हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥  

Interview with

Aindra Prabhu about his life


Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa, ACBSP) had traveled to Vraja in spring 2010 for pilgrimage and to do research for an upcoming book. But while he was there he decided to visit his old friend Aindra Prabhu, to see if he would like to be interviewed for Yoga of Kirtan, Part Two, a volume that as it turns out may or may not actually be published. To his delight, Aindra Prabhu was enthusiastic about the project and invited Steven Rosen up to his room for an intimate conversation, which he taped. What follows is a transcription of that tape.


Steven Rosen (SR): Western name, date of birth, etc.


Aindra Dasa (AD): Well, I renounced my Western name. It doesn’t exist anymore. I threw it in the Yamuna.


SR: [laughter]


AD: So my legal name is now actually Aindra Dasa. All legal or formal things are done in the name of Aindra Dasa. But if you must know my previous ungodly name -- well, it’s a Christian name, actually. Still, I consider it to be relatively ungodly. [laughter] My name was Edward Franklin Striker.


SR: Sounds like a dignified name…


AD: I was born in Arlington, Virginia in 1953 … March 12 … and that was in the Arlington Hospital. But I spent most of my life growing up in the, as we call it, “sticks of Ole Virginny” -- at the foot of the Bull Run mountain range. There was a battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. It was one of the deciding battles, evidently.


SR: So you were a backwoods boy …


AD: Yes, I was more or less backwoods, out in the countryside, rural area… the nearest neighbor was maybe three-quarters of a mile away.


SR: Brothers and sisters?


AD: I had brothers and sisters … one older brother, a younger sister, and two younger brothers. We were the first in our school to be expelled for wearing long hair during the hippie days.


SR: Would that be the late sixties or early seventies?


AD: Late sixties. My father was rather, kind of, well, he was a musician. My mother was an artist. So because my father was a musician he put a five-string banjo in my hand when I was five years old, and he taught me how to play claw hammer style. And then I graduated to the git-fiddle as we called it, or the guitar, and started learning how to play bluegrass, and that sort of thing, when I was seven. My father and mother moved in hipper types of circles; they were doing marijuana and LSD and stuff like that before I was. [laughter] I kind of grew up in an atmosphere that was relatively liberal, even though we were out in the countryside.


SR: Did they have some semblance of religion? Were they Christian?


AD: My father was a Lutheran … he did take us to church. For the first few years of my life we would go to church. My mother was a Roman Catholic … but she didn’t appreciate very much at all that it was hard to get answers to her questions -- like when she would try to ask the nuns questions, and they would say things like, “Don’t ask these kinds of questions, or you’ll go to hell.” So she more or less defected from the Catholic [church].


SR: They sound like they were thoughtful people, your parents …


AD: Yes, they were philosophically inclined. Anyway, so then we went through the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll metamorphosis, so to speak. This was in my youth, in my father’s house. We used to have huge grass parties and what not, out in the country. So many people would come every weekend … it was like a big scene. And so I ended up with an electric guitar, and I was playing lead guitar in a group.


SR: You got into rock music…


AD: I got into rock music. I was kind of like a hellish, not hellish, but hellacious, guitar player. I was into people like Hendrix…


SR: My hero. [laughter] He had something special.


AD: Yeah, I liked to play that kind of stuff … it was fun. But then we started going to the Vietnam War moratoriums, and more or less doing free gigs at colleges, and what not. And we played at the Washington Monument during those moratorium days.


SR: Did the bluegrass thing fade away when you got into rock?


AD: Yeah, but those were my roots. Early influences.


SR: And then you met the devotees around the time you got into rock music?


AD: Well, sort of. At the war moratoriums I would see the devotees doing kirtan, chanting and dancing, distributing prasad, distributing Back to Godhead magazines, and distributing tons of incense. Strawberry incense was filling the air in those moratorium events. So naturally I bought incense from them and they gave me a Back to Godhead magazine … which I didn’t read, I just looked at the pictures. I was too dumbed down, so to speak, to get into reading much.


SR: Were you a reader at all during that period.


AD: Well, I started reading books like “Be Here Now,” and other types of spiritually oriented books. I was searching for truth. But that came a little later.… So after a few encounters with the devotees I got a book called, “Beyond Birth and Death.” I was taken aback when I read the first paragraph, where it says that we are not these bodies … and Prabhupada further says that it’s “easier said than done,” that it’s harder to realize than it sounds. Something like that. Easy to say, difficult to realize. So after reading the first paragraph, I guess that was the beginning of my good fortune. I shelved it and didn’t read any more in that book, because it was just too heavy for me to deal with at the time. And I’d moved from my father’s farm because I was looking for work.


SR: You say your “father’s farm” … did your mom and dad split up?


AD: Yeah, after a while they did. Before I joined the movement they did. I stayed in kind of like a crash pad in Washington, D.C., and I was out of work at that particular time.


SR: This would be the early 70s?


AD: Yeah, it was 1973 … it was when I joined the movement. Actually joined it was late ’72, ’73…


SR: Same with me. I joined around the same time.


AD: So, my so-called wife came home …


SR: You were married?


AD: I was, married for about four years


SR: You mean, it was just like a relationship …


AD: We considered ourselves married … and we were together for about four years until she came home one fine afternoon from work, and said, “Hey, you’re into spiritual things, right? Get a load of this,” and she threw an Isopanisad in my lap. Well, I picked up the Isopanisad and started reading it, and little did she know that that was the beginning of the end of our ongoing relationship. So then at a certain point – well, my wife and I and my friends, we would pile into our vehicle -- we went down near the Dupont Circle area. There was a music workshop that was very near the Q Street temple (in Washington, D.C). I was just above Georgetown, near where Georgetown University is. Georgetown and Dupont Circle were the hip areas of town. I was looking for work, so I went to check out the bulletin board to see if there were any musicians required. Of course, there wasn’t anything at that point, but as I was coming back from the music workshop I popped into an Indian spice store, and I saw they had a rack of Spiritual Sky incense there, the kind the devotees made back then, which I noticed because I needed some incense for home. As I was looking through the rack I remembered that, at the war moratoriums, I would buy their lotus flower incense. That sparked thought of going to the Hare Krishna temple -- I had never been to a Hare Krishna temple and I had already read Isopanisad – because I was kind of looking for the Bhagavad-gita. I had heard of it and wanted to read it, because in reading Prabhupada’s Isopanisad, in his commentaries, he would refer to Bhagavad-gita again and again. Some friends had given me the popular Penguin Bhagavad-gita, but it wasn’t clear. I wanted the Bhagavad-gita that Prabhupada was referring to, his own edition -- As It Is.


SR: Nothing quite like it. Prabhupada’s Gita captures the essence.


AD: I knew that, or I sensed it. So I went over to the temple, everyone else was too afraid to come in with me, because they were afraid they would have to surrender to something. Nobody wanted that. [laughter] But I went in and asked for some incense … I was greeted at the door by Varutapa Prabhu (I think he’s no longer with us).


SR: Accha. So that’s the first devotee you remember …


AD: Yeah. And I asked him if they had any incense … so he goes away to get some and comes back telling me that they didn’t have any incense, but that he had something that maybe I’d be interested in … and he hands me Bhagavad gita As It Is. I was really happy to get it, but I needed some money for gas to get back up to where I was staying, and I only had $2.00. I had $1.00 left in my pocket after giving him $2.00 for the Gita. What to do?

Also, he gave me some japa mala and he showed me how to chant japa while I was there. He didn’t demonstrate how it was to be done, but only verbally explained it, so I had a completely different conception when I started. He said we had to very carefully absorb ourselves in the transcendental sound of the mantra. I was used to chanting “Om” in relationship to other spiritual groups. So I was thinking that this mantra was also similarly chanted. Imagine: I would chant Hhhhhaaaarrreeee Kkkkkrrrrriiiishshshshshnnnnaaa … long and drawn out, like they chant OM in some circles. Of course, I was stoned also, so it was a pretty outrageous experience chanting like that. But I would fall asleep after about 16 mantras, what to speak of 16 rounds.


SR: [laughs]


AD: They were telling me that I should finish 1 round and try to go for 16. I was thinking, “How do they do it?”


SR: Tell me more about this first visit … the surroundings, your demeanor, the devotees.


AD: Well, I had hair down to my knees. I could sit on my hair, because it was so long. I had real old jeans, and what not, the hippie look. Anyway, I invited myself into the kitchen where a female devotee was cooking. There was a little window well there, because it was like a semi-basement, and little chipmunks and squirrels and birds were all assembled there waiting for her to give them something to eat. So she would open the window, and they weren’t disturbed … they would stay there, trusting her … and she said, “Haribol, spirit souls… you want some prasadam?” And she would toss out some little crumbs of this and that prasad. Leftovers or whatever. And I was amazed. I was thinking, “Wow, she’s actually seeing them as spirit souls.” It really moved me when she said, “Haribol, spirit souls.” It sounded so cool, so realized.


Then I asked her if it was “possible,” if “perchance, maybe, I could stay with you guys, for a few days just to see whether you’re actually living this philosophy. And if I could learn how to, too.” So then she said, “Sure, why not! Why don’t you make a definite plan? Why not tomorrow?” When she suggested I do it the very next day, I was tsunamied with the realization of how attached I was, of how much of my attachments I’d have to give up in order to actually accomplish her suggestion of coming and staying in the temple the next day. So then I went out to the car, drove my car back, and started like a madman giving away my amplifiers to anyone and everyone … my guitars, my amplifiers. Whatever I had, I started just giving away – everything. And then my wife saw this. We had discussed this philosophy many times. But now she saw I was serious. So she was just hanging onto my ankles, crying and crying, saying, “Eddie, please don’t go back home, back to Godhead -- not yet! I’m not ready to go back to Godhead! Please!! I haven’t finished enjoying you yet!”


It was actually quite enlightening for me. When she said, “I haven’t finished enjoying you yet,” I felt like a slab of meat on a tigress’s dinner table, and I started realizing that the statements in Srila Prabhupada’s purports – because I had read Isopanisad -- about the influence of maya, illusion, it’s all true. I saw the personification of Krishna’s illusory energy trying to keep me in the material world. So I folded my hands, pranams style, and told her that, “Look, if you’re not ready to go with me, then I’m going to have to go without you.” And I left.


So then I just packed my bags, grabbed my pregnant cat and took her out to my father’s farm. Because I had asked the girl at the temple, “Well, what do I do with my pregnant cat?” and she said, “You don’t have to worry about her … just chant the Hare Krishna mantra over some milk and offer that to her … because she’ll get Krishna prasad she’ll get a human birth in her next life, so you don’t have to worry about her.” So I did that. I took her out to my father’s farm, but, while I was there, I decided that I would stay at his farm for a while, and I started reading Bhagavad-gita …


SR: Wait, wait, wait. She invited you to move into the temple, but you’re staying … ?


AD: I was trying to figure out how I would get there in one day’s time, and I couldn’t do it. But I wanted to move in that direction.


SR: Right, right. Okay.


AD: I didn’t want to just dump my cat and leave her in the material world. Besides, at that time, I was for months habituated to eating only three figs a day because I was afraid of getting bad karma. You see, I had some strange ideas. I understood that eating could be sinful. I didn’t know about prasad. I didn’t understand how by offering food to Krishna it becomes akarmic – free from karma -- and all these things. So I was trying to minimize my eating to avoid karma -- and I’d become extremely thin and very gaunt. Eating only three figs a day for months, you can’t expect to be robust. [laughter]


Anyway, it was about a week after I’d started reading Bhagavad-gita … and of course, I was still stoned out of my gourd constantly, basically. My father was growing marijuana on his farm, and he was legally protected because he was being engaged by certain intelligence agencies, for the purpose of possible legalization of marijuana … so he was developing it by experimenting with various types of plant foods and what not. He was developing a strain of consistent THC, the content of marijuana. High-grade marijuana for legalization purposes. Of course, it never got legalized, but he was working on that kind of project.


SR: The irony! You’re eating three figs a day because you thought food might be sinful, you’re reading the Bhagavad-gita with the thought of giving your life over to God, but you’re doing it all while you’re stoned … now that’s pretty funny.


AD: Well, you know, it was hippiedom. Anyway, so I was stoned and I was reading Bhagavad-gita. Contradiction or not, it was all having a very serious impact on me. And the importance of chanting was emerging too, because in the Bhagavad-gita Prabhupada would refer again and again to the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. And then there was the instruction that I should try to increase to 16 rounds. This all left an impact on me.


After a while, I would hitchhike daily into the city and join the harinama-sankirtan party, from my father’s farm about 60 miles out from the city. And then I attended a Sunday feast where I saw the devotees in the temple room chanting japa, and they were muttering, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare …” and I said to myself, “Oh, so that’s how they do it! Without the crazy pseudo-mystical emphasis of that OM chanting.


SR and AD: [hearty laughter]


AD: So then I adopted that methodology. And it came to this pivotal point again … the eve before Easter Sunday, I decided that I would try to chant 16 rounds. Now before I’d made that decision, I was sitting there at the kitchen table … it was in a log cabin (my father had a log cabin that me and my brother helped him build) out in the woods. It was a very peaceful atmosphere. I was sitting there at the kitchen table reading Bhagavad-gita, and I was calling my father over, “Daddy, you gotta come over here and read this … this is incredible … you have to read this!” And he came over and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Son, don’t give me that swami stuff. … You don’t know, but I read Bhagavad-gita before you were even born.” It was Vivekananda’s Bhagavad-gita when he was in college, which didn’t do much good for him, because he was still into every sinful activity imaginable.


SR: Ah, so the value of Prabhupada’s Gita became tangible for you when witnessing your father. He had read another edition, but what effect did it have? The potency of Prabhupada’s version is that it can transform hearts, allowing people to become devotees. And you saw this …


AD: Yeah, right. I think on an unconscious level, I realized that. Anyway, that night, when we discussed the Gita, my father soon went to bed. And I just started chanting on my japa beads … and I closed my eyes; it was like maybe 10:00 at night and I started chanting, and when I finally finished 16 rounds, I opened my eyes. I didn’t sleep the whole time; I was just completely mesmerized. I was really impressed, amazed, because when I opened my eyes there was already daylight. Time passed without my knowing it. It was a dramatic experience for me …


SR: You had lost your sense of time because of absorption in the maha-mantra.


AD: Right. So, at that point, I felt like I’d gained a profound experience of what it meant to surrender to the instructions of the spiritual master, to complete the minimum of 16 rounds. It was the first time in this lifetime that I’d chanted 16 rounds. I liked it. So, at that point, I made my decision that it was time for me to join the temple.


I woke my father up -- and here it was Easter Sunday, remember, my father was a Lutheran of sorts -- and I told him, “Look, I’ve made my decision. I’m going to join the temple.” So then, after a little back and forth, he very kindly drove me 60 miles to the Sunday feast. And he ate the Sunday feast, too, which was great. Along the way, going there, I remember our conversation: He asked me if entering into a monastic life might not be limiting myself. I answered him in a way that he actually very much appreciated. I said, “Well, externally, it appears that I am limiting myself, but actually by entering into monastic life I am opening a door to the unlimited.”


SR: Hmm. Very good. Deep answer.


AD: And he was satisfied. When we arrived, he took the feast and joined the kirtan with us and left me there. That’s the story, more or less, of how I joined the Krishna Consciousness movement.


SR: What devotees do you remember from that period when you joined? Anybody stand out who inspired you or encouraged you?


AD: Well, there was Damodar, the temple president. I always appreciated his intellectual approach to the philosophy. I don’t think he’s with us anymore either, but he did have an intellectual approach. And then Lakshmivan was there, and Dharmaraja, and there were a few matajis also.


SR: Did you stay?


AD: I stayed and never left. You see, I had an experience and that’s what did it. Let me tell you, the first day that I decided to stay, that Easter Sunday, the first night I took rest up in the brahmachari ashram, which was on the third floor, I have a memory from that time. It was a four-storey townhouse on Q St., and when I took rest, as I entered into that twilight zone between waking and dreaming state – it happened. You see, I used to be able to do these things like astral traveling, and what not, in my subtle body. At will I could leave my body and see it down below. It was odd, but I had those abilities …


SR: But you were getting high all the time, so how do you know if you could really do that or if it was the drugs …


AD: No … there was often objective proof, verifiable with other people. I could experience coming back into my body and so on, and I would know things that I couldn’t possibly know, so it was verifiable. I wasn’t just hallucinating. I used to play with ghosts and stuff like that…


SR: Play with ghosts?


AD: Yeah. Invite them to enter my body, and then mentally beat them out, getting them to leave …


SR: O-o-k-k-ay [incredulous] …


AD: I could understand the skepticism, really, but you had to be there. Anyway, I would play these kinds of subtle games. We would see ghosts out at my father’s farm; we would see Civil War soldiers, along with horses and even cannons.


SR: Hmm. Your whole family saw it or just you?


AD: We would stand at the back of the house, and the kitchen window was overlooking into the woods, and we would see these ghostly creatures passing by in the woods…


SR: Okay, well, we’ll not get to the bottom of this right now, I’m sure, so why not return to the experience that first night, when you committed to staying at the temple?


AD: Right. So that first night, as I was entering into that twilight zone, and beginning to enter into the dream state, suddenly I was surrounded by very, very angelic, or even godly, living entities. You know, I couldn’t understand who they were, but they were very brilliant, effulgent and godly beings, and they were pressuring me by their arguments. They were basically telling me again and again that this is my chance in this lifetime – my chance to enter the spiritual world. They were saying, “you must stay, you must stay.” They were surrounding me, and all of them were kind of telling me in unison, “You must stay, you must stay, you must stay, and never leave.”


SR: Like guardian angels … reflecting your own certainty that this was important, that staying in the temple was your one shot in this life for entering the spiritual world


AD: Yeah, they were like that, like guardian angels of some sort. It wasn’t an illusion … it wasn’t just a dream. It was more real than overt reality. These things happen. They were actually there, and they more or less philosophically convinced me that this was my golden opportunity for making spiritual progress in this life.


SR: Do you remember some of the arguments they used?


AD: I can’t … I can’t remember the details of that dream. But it was palpable. Very real.


SR: It was vivid … and you, at least, were sure it happened, and, on some level, I guess, it clearly did, since it convinced you to stay in the association of devotees.


AD: It was very vivid, yeah, and I remember that I was solidly convinced. You see, I was just going to come and stay for a week at the temple, just to check it out, you know, to see what living this philosophy would actually be like…


SR: Right. So you joined ISKCON, and you were convinced to stay by these angelic beings, and you continued to read Prabhupada’s books …


AD: Yeah. So I continued to read Prabhupada’s books, and I continued to study and chant every day. The program at that time was every day in the morning – we didn’t have Deities in the temple yet; we only had a Pancha Tattva picture -- we would get up and do mangala-arotika for Pancha Tattva, and we would chant our 16 rounds. Then, we would have Bhagavatam class. Then, after Bhagavatam class -- there were about 19 or 20 of us in the temple at that time -- everyone except for about 1 or 2 matajis would go out right after Bhagavatam class, around 8 in the morning, and we would walk from Q St. in Dupont Circle down to K Street which was the business district, and by that time people were coming into the city to their jobs and what not, so we would catch that morning influx into the city…


SR: And you would give out prasadam and incense and magazines?


AD: That’s what we did, and we were chanting, too. Practically from the first day after joining the movement, they put a mridanga in my hand, and I said, “Well, how do you play it?” So they just showed me one beat, you know: bing, bing, bung, bung, bing, bing, bung, bung, bing, bing, bung, bung, like that, simple beat, very simple beat, and that’s the only beat that I knew when I started. So the very first day they had me playing the mridanga and leading the kirtan.


SR: Leading, really?


AD: Leading the kirtan. Yeah, oddly.


SR: Wow!


AD: Because remember I was coming in joining their kirtan, hitchhiking in every day for about a week, before I joined. So I picked up some tunes …


SR: And you were a musician anyway…


AD: I was a musician anyway, right, and they knew that. And there were so few devotees …


SR: Who was the kirtan leader when you joined, anybody we would know?


AD: Well, Damodar was leading kirtan most of the time, and Hasyagrami, too. And a few months later, Shrutadev showed up on the scene. He was a great inspiration to me, especially his Sunday feast kirtans; they were quite fired up, and I appreciated that.


SR: He had a Vishnujana Swami quality …


AD: Yeah, that’s true. And he was together, at least in terms of kirtan. At that time he started his Sankirtan newsletter. That’s when I started going out daily. We would go out for like an hour at about 8:00AM, and then around 9 or 9:30, or so, we would come back and have breakfast prasad -- it would have been cooked and offered and ready. We would take prasad and by 10:00 we would go out again on harinama-sankirtan. We would do side-by-side Back to Godhead distribution, taking turns selling magazines and chanting.


SR: Did you like sankirtan?


AD: Oh yeah. I loved it. It was great. I liked it all, the whole nine yards. I remember the first Sunday feast that I attended, the week before my father drove me to the temple to stay, or maybe it was two weeks before … I ate up to the neck actually, five plates of the most incredible strawberry halavah


SR: After an austere life of only eating a few figs a day?


AD: Well, they convinced me about prasad, and I was delighted. They convinced me that with prasadam there was no karma, and that I would be liberated by eating this food because it was spiritualized, offered to Krishna. That first devotee convinced me, the woman who explained that if I feed my cat offered food then it was no longer sinful. So I gradually went from austere eating, to eating a little brown rice at my father’s place – and then feasting at the temple. I remember at the first Sunday feast I was eating 20 poppers, big poppers fried in ghee, after eating five plates of prasadam. [laughter]


Then they came over and asked me if I would be willing to do a little “devotional service,” and I said, “Well, sure, why not.” We were taking prasad in the temple room, so they asked me if I could help clean the room after everyone was done eating. So we cleaned the temple room, and then we started a big kirtan, and we did two hours of heavy-duty kirtan. It was great. My eyes were closed the whole time. I was so absorbed in the kirtan that I was practically out of my body. I was totally out of bodily consciousness, so much so that when the kirtan finally finished, and I more or less became aware of my body again, I realized that my feet were blistered on the bottom from so much dancing …


SR: Hmm. You were obviously ready for this, picking up from where you left off in a previous life.


AD: Right. That’s what we would say, yes. In any case, it was a great kirtan experience. In fact, one of my most memorable kirtan experiences was that first Sunday feast kirtan after the prasadam. It has stayed with me all these years.


SR: Was it hard to give up getting high and your addictions from your previous life, or, I should say, from your life prior to becoming a devotee?


AD: No. No. I was amazed. Totally amazed. It all came quite naturally. I don’t know… I guess I can divulge this story also, but it’s a bit of an esoteric kind of story. I should tell it to you, though. It’s really why I stayed. Okay, to begin, Prabhupada had just sent a letter to us, to Damodar Prabhu, expressing his great pleasure with our 14-hour sankirtan days.


SR: Fourteen hours?!


AD: Oh, yes. We were going out for 14 hours a day, one hour in the morning before breakfast, as I mentioned, and then from 10:00AM, because when we would do sankirtan, we weren’t jumping in vehicles and then going somewhere. We would just leave the temple doing sankirtan all the way down to Georgetown. Sometimes we would go down to the Washington Mall between the monument and the Capitol building area. Kirtan there was great. And distributing Back to Godhead magazines there also, and take prasad out there also. Packing lunches. It was a full day thing.


SR: So that was like total absorption. Okay, and the esoteric story?


AD: Yes. So after a week or so of going out for like 14 hours a day, we would come back and read KRSNA Book while taking hot milk prasad and then we’d crash out. It was blissful but exhausting as well.


SR: Sure.


AD: Now, here’s where the esoteric story comes in: I remember Prabhupada saying that if you read KRSNA Book about fifteen minutes before taking rest, you would dream about Krishna. Well, I had an amazing experience that, at that time, I didn’t share with anyone because I was afraid -- I didn’t think people would believe my experience, anyway. Even now, I think it’s maybe too subtle for some devotees to grasp. But I had an incredible experience.


SR: Tell me.

AD: We all lie down to take rest, everyone had fallen asleep, and I was starting to drift off. But I was still in that in-between state, not quite dreaming. In fact, my eyes were still open, and suddenly I hear an amazing sound. I couldn’t understand what the sound was. It was really incredible, otherworldly, and it was coming from a distance. It was some other-dimensional sound, not from here, unlike anything I had ever heard. It was completely transcendental. But I couldn’t understand what it was. Still, it was clear that it was getting closer and closer. Then, I started seeing another dimension, a subtle existence, which was above me. I was lying down on the floor, as all the other brahmacharis were, and I started seeing a sort of multi-dimensional reality; it was like looking at a beautiful painting of some sort – coming to life, moving right in front of me!


SR: What was its content?


AD: It was a stampede coming from a distance, unclear at first but definitely a stampede. I couldn’t recognize exactly what it was, and I couldn’t recognize what I was hearing, which was happening simultaneously, until it started getting closer and closer. When it did get closer, I started hearing the trampling of feet and hoofs, and ankle-bells, and laughing, and incredible, blissful merriment, and buffalo horn bugles were blowing, too, and flute playing. That was the sound. Boys and cows and all kinds of beings were running and playing. It was intense. And then, as they were getting closer, I could see clearly that they were all running, joyfully running, as if they were running back to Nandagram! And there was Krishna and Balaram – there They were, in the midst of it all.


But they were all running on glass, about maybe four feet above me. This is hard to explain. There was like a plate of glass, see-through, and I was able to watch it through the glass, as they ran above me. I was seeing it clearly as they were coming closer and closer. Then, when they were above me, I was actually seeing the bottoms of their feet, as if they were running on glass. And as they are coming closer and closer, I notice Krishna is playing His flute, and I’m hearing this. Mind you, I was listening to what He was playing, because prior to joining the movement, I also played flute from my earlier days. I learned flute in the high school orchestra and I’d become kind of like a Jethro Tull sort of flautist …


SR: Your vision sounds a bit like a premonition of sakhya-bhava, with the cowherd boys.


AD: Hmm. Well, it wasn’t sakhya-bhava exactly, although, yeah, they were cowherd boys and it was with Krishna …


SR: You had played flute when you were younger …


AD: Yeah, I played kind of a jazzy Jethro Tull style of flute, so when I would come in to join the kirtan parties, I would sometimes be playing my flute. So then, Damodar, one time, as temple president, he kind of pulled me to the side and said, “Bhakta Ed, it might be better if you play karatalas and just engage in chanting, because that will qualify you to hear Krishna’s flute. First hear Krishna’s flute, and then you’ll know what spiritual flute playing is really all about. [laughter]


SR: He was just trying to get you to give up your attachment to playing flute …


AD: Yeah. Because maybe it was a little too jazzy for them, and I would admit that if I was playing that stuff now in my kirtans the way I played back then, I would be like, “Slow down, boy!” [laughs] Damodar also said, “Besides, you can’t play the flute and chant Hare Krishna at the same time,” which is true. And that made good enough sense to me. [laughs]

Anyway, after a week’s time, I’m lying down to take rest, and here I am: I was actually seeing Krishna with my eyes wide open. Krishna, after only a week of performing nama-sankirtan with the devotees – it was Krishna and Balaram in a stampede of cowherd boys and cows. They were running, and so happy, and the sound was incredibly blissful. That’s how potent nama-sankirtan is.


SR: Anything more about that vision? I realize that it was a long time ago, but it was obviously a special vision, a gift to keep you in devotional service …


AD: It was indescribably blissful, the sight, the sound vibration. I was hearing Krishna playing His flute, and He was glancing down from that dimension, down, through the glass to me. He was making eye contact with me, with an incredibly, incredibly compassionate expression on His face. And He was just overwhelming me with attraction…


SR: Alluring, to say the least…


AD: Alluring me, yeah, as if He was saying, “Don’t you just want to be with Me? Does anything else even come close?” And as He was glancing, He was inviting me to join them to come back home, back to Godhead. The sound was so incredible, and my hair was standing on end. I actually experienced these symptoms, practically from that first day…


SR: I see it as being like the story of Narada, who, early on, was given a taste to keep him in devotional service, to whet his appetite.


AD: Yes.


SR: You remember the story: The Lord Himself appeared before Narada and then suddenly disappeared. He told Narada, “O virtuous one, you have only once seen My person, and this is just to increase your desire for Me, because the more you hanker for Me, the more you will become free from material desires.” [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.22 ]


AD: Yes, and it was an isolated instance, so, I agree, I see what you’re saying. You could say that it was like a shadow, a hint of things to come. I must say, though, that, from my point of view, Krishna was inundating me with shuddha sattva – it was totally spiritual. Let’s say He was sending shakti from His side, that’s what it felt like.


And as they stampeded over me, I experienced the intensity of the ananda – the pure bliss -- that I was experiencing from their presence, and from the incredible beatitude of the otherworldly vibration they were generating. And then I woke up the next morning fully remembering the experience. From that day on, from that experience, I realized that this Krishna Consciousness movement is very, very powerful. It was so real, more real than anything I had ever experienced in the external world. I realized then and there that Srila Prabhupada is very, very powerful. And, I must say, that that one experience alone made me dedicate my heart and soul to the lotus feet of Krishna. And it made me resolve that I would never, ever, ever leave the lotus feet of Krishna, because I realized that there really is a Krishna, because I actually saw Him face-to-face, and eye-to-eye, just in that first week. I was 100% convinced that it wasn’t a hallucination based on the previous accumulation of THC content in my bloodstream. [Both laugh loudly]


SR: Okay. I have a question for you: Why you? I mean there are so many devotees who join. Some stay, some leave, but very few have that kind of experience.


AD: Well, in my estimation, just in retrospect, I have another story to tell that might answer that question, but it relates to the Vrindavan situation when my father was leaving his body. I don’t know whether we should get into this story now…


SR: Alright, maybe we can do it later, but keep this in mind because it’s an important question. The reader is naturally going to ask: “Does this happen to everyone who joins ISKCON -- within one week they actually see Krishna?”


AD: Yeah, so I can only explain it briefly in this way, we can elaborate later. It must be due to samskaras from a previous lifetime of engagement in devotional service, previous lifetime of involvement with Bhakti-yoga.

SR: Philosophically, that would have to be the case.

AD: Yes. That experience that I had in Vrindavan relating to my father’s passing away, that was maybe six years or so ago…

SR: If we can get to that later then maybe I can insert it here, if it seems to fit.


AD: Yeah.


SR: So where do we go from here?


AD: Anyway, all of this is from very first days as a devotee. This was before members of the Hare Krishna movement were donning secular dress for “undercover book distribution,” or what we used to call, “guerrilla warfare work.”


SR: Did you get into that? Going out in western dress and selling books?


AD: Yeah, I ended up spending more time doing book distribution. I would go out, because we were no longer distributing books by the side of the nama-sankirtan party, with the chanting party. As the book distribution push increased, I was involved less with doing nama-sankirtan, but I would always go out and do it whenever I could. I would go out for the maha-harinama-sankirtans on the weekends. Frankly, I would live from maha-harinama and Sunday feast to the next one, basically. And then Vishnujana Maharaja came through with his Radha-Damodara bus, changing my life.


SR: Jai!

AD: And I love Vishnujana Maharaja. He was one of my greatest heroes.


SR: Me too. He and I traveled together, all over the States. We actually became quite close.


AD: He came through DC during my second initiation.


SR: First mention your hari-nama initiation.


AD: My first initiation was at the time of installing Sri Sri Radha Madan-Mohan.


SR: Was Prabhupada there?


AD: No. But that’s when I got my name and my beads. And my second initiation was at the time of installing the Gaur-Nitai Deities in the temple.


SR: Do you know the dates for that?


AD: 1974. Right after the Christmas marathon was my first initiation. I was distributing between 250 and 400 Back to Godhead magazines daily at that time. After my second initiation, which was six months later, still in ‘74, Vishnujana Maharaja came through. At the time, part of my service was dressing the Gaur-Nitai Deities, and then I would go out on book distribution. It might have been ’75 by the time he asked me the following question -- because he came through a few times. So, he knew that I was a pujari, and he told me that he needed someone to be a pujari for Radha-Damodar on the bus. He wondered if I could somehow or other steal away and join him to be Radha-Damodara’s pujari.

SD: Did you?

AD: Well, the answer I gave him was this -- and he gave a very interesting reply, which I’ve treasured for my whole life, because it was such a great response. I told him: “Well, Maharaja, I want to, but …” And the reason why there was a but – because “but” means “no,” as Prabhupada said -- was because I was attached to the vanity of being one of Prabhupada’s front-line book distributors. And I knew from some of the guys on the Radha-Damodar party that being Radha-Damodar’s pujari meant waking the Deities, dressing the Deities, doing seven arotikas a day, preparing offerings, changing the Deities’ dress, and putting Them to rest at night. Where would be the time for my book distribution? So I told Vishnujana Maharaja, “Yeah, I want to, but what’s going to happen to my book distribution? I’m on a pretty good roll with that, so I don’t want to stop it now.” And that’s when he told me: “Aindra Prabhu, never say you want to do something if you don’t mean it. Because if you say you want to do something, and you’re not actually doing it, it means you really don’t want to do it. Because if you really wanted to do it, you’d be doing it!” I thought that was a pretty good answer.


SR: So what did you do?


AD: Well, soon after that, a new temple president came on the scene, and, for some reason, he was interested in seeing most of the devotees get married. I remember he called me into his office and said, “Aindra, I think you really need a wife.” And, of course, my mind riveted to my life prior to joining the Krishna Consciousness movement, when my wife was hanging onto my ankles, crying, “Please don’t go back to Godhead; I’m not ready to go.” That was a really distasteful episode for me, and so, at that time, I resolved that I would never again enter into that kind of relationship. In other words, when I joined the movement, I had already understood the importance of sannyasa; I already valued the principle of renunciation, seeing it as more advantageous for making rapid spiritual progress. So I more or less vowed, from that point, not to ever marry again. I told this to the new temple president, who just ignored me and repeated, “Aindra, I think you need a wife.” So I basically told him where to go. [laughter] “I already have eleven wives,” I told him, “and I can’t even control them, so what am I going to do with another one?”


SR: Eleven wives?


AD: Eleven wives refer to my five working senses, my five knowledge-acquiring senses, and the queen of them all -- my mind. [Laughs heartily] I told him, “Look, I know what you’re up to -- you’re trying to get all the brahmacharis married. But I’m not grihasta material. Period. So back off. In fact, because you’re pushing so much, you can just say good-bye -- I’m joining the Radha-Damodar party!” He saw my determination and asked me to just stay and take care of the Deities until they all came back from the Mayapur Festival in India. That’s where everyone was going at that time.


So I contacted Vishnujana Maharaja and told him that I would join the Radha-Damodar party after the devotees at the temple came back from Mayapur. Unfortunately, news came back from the Mayapur Festival that Vishnujana Maharaja had left us – long story, as you know -- and I was so disappointed. For many reasons. But Vishnujana Maharaja leaving meant that his harinama- sankirtan program would more or less collapse. And it did -- the Radha-Damodar Sankirtan party came under the direction of Tamal Krishna Maharaja and Tripurari Maharaj, and the focus shifted to book distribution.


SR: Oh, and you wanted to do harinama-sankirtan. So what did you do?


AD: Right, so I was uncertain where to go and what to do. But because I was into book distribution, too, and I appreciated Tripurari Maharaja’s enthusiasm in that regard, I decided to join his Radha-Damodar bus.

SR: This was an ambitious program to sell books. Hardly the more sattvik atmosphere of harinama-sankirtan.


AD: Exactly. And then there was the push for doubling and redoubling book distribution in ’76 and ’77. It was intense. It has its spiritual virtues, sharing knowledge, pleasing to Prabhupada. It’s all true. So I joined Tripurari’s bus and I was regularly doing book distribution, and then they started propagating a philosophy just to keep people involved with the book distribution push, which they called brihat kirtan, and I also accepted that, at least in principle. But then Srutadev started the sankirtan newsletter. And after the nineteenth issue came out, Srutadev called me into his office and he said, “Aindra, you’ve gotta see this,” and he shows me a letter that he received from Srila Prabhupada, where Prabhupada says “I’ve received and read your letter, your nineteenth newsletter, and I am pleased to hear about your sankirtan and book distribution results.” Then he goes on to explain how sankirtan is the basis of our Krishna Consciousness movement, and, to paraphrase, he says, “Therefore I want that this sankirtan and book distribution must go on side by side.” So I was always under the impression that Prabhupada never wanted to push book distribution to the exclusion of holy name sankirtan, which is basically what started happening.


SR: Where was this happening?


AD: It was all over the movement, but I was down south. I was distributing at least 300 to 400 Back to Godhead magazines daily, and 20 big books daily, out on the road, in Richmond, Virginia. So we came back to see Srila Prabhupada when he had come to Washington in ’76. It was around July 4th, and he attended the fireworks display. Devotees were going out on book distribution and sankirtan chanting on the Monument grounds. Our van leader had us going out to the parking lots in the area, and there was a maha-harinama-sankirtan party going out on Saturday night to Georgetown, and for old time’s sake I wanted to join, just for inspiration’s sake -- and my van leader started telling me that if I stopped my book distribution and went out on harinama-sankirtan, then I would be engaged in vikarma --action that was against authority. As if the Vedic authority was coming through the chain of command to him, and he was not ordaining my joining the harinama-sankirtan party. Well, it was at that point that I started to think that this is all a lot of BS. This is when I began having differences with certain managerial points of view. That was in 1976 and then Prabhupada left in 1977. I started seeing discrepancies in Minnesota, and soon we ended up in Chicago. And that’s kind of where our bus party collapsed. Mind you, I continued to respect all of these people as devotees, but my point of view started to change, drastically. We had a difference of opinion. Big time.


SR: So where did all of this lead?


AD: Well, I started going out on nama-sankirtan regularly in Chicago. I began to recognize, again, as I did in the early days, that Krishna Consciousness is all about the congregational chanting. It is Lord Chaitanya’s mission, His divine dispensation for Kali-yuga. It’s the essence. But then they started pushing us to go out on painting or karmi record distribution as a way to make money for the temples. And then I said, “This is just crap.” After doing six months of that, I said, “Never again.” So then I started exclusively going out on harinama-sankirtan, with a little book distribution on the side of the Harinam party. I did this every day for eight hours a day.


SR: Soon after that you moved to New York?


AD: No. First I was asked to go with Ganapati Maharaja to a college-preaching program in Madison, Wisconsin. I had my little Gaur-Nitai Deities with me, and I had a disagreement with him over some philosophical point, and it bothered me. After that, I just said, “You know what? I just have to stand by my own beliefs, and act according to my own realizations, with integrity.” And so Maharaja and I parted ways. I literally got my Deities, stuck out my thumb, and hitchhiked back to Chicago, where I was not-so-warmly greeted. In fact, I was told that my presence would undermine the temple authorities. I was simply asked to leave.


SR: Wow. Your cherished shelter – ISKCON -- wouldn’t shelter you, it seems.


AD: That’s what I was realizing. The holy name is our real shelter. Finally, finally, after eight or nine years -- I get to go to Vrindavan. For one reason or another -- either because I didn’t do my book distribution quota, or because I had to take care of the Deities – I was never able to go. But finally there was nothing stopping me. So I went. This was in 1981. I hitchhiked across the country -- I got a bus ticket from Detroit, I think to Washington, and then I went to New York, and I collected for my flight to Vrindavan.


SR: So that’s when I first met you. It was in the early to mid-1980s.


AD: We actually met after this, when I returned to New York. What happened is this: I went to Vrindavan, staying for three months or more doing pujari service, and coming out and just sitting in the temple doing like eight hours of kirtan. Alone. No help. No fixed help. I just grabbed any baba who came in the door, whomever, and started doing kirtan. And then at a certain point I didn’t get along very well with Omkara, the temple president at the time, and so I decided to go back to America –  “I’ll start a traveling harinama-sankirtan program.”


I had an idea of doing the county circuits, traveling to all the state and county fairs where there are huge crowds of people. During my hippie days I would travel with carnivals also to make a little scratch when I was out of work as a musician. I knew about how they constructed the sideshows. They’d pack them into a tractor-trailer, and then they would open the side of the tractor-trailer, and then the false front would come out. They would set it up like that to make a horror house, or some kind of glass house, or whatever.


SR: So you came back to the States …


AD: Yes. That’s when I came back to America, and my first stop was New York. Seeing the situation in New York – the huge potential -- I realized, “What’s the need to travel anywhere -- it’s like New York never sleeps. It’s like a fair 24 hours, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. No need to go anywhere else.” So I made a little portable stage and started going out to various spots …


SR: I remember you in Central Park.


AD: Yeah. I took it all over the city. Then I learned that you could get sound permits from the Police Department, so I started playing ball with the Police instead of trying to hide from them. I used to always be on the look out for them. Every time a police car went by I’d switch off my little mouth amplifier that I had. But I started befriending them, and they actually liked me, and the kirtan – they liked that too. After that, I got my temple truck going in ’83…


SR: Hmm. Trying to place this historically. October ’82 was when the temple moved to Schermerhorn Street, in Brooklyn ...


AD: Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, this was in ’83, and for the movable kirtan truck project I came back to India and went to Vrindavan, Mayapur, Bubaneshwar, Jagannath Puri, far and wide -- and I got many different, colorful cloths or canopies and elaborate festival umbrellas, and all kinds of paraphernalia. I went all out to make it beautifully decorative – this was for my stage at 7th Avenue – so it was a little before Schermerhorn Street. I came back for that. Like you say, though, we soon moved to Brooklyn. No matter -- I constructed this box van that opened into a temple, and at that time I was getting sound permits because I had befriended the police. It all worked out, like Krishna was orchestrating the whole thing, which of course He was.


And I was going out every day for 8, 10, 12 hours, no less. On Saturdays, every Saturday, I would be doing nama-sankirtan for 15 hours. We would go to Queens for 6 hours, and then we would pack up our program and go to West 4th Street in the West Village, and we would stay there all night long until around 3:30 in the morning. It would take me 20 minutes to pack up, and then we would roll in for mangala-arotika.


SR: Whew! What a program! Now that is the spiritual platform!


AD: I tell you: It was great! It was full-on kirtan in New York City for years. I was doing that for no less than 8 hours a day for five years.


SR: So then what happens? Because after all this, you started to make CDs and you went to Vrindavan, to carry on the 24-hour kirtan there.


AD: Well, long story short: I wasn’t getting the cooperation that I needed, and I ended up butting heads with the management to have my space, to do my thing. And at a certain point, ISKCON began having its most serious difficulties, with gurus falling down and stuff like that. By 1986, Lord Chaitanya’s 500th anniversary, I decided that it’s time for me to make my move, and I just kind of dumped my program in New York. It was a good program -- we made a few devotees, many devotees, attracting people to come and join the movement. But after they joined they would be siphoned off from my program – the chanting that attracted them -- and be put out on the pick, or anything else, and so I could never reinforce my program. It was unfortunate.


For this and many other reasons, in 1986 I decided to shift permanently to Vrindavan. So, here’s the thing: in ’81, ’83 and ’85, when I visited Vrindavan, I noticed that there was no 24-hour kirtan going on, and I knew that Srila Prabhupada wanted 24-hour kirtan in Vrindavan. So when I came in March of ’86, I realized that my way of doing 24-hour kirtan was perfectly in accord with Prabhupada’s system. Fact is, he was trying to get them to do it that way, but they refused to surrender to it, which was why the thing fell apart shortly after Prabhupada left.


SR: You followed your guru’s order; you were doing it according to his mood.


AD: Well, at the time, I didn’t know it was my guru’s order; it was just a common sense thing -- you needed a core of people to do it, and to take shifts. So I had nine devotees or so by the time Kartik began. And we grew from there. With the encouragement of many devotees, I decided that we would again attempt to commence Prabhupada’s 24-hour kirtan. And we’ve been doing 24-hour kirtan there ever since.


SR: It started consistently in the ‘90s?


AD: No. Right from when we started, in 1986, and from then on. I was doing 8 hours kirtan minimum daily, personally, without any help, when I first came in ’86. I would call over any baba. First I went to Mayapur, then I went to the Maha Kumbha Mela in Hardwar. I would go out for a minimum of 8 hours daily. I had a harmonium, dolak, karatals, whompers, shakers, a couple mouth amplifiers, all packed into a box that I took along on a little truck with big wheels so that I could go over rough terrain. Anyway, I would set up all my paraphernalia around me and just invite people over when they came into the temple. And that was how it started. I would do that for 8 hours a day. And then pretty soon we got a group together -- people started taking an interest -- and I was encouraged to start 24-hour kirtan.


SR: The rest is history.


AD: Yeah.


SR: And now you’re a legend, Aindra Prabhu.


AD: There’s that story: In KRSNA Book, Prabhupada describes how the gopis gave up everything, and how Krishna was praising the gopis, saying, “I know what kind of devotees you are -- that you’ve left your families, you’ve left everything, not considering anything other than searching for Me. So I cannot give you up.” This was when Krishna disappeared from the gopis and He returned to them before commencing the rasa-lila. So I understood the lesson here -- that following in the footsteps of the gopis meant to renounce everything to search for Krishna, to satisfy Krishna. So when I came to Vrindavan in ’86, I decided that I would not turn back. I left my family; I left everything. Maybe He reciprocated with me. Maybe that’s what happened.


But there’s an interesting story here, it’s the one I started to mention earlier about my father, when you asked, “Why you?”: Some 15 years later or so, my younger brother tracked me down, not physically, but he tracked me down to the New York temple, where Ramabhadra told him that he knew where I was, that I was in Vrindavan, and that he would forward the message to me. And so through him I came to know that my father was on his deathbed, ready to leave his body. What to do? I said, well, anyway, what’s the use of getting involved? I’m doing whatever I can to become a pure devotee -- I’m living in Vrindavan, after all. My father will be benefited by that. In fact, my whole family will be benefited. So why should I divert my focus? Feeling like this, I threw the letter in the wastebasket.


That night, I took rest, and in the morning, just before mangala-arotik, I had a very, very interesting dream. A strangely effulgent, angelic person, I didn’t know who he was, but he was a male figure, spoke to me, “Why are you thinking that you won’t contact your father?” He said, “You don’t know it, but your father in his previous life was a fallen disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati …


SR: Oh, man.


AD: Yes. And he continued: “And the reason you took birth in this family was simply for the purpose of delivering him, liberating him.” He went on: “Now, please, don’t think the way you’ve been thinking -- you go and contact your family and do the needful to deliver your father.” And then the dream startled me awake. I was amazed. Just then, I remembered something I had read in Tulasi Mahatmya: “If there is a single piece of tulasi wood in the fire of a cremated soul, then that soul, regardless of how sinful he or she may have been, immediately attains the spiritual world.” So then I thought to send my kanti-mala, my Tulasi neck-beads, to my father. I wear quite a few kanti-malas, so I took one off, and Dhanurdhar Maharaja happened to be going that way, to the States, so I thought I’d send it with him.


I also wrote a letter to my brother asking that he give the beads to our father as a token of my gratitude for his putting up with me in my childhood. And I wanted him to ask dad to wear it as an expression of my love. I explained to him about the importance of Tulasi being in the fire during cremation, though I wasn’t sure why I was saying this to him, because in my younger years our dad used to take us to our family’s cemetery plot, being Christian and all. It was unlikely he would choose cremation. Somehow, I knew my brother would properly communicate these thoughts to our father.


After a little time, I decided that I would call my younger brother to find out what happened, whether or not he buried our dad or whether he was cremated – and, somehow, as it turns out, they decided to cremate. So I said, “Accha.” He also told me that dad wore the Tulasi when he was leaving his body and demanded that the Tulasi wood be on his body when he was cremated. It all worked out. So I did the needful.


SR: Very nice. Wonderful, in fact.


AD: Yeah. So that goes along with the question, “Why me?,” which you posed earlier. The angelic presence said that my father was a fallen disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, and that it was prearranged that I should take my birth in that family to deliver him. I needed to be convinced and so Krishna appeared to me in that vision. That’s why I received that special revelation, so I could aid in saving this fallen disciple of my param-guru, Srila Sarasvati Thakur. It makes sense.


SR: Indeed it does. And that’s a nice ending. One final question. Can you share a few brief words on the philosophy behind kirtan?


AD: Harinama-sankirtan is ideally loud chanting of the Holy Name for three purposes – to develop love of God, to glorify Him, and for the benefit of others. It is selfless, for celebrating God and to help anyone within earshot. Unfortunately, a semblance or a lesser form of kirtan is becoming prevalent today – it is materially motivated, or let us say, it does not have love of God as the goal. It has mundane motives. Real sankirtan is pure, giving, without any holding back. The heart is at the center of real glorification, real kirtan, but it’s a science too, handed down by the sages. One should learn this science with full dedication.


There are various kinds of chanting – the lowest kind involves the desire for material gain; people want things in this world and they chant to get them. A little higher is shadow chanting, which is about liberation from the material world. This seems to be a spiritual goal, but for Vaishnavas it’s just the beginning, and it is distasteful – it’s not about love of God but about wanting to get out of material misery. That’s still a material motivation. And then there is the kind of chanting that results in prema-bhakti, or pure love. This is what our lineage teaches. This is real kirtan.


Lord Chaitanya’s movement is meant to give the world prema-nama-sankirtan. This is why Prabhupada came West – to offer the highest benefit, pure love of God, to one and all. We must learn to chant purely, under those who have genuine love, and in this way we can awaken pure devotion, especially for Radha and Krishna. This is what kirtan is really all about.




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