Dear Devotees,

Hare Krsna. Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to our beloved Srila Prabhupada.

We are hoping you and your relatives are well and have adjusted to the lifestyle changes we have to abide by in order to remain safe and virus-free. Many people are feeling extremely inconvenienced, and even lonely, by this present situation calling for “social isolation.” Some of you may relate to these feelings as well.

You may even be part of the growing number of people who are suffering from unemployment due to businesses being forced to close or to streamline their employees. This is causing anxiety for so many who are now wondering how to pay next month’s bills.

Being inconvenienced goes way beyond simply wearing surgical masks whenever you go outside. Now, many grocery stores are forming lines outside, in wind and rain, to allow only a few customers in the store at a time! It can take an hour or so just to get through the door to purchase your groceries.

While standing in line or performing any number of austerities brought on by this Coronavirus pandemic, it is comforting to remember how Srila Prabhupada explained that every situation in this material world, especially in this present age of Kali, is simply a “spiritual test” meant to help us to take more shelter of the Lord. 

As you are well aware, it was necessary to temporarily close our temples around the world. However, we can still virtually attend LIVE classes on our laptops or phones, not just at our temple, but at ISKCON temples around the world.

Simply tune into our ISKCON Philadelphia YouTube Channel, Mayapur TV and ISKCON Desire Tree.

We can also attend daily Srimad-Bhagavatam classes.

We can take Darshan of the beautiful Deities in temples worldwide. We can participate in the arotika and kirtan while sitting in your living room with your family. 

How blessed we are! 

Although many of us are feeling separation from visiting our ISKCON Philadelphia temple and having personal Darshan of Sri Sri Radha Saradbihari; Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Srimati Subhadra; Gaura Nitai; and His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, as we have been taught, the goal of this human life is to train the mind to think of the Lord 24 hours a day, whether you are in the temple, or in your home, or working in your office, or walking down the street.

Krsna makes all types of arrangements for us to remember Him no matter where we are and no matter what situation we are in. Being seated in the heart of each and every living being, Lord Krsna patiently waits for the lost souls to remember Him. After so many lifetimes of trying to forget Krsna within this material world, He watches and waits for us to turn to Him.

When we finally come in contact with Srila Prabhupada or his books or his devotees, we take one step toward Krsna, and He takes a thousand steps toward us.

Why does Krsna do this? Because the Lord is our eternal “Best Friend.” Even though we chose to leave Him and come to this material world out of envy for Him, Krsna still accompanies us as Supersoul within our heart. He is the “Supreme Witness” as He sees the soul commit one sinful act after the other, lifetime after lifetime. While we change from one material body to another, Lord Krsna as Supersoul remains in our heart in every reincarnation. In every birth, Krsna comes with us and is seated within the heart. He sits and watches and waits for us to turn to Him as our Supreme Shelter and Eternal Lord and Friend. 

In addition, Krsna is our “Best Friend” because He sends His Pure Devotees to come for us throughout time. He also incarnates to deliver His beloved devotees because He misses us more than we can imagine! 

So, even when we are seemingly separated from the Lord at the temple, we are always with the Lord.

We can still associate with Krsna by chanting His Holy Names, which are non-different than Him.

We can hear about His wonderful pastimes both on Krsnaloka, where He is eternally enjoying on the topmost planet in the Spiritual World.

We can hear about His pastimes when He appears within this material world by reading Krsna Book. Hearing about these transcendental pastimes of the Lord and His associates carry us beyond this material world and our present mundane situation. The sound vibration of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and hearing about Lord Krsna’s pastimes literally transports us to Krsnaloka, and allows us a glimpse into the Lord’s eternal planet.

We can meditate upon the Lord and His beloved Radharani.

We can read the Caitanya-caritamrita and by doing so we can associate with Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda who bless this world with Their mercy by giving us the Holy Names of the Lord:

Hare Krsna. Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ 

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. 

We can think of innovative ways to use today’s technology to associate with the Lord’s devotees on our computers and phones. 

Krsna is so kind! 

Pertaining to being separated from devotees, Srila Prabhupada once wrote the following letter to a disciple who was ill and feeling separation from the temple and the devotees.

On July 1, 1971, Srila Prabhupada wrote from Los Angeles:

“I’m very sorry that you are separated from the temple for the time being. But don’t worry. Krishna will save you, you can be sure. There is no doubt about it. So go on chanting Hare Krsna at all costs and never mind these tribulations of Maya. Go on chanting Hare Krsna. Krsna is in your heart. Pray to Him for your protection and soon things will be adjusted and you will again be in the association of devotees. Of that you can be sure. Hoping this will meet you in rapidly recovering health.” 

Therefore, during this time of great “spiritual tests,” we must endeavor to remain strong within ourselves as Vaishnavas by continuing to chant our prescribed number of rounds daily, by reading Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental books every day, by experiencing class online, by taking Darshan of the Deities on our phones or computers, and by staying in the association of devotees by phone, emails, texting, etc.

It may not feel the same, but if we are determined, we can still maintain our friendships with one another, inspire one another in our Krsna consciousness, and continue our strong connections within our congregation.

No doubt, we all miss dancing and chanting in front of Their Lordships at the temple and taking prasadam together at the Sunday feasts and festivals.

By the Lord’s grace, we will be doing this again very soon! 

Another inspiring quote that Srila Prabhupada states in the Teachings of Lord Caitanya is:

“Krsna is like the sky; He is situated everywhere.” 

Let us please use this challenging time to remind one another of this important point.  

Your servants,

Vamanadeva das and Sangita devi dasi

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