Spiritually and Youth


Spiritually and Youth
Birmingham Pandava Sena
14th March 2021

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Hare Krishna Maharaja. How are you?

Lokanath Swami: A standard answer is that I’m fine (laughter). It’s very difficult to say when it started. It starts and stops and starts and stops. But then it starts and then never stops. Why we say that it is starting then never stopping is because during my childhood days, I don’t know. There is the whole, I don’t know, in the previous births I’m sure I was into this. I was born in srimatam gehe. The Lord says you take birth into a pious family or wealthy family.

If you did not wind up your business then you get to continue. So I don’t know- I’m just philosophizing and so when I was a boy, born in a village and my parents are pious and devotees of Panduranga. Vitthala Panduranga. So my parents, uncles and others, they were doing bhajans and kirtans and I used to listen to those and sit in the bhajans and kirtans and that’s how it started.

We used to get prasadam coming from Pandharpura. We were waiting and my father would walk a hundred kilometres to take darsana of Vitthal and he would have darsana and then he would buy some prasadam for us who were left behind. He would walk one hundred kilometres back and so we would be eagerly waiting.

The villagers used to wait in fact for the pilgrims to return from Pandharpur. The idea was- they used to think that ‘this pilgrim or this person from my village went for Darshan of Panduranga.’ The speciality there, the special way of getting Darshan of Panduranga is that you could touch the lotus feet of the deity or you could even put your head to the feet of the lord.

So such person when he returns, the villagers think ‘if we touch that devotee who has touched the Lord then we have also touched the Lord.’ So we used to enjoy prasadam and like that things started in early childhood days.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: One hundred kilometres! Nowadays just walking for one kilometre- you just want to get in the car and even to go to the temple we hear ‘oh that’s too far. I have to drive for thirty minutes.’ So here we are talking about a hundred kilometres so the mindset was different back in those days to todays’s youth.

Lokanath Swami: Five hundred years ago Chaitanya Mahaprabhu walked every single day for six years and not just walking but he was dancing in fact. So those were the days and that is the tradition. At least some people are still following that tradition, my father did. (A picture of Maharaja in his younger days is shown). Here I was nineteen years old. This is during my college days.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: So it’s not that all his life Maharaja has been- he went to Aravade, he went to Sangli and then he went to Mumbai, to Kirti college where he did his pre-graduate studies. And I hear you were a very bright student, you were coming at the top of your class so we can see we have an academic scholar going on here, Lokanath Maharaja.

So when you are at university you are meeting- you are out of the village which is Padharpura where right now Lokanath Maharaja is residing. They have a beautiful temple in Pandharpura and so you were coming from Pandharpura and were now in Mumbai as a youth, a young gentleman. How was that transition for you, coming from this lovely village and then coming to this metropolis which is Mumbai?

Lokanath Swami:

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru krsna prasade paya bhakti lata bija (C.C Madhya 19.251)

That’s the answer I could give you. There could be so many causes but the main cause is the mercy of Sri Krishna. I could have continued my college education in Sangli which is a district town but I had an urge from within. ‘No I must go to Bombay to continue my studies.’ And later on I found out why I was bought to Bombay.

In 1971 Srila Prabhupada was coming there with American Sadhu’s, European Sadhu’s. English Sadhu’s were coming there and so as I was studying in Mumbai, Bombay in those days, I went and in fact in two months the 50th anniversary of my first ever meeting with Srila Prabhupada would be celebrated. Only two months to go and then 50th anniversary and so Krishna brought me to Bombay so that I could meet Srila Prabhupada and come in contact with the Hare Krishna’s and then things revolutionised for me.

So whatever was there revived and there was a full blown manifestation of whatever, devotion for Krishna and service to Krishna.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Maharaja were there any particular instructions when you met Srila Prabhupada that really struck out to you?

Lokanath Swami: Tons of them. Instruction after instruction, but I would say that in the very first meeting in Mumbai, Hare Krishna festival, Prabhupada was talking every night and one day as he talked, I thought he was talking to me. Prabhupada was explaining how just by pouring water on the root of the tree or putting fertiliser on the root of the tree then the trunk and branches, the leaves and flowers and fruit- everything is nourished.

So Prabhupada was explaining that likewise, Krishna is the root cause of all of us. Aham bija pradah pita. I am the seed giving father of all of creation and all the living entities. So by serving Krishna you serve everybody in the whole creation. So I had this urge to serve, I wanted to serve my Indian folks or humanity. I wanted to serve but I did not know where to start and I had no resources.

So I think I got the clue very clearly and I took that as instruction from Srila Prabhupada that you serve Krishna and you will end up serving everybody. You serve your parents also, keeping Krishna in the centre and that’s how you serve others. If the right hand wants to serve the left hand he cannot spoon feed the fingers and the palm. He has to feed the belly, the stomach and the stomach will feed all other parts.

So the stomach is in the centre of the body, so feed the stomach and so I got the idea there and that’s what I’m doing for the past fifty years now, following that instruction and that guideline given by Srila Prabhupada. Some devotees say, even at the time of marriage there is a talk, inspiration or blessings so they say ‘you have Krishna,’ they say he is the marriage partner. ‘It’s not just an affair between you and the wife.

That’s fine but no no. There’s another person in your life, a marriage partner and that is Krishna.’ So Krishna in the centre between wife and the husband and then it is complete. Otherwise there is Maya, an illusion or you are detached or kind of abandoned even by the lord. So keeping Krishna in the centre is not just for the Sannyasi or Brahmachari but it’s for the Grihastha or for every single person serving Krishna.

So this was my favourite pastime and I was singing and chanting and dancing the and that’s all that I have done since. I keep doing this till this day and I wish to do this till my last breath. This is like a Prahlad Maharaja program, as Prahlad used to get his friends together and get them to..

kaumaram acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha (S.B 7.6.1)

And he would instruct ‘this is the time friends, to take to Krishna consciousness.’ So I am doing something like this following the footsteps of Prahlad Maharaja and getting these kids to chant and dance and sing. So this is Juhu beach, or not far from Juhu beach, a famous beach in Mumbai.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: So you are showing by example how we should encourage the youth and how we should try to make it fun for them so they can feel like joining. Is there advise you can give to the twenty five year olds, how they can connect with the fifteen year olds who can then connect more with the ten year olds to try and bring this Krishna consciousness mood and lovingness?

That picture depicts so much love and as you said it’s something you enjoy doing and you want to do it till your last breath. How can we take on that mood to help youngsters Maharaja?

Lokanath Swami: Well our Pandava Seniks- there’s Sena and there is the Senik. Sena is the army and the Senik is the soldier. I think in general our Pandava Seniks I would call again, are into Kirtan and they have come this far. Krishna is very kind to them. Is it okay if Krishna is kind to you Prabhu’s and Mataji’s? Krishna is kind to you? Maya is not kind to you- it’s good that Maya is not kind to you.

It’s better if Krishna is kind to you. Yes and so it’s never too late, it’s never too early . So grab the opportunity whenever that happens to you, go for it. I am very happy to see you connecting yourselves to Krishna, the Hare Krishna’s and the Hare Krishna movement and yes, this is the right thing to do.

I was also thinking, do not postpone- while we were young, during my college days the standard response was ‘this is, this Hare Krishna Hare Rama, when we get old.. We should be offering Krishna something that is fresh and energetic. Something that is blooming and flowery and fragrant and that is what you are as youths. Not that when we are rotten and invalid, what could you do for Krishna?
Krishna has to do so much for you then.

So folks this is the time. Get into this and you will love it, you will be greatly benefitted and everyone else around you will be benefitted. When Prabhupada asked me to do Padayatra he said ‘this will do good to you and this will do good to everybody,’ he was saying. So Krishna conscious activities are like that.

They are good for you and they are good for your family, for your parents, for your children, for your neighbours. You will not be a trouble maker for anybody. That is the Hare Krishna devotee, that’s a devotee.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Maharaja when we go out on the streets to do Harinam, sometimes the youngsters can feel image conscious. So there is this aspect of ‘what will my friends think if they see me. What am I doing with these people. They look all in orange and look a bit.. Even though I like this Krishna consciousness, I cannot go out and be seen just in case somebody comes.’

This is why some people may not go out to do Harinam or they are feeling image conscious, not wanting people to see them. So how can they get over this type of feeling? We are saying ‘you are a devotee so do it’ but these type of aspects come into their mind that stops them going out into the streets and doing this. So is there any type of advise you could give on this?

Lokanath Swami: So much advise I can give. We would like to advertise, mundane people advertise doing this nonsense, doing that nonsense. Killing, beating, drinking, smoking, sex mongering and gambling. Whilst doing all that they want to be photographed or they take a selfie with someone holding a whiskey bottle in his hand.

So shamelessly they pose like that or they want to be photographed or they want to have an image like that. So why not for Krishna or while doing a Krishna conscious activity, why not let the world know you? Let others know or rather, be proud of association with Hare Krishna devotees or of Krishna. One day you have to be next to Krishna and somebody’s going to take a photograph in Vaikuntha or Goloka and so we have to practice and be prepared for that moment.

Otherwise in that devotee photograph we photograph the spirit and not so much the body. The Krishna conscious spirit is caught in the picture or photographed. And worldly people, when they take photographs their bodies are captured. But the body is like a prison uniform. When you are admitted into a prison the first thing they do is they give you the prison uniform.

So there are eight thousand four hundred million varieties of uniforms and so who would like to have their photo taken like this? ‘My photograph in a prison uniform?! No no no don’t do this don’t do this.’ But we are this body and we wear this body which is vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya. Krishna says this is a cloth, a uniform in this world which is Durga’s fort and we are prisoners.

So you don’t mind those photographs so this is not fair. You should be associated with the supersoul or the supreme spirit and let your spirit also get across and get captured in the photograph. Why not? Be proud and get over this.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: So Maharaja the next aspect is family. There are youngsters here who might want to do spiritual chanting but they keep it under cover because maybe their parents are not so favourable. Sometimes they may be like ‘what are you doing? You should be going out with your friends eating and drinking and socializing. What is this vegetarianism? Do this when you are older.’

All these questions come in and so how was it for you and your family when they realized? Because I remember that you said that you went for studies and they were expecting you to come back maybe in a car but you came back in a bullock cart and you were speaking to the villagers. So how was your family when you came in this way?

Because remember they sent you away to do material studies because the subject of material studies just came and I think a lot of the children will benefit from hearing this if you don’t mind.

Lokanath Swami: When I went back for the first time as a Hare Krishna with a shaved head with Tilak, Dhoti and Kurta, the villagers and family members were commenting, ‘oh he used to be such a nice boy! Used to be a nice boy but see what has happened to him. He has gone mad.’ So I had gone back just to visit the family because my brother had come running, well running or driving or on the train or on the bus with the news that if I did not return, my mother, you see her in the photograph, she loved me so much and I also loved her.

I think no one has loved me as much as my mother did and I also had love for her of course. So the news my brother brought was that if I did not return then my mother may not survive. I better return and at least show my face to her and then whatever happens happens. So I had gone and then at that time my sister and everybody were not very happy, they wanted me to be a modern man.

As you said they thought I may be back one day riding on a motorbike. The motorbike was more affordable, the car a four wheeler was very rare and only very rich people would have a car. We are talking about fifty, sixty or seventy years ago. So then I think as you mentioned, in ’84 we had started this Padayatra program, Dwarka to Mayapur via Kamyakumari for forty eight thousand kilometres with a couple hundred Hare Krishna devotees from twenty countries.

Walking and walking we also came to Pandharpur and my home village is not far from there and so we made a route so that we can go through my village. So the whole circus- it’s a big party and we even had elephants and lorries and the deity cart with Gaura Nitai and Prabhupada in the front sitting as I was driving. So their dreams were shattered and they were expecting me to come back one day riding on a motorbike, but I came back riding on a bullock cart.

So it takes some time, the parents or even friends, initially they are anti then they turn neutral and then they become favourable. So by now I have a whole Hare Krishna temple, Radha Gopala ki jai! In my home village and probably this was the first village in the world- the Hare Krishna temples were in big cities around the world but in a small village this was the first Iskcon temple of a good size-Radha Gopala temple.

Some ten years ago we opened the temple and I had thirty, forty if my god brothers, GBC’s, Sannyasi’s and we had thousands in attendance from nearby villages as a grand.. So finally I brought Krishna to my village and put Krishna in the centre of my village including putting him in the centre of my family or my blood relations. And by now all my brothers, my three brothers and my sister, that’s everybody – are initiated disciples.

And many other relatives and friends, my friends, we went to school and college together and now they are my disciples. So one time they were not so favourable or happy but Krishna has made them happy and they are happily chanting Hare Krishna and practicing Krishna consciousness. They are still Grihastha’s and some are Vanaprashtha’s but Krishna consciousness is for everybody, fits all the age groups.

I say that whether you are a Kisan (farmer) or Jawan (a youth), Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. Lal Bahadur Sastri, the one time prime minister, he came up with this slogan ‘all glories to the farmers and all glories to the army men Seniks.’ So I say that whether you are Jawan or Kisan, Krishna is for you. Whether you are a Grihastha or a Sannyasi, Krishna is for you.

You are young or old, Krishna is for you! Whether you are easterner or westerner, he is for you. Whether you are a lady or gentleman, Krishna is for you. Whether rich or poor.. Anyway Krishna is for the soul and everybody is a soul. First there is the soul and then comes the body, right?

But Krishna consciousness is not for the body, Krishna consciousness is for the soul and in every body there is a soul so Krishna is for the soul. So go for Krishna. He is so nice, Krishna is so nice, so wonderful!

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Maharaja we have talked about Pandharpura and your village but Maharaja now I would like to ask, did you have any struggles in that time?

HH Lokanath Swami: So there is a lot to do in Krishna consciousness and we are struggling to keep up with all that what needs to be done. I was struggling, in some ways it could be called a struggle. I was thinking all my god brothers and god sisters were doing so much. ‘So much they are doing. I’m not doing enough.’ So others are struggling but I’m struggling for Krishna.

We struggle for Krishna or we struggle to survive, right? Not only to survive but to revive and thrive and so yes, what is the saying? Survival of the fittest. So you have to struggle to survive or to stay fit or become fit to serve Krishna. So one time I was just remembering that ‘other’s were doing so much but I’m not doing that much so oh lord please give me something more to do.’

And then Krishna, the lord gave me so much to do that I couldn’t even handle. In fact I was in south India that time on Padayatra and we reached a town called Kanchipuram and this Kanchipuram has a Shiva Kanchi and Vishnu Kanchi. There is one Kanchi town for the Vaishnavas and another for the Shaivites and so of course we went to both places but while I was in Vishnu Kanchi, there is a deity called Varadharaj. Vara means benediction and Varada means the one who gives benediction.

Varadharaj, the king of benedictors and that was the deity himself. So I had prayed to lord that ‘please give me something more to do. Please engage me in your service and make me eligible to serve you.’ This was my prayer at that time and so then the lord gave me so much to do that I had to go back to the same deity Kanchipuram and say ‘my dear lord, enough is enough. Stop stop!’

I had to beg because I was the struggling to catch up and do this and do that. So yes, this is the kingdom of Maya and to practice Krishna consciousness and to establish Krishna consciousness in Maya’s kingdom is always a struggle of various natures, fighting with so many anti Krishna parties. Even your mind could be that one or the senses could be that one also.

It it could be neighbours, Hare Krishna devotees have some neighbours and then we struggle and they say ‘oh you are wicked! You are chanting and my wife is here having a heart attack!’

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Is there any advise or steps we can take in our youth that will help us grow in our relationship with Krishna?

HH Lokanath Swami: Your relationship with Krishna or your finally getting or cultivating devotion, you get this from a devotee. You get Krishna from a devotee. So the Satsang, the association is the number one factor.

sadhu sanga, sadhu sanga sarva sastre kaya
lava matra sadhu sange sarva siddhi haya (c.c Madhya 22.54)

All perfection is possible by association with the devotees. Prabhupada also wrote one time to one of his disciples..

‘Let me find it let me find it!’ But if he did end up in the moon as a dream.. Colony on Mars and.. So if you go there then soon we are going to be spoiling that planet. Then the scientists are going to say ‘sorry folks, another planet. So wherever we go we are spoiling and we are going to be making rounds up and down and round and round. And this journey has no end so we better get out of here.’

Anyway I wasn’t going to say that. The blind man and lame man. So Prabhupada did not denounce that we are Sannyasi’s so we don’t say – it could be Krishn-ised. So we could use everything in the service of the lord, even the phone or whatever.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Sometimes as being part of the youth we struggle with not being taken seriously in our community and we are also criticised for not doing enough. How can we overcome this?

HH Lokanath Swami: Someone is criticizing you for not doing enough? Is this what it is? Well, why not do more? I mean it’s possible that you are not doing enough or otherwise someone is misunderstanding you. You are doing a lot but they are understanding that you are not doing enough. So maybe that misunderstanding can be cleared first of all, one on one with some talk, some communication.

From communication comes co-operation. I heard this from Mukunda Goswami Maharaja when he was the all global communications minister. He said ‘from communication comes co-operation.’ So communicate, communicate and co-operation should come through or there will be more co-operation with more communication. So leaders should appreciate the followers contributions, whatever they are-small or big.

And they should also understand that initially the ups and downs are also expected. One may do a lot and sometimes one may do less. In Nectar of devotion this is described as Ghana or Taral. Sometimes we may be spaced out, Taral meaning we are doing less or taking it easy and then at other times we are very serious, dead serious about Krishna consciousness.

So one goes through this, Ghana Taral, Ghana Taral, Ghana Taral. So far I would point out that you start and you go up but then you will be going down also. Then you go up and you are going down also. Go up and the you’re going down. So far you are ending up not going up only. There may be times when you are going up and up and up but initially or so far it is not like that. So up and down, going more down and less up, more down, less up.

So I think the mature leader, whether councillor or Siksa Guru or Diksa Guru, spiritual master, they should be understanding or maybe do some.. Doctors, what do they do? Diagnosis. Diagnose your case, do your study and then come up with the prescription. Food for someone is poison for others and different folks, different Slokas. So we are different- each one is different.

Why we are different? Because our bodies are different, our past is different and that is why our present is different. And depending on our present, our future is going to be also different.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: I have just had a question come in that as youth we are working towards building our careers which is a materialistic desire. How do we balance this with spiritual practice?

HH Lokanath Swami: I would say, I have just had a thought come into my mind. Okay you get married, you are not an Akhanda Brahmachari, lifelong Brahmachari so you get married and lead a Krishna conscious life, wife and husband and have children. So I think that’s the act of balancing but the imbalance is that Krishna is out of the centre. In the
Sastra we find two terms. One is Grihamedhi and other is Grihastha.

And Sukadeva Goswami started his Pravachan in the second canto of Bhagavatam. Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. Then immediately he is getting on the case of these Grihamedis, their totally materialistic families and their lifestyle. So Sukadeva Goswami says

nidraya hriyate naktam
vyavayena ca va vayah
diva carthehaya rajan
kutumba bharanena va
(S.B 2.1.3)

So these folks they spend their nights uselessly doing what? Nidraya, sleeping and then of course before sleeping is eating and when you eat too much the urge for sex is there. So these are the business of sleeping, sex and eating. And you are eating all abominable things. It’s not that we say ‘don’t eat’ but we say ‘eat Krishna Prashad.’ So that’s the act of balancing.

Then as they get up, Sukadeva Goswami says ‘diva carthehaya rajan kutumba bharanena va.’ They think ‘where is money? Where is money?’ Artha means economic development. Kutumba bharanena va. You have to feed the bellies of your family, family maintenance. This is all that they do, this is night’s business then you get up and then this it’s day’s business.

So this is imbalance. The act of balancing is done in Grihastha Ashram and you cannot go for Brahmachari, Sannyas so okay, middle path is Grihastha Ashram. So one extreme is the Grihamedhi, totally materialistic fellow who is like a follower of Charvaka. House by the beach and coloured television and they make that the goal of their lives. So lead an ideal Grihastha life, Krishna centered Grihastha life.

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. So go to bed early! God turns off the light at night time, right? The moon is like a night lamp, like you have in the house. So right now here in India the light has been turned off ‘so come on folks, time to go to sleep.’ So this is nature’s arrangement, this is Krishna’s arrangement. Take it easy! Don’t work for fourteen hours.

So go to bed early and get up and that makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. Who wouldn’t like to be healthy or wealthy or wise? I said wise and so it is said any fool can make money but it takes a wise man to spend it. It takes wisdom to spend the money. Any fool could make money. So lot’s of fools are making lot’s of money but they are fools and they remain fools, they are not wise and so they don’t know how to spend money. Or spend their lives, spend their time. And so

Grihe thako, vane thako, sada ‘hari’ bole’ dako.

Chant Hare Krishna or a lot of people like to sing so they can sing for Krishna. It’s nice and it’s good for Krishna prasad. And not only is it good for your body but it’s good also for your mind and the soul. The soul’s food is prasad. The soul does not eat and that is why the soul is thirsty and hungry.

Then it gets angry sometimes, because we are not feeding the soul. The soul is starving so when there is cinema singing the soul does not take pleasure but the soul spits at it. And the food stuff which is whatever, the soul does not even look at it. So the prasadam is also good for the mind. The food not only nourishes your body but also nourishes your mind.

The mind’s business is thinking, feeling and willing so the kind of food that you consume accordingly is going to be thinking feeling and willing. If you take Krishna prasadam you are going to be thinking of Krishna also and if you take other foodstuffs you will be killing others.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Maharaja you have taken on many responsibilities for the movement since you were in your youth and we heard the story that so much was coming your way and you were like ‘please that’s it, enough is enough.’ But you’ve done it.

You’ve been carrying on and so how did you make sure you didn’t get overwhelmed by the amount of services and the responsibilities you took and how did you remain grounded?

HH Lokanath Swami: I think you are giving me the lead now by using the word ‘grounded.’ So yes, I suppose I remain grounded in chanting

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

So I get grounded and so I haven’t missed chanting of Hare Krishna. I missed two or three days in the last fifty years in the late seventies, maybe seventy eight or something. So I remember three days that I was not well and something happened and I couldn’t.. Otherwise that’s one thing that I have done every single day. I chanted Hare Krishna which is a prayer to Krishna for his mercy or even to give me intelligence.

That’s also part of the prayer or lot’s of prayers. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna is also a prayer to Krishna but there are varieties of prayers. So I have chanted and I have prayed to Krishna, reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. This is one of my favourite pastimes. Even during my early childhood or early days I was into reading and reading and reading.

I liked to read and so whatever I was reading before was not all Krishna conscious but I was reading. And I have continued that habit of reading. Either reading or also hearing, I like to hear as much as I can while walking and talking. While even eating I like to – I was hearing Sivaram Maharaja’s talks, these days I have been hearing.

Like that I always have heard Prabhupada’s talks or I hear my god brothers. Even sometimes I hear disciples’ points so yes, chanting and reading and so like that I was thinking that the banyan tree that we see growing tall and spreading it’s huge branches like Visvarupa (universal form), the Viratrupa. Some trees are so gigantic but as much as we see them up there, that much they are within the ground also, spreading their roots and network and so they are grounded.

The trees are grounded into the ground and that is the support system. If they did not have that kind of support of the roots, spreading everywhere, it’s not possible that what you see outwardly would be existing, no. So I think every devotee who is doing so much service or with so much on their plate and they still manage to accomplish so many services..

Devotees and global leaders around the world are.. Well, the Hare Krishna’s are the busiest people on the planet. We begin making money even at four thirty in the morning. Chanting Hare Krishna that is wealth and so we have wealth. Everyone else is relaxed and at eleven o clock or ten o clock they begin making money but we get up early. So like this healthy, wealthy, wise. So that wealth we begin acquiring early in the morning.

So I remember that one devotee said that the morning Sadhana is like sandwich which has the lower loaf of bread and there’s the whole tomato and cheese and this and that stuffed. So all that is devotional service. And then another loaf at the top, more Sadhana, more hearing and chanting before you go to sleep.

So that combination is so sweet and nourishing. So I think that’s what we need to do, go deeper. If we wish to go higher more then we have to go deeper and be more grounded and then there’s the support system..

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: So I want to go on to two of your projects since we do not have long left. One is, you talked a little bit about Padayatra and some of the people and especially the Seniks may not know about this. What is the purpose and mission of this program of Padayatra?

HH Lokanath Swami: Well Chaitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that his name, ‘Mora Nama, my name’ that is

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

His name would spread in every town and in every village of this planet. So I would say that Srila Prabhupada made a strategy of the walking festival so that we could go to more towns and more villages and bring the holy name there. So the GBC also has, when we had formerly established the Padayatra ministry, this is the mission of Padayatra. To bring the holy name to every town and every village of this planet.

This started by Prabhupada’s instruction in seventy six and there was a little interruption and then we started in nineteen eighty four and then we haven’t stopped. So every single day the Padayatri’s are walking on this planet and we have ended up doing Padayatra in over a hundred countries and close to three hundred thousand kilometres, the Hare Krishna devotees have walked.

Including one Padayatra we had during Prabhupada’s centennial, that is during the nineties and we started in Glasgow and after five years, going through all the European countries and Eastern Europe and Moscow- from Glasgow to Moscow for five years the Hare Krishna devotees walked. And like that we had America Padayatra, South Africa Padayatra.

Here, there and in Hungary and Parasurama does Padayatra all the time in England and so I would say we did Padayatra and Prabhupada sent us from Vrindavana to Mayapur. We walked and Prabhupada was so much pleased with this program that when we arrived we met Prabhupada in his quarters in Mayapur on the second floor in the lotus building.

We were greeted and garlanded. Lotus flowers garlands were waiting, they were Maha garlands, Prabhupada’s garlands and Prabhupada asked ‘how was the journey?’ The whole party was there and Prabhupada asked me and I said ‘it was an easy journey to Mayapur planet, Prabhupada.’ You know the book easy journey so I said ‘the easy journey to Mayapur planet.’

So Srila Prabhupada was pleased and after we had just one cart going in India and then Prabhupada wrote a letter to one Nityananda Prabhu from America, he was in charge of one farm. Prabhupada was talking about our bullock cart Sankirtan party in India and Prabhupada said ‘we could have millions of such carts all over the world.’

So this is Prabhupada’s big thinking and so there’s big scope and potential and I would like you to sometimes join. Everyone loves Padayatra and especially youths, they enjoy Padayatra. Families, kids ..

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: So Padayatra is one and the other project is your Kirtan. Everybody on the globe knows you for your Kirtans to the extent that you are the Kirtan minister for us. Iskcon Kirtan minister and so I would like if you could Maharaja, just here we are doing some events as the Iskcon Kirtan ministry and right now there is an amazing festival going on as you all know.

Please Maharaja can you explain about this and we are going to soon finish on that. Finally as Lokanath Maharaja has explained on this, I really want everyone to check out his books. He has done different books on different topics and honestly it’s a wealth of knowledge.

HH Lokanath Swami: Jagannatha Kirtanananda, you are also a big part of our Kirtan ministry. You are our right hand man and I think we have had lots of accomplishments in our last one year. The world holy name festival and every Ekadasi we have Sravan Kirtan Utsava, just a few days we had one. And on every Ekadasi- we don’t miss one of those. We have a monthly newsletter bringing news to you of global Kirtan.

What’s the name? Kirtan world news comes to you and so we are busy with lot’s of things and right now we are busy organising Kirtan Mela. Mayapur festival is on and normally they would have Kirtan on ground in front of Pancha Tattva temple. Those who gather, they get together and something will happen online but only this year we have doubled it, number of hours wise and we have one hundred and eight hours of non-stop Kirtan.

Right now Kirtan is happening. It was happening before, happened now and will happen tonight. For India it’s tonight and for you day and night. So take advantage and join in those Kirtans, dive deeper into Kirtan. This is our life, right? We come back to life in fact. We revive.

Prananti punanti shubhanti

This is what Akrura said to himself in fact. He was on the way to Vrindavan from Mathura and so this gives us life this Hare Krishna chanting, Harer nama kevalam. There is no other way, only chanting of Hare Krishna. So it’s happening during this Mayapur Kirtan Mela and this is a very special year also. The hundred and twenty fifth anniversary of Prabhupada this year Iskcon is celebrating.

So the Kirtan ministry is going to be encouraging the whole world to do more and more Kirtan. I already got the news that England, Soho street are also going to do one zero eight hours of Kirtan, not non-stop but I think every weekend they will be.. I think starting on Gaura Purnima they will go for many months and every weekend they will be doing these Kirtans and so this is happening.

You are not all from England here but many of you are so take part in that Kirtan and I remember Nagar Kirtans every Saturday. These were very famous starting from Soho Street and I had been participating in those Kirtans. So many, many Saturdays I have done those Kirtans and that’s a world famous Kirtan.
And Padayatra’s go around England with Kirtans and like that, Kirtan Kirtan.

nachite gaite soite hari nama.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said while eating or sleeping chant Hare Krishna.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

So just do this more this year, especially this year. More chanting and more Kirtan either with Mridangas and Kartals or take your beads and chant after a meditative Kirtan or meditative Japa and make your life perfect. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy. Happy happy we shall be when we learn our ABC.

Jagannatha Kirtanananda Das: Association, books and chanting. So ABC. Thank you so much Lokanath Swami Maharaja. It’s been so great to have you today and just to have that association has been such nectar. I am just going to say from my side thank you so much for your time. It’s always a pleasure and an honour just to get your association and to get this knowledge that you are imparting to us.

We feel much more spiritually enlivened every time after just speaking to you so thank you.

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