Dear Bhakta Eric, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Very pleased to hear from you. Good to see you have been making an impact in alt.punk! I haven't been following it unfortunately and I just looked on the University of Tasmania's system and it's not there either. I'll follow it from now on though. Srila Prabhupada once said there is a devotee on every street corner, we just have to find them! So it looks like you've found one. The nicest thing is association with devotees. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said; sadhu sanga sadhu sanga sarva shastra kaya, lava matra sadhu sanga sarva siddhi haya: "Even a moment's association with a pure devotee is the most valuable thing in the world." There are three types of persons, devotees, the innocent and the demons. As preachers we try to associate with devotees, preach to the innocent and avoid the demons. It can be VERY difficult if we try to preach to the demons. But devotees are more merciful than Krishna, they want to preach to the demons as well. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was on the planet five hundered years ago his two of His principal assistants, Nityananda and Haridas Thakura would go out to the market (the local shopping mall...) to preach. "Jagai and Madhai were two brothers born in Navadvipa in a respectable brahmana family who later became addicted to all kinds of sinful activities. By the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu both Lord Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura used to preach Krishna consciousness door to door. While preaching in this way they came across Jagai and Madhi, two maddened drunken brothers, who, upon seeing them, begun to chase them. On the next day Madhai threw a clay pot a Nityananda Prabhu causing his head to bleed. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this He immediately rushed to the spot ready to punish the brothers, but when the all-merciful Lord Caitanya saw Jagai had repented, He immediately embraced him. By seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and embracing Him both the sinful brothers were at once cleansed. Thus they received initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra from the Lord and were delivered." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Adi 17.17) So when we preach sometimes the demons get angry but what can be done about that? WE CAN'T STOP PREACHING! The straight edge movement is a difficult thing because it is not really very strictly following the principles of Krishna consciousness. Maya [the material energy] is very powerful. She is always trying to distract us from spiritual life. She takes advantage of any little fault. Funny thing the example is a "razors edge". In days gone by they used to shave with "cut throat" razors, they were just very sharp blades, so you had to be very careful shaving, the smallest distraction and you end up with a big cut on your face. Spiritual life is like that, the razors edge, a little deviation from the rules and regulations and there's a big mess. Really Krishna consciousness, although its for everyone. it won't be seriously taken up by everyone. We have to find serious people who are actually prepared to give it a go. To follow the regulations seriously. It takes a big effort. The secret is to try and please a pure devotee. Visvanatha Chakravati Thakura says (and we sing every morning): yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi, "By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the mercy of Krishna. Without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement." But it has to be a real spiritual master... There are so many cheaters today [even in ISKCON] so one has to be VERY careful. Chanting is the most important thing. We just have to decide to do it and stick to it. Make a vow to chant 16 rounds a day and don't go to bed without chanting them! It doesn't take too long, three hours at the absolute maximum I think. It's well worth it. Although chanting can be difficult it is still working. As we chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, all the dirt which has accumulated in our heart for millions of births is washed off and gradually we can see ourselves. The heart is described as a dirty mirror and this chanting is the process that cleans the mirror of the heart, the more we chant the cleaner it gets and eventually we will be able to see our real spiritual self and our relationship with Krishna. Krishna is sitting in our hearts, we just can't see Him because of all the dirt... so keep chanting! Don't worry about what other people say, just chant! You will be purified and everyone who hears will also. If your chanting is good and regular everything else will automatically become OK. Chanting is the main thing (sorry for saying it again and again but it really is VERY IMPORTANT that we chant at least 16 rounds a day. If we don't we will loose our strength and be washed away by the waves of maya...) I will mail you my magazines next week and I am looking forward to reading yours. I saw one of your messages in arv about Lord Brahma's day. Looking forward to seeing your postings on the net and hearing from you again. Hare Krishna, -- Madhudvisa dasa | | S H E L T E R I N T E R N A T I O N A L |____________________________________________ Life is temporary and we don't know where we are going after death.