Over here you can read about Vidyapati Prabhu's quest to barter his airfare for a trip to Sri Mayapur Dham.
He was inspired by an individual in Canada who is doing something similar in hopes of securing a house. This guy started with one red paper clip and has already traded various items up to a year's rent in a house in Pheonix, Arizona. ! (yes - Google it - i'm too lazy to find the link but i think its oneredpaperclip.com or something.)
So as a grhastha (householder) devotee its part of my social function to give in charity to the renunciate asrams. I'm pretty choosey about how and when I do this but these guys are the real deal and making the most of their training opportunities. What I did was swap an old modified Yamaha electric bass guitar for a pair of well-worn priceless sankirtana shoes from a very sweet, inspirational and sincere devotee and friend of mine named Bala Gopala Prabhu. His reaction upon hearing that his old shoes had been put up for barter:
Bala Gopala Prabhu - And His Divinely Purifying Shoes
So as of now this bass guitar is in the care of Vidyapati Prabhu, and in an attempt to save on postage, I will send it on to whomever will barter something that will help progress Vidyapati Prabhu's quest for the dust from Sri Mayapur Dham. (A worthy cause for sure.)
So here's the specs on this bad boy: (Click on pics to see a bigger size image.)
As you can see from the first picture, I've taken all of the frets off the neck and filled the ridges in so that it is, in-effect, a fretless bass. The inspiration to do this came from when, before I took any serious interest in Krishna Consciousness, I was listening to a Terrence Trent D'arby album where the fretless was prominent and was lulled by its subtleties. Although I'm way out of practice, I used it to record a sloppy (non-subtle) demo so that you can get an idea of the unique sound of this type of bass:
Fretless bass demo: [download
] (less than 1MB)
The sliding woody sound is what makes it distinct from a typical electric bass. As for now this instrument just sits around in storage and since it might actually be put to some good use by a devotee I thought it was time to let it journey on to better destinations. For some reason I got inspired to sand off the YAMAHA logo then although retrospectively I should have left it on because it resembles tilakas:
If anyone is interested then you need contact Vidyapati Prabhu or leave a comment here that I'll forward on to him.
And now that I have your attention, its time to do a bit of preaching ....
(cut and paste, Prabhus - speculators gotta type it all out! :) )
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.5.32
naiṣāḿ matis tāvad urukramāńghriḿ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāḿ na vṛṇīta yāvat
Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
"One cannot obtain kṛṣṇa-bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, by official execution of the Vedic rituals. One has to approach a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: "Who has been elevated without rendering service to a pure Vaiṣṇava?" It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja that unless one is able to accept the dust from the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of achieving the platform of devotional service. That is the secret."
- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 8.17 Purport
"The person who has not at any time received upon his head the dust from the feet of a pure devotee of the Lord is certainly a dead body."
- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 2.31 Purport
"The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. In all the revealed scriptures this is loudly declared again and again. Therefore, my dear devotees, please hear from me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation. From these three one achieves the highest goal of life — ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. This is the greatest mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The evidence is Kālidāsa himself.
- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 16.60-63
The Nectar of Instruction 4
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuńkte bhojayate caiva
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.