So what’s your latest realisation?

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One amazing devotee whenever he sees me asks what I believe to be one of the perfect questions and always leads to an interesting discussion, it simply goes “So what’s your latest realisations?”

This is the science of self realisation and each time we meet there’s always something new to change; however he will never accept an answer if it’s based on someone else’s realisations unless it’s facilitated a greater understanding.

So I shared this time the thoughts that as devotees we are actually facilitators to help those we meet advance in Krishna Consciousness, that as a devotee we help those willing to advance explore and have their own personal realisations.

I realised that we need to allow for mistakes and misunderstanding but to make sure that we’re always there; indeed this was one of the expert way the devotees inspired and encouraged me in those early days.

It’s good to share thoughts and realisations, it can allow one to develop, but the mistake is forcing views onto people it may work for a while; however when things get tough or problems arise because it’s not personal remaining determined on a spiritual path becomes hard.

It’s these personal realisations that have always helped me remain practicing Krishna consciousness being convinced that it’s the only way to escape the misery of material life.

I described how actually we go on a journey, we’re on our own personal journey and we assist others in their journey; both benefit, both learn and indeed strength comes in a friendship based on helping each other advance. Indeed I’ve seen a number of those individuals who once looked at me as a teacher of bhakti now surpassing me in their devotion and personal realisations, it does make me smile as I then learn from them.

But realisations also come out of mistakes sometimes one has to experience difficulties to deepen one’s relationship with Krishna and the devotees, understanding this one can allow and understand mistakes.

A spiritual journey has many twists and turns, and for me it’s always much sweeter when I see how many after many many years still practice and in their own way making progress, it’s a good question to ask “so share with me what’s your personal realisations?”; It’s the start of a wonderful conversation.

And over the years it’s also allowed for me to learn and at times be corrections, but never ever chastisement as this indeed benefits no one.

It reminded me that Srila Prabhupada said this is the science of self realisation, best facilitate this not force on our own realisations, facilitate the journey

That was my realisation on this time of asking, but who knows what it will be next time I’m asked.

Lord Nrsimhadev Harinam in Central London

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Dear Devotees,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Here is a video of the powerful Harinam in Central London for Lord Nrsimhadev 9th May 2017.

Lord Caitanya organised His Harinam parties in a very exact way.

Technicalities of our Harinam.
This is what we done on the Nrsimhadev Harinam to avoid weak, slow, and yodelling Kirtan.
If Kirtan is so important , why not put the energy into it . A big sound system is required that doesn’t run out of battery, without taking away the spontaneous ras there is still a good idea to orchestrate the Harinam to some degree.

Govinda prabhu sang first, started in the key of F and then change to G as planned. A cheeky wink gave the musicians the time to change tune or key. Sruti Dhar Prabhu continued in the key of G. Then Tribhangananda Prabhu waited for his key , the key of G and as planned sang the Prabhupada tune, as did Sakshi Gopal Prabhu. Singing in the key of G is in my opinion the best key for male devotees to sing in, for street Kirtan. At least one female Vaisnava should sing and that was Ratnavali dasi who always sings in the key of D, ( gents and ladies generally sing in different keys). We controlled the mixing desk, and made the vocals dominate. In the future we wish to get five mrdangas , tuned together and played to a strong marching beat but right now our drummer Matt Prabhu, professional drummer from the band Razorlight, played the Tribhuvanath beat for the whole Harinam as did Ratnavali dasi which they perfectly done. The Tribhuvanath beat is a special powerful beat ideal for a marching Harinam. Because we grew up on this beat and because the festival team don’t play any other beat, this is what we choose. Tribhuvanath Prabhu left us 15 years ago, still his beat goes on which is made up of 3 different moves according to the speed of the Kirtan.

Enjoy the movie

Your servant
Parasuram Das

Intelligence

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How much weight do we put on our intelligence?

The other day I read about a young lady who was killed on the M4 a motorway I use regularly, why was she killed? Simply by exiting her car to chase a dog that was loose running across the lanes.
I’m sure normally speaking she wouldn’t entertain or think of leaving the safety of her car due to dangers involved; but her love of dogs made her intelligence temporarily disappear in regards to the real danger.

Then the sad news of a wonderful devotee who was killed upon his return to New Zealand at a local road junction, it’s unclear what happened or who is at fault; but as we know their is always need to be cautious before entering any junction. Again the intelligence is temporarily lost in regards the danger.

Material life is like this, we put lots of emphasis on our intelligence indeed each and everyone​ of us are a slave to our mind which leads us in so many directions, convincing us that our thoughts and our way is constantly right, indeed we then surround ourselves with like minded individuals who will validate our thought processes.

But disaster is always one step away, most of the time we can simply dust ourselves down say how much we’ve learned from the experience and carry on; sometimes sadly actions mean loss of life were upon the onlookers state how their superior intelligence means they wouldn’t make such mistakes.

It reminded me of the simple fact that devotional life isn’t always easy, for we actually if practicing correctly have to deal with the real self and our not so intelligent intelligence. Even the Guru’s mission is to help us overcome this faulty material intelligence and replace with spiritual intelligence.

Srila Prabhupada translated so much and took the time to explain the real meaning each verse and sentence designed to enhance our intelligence and explain how material nature works and how best to overcome it. Every situation is covered there is not one problem or circumstance that isn’t covered and in each turn a positive outcome can be seen, no matter what our own personal situation we can return home this lifetime.

Time and time again Srila Prabhupada reminds and requests we simply chant the holy name’s for in this age of Kali there is no other way, simple reading and chanting, offer our food to the lord.

But best of all we can share this amazing inspirational intelligence with everyone we meet freely and unconditionally just as Srila Prabhupada showed us, and make sure they leave with a book

Hare Krishna

The passing of Bhadaranga Das Prabhu

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It was with great sadness i heard about the passing away of a wonderful devotee Bhadaranga Das Prabhu most would know him as Bhakta Ben who spent some time at Bhaktivadanta Manor.

His enthusiasm was indeed infectious and always took time out to talk, sit and share prasadam and whenever he gave class it was always personal and from the heart. With a great thirst for knowledge, leaving to enhance his qualifications so scholar’s would be more willing to hear about Krishna.

It was upon his return home to New Zealand catching up with family went for a short cycle ride and was hit by a truck instantly leaving his body at what many would see a very young age of 30.

He was indeed a unique soul like me not always conformist but with a love of chanting and reading Srila Prabhupada books, and always a joke or two to lighten the mood and put any difficulties faced into a positive perspective.

As always I pray to Sri Krishna for his onwards journey back home

And for many another great soul whose association we will miss

Hare Krishna

Camden Town, Hippest New Centre

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Camden Town is London’s hippest part of London, attracting thousands of tourists daily. We have been preaching here since 17 years and now we managed to open a nice centre. A four story building just off the high street.

We have daily prasad distribution, yoga classes, plans to open a juice bar but the main thing is we have an oasis for devotees to live and hold the Friday Feast , a chance to give Krishna to the conditioned souls, requesting the devotees blessings.
Your servant
Parasuram das

St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Central London

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Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Central London

There is a major newspaper in London called the Metro, of the top ten things to do in London over the weekend they recommended at number one, was to go on Harinam with these guys. (Photo attached)
900,000 people attend this festival in London. A great opportunity to distribute the Holy Name, Prasad, free booklets” On chanting Hare Krishna”, engaging the gurukula, and allowing the public to get darshan of the Lord of the Universe, Lord Jagannath.

Food For All at St Patrick's parade London 2017 from ardas on Vimeo.

Should we be taking part in the celebration of an Irish Saint?
Decide for yourself:

Srimad Bhagavatam
4.8.54
Purport (Excerpt)

Sometimes our Indian friends, puffed up with concocted notions, criticize, “This has not been done. That has not been done.” But they forget this instruction of Nārada Muni to one of the greatest Vaiṣṇavas, Dhruva Mahārāja. One has to consider the particular time, country and conveniences.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They say, “Well, then, you can wear your Santa Claus
suit, but you’ll have to wear a Hare Kṛṣṇa button.”
Prabhupāda: That we can do. Never mind. But that is not under your
dictation. If I like.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They actually made us in New York, the court.
Prabhupāda: No, then there is no objection. But you cannot dictate…
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: What dress.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I may dress myself to your liking; I may not. Rather,
you like the Santa Claus dress. You are Christian. I am pleasing you
by dressing myself like this. Why you are not pleased? I am trying to
please you.

Your servant
Parasuram das

Answering an interesting question for those disillusioned with iskcon but want to attend iskcon events

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So I was asked a very interesting question the other day, it had a recurring theme that I’ve heard put in many different ways and also one that for me has the basic answer of reciprocation

The question is:

Why do we keep going back to iskcon events. Even though we know there is deep rooted sexism abuse and cover up?

Yes sadly not an uncommon experience the combination of corporate ISKCON and a few individuals who take advantage of a spiritual movement and abuse positions of power, some also question the whole paid courses stating mission drift.

So when such feelings are their and justified individually leaving a bitter taste their remains a need of association or just a need to feel a part of a significant event celebration (although the last event i personally attended was somewhat ruined by the constant bombardment for laxmi, it is not attractive); wholesome reciprocation is all that is needed.

For me it is time to enjoy talking to very sincere devotees about the particular pastime and exchange ideas and thoughts on reaching out to those we meet, simple discrimination means we choose those who enliven us and inspire us in increasing our love of devotion.

But their is something more significant, the presiding deities the special connection we make and actually how Sri Krishna demonstrates the most perfect form of reciprocation, he heard us chant Hare Krishna and that simply reignited our love; no matter what happens because of this purity of love we return simple to take darshan and by doing so this purity of love is simply increased no matter what else we experience.

And I’ve met over the years individuals and families who only come once or twice a year just to see the deities and in a loving exchange give a little something just because of the purity of love felt.

So that for me is the reason why we keep on coming back, it’s not ISKCON but the deities and a simple need of the soul to see them.

Who you whilst their choose to associate with well that comes down to discrimination, choose wisely

Hare Krishna

Rugby, ISKCON and the pursuit of money a thought

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The other day i sat and watched a small unassuming game of rugby RCG and Merthyr it wasn’t​ a high profile Welsh regions game or international, indeed it was a small crowd in a small club rugby pitch.
So why mention it, especially here in my blog?
It reminded me of old school rugby before the pursuit of money in my humble opinion ruined it, the rugby was indeed its purest but for me it was the crowd especially the RCG supporters with the beautiful Welsh hymns ringing out, and even when it looked like they had lost the songs continued (RGC won in a last gasp few seconds on the clock try).
Over the past few weeks I’ve been pondering and reminiscing about those early sweet few years when first meeting the devotees and what it taught me compared to what I’ve seen over the past few years
Money and the pursuit of money corrupts
The other day someone said a small sentence that rang more than a few Bell’s with me and clarity came in it went like this: how come we come and are told we have to do devotional service, but when we want to make progress and move to initiation you charge, where is the loving reciprocation?
And that was it LOVING RECIPROCATION
Over them early years their was never ever a request for laxmi, the devotees had time to answer any questions and initiation didn’t involve paid for course’s; indeed the devotees made sure you felt special and because of this you simply wanted to reciprocate.
The most shocking and hurtful thing happened when this pursuit of laxmi meant i was charged to see my own Guru Maharaja, and i was trying to work out what was more hurtful charging me as a disciple to see him or charging others to see him.
Why charge?
There is NO excuse or Need to Charge
To share love of Krishna and especially if you have a facility to do it is service, if your charging then service attitude is lost
Again in those early days the devotees had very little but they simply wanted everyone to come here their Guru Maharaja no charging but if you wanted to make a donation to help towards costs then this was seen as beautiful devotional seva.
Seva is king
Reciprocation between devotees is king
Making business and charging pollutes both of these
And so this is why i use the term ISKCON, it’s the original ISKCON i was first introduced to, no charging but simple beautiful reciprocation
And Corporate ISKCON, the one that has stripped out beautiful reciprocation and says well if you want initiation you pay for these courses, fill out these forms and our committee will decide your eligibility
Money and it’s pursuit corrupts
It has ruined the​ game of rugby, and for me it has ruined the purity of Srila Prabhupada ISKCON and loving exchanges
But I’m guessing most who will read this will miss the simple point I’m trying to make and continue to claim I’m anti ISKCON
Hare Krishna

Nothing

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Nothing
It has been a sobering few weeks as i finally started to sort through and clear out my basement from the things a devotee stored many years ago and sadly passed away.
Out of respect I’ve gone through every box and it gave me an opportunity to also sort out the recycling a requirement before the many trips to the skip, with each trip the basement returned to an empty state and all that is left is a few boxes and a couple of photo albums.
Réalisation
As i entered my home after a number of trips to the skip i compared the emptiness of the basement to the fullness of my home, slowly over the years I’ve accumulated so much and get somehow I’ve not noticed time for my own clear out of things no longer needed.
It also occurred to me one day i don’t know when someone will be going through my home or if I’ve moved on my belongings and like me off it goes to the skip.
Deep down I knew that somehow what the devotee stood for in the material body he had for such a short time had disappeared hopefully to be periodically remembered but as i leave my own material body not even a footnote of his existence will remain
And this will be the case for me also in what will be a short period of time
Thoughts
Best make sure that the short time of life is productive in as much as one gets to escape the material world and in this lifetime return to the spiritual world, at least it means this life has had real meaning
Yes
Simple living high thinking
The only way

Personal Wealth in devotional service

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Personal wealth
It’s an interesting concept that value of individuals is sometimes based on bank balances the size of the wallet
We judge depending on our own view of wealth, however it is easy to become envious of another’s personal wealth when it outstrips our own especially if that individual is in the renounced order of life, after all why should they have any personal wealth?
The reality is living in a society where money is king it’s impossible to survive without any financial income, the difficulty is how much does one actually need?
No matter what ashram one finds themselves in their is no getting away with it a certain amount of finance is needed, the question is when does the gaining of personal wealth becomes of concern
Sadly I’m hearing more and more saying they want paid devotee job, or opening centres based on the vast income it provides, and when those we see as leaders appear to have a personal wealth which matches that of big business men one could say “who can blame them”
There’s a difference
Understanding
A devotee understand that there​ is no such thing as personal wealth no matter what ashram
And that personal wealth is like our intelligence and material body only temporary, effort based on its accumulation including admiration and status is a futile effort.
The reality is the intelligence and personal wealth is temporary
How it is used makes a difference
Srila Prabhupada wanted books published, when we have books we need a place for those who read them to go, we then need self realised individuals to manage them and to help the individual’s progress and in time open their own centre’s
It’s impossible to have a saying in every city, town, village if their is no master plan and to make it happen the use of personal wealth is needed, even those with little personal wealth can do simple small prasadam distribution and kirtan; remember Srila Prabhupada started with a few rupees and as the movement increased he used the laxmi not to make personal wealth but to make facilities to make devotees and warned us not to be sidetracked by things, rooms, temples, position and wealth
Personal wealth is only personal wealth if we see it as mine
Personal wealth isn’t if we see it as a gift from Krishna so it is being used​ it to make devotees
Ultimately we remain accountable for our own actions and motivations
If we go to Sri Krishna with business plan to make personal wealth there may be success indeed millions could be made however Srila Prabhupada points out that being business Sri Krishna owes you nothing and one will not return home, if however one’s only motivation is not self gain but to make devotees then Sri Krishna remains in debt to his devotee and going home is assured
It’s a thought to ponder
And the motivation in gaining any personal wealth is one only each individual can answer and be accountable for, so use it wisely