The Pushti Marg saints: (2) Krishna Bhat — Part 2

On another occasion, Krishna Bhat became a servant of Sri Govardhana Nathaji’s inner chamber. Krishna Bhat used to serve Sri Govardhan Nathaji and dress and decorate Him. But in his heart he had one desire: he had never touched the Lords Feet but he felt, “One day, I wish to touch his feet.”

Bhavaprakasha

The reason was that Krishna Bhat said to himself, “What would be the reward of touching his feet? If Sri Govardhana Nathaji of his own will allows me to touch his feet, then I will know that he has really had mercy upon me. Even bees touch Sri Nathaji’s feet, but they are ignorant. So when Sri Govardhan Nathaji of his own accord and with respect for Sri Gusainji’s blessings mercifully places his two lotus feet upon my head, then I will know that he has granted me the touch of his feet.

Krishna Bhat passed many days serving in this way. Sri Nathaji knew the desire of Krishna Bhat’s heart. One day as Sri Gusainji was adorning Sri Nathaji, the Lord said to him, “Look! Krishna Bhat has been serving me for so many days, but his desire to touch my lotus feet has never been fulfilled.”

Krishna Bhat was standing nearby fanning [Sri Nathaji]. Sri Gusainji looked at him and asked, “Krishna Bhat, what’s this Sri Govardhan Nathaji is saying?”

Krishna Bhat bowed flat and submitted before Sri Gusainji, “O, Great Maharaj!! What Sri Govardhan Nathaji has spoken is true. But please convey one request of mine to Sri Govardhan Nathaji: Has Krishna Bhat become worthy of your lotus feet? Will you cause him to touch your lotus feet? If so, then order me to, and I will touch Your lotus feet.”

Sri Gusainji was pleased to hear Krishna Bhat’s words.

Bhavaprakasha

This was because Krishna Bhat displayed humility when making his wish known.

After that, Sri Gusainji humbly said to Sri Nathaji, “Dear One! Did you hear what Krishna Bhat said?”

Then, heeding Sri Gusainji’s words, the Lord of Govardhana mercifully said to Krishna Bhat, “Krishna Bhat, come forward.” And smiling, Sri Nathaji lifted up his right lotus foot from his foot rest. Then Sri Gusaiji said, “Krishna Bhat! You are extremely blessed! Now touch his lotus feet.”

When he heard Sri Gusainji’s words, Krishna Bhat was filled with a sweet, innocent excitement. He was unable to speak in reply. Seeing Krishna Bhat’s condition, Sri Gusainji took Krishna Bhat’s hand in his and made him touch Sri Nathaji’s lotus feet. Then Krishna Bhat was able to speak. First he bowed flat on the ground before Sri Gusainji, then he offered full obeisance to Sri Govardhana Nathaji and after touching his lotus feet, touched his hands to his eyes and his heart.

Thereafter, Krishna Bhat supplicated Sri Gusainji, “Maharaj! By the grace of your lotus feet may the Lord’s lotus feet always remain manifest within my heart. Then Sri Gusainji, knowing the purity of Krishna Bhat’s feeling, blessed him in front of Sri Govardhan Nathaji, saying, “Tathastu!—Let it be so!”

Krishna Bhat only touched Sri Govardhan Nathaji’s feet in Sri Gusainji’s presence. From that day forward, Krishna Bhat did not again touch Sri Govardhana Nathaji’s feet.

Bhavaprakasha

This was because, once the sweet inner experience had become strong, he was no longer dependent on the physical action.

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Lord Nityananda is the most merciful

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 February 2016, Durban, South Africa, Nityananda’s Appearance Day Lecture)

mayapur_nityananda

Caitanya Caritamrta describes how the happiness of Lord Nityananda is so overwhelming and so intoxicating that he becomes drunk. He is drunk by that happiness, and one knows well that a drunk man cannot see clearly. So in this case, Lord Nityananda does not see clearly who is fallen and who is not fallen! It is too complicated. He gives mercy to everyone. He does not select anymore. It is Lord Nityananda who does not select, who just gives out the mercy regardless, due to his intoxicated state of ecstasy. Therefore Lord Nityananda is the most merciful.

Heavy cash flow in temples on the occasion of Muriya festival

Govardhan 2016.06.28 (VT): Two main Giriraj temples in the Govardhan area have collected over 2 crore rupees from donations for the upcoming Muriya festival. Temple sewayats have agreed with the organising committee to a month long contract for their services to the temple. The total contract value is Rs. 2.34 crores.

Muriya festival, popularly known as a “mini-kumbh”, will be celebrated in the Govardhan area from July 13th to 19th. The festival is celebrated exuberantly by the people of Braj and Govardhan areas most important festival, and so is the main source of income for its natives.

Danghati_Temple_Govardhan_Mathura_3

Danghati Temple Govardhan

Giriraj Danghati temple and the Mukut Mukharvind temple located at the banks of Mansi Ganga are the two primary temples in the area attracting tourists from all over the world. The Muriya festival will primarily be celebrated near these temples. So they are expected to attract crores of rupees as donations from devotees. Because of this, the temple seva contract has been settled for 2.34 crore rupees. This amount will taken from the collections in this lucrative festival month.

Mukut Mukharavind temple by Manasa Ganga

Mukut Mukharavind temple by Manasa Ganga

The seva contract for the Mukut Mukharvind temple has been agreed upon at Rs. 1.47 crores whereas the contract for Danghati temple is at Rs. 87 lacs.

Most of the collections are taken during the five days leading to the full moon during Muriya festival. The amount will then be deposited in the bank accounts of the temple organising committees in fixed equal weekly installments. Then some amount will be withdrawn to meet the operational expenses for the seva.

The amount leftover will be the actual profit for the sewayats. The long line of sewayats willing to vote for the contract itself shows how great the donations are expected to be this year.

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Vraja Vilasa: Radha’s father Sri Vrishabhanu

I always worship the greatly famous king Vrishabhanu, who comes from a brilliant dynasty and is known for his generosity. He has a golden complexion and a small mustache; he is in the prime of life at fifty years and is considered a skillful leader of the Vraja and is thus the greatest friend of Vraja’s king Nanda. Vrishabhanu Raja loves his daughter Sri Radha even more than he does his son Shridama.


VERSE 26:
kharva-śmaśrum udāram ujjvala-kulaṁ gauraṁ samānaṁ sphurat-
pañcāśattama-varṣa-vandita-vayaḥ krāntiṁ pravīṇaṁ vraje
goṣṭheśasya sakhāyam unnatatara-śridāmato’pi priya- –
śrī-rādhaṁ vṛṣabhānum udbhaṭa-yaśo-vrātaṁ sadā taṁ bhaje
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: Raghunath Das Goswami praises Maharaj Vrishabhanu in this verse for the fulfillment of his own aspirations. Maharaj Vrishabhanu is Radharani’s father, who shines in all respects like the sun in the month of Jyeshtha (May-June, the sign of Taurus).

vṛṣabhānu pitā tasyā vṛṣabhānur ivojjvalaḥ.
(Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā 2,168)

Maharaj Vrishabhanu is a great reservoir of parental love, and Sri Krishna’s dearmost beloved Sri Radharani, the Original Lakshmi, has appeared in this world as his daughter. Therefore without getting some insight into the glories of Sri Radha, one cannot understand the glories of Vrishabhanu Raja.

rādhikā hoyena kṛṣṇera praṇaya vikāra;
svarūpa śakti ‘hlādinī’ nāma yāhāra
hlādinī korāya kṛṣṇe ānandāsvādana;
hlādinī dvārāya kore bhaktera poṣaṇa
……………………….
hlādinīra sāra – ‘prema’, prema-sāra – ‘bhāva’;
bhāvera paramakāṣṭhā – nāma mahābhāva
mahābhāva svarūpā – śrī rādhā ṭhākurāṇī;
sarva guṇa khani kṛṣṇa kāntā śiromaṇi

Radhika is a transformation of Krishna’s love, his intrinsic energy named Hlādinī. Hlādinī causes Krishna to relish transcendental bliss and nourishes the devotees. The essence of hlādinī is prema (love of God) and the essence of prema is bhāva, the summit of bhāva is called mahābhāva and the embodiment of mahābhāva is Sri Radharani. She is the crown-jewel of Krishna’s lovers and a mine full of attributes. (Caitanya-caritāmta, 1.4)

Just as the aggregate of form, flavor, scent, touch and sound is manifest in the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna, it requires the senses — eyes, tongue, nose, skin and ears — to be imbued with mahā-bhāva in order for these complete and absolute sense-objects to be fully relished. And again, other than Krishna’s complete root-energy, no one is able to bear this full mahā-bhāva. Is there any limit to the glories of the man who has Sri Radharani, who is relishing the full sweetness of Krishna, who enters into all the innumerable devotees as a faculty to nourish them by giving them prema, who simultaneously makes Sri Krishna inwardly enjoy his own bliss as the hlādinī-force, and outwardly makes him relish various pastimes in a personal form, who is the very personification of mahā-bhāva, the essence of prema, who is a mine of all qualities and the crown-jewel of all of Krishna’s consorts, for a daughter?

Raghunath Das Goswami has said: “The dynasty of Vrishabhanu Raja is very splendid.” Sri Nanda Maharaj’s dynasty is certainly also very bright, because Bhagavan Sri Krishna has advented in it, but the dynasty of Vrishabhanu Maharaj is even more brilliant, because in his dynasty prema herself has advented. This is because even when one has attained the Lord, one will remain deprived from relishing his sweetness without prema. Therefore the Lord himself has established prema as being more important than he himself. Who can describe the glories of Vrishabhanu’s dynasty, in which the Original Prema Lakshmi, the embodiment of complete love, Sri Radha herself, has advented as a daughter?

Raghunath Das Goswami says: śrīdāmato’pi priya-śrī-rādhaṁ “He loves his daughter Sri Radha even more than his son Shridama.” Her glories are so great that even Krishna himself cannot find their limits (yāra sad guṇa gaṇera kṛṣṇa nā pāna pāra Caitanya-caritāmṛta), but she has come into his household in the form of a daughter, and since Maharaj Vrishabhanu has not even the slightest feeling of awe and reverence he cuddles and rears her just like his little daughter, with purely sweet love.

In the Pātāla Khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa it is written how Devarshi Narada saw Sri Radha as a little girl: “When Sri Radha, who is overwhelmed by love for Sri Krishna, descended she decided not to look at the world before seeing Sri Krishna, so she remained there with eyes closed. Then, one day, Devarshi Narada himself came to see her, and when he told Maharaj Vrishabhanu that he wanted to cure the little girl, Vrishabhanu told him:

“O Lord! I have a daughter who is equal to the demigoddesses, and she is younger than this child (Shridama), but she is dumb, blind and deaf. O greatest of saints! I am very eager to cuddle and rear her, so I pray to you for this boon: Please cure this child with your satisfied glance!”

After Narada entered the house and saw Sri Radha he became overwhelmed by great feelings of love and began to offer her praises in both sweet and reverential manners. He called Vrishabhanu and told him about his most beautiful little girl: “O King! That is the nature of this little girl! Even the demigods are unable to cure her! But in whatever house she places her feet, there Lord Sri Nārāyaṇa, the goddess of fortune Lakshmi and all mystic perfections reside! O great saint! Now you should keep this girl with her nice hips, who is the ornament of ornaments, carefully in your house like the supreme goddess!” (Padma Purāṇa)

Although Sri Narada thus spoke different reverential words about devī Sri Radha, it could not agitate the ocean of Maharaj Vrishabhanu’s parental love at all. Vrishabhanu just affectionately cuddled and reared her like his little girl.

Introducing this Vrishabhanu Rājā to us, Śrīla Goswamipāda says: “I always worship the greatly famous king Vrishabhanu, who has a small moustache, who is very generous, on the strength of whose love Prema-lakṣmī advented in his house as his daughter to bless the people of the world by giving them the treasure of prema, who has a golden complexion, who is greatly respected, who is fifty years old, who is very expert in Vraja and who is the greatest friend of Vraja’s king Nanda.”

kharva śmaśru udāra carita sad vaṁśa jāta;
gaura varṇa sambhrānta yāra boyos pañcāśata
vraja madhye hon yini atīva pravīṇa;
śrī nandera parama sahāya khyātite kulīna
Shridama hoyena priya yāra jyeṣṭha-santāna;
(tathāpi) kaniṣṭhā śrī rādhā prati ati snehavān
samunnata kīrti yāra vṛṣabhānu nāma;
sarvadā tāhāre bhaji pūrṇa hobe kāma

I always worship the greatly famous Maharaj Vrishabhanu, who has a small moustache, who is very generous, who hails from a good dynasty, who has a golden complexion, who is greatly respected, who is fifty years old, who is very expert in Vraja, who is known as the greatest friend of Sri Nanda of noble birth and who loves his younger daughter Sri Radha even more than his eldest son Shridama. In this way my (devotional) desires will be fulfilled.


anantadas_thumbCommentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India. Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.

© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.

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THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT LEVY TAXES IF IT CANNOT GIVE FULL PROTECTION TO THE CITIZENS

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda

When the king protects the citizens from the disturbances of mischievous ministers as well as from thieves and rogues, he can, by virtue of such pious activities, accept taxes given by his subjects. Thus a pious king can certainly enjoy himself in this world as well as in the life after death.

[Srimad Bhagavatam, 4th Canto –  Chapter 14 – Verse No. 17]

PURPORT

The duty of a pious king is described very nicely in this verse. His first and foremost duty is to give protection to the citizens from thieves and rogues as well as from ministers who are no better than thieves and rogues. Formerly, ministers were appointed by the king and were not elected. Consequently, if the king was not very pious or strict, the ministers would become thieves and rogues and exploit the innocent citizens. It is the king’s duty to see that there is no increase of thieves and rogues either in the government secretariat or in the departments of public affairs. If a king cannot give protection to citizens from thieves and rogues both in the government service and in public affairs, he has no right to exact taxes from them. In other words, the king or the government that taxes can levy taxes from the citizens only if the king or government is able to give protection to the citizens from thieves and rogues.

Parikshit Maharaja subduing the evil Kali

The great Emperor Parikshit Maharaja subdues the evil Kali, thus protecting his subjects

In the Twelfth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.1.40) there is a description of these thieves and rogues in government service. As stated, prajās te bhaksayisyanti mlecchā rājanya-rūpinah: “These proud mlecchas [persons who are less than śūdras]. representing themselves as kings, will tyrannize their subjects, and their subjects, on the other hand, will cultivate the most vicious practices. Thus practicing evil habits and behaving foolishly, the subjects will be like their rulers.”

The idea is that in the democratic days of Kali-yuga, the general population will fall down to the standard of śūdras. As stated (kalau śūdra-sambhavah), practically the whole population of the world will be śūdra. A śūdra is a fourth-class man who is only fit to work for the three higher social castes. Being fourth-class men, śūdras are not very intelligent. Since the population is fallen in these democratic days, they can only elect a person in their category, but a government cannot run very well when it is run by śūdras.

The second class of men, known as ksatriyas, are especially meant for governing a country under the direction of saintly persons (brāhmanas) who are supposed to be very intelligent. In other ages-in Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga and Dvapara-yuga-the general populace was not so degraded, and the head of government was never elected. The king was the supreme executive personality, and if he caught any ministers stealing like thieves and rogues, he would at once have them killed or dismissed from service. As it was the duty of the king to kill thieves and rogues, it was similarly his duty to immediately kill dishonest ministers in government service. By such strict vigilance, the king could run the government very well, and the citizens would be happy to have such a king.

The conclusion is that unless the king is perfectly able to give protection to the citizens from rogues and thieves, he has no right to levy taxes from the citizens for his own sense gratification. However, if he gives all protection to the citizens and levies taxes on them, he can live very happily and peacefully in this life, and at the end of this life be elevated to the heavenly kingdom or even to the Vaikunthas, where he will be happy in all respects.

[Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Srimad Bhagavatam 4.14.17]

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Ugra Nrsimha

IMG-20160520-WA0001I got many favorable comments about the picture of Bhurijana Prabhu’s Ugra Nrsimha Deity that I posted recently. Ugra Nrsimha is Lord Nrsimhadeva when He is angry and ferocious. I asked Bhurijan if he would kindly send me that foto in higher resolution so it could be downloaded by the devotees. He kindly agreed, and attached you will find that foto.

Incidentally, normally Bhurijan’s deity takes on the appearance of Santa Nrsimha, who is Lord Nrsimhadeva when he takes on His calm and peaceful form, such as when Sri Prahlada is pacifying Him with prayers. But on His appearance day, Bhurijan Prabhu gives him the look of Ugra Nrsimha by changing his lotus mouth, thus celebrating the Lord’s pastime of His striking and killing the great demon, Hiranyakasipu. It is of great help for us to sincerely pray to Ugra Nrsimha to kindly purify us by ripping from our hearts all of our our deep rooted material desires that have kept us helplessly bound to this material world for so many lifetimes.

GD

Ultimately for Krsna

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 22 April 2016, Radhadesh, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.14-16)

Krsna_with_fluteDemoniac tendencies remain with the living being for a very long time. Even when we take on the process of devotional service, it does not mean that all the influence of previous demoniac activities are gone. There are so many traces of demoniac tendencies in our consciousness that still make us think that we are controllers; this tendency is very strong. Some time we are controllers but on behalf of Krsna. So, be a controller for Krsna and at the same time do not claim any power from it. Do not to take advantage of the position that we gain from being in ‘control’  as it is difficult to be a servant in that role. Simply see that we have received a position of power for the sake of being a servant. This is the idea.

Just like in the biblical context, we find the description that man received dominion over all the living entities and over the entire universe. But what did man do rather than protect the animals? Man began to feast on the flesh of the animals which does not take into consideration the desire of the Supreme Lord, where it is said:

balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ
kāma-rāga-vivarjitam, (Bhagavad-gita 7.11)

The strength of the strong is meant to protect the weak. In this way, human beings who are more intelligent than animals are meant to protect the animals.

This understanding is not possible for a conditioned soul and since we are in the world predominated with conditioned souls, we need guiding principles in society. We need education in society. Without education, we cannot expect that people are simply going to do the right thing. The conditioned soul is contaminated with demoniac mentality, contaminated with the misused tendency to control, and contaminated with the tendency to enjoy what is not his property, that which is the property of the Supreme Lord. That understanding goes very deep, including our bodies, even our bodies are the property of the Supreme Lord. So it is a huge adjustment and even upon hearing again and again from Srimad Bhagavatam, still the tendency is there to forget.

We forget or we look for a compromise between personal interest and the interest of Krsna. Krsna has provided for that within varnasrama. He has provided for us to have that compromise where we can say, “How much for Krsna? And how much for me?” Of course, ultimately it has to come to the point of giving our life cent per cent for Krsna. Just as we see how Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakura, as a householder, said, “I am no longer maintaining this household for myself. This I am doing so now, as your servant, on your behalf. It is your household. It is your facility which will only be used now for preaching Krsna Consciousness.”

In this way, our entire life is meant to be dedicated to spreading the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this world and that is the opposite of the demoniac mentality.

Krishna Circuit Plan doesn’t include Gokul, Rawal

Vrindavan 2016.06.27 (VT): The Central Government is trying to attract more tourists to Braj Dham for which they are preparing a development plan by the name of Shri Krishna Circuit. The plan will include the development of places of traditional and cultural interest closely associated to Radha and Krishna. The Government has allocated a budget of 98 crore rupees for the development plan, but has not included the Rawal, the birth place of Radha, and Gokul, the childhood home of Krishna.

The Tourism and Cultural Department of the Central Government is planning to make a circuit by developing the places associated with the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Working on this plan, the department has included Nandgaon, Barsana, Mathura, Vrindavan and Govardhan.

The Tourism Department’s presentation to the Central Government

City Tourism Officer Anupam Srivastava made his presentation of the Shri Krishna Circuit Plan to the Ministry of Tourism in Delhi yesterday. During the presentation, he said that the project will cover almost all the main areas in Braj except Gokul and Rawal, which are not a part of the first phase.

He also said that the project will start from Govardhan Hill. According to his presentation, the 21-kilometer Govardhan parikrama marg will have public facilities, pilgrim shelters, solar powered lights, etc.

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Mridul Kant Shastri to meet Sushma Swaraj to discuss Nepal lathi charge

Vrindavan 2016.06.27 (VT): Acharya Mridul Kant Shastri will be meeting Foreign Minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj today to discuss the brutality towards Indian devotees in Nepal. Indian devotees returning from Kailash Mansarovar were beaten by batons in Nepal on June 16. The Bhagwat speaker was also insulted by the Nepal police.

Acharya Mridul Kant Shatri

Acharya Mridul Kant Shatri

A group of 37 devotees from Mathura, Agra and Kanpur were on their way from Kailash Mansarovar to Vrindavan under the guidance of Acharya Mridul Kant Shastri. But the Nepali Gomma Airlines plane landed at Surkhet airport instead of Nepalganj airport, as per the original itinerary for which the pilgrims had already paid. When they asked to be taken to the other airport, the airlines asked for an extra 8,000 rupees per person.

At this, the pilgrims protested. The airline officials called the police who started to beat the pilgrims with batons, injuring them all, some seriously. They also showed disrespect to the group leader Mridul Kant Shastri. The Nepal police even abused India and threw all the pilgrims out of the airport, due to which the devotees were bound to continue their journey by bus.

A group of saints from Vrindavan will be in Delhi today to discuss this issue in details with the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. The group will be led by Acharyaji and will have Mahant Phooldol Biharidas, Mahamandaleshwar Navalgiri Maharaj, Swami Ramdevanand Saraswati, Acharya Badrish, Ex-State Minister Ravikant Garg and leaders of the Vrindavan Businessmen Association, Mr. Lalit Arora and Mr. Mohan Soni.

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Yoga Light or Yoga Heavy?

yoga

By Joshua M. Greene, originally published at Elephant Journal.

How often have we left a yoga class—that was intended to calm our mind, relax our body, and rejuvenate our energies—only to find that 10 minutes outside the studio, our mind is once again agitated, our body tense, and our energies confused?

From teaching in yoga studios around the world for the past 10 years, my impression is that it happens more often than we care to admit. But, I have good news: You can do simple things to turn that around and optimize your yoga practice.

1. Start practicing before you get to class.

No matter what style of yoga we practice—Asthanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Raja, Kriya, or another—the very first step is the same for all of us: reform behavior. We can’t continue harmful habits and expect our yoga practice to achieve lasting results. It doesn’t work. That’s why Patanjali put behavior (yama and niyama) at the very top of his eight steps. The example given in India is an elephant bathing in a river, then lumbering up onto shore and rolling on the ground. He just gets dirty again. For yoga to last, we have to think carefully about rolling around in the dirt and begin letting go of unhealthy food, harmful emotions, and un-yogi-like thinking.

2. Become familiar with the basics of yoga philosophy.

You don’t have to take courses in Sanskrit to develop a working knowledge of yoga philosophy. An occasional class taught by a qualified instructor, will give you the tools for reforming habits and maximizing your yoga practice. The basic teaching is that you are not the body; you are the immortal self (atma) inside the body. This one basic point of yoga philosophy can transform your practice into something permanently useful. If we walk into class with the mistaken notion that we are the sum-total of our life’s traumas, an hour of asana isn’t going to help. The troubles are waiting just outside the door to pick up where they left off. Everyone has experiences (good and bad), but they don’t have to define us. Study texts that illuminate our deeper identity as the perfect, beautiful, immortal self that animates our body with consciousness. Get to know that real, permanent you, and yoga takes on a whole other meaning.

3. Find a mantra and use it throughout the day.

One way to stay grounded in a yoga mindset is to remain conscious of our higher nature. We may not be able to lay a yoga mat down on the platform of the A-train and do asanas, but we can quietly recite a mantra. But not just any mantra. True mantras are not invented. They come down over generations and contain great clarifying powers. My own experience of mantra is like a gentle background music to my day: something always there, keeping me mindful of myself as a spiritual being.

If we do these simple things, then where can our yoga practice take us? The sky’s the limit.

Advanced yogis enter into states of bliss we can barely imagine, by knowing themselves to be immortal within the body. Chanting mantras in a devotional frame of mind and heart has facilitated healing from sickness and disease.

Living our yoga practice as spiritual beings fosters compassion: we begin to see that same core self even in difficult people around us, and that allows us to be less defensive and angry over their attitude toward us. Relating to them becomes less stressful.

So try yoga heavy, accompanied with the tips for one week, and watch the magic begin.

Hema Malini and Srila Prabhupada’s Books

Hema Malini at ISKCON JuhuToday Hema Malini, the famed performer from India, visited the ISKCON Los Angeles temple, and I was reminded of when she and I were together on the stage of the ISKCON auditorium in Juhu, Mumbai. It was December, during the book-distribution marathon, and after the performance I asked the audience to come forward to purchase sets of Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamra, for concessional rates. The response was slow, so I leaned over and asked her if I could announce that she would autograph one book from each set, and she kindly agreed. After the announcement, people jumped out of their seats and rushed toward the stage, standing in long queues to get their sets of Srila Prabhupada’s books. And I thought, “This is the proper use of her name and fame—to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 05/15/2016

ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 05/15/2016

Mission Statement: ECO-Vrindaban promotes simple living, cow protection, engaging oxen, local agriculture, and above all, loving Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

Participating Directors: Anuttama, Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari.

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna, Radha-Krishna, Vraja

Participating Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. Designate Remaining “Project” Topics to ECO-V Managers

Jamuna Jivani will compile a list of ECO-V’s projects list for everyone to review and the managers can discuss in their regular Thursday meetings.

2. External Grant Request: ISKCON Alachua

The Board indicated it is not currently funding additional external grants. Chaitanya Mangala will respond to Mukhya prabhu’s request and inform her.

3. Kripamaya’s Sabbatical Request

In anticipation of the opening of his upcoming Ramayana musical work, Kripamaya has requested a three-month sabbatical from June to August. The Board has agreed to this request with the stipulation that he be available should an additional Director be necessary to constitute a quorum for a vote.

4. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

Mukunda reported on the previous month’s projects:

  • Working with, and engaging Krsna Nama prabhu part-time in various hands-on projects.
  • Repaired the gates at the flower garden.
  • Repaired some fencing at Nandagram and Bahulaban
  • In the process of providing and taking inventory of the needed equipment to our various service locations.
  • Helped with some of the logistics for Festival of Inspiration and Kuli Mela ‘16.
  • Continuing to act as Chair of the Steering Committee meetings and help with the recent Village Association expansion.

Anticipated projects for the upcoming month:

  • Clean and organize the area outside of the milking goshala
  • Build a fence for Dharma the bull
  • Continue to prepare sites to be used for upcoming festivals

5. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

Nitaicandra reported on the previous month’s projects:

  • Ordered ox yokes (should be ready soon)
  • Planted potatoes with Ranaka and Ray
  • Started summer vegetable and flower seeds indoors about three weeks ago. Caitanya Bhagavat was caring for them.
  • Cows have been moved to Bahulaban. Caitanya Bhagavat is caring for them.
  • Tilled and planted a cover crop in community garden
  • Krsnanama prabhu composted and mulched about 75% of our young trees in Madhuban.
  • Mukunda and Krsnanama prabhus have been helping with the clean-up of the community garden
  • A half dozen or so devotees claimed garden space in the Community Garden
  • Strawberries arrived
  • Vidya and Julie planted out flower starts in the teaching garden and her gardens.
  • Meeting held at the Goshala to discuss how to best serve the cows, cow herds and guests. We came up with a plan to improve the overall appearance and ease of use, including moving the dung pile, improving drainage, adding gravel to road and parking area, and painting.

Anticipated projects for the upcoming month:

  • Covering young fruit trees for cicada protection
  • Planting out early seeds
  • Plant strawberries
  • Plant starts (tomatoes, eggplant, okra, peppers, herbs, etc.)
  • Heavy mulching
  • On-going maintenance
  • As soon as the ox yokes arrive, we will kick start the ox program and resume training.

6. Monthly Team ECO-V Meetings

Ranaka, Mukunda and Nitaicandra are establishing monthly meetings for those involved in ECO-V projects with the intention of increasing camaraderie and cooperation between team members.

7. ECO-V’s Involvement in Kulimela 2016

For the upcoming Kulimela Festival, ECO-V plans to:

  • Prepare sites to be used, including moving stones from the stage area, making the sites look presentable, building a fence and removing trees
  • Offer tours of various locations with cows and gardens
  • If possible, offer demos or workshops

8. Upstairs Bahulaban Barn Community Center Proposal Update

The Board has determined that in order to proceed with any plans for usage, first they must investigate possible health code requirements and have an evaluation made by a structural engineer. The Board asked Mukunda and Ranaka to work on those two issues and report their findings.

9. Village Association Liaison  – Service Description & Funding Request

The Board had a brief discussion on the topic, but due to time constraints, agreed to wait until the next meeting for further discussion.

10. Funding for Dump Trailer

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to invest in equipment to support its ongoing farming-related projects.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $10,250 for the purchase of a dump trailer.

DO NOT ELECT RASCALS WHO HAVE NO RESPECT FOR SAINTLY PERSONS

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda

Back to Godhead - Volume 01, Number 68 - 1974

The President of Conseil d’etat, the main governing body of the Canton of Geneva, welcomes Srila Prabhupada to Geneva City

According to Vedic civilization, in a monarchy the king is advised by saintly persons and sages. By taking their advice, he can become the greatest executive power, and everyone in his kingdom will be happy, peaceful and prosperous. The great kings were very responsible in taking the instructions given by great saintly personalities. The kings used to accept the instructions given by great sages like Parāśara, Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Devala and Asita. In other words, they would first accept the authority of saintly persons and then execute their monarchical power. Unfortunately, in the present age of Kali, the head of government does not follow the instructions given by the saintly persons; therefore neither the citizens nor the men of government are very happy. Their duration of life is shortened, and almost everyone is wretched and bereft of bodily strength and spiritual power. If citizens want to be happy and prosperous in this democratic age, they should not elect rascals and fools who have no respect for saintly persons.

Formerly, in practically all parts of the world, there were monarchies, but gradually as monarchy declined from the ideal life of religion to the godless life of sense gratification, monarchies all over the world were abolished. However, simply abolishing monarchy and replacing it with democracy is not sufficient unless the government men are religious and follow in the footsteps of great religious personalities.

[Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Srimad Bhagavatam 4.14 verse nos. 14 and 16]

Also Read

IF THE KING IS IMPIOUS THEN EVERYONE WILL SUFFER

EVERYONE SHOULD RESPECT A BRAHMIN

SO MANY RASCAL YOGIS AND SWAMIS ARE ALWAYS READY TO MISLEAD YOU

The spiritual master is our best friend

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 05 September 2016, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Initiation Lecture)

SP_smiling

When we speak about the third offence to the holy name, we speak about disobeying the orders of the spiritual master. But let us think about it in a different way – instead of disobeying orders, one can talk to the spiritual master. The spiritual master can always change the instruction if it can be changed. If the order is unchangeable then he can help us by giving us inspiration to carry on. So really, if the order is too difficult, then one must simply take shelter.

But if somehow, one disobeys the order of the spiritual master, even then we still turn to the spiritual master because the spiritual master is our best friend and therefore he cannot be surprised, in terms of our behavior, it is not possible. If that happens, the spiritual master will very patiently say, ‘Alright, you broke everything, what to do… Let’s pick up the pieces and let’s put your spiritual life back together.’

So he is not going to condemn us for whatever we have done, for whatever mistake we have made. No! He will simply say, ‘Okay, now we have to deal with this.’  Of course, sometimes one gets entangled very much. I remember someone got entangled in a drug habit after initiation. Then the spiritual master said, ‘Well, we have a problem here! It’s going to take some time and it won’t be easy to solve it, but anyway we are in this together.’  In that way, the spiritual master is always with us.

The Pushti Marg saints: (2) Krishna Bhat — Part 1

VARTA 2: The story of Krishna Bhat, the son of Sri Gusainji’s disciple Padmaraval, a Sanchore Brahmin who lived in Ujjain.

Bhavaprakasha

Krishna Bhatt was a sattvik devotee. In the lila his name is “Ras Vilasini.” She is an expansion of Sri Lalitaji, thus she is the personification of Lalitaji’s loving feelings. Ras Vilasini is Sri Chandravaliji’s close and trusted sakhi. For this reason, Sri Chandravaliji can converse with her about her private loving exchanges with the Beloved. At that time they both enjoy the Nectar of such contemplation. And Sri Chandravaliji makes all her intimate lady friends and companions and share in her own experience and in this way sheds light on such nectarean activities.

Krishna Bhat was born into the home of Padmaraval, a Sanchore Brahmin. Padmaraval was a servant of Sri Acharyaji. The deep import of his story will be revealed first. Padmaraval had four sons, of whom Krishna Bhat was the eldest. He was well educated, and later he was married to a wife who was a fit vessel, a divine soul. They had two sons: Gokul Bhat and Govinda Bhat. Both were divine, connected with the lila. We will talk about their divine identities first.

Once Sri Gusainji came to Ujjain. At that time Krishna Bhat and his family served him. Later Krishna Bhat humbly prayed to Sri Gusainji thus, “Maharaj! Have you any instructions for me?”

Sri Gusainji instructed him, “Serve the Lord.” Then Sri Gusainji gave Krishna Bhat a swarup [deity] of child Krishna. Then Krishna Bhat again supplicated, “Maharaj! I wish to serve you, my master.”

Then Sri Gusainji gave him his own sandals (padukas) as well. A few days later, Sri Gusainji left Ujjain. Krishna Bhat was deeply troubled by dire feelings of separation from Sri Gusainji. His physical state also became unstable. Then Sri Gusainji told Chacha Harivamsji, “Krishna Bhat’s condition is still raw. Go and stay with him for a time.”

Thereafter, leaving Chacha Harivamsji there, he left for Arail. By spending time with Chacha Harivamsji, Krishna Bhat got a firm grasp of the Path. He learned about the traditions and so forth. Later, many souls would receive Sri Gusainji’s shelter due to Krishna Bhat’s association.

Krishna Bhat had great affection for the Vaishnavas. He had five or ten thousand rupees. Whenever any Vaishnava would come to Ujjain, he would invite that Vaishnava to his home and would serve him prasad with great affection. He would insist on their staying for several days. When that Vaishnava was ready to leave, Krishna Bhat would open his backpack the night before and put money inside. He did it in such a way that the Vaishnava did not even know. Only later when that Vaishnava unpacked his bags would he come to know what Krishna Bhat had done. That was how much Krishna Bhat loved Vaishnavas.

Day and night, Krishna Bhat would read the books of Sri Acharyaji and Sri Gusainji. He used to read them to the Vaishnavas who came to his house. So firm was he on the Path! He was always submerged in loving remembrance of the Lord. And every year, Krishna Bhat used to come from Ujjain to have an audience with Sri Gusainji. He would remain in Sri Gusainji’s service there for two to three months at a time.

*********PART 1*********

Once Krishna Bhat was immersed in the service of Sri Gusainji. Sri Gusainji was very pleased to see Krishna Bhat’s loving service. One day by his grace, he gave the whole book of Sri Subodhiniji [Vallabhacharyaji’s commentary to the Bhagavatam] to Krishna Bhat. But Krishna Bhat couldn’t understand it at all. Then out of compassion, Sri Gusainji wrote a commentary revealing the deep meaning of Sri Subodhiniji and gave that commentary to Krishna Bhat.

Bhavaprakasha

Through that commentary, Sri Gusainji infused the secrets and divine moods of Pushti Marg in Krishna Bhat’s heart.

Just by looking at the book, Krishna Bhat was seized by divine feeling. The secrets which were hidden in Sri Acharyaji’s commentary were revealed in Sri Gusainji’s Tippaniji commentary, and Sri Gusainji established all of that in Krishna Bhat’s heart. Such immense mercy Sri Gusainji bestowed upon Krishna Bhat!

Bhavaprakasha

In a similar way, Sri Acharyaji had given sandalwood paste and water in which the Lord’s feet had been washed to Padmaraval, and from the moment he partook of these, the philosophy of Sri Acharyaji’s path manifested within him. Like that, Krishna Bhat experienced everything just by looking at the book; in this way it should be understood.

From that day on, after returning home Krishna Bhat would read and speak on `Sri Subodhiniji~, every day, as a rule. And at that time all the Vaishnavas would hear from him. The primary audience member used to be Nihal Chand Bhai. And other Vaishnavas from that place and elsewhere would also come to listen. Then after some days, Krishna Bhat came to Gokul. A Kunbi Vaishnava came with him. The Kunbi Vaishnava used to follow Krishna Bhat wherever he went. One day in Sri Nathdwar [Jatipura] Sri Gusainji, after bathing, was ascending Sri Govardhan Hill. Sri Gusainji led the way and Krishna Bhat followed. And behind him came the Kunbi Vaishnava.

At that time the Kunbi Vaishnava asked Krishna Bhat, “Bhatji! One day you said in katha that Sri Govardhan is replete with precious metals and encrusted with jewels. And that Govinda Kund is full of milk. But I can’t see any of that!”

In this way the Kunbi Vaishnava questioned Krishna Bhat. And Sri Gusainji heard what he had said. Then Sri Gusainji turned to Krishna Bhat and said, “What is this Vaishnava saying?”

Then the Kunbi Vaishnava said to Sri Gusainji with folded hands, “Maharaj! One day Krishna Bhat said in in his discourse that Sri Govardhan is replete with precious metals and encrusted with jewels. And that Govinda Kund is full of milk. But Maharaj! I can’t see anything.” Sri Gusainji didn’t say anything at that time.

Bhavaprakasha

Why? Because he was arriving for his seva and he could not be late for that, so Sri Gusainji did not speak.

Then Sri Gusainji arrived in Sri Nathaji’s temple for seva. He adorned Sri Govardhan Nathaji and performed Rajbhog arati, then went outside the temple. At that time Sri Gusainji asked, “Where is the Kunbi Vaishnava?” Then that Vaishnava said, “Maharaj! I am the Kunbi.” Then Sri Gusainji said, “Now look carefully.”

Then the Kunbi saw Sri Govardhan full of precious metals and covered with gems! And he saw Govinda Kund filled with milk. Sri Gusainji granted the Kunbi Vaishnava a true vision of Braj.

Then the Kunbi Vaishnava bowed down low before Sri Gusainji and said, “Maharaj! Who but you would grant such grace upon such an insignificant soul as me?”

Then Sri Gusainji walked down Sri Govardhan Hill. The Kunbi Vaishnava went to Govinda Kund and filled a small water pot there. Later he showed it to Krishna Bhat. And the Kunbi Vaishnava said to Krishna Bhat, “By your mercy Sri Gusainji granted me an other worldly vision. That was his grace upon me, and it happened by your mercy.” Such an accomplished Vaishnava was Krishna Bhat; a vessel of Sri Gusainji’s grace.

Bhavaprakasha

This incident reveals how the Path becomes fruitful through the Vaishnavas. Thus one should remain in communion with Vaishnavas all the time. From this all is attained. By the grace of the Vaishnavas one receives the grace of Sri Guru. When the Guru is pleased, nothing remains unattained. That is why the association of Vaishnavas is the greatest thing of all.

The post The Pushti Marg saints: (2) Krishna Bhat — Part 1 appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

School excursion: Boat tour in 1968

KKS_1968Kadamba Kanana Swami: Recently, I received this photo. It was a school excursion. We went out for a day on a boat tour through the city of Amsterdam. I was 14 years old. Later on that day, we also went to the zoo. Recently via the internet, I got in touch with my biology teacher of those days, named Martin van Haagen. He posted this school photo. His message was entitled, “Fifty years ago.” That is a long time indeed. We are writing to each other at the moment and it’s a pleasant exchange. Martin hasn’t told me yet how old he is at the moment, but I would expect he is somewhere around 80. He was curious to know what had become of me and was surprised to find out that I had become a Swami. He thought that I was reserved and introvert in those days, and he thought that maybe I would have achieved something in sport. Well, there is no doubt that I was fit in those days and good at sports. I used to sail and play tennis and football, but then music took over and eventually spiritual life!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Ottawa, Illinois
The Soul is Nomadic
We knew it would be a soaker today; so the weather report revealed.  Indeed, the rain came down quite evenly and consistently as Gopal drove me to the spot from where I left off the day before.
Was I prepared for the wetness?  Well, sort of!  I learned from my walk in Ireland that the dhoti (a monk’s lower garment) is prone to rip when you make a stride while the material is drenched.  It can be embarrassing.  I had little to worry about “being seen” on this Canal Trail, but I could not afford to have any torn clothing to worry about.
The solution?
I’ll go at it with merely my swimming trunks on, have sandals on my feet and an umbrella over my head.  The rain was warm.  Cold was not an issue.  I cautioned Gopal, “Don’t take any photos, please!”
He concurred– and laughed.
There I roamed, down a leafy trail with trees on both sides, thunder and lightning occupying the skies.  Millions of fire-flies lit up the dark, early morning.  I then met with so-called civilization (humans) some hours later, upon entry of a small city called Ottawa.  The rain lulled. I changed back into my robes.  At Washington Park I met Rick Koshko from the local radio station.
He came equipped with umbrella and mic.  The rain poured like crazy, but he asked questions despite.  It was an in-depth interview.  He even caught me saying, “I’m an oddball.  I’m a monk for life.  Somewhere in a previous life I was married and had a family.”  I implied that I got desire (for family, sex) out of my system.
During the interview a representative from “The Times” popped over to get a photo for his story.  He wasn’t about to stay.  The rain came down like Noah had ever seen.
This evening I spoke to a group of Krishna devotees in Naperville.  The theme was “The soul is nomadic.”  It always moves. 
May the Source be with you!
14 miles

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Chicago, Illinois
Two Groups
This was a pre-planned trip, to back-track to Chicago in order to give an experience to two groups of youth.  After a sacred half-hour of song at the 4:30 AM mangal arati, young monks from the Lunt Avenue temple and I took to the streets, and then to the northern end of the water-front trail.  Joey, Jordan, Igor, Mitch and Marcel, all dressed in novice white dhotis and tops, accompanied Uttama and myself.
We walked.  We chanted.  They questioned.  I answered.
“I noticed you are very expressive in your speaking presentations.  How does this play into a humble devotional life?” asked one of the boys, meekly.
“I was once a very shy, insecure guy.  Still am, but I gained confidence through bhakti yoga, devotional service.  In any event, you should be who you are.  Be yourself.  Whether introvert or extrovert, maintain RESPECT.  You know the song?  (Implying Aretha Franklin’s song)”
My second batch of walkers was a group from a youth bus tour, originating from Florida.  Unfortunately we only covered a mile together.  It was a slow-but-sure stroll along the beach, and then up along the end of a pier.  They, like the first group, felt honoured to be part of a historic walk, one that goes from the east-coast to the west-coast.  Even though time allowed only one mile before my flight to Vancouver, Canada it was one mile with twenty youths that mean a lot to me.
“Try to absorb the power of the waves in the water, the smells in the air, as well as the temperature and feel of the wind.  What you perceive is the Krishna factor (God).”
So that, in brief, was my message to them.

May the Source be with you!


10 miles

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Seneca, Illinois
‘Walking Monk’ Makes Stop During Journey Across America
I walked the I&M Canal Trail, and came upon a narrow river to cross.  I fell, slid and landed by the river.  No scrapes or scratches.  I got muddied-up.  My cell was displaced for hours and so was I, displaced from my support person.  Call it a piece of adventure perhaps. 
Mike Mallory put out an article in ‘The Herald News.’ 
JOLIET – Bhaktimarga Swami sat calmly Monday morning as he rested in the grass of Joliet’s West Park with a water bottle at his side.
Known as the “Walking Monk,” Swami covers about 20 miles a day with only a pair of sandals separating his feet from the ground. He’s in the middle of the second leg of his journey from New York City to San Francisco.
“I started walking in Joliet today,” Swami said. “I found out the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail is here. That’s a piece of paradise. You see a heron every few minutes.”
Swami hopes to promote a “greener,” healthier lifestyle in America – one that emphasizes strong morals and ethics. Through outreach efforts along his path, he spreads his message.
“My purpose is to make the statement that we need to simplify life,” Swami said. “In many ways this walk reaffirms what we should be doing. Our bodies were made for walking. The question is, are we doing enough of it?”
He began this portion of the trip in May in Pennsylvania and plans to finish in early August in Nebraska. Next year, he will make his way to California.
Swami has walked across Canada four times, and isn’t opposed to battling heat waves and severe weather all summer if it accomplishes his goal. He said it helps develop a sense of austerity.
“Being exposed [to the elements] is part of it,” Swami said. “Every day it’s a new plan. If it’s going to be very hot, I might get on the road at 2 or 3 a.m., or walk in the evening if I have to.”
Swami, 63, also is walking to honor the contributions of his own spiritual teacher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, who arrived 50 years ago in America. At 70 years old, Prabhupada moved from India on the order of his teacher to promote God consciousness, or devotional bhakti yoga, to the English-speaking world.
When not walking, Swami flies to other continents to teach and spread the message. He is an instructor in bhakti, mantra meditation and interactive dance. He’s also scripted and directed dozens of performances based on sacred Hindu texts.
Next, he will travel along the Lake Michigan shoreline with others to a temple in Evanston before heading west to the Great Plains.
A caption of a photo reads: ‘Bhaktimarga Swami a Canadian-born Hare Krishna monk stopped Monday in Joliet on his walk from New York City to San Francisco to promote a strong spiritual foundation.
May the Source be with you!
20 miles

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Monday, June 20th, 2016
Jolist, Illinois
I got Wet
It seemed a big decision in the beginning.  Should I or shouldn’t I?
I had been walking along a piece of paradise for the first stretch with Uttama, along the Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (I&M Trail) and loving it.  We were shielded from the sun.  Trees were lined along the trail.  The Great Blue Heron was ever present.  You never see them in a flock, but every so many meters you can spot a single one in solitude.  It would be perched on old drift wood in the canal.  An egert, also, like a lone yogi, would be there contemplating– on fish.
The canal boasts a rich history.  Dug mostly by Irish settlers, it became a major system of water locks (15 to be exact) that moved boats of cargo such as grain, lumber, coal, limestone, and even people.  Maybe thirty boats a day would ply through, a distance just shy of 70 miles, tethered and towed by a team of mules; until the steamboat was introduced in 1870.
Now the canal has transformed to mainly a still-watered swamp dynamic, teaming with energy of a different kind.  The bull frogs leap and plop into the waters as you walk along.  It’s their defense.
The beautiful aspect of the trail can be explained as a piece of peace – no traffic – only runners, walkers, and cyclists.  And we came upon it like an accident.
Now the question was, should I cool down by taking a dip in the Illinois River next to me?  It looks a lot more inviting than the canal water.  Yes, I will.  And I did.
May the Source be with you!
21 miles