How to conquer Krishna

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Krishna consciousness is an adventure, most devotee will vouch that there is never a dull moment in our spiritual journey. There are ups and downs, many a times we wish to do more, feel inspired to push our boundaries, while sometime we become morose as we see our shortcomings and feel lack of progress despite a strong and sincere desire to do so.

Sometimes devotees feel constrained by their circumstances, and start praying fervently to Krishna to change their situation. In extreme cases some devotees, in their immaturity, and lack of proper guidance even try to forcefully change their ashram, assuming it will help them practice Krishna consciousness steadily. Krishna consciousness however is not dependent upon our external circumstances, it is what we do in those circumstances which is more important, what is state of my internal consciousness.

We should also know that Krishna consciousness is a gradual process, it is a matter of change of heart, a heart surgery, and heart surgery is not performed in a hurry! Therefore Srila Rupa Goswami guides us in NoI 3 that for those devotees who practice Krishna consciousness enthusiastically, endeavoring with great confidence, but at the same time remain patient for the result, success in devotional service is assured.

There is a very wonderful verse in Srimad Bhagavatam which throws light on the simple process one needs to follow to become successful in Krishna consciousness. The process it offers a very simple and sublime. And it gives an amazing benediction that if we follow this simple process then we will be able to conquer Krishna!

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
 jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
 ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām

Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrated by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds.

(SB 10.14.3)

Rupanugas are super practical, like their boss

Our Krishna consciousness movement is being spread so that you do not forget your cultural life. We do not say that you stop your business and become a sannyasi like me and give up everything. We do not say that. Nor did Krishna say that. Krishna never said, “Arjuna, give up your fighting business.” No, He said, “Arjuna, you are a kshatiya. You are declining to fight, saying, ‘Oh, it is very abominable.’ You should not say that. You must fight.” That was Krishna’s instruction.

Similarly, we Krishna conscious people are also advising everyone, “Don’t give up your business. Go on with your business, but simply hear about Krishna.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu also said this, quoting from Srimad Bhagavatam: sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir. Caitanya Mahaprabhu never said, “Give up your position.” Giving up one’s position is not very difficult. But to cultivate spiritual knowledge while one stays in his position—that is required.

(JSD, chapter 6)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu approved it

After his fourth proposal was rejected, Ramananda Raya said that devotional service rendered without any attempt at mental speculation or cultivation of knowledge is the highest stage of perfection. To support this view he gave evidence from Srimad Bhagavatam (10.14.3), wherein Lord Brahma tells the Supreme Personality of Godhead:

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
 jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
 ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām

”My dear Lord, one should give up monistic speculation and the cultivation of knowledge altogether. He should begin his spiritual life in devotional service by receiving information of the Your activities from a realized devotee of the Lord. If one cultivates his spiritual life by adhering to these principles and keeping himself on the honest path in life, then although Your Lordship is never conquered, You become conquered by the devotee following such a process.”

When Ramananda Raya presented this proposal, Lord Caitanya at once said, ”Yes, this is right.” In other words, Lord Caitanya agreed that this process conforms to His mission. In this age there is no possibility of acquiring spiritual knowledge by discharging one’s duties in the varnashrama-dharma system, by devotional service mixed with fruitive activity, by renunciation, or by devotional service mixed with the culture of knowledge.

Because most people are fallen and because there is no time to elevate them by a gradual process, the best course, according to Lord Caitanya, is to let them remain in whatever condition they are in but to engage them in hearing of the activities of the Supreme Lord as those activities are explained in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. The transcendental messages of the scriptures should be heard from the lips of realized souls. In this way a person may continue to live in whatever condition he is in and still make spiritual progress. Thus one can surely advance and fully realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(TLC, chapter 28)

Lord Shiva recommends it

My dear sons of the King, just execute your occupational duty as kings with a pure heart. Just chant this prayer fixing your mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. That will bring you all good fortune, for the Lord will be very much pleased with you.

The prayers offered by Lord Shiva are very authoritative and significant. Simply by offering prayers to the Supreme Lord one can become perfect, even though engaged in his occupational duty. The real purpose of life is to become a devotee of the Lord. It does not matter where one is situated. Whether one is a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, American, Englishman, Indian, etc., one can execute devotional service anywhere and everywhere in the material existence simply by offering prayers unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Hare Krishna mahā-mantra is also a prayer, for a prayer addresses the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His name and invokes good fortune by petitioning the Lord to allow one to engage in His devotional service. The Hare Krishna mahā-mantra also says, “My dear Lord Krishna, my dear Lord Rāma, O energy of the Lord, Hare, kindly engage me in Your service.” Although one may be situated in a lowly position, he can execute devotional service under any circumstance, as stated, ahaituky apratihatā: “Devotional service cannot be checked by any material condition.” (Bhāg. 1.2.6) Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also recommended this process:

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
 jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
 ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām

One may remain situated in his own place or his own occupational duty and still lend his ear to receive the message of the Lord from realized souls.

(SB 4.24.69+p)

Brahma ji practiced it

Following in the footsteps of Lord Brahmā, any person, even up to this day, can attain the same perfection by following the path of the paramahaṁsa as recommended herein. Lord Caitanya also approved of this method of self-realization for men in this age. One should first, with all conviction, believe in the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, and without making efforts to realize Him by speculative philosophy, one should prefer to hear about Him from the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and later from the text of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One should hear such discourses from a person Bhāgavatam and not from the professional man, or from the karmī, jñānī or yogī. That is the secret of learning the science.

One does not need to be in the renounced order of life; he can remain in his present condition of life, but he must search out the association of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and hear from him the transcendental message of the Lord with faith and conviction. That is the path of the paramahaṁsa recommended herein. Amongst various holy names of the Lord, He is also called ajita, or one who can never be conquered by anyone else. Yet He can be conquered by the paramahaṁsa path, as practically realized and shown by the great spiritual master Lord Brahmā. Lord Brahmā has personally recommended this paramahaṁsa-panthāḥin his own words as follows:

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
 jīvanti sanmukharitāṁ bhavadīya vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
 ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais trilokyām

Lord Brahmā said, “O my Lord Krishna, a devotee who abandons the path of empiric philosophical speculation aimed at merging in the existence of the Supreme and engages himself in hearing Your glories and activities from a bona fide sādhu, or saint, and who lives an honest life in the occupational engagement of his social life, can conquer Your sympathy and mercy even though You are ajita, or unconquerable.” (Bhāg. 10.14.3) That is the path of the paramahaṁsas, which was personally followed by Lord Brahmā and later recommended by him for attaining perfect success in life.

(SB 2.9.18p)

Gopis practiced it and conquered Krishna!

You remain in your position. Either in good or bad, it doesn’t matter. But you do one thing. sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir . You use your ear. That ear is bestowed upon everyone, either fool or learned. So use that ear, sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir, and hear attentively, and mold your life as you hear from the realized soul. sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir. One who remains like this, although he is imperfect fool, whatever he may be, he can conquer the ajita. Ajita means God. Nobody can conquer Him, but a devotee who sincerely hears about Him from the realized soul, he can conquer even Ajita, Krishna. Just like gopis. The gopis were women, and not very high class woman—cowherd’s men, in the village, not in town. Very educated, high society, brahmana, kshatriya—no. They all belonged to vaishya class. And they were woman, not Vedantist, not scholar. But they conquered Krishna. Why?… They heard about Krishna, and they became lover of Krishna. That is required. So that is the real qualification.

(SPL, 28th Feb 1975, Atlanta)

Prabhupada established ISKCON based upon this very principle

The Krishna conscious movement is based on this principle, and we are opening centers all over the world to give everyone a chance to hear the message of Lord Krishna in order to go back home, back to Godhead.

(SB 4.24.69p)

How to conquer Krishna?

Arjuna was a friend of Krishna. How he conquered? Now, Krishna became his driver. The Personality of Godhead, who is the Supreme, everyone’s master, He became a menial servant of Arjuna. So God is so lovable, and He reciprocates His love in this way. So you can conquer. Just like Krishna became the son of Nanda Maharaja, and when He was child, He took the shoes of Nanda Maharaja on His head just like child play. You see? So these are symptoms of conquering God…. You are trying to become one with God? Oh, you can become father of God. You can become father of God. God has no father but He accepts His devotee, His lover, “Oh, you are My father.” So that is the question. So if this process is for simply hearing, aural reception, sincerely, then by this process, whatever position I may be, in whatever position I may be, I can conquer the Supreme Lord. He agrees to be conquered.

Conclusion – Simply Sravanam kirtanam

This is the best benediction that a devotee can ask of the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ (Bhāg. 10.14.3) One may be in one position or another according to destiny, but in any case one must continue to hear about the activities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord, regardless of circumstances. A pure devotee does not pray for liberation or for cessation of the cycle of birth and death because he does not consider that important. The most important thing for a devotee is getting a chance to hear about the pastimes and glories of the Lord.

(SB 4.30.33p)

And the result..

The devotees who engage in the service of the Lord in this world will have the same opportunity in the spiritual world also. Thus for a devotee, everything is in the spiritual world, for as long as he can hear about the pastimes of the Lord, or wherever he can chant, the Lord is personally present (yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada). When the pure devotees assemble to chant, hear and talk about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the place where they assemble becomes Vaikuntha . For the devotee there is no need to pray to the Lord for transferal to the Vaikuntha world. A pure devotee can create Vaikuntha or Vrindavan anywhere simply by chanting the glories of the Lord without offense.

(SB 4.30.33p)

What’s the secret?

The words of Krishna are so attractive that they can immediately change the heart of even His opponent. His words can immediately solve all of the questions and problems of the world. Although He does not speak very long, each and every word from His mouth contains volumes of meaning. These speeches of Krishna are very pleasing to my heart.”

(NoD, chapter 21)

So we read how without giving too much attention to our current circumstances and by simply dedicate our lives in reading, or hearing, the words emanating from the lotus like mouth of Sri Govinda deva personally, say Bhagavad Gita, or by his pure devotees, say Srimad Bhagavatam or Krishna Book, then we can conquer the unconquerable, Krishna Himself! What more can devotees wish for!

All glories to Sri Guru Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

How to see Vrindavan?

Vrindavan

दिव्यद्वृन्दारण्य कल्पद्रुमाधः
श्रीमदरत्नागार सिंहासनस्थौ |
श्रीमद् राधा श्रीलगोविन्ददेवौ
प्रेष्ठालीभिः सेव्यमानौ स्मरामि || 

dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhah-
śrīmad-ratnāgāra-siṁhāsana-sthau
śrīmad-rādhā-śrīla-govinda-devau
preṣṭālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi

“In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.”

So description of Vrindavan, Vrindavan and Radhā and Krishna situated there. The  Vrindavan … Vana means forest, and vṛnda means tulasī. Mostly there are tulasī plants and other trees also, but all the trees are living desire trees, spiritual. They can serve Krishna in any way, desire. They have become trees by their voluntary desire. They’re all spiritual beings—there is no force—but everyone has got a particular tendency to serve  Krishna in a different way.

So these trees and plants, they are also living beings. They are not ordinary living beings, but they have decided to serve  Krishna by supplying fruits and flowers. They want that service. Everyone has got his particular propensity. So someone is serving as the land there, someone is serving as the throne, someone is serving as the supplying agent of fruits and flowers, someone is engaged in His service as the gopis, confidential servitors. The cows, calves, everything—they are all different living entities. They are not made of these material things, material body. 

Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir yaeva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ [Bs. 5.37]. They are all also expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. In one sense they are also  Krishna; they are not different from  Krishna. Śakti-śaktimatayor abheda: “The power and the powerful, they are not different, identical.” Just like the sun and the sunshine. So in the sun globe there is heat and light, and the sunshine, there is heat and light. So, so far heat and light is concerned, they are one. Similarly,  Krishna and Krishna’s pleasure potency, ānanda-cinmaya, ahlādinī… It is already described, rādhākṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmāt.

So whatever description is there of Vrindavan, that is expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. They are not different. Therefore in the beginning it is said, dīvyad, “shining,” or “divine,” “transcendental.” So we should not consider Vrindavan ordinary forest. Here we have got Vrindavan on this planet. That is also not ordinary forest. The exactly the same Vrindavan as it is Goloka  Vrindavan … There is no difference. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says that

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo, śrī-vṛndāvana

Viṣaya chāḍiyā. Our present position is that we are materially diseased, so we have to become free from the material disease. Material disease means sense gratification, and the most formidable disease is sex. This is called material disease. So viṣaya chāḍiyā. We have to be, become free from the contamination of viṣaya, material enjoyment. This is the statement of Narottama dasa Thakura.

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-vṛndāvana

When my mind will be cleansed of all material desires, then I shall be able to see what is  Vrindavan.” It is very difficult to see  Vrindavan with material desires. Bhakti means the first qualification is to become free from all material desires. (Then we will be able to see Vrindavan)

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9th April, 1975, Mayapur)

Why has Krishna allowed His dham to deteriorate, Srila Prabhupada?” Gurudas asks.
“It has not deteriorated,” he replies.
“Well, you just said that the Goswami temples were neglected.”
“That’s a fact. But Vrindavan has not deteriorated.”
“Most Americans would be shocked to see what I saw this morning,” I say.
“How’s that?” Prabhupada asks.
“Well, for one, they’d consider it unhygienic.”
“Just see. For a materialist, everything is topsy-turvy because his vision is perverted. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the seer.”
“But what’s this veneer covering the holy dham?”
The ugliness that you see here is yoga-maya,” Prabhupada says. “It’s Krishna’s covering. Vrindavan appears this way to drive away the atheists and impersonalists, just as New York attracts them. For a devotee, this Vrindavan is as good as Krishna’s transcendental abode in the spiritual sky-Goloka Vrindavan. But you must have the eyes to see.”

(Vrindavan Days, Chapter 5)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Time, place and circumstances

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

We hear the term- Time place and circumstances (desa, kala, patra) quite commonly in scriptures. We also try to apply it in preaching, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so successfully. Many a times we get confused how to apply this principle practically, am I compromising too much? Today morning I read a superlative and razor sharp explanation of this principle by HH Bhaktividya Purna swami. I am sharing its transcription with all of you.

Time Place and circumstances

HH Bhaktividya Purna Swami:

Was Yudhisthira running the whole world? Yes. He was practical. Not theory. So it can be. So if we are not able to see it then we have to study it. We have to try to apply it, practice it, then it will come. The practical will come. Where do you start from? Oh, we have time, place and circumstance.

But what is the philosophy in which we say time, place and circumstance? Is it in consideration of the sastra? Is it in consideration of administration based on religious principles? Or is it based on economics? Most people say time, place and circumstance their philosophy is pragmatism. Pragmatism is what’s the quickest, easiest and most efficient way to get something done. No consideration of anything else. If it actually got the work done or made profit, then it’s pragmatic. If there was any obstacle that was created by some theoretical aspects, then that’s impractical.

There is this group of senior Prabhupada disciples, and then there is others who have been here in the zone for a long time, then there is some matajis who are doing the puja we have to take care of, and we have to take care of our brahmacaris. That weighs on the mind, I can’t, just this is what I do and that’s it, I have to consider all these things and balance it. That’s the time, place and circumstance. 

When they say time, place and circumstance actually they don’t want to consider time, place and circumstance. Time, place and circumstance actually means whatever I feel like doing that’s what I should be able to do. It’s smoke screen time, place and circumstance. Because it’s not actually.

Time place circumstances – comes from Vedas

You have a temple and there is 300 devotees that live outside that are not from the temple, why aren’t they coming to the temple? Time, place and circumstance. That’s why. If that is your yatra, why aren’t they being considered as part of the equation? Because of the 300 hundred there must be something sincere that you could cultivate. There is a few that are very political or bitter. Okay, leave them for now. Out of the others find some, but are they considered in the equation?

Or is it unless you are in the temple under the direct authority of the temple president and he tells you what to do the way he likes it and you do it, then you are sincere. That’s not time, place and circumstance. That means the time is whatever the temple president says. Place is wherever he is saying it. And the circumstance is whatever it is that’s the way he wants it. ….Time, place and circumstance comes from the Vedas. It doesn’t come from the modern.

The above was straight from HH Bhaktividya Purna swami, sharp and to the point, as always. We should , however apply caution in trying to apply it to judge others. It is always prudent to apply what we have learnt on ourselves. We should see that where I have responsibility and influence, am I applying it correctly, meaning, as per shastra, keeping the principle intact and adjusting the detail due to circumstances, be it my family, in my preaching or in my dealings with other devotees.

Lets hear what Shastra and Srila Prabhupada have to say on it

Expert devotees know how to apply it

The expert devotees also can discover novel ways and means to convert the nondevotees in terms of particular time and circumstance. Devotional service is dynamic activity, and the expert devotees can find out competent means to inject it into the dull brains of the materialistic population. Such transcendental activities of the devotees for the service of the Lord can bring a new order of life to the foolish society of materialistic men. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His subsequent followers exhibited expert dexterity in this connection. By following the same method, one can bring the materialistic men of this age of quarrel into order for peaceful life and transcendental realization.

(SB 1.5.16p)

Time place and circumstances for Political Leaders

The principles of religion, namely austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness, as we have already discussed, may be followed by the follower of any faith. There is no need to turn from Hindu to Mohammedan to Christian or some other faith and thus become a renegade and not follow the principles of religion. The Bhāgavatam religion urges following the principles of religion. The principles of religion are not the dogmas or regulative principles of a certain faith. Such regulative principles may be different in terms of the time and place concerned. One has to see whether the aims of religion have been achieved. Sticking to the dogmas and formulas without attaining the real principles is not good.

A secular state may be impartial to any particular type of faith, but the state cannot be indifferent to the principles of religion as above-mentioned. But in the age of Kali, the executive heads of state will be indifferent to such religious principles, and therefore under their patronage the opponents of religious principles, such as greed, falsehood, cheating and pilfery, will naturally follow, and so there will be no meaning to propaganda crying to stop corruption in the state.

(SB 1.17.32P)

Time place and circumstances- role of an Acharya

Now if in this age I advise you that you also live underneath a tree, then it will be difficult to preach. You see? Nobody is accustomed in that way, such severe type of austerity. They must be given, as far as possible, comfortable accommodation otherwise they will not come. They will not take. Now this…. This is adjustment. The acharya knows how to adjust things. The real purpose is how one will take to spiritual consciousness, or Krishna consciousness. Keeping one’s aim to that point some concession may be given. As far as possible, keeping pace with the time, circumstances.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Auckland, Feb. 20, 1973 )

The application necessitates….

Śrutakīrti, as he moved to massage Prabhupada’s side, asked, “Prabhupada, how can we tell the difference between making an adjustment and changing a principle?” Prabhupada’s eyes closed and Śrutakīrti continued to massage. After a few moments, Prabhupada opened his eyes and said, “That takes a little intelligence.”

( My Glorious Master by HG Bhurijana Prabhu)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

How does one receive bhakti? Does it happen by chance or do we need piety to receive it, does practicing austerity help us in receiving bhakti, does one need knowledge to get bhakti?

Bhakti is independent

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains in detail in his book Madhurya Kadambini that bhakti is independent, like Krishna, bhakti is not dependent on any material cause whatsoever for it’s appearance. Then with very sound reasoning and evidence from scriptures Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura proves that bhakti does not come by performing pious activities, nishkama-karma, jnana, purity, etc. He explains that such a claim will make bhakti dependent on some material cause, even though pious, to manifest. One may wonder how then does one get bhakti. By Krishna’s causeless mercy?

Krishna does not give bhakti directly !

One may say that we get bhakti by the causeless mercy of Krishna. But Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that in such a case Krishna would be blamed for showing favoritism in bestowing bhakti, since we can see that His causeless mercy does not fall upon everyone equally. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna is indeed partial to His devotees but Krishna shows that partiality by giving protection to His devotees. So how else does one receive bhakti?

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā -bhakti comes from bhakti

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura quotes the below verse from Srimad Bhagavatam to prove that bhakti comes from bhakti.

marantaḥ smārayantaś ca mitho ’ghaugha-haraṁ harim
bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum

The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end.

(SB 11.3.31)

Mercy of Krishna flows via His devotees

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura finally concludes that the causeless mercy of devotees is the actual cause of devotion or bhakti. He adds that someone may say that devotees, like Krishna, should be equal to all. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura clarifies that it is specifically the preacher, madhyama adhikari, the middle level devotee, who practices discretion in distributing his mercy. He quotes from Srimad Bhagavatam to give us a glimpse of the nature of such a middle level devotee.

An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikārī, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(SB 11.2.46)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna becomes subservient to such a devotee, and He bestows His mercy in accordance with His devotee’s mercy! And the devotee is distributing what is already there in his heart – Bhakti! bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā – Hence bhakti is coming from bhakti only.

Why only a madhyama adhikari?

An uttama adhikari, or topmost level of devotee, sees Krishna in everyone’s heart. He sees that everyone is serving Krishna, except himself, and hence they do no need mercy. A kanishta adhikari, on the other hand, sees himself as a pure devotee, but even though he worships the deity of Krishna but he fails to behave properly with other devotees and the general public.

In this way Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura very scrutinizingly proves that it is the madhyama adhikari who gives mercy to the innocents. Krishna also openly declares in Bhagavad Gita that a preacher is very dear to Him.

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.

(Bg 18.68-69)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna personally shows special mercy to such a devotee by giving him His own independent power to bestow mercy to others. So the preacher, who is always dependent upon Krishna, prays to Krishna to bestow His mercy and Krishna readily agrees!

Magic happens when an Uttama adhikari comes downs to preach!

One may ask why would an uttama adhikari, the topmost of devotees, like to ‘come down’ to this material world?

Devotional service is so enchanting that even the first-class devotees (uttama-adhikaris) also come down to the second platform to preach and render service to the Lord for the benefit of the whole world.

(CC Madhya 24.205p)

One may also wonder why does a topmost devotee needs to ‘step down’ to the level of a middle level devotee to preach?

Unless one comes to the madhyama-adhikara, he cannot preach. Because in the uttama-adhikari there is no need of preaching, because uttama-adhikari, he sees everything good. He does not think anyone is lacking Krishna consciousness. He says everyone is Krishna conscious, “Simply I am not Krishna conscious.”

(Lecture, 4th Nov. 1972, Vrindavana)

Such an unalloyed devotee, who comes down from the topmost level to the middle level to preach, is carrying Krishna’s lotus feet in his heart. A heart which is sold out to fulfill Krishna’s desires. When such a devotee prays to Krishna for us, ordinary people, then magic happens! What was very difficult to achieve even by great yogis in the past becomes very easy to achieve even by a common man.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains ‘Krishna’s mercy is manifested in the Lord’s bestowal of His own kripa- shakti to His devotee, who then gives it to the fallen souls’.

He is someone very special

Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuṇṭha to this material world to teach, by their personal example, how to become a devotee. The living entities in this material world can take lessons from such nitya-siddha devotees and thus become inclined to return home, back to Godhead. A nitya-siddha devotee comes from Vaikuṇṭha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment….. A pure devotee, therefore, is a practical example for all living entities, including Lord Brahmā.

(SB 7.10.3p)

So which Nitya-siddha ‘came down’ and prayed for all of us?

Let’s hear some words pouring out from the heart of a premi bhakta

boro-kṛpā kaile kṛṣṇa adhamer prati
ki lāgiyānile hethā koro ebe gati

My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.

āche kichu kārja taba ei anumāne
nahe keno āniben ei ugra-sthāne

But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?

rajas tamo guṇe erā sabāi ācchanna
bāsudeb-kathā ruci nahe se prasanna

Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vāsudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.

tabe jadi taba kṛpā hoy ahaitukī
sakal-i sambhava hoy tumi se kautukī

But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible because You are the most expert mystic.

ki bhāve bujhāle tārā bujhe sei rasa
eta kṛpā koro prabhu kori nija-baśa

How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.

tomāra icchāya saba hoy māyā-baśa
tomāra icchāya nāśa māyār paraśa

All living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.

taba icchā hoy jadi tādera uddhār
bujhibe niścai tabe kathā se tomār

I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.

(Markine-Bhagavata Dharma by Srila Prabhupada)

Bhagavad gita was there, temples were there, devotees were also there but it took a premi bhakta like Srila Prabhupada to come down from the spiritual world to transform and transplant bhakti in the hearts of millions of people all across the planet. Krishna sent him for mass liberation of conditioned souls.

Desires of such a Nitya-siddha

In Vṛndāvana there is a place where there was no temple, but a devotee desired, “Let there be a temple and sevā, devotional service.” Therefore, what was once an empty corner has now become a place of pilgrimage. Such are the desires of a devotee.

(SB 10.13.50p)

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā, bhakti comes from bhakti. But this one comes from the heart of a pure unalloyed devotee, an eternal associate of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Shastra explain that there are different kinds of devotees, some devotees are very merciful but they do not have much potency and some devotees have potency but they are not so merciful upon others but Srila Prabhupada is a very special devotee, he is both – extremely merciful and extremely potent.

How to remain a continuous recipient of bhakti from Srila Prabhupada?

There could be many answers. But one very direct and sure way is given in the last para of the above poem by Srila Prabhupada himself.

bhāgavater kathā se taba avatār
dhīra haiyā śune jadi kāne bār bār

The words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message.

So if we daily, and submissively, read Srimad Bhagavatam, then gradually our heart will be purified and soon it can become the resting place of the lotus feet of Vrajendra Nandana Krishna, Krishna of Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada wishes to bestow bhakti for this very special Krishna upon us, the highest, the most secret & the most sweetest form of Krishna.

Wherever there is Vrajendra Nandana Krishna, there is Radharani, there is Govardhan, there are gopas and gopis, there is Yamuna, Vrindadevi is there, whole Vrindavan descends with Him. Can we even imagine such a state for our heart! bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā.

The appearance of the form of Krishna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhäma. Dhäma refers not only to Krishna’s form, but to His name, His form, His quality and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.

(SB 10.2.18p)

That is why we address Srila Prabhupada as His Divine Grace, or Krishna Kripa murti in Hindi, because Krishna’s mercy, in the form of His Kripa-shakti, is flowing in his heart. We can access it via his vani, his books, his instructions, his disciples and his ISKCON. It is up to us take advantage of it. bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā. Bhakti resides forever in the heart of such an unalloyed devotee, we have to simply dovetail our consciousness with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings to make our good fortune.

At the ardha kumbha mela, the one that I was talking about, one devotee, after hearing Srila Prabhupada’s class, he asked a question. “You said by taking devotional service, you’ll cross through so many preliminary stages of yajnas, tapasyas and pious activities, but when I look back at my life, I don’t see any of that. I was simply engaged in materialistic activities, so how did I receive devotional service?” Prabhupada exclaimed forcefully, “I have made your good fortune for you!” 

(HH Jayapataka Swami, 6th Sept. 2015)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Sin versus reaction

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Some times we get confused between what exactly is sin and what is reaction? What is the difference between these two? I recently heard a very nice explanation by HH Bhaktividya Purna maharaj and I am copying it’s transcript.

What is the difference between reaction and sin?


HH Bhaktividya Purna Maharaj :

Reaction will be you are put into the same situation in which you are giving that trouble, and you are on the other side. That’s reaction. Sin means going to hell for some time and going through all the animal species to be punished before you come to that situation.

The person who according to the Vedic literature kills an animal in sacrifice there is no sin. He’ll be elevated, the animal will be elevated. As far as karma-kanda goes it looks good all the way round . But there is still reaction that in the future the person that performed the sacrifice will be the animal, and the animal will be the person performing he sacrifice. Now the animal will get to sacrifice you. But it’s all good, it’s all pious activity. This is the downside. The reaction is there but they won’t go to hell for killing the animal and take birth in so many animal species. It’s still circle. That’s why if one is intelligent one worships Krsna and gets out of that, because it’s stupid. Even though it’s on this nicest level it’s still stupid. Most of the time the two go together, when there is sin there is reaction. But when you perform pious activities you can have reaction without sin. Just like you can have a good reaction and there is no sin. So you can also have a bad reaction without sin. But technically it’s all considered sinful because it’s not connected to the Lord. Good and bad when it’s not connected to the Lord it’s sin.

(Lecture, 26th Oct. 2010)

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Sravanam kirtanam leads to Vishnu smaranam

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Its summer time, the ideal time to get around churning some butter. Let us try to churn the following benediction given by Lord Narasimha to Prahlada maharaj on hearing their pastime.

य एतत्कीर्तयेन्मह्यं त्वया गीतमिदं नरः

त्वां च मां च स्मरन्काले कर्मबन्धात्प्रमुच्यते

ya etat kīrtayen mahyaṁ  tvayā gītam idaṁ naraḥ
tvāṁ ca māṁ ca smaran kāle karma-bandhāt pramucyate

One who always remembers your activities and My activities also, and who chants the prayers you have offered, becomes free, in due course of time, from the reactions of material activities.

 (SB 7.10.14p)

One who always remembers your activities and My activities also ( Srvanam Kirtanam)

A very direct understanding is to have regular Sravanam Kirtanam about the pastimes of Lord Narasimha and Prahlada. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear Prahlada maharaj’s pastimes repeatedly. We can also hear it from Srila Prabhupada, he gave numerous lectures glorifying Prahlada, listening to them repeatedly will undoubtedly instill a taste for the same. This is indeed our process Sravanam Kirtanam- we hear the glories and then we sing the glories!

Another way of looking at this is asking, “Who is Lord Narasimha?” Keshava dhritanaraharirupa! So Lord Narasimha is Krishna Himself, only in the form of a half man-half lion. So we can broaden our understanding of the above verse to further include ‘One who always remembers Krishna’s activities and the activities of His pure devotees’.

Where does Krishna Himself speak about His own self and His devotees? Bhagavad Gita. Which scripture speaks about pastimes of Krishna with His devotees? Srimad Bhagavatam. One cannot stress the importance of these two scriptures enough in the lives of all the devotees, irrespective of their level of realisation. In fact we may even add that one, but not the only, way to externally see a devotee’s attachment to Krishna, and his level of realisation, is by seeing how attached one is to specifically these two scriptures- Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita. We must, therefore, read them daily. Sravanam Kirtanam of Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.

and who chants the prayers you have offered

Krishna is a person and just as any person He has likes and dislikes. Among many other things Krishna likes is, He has a very strong liking for the prayers offered by His pure devotees. Since they are filled with immense love and attachment for Him as a person, He simply loves them.

One way to understand this line of the verse is obviously to read the devotionally enriched prayers offered by Prahlada in  Srimad Bhagavatam, they are there in SB 7.9.

Knowing again that Lord Narasimha is none other Krishna Himself, in a half man- half lion form, we can then expand the meaning to include all the prayers offered in Srimad Bhagavatam by Brahma ji, lord Siva, Vrtasura, Gajendra, Dhruva, it is full of so many wonderful prayers by surrendered devotees. We can read them regularly, Krishna likes to hear them! Sravanam Kirtanam.

Another way to look at this is going through prayers offered by our acharyas. This implies, we sing the bhajans of our acharyas as much as we can. Simply by developing the habit of daily singing bhajans of our acharyas we can receive their mercy and gradually our consciousness may be aligned with their mood. They have poured their heart in their bhajans. There is no other natural and easier way to get a peek in the hearts of our acharyas and also get our consciousness purified at the same time.  Let us make a habit to sing these bhajans to Thakurji daily! Manifold benefits and benedictions await us. Sravanam kirtanam 

becomes free, in due course of time, from the reactions of material activities

Lord Narasimha is declaring that the simple act of remembering His pastime with Prahlada maharaj and by reciting the prayers offered by Prahlada maharaj, one can become free from all reactions of material activities. All reactions, sinful and pious, would be gone! What will be left in our heart- remembrance of Krishna, His name, His form, His qualities and His pastimes! One becomes ‘jivan mukta’ (liberated in a material body) in this lifetime itself!  What exalted yogis fail to achieve by thousands of years of austerities and meditation, sincere and surrendered devotees can achieve it in this very lifetime, simply by hearing about Krishna and His devotees. This is the uniqueness of Bhakti yoga , specifically the process given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This process is safe, certain and sublime. So sravanam kirtanam of Krishna leads us to Vishnu Smaranam in a very natural way.

What about the result of remembering Krishna’s pure devotee?

Jaya Gauranga : I remember one lady raised her hand after Prabhupada had finished a Bhagavad-gita class as she had a question. She asked, “In the Bhagavad-gita it is said if one thinks of Krishna at the time of death, one will go to Krishna. Now my question is, what if I think of you at the time of death? Will it have the same effect?”

Prabhupada didn’t answer right away. He closed his eyes for two or three seconds as if he was searching for the answer and then he smiled and said, “That is very nice.” He said, “Yes, it will have the same effect.”

(Memories Anecdotes of a Modern Day Saint – Volume 3 by Siddhanta Dasa)

I hope and pray that we could taste some butter from this churning.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Mahatma- A godly person

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Let us churn a verse from the nectarean milk of Srimad Bhagavatam on Ekadasi and see if we can get some butter from it!

kañcit kālam athāvātsīt
sat-kṛto devavat sukham
bhrātur jyeṣṭhasya śreyas-kṛt
sarveṣāṁ sukham āvahan

Thus Mahātmā Vidura, being treated just like a godly person by his kinsmen, remained there for a certain period just to rectify the mentality of his eldest brother and in this way bring happiness to all the others.

(SB 1.13.14P)

 Thus Mahātmā Vidura:

Bhagavad gita 9.13 gives the definition of a mahatma

mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
bhajanty ananya-manaso jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam

Those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.

One such mahatma or great soul is Srila Prabhupada, who was never deluded. He remained under the protection of internal energy of Krishna, from his birth till the last moment of his manifested pastimes on this planet. To teach us how to practice it, he not only himself remained engaged in devotional service to Krishna all his life but also engaged everyone and everything in the service of Krishna. An acharya, a mahatma, a godly person from the spiritual world.

Although I had immense opportunities to indulge in the four principles of sinful life because I was connected with a very aristocratic family, Krishna always saved me, and throughout my whole life I do not know what is illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating or gambling. So far my present life is concerned; I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krishna.

(Letter to Tamal Krishna, June 21st 1970)

being treated just like a godly person by his kinsmen

We are all Srila Prabhupada’s kinsmen, being his son/daughter or grand son/daughter. We all do, and should continue to, worship Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet like a godly person from the spiritual world. He is a Premi bhakta, a nitya sidha, an eternal associate of Krishna, who came down from the spiritual world to liberate us. As his followers it is our duty to glorify him every day,  both within our heart as well as by our actions.

One who is actually serious about advancing in devotional service should desire only to satisfy the previous ācāryas. Ei chaya gosāñi yāra, mui tāra dāsa. One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the ācāryas, and thinking this, one should live in the society of Vaiṣṇavas.

(CC Madhya 19.156p)

Remained there for a certain period

we can see this from different angles of vision.

Srila Prabhupada remained here for a certain period from 1st September 1896 to 14th November 1977.

Within this period also, Srila Prabhupada actively preached from 1966 to 1977, twelve years.

However Srila Prabhupada also declared that his books will be law books for humanity for next 10,000 years which means that Srila Prabhupada will be present, in the form of his books and instructions, for next 10,00 years! This is the ‘certain period’ this godly person will remain here on this planet.

Reporter: What will happen to the movement… when you die?

Prabhupāda: I will never die.

Devotees: Jaya! Hari bol! (laughter)

Prabhupāda: I shall live from my books, and you will utilize.

(July 16, 1975, San Francisco)

Just to rectify the mentality of his eldest brother

Srila Prabhupada saw everyone as part and parcel of Krishna. Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu sent him, His senapati bhakta, to rectify the mentality of the whole kali yugian population, who is very much susceptible to forget God, to remind all of us about our eternal nature, our eternal father, our eternal home and our eternal relationship with God. He was was compassionate upon every single soul on this planet. Krishna sent him for mass liberation.

“How many devotees do you have?” a reporter asked.

Unlimited,” Prabhupāda said. “Some admit and some don’t admit

(Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, chapter 35)

 

And in this way bring happiness to all the others.

By his books Srila Prabhupada gave and distributed the essence of vedic knowledge to entire humanity. Srila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times sowing the seed of Krishna consciousness  in millions of souls all around the world. Thus he opened the door of eternal happiness for everyone, irrespective of our nationality, religion or sex.

So by their actions the pure devotees of the Lord can render any place into a place of pilgrimage, and the holy places are worth the name only on their account. Such pure devotees are able to rectify the polluted atmosphere of any place.

(SB 1.13.10p)

I hope by churning this verse we could taste some butter.

By sincerely and seriously reading Srila Prabhupada’s books daily all of us can taste the transcendental butter churned by a premi bhakta, a godly person, a mahatma, a special soul from Goloka Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

 

Srila Prabhupada – Igniting the spark…

 

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

As we read Srimad Bhagavatam we find that most verses speak directly about the process and instructions Srila Prabhupada gave us. One can’t miss seeing how Srimad Bhagavatam is non different from a person Bhagavat, their teachings being the same.

Let us ‘churn’ the below verse from Srimad Bhagavatam.

ucchiṣṭa-lepān anumodito dvijaiḥ
sakṛt sma bhuñje tad-apāsta-kilbiṣaḥ 
evaṁ pravṛttasya viśuddha-cetasas
tad-dharma evātma-ruciḥ prajāyate 

Once only, by their permission, I took the remnants of their food, and by so doing all my sins were at once eradicated. Thus being engaged, I became purified in heart, and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me.

(SB 1.5.25)

By their permission: One needs qualification to read vedic scriptures. Even during vedic age there were conditions, based upon one’s qualification, as to who all could read Vedas, Upanishad, puranas, etc. One simply can not pick them like an ordinary book and start reading them.

If one had to have a qualification in vedic age then we can understand how many of us are qualified today in kali yuga to read our scriptures.  When Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu came , He openly gave Hare Krishna Maha mantra to everyone, irrespective of their qualification, class or creed, as everyone was unqualified. The lack of qualification itself became the qualification to receive unqualified mercy from the Supreme Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged His associates to distribute the Holy Name to everyone, as far and wide they could.

In the same glorious disciplic line came Srila Prabhupada who took upon the mission and desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not just translated the two main scriptures for Kali Yuga- Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, but also pushed his disciples to distribute it all over world, irrespective of nationality, color, qualification, etc. , at a scale which is unprecedented in modern history.

So not only we have the permission to read these scriptures but we also have the blessings of Srila Prabhupada and the entire parampara going up to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, rather we receive spiritual benediction by reading them.

I took the remnants of their food: When we read Srila Prabhupada’s books, which he said were his ‘personal ecstasies’, then in a way we are receiving his remnants.

We can get a glimpse of the ‘storehouse’ these trascendental ‘remnants’ are coming to us, and what would be the result of ‘eating’ these remnants, by reading below verses from Caitanya Caritmrta

The characteristics of Krishna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krishna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came with His associates of the Pañca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krishna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.

Śrī Pañca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead.

In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.

Although the members of the Pañca-tattva plundered the storehouse of
love of Godhead and ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times.

The flood of love of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women and children were all immersed in that inundation.

The Krishna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid or blind.

(CC Adi 7.20-26)

And by doing so all my sins were at once eradicated:We all have experience how only by reading Srila Prabhupada books our propensity to engage in sinful activities decreased in no time. For many of us it was nothing less than a miracle!

Thus being engaged: From thinking, feeling and to action, everything happens like magic. We immediately develop feelings to serve Krishna, whether it is voluntarily accepting some service at our local temple or a group, serving Krishna and Tulasi Maharani at home, we get quickly engaged in some service.

I became purified in heart : The first shower of mercy on a new reader does not depend upon their good qualities or any qualification. We gradually develop some good qualities by the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, and then they in turn become the cause of further mercy. This cycle is ever expanding.

and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me: As we read, everything about this world, and the spiritual world, it all starts making sense, it is as if all the pieces of the puzzle are gradually falling into place. As we read Srila Prabhupada books we receive the knowledge flowing down from the scriptures.

This knowledge repeatedly speaks about Sambandha jnana, Who am I, who is God, what is material energy and what is the relationship between all three of them. Once we get the Sambhandha jnana then our goal (prayojana) changes, and we feel internally inspired towards this goal and start the process- Abhideya.

Only once: All this begins by reading just one book of Srila Prabhupada!

So what really happens?

When we read Srila Prabhupada books we get a very precious gift, they ignite a spark of faith and love for Krishna within us.

So ādau śraddhā, how to increase. That is given direction by Rūpa Gosvāmī. This faith, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅga. If you have little faith don’t try to demolish it. Try to increase it. Just like if there is little spark of fire, if you fan it, it increases. Increases. And you have several times… In this temple, when there is yajsa performance we ignite fire. So we take a little small piece of wood and ignite it. Then gradually it becomes blazing fire. Similarly, this faith is just like little fire, and you have to fan it very nicely.

                                            ( Lecture on BG 10.8 — New York, January 7, 1967)

If you follow these principles, automatically the loving propensity will awaken. It is already there. It is not artificial. It has simply to be awakened by a certain process. So that process we are prescribing: to rise early in the morning, have maìgala-ärätrika, worship Deity, offer foodstuff, eat prasadam, chant Hare Krishna. Anyone who will follow this principle, he will become purified. There is no need of education, because the devotion is already there.
By following these rules and regulations, it will be awakened. As…, as, as in this straw there is fire. Now you ignite it and just fan it, and the fire will come. It is already there, fire. But you know, you must know the process how to ignite fire. Huge fire will come. You can burn the whole garden from this straw. Is it not? So you must know the process, how to ignite fire. Fire is already there, in these trees, in these straws, in this grass. Fire is already there.That…, that is the process. First of all, you must know that fire is already there. Now ignite. Then it comes smoke. Then burning, blazing. So the blazing fire is required. But that will come gradually, if you follow the process.

                                                                                   (Lecture, 14th June, 1974, Paris)

Because we are very minute spark of Krishna, as the spark has the chance of being extinguished out of the fire, similarly, being separated from Krishna, being entangled in this material energy, we have forgotten. Our spiritual quality, burning quality, just like fire, that is now extinguished. It is not exactly extinguished; almost extinguished. We have forgotten. But it can be again brought into the original position by fanning. Just like there is small fire in the charcoal. You fan it, and it will gradually become a big fire. So this Krishna consciousness movement is fanning that spiritual spark to come into full consciousness. Go on fanning like that.

(Lecture, 22 Dec 1973, Los Angeles)

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to the above SB verse, SB 1.5.25 : Pure devotion is as much infectious, in a good sense, as infectious diseases.

We need regular association of Srila Prabhupada’s books for us to be ‘infected’ by this transcendental infection.

Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart, which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhāgavatas. There are two types of Bhāgavatas, namely the book Bhāgavata and the devotee Bhāgavata. Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical.

(SB 1.2.18p)

Our disease has been diagnosed, the remedy is there, now it is up to us to make good use of this abundant mercy and potency flowing via Srila Prabhupada books, by reading them every day.

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

 

 

Maha Sivaratri – Night of lord Siva

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Today is the auspicious Maha Sivaratri , a day to honor and pray to lord Siva. Lord Siva is known as Ashutosh, one who is pleased very easily, so somehow if we can please him on this Maha Sivaratri then we can make rapid progress in Krishna consciousness

Who is lord Siva?

He is the greatest of all devotees. Vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Sambhu, or Lord Siva, is the ideal Vaisnava. He constantly meditates upon Lord Rama and chants Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Siva has a Visnu-Svami-sampradaya, which is called the Visnu Svami-sampradaya.

(SB 3.23.1p)

All devotees are dear to lord Siva

Lord Siva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the controller of everything — material nature as well as the living entity — is actually very dear to me.

(SB 4.24.28)

You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.

It is said, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Siva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Krsna are also devotees of Lord Siva. In Vrndavana there is Lord Siva’s temple called Gopisvara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Siva but Katyayani, or Durga, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krsna does not disrespect Lord Siva, but worships Lord Siva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krsna. Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Siva, he prays to Lord Siva to achieve the favor of Krishna, and he does not request material profit.

Because Lord Siva is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he loves all the devotees of the Supreme Lord. Lord Siva told the Pracetas that because they were devotees of the Lord, he loved them very much. Lord Siva was not kind and merciful only to the Pracetas; anyone who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very dear to Lord Siva. Not only are the devotees dear to Lord Siva, but he respects them as much as he respects the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, devotees of the Supreme Lord also worship Lord Siva as the most dear devotee of Lord Krsna. They do not worship him as a separate Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the list of nama-aparadhas that it is an offense to think that the chanting of the name of Hari and the chanting of Hara, or Siva, are the same. The devotees must always know that Lord Visnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Siva is His devotee.

A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord Rama, the Personality of Godhead Himself, sometimes worshiped Lord Siva. If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From this verse it appears that Lord Siva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality. Actually he loves one who is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(SB 4.24.30+p)

Maha Sivaratri

Siva + ratri, ratri means night, so Sivaratri means the night of lord Siva.

Maha Sivaratri comes in the month of Phalgun (February-March). This ceremony is observed in the honor of lord Siva, who was married to mother Parvati ( or Durga) on this day, it culminates in the night.

Vaishnavas  pray lord Shiva on this day in order to receive his blessings to become attached to Lord Krishna.

Lord Siva tells mother Parvati as below in Padma Purana-

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param

tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

“O Devī, the most exalted system of worship is the worship of Lord Viṣṇu. Greater than that is the worship of tadīya, or anything belonging to Viṣṇu.” Śrī Viṣṇu is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. Similarly, the most confidential servant of Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master, and all devotees of Viṣṇu are tadīya. The sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, guru, Vaiṣṇavas and things used by them must be considered tadīya and without a doubt worshipable by all living beings.

(CC Madhya 12.38p)

How can we please lord Siva on Maha Sivaratri?

By serving Krishna and His devotees, and by chanting extra rounds of Hare Krishna mahā-mantra on Maha Sivaratri.

But another very beautiful way to please lord Siva on Maha Sivaratri is by reciting the prayers lord Siva himself sings in glorification of Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam, also known as Rudra Gita (song of lord Siva). As per lord Siva this  is the best prayer for anyone aspiring for the lotus feet of Krishna.

Now I shall chant one mantra which is not only transcendental, pure and auspicious, but is the best prayer for anyone who is aspiring to attain the ultimate goal of life. When I chant this mantra, please hear it carefully and attentively.

(SB 4.24.31)

There are great benedictions given for those fortunate devotees who will faithfully recite these very sweet verses by lord Siva.

A devotee of Lord Krishna whose mind is always absorbed in Him, who with great attention and reverence chants this stotra [prayer], will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay.

Although rendering devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worshiping Him are very difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra [prayer] composed and sung by me, he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the dearmost objective of all auspicious benedictions. A human being who sings this song sung by me can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee, being fixed in the Lord’s devotional service, can acquire whatever he wants from the Supreme Lord.

 (SB 4.24.74,76,77)

By investing few thoughtful and attentive moments to recite these verse we can easily please lord Siva on maha Sivaratri and get his blessings. Below is the link from where we can read these prayers, they are from verses 33 to verse 68. ( SB 4.24.33-68)

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/4/24

All glories to lord Siva

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Loosing our chanting beads

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Since last few months I have come across devotees who have lost their chanting beads. If this in itself was not bad enough, then what was even more painful for them was that in all the cases, save one, their spiritual master declined to chant again on new chanting beads.

For the devotees the most precious and dear most treasure are their chanting beads- on which their spiritual master has chanted and which they had been given at the time of their initiation ceremony. If the chanting beads are misplaced or forgotten (either of which is very rare) it’s like a calamity! For devotees it is an unbearable wait till their chanting beads are found.

Past week I came across a wonderful pastime of Srila Prabhupada which was an eye opener for me. Along with the same I am also sharing some sweet, and instructive, pastimes devotees had with Srila Prabhupada over their misplaced beads and bead bags.

Tattava

Over the past few days Prabhupada has given many small but significant instructions on a variety of issues. For example, a devotee who lost his original beads gave me a new set for Prabhupada to sanctify by chanting on them. Prabhupada agreed, but mentioned that this was not really necessary because it is the chanting of the devotee that is sanctified at initiation, not the beads.


(Transcendental Diary by Hari Sauri Dasa, vol. 1, chapter 2 )
 

Best to cultivate a heart connection

After leaving San Moritz we spent one day in an exclusive hotel overlooking the Rhine River in Zurich. Srila Prabhupada had a room and his entourage stayed together in the room next door. They were not adjoining rooms, however. When it was time for his massage, I had to go into his room to change my clothes to avoid walking in the hallway in my gumcha. One day when I finished giving him a massage, I inadvertently left my bead bag in his room.


They were not the japa beads Srila Prabhupada had chanted on at my initiation two years earlier. Unfortunately, I lost them in New Vrindaban. I considered asking Srila Prabhupada to chant on another set of beads for me but, I didn’t want to admit how careless I had been. My bead bag was prasadam given to me by His Divine Grace. When I returned to Srila Prabhupada’s room, I noticed, to my delight, his hand in my bead bag. For the next half hour, I joyfully watched as he chanted on my beads. Again
Srila Prabhupada fulfilled my desire without me asking. I waited until he put my bead bag down and took my newly sanctified beads to our quarters. Elated, I bragged to the others how a miracle had just taken place.

(What Is The Difficulty by Sruta Kirti dasa, chapter 63)

But don’t be neglectful

All these initiation beads should be kept very carefully and protected. It is not a question of changing beads, but this carelessness, of losing beads, is not very good. You are very intelligent boy, so you should be careful and instruct others also. So keep your beads in a bag and keep the bag around your neck. Then you won’t lose.”

(letter to Hrdayananda, 6th July, 1971)

Show respect by keeping it clean

Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasasana that was not exactly a vyasasana but it was a special raised seat. To Srila Prabhupada’s right and a little in front of him was a senior devotee who had his japa beads around his neck and he was chanting on them. When Srila Prabhupada noticed that he asked him, “Where is your bead bag?” This devotee said, “It’s being washed, Srila Prabhupada”, and then Prabhupada turned to Harikesh Maharaj and asked, “Some bead bags have been given?” Harikesh said, “Yes, Prabhupada.” Prabhupada said, “Bring one and give it to him.” Harikesh brought the bead bag and then Prabhupada told the devotee who had been chanting, “Always keep your beads in a bead bag.” He said, “You should have two bead bags. When one is being washed use the other one.”


(Srila Prabhupada – Remembrances, chapter 51)

Balai: In Boston in 1968 I was in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters with Himavati and Hamsadutta and others. Himavati had just made Srila Prabhupada a nice bead bag and gave it to him. Her husband Hamsadutta had his beads around his neck because he had just washed his bead bag and it was drying. Srila Prabhupada offered Hamsadutta this new bead bag and Hamsadutta said, “No, Srila Prabhupada, that’s yours”. Srila Prabhupada said, “What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine. Everything belongs to Krishna.”

(Srila Prabhupada – Remembrances, chapter 48)

This is our process

So our…, this is the process. We have got this bead bag, and within this bag there is bead, and we chant each… We capture each bead and chant,

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna , Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

One bead equals sixteen times. So the whole bead chain there is hundred and eight, so one round means about seventeen hundred. In this way, our disciples are advised to chant at least sixteen rounds. This is our daily duty. It takes about two hours, and after that we are engaged in so many other businesses. Somebody is typing or printing books, somebody is going to sell books, somebody is collecting subscription, somebody is cooking for the temple Deity, Radha-Krishna. So in this way our inmates, or our members, are always engaged. Kirtaniya sada hari.

(Lecture, October 14, 1975, Johannesburg)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa