Reconnecting outside of corporate ISKCON, but with ISKCON’s ever well-wisher’s


Regaining joy and equilibrium in Krishna Consciousness

With each struggle comes an opportunity to learn not only about myself but also how ones own actions impacts on others and how a balance in both means that I can encourage others whilst encouraging self; Srila Prabhupada after all wrote about the Science of Self Realisation, not others realisations (although learning from others is always experiential in spiritual progress especially if they have gone through the same type of difficulty)

Firstly and most controversially I came out of the mentorship system and disassociated myself from any of the courses as prescribed which has impacted on the way some interact with me.

When I first came into contact with the devotees it was wonderful, yes they mentored me in the Science of Krishna Consciousness although you would never have noticed it was so subtle. Over time you just wanted to help out and the reciprocation increased.

And over the years I’ve had many wonderful devotees who have in their own way mentored and encouraged me, and I’ve enjoyed their association and in some way serving them.

Notably in all instances their was loving exchanges and true friendship, no pushing in a singular one size fits all system but one were encouragement and progression is individualised.

This is something that personally I’ve tried to continue to do, it means taking time for each person, listening carefully and then spending time reading before making the suggestion based on real Vedic knowledge.

So reconnecting with real mentor and just enjoying their association.

In my dealings with others following their fine example has really helped

Now to be controversial again, and this those who encourage this particular system will no doubt be angry with this statement; but it’s something I personally feel, paid for courses lack real substance compared to those who like Srila Prabhupada give freely.

Srila Prabhupada and many senior devotees warn of dire consequences of hearing from professional recitor or one who charges, but then disconnect when forcing courses that are mandatory and charge.

I’ve sat in many amazing classes, house programs and again in the early days evening programs each had one thing in common they were free and in most cases I’ve left feeling fulfilled.

I’ve also replicated this in my own dealings with others and programmes, based on the audience needs, prasadam and no charge.

Over the years I’ve been moved to either give a little laxmi or to help out in some practical way, it was indeed a loving exchange. And over the years I’ve experienced a similar exchange which has encouraged me to do more.

I’ve also noted that when monetary exchanges are made the whole atmosphere changes and for me it looses its transandental potency, it becomes dry and unpalatable and indeed for me personally their appears to be little benefit.

After all one notes that in all the pastimes of Srila Prabhupada disciples not one starts with, well I booked on a course it was £15 and Srila Prabhupada came and gave class took some questions and left, it was so inspirational. NO!

When we listen to the pastimes of Srila Prabhupada disciples we hear of the loving exchanges, the morning walks, classes, the prasadam distribution; how Srila Prabhupada gave all this for free and out of deep love one immediately reciprocated, one was convinced and inspired.

This was the ISKCON I once knew, and one I’ve reconnected with, leaving the corporate ISKCON behind the one with an artificial mentorship system designed to make sure you do the paid courses.

This corporate ISKCON with paid jobs, were the accumulation of laxmi is the aim rather than Srila Prabhupada ISKCON which didn’t have paid jobs just maintenance and based solely on loving exchanges.

It was nice to be back in that true association, with amazing devotees who never ask for anything other than your association. I was also asked by all but the most senior devotees if I was going to give class and it was humbling to hear how much they benefited, all I’ve tried to do is share the same enthusiastic love that those real devotee mentors gave me.

Money corrupts and asking for money upfront before imparting what one considers essential for spiritual progress is something I’ve haven’t heard Srila Prabhupada disciples say that was their experience.

My joy in Krishna Consciousness is slowly returning
The joy of association is slowly returning
The joy of sharing with others is slowly returning

It’s returning simply because I’ve disconnected with corporate ISKCON

And reconnected with my real mentors
Those who are and will always be my ever well-wisher
And so the real loving exchanges can take place

And for me it doesn’t start with exchanging laxmi
One may at times reciprocate with laxmi, but the biggest reciprocation is when one uses the knowledge and loving exchanges to help others in their own path of Self Realisation in finding their real constitutional position as spirit soul and love of Krishna.

So I apologies for those who are angry or frustrated at my actions, but best stay with what I know works and in guidance and experience of those loving devotees I’ve had the privilege of associating with which is always sweet.

And ending of my real appreciation of those early days, those amazing devotees and those who have followed who’s enthusiastic sharing of love of Krishna continues to inspire, these humble disciples are the real mentors

Real Love of just a commodity to make laxmi (a question)


Their comes a time when one feels somewhat saddened and the struggle in Krishna Consciousness appears so futile one believes that the solution is to just give up; however each morning one sits before the home deities, offers prasadam, gives a small class and chants.

One simply cannot give up, even though the mind says that it is by far the most logical course of action.

So what went wrong?
How did one get to the stage of giving up?

A mentor system that was so indexable it killed the joy of seva
An institution that put emphasis on course’s, tells you not to go to someone who charges to depart bhakti, then presents you with a bill and trys to disguise it as donation
A committee that judges without knowledge as they never sat with you, spoke to you, shared prasadam with you or even sat in any of the classes
Or having to pay to see your own Guru Maharaja

For me that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back

Not the 290 mile journey to do seva each month, after negotiating an ongoing agreement to allow extended weekends each month

Not the apparent insult, your qualified enough to give Srimad Bhagavatam class in the morning but somehow my knowledge is not good enough for the committee members

Not even the mentor system that dispite my plea to the head instigator and temporary mentor to not leave devotees like me behind and find a way to make us feel needed, was ignored to the point one became deeply unhappy

No this wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back

It was the change of relationship, from one of friendship to one of business; yes the feeling that one is just a commodity a way of gaining laxmi, and at every turn their is a bill and a smiling devotee who is convinced that I am convinced the asking of laxmi is alright.

The final nail in my enthusiastic pursuit of bhakti was my last visit by my Guru Maharaja, I could only make it to one date due to work commitment (something many forget); it meant a bill to see my own Guru Maharaja, yes a bill and apparently this was a good thing.

For me it signalled the end of the personal relationship to one of business as long as the laxmi flows my progression is guaranteed.

I was so upset and bewildered I wrote this email to my own Guru Maharaja:-

Dear ==== Swami Maharaja
Please accept my humble obeisance
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

It was so nice to meet you if not briefly the other month, although I noted our relationship and that of my relationship with ISKCON has changed somewhat; to the point were one is no longer enthusiastic.

I have received several emails reminding me of the need to write a Vyasa-Puja offering and how Imminent the deadline is, however I found myself empty and unable to write a single word; drowned and confused by the new corporate impersonal way things are done.

One is further saddened that the only way to see you or even speak to you means a monetary exchange, I’m left empty wondering if you would be more willing to speak to me if I pay in advance and worked out that as our conversation last less than half and hour that the accepted amount is £60.

That I’m judged by a committee that doesn’t even know me, and marked by results from paid courses and forms; when all one wants is the personal relationship as was found in those early days with your disciplines in Manchester, things seemed a lot simpler then and I never had to pay to see you.

I’m guessing ISKCON has moved on and I’m just a sentimentalist of the simpler personalism and the joy of just being around devotees and helping them in a simple way

It would have been nice to tell you about the video of me the council uses, and the community and school visits and to hear how I can improve and look at long term aim; but I’m guessing in the new corporate ISKCON which appears to be more interested in pursuit of laxmi than devotees this probably won’t be applicable.

I want to write a nice offering this year but given our relationship is now simply business relationship I’m confused as to how to achieve this.

So what to do?

I was hoping that maybe as I’ve an opportunity to visit ==== to look at wildlife and countryside management that it would allow me the opportunity to reconnect, to again realise the joy of seva; without feeling it is simply business transaction. But I noticed you were little enthusiastic.

So my question is what is one to do?
How does one reconnect with what one felt was real, when one feels that all ISKCON is interested in is my wallet?
How does one regain the joy of seva, and the joy of sharing love of Krishna, when the mentorship system beat it out of me; leaving an empty shell, where happiness once was but smothered in corporate courses and forms?
And more importantly where do I stand with you? Is it too only business, do I have to continue to pay to see you?

One is saddened by it all, and simply prays for the simple days to return

Humbly Yours; discipline or not discipline as I’m unsure

Dhirabhakta Das

Sadly I didn’t receive a reply and a bit of me thought maybe it would have come if I had given big donation at the same time.

The personal relationship, the relationship I felt were real now feels empty one personally feels cheeted by ISKCON

Given that I’ve only ever experienced the reverse were a business relationship has changed into a personal friendship, were once I was seen as an income of sorts is now family discount or free

For me ISKCON was a real family, my motivation was because I loved the devotees and I thought they intern loved and liked me; but the reality is it feels to me like I’m being cheeted and that the only thing ISKCON is interested in is laxmi

And simply that makes me weep
And the regection cannot be put into word’s

Apart from this,

I now truly appreciate the one thing those early devotees showed and gave to me, the understanding of real love and friendship and the reality of what Krishna Consciousness is and not how it now has become.

And for that little insight of real devotional love, I thank you

I thank you because it’s the only thing that keeps me going

And I pray each and every day that one day I’ll experience that pure unconditional love of devotees once again

Vyasa puja offering 2016 for HH Devamrita Swami Maharaja


Dear Guru Maharaja
Please accept my humble obeisance
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to your steadfastness in seva to your beloved Guru Maharaja

Each and every day I wake up surprised, surprised that one remembers Sri Krishna and have another opportunity to connect by chanting and sharing the holy names.

I sat today and read the following verse:

mūkam karoti vācālamṁ pangumṁ langhayate girim yat-krpā tam ahamṁ vande śrī-guruṁ dīna-tāranam

By the mercy of the guru, even a dumb man can become the greatest orator, and even a lame man can cross mountains. As advised by Lord Brahmā, one should remember this śāstric injunction if one desires success in his life.

It reminded me that by the mercy of Guru one can achieve the unachievable, if one simply follows the instructions carefully.

I still remember clearly the challenge you gave me so many years ago, it’s so clear as if you only just had spoken it even though many years have passed.

We see in your own example you remain firm in your own determination to fulfil the wish of your own Guru Maharaja to spread the love and happiness of pure bhakti of real knowledge and understanding of the power of chanting the holy names of Sri Krishna; but more to understand the pastimes and how we can learn so much from them.

So today on your appearance day I am reminded of how extra ordinary your life is as you have given the perfect example of dedicating it in service, to save even one like me from the clutches of material nature.

And pray that somehow ones own appreciation can grow and somehow follow in your great example

Yours Humble
Dhirabhakta Das

“Simple Living; High Thinking” (My time on Flat Holm Island”


One of ISKCON’s mantra’s we hear recited time and time again is that of “Simple Living; High Thinking”; however as one observes there is in general not much Simple Living given our conditioning to consume, this being simply what we do.

It is amazing however how one can learn the true meaning of Simple Living and the way to truly connect with the high thinking of understanding the environment one lives in, and truly care for Mother Bhumi.


So I had the opportunity to spend time on Flat Holm Island with Marianna and her team of amazing volunteers who each individually taught me so much; whilst learning how to live within the limited provisions provided.


Watching the amount of water and energy consumed, given the only water is that caught from the rain, the electric from a renewable source (with back up generator when required) and a limited amount of bottled gas; made one conscious of what is used and how precious our resources are.

One was also aware of the amount of food consumed it focused the mind given you couldn’t just run out to the local shops; almost everything was cooked fresh with evening meals being a community activity.


Managing the land included checking on the wildlife, counting the bird and insect species; each piece important to the ecology of the Island. To picking up and documenting the rubbish washed up on the Island impressed on my mind how the smallest thing makes a difference, unlike the hedonistic consumerism which is environment destructive and generally means we use others or ruin their local ecology.


Each day was filled with activities, cleaning roofs to make sure the water remains unpolluted, managing the land, maintenance of the building and equipment and the aforementioned survey’s; their was always something to do, each day was full.

Indeed simple living but with an important aim the maintenance of the small Island ecosystem and to be honest it was difficult to leave; I loved the people on the Island who are a unique special bunch of individual’s

It did impress however why Srila Prabhupada talked and emphasized the farming communities, managing the land is a full time job there is always something to do; and done correctly will also care for and encourage the wildlife; giving especially as devotee’s we are meant to look after Mother Bhumi, it will indeed increase our love of Sri Krishna.

If indeed as devotees we worked together as a community in an organic farming environment, will also make it easy for everyone to attend morning and evening classes, make first class prasadam; and learn how to manage our interpersonal relationship’s working even with those we find it difficult to get on with., indeed you get to see their hidden beauty and appreciate them: given that Srila Prabhupada requested we learn to get on well with each other.

It also impressed upon the mind how insignificant consumerism and the pursuit of material advancement is and that you don’t need a lot to be truly happy; one’s mind is truly regulated something that indeed will help in spiritual advancement.

Sadly however it appears observational wise we want it all, a concept of High Thinking, Simple Living that allows our pursuit of self-centred consumerism which is symbiotic with spiritual life claiming this is the pursuit of real happiness.

Whilst on the Island I noticed that in the simplicity of living was the true great happiness and how humbled one felt being accepted and part of one of this tight integrated group; if not for a short while.

In summery it impressed upon me how Srila Prabhupada gave us a great example to follow, spoke on what we needed to do for spiritual advancement; and how attachment to material consumerism hold’s me back.


So it was with great sadness I left Marianna and her team of volunteers, it has been an interesting learning curve; leaving me with a lot to ponder and some of the sweetest memories which will be hard to surpass.

HH Devamrita Swami visits Anna Loka, Cardiff


It was nice to be invited to hear my guru maharaja HH Devamrita Swami give a small discourse on unnatural happiness at Anna Loka in Cardiff.


The audience were captivated by the insights on what we class as happiness, it’s tempory nature and how to gain true happiness; their was some insightful questions afterwards. Here is an MP3 recording of the class

Bhakta Adam and his team then gave a lovely plate of Prasadam, and hearing that one of those attending had special dietry need’s made sure it was totally complient so all could enjoy; now that’s a lovely example of service.


Hare Krishna

Jaladuta, all auspicious


One thing you notice is that if like me you use social media there is a lot of articles that come along and once you closely scrutinise them it becomes clear that the information contained is not what it seems to be.

So it was of interest that I found a reference to an article that caught my curiosity and so a further look and small research was undertaken and it appeared to be valid; but interestingly made me feel inspired as Sri Krishna had made the whole journey of Srila Prabhupada even more auspicious than I personally had realized.

The article claimed that the picture of the Jaladuta that Srila Prabhupada travelled on was not the actual one he would have, and indeed if you look closely at the ships records held by the Scindia S.N. Company the one we see pictured regularly was indeed scrapped in 1958.

Scindia S.N. Co

Their is however an exciting twist to this the Jaladuat that was in service at the time coming into service in 1959 had one unique feature not carried by any previous ship; nor carried in general by the Scindia S.N. Comapny.

Yes look carefully and you will see a unique feature on the bow of the ship, it is the sacred swastika, and that for me is amazing that even the vessal that carried Srila Prabhupada was all auspicious.


My realization is that Sri Krishna always takes care of even the finest detail when it comes to his devotees who are serving him and following their guru maharaja direction.

Hare krishna

Congregational Member or True Devotee?


There is a strange term which has often puzzled me we speak about devotee’s then the term congregational member; do we actually have congregational members?

It appears to be more divisive than it initially appears, however I have found that those labeled congregational members are actually inspirational devotee’s in disguise.

Given that I’ve been going to the same temple for over seven years you would have thought may be not going since the beginning of the year someone would notice, may be those who have come into Wales either for the annual retreat or visiting would swing by.

Indeed over the past seven years I’ve had to learn about the retreats close to my home after the event and every year the same reply, ow next year but next year never comes; to senior devotees who say they need to talk to me then are within 10 minutes from my home but no visit.

Now can I make a small humble contrast with those ladled congregational members Interestingly they not only noticed my absence but contacted to make sure everything was alright, sent inspirational quotes and links to amazing videos.

The same congregational members have taken the time to travel just to assist with a community Diwali celebration and even participated and made some amazing cakes.

And I remain humbled by their concern and assistance during a hospital stay making sure I had all my needs both spiritually and materially; even offering to make sure myself and my vehicle returned safely to Wales.

And over the years I’ve seen a deep and amazing love and appreciation of Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, and how they extol this in how they demonstrate this in their lives, not by words but by their actions.

For me it’s not in the label we place on individual’s or that we use a term that appears incompatible with the teaching and spoken word from Srila Prabhupada who simply looked on everyone as spirit soul and those who have taken up the spiritual path of bhakti (devotee)

When you speak to those who not only met but spent time with Srila Prabhupada noted that he had great concern and was less concerned about forms, exams, courses but on the individual how to inspire them and angage in devotional service; most describe it as a pure love.

For love is the inspiration.

Love means we care.

And what I’ve noticed is that those who have ladled congregational member show the greatest love and this inspires one to remain in devotional circles, and inspire one to do more seva.

Love is all you need

And the mistake we make is ladling some congregational member when their deep love demonstrates that they are indeed devotee

So could I humbly suggest we stop using this label and describe everyone as devotee


Bemused and confused, is it me or my wallet your interested in?


There are a number of things that bemuse me and makes me wonder either my own sanity of that of others; their seems to be either a disconnect or lack of joined up thinking; or the fact that if we did stop and ask questions it may lead to a need to rethink or reamend or worse abmit it may have flaws.

As I read an interesting article on the use of sadhna sheets the devotee gave a break down of responses and use whilst offering to take more devotees on; alls well and good.
Well until you break it down and look closely at the figures given, and the question arises why did a number fail to start to fill them in and why did a few stop after starting filling them in, cause unknown.
Somehow that appears to be an unsatisfactory answer was their an effort to find out why?

Then I get an e-mail on an upcoming event aimed at those who are in the Grihastha Ashram, adults only, no children allowed.
Hum if your in this ashram then there is a good posibility that their will be children, and given the temple size and pacilities a small cresh could have been provided; but no the parents have to either find a baby sitter or one has to miss out.
Is it me or is that a total disconnect.

Were obsessed with courses and forms but no real thought is given in either apart from how it’s important for us to boil the milk and finally fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s words; without not asking why Srila Prabhupada didn’t instigate them.

May be it’s the feeling that these forms and class room expectations will alienate individuals and Srila Prabhupada didn’t want people to be alianated, and that we will put more emphasis on them than actually connecting to the individual.

As a couple you would want to attend the Grihastha course together as a couple?
May your just not a form person, or that a form is a way to demotivate the individual.

But we have a crazy there is only one way, we have courses and forms ow and heres the bill.

Yes professional reciters of bhakti, we will only depart the knowledge if you pay.

Which brings me to a conclusion

What was Srila Prabhupad’s charges please present me with a list of his authorized charges in relation to courses for initiation

And as it sadly appears that there is greater interest in making money than inspiring the individual may be just send me a yearly subscription bill and marval at how much money the temple has.

Yes sadly I’m alianated and feel that the only thing ISKCON and the devotees are interested in is my wallet; which bemuses me as the first devotees I came across and associated with didn’t care for my wallet, forms or courses but cared about me and how to inspire me in bhakti.

And how I long for those days to return life was much simpler then

Compliance/Non-Compliance & Understanding


The other day I sat in one of the mandatory supervision, it’s more a paperwork exercise but is a requirement of those who oversee health care here in Wales. From a personal point of view it’s a pointless exercise and simply wastes my time as only a first class idiot would wait till an enforced mandatory meeting to bring up concerns especially in regard to patient care and work practices.

So one of the questions that has to be covered is what do you feel you’ve achieved since the last supervision? My answer stopped the conversation with a puzzled look, your joking? No! My answer had been frank, “Not telling you to shove the job”. And yes I did get it written down on the form so yes it will be discussed in three months time which is the required time between each supervised practice.

Would I wait three months to raise an issue?

Yes that’s also one of the questions, surely if it was an issue who in their right mind would wait till a supervision date? A point I make each and every supervision have I called you or discussed any concerns because if there is one you will certainly know about it.

For me there are forms, and there are forms; useful forms and forms for those who simply like forms; some forms are open to abuse simply by design. The real point of the supervision form is to show how happy we all are and that client care is being met, mandatory course work done, act.

One question always however baffles me and I give the same stock answer, “Don’t ask me I don’t know!” The question is simply along the lines of are your client’s happy with the standard of care provision you are giving? Of course I can give the correct answer “yes because….” but in reality I could believe I’m giving the best and meeting all the needs of my clients when they could be in anxiety or stressed because the reality is more that they feel I’m not, too aggressive or uncaring. The fact they miss me when I’m off would suggest otherwise, maybe?

For me it would be better to feed back to me the feeling’s of those who receive health care provision from me, and if there is a problem this allows a more informative discussion; it could also highlight a need for training within a particular area, or even suitability in doing the job.

However the reality is that no one wants to hear any negativity, especially if directed at them; however sometimes these hard discussions can prove more productive; surrounding oneself with people who always agrees with you does massage the false ego. Yes I am the BEST and well you know it!

However I would be crazy to think that all supervision’s are like mine, there are those who will wait until supervision to bring up any concerns, the form at the end of being filled out will be different and the approach by the employer matching the individual. It’s an art to know how to deal with people as the needs are much different depending on the individual, and their perspective; my contempt for the form is born out by my answers and glazed look in my eye.

This appreciation of the individual also goes into care provision, some are compliant to the changes needed given their condition; some are non-compliant. Some accept that they have a condition and others remain in denial. So the approach has to be individualized, out-patient and follow up is never the same even if the condition is. There is also further people skills needed when working out in the community given that your in the person’s own home and personal space, especially if your dealing with a client who remains nu-compliant in medication, diet, exercise act.

This for me reminds me of how we should approach those who take up the path of bhakti, each has their own baggage, their own needs and desires along with approach. It’s easy to try to deal with each person as a collective but we see from Srila Prabhupada that outside of his requirements of his disciples to follow the four regulative principles and 16 rounds of japa, but then we see a more personal side understanding and encouraging his disciples allowing them to explore and expand.

It’s an art, means we need to take more time and develop a personal relationship with the person, this is good mentorship, the student understands the spiritual master and the spiritual master understands the student. We cannot develop a personal relationship with Sri Krishna without developing a personal relationship with devotee’s and we should encourage each one to shine.

Compliance in health care takes time, sometimes it’s instant other times it takes years, you learn how to take the person on an individual journey; this is an art learnt over many years working in health care and is something new members of the care team need to learn and it does. Otherwise frustration at all the time spent on individuals who continue to relapse due to the individuals situation.

We see relapse in those who start on the path of bhakti, old habits die hard and when problems arise it’s easy to return to a default setting; the line of least resistance normally absorbing oneself in material happiness rather than spiritual bliss. Being a good mentor means we accept that this is the way it goes, keep the door open, not condemn and encourage the individual to stick with it.

Relapse is expected in health care provisions, due to a variety of situations, the same as some fall down from a spiritual path is to be expected. But if we have developed a very personal relationship and developed trust then we can help over time rectify assist and help the individual.

So during the mandatory supervision they make sure for me it’s quick and takes up as little of my time, but know if I call into the office unexpectedly then some time is needed as this is when important. And when interviewing me for the job I told them my weakness is unnecessary forms and bureaucracy something they remain aware of.

So for me one of the greatest assets is studying Srila Prabhupada and the way he dealt with his disciples, this is the way we should deal with those who take up the path of bhakti; but I’ve personally found it helpful in my dealings with others in my health care job.

In conclusion I remain always humbled by what can be learnt about oneself, others and how to truly mentor and help others within Srila Prabhupada’s actions and words; if we look, study and learn.

As we say to student nurses they will learn once in practice how to deal with others, it cannot be learnt in a class room; how to develop and encourage many in bhakti cannot be learnt doing this or that course but from our dealings with others and learning from well positioned seniors who’s selflessness simply inspires.

Hare Krishna.

Mantra Band; Food For All


Dear Assembled Devotees and Wellwisher’s,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Have you ever had the experience of desiring to spread this knowledge of the soul, far and wide but you did not have the funds?

Yeh! Me too.

Our congregation is made up of poor people, many are homeless people. So we turned to Rock and Roll, the Devil’s music, and gave that a try,and somehow it works. (I am not recommending anybody else to try this.)

Our band is called ‘Mantra’, it was set up to get more devotees into big festivals like Glastonbury.

Your servant
Parasuram Das