Published on July 26th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa

Happiness on Second Avenue, New York City, 1966 — Video

This video is a CBS news presentation which was broadcast on national television in 1966 documenting the first weeks of Srila Prabhupada first temple at 26 2nd Ave, New York City. It vividly shows the spiritual mood that Srila Prabhupada was able to create in his Lower East Side temple and how attractive this mood was to the young people, hippies, who were living in the area at the time.

Video Transcript:

I’m Reed Colin’s

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

A hypnotic rhythmic chant of 16 words has replaced LSD and other drugs for some in New York’s East Village.

On 2nd Ave. and 1st St. is a storefront in which a Hindu Swami has set up shop. There his American disciples are learning about Krishna consciousness.

Devotee: And in nature we have all of the beautiful things and ugly things, we have duality. But the chant is to get us out of nature and into Krishna’s superior universe. Which is the spiritual universe.

And this is what the chant is really intended to do, to take you off into eternity.

Devotee: I started chanting in July, I was still taking LSD at the time, but he was against LSD, he said…  I told him what you think of my taking LSD for spiritual realization, expanded consciousness. I was interested in staying high forever as it were. Maintaining an awareness of the universe that was flowing through me and passed me at every second of my life.

He said, “That’s not necessary, your spiritual life is already here.” He says you don’t need to take anything for your spiritual life. And I knew he was right and he hand that exalted state of consciousness.

I sensed it and I knew he didn’t take anything. And I knew that I wanted this state of consciousness and that he could teach it to me.

Devotee: Krishna consciousness is nothing but the moment-to-moment realization that nothing is yours. Neither anything that you use in this world or your body or even your mind. Krishna is our Divine father, the one Lord. It  doesn’t matter what: you call Him: Allah, Muhammad, Buddha, Jehovah, Christ. There’s only one. Krishna is our father.  All things are His.  And we have happiness, true happiness when we use all things for Him.

Devotee: I practice my Krishna consciousness by chanting when I work and on my way to work. And this is what we asked all good people, to try chanting, try it when you wake up in the morning. Try it on your way to work on the subway. I know I chant every day on the way to work on the subway. Other people are kicking and shoving and I’m chanting, and I enjoy my subway ride.

Devotee: And now we’re going to go up town to St Marks Place to do our kirtan and spread joy and peace to the people of New York. We invite all our friends to join us. Hare Krishna.

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

3 Responses to Happiness on Second Avenue, New York City, 1966 — Video

  1. vanshika says:

    Hare Krishna
    i never wanted to use this word “hypnotic” for mahamantra, as it is a little… U know… Don’t use it kind of… For me. But actually it is hypnotic, it makes you live in another world, like, a very different world, and that’s the best part.
    what a fool i was some time back, in the duality or i should say in many ugly faces of life i was trying to get happiness and love out of it, and as a result, guess what, i got what every materialist gets, no satisfaction.
    when we are given a work to do, and we complete it very properly, we sit in most comfortable chair of ours and say ” hmmm… Yeh…! Now i am satisfied”, but no that doesn’t happens with me…no chance, but after chanting mahamantra i not only feel like satisfied but great and it feels like…just great.
    a couple of minutes back, i gave a call to my friend to ask her that if she could help me by giving her notebook for a day, so she denied, and same happened few weeks ago with another friend, and both the times i felt like helpless…weak…, but in a few minutes a thought arrived in my mind that this world has nothing genuine, but Krishna is and i read prabhupada’s book.
    To remove helplessness…worries….drugs…material things…personal sense satisfaction…we try many…many different kinds of things, but that never vanishes our problems but Krishna consciousness dose.

  2. sundeep says:

    hare krishna prabhu. .
    i would like to know why sense gratification isn’t real pleasure?

    • Hare Krishna Sundeep

      Sense pleasure is not real pleasure because you are not really the body and the senses only provide ‘pleasure’ on the material bodily platform. You are actually a spirit soul and you are occupying the material body. It is like you are the driver in a motor car. The motor car is a machine, in the same way your body and your senses are a machine, and you, the spirit soul, are the driver of that machine.

      Now, as we take service from the motor car, we can also take service from our material body. But if we were to identify with the motor car, and think that “I am a motor car” that would be wrong. If in that motor car consciousness were were to think that we could enjoy pleasure by providing the car with petrol and oil, then we would be mistaken. Our food is not petrol and oil, that is the ‘food’ for the motor car. We are the driver of the motor car and our food and pleasure is a completely different thing.

      Because we are not the material body, we are not the material senses, but we are completely different, a spiritual living entity, no amount of ‘sense gratification’ for the bodily senses is capable of providing any pleasure to the spirit soul at all.

      Pleasure in the material world is illusory. We are always imagining that we will be able to adjust things and meet that perfect girl and have that perfect sex and do it forever. But that is just an impossible dream. In reality there is no perfect girl and the results of sex are horrible. Yes. Sure there is a moment of ‘pleasure’. But the problem is it is only a moment. And that moment is followed by so many problems and so many difficulties… And the nature of the soul is that it wants eternal pleasure. So we can never be satisfied with a moment of pleasure.

      What we accept as ‘pleasure’ in the material world is the times when we are not suffering. If you hold a man’s head under the water he will be suffering then and if you occasionally pull his head out of the water and he can grasp a breath of air he will consider that moment when he is able to breathe ‘pleasure’. But that is not pleasure. That is just the moment when his head is not under the water and he is not drowning.

      Of course if we have no experience of spiritual pleasure then because we are pleasure-seeking by nature we will search for the so-called pleasures of the senses, but the senses can never be satisfied. They always want more, more, more. And you can never reach that point of satisfaction. That is because we are actually sat cit ananda vigraha. We are eternally youthful, full of knowledge and full of ever-increasing transcendental bliss and we have an eternal spiritual form, however our material body and senses which we are identifying with are just the opposite: asat, acit and nirananda. Temporary, full of ignorance and full of anxiety… So we can never be happy, we can never experience any real pleasure, while we are still identifying with our material body and still thinking that we can enjoy some pleasure through our material senses.

      The answer is of course to chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

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