Duplicity, hypocrisy and foolishness; when you ban a £5 note but not leather

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For some reason best known to my self I chose to live in the material world and be in the best and worst of yuga’s that of the age of Kali
It’s the best for one can return home simply by chanting the Mahamantra
It’s the worst because it’s a time of exploration and suffering, duplicate and hypocrisy

For those who don’t live in the UK you will be unaware that the bank notes issued by The Bank of England are changing the first being changed is the £5, it makes it more hard wearing and harder to counterfeit. And is very similar in nature to those issued in New Zealand and Australia.

It has now been discovered that it contains a trace of tallow, much to the outrage of vegans,vegetarians and some religious groups most notably the one misidentified as the Hindu Faith.

It brings in a quandary as sadly you need money and have little control over its production or value in real terms, so pressure is mounting to sign petitions calling for its withdrawal and that a new bank note be issued not containing tallow

Indeed an honourable cause one most who truly believe in animal welfare and understand the real nature of the spirit soul would agree with.

So a number of Hindu temples have banned and refuse to accept the £5 note within the grounds and especially in the temple room, very honourable.

But let’s make an analysis and note some observations

One of the reasons for the new bank note is that the old ones picked up and carried germs and residue very easily, indeed lab analysis showed that the old bank notes contained traces of drugs and animal fats; the trace of animal fat in the new note is far less; which raises an interesting observation notation if you are enraged by the tallow in the new £5 note than you have to be also enraged that the other notes are also contmimated.

The conclusion is that all notes should be banned

Their is also a duplicity when it comes to ISKCON UK stance we refuse the £5 note in the temple and it’s premises, but our sankirtan devotees are allowed to handle and accept the £5 note

The conclusion this is hypocrisy, you either are against and ban altogether or not make up your minds which one

An outsider observing will also note that given your outraged by this use of animal fat, but looking around one notes leather shoes, and individuals who wear leather belts and get the money out of leather wallets and bags.

Their conclusion is why is wearing of leather in the temple not banned

One interesting argument is that the shoes and accepting of the £5 note outside is alright as it’s outside of the temple and not offered to Sri Krishna, this is duplicity and hypocritical; everything a devotee does should be as an offering to Sri Krishna and of the highest standard the individual can achieve and maintain, we should not have a temple standard and well I’m not in the temple so it doesn’t matter standard.

Our business is the propagation of Krishna Consciousness and to give proper education, proper education is to inform about spirit soul and animal welfare, and show the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Signing a petition calling for the removal of tallow from the bank note whilst turning a blind eye to the widespread use of leather products when their is many alternatives is disgraceful.

One should be looking at the cause not symptom

The symptom is the use of animal products in everyday items were it’s not needed
The cause is animal slaughter

We should be campaigning for a complete ban on animal slaughter, especially as were aware of the karmic reaction the government officials receive for allowing this, and for all those involved in meat, leather and animal byproduct production.

If you are making a stand against the small amount of animal byproduct in a bank note banning it’s use but then turning a blind eye to the wearing and use of leather which can be avoided this is duplicity and as the inventor of the £5 note stated your stupid

Over the years I’ve convinced 3 restaurants and 2 shops to remove all cow product’s one restaurant removed all meat products, not by petition but by education and by example

Srila Prabhupada said we lead by example

So my conclusion is if we are banning the £5 note we need to ban all leather from entering the temple and as individuals we conduct ourself outside the temple as we would inside

Personally I will continue to use the £5 note as it’s less contaminated than the old £5 note, otherwise no leather products I can avoid this, whilst continuing to educate those I meet on real animal welfare and the spirit soul within.

Whilst campaigning for a closure of all slaughter houses

And on an end note Hindu India has one of the largest cow slaughter programs in the world best ISKCON and the outraged devotees petition the Indian government to close these, one this is achieved I will take the let’s ban the £5 note more seriously.

And accepting the £5 note outside of the temple but not inside frankly is just hypocrisy duplicity and gives entirely the wrong message, one just looks like a fool, and devotees aren’t fools

A small Vyasa puja offering to HDG A.C.Bhaktivadanta Swami Prabhupada

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In this the appearance day of His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivadanta Swami Prabhupada I thought writing a small vyasa puja offering

Dear Srila Prabhupada Founder Acharia of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Please accept my humble obeisance
All glories to your Guru Maharaja who you served so diligently

One can never truly put into words how much you have done, how inspirational your works and the selfless service in humble carrying out his instructions to you; how when praised you simply praised your Guru Maharaja for sending such lovely disciples then glorified your disciples for their selfless service and devotion to you.

It reminded me of this verse:

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam śābde pare ca nisnatamṁ brahmany upaśamāśrayam

Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters
Bhag. 5.14.41

Those who served you personally, those who came into contact with you even a glimpse was enough to convince them to take up a life of devotional service. Leaving aside all modern comforts that the West could provide, simply to serve and understand true knowledge.

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa says that a person, whatever he may be, can attain the perfection of a twice-born brāhmaṇa by undergoing the spiritual disciplinary actions under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, exactly as a chemist can turn gun metal into gold by chemical manipulation. It is therefore the actual guidance that matters in the process of becoming a brāhmana
Bhag. 1.15.47-48

From the hippies and dropouts of society you gave freely, inspired shaped and gave meaning to their lives; true knowledge the knowledge of Self and the art of bhakti. From these came a society dedicated to helping others to come to the real knowledge of Self and real love, love of Sri Krishna.

The art of loving and caring devotional service.

You said make sure everyone has a book, and how everything we need can be found in.

Over the years I’ve found this to be true no matter what I’ve found its been their in those books you so painstakingly wrote, but still took time to personally educate direct and help your disciples.

And teaching us how to use whatever we have in Krishna service, and most importantly as a health care professional you gave us the greatest lesson how to deal with the material body and use it to advance in Krishna Consciousness.

I pray through your words you will continue to guide me and that one day maybe by your grace I will be able to inspire just one person to themselves become fully Krishna Conscious

So I end with a thank you, which never says what needs to be said

Yours humble
Dhirabhakta Das

Charge, donation or contribution (which is the sweetest exchange?)

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Charge, donation or contribution

I’ve been pondering these three words, how interchangeable are they and how easy it is to cheet if their misapplied

We often ask for a donation especially on book distribution, if you give me a donation you can have a book whilst showing them a wonderful book that will transform their life. Then we withdraw the book if the donation is small, or we go no it has to be £x; unwittingly we can cause offence, they asked for a donation I gave and they took away (I’ve had individuals who felt cheeted by this). Best if asking for donation show small booklet, if donation given they take no matter how small; if they donate a bigger sum of laxmi perfect, wow this is so kind please take this book, massaging the false ego but also a loving exchanges.

As devotees our aim is to have these loving exchanges, they may or may not take a book the aim should be to leave such a sweet exchange that they praise the devotees, maybe next time a book will be taken.

My thoughts are never far from controversial matters and one of the most controversial is paid courses that are becoming the normal this dispite Srila Prabhupada instructions that if they come to the temple it is free (a hard concept to grasp); although Srila Prabhupada was skillful in making sure they took a book and asking for a small contribution.

I like that word contribution, the act of assisting in something you believe in; one gives in many ways to what is termed good causes and the greatest cause is to relieve the burden of mankind with the glories of Sri Caitanya’s sankirtan movement.

But back to my thoughts (it’s my personal thoughts to which you may or may not agree)

I wish to become initiated, how wonderful the most successful move one will ever make; now enrol in this system and sign up for these mandatory course’s (yes mandatory it’s for your own good one day maybe not now but one day you’ll appreciate it)

One is presented with a bill

So what is it?

Not a donation, although many argue this is the case
May be a contribution, but contribution means it is like a donation from the heart based upon ones means and inspiration
A charge? Yes we are Charing the information will not be imparted unless their is an exchange.

But Srila Prabhupada said if come to the temple no charge, indeed he did give instruction on charging, if I’m dig institution or education centre and I ask you to come speak; wisdom is this Srila Prabhupada knew it is acceptable indeed normal to charge.

My thoughts is this, we give course free

Then at the end we suggest that if they feel inspired a small contribution (individuals can decide how much) can be made to help in continuing to put on these valuable courses full of knowledge and insight.

This way we are not seen as either cheating or profiteering, nor going against Srila Prabhupada instructions not to charge if they come to temple.

Yes some will laugh and give nothing, some a little, some a lot; but if we trust in Sri Krishna the way Srila Prabhupada did laxmi will always be their.

And we make sure they leave with the respective books, inspired to read and ask questions as their studied nicely.

My thoughts best not present with bill, upfront charges; but give freely

Inspired the person will contribute and give donations, which over the years I’ve been happy to do; always a sweet exchange and indeed as I analys my own situation I’ve given more than is asked upfront price and not feel cheeted; but I do when asked for upfront charges

But then it’s a suggestion

And you may suggest I’m just bitter as I’ve been charged to see my own Guru Maharaja, now that remains a painful and bitter pill to swallow

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

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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)

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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

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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”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Hare Krishna

Jaladuta, all auspicious

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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.

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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