27- Chandrasekhara Acarya Prabhu: Taking Initiative for Krishna
A few weeks ago I did an interview with a good friend of mine & godbrother Candrasekharacarya Prabhu.
I thought it would be interesting for everyone to hear from him because he is a person that takes a bit of initiative and tries to do things to help spread Krishna consciousness.
He’s a good musician. He’s made some really nice modern music with the Maha Mantra and he’s also made some pretty cool videos that he has on Youtube and Facebook. So I think it’d be really inspiring for everyone to hear about it.
And we can also hear about his efforts to preach in France to the local people and the challenges that that involved. So I think you’ll find a lot of interesting lessons from the interview and hopefully you’ll get a bit of inspiration to try something similar.
Click play to listen to the episode:
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Check out Chandrasekhar Prabhu’s YouTube channel: Easy Bhakti
View his biography at Easybhakti.com
|Transcription: Podcast Introduction||SelectShow>|
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I think if there’s anything that we’ve inherited as that, I guess, the second generation after Prabhupada, it’s that burning desire, even at a small level like at least like me, but this desire nonetheless to spread Krishna consciousness in a rational, intelligent, non-sectarian, non-fanatical, non-dogmatic but pure beautiful way.
Krsnendu Das: It’s time to get inspired join us as we celebrate devotee success stories. Preaching, business, community development, leadership and personal growth, all from the point of view of Krishna consciousness. Our goal: to help you to make your life successful.
Hare Krishna. This episode is coming to you from the jungles of New South Wales otherwise known as New Govardhana in Murwillumbah. It’s the sacred sounds festivale happening here. A few weeks ago I did an interview with a good friend of mine and godbrother Candrasekharacarya Prabhu, and I thought it would be interesting for everyone to hear from him because he is a person that takes a bit of initiative and tries to do things to help spread Krishna consciousness.
He’s a good musician. He’s made some really nice modern music with the maha-mantra and he’s also made some pretty cool videos that he has on YouTube and Facebook. So I think it would be really inspiring for everyone to hear about it. And we can also hear about his efforts to preach in France to the local people and the challenges that that involved.
So I think you’ll find a lot of interesting lessons from the interview and hopefully you’ll get a bit of bit of inspiration to try something similar. Until next time. Hare Krishna.
|Transcription: Main Content||SelectShow>|
Hare Krishna. It’s my great pleasure to be back with another episode of Successful Vaisnavas with the world-famous Candrasekharacarya Prabhu. So Candrasekhar Prabhu is my godbrother, so also a disciple of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami and I’ve known him for many years. We’re actually close friends, but it’s been a while since we caught up.
So I thought that it would be great to catch up and also do an interview. Because Candrasekhar Prabhu is someone who takes initiative. He’s not afraid to put himself out there and he’s a preacher. So I thought it would be really interesting to hear Prabhu’s experiences and share them with other devotees in the world who might get a but inspired, who might get some ideas about what they can do for preaching and taking advantage of their talents in Krishna’s service. So Candra Prabhu, welcome to the show.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Thank you.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, to start off, could you just give us a quick recap of how you got to know about Krishna consciousness and then we’ll go a little bit further into what you’ve been up to.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Okay, I met devotees briefly when I was 9 on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. And then I received the Book of Prabhupada in the LAX airport about ten years later on my way back from Los Angeles to New York where I was going to College, Upstate New York, school up there called Cornell. I took that book with me to France the following year to do a like a student exchange program.
Because my dad was living in France, my mom in America. And so I kind of ping ponged a lot between the two places and so I wanted to be in Paris and do a year abroad there. So I took that book with me and one afternoon I looked in the back of the book and saw all these addresses, ISKCON worldwide including Paris.
So I called the temple and it so happened that Bhakti Charu Swami, our spiritual master was going to be in town like a week later giving a talk at the Indian Embassy’s Cultural Center.
So I called a friend, called Ikipman I said “Hey, do you want to go to this talk?”
There’s some Swami coming. I didn’t know, I grew up in a Catholic, a loose Catholic household. So although I had started becoming interested in Eastern philosophies in high school and had dabbled a little bit into Buddhism and had just read the autobiography of a yogi, Paramahamsa Yogananda. I really didn’t have much of, of any clue of what’s called, to use the word, excuse me to use the word delicately and with a lot of caution, the word Hinduism. I was not really aware of the different schools. But needless to say I called my friend.
He said “Yeah, let’s go”. So I went there and then Bhakti Charu Maharaja came on stage and then he started speaking second chapter of the Bhagavad-gita and I was just blown away. I felt like, you know what I felt like, Krsnendu?
Krsnendu Das: No, tell me.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I felt like I guess I was like a janitor, you know, like whose job was to just clean the floor in for example, the CIA top secret office, a governmental building and my job is just to go in after hours and just clean the floor and mind my own business and go home.
And just one day out of the blue, the top secret office happened to be open, a total fluke. And then just out of curiosity, I just walk in and I see all these like top secret documents on the desk. And then just as I’m looking at all this stuff, this highly classified information, one of the in-charges of the program comes in and says “What are you doing here?” “You’re not allowed to be here” and then he says “Well, I’m sorry, but now that you’ve seen these documents you’re going…”
Krsnendu Das: “I’m gonna have to kill you”
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Or “You’re part of the conspiracy now” or “You’re an insider now”. And there’s no turning back as you have this knowledge. So that’s kind of how I felt after listening to his lecture and participating in the kirtan. So I lost my taste, I lost my interest in academic studies and unlike now where we have a lot more I would say common sense in telling young men and young women to finish their studies.
We teach them about yukta vairagya, about the principle of embracing the material energy in God’s service as opposed to renouncing it in many cases artificially. I was advised to quit my education and join the Bhakti program so much to the surprised or much to the horror of my parents, ‘Cyril dropped out of an Ivy League school to become part of the of the cult, the Hare Krishna cult, in the middle of France somewhere in some old castle washing pots and God knows what else’. And then somehow got involved in book distribution, I went back to Los Angeles was in the Brahmacari ashram there for like five, six years.
At the LA airport where I distributed a lot of Prabhupada books to a lot of people including people like Johnny Depp and Robert Plant and Mike Tyson and Tone Loc who was like this hip hop artists in the day.
Krsnendu Das: Tone Loc man, Tone Loc.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: You remember Tone Loc?
Krsnendu Das: Funky Cold Medina.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So he got a book. I guess he’s going back to go Loc.
Krsnendu Das: Tone Loc, going back to go Loc. I love it.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And so yeah, is that it. And then I got involved with Indradyumna Swami’s polish tour but before that I was traveling with Bhakti Charu Maharaja for like four or five years as his secretary and that opened up my eyes to the whole world of ISKCON. Because traveling, just sheer traveling, as you were Bhakti Charu Swami’s personal assistant as well before me actually. I took over from you, basically.
I remember, for those who are listening Krsnendu was so tired in that service, he’d be falling asleep all the time. It was a demanding service. But remember I was kind of surprised, Krsnendu falling asleep all the time during a lecture or during japa.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Yeah, and guru Maharaja wasn’t too impressed, I have to say. I would sit right at the front and fall asleep. He was like “If you’re gonna fall asleep, you don’t have to sit right in the front”. Yeah, it reminds me there’s those two slokas. The brahmacaris only need two slokas. There’s the waking up mantra and the going to sleep Mantra. Have you heard this?
So the going to sleep mantra is om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya and you know the waking up mantra?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. Sarira avidya jal.
Krsnendu Das: So that was pretty much the way I lived my life, unfortunately. I was a little bit sleep-deprived, I think.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: The service was so demanding, yeah.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, so just before you continue, I remember I met you in Mayapur I think the first time when we were together was with guru Maharaja and the we spent some time in Los Angeles airport. And I remember you and our godbrother Caru Candra were the two moons of LA that were out at the airport every day just distributing so many books. And Ialso gave it a go, but I was definitely not in the same league. I was definitely more of a, not even shooting star, I was just a little star compared to what you guys were doing. It was really inspiring for me to see you guys out there distributing books and just going for it. So yeah, that was just some of my first experiences with you that you were so serious about book distribution and doing so well.
Anyway, that was one of my first times when I got to meet you and since then you’ve moved on to other things. So yeah, anyway continue. So you were the servant of Guru Maharaja and how was that?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And then the bass player, it was great, then the bass player. Yeah, it was intense, it was purifying, it was eye-opening, humbling. Then the bass player of Village of Peace where your own and famous Sri Pralad was the lead singer contacted me and said they needed a replacement, a new singer because Sri Pralad had was no longer playing as the singer of Village of Peace. And so they asked me if I wanted to be the singer for Village Of Peace. And I had grown up as a brahmacari really as a big fan of Raghunath, you know Raghunath? He’s a big yoga teacher. He used to be the lead singer of the band Shelter.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Radhanath Swami actually claimed it was the most powerful preaching project in ISKCON North America in the 90s, you know?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: They were doing great.
Krsnendu Das: Krishna core, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Krishna core. Yeah, Shelter. So then I was in Poland for several years. Six years doing the rock concerts there and being exposed to the whole former Soviet Union ISKCON flavor. Just definitely something else than southern California or even Australia and New Zealand.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, totally.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: If anything in terms of the sheer numbers. I’ve never seen so many devotees, kirtans with so many people. Then all along I had the desire to go back to college and finish my education, so I went back to, with the inspiration of Hridayananda Maharaja who I had met early early on in my Krishna consciousness in LA because he lived there. I went back to the University of California.
I got a degree in Religious Studies and then I went on to England, to Oxford got a master’s in Theology. I guess it kind of helped me perhaps speak a little bit more broad-mindedly with a little bit more knowledge of other world religions or their history of religion and stuff like that.
Krsnendu Das: Just to relate to people in a different kind of a level as well, I think.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, so now I’m just kind of involved with this Krishna West project which I find inspiring and right now I’m touring, giving some lectures wherever I’m invited. And as here now, right in Zagreb in Croatia. There’s a devotee called Sundarananda an old disciple of Sacinandana Maharaja who runs this Bhakti yoga center right in the heart of Zagreb with a restaurant and slash take out, like a delivery prasadam program with a large congregation.
I really like the style. It’s kind of like the Loft program over there in New Zealand or the Bhakti Center in Manhattan. These sort of centers where there’s not much stress on dress and rather there’s a sort of come-as-you-are ethos regarding not only the people who come but the preachers themselves.
It’s kind of like the context where I feel inspired because I think that’s kind of the formula that seems to already show success in terms of reaching out to a local local population.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, cool. So you’re traveling at the moment and you’ve also got some online projects like you’ve got your YouTube channel Easy Bhakti?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah.
Krsnendu Das: Tell us more about that because that’s something quite innovative I would say. How did it start?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well you have these New Zealand ladies. I forget their names like they had, at least they have a YouTube channel going on for a while. Two Hare Krishna girls?
Krsnendu Das: Those Two Krishna’s, it’s called Those Two Krishnas or something, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Those Two Krishnas. Yeah. That’s really cool. Actually, I wanted to do a collaboration with them. But when I wrote to, I forget her name, and she had a broken wrist or something she couldn’t do it. I never followed up.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, so there’s Lavanya Keli. She’s the white girl, you can say.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, exactly
Krsnendu Das: And Isvari Keshavi is the, she’s the African-American or African African or something, black, you can say. If you want to be totally unpolitically correct.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: You can say black, isn’t it? Or is that…?
Krsnendu Das: I guess so. I don’t know. I don’t know. But anyway.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So careful now, right.
Krsnendu Das: There’s the white one and the brown one and they’re both real far-out devotees and they’ve done pretty cool things on the channel. So, yeah, you saw their channel and it kind of inspired you to start your channel or you’d already started?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I think I had already started. I saw their channel afterwards. What got me inspired? Yeah, I saw a channel. There’s this guy called, what’s his name? I forget his name, but he’s got this like more than I think a million followers now, Koi Fresco.
Nice guy, Californian, Initiated in the advaita vedanta like I think what’s it called Vivekananda ashram kind of thing and he speaks about all sorts of consciousness-related topics ranging anywhere from lucid dreaming to taking hallucinogenic drugs, which obviously we don’t condone.
But I saw his channel, like wow really? We have very little presence on YouTube and there’s all these like Christian, Evangelical Christian preachers who have these big YouTube channels and where are we? So I thought okay, let me just do my little bit in trying to popularize bhakti-yoga, again, to an audience that’s mainstream, intelligent, educated and who just wants to hear I guess the essence of Bhagavad-gita in a culturally neutral user-friendly kind of cultural language if that makes sense. You know what I mean?
Krsnendu Das: Mm-hmm. Yeah what I really like about your channel is that as you say you’re speaking in a way that everyone can kind of relate to that it’s within the context of the culture that most people are living in at least in the west. I like how you relate it to everyday experiences or topical things like when the World Cup came out, you did a few videos related to that. Could you share a few things about what your thought process was when you were doing your World Cup soccer videos?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Or when I did the Super Bowl one recently. Well, yeah. I’m kind of addicted to occasionally watching professional sports.
Krsnendu Das: As long as you’re not gambling on it, that’s the thing.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: No I don’t gamble. I remember I asked Bhakti Charu Maharaja 10 years ago. I said, you know Maharaja I watch the NBA highlights and the actual NBA Finals. As a matter of fact I remember I was traveling with him two, four summers ago or three, four summers ago, and we were in Zurich and it was like it was game seven of the NBA Finals between Cleveland, no, the Miami Heat and I forgot who and it was game seven. It was San Antonio. And so I remember in the middle of the night, I’m traveling with my Guru but in the middle of night, I woke up with an alarm clock to watch the deciding game 7. And I asked him I said, I watch these things and I know it’s not so good for my Krishna consciousness, and he said “Don’t worry, it’ll go, you’ll grow out of it”. But you know, it’s been 10 years. so…
Krsnendu Das: You’re wondering when you’ll get out of it, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I watch it with relative moderation. It not like I watch a lot of games, just want highlights and stuff. But my thought process, well, it’s sort of like a justification or dovetailing.
You know Krsnendu, let’s say for example in the Gita that “I’m the ability in man”, so I guess one way to justify watching professional sports is you can be in awe at the amazing sportsmanship that you see. And then if you’re Krishna conscious enough you just remember that hey, that’s actually an expression of God’s own glory and beauty right there. But of course, it’s an indirect step. You can do much better just reading Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavad Gita, instead of taking a detour of watching some professional sports game to remember the glories of God, hopefully, you know what I mean?
Before your internet dropped I was just making the point though that it’s obviously, I think most devotees would agree, it’s obviously much better to read the Srimad Bhagavatam or read the Bhagavad-Gita or chant some rounds or do some kirtan or pass out some books or do some preaching than going the indirect way of watching some sports match in order to hopefully be reminded of Krishna when you watch a goal. But hey, we are where we’re at. We’re not all sanyassis or devotees who can spend all days all day long literally just doing only nothing but hearing and chanting about Krishna.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah and I like the way that you took advantage of that to present Krishna consciousness in a way that people can relate to as well. So, you might say it’s not ideal, but ok, let me take advantage of it in a way that I can talk about it in a way it’d be something that can people can relate to and then help them to understand about Krishna consciousness by using those examples.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. Yeah, we have this beautiful philosophy and this mystical practice and I just wish we were better at marketing."We have this beautiful philosophy and this mystical practice and I just wish we were better at marketing." Click To Tweet
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, yeah. Yes so on that topic, tell me a bit more like what’s your goal in terms of your YouTube channel and just in general like in terms of your preaching approach and things like that?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well, I don’t know what the goal is. I mean, I think we’re all trying to preach Krishna consciousness and practice Krishna consciousness and we know we’re going to die sometime. And so I guess we’re trying to be as Krishna conscious as we can and try to being as pure instruments in the hands of Lord Caitanya and the disciplic succession. So specifically what is the goal of my YouTube channel? Well to reach out to the largest number of people and hopefully touch a few hearts so that they can come forward and accept the process of Bhakti-yoga as Prabhupada taught. And what’s the goal of my preaching like giving lectures or traveling and preaching or passing out books.
Recently, for the last two months I’ve been actually may be spending about a half hour to an hour every day in public and just giving out free books of Prabhupada. I’m over asking donations for books. I respect monks who are like actual brahmacaris living in a monastery, asking donations. Because that has its precedent all the way in the Srimad Bhagavatam, the seventh canto where the brahmacaris duties are described and one of them is to go out and beg alms and then given to the guru. I think in Western Society, it’s totally understandable that a young monk would ask for a donation and in exchange would give a nice book.
So I’ve sort of been there, done that in my brahmacari years in Los Angeles. And, again, speaking personally, I just feel a lot more free and lightweight approaching people knowing that there’s going to be zero interaction or communication about asking or receiving any money here. All I’m doing is just introducing myself as a Bhakti yoga teacher or as a priest, whatever the context and just telling them this a book about what I believe, reincarnation, karma, vegetarianism, God, the soul and giving them a book for free. I’ve been doing that for the last two months and it’s kind of brought me back to those years at the LAX airport where you felt a certain thrill. Just like this morning I went to chant some rounds and I met this nice girl. I forgot her name, but she was studying theology, actually, this 19 year old girl. And so she was asking me about my belief in reincarnation and she was asking “Do you like anything about the Bible?” and so on. I was like, well, yeah I admit I never read the Bible even though I have a masters in Theology, I’ve never read the Bible. Actually I downloaded The Audible version of this sort of a theatrical full-fledged version of the whole Bible, it’s like 90 hours.
I just bought it after our meeting with this girl ’cause I thought I got to read the Bible at least once in my life for god’s sakes. But yeah, it was such a nice exchange. She gave me a picture of Jesus and I gave her this I think this conversation, I don’t know how you call it. It wasn’t perfect question, perfect answers. It was like life comes from life, you know thoseconversations right now about modern science. So why am I saying this? I don’t know how I got to the topic of book distribution. But yeah, regardless of whatever kind of preaching I’m trying to do, I guess the point is to reach out and to help other conditioned souls like us come a little closer to Krishna before we have to tap out of this material world. You know our godsisters? I mean it’s funny because we’re godbrothers from the same diksha guru. There’s this devotee in France called Lila Madhuri.
Krsnendu Das: Oh, yeah. Sure. Yup.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So she was one of the first devotees I’ve ever met and I always remember, on the phone, she once told me, she said “Cyril there’s nothing more glorious in life than to spend your life going back to the spiritual world and in your wake, bringing as many other people with you as you can.”
Krsnendu Das: Nice.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: That analogy always stuck with me. So I think that’s what we’re doing regardless of whether you’re married or not married or whether you’re rich or poor or have this job with this career or that career or this nature or that nature, just practice Krishna consciousness and according to your means try to help others come to Krishna as well.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, totally. It’s important that we practice it ourselves. Like they say, there’s something like ‘it’s a great thing to save others, but even greater than them is to save yourself’ something like that.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Interestingly enough Indradumnya Swami once told me preaching saves us.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I know for a fact like if you make it a point to go out and distribute some books or you know that you’re going to be giving a lecture in a few hours or after tomorrow, that those engagements force you actually to be a good boy or a good girl.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So in a way, it’s like preeaching actually saves us too.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, it’s a virtual cycle. It’s like okay, I’m gonna go whoa, I’m going to preach, I have to give a class or distribute books. Whoa ok, I better really chant my rounds with attention than just depend on Krishna, I better read the books. And then when you do that, you become a more potent preacher and then you go out and then again it inspires you to preach more and read more and you know it’s pretty far out.
So it’s not only helping others but it’s helping ourselves. This is such an important point. I just wanted to touch on a few things. Like when you were saying about how you’re giving out the free books now. It sounds like the idea was that you want to approach people in a mood of giving not wanting anything from the other person but fully just trying to serve, that’s kind of the mood behind it, right?
Yeah, I think there’s a danger on the other side of it though that when you give out free books, sometimes people don’t appreciate them. What are your thoughts on that?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Okay, I think that’s some sort of a rather rampant thought in ISKCON. Because there’s a few quotes from Prabhupada, you know, unless they give a donation, they won’t appreciate the book, right? There’s like that one or two statements by Prabhupada. But we tend to forget that Prabhupada himself sent out free copies of his books to different American institutions before he got on board of the Jaladuta. There’s this picture of him giving one of his Bhagavatams to the Prime Minister Bal Ladur or whatever his name was in 1964 or 63 before Prabhupada goes to America.
He obviously didn’t ask him for a donation. Prabhupada instituted his whole Radha Damodar travelling sankirtan party of devotees going across the United States to different colleges and universities and getting the universities to buy sets of Bhagavatams so that students can check them out for free. And then, whenever book distributors get together and they talk about their experiences, you always hear these stories about how this guy was going back home from a party and then he was half drunk and then he stumbled across something on the floor in the street and it happened to be a Bhagavad Gita and he read it and became a devotee or this devotee went to his grandmother’s house in the Swiss Alps and on the bookshelf was like a 1973 edition of the Krishna book, and he read it and he became a devotee, right?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So all these cases are cases where devotees came into contact with Prabhupada’s books and didn’t give a single cent for them. Now I remember Bhrigupati Prabhu, I don’t know if you remember Brihgupati Prabhu that Prabhupada disciple who lives…
Krsnendu Das: Oh, yeah, of course.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: He was in New Zealand for many years and he has experiences of, back in the 70s devotees going out on big parking lots in New Zealand and putting free books of Prabhupada on the windshield wipers of every car only to have rain pour down on them or come back a few hours later and then see half of them strewn on the street because people didn’t want to put them inside the car. But I think there’s a big big difference between that type of book distribution and what I do for example. It’s really one-on-one and you really approach the person, you really ask them if they’re interested and once they showed genuine interest in the book, giving it to them is fine.
Krsnendu Das: It’s part of the Rasa, part of the relationship.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, there’s quotes about Prabhupada, he says, “As long as the BBC is paid for you can do whatever you want with the books”. ISKCON is going through the sort of growing pain from a sort of a brahmacari institution, which it basically was in the 1970s to a congregation-based institution, which it is now."ISKCON is going through the growing pain from a brahmacari institution in the 1970s to a congregation-based intitution now." Click To Tweet
And in some areas, we’re still kind of operating in a monastic paradigm. One of them is the dress code. I would say. We’re still dressing as if we were all like monks and nuns in many ways. And another way I would say is this idea that oh, no, we have to get donations for the books we distribute. Otherwise, they won’t appreciate it or otherwise, we won’t be able to pay the rent. Because remember in the early days there was no congregation.
So the only way devotees could literally survive was to make money from the books they sold so they could buy their food and pay rent at the end of the month. But now when ISKCON is a congregation-based institution much like different Christian groups or like the Mormons or so on, we can totally afford to sponsor free book distribution as we’re already seeing efforts with for example, the shastra Don program or…
Krsnendu Das: Motel Gita?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: The Motel Gita. But those are programs for people who either don’t have money or why does it have to be exceptional cases? I was speaking about this to Navina Nerida just recently, why not start a culture in ISKCON of distributing free books to people who could afford them but to whom we still want to give them out for free because A. It’s a lot easier for us psychologically. Because let’s face it, approaching a total stranger even to give him or her something free takes a certain amount of humility and courage.
Krsnendu Das: Which is not a bad thing perhaps in some case.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Which is not a bad thing. But if you push it to the limit and every time you have to ask for a donation, which is a very sort of humbling almost humiliating experience. Then it can become a cause of burnout. And we see a lot of devotees who distribute books, do it for a few years when they’re brahmacaris or brahmacharinis, and then that’s it. It’s game over for the rest of their life once they get married or once they move on. In my personal life, I’ve seen that it’s a sustainable thing for me to distribute books for free because it’s actually pleasurable and it’s very limited on the humiliation part because the worst thing is people say no. And as a matter of fact 95% of the people actually say yes. Really, in my experience.
So the rate of people saying yes is way, way, way, way, way higher when you’re giving them out for free. And it’s just much more pleasurable and therefore that’s something you want to do again next week and next month…
Krsnendu Das: Right, right.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Next year and next decade. So in terms of a lifelong sustainable thing, it’s just easier for the person and be I forgot what I was saying, what I’d be justifying right now.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. No, I understand your point there that it takes away one of those barriers that might be in the way of someone distributing books. It’s better that someone goes out and they can just give away the books without the pressure of getting the donation as opposed to thinking that “Ah, maybe I won’t…” kind of thing.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: A lot of what goes on in book distribution seminars is you know sales techniques. You know, okay, you say this and you say that and take out the donation element and then what you have left is just one soul giving a book to another soul. Period. Very simple. No need of teaching this technique or that technique. You know what I mean?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: A very personal affair.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, I mean there’s a world of difference between what you’re talking about and what used to happen, especially in Australasia. Basically what’s happening in those days is that devotees would go out and sell Hong Kong paintings or t-shirts or something. That was their full-time living even if they’re monks or whatever and they’d make so much money like literally the movement had money like anything. And then they would basically just give out books just to people like flyers. And as you say, even they would put them under the wipers of the cars and so many books ended up in the rubbish bins and it was really wasteful.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Speaking of rubbish bins, even when people do give a donation, they still end up in the rubbish bin. Speaking of the LA airport, remember Pedro? Did you ever meet him, Pedro, the janitor?
Krsnendu Das: Not sure.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: You never had…
Krsnendu Das: I don’t think so.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: You never had the honor of meeting Pedro, the janitor?
Krsnendu Das: No.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well, Pedro the janitor was a gentleman from Honduras or Guatemala or Mexico? I forgot. I think El Salvador, who worked as one of the janitors at USAirways terminal 1. And every afternoon religiously just about 10 minutes before we got our ride back to New Dvaraka, he would come with a pile of anywhere from like to 2 to 15 Science of Self-realizations or Bhagavad-gita.
Krsnendu Das: Wow. Hard-bound books, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Hardbound books that people had given a donation to devotees who are trained, granted, to ask very respectfully for donations and not be pushy at all. Because the movement was really hurt very badly in North America with aggressive tactics of book distribution in the 80s and 70s.
So we were trained to be very, very, very, very sober and detached and respectful. And still every day, Pedro would make his 5 or 10 bucks by selling those books back to us which were in the trash bins that he cleaned out for like 25 cents apiece, I remember. And what’s really good is, I think if I can say this, all preachers even small preachers should have their own website.
Should have their own website or their own blog and their own visiting cards that they give personally to the people that they meet."All preachers, even small preachers, should have their own website." Click To Tweet
Krsnendu Das: I like that idea. That’s really great.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And that’s another motivation. I have this card that I give out and it’s a link to my YouTube channels or to my website where I have whatever, my YouTube channels and the lectures I’m just trying to collect and put up on there. And so people can see that this is a real person who belongs to a live tradition and who’s not afraid to share not only the foundational scriptures of his faith and the writings of the founder of the institution that he belongs to, but also his or her own small but personal realizations on the topic.
Krsnendu Das: Yup. Yup. Yeah, I mean Prabhupada said that all of us need to become Guru. And in this age the way that people can connect with us is online a lot of times. Especially if you distribute books at airports, people are all over the world and it’s such a great way to keep in touch with people. Social media has its pluses and minuses but one of the pluses is that you can keep in touch with people that way.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yup.
Krsnendu Das: And preach that way. That’s awesome. So we’ve talked about a few different things. I just wanted to talk about your music now. That’s another project that you’ve been developing and you’ve had quite some success with it. Tell us more about that, how you got into that and how that’s going.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well, comparing us Hare Krishna’s to, for example, Christians. Our numbers are way way way way way way way way way smaller, right?
Krsnendu Das: In the West, right? We’re talking about that particularly.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, in the West.
Krsnendu Das: Even in the world, actually.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Even in the world. In India, you have this band called the Madhavas. You have them? This couple?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And they have a pretty big following there. But in the West, we can’t really… Okay, let’s put it this way. You look at the Christian rock industry or the Christian music, the Christian pop music industry. It’s an industry that’s worth millions and millions of dollars.
And even though it’s a very specific niche namely, Christians, most of them are Evangelical Christian teenagers, we’re still talking about millions and millions of dollars and millions of fans and millions of records sold. Why? Because there’s 2,000 years of Christendom from which to pick out fans from. You know what I mean?
Whereas Gaudiya Vaishnavism, oh my God, it’s been in the West for 50 years. And so our congregation, our vaishnav community, especially in the West is microscopic. I’m saying this because, following our efforts in Poland with Village of Peace, I went ahead and did a sort of a small solo album with the help of this Grammy-winning producer who lives in LA, was originally from Liechtenstein and it was actually his idea that most of the album be maha-mantras.
Krsnendu Das: Cool.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: With a different sort of pop rock, thank you, pop rock melodies and stuff. And to be fair, who’s going to be interested? I knew from the beginning that this could be limited in terms of an audience because again, who’s interested in the maha-mantra and who’s interested in an album where there’s only the maha-mantra? You’re really reducing the niche to a small small small small small small slice.
So when you talk about success, I don’t know how successful it’s been. I mean, some devotees like the musics, some devotees like the videos. I performed at this Just Love Festival, this festival that takes place in Germany every summer, in July. I mean every summer in the northern hemisphere, but it was more like an offering to Krishna like, okay, this is an album for you and where I’m really glorifying you with the holy name. And again the idea of yukta vairagya, using the latest technology or in this case the latest music trends or the latest music sounds in Krishna’s service. You know this thing that Billy Graham, have you heard of Billy Graham, Krsnendu?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, he’s a Christian preacher from way back when?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, he was like one of the biggest Evangelical in America in the 50s and 60s. He coined this term ‘anchored to the rock, geared to the times’.
Krsnendu Das: Hmm. That’s a great saying.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Isn’t it? And that’s what yukta vairagya is about. Being anchored to our principles, to our practice, to our theological conclusion and yet preaching with the latest technology. For example, we know that Rupa Goswami, I’m not a Sanskrit scholar, but I know that he wrote in a particular style of Sanskrit that was quite popular in the day. So even with language we see my own Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Narottam Dasa Thakur adjusted his preaching and started writing songs in vernacular Bengali. Why? So that people who are used to vernacular Bengali and not Sanskrit or classical Bengali would have access to the teachings of Krishna. Same thing with back, you know, talk or who wrote songs not only in Bengali but in English, right? And Prabhupada who preached in English and wrote in English. Why? Because language-wise English was becoming that sort of the World Language, right?"Yukta vairagya is about being anchored to our principles, to our practice, to our theological conclusion and yet preaching with the latest technology." Click To Tweet
So similarly you have these trends in terms of music styles, in terms of culinary styles, in terms of dress style. And I think it’s the duty of the vaisnavas not to reject those but to actually embrace those with Krishna in the center for the sake again of making Krishna consciousness most accessible to the largest number of souls. Because culturally speaking most souls are just comfortable in the culture of the country where they live and the culture in which they grew up. Some exceptions are for example, there are some people who are really into India, Indophile we call them. Maybe they were Indians in the past life or whoknows but they just love Indian food. Or some people really love ,I don’t know, they love Korean culture, even though they were born in New Zealand or they were born in Austria. But those are very small numbers. So I think the vaisnava and the vaisnavis duty is to see where he or she is situated culturally pick out the sattva, the subject elements of that local culture.
That’s important because we do want to live in sattva-guna and use that sattva-guna as a platform to practice and to preach Krishna consciousness.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, that’s interesting you say that because if you look at Krishna core there was a lot of things about it which are not all that sattvic but even then you reach people from where they are and then you bring them from that place.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, you don’t necessarily bring them to an Indian culture, though. That’s an interesting point you bring up.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Like for example, the bridge programs, the idea of the bridge program. The idea is bridge to what? It’s an interesting question. What are we bringing them to? For example, you have some preaching projects.
Let’s use the dress code issue because that’s something I talk a lot about. So some preaching projects have sort of a come as you are dress code. But in some projects would have this sort of fine print that’s not explicit, but it’s in the fine print of the contract that okay, listen, we’re not going to talk about it, but it’s understood that after this person has gone through this program for a few weeks or a few months he or she will ideally graduate to the dhoti and the saree for example.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And this is where I think some devotees say no, that’s not necessary. They don’t have to graduate to a dhoti or a saree or for that matter to samosas and kachoris offered to Krishna.
You can just graduate to deeper Krishna consciousness within their own culture remaining in dressing pants and shirts and eating whatever, veggie burgers offered to Krishna. But deepening their Krishna consciousness to the point of becoming pure devotees within that cultural language.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, which is Krishna right? I was giving the example just yesterday about American, sorry, American football. Let’s bring it back to sports. You know how you guys have rugby in New Zealand, right?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So that’s kind of a stupid question.
Krsnendu Das: I think I’ve heard of it, people that play it or something.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: In American football you have the equivalent of a touchdown, but you can throw the ball forward and you can throw the ball forward. So you can get a touchdown by either running into the endzone or catching the ball in the end zone. So some touchdowns are really ugly in the sense that the ball falls loose and then there’s these big guys who are not supposed to be in your, runningbacks or catchers, but who just happen to be near the ball and they just grab it and clumsily push their way into into the end zone and they get their touchdown. They get the seven points.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And then there’s these picture-perfect Hollywood moment, Kodak moment touchdowns where there’s like one second left in the clock and the quarterback throws the perfect spiral and then the wide receiver jumps in midair and while in midair, smiles and blinks an eye to the camera and catches the ball with..
Krsnendu Das: With the little glisten from the teeth, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Exactly. Glisten in the teeth, catches the ball with one hand, lands with his two feet inside the line before going off bounds as the clock runs out and scores a touchdown. So, one touchdown is really ugly and clumsy, another is more beautiful let’s say. But the point is it doesn’t matter how they got the touchdown. The point is they got the touchdown, they got those seven points.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So we have to remember I think that in Krishna consciousness, the goal is Krishna consciousness. The goal is to become Krishna conscious. That’s theultimate goal. And so if you become Krishna conscious, if you start acting on the platform of chanting the Holy Name regularly, following the four regulative principles we’re supposed to follow, that’s perfection right there.
And so whether you got there by X cultural vehicle or Y cultural vehicle or by a strict varnasrama system or just by a total chaotic post-industrial and technological kind of system in a big urban setting like in New York or Mexico City, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day if you become Krishna conscious.
And I think sometimes I tend to forget that or some of us tend to forget that. We tend to think the way we get there is more important than the goal. But actually the goal is more important. And we believe that the process of Krishna consciousness is so powerful that it really does not depend on any material consideration. What do you think?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Yeah. It makes sense. Like the basic idea is that the principle of the yukta vairagya is to use whatever is favorable and if wearing the dhoti and things like that’s favorable then go ahead and do it. But if it’s an impediment, then we should look at other ways to do things, for sure, and according to the context that we’re living in.
Yeah, just bringing it back to your music, I was just thinking that you were saying that “the music that I’m making, it’s modern but it’s all the maha-mantra so it’s probably not going to appeal to a broader audience”. But what it might do is inspire other devotee musicians to think I can make music of that styl. And they might make music which is for a broader audience and get some traction.
So, you might be thinking that ‘oh, okay, I’ve done this project and it sounds good and a few devotees like it but you never know what it might lead on to. Yeah, I think that sometimes the things that we do might have more of an impact than we realize.
I was just thinking, you’ve got Boy George and he made his maha-mantra track, which became popular. And then you also had that devotee Pia in the UK. She made that song Shyam.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah.
Krsnendu Das: And that was really popular, it went to the top of the New Age or something.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. Havi Prabhu, Symphony of the Soul if anyone who’s listening hasn’t heard that album, you really should listen to it. It’s called Symphony Of the Soul. Havi or Ilan Chester.
Krsnendu Das: Right, you should check it out. The name’s familiar but I’ve never really got into it.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: He recorded it with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Caracas. He’s got a whole Philharmonic Orchestra. The only devotee who ever did that was Bhagavaan back in late 70s or early 80s with the Philharmnoic Orchestra.
Krsnendu Das: I used to love that album. I used to listen to that album all the time at Gopal’s when I first started coming to the temple, that was amazing. Ilan Chester, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah.
Krsnendu Das: Havi. But even with your song, not sure how it happened. Maybe you can give us a little bit of inside knowledge here, but apparently one of the songs that you produce was put on a playlist on a mainstream radio station or something like that?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well, not really. It’s like an internal playlist of a producer I worked with. I wish I had mentioned that because that’s more of an embarrassment than that’s our story.
Krsnendu Das: But you know, you must have some people that are listening to it that are not devotees getting that exposure.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. Yeah. That’s true. That’s true.
Krsnendu Das: It’s amazing. It’s easy to, what do you call it, underplay what we do but often, it can have more of an effect than you realize.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, I guess we want to touch the entire world. And then when we don’t, we think we’re like a total failure. But you know that analogy of, again, a Christian preaching analogy of the sea, how do you call an étoile de mer. In French, we say étoile de mer.
Krsnendu Das: Starfish.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Starfish. Yeah starfish. So, you know the analogy of the starfish and the guy walking on the beach with all these starfish on the sand?
Krsnendu Das: Yup.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So there’s all these starfish on the sand at low tide and they’re stuck there dying basically, and so this guy just walks there and picks up like five or six and throws them back into the ocean. But there’s like 10,000 starfish stranded at low tide on the sand. So when they say well what’s the use of throwing back 5 or 10 or 20 back into the water?
There’s like 10,000 of them. But the point is from the point of view of those 5 or 6 or 10 or 20 starfish that have been thrown back into the ocean, they’re loving it. They’re so grateful to have been brought back to life, literally.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah totally.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: To them, it doesn’t matter if there’s like 10,000 other starfish that are stranded. For that one starfish that was thrown back into the water, you’ve changed the world for that starfish.
Krsnendu Das: Absolutely. Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Sometimes, you think “Oh, there’s not enough people coming to Krishna consciousness”, and it is a tough time to live and preach Krishna consciousness, Krsnendu. I think we should be grateful about whatever moment was the time when Lord Caitanya allowed us to come to his Lotus feet. We can’t say well, I don’t like this particular time like, let me join in 200 years. But I think from an objective point of view, coming to Krishna consciousness now is probably one of the hardest times to come to Krishna consciousness and to preach and to live Krishna consciousness ever because it’s just after Prabhupada’s passing away.
So we miss those years of seeing Prabhupada face-to-face. We know he’s in his books, he’s in his lectures. We’ve heard the rhetoric and it’s we believe it’s true. But still, at the same time there is something to be said about having been there during the manifest physical presence of Prabhupada on earth, right?
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, for sure.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: So we never got to see that. We joined at a time when there were mistakes that have been made and so we’re kind of like in some ways carrying the burden of certain mistakes that we’ve done or immature behavior, which is totally, to be expected from any new religious institution.
And so it’s kind of hard. And Krishna consciousness hasn’t been established as a mainstream tradition yet, really large scale. So it’s like we missed Prabhupada’s tsunami kind of 10-year decade and then we are also way before the time when Krishna consciousness becomes really like stable and established and has like 200 years of a track record. So it’s a hard time too.
Krsnendu Das: Growing pains, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I told this to… Growing pains. You know what he said? It was cool. I told Hridayananda Maharaja the exact same thing. He said well, it’s just like in Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities and it starts out with the sentence. ‘It was the worst of times. It was the best of times’.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Totally. Interesting. Just going on that starfish analogy, it just spiked a thought in my mind that a train of thought I’ve been having lately is that sometimes we can get caught up in external things and thinking “Oh, what are the numbers? How many books to distribute? How many plates are going? How many this and that”. But, there’s a few occasions when Prabhupada said that we have enough devotees, just boil the milk. Work with the devotees that we have.
Even Steven Covey he had a saying, I forgot where he got it from but he said that it takes more nobility of character to fully give yourself to one person than to save the whole world, something like that.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Interesting.
Krsnendu Das: Meaning to say that if we can really just deeply influence and help just a few people it can have a massive impact and it takes a lot more personalism as well, which is quite an interesting point related to that. Yeah. I just wanted to move on also just probably to kind of wrap things up because I respect your time with me here a while. You recently did some preaching in France. You to set up a center and that’s always a challenging thing to do. Interested to hear about what your experience was and what kind of advice you would give to someone who is thinking of taking up some kind of project.
Because hearing from you before, you felt like you had mixed success. There was some success but maybe not as much as you hoped for. So what was your experience and what advice would you have for someone who’s thinking of doing something like that?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Well, I went with a devotee called Rasa Mandala who’s from Morocco and who’s been in ISKCON for 30 years. He’s, I think, early 60s. He lives in Vrindavan as a sort of a retired vanaprastha. He writes books on Islam and Krishna consciousness. He speaks quasi fluent French and he was available and I had had an experience of going to Nantes, which was voted actually as the number one Green City in Europe for the last several years in Northern Western France.
And I remember a year ago, actually I went there on my own thinking “Okay, I’ll just rent a place and I’ll just basically do what Prabhupada did in New York in 1966 and I learned very quickly, within a month that I wasn’t Prabhupada. And the three modes of nature were just overwhelming me and I was just kind of getting depressed and I just couldn’t handle the cooking, the cleaning. Fortunately, I had some money aside so I didn’t have to work. But still just maintaining a decent amount of sadhana and then preaching and cooking and cleaning and then trying to bring people to your home to do programs all alone was just too difficult.
I ran out of steam. And as a matter of fact, you know what’s interesting? You know we hear from Prabhupada himself, in 1966 when he was in New York, there was a moment where he would actually go to the either the where the boat the harbor is…
Krsnendu Das: The shipping company or something.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Right? The shipping company to see when was the next boat going back to India.
And he would go there regularly. And this is Prabhupada. It’s amazing. Like you could put yourself into his mind. He was like, “okay, I’m fed up. This is too much. I’m out of here. I gotta go back to Vrindavan”.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, I gave it a try. It didn’t work.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I gave it a try, it didn’t work. I’m tired.
And then well, you know what, my Guru asked me to do this. So let me let me just stick it out for another week. And then a week later. Okay, this is it. This is it. I’m going back and OK when’s the next boat out. Oh, you know what let’s just give it one more try. And that’s the only way I can understand this, this was like that it’s past time to show us who are actually conditioned souls how difficult it can be. So speaking for myself and since you ask for an advice, don’t do this alone. If you’re married that, very good. You can do it as a couple and even then it’s difficult. Even then you need to sometimes take a break and go to a community and recharge with a full morning program with other devotees and stuff like that.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Or go with a group of other devotees who have some free time. So we rented an apartment in a place called Montpelier, which is a student college town near Marseille in the south of France where the winter is not so harsh. It’s the second sunniest city in France or it’s very sunny.
There’s about 400,000 people and out of those 400,000 I think like a hundred thousand are students, very young vibrant city. And so what we did is we would tune in to Radhadesh online morning program in the morning, as we do a morning program like that and then we’d spend some time going to the university neighborhood and pass out free books and cards to our little program that we’re having at our home. We would invite people. But actually it turned out that not many people came forward just from the card. People who came were actually people we actually, like you talked about, people who actually showed interest and whose numbers we took and then whom he called and invited for an informal dinner.
Krsnendu Das: Nice. Yeah.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: And so they would show up and we cook…
Krsnendu Das: A personal touch, right?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: A personal touch.
Krsnendu Das: Getting to know people, building a relationship.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Exactly. But all along being very straightforward about our identity and what we’re preaching., I’m all for indirect bridge preaching, that’s totally cool. If you want to teach through yoga and through ayurvedic cooking, through this seminar, that seminar that’s perfectly fine, I think. All sorts of preaching can and should go on. I personally resonate with direct preaching in the sense of speaking directly from our scriptures, directly from the Bhagavad-gita, directly the maha-mantra from day one with the difference being that you do it in western clothes from day one to today, infinity.
So, again, the language is neutral, the clothes are neutral, the food is neutral. And yet the message is direct Krishna consciousness. Again, this is what Evangelical Christians do. I really am inspired…
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, anchored to the rock and geared to the times.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Anchored to the rock, geared to the times. Exactly. So, we spent about two months there and we gave it a try and we saw, we concluded that, yeah, indeed there’s a lot of potential. Who knows? If Krishna arranges for me to go there again within another team or another situation, I would consider setting camp there.
Yeah setting up camp there. Maybe in Marseille which is next door and much bigger actually than Montpellier. So, any advice? Well, go for it. I don’t know and be Krishna conscious, make sure you have good association.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. So that seems like the big point that you’re making there is that it’s very hard to do it on your own. But if you can get a team, even if it’s a smallish team, but it really helps to have that association to help you do it.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: At least for me. Shruti Prabhu, Prabhupada disciple from Laguna Beach. He was 16 years old when he went to South Africa all alone and preached there all alone. I guess so it depends on the individual. At least speaking for myself I can’t do something like this alone that’s for sure.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah, well, it’s great catching up with you Prabhu and it’s been really inspiring to hear about all the
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Sorry I did all the speaking.
Krsnendu Das: Oh no. I mean, that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to hear from you, not for me to do the talking.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: It’s great how you’re facilitating this
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, thanks Prabhu. Yeah, do you have any other thoughts just wrapping up? I mean, just for my summary I would say that in our talk today, it’s been very inspiring because we’ve heard about the different initiatives that you’ve taken and hopefully it’ll inspire other devotees to take initiative as well whether it’s starting a YouTube channel and talking about current affairs or topical issues and connecting it with Krishna consciousness. Or if it’s singing the maha-mantra to modern music or if it’s going out there on your own or with a small group of people setting up a preaching center to try to reach more people and bring them to Krishna consciousness. I think all these things that you’ve done are really inspiring and it’s great to be able to share about so that others can hear and maybe do the same thing.
Do you have any final words that you might want to share particularly about anyone who might be thinking of taking initiative or something like that. It’s got some idea of taking initiative to do something or anything like that.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: I think if there’s anything that we’ve inherited as that I guess second generation after Prabhupada, it’s that burning desire, even at a small level like at least like me, but this desire nonetheless to spread Krishna consciousness in a rational, intelligent, non-sectarian, non-fanatical, non-dogmatic, but pure beautiful way. I think we’ve inherited that. If there’s anything that’s transpired from the generation of Prabhupada to us, right? It’s this theme of self-sacrifice for the sake of expanding the sankirtana movement.
And I think that’s really important. As Lord Caitanya says “vidya vadhu jivanam“. This really is the life of our spiritual life. The engine.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. Going back to that quote from Indradumnya Maharaja that you said that it’s the preaching that saves us.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. Yeah exactly. So it’s nice to stay in the fire both for ourselves and for the sake of others.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah, that’s wonderful Prabhu. Thanks a lot for giving your time.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Thank you for for your time and to all the listeners.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah. You were mentioning about websites before so can you let us know how if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to keep in touch? You’ve got your YouTube channel. Do you have a website as well?
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. So the YouTube channel is called Easy Bhakti. So that’s the Channel’s name on YouTube if you speak French, I have a French one called L’âme Libre, which means the free soul. Both links including my lectures that I’m starting to collect on a podcast platform are on my website, which is just called easybhakti.com.
Krsnendu Das: Okay, cool.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah, the links to the music are also there and so yeah, you’re welcome to come. It’s always a tricky thing because you don’t want to put yourself forward too much, but at the same time you kind of have to for the sake of the message that you’re trying to represent.
And so I think the secret is to pray to Krishna to free from the desire to get name and fame and adoration. But at the same time not stop putting yourself forward just pray that Krishna can eliminate the selfish motivation in doing that and what’s left is really just a desire to to put Krishna forward. You know what I mean?"Just pray that Krishna can eliminate the selfish motivation and what's left is really just a desire to put Krishna forward." Click To Tweet
Krsnendu Das: All right, that’s nice. Yeah. Perfect. We have been given the order by Lord Caitanya that we all have to become Guru but we’re like we think to ourself I like to become a guru, I might get puffed up and proud but we have to follow the order of Lord Caitanya. We all have to become Guru in some way or other and then we have to do the work of keeping our purity as well. Developing it.
Yeah, so that’s really great Prabhu. Thanks a lot for the interview and I’m look forward to catching up and hearing about your next adventures.
Candrasekharacarya Prabhu: Yeah. I hope to see you soon physcally.
Krsnendu Das: Yeah very well.
Thanks for listening. To find out more go to successfulvaisnavas.com.
Sri Prahlad: Whatever little service that anyone can do for Krishna is to be appreciated and celebrated.
Jagattarini Mataji: Just give this life to Krishna.
Akrura Prabhu: We know that they have much more potential than they’re presently using.
Urmila Mataji: I’m into a place of relishing the activity and letting go of the results completely.
Srila Prabhuphada: You just associate with pure devotees then you shall be able to cross over the ocean of nescience.