by purujit dasa
500 years ago, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the last appearance of Lord Krsna on Earth told his associates to go in the streets, chant and dance like madmen for God and thus liberate everyone
through the sublime process of sankirtana. Thus He basically started the Hare Krsna chanting movement. The chanting movement was not a new invention of Sri Caitanya, neither was it an offshoot of
a Hindu religion. The Hare Krsna movement has been prophesized a long long time ago in the Bṛhad Nāradīya Purāṇa, where it is clearly stated:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalamkalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."
[Cc. Ādi 17.21]
In the cream of all Vedic knowledge (Vedas are the most authoritative scripture of ancient India), the 5000 year old Srimad Bhagavatam, the Hare Krsna movement is praised in the following words:
kaler doña-nidhe rājanasti hy eko mahān guṇaḥkīrtanād eva kṛñṇasyamukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
"My dear king, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the Hare Kṛsṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom" (SB 12.3.51)
In the famous Bhagavad-gita, read all over the world by scholars, philosophers, religionists for its profound philosophical value, Arjuna says:
arjuna uvācasthāne hṛsīkeśa tava prakīrtyājagat prahṛñyaty anurajyate carakñāṁsi bhītāni diśo dravantisarve namasyanti ca siddha-saṅghāḥ
O Hṛsīkeśa, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.
This wonderful Hare Krsna movement is therefore the highest benediction for humanity and according to the words of its founder Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it is supposed to spread to every village and every town.
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāmasarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya 4.126)
Major revolution has begun already when His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna consciousness has introduced the Hare Krishna chanting in practically every major city and town. He's the true apostole of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the spiritual master, who ever lives in his transcendental message. Being an acarya(teacher by example) Prabhupada, or Srila Prabhupada although not present physically anymore, is ever inspiring his disciples to continue the blissful and yet non-pushy process of respiritualization of human society through introduction of the Hare Krsna chanting and distribution of Krsna prasadam(vegetarian food ofered to the Lord).
The Lord definitely says that no one is more dear to Him than one who is always engaged in the preaching work of the Lord's name and fame all over the world. The scientific discoveries of the material world can also be equally engaged in carrying out His order. He wants the message of the Bhagavad-gītā to be preached amongst His devotees. It may not be so done amongst those who have no credit of austerities, charity, educa¬tion, etc. Therefore, the attempt must go on to convert unwilling men to become His devotees. Lord Caitanya has taught a very simple method in this connection. He has taught the lesson for preaching the transcendental message through singing, dancing and refreshment. As such, fifty percent of our income may be spent for this purpose. In this fallen age of quarrel and dissension, if only the leading and wealthy persons of society agree to spend fifty percent of their income in the service of the Lord, as it is taught by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, there is absolute certainty of converting this hell of pandemonium to the transcendental abode of the Lord. No one will disagree to partake in a function where good singing, dancing and refreshment are administered. Everyone will attend such a function, and everyone is sure to feel individually the transcendental presence of the Lord. This alone will help the attendant associate with the Lord and thereby purify himself in spiritual realization.
SB 1.5.36(1972 ver.) purport
The Hare Krsna movement as conducted by Srila Prabhupada is the true unifying platform for everyone to meet on and during our stay in Slovakia we have witnessed practically how this simple process of chanting, dancing and feasting for Krsna works.
Although the world is in a financial crisis, Slovakia is going through economic boom. I was shocked to see so many new skyscrapers newly built in the city of Bratislava. When my parents decided to leave the country and move in permanently to Canada, the country at that time seemed too slow to come out of the communistic hypnosis. Now, with blacks, and Asians walking freely in the streets, the nazi skinhead horrors seemed like a forgotten nightmare. Everything is new now and people are proud to be open minded. They literally want to show off how non-judging they are, which is a perfect atmosphere to tell them about Krsna.
Bhakta Milos, who works as a psychologist in Roznava's psychiatric hospital is running a tiny, small place dedicated to Srila Prabhupada. Here, he worships Krsna, chants, invites people and lectures about Krsna and distributes prasadam. Most of his time however takes up translation of Srila Prabhupada's books into Slovakian. He is preparing for printing and has already finished 11 chapters from the Bhagavadgita As It Is, Sri Isopanisad, Raja Vidya -the King of knowledge, Beyond Birth and Death, Yoga of Perfections, a few chapters from the Krsna book, On chanting Hare Krsna, Krsna- Reservoir of Pleasure, etc. Although there have already been attempts to translate Srila Prabhupada's books into Slovakian before, none of them actually can be accepted as authorized. In order to clarify the importance of his work, Bhakta Milos is often patiently stating examples of how the message of Srila Prabhupada can be twisted in these translations to his Slovakian friends. The reason for this is that the Slovakian translations have been done from the already unauthorized English editions and thus the whole work has been simply a waste of time. Besides the books, Milos is also active on the internet where he maintains a discussion group on Facebook, a website and a youtube channel. Especially on his youtube channel, you can see abudance of Srila Prabhupada's lectures with Slovakian subtitles all made by Milos. It is a great job considering he is doing all this while working on a full time job in a hospital.
Right upon my arrival Milos has offered me some first class pancakes prasadam with curd and we got into chatting of course. After all, I have not seen him for more than a year. Milos has already planned out various preaching programs and was eager to tell me about them. It was surely a help to have another devotee around.
Our first sankirtana took place in Kosice, which is a major city close to Roznava. We were joined by Bhaktin Tigie and two other devotees from the local ISKCON temple. They were curious to meet Srila Prabhupada's post-samadhi followers and asked many questions in regards to Srila Prabhupada's rtvik system of initiation. It was quite blissful to join together in chanting throughout the streets of Kosice leaving politics aside though. The surprised Kosicians welcomed the chanting party and many took part in their own way in the chanting and dancing. Bhakta Milos even met one of his collegues from work. We have accompanied the chanting with prasadam distribution in the form of simply wonderfuls expertly prepared by Milos who has been distributing wonderfuls all over his area for some time now. The day ended by a visit of a small gathering of young people with drums who invited us to introduce them to Krsna consciousness. Many of them expressed disgust over sectarian religions and welcomed us with an open mind. We have handed out more prasadam and invited everyone to Milos's little temple.
A few miles from Roznava, a small village of the name Brdarka is situated. Tibor and his American girlfriend invited us to do a program there. Along with other hippie-type of smiley faced folks are trying to start a self-sufficient community there. We arrived in the evening and the village looked as though from a fairy tale. Quiet, peaceful and magical atmosphere took us through the gentle mist inside a typical Slovakian old house. There Tibor and couple of others gathered with expectations. They were very happy to see us and especially Tibor was all eager to show us around. We had a blasting kirtana in a room, which our hosts prepared for the occasion, then a class on the Sri Isopanisad and then we served laddhus, wonderfuls and fruits to everyone. The class was on the Invocation and Tibor connected with the concept of “everyone should do his duty without unnecessary trying to lord it over others (try to be God)”. He explained that the community had a lot of potential materially, but lacked a proper leadership and he was wondering whether the devotees of Krishna could fill that gap. He showed us his goats and a cow and gave us some goat milk for the road. He and his associates were basically fed up with the materialistic slave-like society and wanted to live off the land independently and freely. They were very warm and nice people and as Tibor explained it is only now when they have disconnected themselves from the rest of the society that they are actually realizing how important human relations are. We said good bye and promised to stay in touch.
Our next stop was in Zvolen which is more West. Marekji is a peaceful, quiet personality, who works in a kindergarden, but mostly makes different instruments out of wood. Milos has been using his tampoura in Roznava for a long time already and now in Zvolen we were to see Marekji’s instrumental kingdom. Sitars, tampouras, and many others whose names I have unfortunately forgotten were laying all around his room. He was happy to get his hands on our mrdanga drum which we have brought and he played it with great bliss. Amongst the instruments you could also discover Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is and a Krsna book, which he reads on regular basis. He also chants on japa beads and offer his foods to Krsna.
We did not stay in Zvolen for the night, but along with Marekji we headed to Sala, where we were scheduled to perform in a local tea house. There, again welcome by warm and nice people we chanted while the guests were looking on from their seats and tables. Bhakta Milos then delivered 2 hour long lecture on the basis of Krsna consciousness philosophy, which literally turned the guests inside out. Challenges, questions, comments were pouring on us like anything. People not just stayed for the whole time and listened with attention, they gave intelligent questions, appreciated the responses from Bhakta Milos and then many of them stayed until late at night discussing Krsna consciousness with us. We had another kirtan after and distributed lots of prasadam again to everyone present. Milo, the owner of the place was happy to host us because we did not belong to any organization. He liked the fact that we were preaching simply on the enthusiasm derived from reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. “Please welcome Srila Prabhupada, Milos and Purujit Dasa” –he said, when he introduced us to the public taking it as natural that Srila Prabhupada was ever present through his message throughout the evening. We spent a night in the tea house and had a blissful mangala aratrika in the morning with Marekji who was accompanying us the whole time with his silent but steady tampoura playing. After a deep discussion on the topic of guru-tattva, we took off back to Zvolen to Marekji’s place. In a very short time, he organized a whole Krsna party and invited about 10 guests. Bhakta Milos cooked a delicious feast of pakoras, rice, salads, etc and I gave a class. We also had a jumpy kirtan for our Jagganatha(painted by Milos Prabhu himself) and Prabhupada pictures and at one point I could not believe it was happening. Where am I? – I thought. Lord Jagganatha’s smile assured me though: “In the spiritual world.” The guests were mostly girls and women and discussion soon took turn towards the topic of feminism, woman lib and so on and Bhakta Milos assured everyone that we do not discriminate against women, quite the opposite, we have more respect for them than anyone. His answers were to the point and he was quite skillful meeting the challenges. Guests were satisfied and over all, the feeling was that they got many of their answers solved.
Our next stop was in Bratislava, the Slovakia’s capital. Here, I met my old school mates and friends. Last time I saw them I was wearing long hair and was into rock’n’roll, now they could hardly recognize me with a shaven head, dhoti and Krsna books in my hands meant for them as a present. Brano and his girlfriend Dominika offered us to stay in their place in Petrzalka and we gladly took the invitation. They have prepared a whole room just for us, where we were able to hold loud blasting kirtans with mrdanga and everything, classes and invite as many guests as possible. Milos made some nice cookies, heated some milk and just upon our arrival we were visited by Peter, Silvia and Samuel. We immediately kidnapped them into kirtan, which was ecstatic as everyone was open to it without unnecessary asking what the whole thing is about. Peter was organizing a Krsna party in his art studio in gallery Cvernovka the next day so we discussed the details with him and then all exhausted took rest.
The next day, Brano and Dominika kindly accepted our invitation to attend the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class and we had a wonderful discussion about the validity of Krsna consciousness being the sound vibration of Hare Krsna itself. Another wonderful feast has been prepared by Bhakta Milos. I have contributed my bit with chickpea halava and we headed to Cvernovka for the evening festival. Joanna from Poland came just for the occasion from her country to join us in the blissful event. Peter and Samuel have set up the scene with candles and flowers and soon everyone was in the air chanting for Lord Jagganath. It was wonderful to see all my former friends together giving us so much support. Everyone understood that the point is to give your love out and if Krsna is God, then of course why not give it to Him? In this way, everyone was simply flowing in love and there was a strong sense of transcendental friendship created. How wonderful to distribute prasadam to people like that! Peter, although a little afraid of being accused from throwing parties for weird cults from his co-workers in the beginning, simply smiled while munching on “ears” as he jokingly named the eggplant pakoras. He has been very nicely accompanying the kirtan with his accordion. It was one of the most blissful Krsna festivals I have ever attended.
The next day along with Joanna we went into the streets and splashed the Bratislava citizens with the sankirtana, chanting and dancing. We were joined by Miso, who used to live with devotees before and altogether we headed back to Brano’s place to throw our last evening program. Milos has prepared nice coconut cookies with milk again and I gave a class. But the most wonderful was the kirtan led by Milos Prabhu. I could not understand where he got the energy, but it was simply amazing and everyone enjoyed it. Being all tired from ecstatic dancing, I simply took a camera and shot a few photos to capture the atmosphere before I flew back to Canada next day. It was a blissed out ride.