This letter is to show my appreciation for the article in the July/Aug 2021 issue by my godbrother the stellar author Sriman Satyaraja Dasa describing how the famous musician Alice Coltrane encountered the Krishna consciousness movement, the maha-mantra, and Srila Prabhupada personally. Although a long-time jazz aficionado who was certainly familiar with the legendary John Coltrane, I was not aware of Alice Coltrane’s close relation with Krishna music and philosophy. I knew of her music, flavored with the spirit of India, but this nicely detailed account really put things in perspective. The further descriptions of Jayashacinandana Dasa having the amazing opportunity to play with not only Alice but also the great tabla player Zakir Hussein was most pleasing as well.
Krishna is all-attractive, and I remember the late jazz artist Nina Simone being present at an evening arati and kirtana in the Henry Street temple in Brooklyn, NY, around 1972 or 1973. The kirtanas were awesome, with devotees like Bharadraja Dasa leading the chanting. I had the chance to play mridanga and lead sometimes. So many great memories from that time.
I would have loved to meet Alice Coltrane, but thanks to this article I feel like I got to know her. BTG has never missed a beat thanks to the devotion and hard work of all the devotees there. All glories to your service.
Via the Internet
I’m a nineteen-year-old from India, and I’m facing the problem of anxiety and panic attacks. Can you please help me come out of it?
Via the Internet
Reply: We are sorry to hear about your problem. The material world is really showing its difficulties lately. The only real solution is to find peace inside ourselves, through the soul and the Supreme Soul, Sri Krishna. He has been waiting for us to turn to Him. Sometimes He has to make us miserable so we become desperate for relief and find our shelter only in Him. He has given us the process of chanting His holy names and hearing about Him to revive the lost consciousness of our eternal loving relationship with Him.
This place is not our real home, and Krishna wants us back. Chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and following Krishna’s instructions will purify us and qualify us to enter the spiritual world. Even now we can experience that world and its eternal pleasure by the bhakti process of serving Him with love and devotion.
We encourage everyone to read Srila Prabhupada’s books, associate with Krishna’s devotees, and chant and hear His holy names. These activities soothe the soul and help us transcend all our bodily demands and problems.
You may also need to seek professional help. But please visit your local temple or practice bhakti in your home. Early morning is most effective time for spiritual practices, when the mind is more likely to be free of distractions and more able to concentrate on hearing Krishna’s name, taking it into your heart. Pray to the Lord to help you contact Him. He will hear your requests.
I want to transform my life in every way. I need assistance. Please help me to know what I should do.
Ashish Kumar Singh
Via the Internet
Reply: We have all been suffering in the material world for many lifetimes. So we need to do something different this lifetime to make sure we don’t have to come back again and again. Krishna and His representatives teach us exactly how to transform our consciousness from material to spiritual by the process of bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord. We have to purify our consciousness of the conception that we are the all and all, that we are meant to enjoy in these bodies. We are actually meant to please Krishna, God, with all that we do, think, and desire. We have to learn to do everything with the aim of placing His pleasure before ours. We are part of Him, and if He is pleased then we will be truly happy, eternally.
Our material desires are never satisfied and create anxiety, hankering, and lamenting. Only if Krishna is in the center of our lives will we be satisfied. The wonderful process of chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord is the most effective way to give us the taste of enjoyment we want.
To learn the philosophy of bhakti, please read Srila Prabhupada’s books, visit ISKCON’s centers, and try chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. These activities will work wonders in changing your life for the better. They will gradually awaken your God consciousness, the loss of which is at the core of all our troubles.
Your choice of association is critical for your spiritual advancement, so seek out people who are happily devoted to the service of Lord Krishna.
Demons and Devotees
In devotional service, demons are not allowed; only good people are allowed. So how can we come to Krishna if we have demoniac tendencies? In devotional practice, so many traps are there. How can we overcome them?
Via the Internet
Reply: Souls in this world are influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance and sometimes take to sinful, demoniac activities or lifestyles. Fortunately, Lord Krishna has come as Lord Catianya to deliver even the most fallen. In His biographies we hear about Jagai and Madhai, two men so wicked that it was said that the secretary of Yamaraja, who punishes the sinful, could not record their sinful activities fast enough. But they were delivered by the mercy of the holy name and the Lord Himself.
So everyone is not condemned, despite the demoniac influences on us. The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is Krishna Himself, and it can purify even the dirtiest hearts. Also, contact with the pure devotees of Krishna, in person or through their teachings, can change one’s destination very quickly. Even in the Western countries, where everyone is engaged in sinful activities, many people have quickly given up all bad habits after hearing the philosophy of Krishna consciousness delivered by the Lord’s representative. Yes, there are many obstacles to spiritual progress, but they can be conquered by this sankirtana movement. There is no doubt about this.
Why should I believe what you have to say? Is there any evidence to make me believe in you?
Via the Internet
Reply: The real business of human life is to follow the teachings of the Supreme Lord and His representatives. The Lord will reveal His representative to the sincere seeker of the truth. For our benefit, we should be submissive to hear the glories of the Lord from His representative and engage in the Lord’s service.
Use your human intelligence to inquire from spiritually elevated pure souls and ask how you can become purified. This requires some humility and discrimination. Read Srila Prabhupada’s books and test what they have to say. They can change your heart, touch your soul, and begin to reveal your real position as an eternal lover of the Surpreme Lord, Sri Krishna. He is in your heart waiting for you to turn to Him. He is anxious to have you back home with Him. Give it a try. Chant and glorify Him, render service to Him, and you will discover the evidence you seek.