India many times. The Hindustan Times reported Monday that he quietly visited Varanasi three months ago to bathe in the Ganges and pray at local Hindu temples. He used a false name, and no one was aware of his visit until he left, the paper reported.
Harrison was also a devotee of India’s Hare Krishna sect. In one of Harrison’s most popular songs, “My Sweet Lord,” the musician himself chants Hare Krishna.

Why Doesn’t God Just Appear so we Can See Him?

Why is it that God does not just manifest Himself? Wouldn’t that end all the disbelief in the Lord? Wouldn’t that end atheism completely? I am trying to comprehend this matter Wouldn’t it be a billion times easier for everyone from devotee to doubter if the Lord just manifested himself today before us all? I am very confused on this matter. I am a believer from faith but am still confused. Your friend, Tom
Dear Tom
Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I have been well. Thanks for asking.
Your question is a very good one. Why does Krishna not just appear before us.
The thing is we do not have the eyes to see Krishna. Krishna does sometimes appear before us in the material world but only the devotees recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You may think it strange but when Krishna was present on this planet 5000 years ago in India very few people recognized Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He displayed so many pastimes impossible for any human to display. He lifted a great mountain when he was only 5 years old. He fought with and killed so many powerful demons, he was so amazingly beautiful that everyone was attracted by Him. But still most were thinking He was some extraordinarily powerful man, perhaps a demigod.
When Lord Caitanya appeared 500 years ago in India also He was not recognized by many as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He purposely did not manifest the opulence’s of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and acted as a pure devotee of Krishna, not as Krishna Himself.
The problem is that if people see Krishna appear in this world they will imitate and claim to be Krishna also and mislead so many people into worshipping them as Krishna. So Lord Caitanya, although Krishna Himself, was acting as a devotee of Krishna and showing by His personal example that we should serve Krishna, not try to become Krishna ourselves.
Basically we are here in this material world because of our desire to imitate Krishna. Krishna has all opulence’s in full. Krishna has all knowledge, all wealth, all strength, all fame, all beauty and at the same time, even though He possesses everything in full, He is completely detached. We are here trying to imitate Krishna, trying to get all the wealth, all the knowledge, etc. But it is not possible, Krishna is unlimited in every respect and we are limited in every respect. We will never be equal with Krishna, we will always be less than Krishna and our natural position is to serve Krishna.
Krishna is here, if you have the eyes to see Him. He is present in the form of the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and if you can chant that purely you will experience Krishna dancing on your tongue. He is present in the form of the Deity in the Temple. He is present within all our hearts as the supersoul. His energy is causing everything to happen in the material world. Anything beautiful, anything powerful, anything extraordinary in this world is showing us a small hint of the opulence’s of Krishna.
So a devotee when he makes some advancement starts seeing Krishna everywhere. He experiences Krishna in the taste of water, he sees Krishna in the light of the Sun and the Moon, he sees Krishna when he hears any sound. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that “I am the ability in man,” so when a devotee sees someone with a very special ability in any field he sees Krishna.
The bottom line is that to see Krishna one’s eyes have to be purified. We can not see Krishna with impure eyes. And the process to purify our heart and our eyes is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra and to engage in the service of Krishna. Even if Krishna did appear personally before us today in the United States most would not accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even if He performed activities that were not humanly possible. Still those whose eyes are not purified can not see Krishna. Even if He is standing right there in front of them in person.
It is not that they can not see Him actually, they see Him, but do not recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Even Lord Brahma, when Krishna was on the Earth 5000 years ago playing as a cowherd boy in Vrindavana, became bewildered. He did not recognize Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His lord and master, so what to speak of ordinary people?
It is great to hear from you again. If you have more questions please write.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Turn the Churches Into Temples…

Gradually you should buy all the churches and make them into temples. There are so many churches actually they should give us these churches free, if they were God-conscious. But they are sectarian.
Bombay 28 December, 1974
My dear Jagadisa,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Dec. 9, 1974 and have noted the contents carefully.
Regarding your first question, you have not committed such a serious offense. My request is that you atone for your actions by engaging in devotional service with great enthusiasm. Wherever your health is good, you should remain there and serve.
Regarding Gurukula I am very happy to hear that the financial crisis has passed. That is very good. This is real management. As far as the children are concerned, people are accusing us sometimes that our children are undernourished, underfed and not cared for properly. So it is good that you are seeing that they are happy and healthy. They should be given milk at least 8 ounces a day if possible 16 ounces a day. Dahl, capati, rice, vegetable this will keep them fit. If possible a little bit of fruit also. As for fixing up the Deity house in Dallas with marble altars, this is not necessary for now. We shall see later on. For the time being organize the health, education and care of the children and continue the Deity worship as it is going nicely now. Deities are satisfied with bhakti not marble. Therefore try to increase the bhakti.
I think that you should immediately try and get the church in Toronto. Take it immediately. Church is always cheaper as there are not many other purchasers. This way we can bargain with them and bring the price down. The psychology behind it is that the Christians will hesitate to tear down a church. They would rather see it still standing. Gradually you should buy all the churches and make them into temples. There are so many churches actually they should give us these churches free, if they were actually God-conscious. But they are sectarian. Anyway purchase this church immediately. It is not very costly. $200,000 you can arrange. If it is available from BBT at this time then I have no objection. You can make the $150,000 loan from BBT. I do not know though if that much is available.
Increase the Rathayatra festival in Chicago. Make it twice as big, that will be very nice. This festival must be introduced wherever possible. It is so nice.
In connection with your using your efforts to make television shows, no, that is not important now. Don’t waste time in this way. Better to have nice festivals like Rathayatra festivals. If they see us on television show then the next moment they will forget. But if they come to a festival and participate that is eternal benefit.
Now you are raising your third child. So more and more you are becoming responsible for these living entities who are your dependents. You must see that they do not take birth again in this material world. That is your duty. Therefore you and your good wife must endeavor strongly together to become fully Krishna Conscious through this simple, sublime process that I have given. By simply following this process without deviation, chanting 16 rounds, following the four regulative principles, attending classes and mangala arati, rising early, these things will gradually bring you to the platform of pure love of Krsna.
I hope this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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