ISKCON Needs More Grandmothers

Grandmothers! Many of us would still cherish in some corner of our heart the special relationship we had with our grandmothers- maternal grandmothers were everyone’s favorite. In our quest for a career and better living, such relationships have been left far behind.

Yet, many of us, if not most, struggle in maintaining even a nuclear family without the support and guidance of our elders. We look back and wonder how our grandmothers managed multiple kids ( I mean grownup kids), managed complex relationships in a joint family, discreetly kept an eye on everything, counseled when requested and they always had time for all the grandkids. But most of all they were simply a bundle of love and affection, nourishing our childhood with joy and care.

What it has to do with me?

Let’s face it – trying to become a devotee in this faithless, fast, and quarrelsome age is very, very tough. If the mind is not making life difficult for us, it will be the neighbors, some authority figures, our bodies or our family. Actually, the list is endless. How to keep faith and focus in a world so obviously made for distraction? The real challenges come in our daily dealings in life. The philosophy sounds fine in the class atmosphere, but often we lose sight of it when dealing with the nitty-gritty practicalities of life. This often leads to “spiritual schizophrenia”. We have one sense of identity when at the temple and a very different one when we are at home or at work.

(HG Srimati Mataji)

This movement needs Grandmothers!

DS: You know, in the Vedic social system this role of a counsellor is in many ways institutionalized, in the sense that the qualities a brahmana is trained to cultivate engender trust and confidence naturally.

When I took sannyasa from Satsvarupa Maharaja, one thing he advised was to avoid politics and business, because our Society needs people one can trust. We need devotees who’ll concentrate on developing these qualities simplicity, honesty, self-control so that people will trust them.

Jayadvaita Swami: Such a great responsibility rests with sannyasis, gurus, temple presidents, leaders, senior devotees.

Badarayani Dasa: Because we’re human beings and we’re conditioned, even though we’re in Krsna consciousness, at every stage there are some difficulties. So, many devotees I’ve talked to feel that in the temples there should be a system where perhaps a couple of people who have had training could give counseling.

I think that if there was more of a formal system of Krsna conscious counseling within the temple, we’d be able to keep more devotees. We’ve had too high a percentage of “mortality,” of losing devotees, of devotees losing trust and confidence. And I think that if that kind of system was looked into, it would help. In the material world, there are counselors who are aloof from a person’s life, and people feel they can trust them because they are aloof.

Jayadvaita Swami: I think this movement needs grandmothers. It really does. There are times when you don’t need a sannyasi, you need a grandmother.

Karnamrta: Could you clarify that?

Jayadvaita Swami: When a problem comes up in your life, sometimes the best person to go to is your grandmother or your grandfather or your uncle or someone like that.

Because we’re such a young movement, those relationships haven’t really developed yet. But in a fully developed Krsna conscious family, they would be. Especially in Indian culture, you’ve got the extended family your father’s elder brother’s son and so on. You have all these people you can have a relationship with, people who’ve been through it, who have the experience, who have affection for you and concern for you and can help you out.

What’s bewildering to a batch of young turks may be old stuff for grandmothers who’ve seen two or three generations of it. So grandmothers.

(Back to Godhead magazine, Nov 1, 1991)

We are very fortunate that in ISKCON we have affectionate grandmothers practically in every temple or congregation- experienced, loving and mature devotees, who have gone through the very challenges and difficulties in their spiritual lives what we may be going through and struggling. We simply have to look for them.

In my own inconsequential spiritual journey, I have had the privilege to meet some of these wonderful grandmothers. Two years back I became spiritually diseased. Struggling poorly in my sadhana, nothing seemed to work for me and I didn’t know what to do. Then out of blue, the lotus feet of HG Jaggatarini mataji appeared in my life. She healed me exactly as an affectionate and caring grandmother would have done. There are some more experiences but let’s save them for some future blog.

I am attaching below a document containing practical tips or ‘home remedies’ as she calls them from a very experienced grandmother- HG Srimati mataji. This document has 25 short stories based on scriptures or real-life incidents. Each story ends with her valuable comments. We can read them at leisure and gain practical insights to progress wisely in Krishna consciousness.

I hope it will be helpful for you as it has been helpful to me.

All the best!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

p.s.- We can right-click on the document and save it.

Grandmas_Home_Remedies

Remedy for Coronavirus

All around there is only one hot news- coronavirus. The situation seems to be getting serious in many countries with an increased sense of fear and misery all across the world as there seems to be no remedy for coronavirus. Let us try to see things from the eyes of Guru, Sadhu and Sastra and understand why such epidemics come our way what is the remedy for coronavirus and other such epidemics.

Cause of coronavirus or other epidemics

Animal killing

By practice, one should avoid eating in such a way that other living entities will be disturbed and suffer. Since I suffer when pinched or killed by others, I should not attempt to pinch or kill any other living entity. People do not know that because of killing innocent animals they themselves will have to suffer severe reactions from material nature.

Any country where people indulge in unnecessary killing of animals will have to suffer from wars and pestilence imposed by material nature. Comparing one’s own suffering to the suffering of others, therefore, one should be kind to all living entities. One cannot avoid the sufferings inflicted by providence, and therefore when suffering comes one should fully absorb oneself in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

(SB 7.15.24p)

According to Manu, the great author of civic codes and religious principles, even the killer of an animal is to be considered a murderer because animal food is never meant for the civilized man, whose prime duty is to prepare himself for going back to Godhead. He says that in the act of killing an animal there is a regular conspiracy by the party of sinners, and that all of them are liable to be punished as murderers exactly like a party of conspirators who kill a human being combinedly. He who gives permission, he who kills the animal, he who sells the slaughtered animal, he who cooks the animal, he who administers distribution of the foodstuff, and at last he who eats such cooked animal food are all murderers, and all of them are liable to be punished by the laws of nature.

No one can create a living being despite all advancement of material science, and therefore no one has the right to kill a living being by one’s independent whims….. The material world is itself a place always full of anxieties, and by the encouragement of animal slaughter the whole atmosphere becomes polluted more and more by war, pestilence, famine and many other unwanted calamities.

(SB 1.7.37+p)

(pestilence means a fatal epidemic disease )

Irreligious rulers

An executive head should not be callous to the welfare of the general mass of people while he simply goes on collecting taxes. The king’s real duty is to see that the citizens gradually become fully Krishna conscious. Krishna conscious means completely free from all sinful activities. As soon as there is complete eradication of sinful activities in the state, then there will be no more war, pestilence, famine or natural disturbances.

(SB 4.20.14)

According to the laws of nature, whether at the time of Paraśurāma or at the present, if the government becomes irresponsible and sinful, not caring for brahminical culture, there will certainly be an incarnation of God like Paraśurāma to create a devastation by fire, famine, pestilence or some other calamity. Whenever the government disrespects the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead and fails to protect the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma, it will certainly have to face such catastrophes as formerly brought about by Lord Paraśurāma.

(SB 9.16.18-19p)

Degraded civilisation

Unable to check such illicit smuggling, the government has decided to manufacture the liquor at cheaper prices so that people can have their supply of intoxication directly from the government instead of purchasing it in public lavatories. The government failed to change the hearts of the citizens from indulging in sinful life, so instead of losing the taxes they collect to inflate the treasury, they have decided to manufacture liquor to supply to the citizens who hanker after it.

This kind of government cannot check the resultant actions of sinful life, namely war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes and similar other disturbances. Nature’s law is that as soon as there are discrepancies in regard to the law of God (which are described in Bhagavad-gita as dharmasya glānir, or disobedience to the laws of nature or God), at once there will be heavy punishment in the form of sudden outbreaks of war.

(SB 4.20.21p)

Remedy for coronavirus

Man-made material science cannot do anything to counteract these threefold miseries. They are all punishments from the superior energy of māyā under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore our constant touch with the Lord by devotional service can give us relief without our being disturbed in the discharge of our human duties. The asuras, however, who do not believe in the existence of God, make their own plans to counteract all these threefold miseries, and so they meet with failures every time. The Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) clearly states that the reaction of material energy is never to be conquered, because of the binding effects of the three modes. They can simply be overcome by one who surrenders fully in devotion under the lotus feet of the Lord.

(SB 1.14.10p)

Our real position

Through parental care, through remedies for different kinds of disease, and through means of protection on the water, in the air and on land, there is always an endeavor for relief from various kinds of suffering in the material world, but none of them are guaranteed measures for protection. They may be beneficial temporarily, but they afford no permanent benefit. Despite the presence of a father and mother, a child cannot be protected from accidental death, disease and various other miseries. No one can help, including the parents.

(SB 7.9.19p)

What should we do?

Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām: in this material world there are dangers at every step, but they are not meant for devotees who have fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotees of Lord Viṣṇu may rest assured of the Lord’s protection, and as long as they are in this material world they should fully engage in devotional service by preaching the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Kṛṣṇa, namely the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

(SB 6.3.18p)

Ultimately the shelter is the Lord, and one who takes shelter of the Lord is protected. This is guaranteed. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31)kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” Therefore, unless one is protected by the mercy of the Lord, no remedial measure can act effectively. One should consequently depend fully on the causeless mercy of the Lord. Although as a matter of routine duty one must, of course, accept other remedial measures, no one can protect one who is neglected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(SB 7.9.19p)

I hope the cause and the remedy for coronavirus or any other epidemic is clear to us.

Such challenging circumstances also offer a window of opportunity for the devotees to build some ‘spiritual muscles’ – for new devotees by taking shelter of Krishna and for a little more advanced devotees it’s a moment to deepen their faith in Krishna.

Finally, mature devotees deal with such critical situations with their feet on the ground, themselves acting responsibly and guiding others also in a sensible manner.

Every situation can become an opportunity to progress in our spiritual journey – coronovirus or no coronavirus.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Why Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

Among all the incarnations of Absolute Truth, Krishna’s pastimes, in particular, are puzzling even for the demigods (lord Brahma’s and Indra’s pastimes come immediately to the mind) what to speak of humans and the demons. Therefore when Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu then it is even more puzzling. Why Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu? What inspires Krishna to become His own devotee? Krishnadasa Kaviraj Gosvami demystifies this secret in Caitanya Caritamrita and discloses three external and three internal reasons for it.

Before we acsess these secrets, let us first pray to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates.

jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

Three external reasons for the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

1. To bestow Vraja bhakti upon us.

Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoys His transcendental pastimes as long as He wishes, and then He disappears. After disappearing, however, He thinks thus: “For a long time I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service to Me upon the inhabitants of the world. Without such loving attachment, the existence of the material world is useless.

“Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vrajabhūmi. “Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me. “By performing such regulated devotional service in awe and veneration, one may go to Vaikuṇṭha and attain the four kinds of liberation.

“My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the residents of Vraja. “Therefore in the company of My devotees I shall appear on earth and perform various colorful pastimes.” Thinking thus, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, descended at Nadia early in the Age of Kali.

(CC Adi 3.13-17, 3. 13.26,28,29)

2. To inaugurate the Yuga Dharma for Kali yuga- Sankirtana yajna

F02.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is repeatedly and clearly said that the essence of religion in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. “In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.”

My dear brothers, please hear all these glories of Lord Caitanya. This verse clearly summarizes His activities and characteristics The two syllables “kṛṣ-ṇa” are always in His mouth; or, He constantly describes Kṛṣṇa with great pleasure. These are two meanings of the word “kṛṣṇa-varṇa.” Indeed, nothing else but Kṛṣṇa issues from His mouth.

“By performing the sacrifice of congregational chanting of the holy name, learned scholars in the Age of Kali worship Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is now nonblackish because of the great upsurge of the feelings of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He is the only worshipable Deity for the paramahaṁsas, who have attained the highest stage of the fourth order [sannyāsa]. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya, show us His great causeless mercy.”

(CC Adi 3.50-55, 58)

3. Loud cries by Sri Advaita Acarya

Advaita_Acarya

Advaita Ācārya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa because people were engrossed in material affairs. Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death. Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.

Thinking of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He constantly offered tulasī buds in water from the Ganges. He appealed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with loud calls and thus made it possible for Kṛṣṇa to appear. Therefore the principal reason for Śrī Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Ācārya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.

(CC Adi 3.96-98, 108-11)

Three confidential reasons for the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.”

Once Lord Krishna considered within His heart, “Everyone says that I am complete bliss, full of all rasas. “All the world derives pleasure from Me. Is there anyone who can give Me pleasure? “One who has a hundred times more qualities than Me could give pleasure to My mind. “One more qualified than Me is impossible to find in the world. But in Rādhā alone I feel the presence of one who can give Me pleasure.

“Although My beauty defeats the beauty of ten million Cupids, although it is unequaled and unsurpassed, and although it gives pleasure to the three worlds, seeing Rādhārāṇī gives pleasure to My eyes.

“The vibration of My transcendental flute attracts the three worlds, but My ears are enchanted by the sweet words of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. “Thus although I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Śrī Rādhikā are My life and soul. “In this way My affectionate feelings for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī may be understood, but on analysis I find them contradictory.

“My eyes are fully satisfied when I look upon Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but by looking upon Me, She becomes even more advanced in satisfaction. “I am always eager to taste the joy that Rādhārāṇī derives from Me. “In spite of various efforts, I have not been able to taste it. But My desire to relish that pleasure increases as I smell its sweetness.

“Formerly I appeared in the world to taste mellows, and I tasted the mellows of pure love in various ways. “I taught devotional service that springs from the devotees’ spontaneous love by demonstrating it with My pastimes. “But these three desires of Mine were not satisfied, for one cannot enjoy them in a contrary position.

Unless I accept the luster of the ecstatic love of Śrī Rādhikā, these three desires cannot be fulfilled. “Therefore, assuming Rādhārāṇī’s sentiments and bodily complexion, I shall descend to fulfill these three desires.” In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa came to a decision. Simultaneously, the time came for the incarnation of the age.

(CC Adi 4. 238-244, 248-50, 62-69)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

A loving prayer to Thakuraji

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

In the last two blogs, we read two prayers to Thakuraji- Good morning Thakuraji and It’s time for me to go to work Thakuraji, written by HG Srimati Mataji. The first prayer is to recite when we take the morning darshan of our Thakuraji and the second prayer is when we are ready to leave our home/temple for office/ preaching/ household chores, etc. I hope reading these prayers is proving to be a spiritually nourishing experience for our hearts.

Today I am sharing one more prayer to Thakuraji. We can recite this prayer when we come back from our office/work in the evening. We will find two prayers instead of a single one. The reason is that no two days are alike. Some days we come back home still charged up with spiritual energy while on some days, which is more often, our spiritual energy is almost discharged, we feel tired and sapped of any energy. There is a different prayer for each type! Such is the compassion of Vaisnavas upon us. These prayers have also been written by HG Srimati Mataji. I pray that simply by reading these prayers with a sincere and honest heart we can again connect back to the lotus feet of Krishna, the Supreme energetic.

Let me share a small experience. Today morning, instead of addressing the ‘Good morning prayer’ to Lord Jagannath, I addressed it to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. It was a different experience for me. I felt more connected and also more grounded as I could better see my actual current spiritual status against the words and aspirations of the prayer. And yet at the same time, it was spiritually more nourishing as I experience some resonance in my heart.

I also realised that daily reading a prayer to Thakurji is not very difficult. I can also temporarily muster some feelings behind those words. However, the difficult part is walking the talk- being able to apply what I am praying for, it seems lightyears away. Still, daily reading a personalised loving prayer to Thakuraji/Srila Prabhupada/Spiritual master is turning out to be a spiritually nourishing experience for my heart. I hope that by Krishna’s mercy desire or aspiration of these prayers may get fulfilled in some lifetime. I have hope and faith in the potency of prayers of the kind-hearted Vaisnavas and in the causeless mercy of the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to daily prayer to Thakuraji

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

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PDF Embedder requires a url attribute Thakuraji-Part-3-New-2

It’s Time for Me to Go to Work, Thakuraji!

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

In the last blog we read the personal prayer ‘Good Morning Thakuraji‘ written by HG Srimati mataji for struggling devotees like us. I hope some of us have started reading it daily to our Thakuraji. I am myself trying to read it daily and it is making some difference in my consciousness. At the least, I know what to pray.

Today I am posting the second prayer, written by HG Srimati mataji. This is the prayer to read out aloud to our Thakuraji before we leave our home for office, preaching, temple service, household chores, etc. The overall mood is the same as that in the first prayer but now the feeling of dependence has increased as we are ready to move out ftom the shelter of our ashrama (home) into the material world.

I humbly pray that by reciting this prayer to Thakuraji our heart gets churned and it becomes a suitable recipient for the mercy of Krishna.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Thakuraji-Part-2

Good morning Thakuraji- a prayer to Krishna

The power of the prayer to Krishna is known to all the devotees both new or old. The power lies in the process of praying itself. And when that prayer to Krishna comes from the heart of His pure devotees then it has added potency.

We have access to many wonderful prayers to Krishna. There are excellent prayers spoken by great devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam like Gajendra, lord Siva, lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj, and many others. There are prayers to Krishna in the form of bhajans by our Acharyas. We also have prayers coming from the heart of senior Vaisnavas. They are all potent. If we recite them daily with a sincere and open heart then not only these prayers help us in setting the right mood to approach the lotus feet of Krishna but they also have the potency to gradually change our consciousness. Senior Vaisnavas advise us that prayer to Krishna should be part of our daily sadhana.

In the next four blogs, I will share four special prayers to Krishna written by HG Srimati Mataji for aspiring and struggling devotees like us. They are unique in their approach and can help us raise our consciousness so we can get access to the lotus feet of Krishna- in a very natural and personal manner. When I read them for the first time they immediately struck a chord. I am sharing them with you hoping that they will touch your heart as they touched mine.

Good morning Thakuraji‘ is the first in that series of prayer to Krishna. We can daily read it to our Thakuraji when we receive His first darshan in the morning.

I will be happy to hear about your experience of reading them aloud to Krishna.

All the best,

All glories to Prayer to Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

p.s. We can right-click on the below image, save it and take its printout.

Thakuraji-Part-1

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

Today is the divine appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of our dear Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was born in Sri Jagannatha Puri on 6 February 1874 as the son of Srila Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was a great Vedic scholar, a revolutionary preacher and was popularly known as ‘lion guru’. He preached extensively against casteism, impersonalism and deviant philosophies in the name of Gaudiya Vaisvanism. I am sharing below part of a very illuminating conversation Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura with a visitor which ends with a spiritually enlivening definition of what is the meaning of bhajan (our whole sadhana). The copied portion starts in the middle of the conversation.

Śāstrī: Why do we have such a nature?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Our independence alone causes it.

Śāstrī: From where did the dependent living entities get such independence?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Because we are minute spiritual particles of the supremely independent God, we contain within us a minute portion of His complete qualities. Kṛṣṇa has full independence, and so the living entities have limited independence.

Śāstrī: When do covering and throwing potencies (maya) act on the living entities?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: As soon as the living entities become indifferent to serving God, the time for covering and throwing (maya) begins.

Śāstrī: What is that indifference?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Indifference means to remain neutral. Neutrality can pull human beings in one direction or another. It can attract us toward the Lord’s service or to become averse to that service. We call that state “marginal.”

Neutrality is achieved after all material objects are eliminated, at the stage called brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu (Bg 18.54). In that stage, if one is not attracted toward transcendental devotional service, then he is captured by aversion to God.

Aversion can be of two types: the inclination for material enjoyment, and the inclination for renunciation. There are two paths: the path leading to the kingdom of material enjoyment, and the path leading to the kingdom of spiritual pastimes. Therefore, the neutral state is very dangerous. Living entities cannot remain in a state of neutrality; they will either go toward māyā or toward serving God.

Śāstrī: Then how can we avoid being covered and thrown?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: If one worships the Supreme Lord constantly with love and devotion, he will never be covered or thrown by māyā. But the worship has to be continuous. If there is a little gap in the continuity, then māyā’s covering potency takes advantage of it and covers us.

Śāstrī: What do you mean by bhajana?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Bhajana is the tie of love between the all-lover and the all-loved.

( from the book -Uncommon dialogues, conversation eight, Oct. 30, 1928 )

All glories Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

A letter from Krishna

A letter from Krishna

My dear son,

I am pleased to hear from you. In your recent prayers, you asked me ‘My dear Krishna sometimes I feel frustrated that I am so busy in my family and office life that I do not get much time left for you- to chant properly, to read about you, to hear about you. It seems coming back to you will remain just a pipe dream. Please guide me as to how can I please you under my present circumstances?’ Thank you for being sincere and honest, and for staying in regular touch. Do not be disheartened. I will share a little secret with you, knowing which, even while performing all your responsibilities, you can easily come back to me after this very lifetime. Here is the secret-

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that as an offering to Me. In this way you will be freed from bondage to work and its auspicious and inauspicious results. With your mind fixed on Me in this principle of renunciation, you will be liberated and come to Me.

(Bg 9.27-28)

I hope it will help you take the next step forward. In case you face any challenges remember that I am just a ‘prayer call‘ away from you.

All the best.

your well-wishing friend,

Krishna

Unity in diversity

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

I recently read a very inspiring verse on dandavats. It spoke about unity among devotees. It was not only encouraging, as it pleases Krishna, it also gave a benediction to all the devotees who remain united despite differences in the group/society. Unity in diversity. let’s read the verse

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
varaṁ vṛṇīdhvaṁ bhadraṁ vo
yūyaṁ me nṛpa-nandanāḥ
sauhārdenāpṛthag-dharmās
tuṣṭo ’haṁ sauhṛdena vaḥ

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear sons of the King, I am very much pleased by the friendly relationships among you. All of you are engaged in one occupation — devotional service. I am so pleased with your mutual friendship that I wish you all good fortune. Now you may ask a benediction of Me.

Since the sons of King Prācīnabarhiṣat were all united in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the Lord was very pleased with them. Each and every one of the sons of King Prācīnabarhiṣat was an individual soul, but they were united in offering transcendental service to the Lord. The unity of the individual souls attempting to satisfy the Supreme Lord or rendering service to the Lord is real unity. In the material world such unity is not possible. Even though people may officially unite, they all have different interests.

In the United Nations, for instance, all the nations have their particular national ambitions, and consequently they cannot be united. Disunity between individual souls is so strong within this material world that even in a society of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, members sometimes appear disunited due to their having different opinions and leaning toward material things. Actually, in Krishna consciousness there cannot be two opinions. There is only one goal: to serve Kṛṣṇa to one’s best ability. If there is some disagreement over service, such disagreement is to be taken as spiritual. Those who are actually engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be disunited in any circumstance. This makes the Supreme Personality of Godhead very happy and willing to award all kinds of benediction to His devotees, as indicated in this verse. We can see that the Lord is immediately prepared to award all benedictions to the sons of King Prācīnabarhiṣat.

(SB 4.30.8+p)

Srila Prabhupada sets the mood- unity in diversity

Now this displeasing of godbrothers has already begun and gives me too much agitation in my mind. Our Gaudiya Math people fought with one another after the demise of Guru Maharaja but my disciples have already begun fighting even in my presence. So I am greatly concerned about it.

Following in the footprints of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
trnad api su-nicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada harih
“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”
We must always remember this verse and be as tolerant as the tree, as we execute the Krsna consciousness movement. Without this mentality we cannot be successful.


Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali yuga. But, for this Krsna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. They cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity. I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.

One section of men have already gone out, therefore we must be very careful to maintain unity in diversity, and remember the story in Aesop’s Fables of the father of many children with the bundle of sticks. When the father asked his children to break the bundle of sticks wrapped in a bag, none of them could do it. But, when they removed the sticks from the bag, and tried one by one, the sticks were easily broken. So this is the strength in unity. If we are bunched up, we can never be broken, but when divided, then we can become broken very easily.

(letter to Kirtananda, 18th October 1973)

Work together

Prabhupāda: Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself says, ekākī āmāra nāhi pāya bolo.

Prabhupāda: ….The purport of the verse is that even Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu—He is God himself, Kṛṣṇa Himself—He felt, alone, unable to do this task. He felt. So this is the position. You are cooperating; therefore I am getting the credit. Otherwise, alone what could I do? Ekākī āmāra nāhi pāya bolo. Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself wanted our cooperation. He is God, Kṛṣṇa. And therefore cooperation is very important thing. Nobody should think that “I have got so great ability. I can do.” No. It is simply by cooperation we can do very big thing. “United we stand; divided we fall.” This is our… So be strong in pushing on Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and Kṛṣṇa will help. He is the strongest.

Still, we must be combined together. Saṅkīrtana. Saṅkīrtana means many men combined together chanting. That is saṅkīrtana. Otherwise kīrtana. Saṅkīrtana. Bahubhir militvā kīrtayeti saṅkīrtana.. Bahu. Bahu means many; many combined together. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission: combined together. All nations, all persons, they should combine together. There is hope in our Society, combination. There are Hindus; there are Muslims; there are Christians; there are black, white. Combine them. That looks very beautiful, just like combination of many flowers. There is black flower also. It looks nice, very nice. Each and every flower take alone, it is not beautiful, but when they are combined together, it looks very beautiful. It is attractive. And that is wanted. 

(conversation, 16th March 1976, Mayapur)

Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself sets the mood for all His followers. As His ‘senapati bhakta’ Srila Prabhupada practiced this principle all his life and he repeatedly encouraged devotees to follow this mood of cooperation with each other. This mood pleases Krishna so much that He readliy bestows His blessing upon us whenever we practice it. Now it is up to us to take advantage of it by applying it in our dealing with each other be it our temple, local center, Bhakti Vriksha group or home. The principle holds good, the choice is ours.

All glories to practicing unity in diversity

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

your servant,

Giriraj das

Three main Deities of Vrindavan

After the departure of Lord Krishna, all the Pandavas, unable to bear the separation from Krishna, decided to leave this world. Before they left, Maharaj Yuddhisthir appointed Parikshit, son of Abhimanyu, as the emperor of the whole world. Vajranabha, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna, son of Aniruddha, was made the king of Mathura.

Vajranabha missed Krishna very much. Many great personalities requested him to reestablish the glories of Vrindavan. Vrajanabha decided to excavate all those places in Vraja where Lord Krishna performed His pastimes. He sat under a tree on the banks of Yamuna and prayed to Krishna to reveal His divine pastimes places in Vraja. He received Krishna’s mercy, who revealed His Vrindavan pastimes in his heart. Vajranabha then called upon Vishwakarma, the architect of the demigods to install various Deities. The three principal Deities carved by him were Radha Madanmohana, Radha Govindadev and Radha Gopinath.

At that time there was no one other than Uttara, mother of Maharaj Parikshit, who had seen Krishna directly. The first Deity she saw was of Madanmohan. When Vajranabha showed this Deity to Uttara she said Madanmohan’s feet perfectly resemble Krishna’s feet. Next, when she saw the beautiful form of Govindadeva, she explained that the chest of Krishna was exactly like Him. Finally, when she saw the Deity of Gopinath, she explained that the beautiful smiling face of Gopinath exactly resembled Krishna’s face.

One can understand the importance of these three Deities of Vrindavan for the devotees. Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami declares that these three Deities of Vrindavan are the very life and soul of all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

śrī-rādhā-saha ‘śrī-madana-mohana’
śrī-rādhā-saha ‘śrī-govinda’-caraṇa

śrī-rādhā-saha śrīla ‘śrī-gopīnātha’
ei tina ṭhākura haya ‘gauḍiyāra nātha’

The Vṛndāvana Deities of Madana-mohana with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Govinda with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and Gopīnātha with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are the life and soul of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.

(CC Antya 142-143)

ei tina ṭhākura gauḍīyāke kariyāchena ātmasāt
e tinera caraṇa vandoṅ, tine mora nātha

These three Deities of Vrindavan [Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopīnātha] have absorbed the heart and soul of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas [followers of Lord Caitanya]. I worship Their lotus feet, for They are the Lords of my heart.

(CC Adi 1.19)

Srila Prabhupada explains the role these three special Deities of Vrindavan play in the lives of devotees in his purport of the above verse –

The author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta offers his respectful obeisances unto the three Deities of Vrindavan named Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana, Śrī Rādhā-Govindadeva and Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnāthajī. These three Deities are the life and soul of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavas, or Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, who have a natural aptitude for residing in Vṛndāvana. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas who follow strictly in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu worship the Divinity by chanting transcendental sounds meant to develop a sense of one’s transcendental relationship with the Supreme Lord, a reciprocation of mellows (rasas) of mutual affection, and, ultimately, the achievement of the desired success in loving service. These three Deities are worshiped in three different stages of one’s development. The followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu scrupulously follow these principles of approach.

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas perceive the ultimate objective in Vedic hymns composed of eighteen transcendental letters that adore Kṛṣṇa as Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopījana-vallabha. Madana-mohana is He who charms Cupid, the god of love, Govinda is He who pleases the senses and the cows, and Gopījana-vallabha is the transcendental lover of the gopīs. Kṛṣṇa Himself is called Madana-mohana, Govinda, Gopījana-vallabha and countless other names as He plays in His different pastimes with His devotees.

(CC Adi 1.19p)

According to the Vedic principles, there are three stages of spiritual advancement, namely, sambandhajñāna, abhidheya and prayojana. Sambandha-jñāna refers to establishing one’s original relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, abhidheya refers to acting according to that constitutional relationship, and prayojana is the ultimate goal of life, which is to develop love of Godhead

(CC Adi 7.73p)

So these three Deities of Vrindavan, each one of Them represent

  1. Sri Radha Madanmohan are the presiding Deity of Sambanda – our eternal relationship with Krishna, we are His part and parcel.
  2. Sri Radha Govindadev are the presiding Deity of Abhidheya – how to act in that relationship. devotional service.
  3. Sri Radha Gopinatha are the presiding Deity of Prayojana– ultimate goal, love of Godhead.

Krishna willing, in our upcoming blogs, we will read in a little more detail about these special Deities of Vrindavan and try to understand and appreciate the unique role They play in the lives of all the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

All glories to the three main Deities of Vrindavan.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriranj dasa

P.S.: It is said that if one gets darshan of these three Deities of Vrindavan on the same day, especially on an Ekadasi, then it is accepted that one has taken full darshan of Krishna. I have posted Their pictures and today is Ekadasi.