June 20, 2010
Mahā-lakṣmī dāsī: This is Bodhi. We have known him for five years. He has been coming to your temple for five years. When he thought he had missed the initiation a few days ago, he stayed up and chanted the entire night. He was praying to Kṛṣṇa, “Somehow let me get initiated.”
Bodhi: For one year I have been chanting to you, Gurudeva – “Gurudeva, Gurudeva” – for one year. I will chant hare kṛṣṇa after initiation.
Brajanāth dāsa: Do you know him, also?
Devotee: Yes. He comes to the Rose Temple [in Los Angeles] a lot. He is a good devotee.
[Brajanāth dāsa asks Bodhi about the regulative principles. Bodhi says he eats fish and eggs sometimes. Brajanāth tells Śrīla Gurudeva.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Can you give up eating those things?
Bodhi: Oh yes.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: At once, without delay.
Bodhi: Yes. Sure, I can do that. You just tell me what to do.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: You must give these up first, and then take harināma.
Bodhi: [showing his artwork] I am a painter, and this is my first devotional painting of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā. It’s modern. Here is Kṛṣṇa in blue and Rādhā in red, and They are dancing in divine love. It is in the Rose Temple. It’s a bit different.
Brajanāth dāsa: He is a famous artist. Many important people and celebrities purchase his art.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Is he gṛhastha or brahmacārī?
Brajanāth dāsa: Twenty-four years brahmacārī.
Bodhi: I am fifty-four now.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If you want initiation, you will have to promise to give up eggs, fish, and all other prohibited foodstuffs.
Bodhi: All right. I will.
Brajanāth dāsa: Can you promise that?
Bodhi: I promise that.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: After that, your beard.
Bodhi: I knew you were going to say that. If you want me to, I will cut it.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: At least for initiation you will have to do it. Repeat after me: hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare.
Bodhi: [with help] Hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
Bodhi: [with help] Hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare / hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
Bodhi: [with help] Hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare / hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare. I will have to write it down.
Brajanāth dāsa: We have written it down for you.
Bodhi: Ah, thank you.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Now read it and say the mantra.
[Bodhi recites the mantra while reading.]
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Now understand. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is very powerful. He has all qualities. For all conditioned souls, He has invested all His power, all His mercy, and all His qualities in His sixteen names: Hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare / hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.
These names can fulfill any of your desires, and in the end they will liberate you from this world and take you to Goloka Vṛndāvana. At that time your body will be changed.
This holy name is the mahā-mantra, the topmost mantra. You can chant it in the daytime, night-time, morning, evening, while walking, and while driving in a car, and you can chant with or without mālā (the string of japa beads).
Bodhi: [Showing Śrīla Gurudeva his beads] I wear mālā every day.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: This is not tulasī. We will give you new beads.
Bodhi: All right.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: In this mantra, hare is the power of Kṛṣṇa. She is a very beautiful personality. By Her beauty, She can take the heart of Kṛṣṇa and control Him. Hare rāma. Hare is Rādhā, the power of Kṛṣṇa. And rāma is Rādhā-ramaṇa Rāma (He who enjoys loving pastimes with Śrī Rādhā); not anyone else, only Kṛṣṇa. So, the whole mantra is Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa – Kṛṣṇa and His power.
[While personally demonstrating how to chant on the japa beads, and how to advance each of the counter beads until four sets of sixteen – or sixty-four rounds – have been chanted.]
First begin from sixteen, then gradually increase to eighteen, twenty, and more.
[Handing Bodhi his new beads] Thank you.
[To a little girl named Rūpa-kisori] Will you chant? Oh, chant this mantra: hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare / hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare. [Seeing that the girl is asleep and does not answer] If she does not speak, I will not give her harināma.
Rūpa-kisori’s mother: [to her daughter] Will you speak the hare kṛṣṇa mantra? You speak it at home. Will you say it in front of Śrīla Gurudeva? I’ll say it with you. Ready?
[Then, seeing Śrīla Gurudeva trying to hand the little girl her new beads] Come get your beads from Śrīla Gurudeva. Stand up. Right hand.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: [To Rūpa-kisori] Both hands.
[To Bodhi] Your name is Balarāma dāsa.
Bodhi: Thank you. I love you.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Where do you live?
Bodhi: I live in LA, where I paint. This is my first devotional painting to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They are dancing in ecstasy.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2010”]