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Walking with a Saint 2008 (Morning Walks and Conversations with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja)

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Foreword   For whatever we aspire to become, it is inspiring to associate with a master. This holds true for those of us who dream to be great athletes, musicians, artists, or businessmen.   Moreover, nowadays many of us are waking up to an understanding that we are spiritual beings; somewhere along the path of realizing that the purpose of human life is more than just survival and material accomplishments. We are beginning ...



For whatever we aspire to become, it is inspiring to associate with a master. This holds true for those of us who dream to be great athletes, musicians, artists, or businessmen.


Moreover, nowadays many of us are waking up to an understanding that we are spiritual beings; somewhere along the path of realizing that the purpose of human life is more than just survival and material accomplishments. We are beginning to see that we are souls, not just mechanical bodies. We see all around us the allure of material life, but our hearts are yearning for a deeper, richer, fuller experience. We want to taste God. We want to be whole and fulfilled, not for five minutes or five hours, but forever - and for that attainment, inspiring masters are also available.


These days we are very fortunate, because we have so much access to information through books and the internet. We also have access to the Vedas, the ancient scriptures, a vast opus compiled thousands of years ago in India by great sages in order to benefit mankind to progress along the path of self-realization.


However, there is such an enormous diversity of information available from these timeless books of wisdom, with so many interpretations, that choice can lead to confusion. Thus, we become like starving children entering a sumptuous restaurant. There is so much available, but what would be good for us to eat What will really nourish us?


With our hearts yearning for truth in a world offering a myriad of solutions, the spiritual master, the sadhu, or saint, plays an essential role. The word sadhu is derived from the Sanskrit word sat, or sattva, which means the 'ever-existing Supreme Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.' The sadhu is fully surrendered to that Absolute Truth, and is in essence a manifestation of that Truth, who is revealed in the Vedic scriptures as Sri Krsna.


It is stated in the Vedas: "The symptoms of a sadhu, or saint, are that he is tolerant, merciful, and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime."


The sadhu is tolerant, without being disturbed. For example, Lord Jesus Christ was tolerant. Even when he was being crucified, he prayed to God, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." Another example is the child-saint Prahlada Maharaja.


Prahlada's demonic father tried to torture him in many ways: by hurling him off a cliff, at the feet of a wild elephant, into a fire, and in a pit of snakes; but Prahlada was never disturbed. His father forced him to drink poison, and he drank it, but he was not at all disturbed.


We learn that part of the core process of progressing in God- realization is sadhu-sariga, which means 'association with a sadhu,' and which the ancient Vedas tell us offers unfathomable benefits: "If a person gets the chance to attentively hear from elevated saints about the activities and character of Sri Krsna, which are like a flowing river of nectar, he will forget the necessities of life, namely hunger and thirst, and become immune to all kinds of fear, lamentation, and illusion" (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.40).


And further, "Association with wise devotees makes what was empty full. It turns death into immortality. It turns calamity into good fortune" (Vasistha-sastra).


The great self-realized soul, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who lived in India in the nineteenth century, explains in a poetic song that there is no one in this entire world more dear than a sadhu. Worldly fathers, mothers, and other relatives are dear, but not as dear as that sadhu. These worldly relationships may sometimes bring us suffering, but a sadhu takes away all our sufferings. For this reason the scriptures tell us that by even a moment's association with a pure sadhu one can attain all success.


The sadhu of This Book


After rising as early as three a.m., uttering mantras and prayers and chanting the various names and glories of Krsna, it was a part of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's morning practice to take a brisk walk for up to one hour. This was a time when those seeking his association could walk with him, and also hear from him, for at times he would stop and spontaneously share his realizations.


A sublime and elevated personality, his relationships and interactions with people on a one-to-one basis are intimate and sweet. Hundreds of thousands of people take his association, and yet he is always able to tailor his communication for the person who asks a question, even if that person has never met him before. To one inquirer he might express himself with joking irony, to another with gravity, to another in a playful way, to another with sternness, to another with a tone of sympathy, to another with subtle philosophical intricacies, and to another with deliberate simplicity. Sometimes what he says is applicable for the moment, and sometimes for eternity. Sometimes his replies apply to a specific individual, and sometimes to the entire audience, but in both cases his words enlighten all.


He personally replies most of the time, and on occasion he calls on a sannyasi (renunciant) or other senior disciples to reply. Sometimes he expresses appreciation for his disciples' replies, and sometimes he corrects them. There is a saying in India that a mother teaches her daughter-in-law by teaching her daughter. In other words, the mother will most readily give corrective instruction to her own daughter, but that instruction will apply equally to the less accessible daughter-in-law. Similarly, on his morning walks Srila Maharaja trains his disciple/preachers to speak and understand with great precision and clarity the established truths of Vedic philosophy; and by this he also wants to inspire all people of the world, all of whom he considers as his spiritual children. He wants to inspire them with the understanding that correct philosophical thought elevates one on his or her path to perfection, whereas a philosophical misunderstanding can derail one from the path and keep one chained in the darkness of material and spiritual confusion.


In 2008 his eighty-seventh birthday was celebrated, yet he not only walked briskly but with great elegance and refinement. One could not help but be struck by his warmth, ease, compassion, and gravitas, and one was struck by even a slight sense of his unconditional, ever-fresh love and affection for all.


We learn from spiritual masters that whenever a saint speaks, atoms of prema (transcendental love of God) emanate from his glance and from every pore of his divine body, and these atoms fall upon all those who are fortunate enough to be in his presence. Everyone starts somewhere, and he accepts all with an unfathomable open heart.


We wish we could put a video of these morning walks and darsanas on each page of this book so that you would be able to see his sweet smiles, hear his laughter, and hear his voice full of unending care and compassion.


The Making

It was in Odessa, Ukraine, in September of 2008 that Srila Naravana Gosvami Maharaja first requested his followers to publish transcriptions of his morning walks, "So that in the future everyone will be able to know all the established truths we have discussed." He requested a series of books, each year of discussions becoming a book.


His new publishing team began collecting the sound-files (audio and video) for all of his walks and darsanas of 2008 - the first year's book and then they wrote to devotees they knew in each country, asking for more.


They recognized most of the voices on the sound-files, but some they didn't. So they asked their spiritual brothers and sisters in each city to hear the walks or darsanas and fill in the missing names. In the rare instances where they were unable to get names, the page will say 'Devotee' or 'Guest.'


As more and more walks and darsanas were edited, some of the editors began to consider removing the names of Srila Maharaja's spiritual daughters and sons, as well as the names of others, including institutional and political leaders, who were corrected or chastised by him. They were worried that these persons would be embarrassed by 'public exposure:' and worried that, imitating him, his followers might also feel free to criticize and chastise. In response to their concerns, Srila Maharaja personally directed them to be transparent and not omit anything. He said there was no need for adjustment of the text; his correction or chastisement of his own disciples, or of others, would be beneficial for those individuals as well as for the world. He added that those who are not self-realized souls must not find fault with others, however, because "They have no power to do so.






Auckland, New Zealand


January 4 - darsana


January 5 - morning walk


January 5 - darsana after the walk


January 5 - darsana


January 6 - darsana


January 8 – darsana


January 9 - morning walk


January 9 – darsana


January 9 - airport darsana


Lautoka, Fiji


January 11 - morning walk


January 14 – darsana at the home of Nitin Punja


January 14 - darsana at the home of jagadisa dasa


January 15 - excerpt of a darsana at the home of Srimati Gaurimata dasi


January 15 - ground breaking ceremony for the new temple


January 16 - airport darsana


Murwillumbah, Australia


February 4 - morning walk


February 5 - morning walk


February 6 - morning walk


February 7 - morning walk


Pui O, Hong Kong


April 9 - darsana


April 11 - darsana after the morning walk


April 11 - darsana for the Philippine devotees in the late morning


April 13 - morning walk


April 14 - morning walk


April 14 - darsana


April 14 - meeting with the Sri Team


April 15 - morning walk


April 16 - morning walk


April 16 - airport darsana


Vancouver, Canada


April 17 - evening darsana at the home of Sriman Ragbhir dasa


April 19 - morning darsana at the home of Hemanta dasa Adhikari


April 27 - airport darsana


Toronto, Canada


April 22 - morning walk


April 23 - morning walk excerpt


April 23 – darsana


Alachua, Florida


April 28 - darsana with Gurukula alumni


April 29 - morning walk


April 29 - darsana


April 30 - morning walk


May 7 - morning walk


May 2 - darsana after the walk


May 3 - morning walk


May 3 - darsana after the walk


May 4 - morning walk


May 5 - morning walk


Miami, Florida


May 13 - morning walk


May 14 - morning walk


May 15 - morning walk


May 17 - morning walk


May 18 - morning walk


May 19 - morning walk


May 20 - morning walk


May 21 - morning walk


May 22 - morning walk


May 22 - darsana after the walk


May 23 - morning walk


May 24 - morning walk


May 25 – darsana


May 26 – darsana


May 27 - morning walk


May 28 - morning walk


Houston, Texas


May 30 - morning walk


May 30 darsana


May 31 - morning walk


June 1 - morning walk


June 4 - morning walk


June 5 - morning walk


San Francisco, California


June 7 – darsana


June 20 - morning walk


Badger, California


June 13 - morning walk


June 13 - darsana


June 14 - morning walk


June 14 - darsana after the walk


June 14 - darsana


June 15 - morning walk


June 16 - morning walk


June 17 - morning walk


June 17 - darsana after the walk


June 18 - morning walk


Verbania, Italy


June 29 – darsana


Istanbul, Turkey


September 14 – darsana


September 16 – darsana


Odessa, Ukraine


September 20 - morning walk


September 20 darsana


September 22 - morning walk


September 23 - morning walk


September 24 - morning walk


September 25 - morning walk


Cebu, Philippines


December 26 - darsana


December 27 – darsana


December 28 – darsana


December 29 - darsana


December 29 - darsana






Contacts and Centers



Item Code: NAK825 Author: Sri Narayana Gosvami Maharaja Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2014 Publisher: Gaudiya Vedanta Publications ISBN: 9781935428268 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch Pages: 448 (20 B/W illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 600 gms
Price: $25.00
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