Where am I in Krishna consciousness!

Hare Krishna my dear devotees,

The last verse which Arjuna speaks in Bhagavad Gita, has many gems for us.

अर्जुन उवाच

नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत।

स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देहः करिष्ये वचनं तव।।18.73।।

Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

Now let us try to churn this verse.

My dear Kṛṣṇa: Krishna is our dear friend , suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ actually Krishna is our only real friend, and He never let’s His devotee down.

O infallible one: Krishna is known as Achytua .

He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed herein as infallible…..In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

(BG 1.21-22p)

Krishna is absolute and remains so under all conditions, Krishna is glorified in every single form or lila he manifests. Whether he takes birth inside a prison in Mathura and present Himself as a fully decorated newly born baby with four arms in front  of his wonderstruck parents, or while playing games with his cowherd friends in Vrindavan or stealing butter from the homes of gopis, or  running away from battle- ‘Ranchorh’, even when he manifest Himself as a stone, Shaligram, He is the same Krishna. Like an actor Krishna comes in various guises, sometimes as a bird (swan), as an animal (boar), as a fish or what’s more dramatic than bursting out of a pillar as half lion-half man! His supreme position is never challenged, He is the infallible master in all circumstances.

my illusion is now gone: What is my present consciousness? Am I still living under an illusion even after being in the movement for so long.  Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport – In illusion the living entity is serving in this material world. He is bound by his lust and desires, yet he thinks of himself as the master of the world. This is called illusion.

Am I living a life where I think that I am the controller,  I am the master and I am the enjoyer? Am I gradually developing the consciousness of being a servant of Krishna, which should be my only identity, rest are simply the services Krishna has given me.

The best way to destroy illusion is by daily reading Srila prabhupada’s books. How much is my daily reading?

I have regained my memory: Have I regained me memory as an eternal servant of Krishna? What is my consciousness while interacting with my family, my colleagues at work, …

Srila Prabhupada gives us a very simple solution to revive our lost memory

One’s memory of Kṛṣṇa is revived by chanting the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa. By this practice of chanting and hearing the sound vibration of the Supreme Lord, one’s ear, tongue and mind are engaged. This mystic meditation is very easy to practice, and it helps one attain the Supreme Lord.

(BG 8.8p)

How sincerely am I trying to chant my 16 rounds?

by Your mercy:  We should know by now that we cannot succeed by our own efforts alone. However if our efforts are sincere, and honest, then it will attract Krishna’s mercy. The two finger principle-

Thus although mother Yasoda, in her attempt to bind Krishna, added one rope after another, ultimately she was a failure. When Krishna agreed, however, she was successful. In other words, one must be in transcendental love with Krishna, but that does not mean that one can control Krishna . When Krishna is satisfied with one’s devotional service, He does everything Himself…He reveals more and more to the devotee as the devotee advances in service.

(SB 10.9.15p)

Krishna says in BG 15.15 mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca, from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

Everything- remembrance, knowledge, forgetfulness is coming from Krishna, everything is in the lotus like hands of Sri Govindadev!

I am now firm: to make progress in bhakti we need to be firm in our enthusiasm, determination and patience! Without them it will be difficult to make progress. We have to be firm in following the process given by Srila Prabhupada, follow four regulative principles, try to chant 16 sincere rounds, everyday read Srila Prabhupada’s books and regularly associate with devotees who are senior than us.

and free from doubt: One way to become free from doubt is by asking questions. Asking questions is a sign of intelligence. We should clear our doubts without hesitation or feeling embarrassed in front of others. Arjuna asked so many questions from Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Srimad Bhagavatam is all about questions and answers. This is the way to clear our doubts.

Guru Maharaj once told us that even if you do not have any question and may think I have understood everything, still we should ask question so that we can verify if I have understood correctly!

and am prepared: Our primary method to prepare ourselves is by  regular Sravanam kirtanam but we should not forget the golden rule which Srila Prabhupada repeated multiple times sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. 

To associate with the holy name and chant the holy name is to associate with the Personality of Godhead directly. In the Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu it is clearly said, sevonmukhe hi jihvädau svayam eva sphuraty adaù [Brs. 1.2.234]. The holy name becomes manifest when one engages in the service of the holy name. This service in a submissive attitude begins with one’s tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvädau: One must engage his tongue in the service of the holy name. Our Krishna consciousness movement is based on this principle. We try to engage all the members of the Krishna consciousness movement in the service of the holy name. Since the holy name and Krishna are nondifferent, the members of the Krishna consciousness movement not only chant the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, but also do not allow their tongues to eat anything that is not first offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(CC Adi 8.16p)

to act: Bhakti means action, action in knowledge and with love. That is why Srila Prabhupada translated bhakti as devotional service not devotion. Love  means reciprocation, which naturally culminates in loving service. My actions, coupled with the consciousness with which I am doing it, will attract Krishna’s mercy.

according to Your instructions: To advance in Krishna consciousness we should receive instructions from our diksha/shiksha guru. Generally we may not receive any direct instructions from our guru because we may not have the qualification to follow them. We can, however, prepare ourselves to receive direct instructions by following the primary instruction given at the time of initiation – chant 16 rounds offenselessly!

In the Bhagavad-gétä (18.66) Lord Krishna instructs His disciple Arjuna, “Just surrender unto Me, and I shall protect you from all sinful reactions.” And Arjuna accepts Krishna’s instruction with the words kariñye vacanaà tava: “I will do as You say.” (Bhagavad-gétä 18.73) If we follow Arjuna’s example, we will be in direct contact with Krishna, and we will be able to surmount all difficulties in both our spiritual and material life. We hear the instructions of Krishna via the unbroken chain of disciplic succession (guru-paramparä). Acceptance of these instructions is called çikñä, or voluntarily following the instruction of the spiritual master. The independent nature of the living entity is that he does not want to follow the instructions of another living being, however pure. But when one voluntarily agrees to obey the orders of the spiritual master, one is following the orders of Krishna, and thus one’s life becomes perfect.

(A Second chance, chapter 13)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Changing our outlook

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Dandavat Pranams.

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Dandavat Pranams.

Today is the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur,  the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada.

Few weeks ago a senior Vaishnava shared a revolutionary article by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, which I am sharing with you below. It is deep and very insightful and can give us key(s) to make a very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness by changing our outlook towards the world and our selves.

The world stands in no need of any reformer. The world has a very competent person for guiding its minutest happenings. The person who determines that there is scope for reform of the world, himself stands in need of reform. The world goes on in its own perfect way.

No person can deflect it even the breadth of a hair from the course chalked out for it by providence. When we perceive any change being actually effected in the course of events of this world by the agency of any particular individual, we must know very well that the agent possesses no real power at any stage. The agent finds himself driven forward by a force belonging to a different category from himself. The course of the world does not require to be changed by the agency of any person. What is necessary is to change our outlook on this world.

This was done for the contemporary generation by the mercy of Sri Caitanya. It can only be known to recipients of his mercy. The scriptures declare that it is only necessary to listen with an open mind to the name of Krishna from the lips of a bonafide devotee. As soon as Krishna enters the listening ear, he clears up the vision of the listener so that he no longer has any ambition of ever acting the part of a reformer of any other person, because he finds that nobody is left without the very highest guidance. It is therefore his own reform that he is increasingly able to realize, by the eternally continuing mercy of the Supreme Lord.”

(Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur in The Harmonist, May 1932, issue no. 11)

At first go it may look like going against the preaching spirit of the devotees, but the above golden lines are like the light from the spiritual lighthouse by which all of us, preachers included, can seek the right direction, remain grounded and persist on the right track. If we carefully read above lines repeatedly, and contemplate on them, then we can unlock many a closed doors that may be blocking our progress in Krishna consciousness and receive profound wisdom available via disciplic succession.

As I sat relishing the above lines, trying, unsuccessfully, to seek entry to the above, the famous verse from Sri Isopanisad came into my consciousness.

ओम पूर्णनम अद: पूर्णनम इदं
पूर्णत पूर्णनम उदस्यते
पूर्नस्या पूर्णनम अदय
पूर्णनम एववसिस्यत

The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.

(Sri Isopanisad, invocation)

 

Srila Prabhupada imbibed this very mood!

“Actually I am not worthy of any one of the words spoken by you but all of them are due to my Spiritual Master Who was so kind to me. In fact I am a worthless person because my Spiritual Master ordered me to take up this work in 1922 but I did not carry his order until 1958, when I was obliged to carry out His order by His arrangement only. This means although I was not very enthusiastic to carry out His order He forced me circumstantially to accept it. So this is His special mercy upon me and I always think about this with gratitude to this exalted personality coming directly from Vaikuntha World and we had the great fortune to meet Him. I think that is the only credit on our part that we happened to meet Him by some ‘ajnata sukriti’ or unknown auspicious activities. He is so kind upon me that when I came to your country, where I was completely unknown, He sent to me some good souls like you unsolicited. So I accept you all as assistants or representatives of my Guru Maharaja Who is still helping me because I am so feeble and unworthy. Anyway, the business which we have taken to work together is neither your business nor my business as far we are personally concerned, but it is the business of Lord Caitanya and His bona fide servants like my Guru Maharaja. Therefore it is the duty of all of us to execute it as nicely as far as possible within our capacity. In other words, we shall just try to discharge our responsible duties faithfully and seriously, then all facilities will come for our help.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter to Hayagriva dasa, January 1, 1970)

“My Spiritual Master has given me the instruction to spread this movement all over the world and you are my good disciples, are helping me do this. Without your good help I could not have done anything, so practically you can take all the credit for spreading this Krishna Consciousness movement and fulfilling the prophecy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If there is some incident and I claim that no one is cooperating with me or no one will work with me, that is my defect, not theirs. The Vaisnava devotee must think like this. We should not find fault with others and criticize and go away, that is not the Vaisnava way. Better we should always be willing to offer all respects to others and consider them as our superiors always.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 26, 1972)

This is the ‘safest’ way to make real progress!

 Devotee: You must be higher than the paramahamsa stage, Prabhupada.

Prabhupada: I am lower than you. I am lower than you.

Devotee: You are so beautiful. You are paramahamsa, but still, you are preaching to us.

Prabhupada: No, I am lower than you. I am the lowest of the all creatures. I am simply trying to execute the order of my spiritual master. That’s all. That should be the business of everyone. Try best. Try your best to execute the higher order. That is the safest way of progressing. One may be in the lowest stage, but if he tries to execute the duty entrusted upon him, he is perfect. He may be in lowest stage, but because he is trying to execute the duty entrusted to him, then he is perfect. That is the consideration.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Surat, December 19, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada’s secret-  he knew who was actually doing it !

“Therefore sometimes, when people say in India, ‘Swamiji, you have done wonderful.’ And yes, I do not know. I’m not a magician. But, so far I am confident that I did not adulterate the words of Krishna. That’s all. That’s my credit.  I did not like to take the position of Krishna. I remained a servant of Krishna, and I spoke what Krishna said. That’s all. This is my secret. So everyone can do that. There is nothing magic. The magic will act as soon as you become a pure devotee of Krishna. The magic will be done by Krishna, not by me or you. He will do it.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, May 19, 1972)

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Churning of butter

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

We, Gaudiya Vaishanavas, are supposed to follow the mood of Vrajavasis. Among the Vrajavasis the mood and service of gopis is considered the highest. During the day  gopis were always busy in one main activity – churning butter. How can we follow this practice in the modern age of Kali-yuga?

We can very easily follow gopis by churning the verses of bhakti scriptures, especially Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. If we sincerely try to churn these verses with love and devotion then by the mercy of Supreme Lord we may be rewarded with very soft and delicious butter.

Let us pick a well-known verse from Bhagavad Gita,

tasmāt tvam uttiṣṭha yaśo labhasva
jitvā śatrūn bhuṅkṣva rājyaṁ samṛddham
mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva
nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin

Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasācī, can be but an instrument in the fight.

(BG 11.33)

Now let us pray to Srila Prabhupada and try churning every single line of the above translation and see what kind of butter comes out it.

Therefore get up : Krishna says, My bhakti means action. Bhakti-yoga doesn’t entail sitting idle but acting for Krishna. That’s why my eternal associate whom I have sent to guide you and  whom you lovingly call Srila Prabhupada, translated bhakti as devotional service and NOT simply devotion.

Prepare to fight and win glory: Krishna says, if you are My devotee then be prepared to serve my plan – to give a chance to all the conditioned souls to come back to Me, back to Godhead. Apply to join My army (associate with My devotees). Admission is very easy and with a little strength (faith) you can join in. All new recruits begin with training, which begins immediately- by starting to practice Krishna consciousness. Discipline is mandatory-  follow all the rules and regulations of Krishna consciousness diligently.

Training is not just physical but also mental, intellectual and beyond it. All very useful in a war- chant sincerely, start reading the scriptures carefully and attentively  which I, and My devotees, have left for you. Contemplate on them and apply them in your life.

There are scheduled and surprise tests- be ready to show your sincerity when you face challenges in life.

Having passed the tests (with some bruises and good lessons learnt), you will   be invited to formally join one unit of My army- take shelter of a bonafide       guru in a vaishnava sampradaya.

You are now a formal lieutenant in My army – become initiated. After being     appointed formally in My prestigious Army you will receive additional facilities and perks – gradually the essence of all scriptures will start getting revealed in your heart.

In the meantime do not sit idle but start preaching, simply repeat whatever     you have read, do not add or subtract anything, for a soldier to survive in army (or in a war) discipline is critical.

Gradually you shall acquire weapons (realisations) which will make you   stronger day by day (increased faith). Being empowered with these unique   weapons (realisations) and strength (faith) you will win glory.

Conquer your enemies: There are different sets of enemies- external as well as internal.

External enemy is maya – forgetfulness of my eternal relationship with Krishna.

Internal : Internal enemies are very dangerous. These are Kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha  (attachment), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy)

Final frontier: Win over five kind of material attachments : ignorance, false ego, attachment to the material world, envy and absorption in material consciousness.

And enjoy a flourishing kingdom:  There is only one kingdom which flourishes eternally- Vaikuntha. It is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. In comparison the material world is temporary and full of miseries.

They are already put to death by My arrangement: Those who do not take shelter of My devotees remain forever in the cycle of birth and death. Their consciousness remains shrunk- to a level of 1/10,000 part of the tip of the top of a hair!

O Savyasācī, can be but an instrument in the fight: Each and every one of My dear devotee can become an instrument in My hand and enjoy My association. For this you do not even have to wait to leave this body and enter Vaikuntha (or Goloka Vrindavan) but you will be able to see My presence in everything around you and you will be able to hear My instructions from within. With gradual promotion you will also get the privilege to drink Somarasa – feel nectar in the heart while reading bhakti scriptures.

The objective of life is not simply a subject of debate or speculation. The ultimate aim of life is to realize that supreme object, the Personality of Godhead. Buddhi-yoga, or Krishna consciousness, means to become absorbed in serving the Supreme Lord and His name, qualities, form, pastimes, etc. In other words, it means becoming an instrument for His satisfaction. We have to become infused with His spiritual potency; thus strengthened, we then have to make the propagation of His transcendental glories our prime duty in life. By means of such Potent missionary activities, innumerable jévas can experience endless spiritual joy.

(Renunciation through wisdom, chapter 5)

 

I hope and pray that you liked the taste of little butter we tried to churn. In case of any complaints or suggestions, please mail me at giriraj108@outlook.com

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

 

Why did Srila Prabhupada speak so strongly against Mayavada?

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Sometimes this question gets popped up in discussions ‘why did Srila Prabhupada speak so much against mayavada and voidism?’ He went head on against both the philosophies.  For many of us who were brought in a broad minded liberal mindset (read hodge-podge) such sharp criticism, coming specially from a highly evolved spiritual personality, may seem a bit out of place.

Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantra itself boldly declares his intention, and scope, in no uncertain terms.

नमःॐविष्णुपादय, कृष्णपृष्ठायभूतले, श्रीमतेभक्तिवेदांतस्वामिनइतिनामिने।

नमस्तेसरस्वतेदेवेगौरवाणीप्रचारिणे,  निर्विशेषशून्य-वादीपाश्चात्यदेशतारिणे।।

I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

HG Bhurijana Prabhu, in a recent class, shared an interesting pastime during a program in Japan, when Srila Prabhupada, did not let a mayavadi sanyasi speak for too long, starting a impromptu Kirtan in the middle of his speech, much to the bewilderment of the audience. Srila Prabhupada, later, shared with his disciples that he could tolerate the mayavadi sanyasi for some time but when he started speaking that Supreme Lord has no form, no senses, can not talk and so on, then Prabhupada could not tolerate it any more! HG Bhurijan Prabhu said that such is the love Srila Prabhupada has for Krishna that he could not tolerate anyone speaking that his beloved and most beautiful Lord does not possess any beauty, any form, any taste, etc. It simply showed his level of attachment to Krishna. 

Whats so wrong these philosophies?

Krishna says in BG 4.10

vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ
bahavo jñ
āna-tapasā pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ

Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me — and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me.

Krishna is saying that once one gets free from attachment, fear & anger, and being aware that He is the Supreme Lord and everyone is  His part and parcel, surrendering unto Him, then one become fully absorbed in Him. And the result of such an absorption, based on knowledge (not just sentiments),  is that one will attain transcendental love for Krishna, our final goal.

Srila Prabhupada begins his purport to the above verse :  It is very difficult for a person who is too materially affected to understand the personal nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

Srila Prabhupada then goes into detail, in the same purport, and explains the three popular philosophies prevalent in western countries

  1. Materialism
  2. Mayavada
  3. Voidism

Materialists: People who are attached to the bodily conception of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand how the Supreme can be a person. Such materialists cannot even imagine that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful. In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore, people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. For such materialistic men, the form of the gigantic material manifestation is supreme.

Mayavada : Consequently they consider the Supreme to be impersonal. Generally, because they are too materially absorbed, the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void. Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean, which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality. This is a kind of fearful stage of life, devoid of perfect knowledge of spiritual existence.

Voidism: Furthermore there are many persons who cannot understand spiritual existence at all. Being embarrassed by so many theories and by contradictions of various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry and foolishly conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void. Such people are in a diseased condition of life.

So, surprisingly, the rāga-bhaya-krodhā (attachment, fear and anger) Krishna is speaking about are not exactly how we understand these terms, in reality they mean

  • attachment to material life
  • fear of a spiritual personal identity
  • the conception of void that arises from frustration in life

How do I get free from them?

To get free from these three stages of the material concept of life, one has to take complete shelter of the Lord, guided by the bona fide spiritual master, and follow the disciplines and regulative principles of devotional life.

Srila Prabhupada then writes the complete road map, from faith to Prema, via Krishna consciousness

“In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is matured in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life.” In the prema stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

So this is the role Srila Prabhupada is playing in Krishna’s (actually Mahaprabhu’s)  plan for mass liberation, to save the suffering souls in  kali-yuga by

  1. freeing us from material attachment, rāga (sense gratification)
  2. freeing us from the fearfulness of one’s individual spiritual personality, bhaya (mayavada)
  3. freeing us from the frustration that results in void philosophy, krodhā (voiodism)

Prabhupada through his books, instructions and lectures gave the suffering humanity a complete, and solid, path leading to the highest stage, Krishna Prema, Love of Godhead, ultimately leading to the abode of the Supreme Lord- Goloka Vrindavana. All his activities, all the resources which came by his side, were used by him in Krishna’s service, till his very last breath. Prabhupada walked the path Krishna planned for him, similar to how Arjuna followed Krishna’s instructions and fought the war in Kurukshetra, which Krishna had already planned. Both of them became an instrument in Krishna’s hands with no self interest or self desire. This movement is popularly known as ‘Hare Krishna’ all over the world, he did not name it after himself. So all over the world people became aware of Krishna’s name but who is Srila Prabhupada!

Krishna says there is no greater devotee!

tasmān mayy arpitāśea-kriyārthātmā nirantara
mayy arpit
ātmana puso mayi sannyasta-karmaa
na pa
śyāmi para bhūtam akartu sama-darśanāt

Therefore I do not find a greater person than he who has no interest outside of Mine and who therefore engages and dedicates all his activities and all his life — everything — unto Me without cessation.

(SB 3.29.33)

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of above verse :

In this verse the word sama-darśanāt means that he no longer has any separate interest; the devotee’s interest and the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s interest are one. For example, Lord Caitanya, in the role of a devotee, also preached the same philosophy. He preached that Kṛṣṇa is the worshipful Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that the interest of His pure devotees is the same as His own.

Prabhupada again bashes up the mayavada theory!

Sometimes Māyāvādī philosophers, due to a poor fund of knowledge, define the word sama-darśanāt to mean that a devotee should see himself as one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is foolishness. When one thinks himself one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no question of serving Him. When there is service, there must be a master. Three things must be present for there to be service: the master, the servant and the service. Here it is clearly stated that he who has dedicated his life, all his activities, his mind and his soul — everything — for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, is considered to be the greatest person.

The word akartuḥ means “without any sense of proprietorship.” Everyone wants to act as the proprietor of his actions so that he can enjoy the result. A devotee, however, has no such desire; he acts because the Personality of Godhead wants him to act in a particular way. He has no personal motive. When Lord Caitanya preached Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it was not with the purpose that people would call Him Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rather, He preached that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should be worshiped as such. A devotee who is a most confidential servant of the Lord never does anything for his personal account, but does everything for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore it is clearly stated, mayi sannyasta-karmaṇaḥ: the devotee works, but he works for the Supreme. It is also stated, mayy arpitātmanaḥ: “He gives his mind unto Me.” These are the qualifications of a devotee, who, according to this verse, is accepted as the highest of all human beings.

So in a way Srila Prabhupada became the hand of Krishna. This hand went to the lowest depths on this planet. And to save us he had to smash the very foundation of  senseless material gratification, mayavada & voidism, to free us from material attachment, fear and anger. Thereby delivering and uplifting millions of souls from the very bottom of the pit to the highest platform of Vaishnavism.

The Absolute Nature ofSad-guru’

In a sense guru is like the hand attached to the body of God, Who is all existence, all intelligence, and all bliss (sac-cid-änanda-vigraha). With His hand, God rubs His own feet. The hand of God is His own limb. In this case God is serving Himself. God Himself appears as the guru in order to teach how to serve Himself. Our Gurudeva is also one with the body of God. There is God to be served, there is also God who serves; God as object and God as support. Mukunda is God to be served, He is the object God. The most beloved of Mukunda, Çré Gurudeva, is serving God, the support. There is no one so dearly loved by God as our Gurudeva. He alone is the best beloved of the Lord.

Çrila Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasva Öhäkura, Vyäsa-Püja lecture, 1936.

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Qualifications of a Bonafide Guru?

Who Is A Bonafide Guru ?

A Ready Reckoner from

Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasva Öhäkura

 

präkåta-rasera çikñä-bhikñä çiñye cäya nä
rati binä jei rasa tähä guru deya nä

The true disciples never desire to ask their spiritual master for instructions regarding material mellows. The genuine spiritual master never gives his disciples any such material mellows, which are devoid of rati, transcendental loving attachment to the Lord. (2)

nija-bhogya käme bhakta ‘prema’ kabhu bole nä
‘rase òagamaga acho’ çiñye guru bole nä

Selfish enjoyment of one’s own senses in mundane lust is never called prema (love of Godhead) by the genuine devotee. A bonafide spiritual master never tells his disciple, “You are absorbed in the mellows of divine rasa.” (8)

‘rase òagamaga ämi’ kabhu guru bole nä
jaòéya rasera kathä çiñye guru bole nä

The genuine spiritual master never claims, “I am absorbed in the mellows of divine rasa.” The guru never talks idly with his disciples on subjects of gross worldly mellows. (9)

näme-rase bheda äche, guru çikñä deya nä
rasa läbha kori’ çeñe sädhana to’ haya nä

The bonafide spiritual master never teaches that there is a difference between the Holy Name of Kåñëa and rasa. Even after attaining actual rasa, the regulative principles of devotional service are never concluded. (12)

rati yukta rasa chäòä çuddha-bhakta bole nä
sädhanete rati rasa guru kabhu bole nä

The pure devotee of Kåñëa never speaks of anything other than rasa, transcendental mellow, that is endowed with rati, loving attachment. The guru never claims that rati and rasa are present within the practice of preliminary devotion (sädhana bhakti). (15)

rüpa hoite näma-sphürti, guru kabhu bole nä
guëa hoite näma-sphürti, guru kabhu bole nä

The genuine spiritual master never asserts that the revelation of the Lord’s Holy Name is separate from His form. The genuine spiritual master never claims that the revelation of the Lord’s Holy Name is separate from His qualities. (32)

rasa äge, rati päche, rüpänugä bole nä
rasa äge, çraddhä päche, guru kabhu bole nä

The true followers of Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé never say that the stage of realizing transcendental mellows (rasa) precedes the development of loving devotional attachment (rati). The bonafide spiritual master will never profess that the realization of such mellows precedes the development of pure faith (çraddhä).  (34)

guru-mahäjana-väkye bheda kabhu haya nä
sädhanera pathe käìöä sad-guru deya nä

There can never be any difference between the explanations of the bonafide spiritual master and the teachings of the great devotees (mahäjanas). The pure spiritual master never puts thorn-like deterrents on the path of one’s execution of practical devotional service (sädhana). (54)

(selected verses from Präkåta Rasa Çata Düñiëé)

 

All glories to Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Who is a Bonafide Guru?

guru

Reporter: But the bad gurus…
Çréla Prabhupäda: And what is a “bad” guru?
Reporter: A bad guru just wants some money or some fame.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Well, if he is bad, how can he become a guru? [Laughter.] How can iron become gold? Actually, a guru cannot be bad, for if someone is bad, he cannot be a guru. You cannot say “bad guru.” That is a contradiction. What you have to do is simply try to understand what a genuine guru is. The definition of a genuine guru is that he is simply talking about God—that’s all. If he’s talking about some other nonsense, then he is not a guru. A guru cannot be bad. There is no question of a bad guru, any more than a red guru or a white guru. Guru means “genuine guru.” All we have to know is that the genuine guru is simply talking about God and trying to get people to become God’s devotees. If he does this, he is genuine.

Science of Self Realization, Chapter 2 (SSR)

A bonafide guru honestly accepts and faithfully serves the authority of the disciplic succession represented by the Founder-Äcärya of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda.

The founder-äcärya of the sampradäya is the principal çikñä-guru for that disciplic succession. Speculations that contradict his teachings are to be immediately rejected. Only a saintly devotee who has understood the teachings of the principal çikñä-guru is eligible to be a dékñä-guru for others. If one thinks that he can be initiated by an unauthorized guru or a Mäyävädé into these teachings, he errs severely. He will never attain Kåñëa consciousness.

HNC 6.2126

All bona fide representatives of Çré Vyäsadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvämés. These gosvämés restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous äcäryas. The gosvämés do not deliver lectures on the Bhägavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them.

ÇB 1.1.5p

The guru does not manufacture a new process to instruct the disciple. The disciple receives from the guru an authorized process received by the guru from his guru. This is called the system of disciplic succession (evaà paramparä-präptaà imaà räjarñayo viduù [Bg. 4.2]). This is the bona fide Vedic system of receiving the process of devotional service, by which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased. Therefore, to approach a bona fide guru, or spiritual master, is essential. The bona fide spiritual master is he who has received the mercy of his guru, who in turn is bona fide because he has received the mercy of his guru. This is called the paramparä system.

ÇB 8.16.24p

A bonafide guru is fixed in serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead as servant of the servant.

A Vaiñëava never thinks that he has a direct relationship with Kåñëa. Lord Caitanya says, “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant—a hundred times the servant of the servant—of Kåñëa [Cc. Madhya 13.80].” We have to agree to become the servant of the servant of the servant. This is the process of disciplic succession, and if one wants real, transcendental love of God, then he has to adopt this process.

SSR Ch. 8

A spiritual master’s qualification is that he is brahma-niñöhä, which means that he has given up all other activities and has dedicated his life to working only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa.

Kåñëa Book Ch. 87

A bonafide guru hears from the disciplic succession.

Some spiritual teachers say, “In my opinion you should do this,” but this is not a guru. Such so-called gurus are simply rascals. The genuine guru has only one opinion, and that is the opinion expressed by Kåñëa, Vyäsadeva, Närada, Arjuna, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, and the Gosvämés.

SSR Ch. 2

An actual guru is çrotriya, one who has heard or received perfect knowledge through paramparä, the disciplic succession.

ÇB 7.5.31p

Perfect knowledge is called paramparä, or deductive knowledge coming down from the authority to the submissive aural receiver who is bona fide by service and surrender.

ÇB 1.2.21p

A bonafide guru has realized the conclusions of scriptures.

The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters.

NOD Ch. 7

A spiritually advanced person who is authorized to act as the spiritual master speaks as the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates from within. Thus it is not he that is personally speaking. In other words, when a pure devotee or spiritual master speaks, what he says should be accepted as having been directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the paramparä system.

CC Antya 5.71p

Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Kåñëa, Kåñëa consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master — an initiator or a teacher of the science.

TLC, Ch. 31

A bonafide guru does not behave whimsically.

One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaiñëava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahäprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the çästras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradäya, which means “outside of the sampradäya.”

CC Ädi 7.48p

 

One who is now the disciple is the next spiritual master. And one cannot be a bona fide and authorized spiritual master unless one has been strictly obedient to his spiritual master.

ÇB 2.9.43p

 

If one is seriously interested in Kåñëa conscious activities, he must be ready to follow the rules and regulations laid down by the äcäryas, and he must understand their conclusions. The çästra says, dharmasya tattvaà nihitaà guhäyäà mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù (Mahäbhärata, Vana-parva 313.117). It is very difficult to understand the secret of Kåñëa consciousness, but one who advances by the instruction of the previous äcäryas and follows in the footsteps of his predecessors in the line of disciplic succession will have success. Others will not.

CC Ädi 8.7p

 

A bonafide guru is selfcontrolled.

One who is not self-controlled, specifically in sex life, can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master. One must have disciplinary training in controlling speaking, anger, the tongue, the mind, the belly and the genitals. One who has controlled the particular senses mentioned above is called a gosvämé. Without becoming a gosvämé one can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master. The so-called spiritual master without sense control is certainly the cheater, and the disciple of such a so-called spiritual master is the cheated.

ÇB 2.9.43p

 

A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvämé or gosäïi. One who does not have such control is called a godäsa, or a servant of the senses, and cannot become a spiritual master.

CC Ädi 7.13p

 

A bonafide guru is an uttama-adhikäré.

The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people…… The guru is a qualified brähmaëa; therefore he knows Brahmanand Para-brahman. He thus devotes his life for the service of Para-brahman. The bona fide spiritual master who accepts disciples from all over the world is also worshiped all over the world because of his qualities. Lokänäm asau püjyo yathä hariù: the people of the world worship him just as they worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these honors are offered to him because he strictly follows the brahminical principles and teaches these principles to his disciples. Such a person is called an äcärya because he knows the principles of devotional service, he behaves in that way himself, and he teaches his disciples to follow in his footsteps…… The mahä-bhägavata is one who decorates his body with tilaka and whose name indicates him to be a servant of Kåñëa by the word däsa. He is also initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and is expert in worshiping the Deity, chanting mantras correctly, performing sacrifices, offering prayers to the Lord and performing saìkértana. He knows how to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to respect a Vaiñëava. When one has attained the topmost position of mahä-bhägavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru.

CC Madhya 24.330p

One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikäré. A neophyte Vaiñëava or a Vaiñëava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikäré as a spiritual master.

The uttama-adhikäré, or highest devotee, is one who is very advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikäré is not interested in blaspheming others, his heart is completely clean, and he has attained the realized state of unalloyed Kåñëa consciousness……Out of many such Vaiñëavas, one may be found to be very seriously engaged in the service of the Lord and strictly following all the regulative principles, chanting the prescribed number of rounds on japa beads and always thinking of how to expand the Kåñëa consciousness movement. Such a Vaiñëava should be accepted as an uttama-adhikäré, a highly advanced devotee, and his association should always be sought……When a person realizes himself to be an eternal servitor of Kåñëa, he loses interest in everything but Kåñëa’s service. Always thinking of Kåñëa, devising means by which to spread the Holy Name of Kåñëa, he understands that his only business is in spreading the Kåñëa consciousness movement all over the world. Such a person is to be recognized as an uttama-adhikäré.

NOI Text 5p

 

Note :The above content is copied from An Ocean of Gaura’s premämåta-kåpä – An elaboration on Srila Rupa Goswami’s Sri Upadesamrta by H.G. Srimati Mataji. We can download the book CLICK HERE

In the next blog I will quote a heavy check list on what is meant by a bonafide Guru by Srila Bhaktisdhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Lotus feet of Guru

Hare Krishna.

12th July, 2016. Gurgaon.

sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,

bando mui savadhana mate

jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,

krsna-prapti hoy jaha ha’te

The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

( Guru Puja, from Prema-bhakti-candrika, by Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura)

In one of my previous blog on Lotus feet of Krishna I had written that, Gaura willing, I will try to write another blog on Lotus feet of Guru. As I was looking for various scriptures for this topic I found a transcendental lecture given by Srila Gour Govinda Swami maharaja, simply divine. I am copying some parts from Maharaj’s lecture below.

Lotus feet of Guru

In this world, Sri Guru is the only beauty or asset, wealth. There is nothing else. Carana means feet. Sri-guru-carana-padma the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus. This is also very significant. Why are his feet compared to the lotus and not to anything else? The lotus flower looks very nice and beautiful, and it also provides very sweet honey, madhu. The bumblebee collects honey from different flowers, but especially from the lotus flower. So what sort of special quality is there in the honey collected from the lotus flower that is not present in the honey collected from other flowers? It is a special type of honey known as padma-madhu. The disciple who is like a bumblebee, who is very hungry and greedy for that honey, relishes it.

This lotus grows in Bhakti-rasa

Although the lotus flower grows out of the water, it is not touched by it. One of the synonyms for water is rasa, mellow. The feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus, but this lotus grows in the transcendental water of bhakti-rasa, the mellow of bhakti. Such are the lotus feet of Sri Guru. His lotus feet are aprakrta, not material, but transcendental. They are bhakati-sadma, the abode of transcendental bhakti-rasa as well as all madhuri, beauty. The lotus looks beautiful to the eye and is very attractive to the heart.

lotus-flower- Guru feet

Similarly, the shining lotus feet of Sri Guru are very beautiful in the eyes of the disciple and very attractive to his heart. All of the activities, form, qualities, and pastimes of Sri Guru are very beautiful in the eyes of the sadhaka-bhakta. Through the eye of meditation the sadhaka-bhakta sees the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru. Upon seeing those lotus feet he feels a soothing effect in his afflicted heart. His heart is afflicted with the three tapas, sufferings: adhyatmika, sufferings arising from one’s own mind and body; adhidaivika, sufferings arising from nature; and adhibhautika, sufferings arising from other living entities. When the disciple meditates on the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru he feels a soothing effect and his affliction is cooled down. At the same time he also smells the nice scent that is coming from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, like the scent that comes from the lotus.

Cooling shade of Lotus feet

The bumblebee wanders everywhere, going to various types of flowers. One type of flower is the ketaki flower. That flower is found in India, but not in the West. The tree on which the ketaki flower grows, like the rose plant, has thousands of thorns. The ketaki flower has a nice scent, and a bumblebee that becomes attracted by the scent from the ketaki flower goes there. But because of the many thorns on the tree his wings become torn and he feels so much pain and affliction.

The bumblebee thinks, “Where to go now? Can I get shelter in a place where there is no pain and affliction? Where can I get peace?” After wandering hither and thither, at last he comes to the lotus flower and experiences the cooling, soothing effect there. He takes shelter inside the lotus flower, sucks the sweet honey there, and thus gets nourishment.

Lotus flower and guru's feet

Similarly, the jiva who is wandering and wandering through the innumerable universes and through the innumerable species of life of this material world  brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva  gets only more and more suffering, misery, and torture. There is no cooling effect in the material world, which is like a blazing forest fire  samsara-davanala.

Nobody starts the forest fire, but automatically by the rubbing of two pieces of wood, the whole forest is burned and the animals that live in the forest are burned to ashes. They feel the burning heat, which is very painful. Similarly, the conditioned souls in this material world feel the burning sensation coming from the three tapas: adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. After wandering through innumerable universes and innumerable species of life, at last the fortunate soul, bhagyavan jiva, comes to the lotus feet of Sri Guru and takes shelter in the cooling shade there. As the bumblebee sucks honey from the lotus flower, similarly, the guru-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru, allow that jiva, who is compared to the bumblebee, to suck the nice honey whereby he gets real nourishment and also premananda, loving happiness.

A Special Type of Honey

Padma-madhu, the honey collected from the lotus flower, is a special type of honey. The Ayurveda-sastra says that it is a good medicine for the eye. If someone has some eye disease due to impurities in the eye the kaviraj, ayurvedic doctor, will advise him to rub some padma-madhu in his eyes. Because of these impurities one cannot see clearly and feels pain. Applying some padma-madhu on the eyes will clean out all the impurities and then one will be able to see clearly. Similarly, the guru-padma-madhu, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, is so sweet and nectarean that if a fortunate disciple gets it and relishes it then the disciple’s eyes will be cleansed of the material conception.

This honey flows from Lotus feet of Guru

om ajnana-timirandhasya
jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah

I was born in the dense darkness of ignorance, blind, without real vision. Sri Guru, by his causeless mercy, has opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge.

For a person who has some painful eye disease, who cannot see well, the kaviraj will advise him to apply some padma-madhu by which the drsti-sakti, the power to see clearly, will develop. Then not only will he get nice eyesight but also he will be able to see even very subtle things that he would otherwise never have been able to see. Similarly, when one takes shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru and gets the guru’s mercy, the guru allows the surrendered disciple to taste that sweet honey emanating from the guru’s lotus feet. That is the medicine whereby his material eyes will be cleansed of all material contamination. He develops transcendental vision.

He may have been blinded by the dense darkness of ignorance, ajnana-andhakara, but that will all be gone now. The darkness is dispelled and he receives the eyes of knowledge divya-jnana-caksu. Sri Guru imparts tattva-jnana, and by his mercy the disciple develops transcendental vision. With that vision he will be able to see the beautiful form of the Supreme Lord, Syamasundar. This is the honey, or madhu, emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru; it acts in such a wonderful way. Therefore the phrase, “sri-guru-carana-padma” is very significant  the lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus. Why is this comparison made and how to explain it?

Padma-madhu

Padma-madhu cures eye disease and clears out all the impurities from the eye, but it cannot clear the impurities from the heart. However, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, guru-padma-madhu, has such a special and wonderful characteristic that it cures both the eye and the heart. Sri-guru-carana-padma-madhu cleanses and purifies the heart so that it will become a suitable place for Govinda, Krishna, to reside.

tomara hrdoye sada govinda-visram
govinda kohena  mora vaisnava paran

Narottam Das Thakur sings, “O Vaisnava-thakura! Govinda, Krishna, resides in your heart, which is like Vrindavan, the eternal abode of Govinda. He stays there very blissfully and peacefully. He never leaves your heart.”

The guru makes the heart of his surrendered disciple a suitable place for Krishna to reside. Because the guru gives the disciple shelter at his lotus feet and allows him to suck that special type of honey that has that wonderful characteristic, the heart of the surrendered disciple is cleansed.

Not just any honey!

The conditioned souls are like a diseased person suffering from various kinds of material ills  bhava-rogi. Their disease is very chronic. They have already taken many medicines  allopathic, homeopathic, and Ayurvedic but the disease is still not cured. The disease is incurable and has become chronic. They have already lost their vitality, jivana-sakti, and cannot digest any food. They have taken so many medicines, and that has also produced a bad effect.

These days you will find so many strong drugs, but what is their effect? They simply result in chronic incurable disease. People lose their vitality, and they cannot even eat anything because their digestive fire is very low. How can they survive? They are dying. They cannot eat or digest anything. The kaviraj will advise, “You should only eat one thing madhu. And especially padma-madhu, the special type of honey from the lotus flower.”

He prescribes padma-madhu, whereby they will regain their vitality. This honey will give them life. Any other type of food cannot be given; only padma-madhu is advised. Then they can regain their vitality. Such jivas, wandering through innumerable universes and experiencing the miseries of innumerable species of life, have become completely hopeless. They are only getting suffering, so many material ills  bhava-roga.

If such persons are fortunate, they will come to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. That guru is like a physician, sadhu-vaidya. He knows the perfect and unfailing medicine to cure the material disease, bhava-roga. He knows the cause of the jiva’s suffering. There is only one medicine, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru  guru-padma-madhu. So, as the lotus allows the bumblebee whose wings are torn by the thorns of the ketaki flower to take shelter inside the flower, similarly, the guru allows the disciple to take shelter at his lotus feet.

The guru-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru, gives such hopeless wandering souls shelter and allows them to suck honey, whereby they regain their vitality. The suffering jiva gets nourishment and life there. That is why we say, “sri-guru-carana-padma.” The lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus, and not to anything else. This phrase has great significance.

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

The spiritual master is honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and is followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari.

(Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur, Gurv-astaka, verse 7 )

Sri Guru is saksad-dharitvena, he is as good as Lord Hari. He does not belong to this material world. He belongs to the spiritual world, Krishna’s world. He comes down here out of his causeless mercy, either voluntarily to deliver the fallen souls or when the Lord sends him. Whether he comes here voluntarily or by the will of the Lord, that guru-padma descends here to shower his mercy on the suffering conditioned souls who have been drowning in the dreadful ocean of materialistic existence since time immemorial. That guru-padma descends and stays here in the material world.

Someone may raise the question, “This material world is illusory, mayika jagat. The three modes of material nature are here, sattva, raja, and tama goodness, passion, and ignorance. If the guru comes and stays in this material world, will he not be affected by those three modes? How can his transcendental nature remain unaffected in this dreadful ocean of material existence? How does he act here?”

This is very easy to understand from the example of the lotus flower. The lotus flower lives in the water, but it is not affected. It remains untouched. Similarly, although Sri Guru comes here to this material world, he remains untouched. He is never affected by the three modes of material nature. Therefore the feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus. The bumblebee that comes to the lotus that is in the water and takes shelter inside that lotus is also untouched by the water. Similarly, the fortunate soul who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru will never be afraid of this material world. Just as the bumblebee takes shelter of the lotus and is protected from being touched by the water, so the disciple who takes shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru will not be affected by the material nature. This is the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

Beware!

Another point is there. When the sun rises, the lotus blossoms, and when the sun sets the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, the petals of the guru-padma will open when it sees the intense desire and crying in the heart of the suffering soul to go back to Godhead and get Krishna. This crying for bhakti is like the rising of the sun.

When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, a disciple who has developed an intense and burning desire in his heart has come to the guru and received shelter. But many times we see that later on, that disciple loses his bhakti-vrtti, his devotional engagement. Because of committing some offense like nama-aparadha or vaisnava-aparadha he loses his bhakti-vrtti. His bhakti becomes shrunken and he does not carry out the orders of the guru or hear the guru’s message. He is avoiding or disobeying his guru. When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, the guru disappears from the vision of that disciple.

(By Srila Gour Govinda Swami)

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī prays in CC Antya 20.147, sabāra caraṇa-kṛpā — ‘guru upādhyāyī, The mercy of their lotus feet is my spiritual master.

I once heard that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that lotus feet of his guru are his spiritual master. Similarly in some circles of Gaudiya math there is a still a tradition that when devotee is asked who is your spiritual master, then the reply is that the lotus feet of HH ….. are my spiritual master.

Isn’t this a very gentle and submissive, yet a very personal, way of introducing our spiritual master to a vaishnava, a not so bad idea to practice.

lotus-feet-of-srila-prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet

Srila Sridhara Swami prays

“O transcendentally blissful guru, when my mind finally achieves a place at your lotus feet, all the tiresome labor of my spiritual practices will be finished, and by your mercy I will experience the greatest happiness.”

(SB 10.87.33p)

All glories to the lotus feet of our Param Guru.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Unflinching Faith in Spiritual master

Hare Krishna

7th April, 2016, Gurgaon.

Srila Prabhupada

Last year there was an incident where I received a major chastisement because of not having properly understood the unique position of Srila Prabhupada. Well, I thought I understood his position but unknowingly and subtly I got led in way that would have meant exactly the opposite! The repercussion  for me was polite but very grave, something I had never experienced in my spiritual or even in my material life. It was something I would carry whole life as it taught me a little what is meant by Guru Nishtha (firm faith in spiritual master).

Few days back I stumbled on a very unique correspondence between Srila Prabhupada and one of his most sincere disciples, HH Tamal Krishna Goswami, which I had read almost one a half years back but for some reasons I had saved it. Here, Srila Prabhupada also shares his present and previous life and explains the position of a spiritual master. As I read it again and again I understood a little better why the reaction I received was so severe and why must I be thankful for it till eternity.

Reading it, I also realised the importance of taking a break from the ‘auto-mode’ in our spiritual life and contemplate on important issues surrounding us.

I am sharing the same correspondence below and I pray that the readers get the intended message. I am first sharing the letter which HH Tamal Krishna Maharaj received from Srila Prabhupada and then his thought process and contemplation.  This correspondence also shows the level of simplicity and openness which existed between Srila Prabhupada and his disciples. I have taken the liberty to highlight some portions, here it goes.

Prabhupada’s next letter arrived. Srila Prabhupada said:

Los Angeles, California, June 21st 1970

My Dear Tamal,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 18th June, 1970, sent by Special Delivery Air Mail.

Krishna philosophy is understood as it is stated in the Vedas:

            yasya deve para bhakti yathadeve tatha gurou

            tasya ete kathitha hi artha prakasante mahatmanah

“One who has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and similar faith in his Spiritual Master to him only the imports of Vedic knowledge become revealed.”

A Spiritual Master is always liberated. In any condition of His life He should not be mistaken as ordinary human being. This position of a Spiritual Master is achieved by three processes. One is called sadhan siddha. That means one who is liberated by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Another is kripa siddha, one who is liberated by the mercy of Krsna or His devotee. And another is nitya siddha who is never forgetful of Krsna throughout his whole life. These are the three features of the perfection of life.

So far Narada Muni is concerned, in His previous life He was a maidservant’s son, but by the mercy of the devotees He later on became siddha and next life He appeared as Narada with complete freedom to move anywhere by the grace of the Lord. So even though He was in His previous life a maidservant’s son there was no impediment in the achievement of His perfect spiritual life. Similarly any living entity who is conditioned can achieve the perfectional stage of life by the above mentioned processes and the vivid example is Narada Muni.

So I do not know why you have asked about my previous life. Whether I was subjected to the laws of material nature? So, even though accepting that I was subjected to the laws of material nature, does it hamper in my becoming Spiritual Master? What is your opinion? From the life of Narada Muni it is distinct that although He was a conditioned soul in His previous life, there was no impediment of His becoming the Spiritual Master. This law is applicable not only to the Spiritual Master, but to every living entity.

There are thousands of examples explained in our books that the conditioned soul is never affected with the material body. It is said in the Vedas asamga ayam purusa, which means the living entity is always unaffected with matter. Another example is given that the reflection of the moon on water appears to be moving, but actually the moon is not moving, it is fixed up. So any living entity is like that. His reflection on the material body appears to be changing, but the spirit soul is fixed up, therefore this movement is called illusion.

Liberation means liberation from this changing condition. So far I am concerned, I cannot say what I was in my previous life, but one great astrologer calculated that I was previously a physician and my life was sinless. Besides that, to corroborate the statement of Bhagavad Gita “sucinam srimatam gehe yogabhrasta samyayate” which means an unfinished yogi takes birth in rich family or born of a suci or pious father. By the grace of Krishna I got these two opportunities in the present life to be born of a pious father and brought up in one of the richest, aristocratic families of Calcutta (Kasinath Mullick). The Radha Krsna Deity in this family called me in 1966 to meet Him, and therefore last time when I was in Calcutta, I stayed in that temple along with my American disciples. Although I had immense opportunities to indulge in the four principles of sinful life because I was connected with a very aristocratic family, Krsna 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 Krsna.

……………

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Upon reading this letter I was stunned as if jolted by an electric current. Literally I lost strength and had to sit down. As I sat alone in the temple, my mind reeled. I had not at all been prepared for such a letter.

Again I reread it to be sure that I had understood Prabhupada’s mood rightly. He was firm and straightforward in his defence of the spiritual master’s absolute position. I had committed a great blunder, which Srila Prabhupada by his causeless mercy had not tolerated. When previously I had committed the indiscretion of asking permission to chant the names of the gopis, he had only mildly replied that there was no need. But there was no such indulgence in this letter. The matter was far too serious. I had raised a question about his previous life and whether he had been subjected to the laws of material nature. Prabhupada sensed a doubt inherent in my questioning. If such doubt existed and was not at once quelled, my spiritual life would be undermined at its very foundation. Considering the gravity of the subject, Srila Prabhupada’s mood was extremely tempered.

I tried to examine my motives. Why had I asked such a question? I had been studying the life of Narada Muni from the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. From my reading I had gotten the impression that at one time he was an ordinary, conditioned soul. That had led me to wonder about Srila Prabhupada’s previous life and whether he had also been conditioned at some previous time. But I felt no uncertainty about Narada Muni’s infallibility, nor of Srila Prabhupada’s. Narada Muni was traveling from planet to planet liberating the entire universe by spreading the glories of the Maha-Mantra, and Prabhupada was doing the same in this world on his behalf. Srila Prabhupada was actually my life and soul, and I meant exactly as I had written in a previous letter; everything I had, including myself, was his to do with as he wished. Surely Srila Prabhupada knew the depth of my sincerity. Then why such a strong letter?

I concluded that Prabhupada was taking no chances. If there was even a pinch of distrust for his transcendental position that unsealed flaw would one day crack my spiritual life. And like a fire, it had to be put out at once, thoroughly. Left to its own ways, doubt, like fire, could consume everything in its path. Unflinching faith in one’s spiritual master was the key to success in spiritual life. Lord Caitanya, though the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explained that total faith in His spiritual master’s words was the cause of His achieving success in the matter of chanting Hare Krsna. In contrast, a faithless disciple loses the thread of devotional service and eventually his lips cannot even form the shape of the holy names of the Lord.

My question had arisen in regard to Narada Muni’s previous life: Was it wrong to think of him as ordinary at the time? Prabhupada’s answer was clear: “In any condition of his life he should not be mistaken as ordinary human being.” Just as when we think of famous wealthy men of the world like Rockefeller or Ford, we may hear of their early struggles when they may even have been poor. But that does not cloud our vision of them as being fabulously wealthy. Rather, their early life is precursory as the fertile ground in which the seed of their good fortune was sown. Their present stature does not allow us to view them as ever having been ordinary poor men. How much more so in the case of great liberated souls, as evidenced by the wonderful activities of Narada Muni, who began as a maidservant’s son! His were not the activities of an ordinary low-class boy; otherwise why would the author of the Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, have bothered to include the incidents of his previous life? Such narrations are of the utmost interest because they ultimately resulted in his becoming the great transcendentalist Narada Muni. Therefore the spiritual master is always liberated, and none of his activities-present or previous-should ever be thought of as ordinary.

The Vedic literatures are full of examples of great personalities who took their birth in seemingly common circumstances. The great devotee Vidura, though born in the womb of a sudrani, enlightened the great king Maharaja Yudhisthira. Haridasa Thakura, a Muslim by birth, was elevated as the namacarya for the whole world. The prayers of Kunti devi, a woman, are revered by great liberated sages. And there are hundreds of other similar examples. If one’s birth in this lifetime is not a criterion for judgment, then what to speak of one’s previous life? I could answer Srila Prabhupada with certainty that one’s past in no way hampered one’s becoming a spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada, both in his lectures and his books, has made this very evident. In Teachings of Lord Caitanya he explains this point clearly:

Whatever position one may have, if he is fully conversant with the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness, he can become a bona fide spiritual master, initiator, a teacher of this science. In other words one can become a bona fide spiritual master if he has sufficient knowledge of the science of Krsna, Krsna consciousness. The position does not depend on a particular position in society or on birth. This is the conclusion of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is in accordance with the Vedic injunctions….In ancient days there was even a hunter named Dharma, who became a spiritual master for many people.

My question had betrayed an even more basic misunderstanding about the identity of the soul in regard to the body. To demonstrate that the soul is unaffected by its material surroundings, Prabhupada cited the example that the moon appears to move in its reflection on water, despite its actual steady position in the firmament. That apparent movement is factually the rippling effect of the water, not the movement of the moon itself. The Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic literatures contain numerous statements confirming the soul’s transcendence over matter:

Those with the vision of eternity can see that the soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.

The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, though it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul, situated in Brahman vision, does not mix with the body, though it is situated in that body. (Bg. 13.32-33)

My question was most inappropriate, because the spiritual master, as the direct manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s mercy feature, is never considered within the category of ordinary conditioned souls. Lest any doubts linger after citing the conclusions of scripture, Srila Prabhupada put his personal life before me as evidence. Though, connected with a wealthy aristocratic family, he had had immense opportunity for sinful life, throughout his whole life he had never indulged in intoxication, meat-eating, nor engaged in gambling or illicit sex. Most strikingly, Srila Prabhupada stated that throughout his whole life he was never forgetful of Krsna. In fact, Krsna was personally protecting him and had saved him on numerous occasions. Srila Prabhupada said that the Radha-Krsna Deity in his family’s Calcutta home had personally called him back to Calcutta. These were unusual admissions for Srila Prabhupada to make. Due to his natural humility as Krsna’s pure devotee, he rarely spoke of his own purity and intimate relationship with Krsna. But his prodding disciple had now forced these statements out.

And the evidence was clear for all to see. As Narada Muni was krpa siddha, having been liberated by the mercy of Krsna and His devotees, Srila Prabhupada as much as admitted to his own exalted position as a nitya-siddha devotee of the Lord. By his own statements, he had never, ever forgotten Krsna, not even in his last life, as the calculations of one great astrologer revealed.

I felt ashamed that I had ever asked Srila Prabhupada such a question. What I did not know at the time was that Srila Prabhupada’s lengthy response was not prompted merely by my thoughtless query. In America some of his disciples had committed serious discrepancies in regard to this very same matter. Srila Prabhupada had reason to suspect that some of his Godbrothers in India, due to envy, were influencing his disciples to doubt in his bonafidity. I was completely unaware that such a thing was going on. I had thought Prabhupada’s letter to be an isolated issue, when in fact it had been written at a highly sensitive time when an actual attempt was being made to minimize his position as the founder-acarya of ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, because they are based on Vedic conclusions, do not become irrelevant due to the passage of time. The transcendental stature of the spiritual master, irrespective of birth or other social considerations, will always be accepted by learned men. Srila Prabhupada’s life should be seen as the performance of a great transcendental personality who appeared on the stage of Kali-yuga. Though he himself is timeless and could have been equally well suited to any one of the ages, he never lost sight of the historical significance of his appearance. As sastra-caksus, he always rested his words and deeds upon the authority of the Vedas. Yet as the great preaching acarya for this age, he spoke and acted considering fully the needs of the generations yet to come. The legacy of his appearance in the form of his books, his disciples, and the worldwide institution of ISKCON will be able to nourish all spiritually minded men through the duration of this age.

Only the poor-hearted, the materialists, the envious, could fail to find sufficiency in ‘Srila Prabhupada’s magnanimous gifts. For such unfortunates, his books will remain a mystery, his disciples an enigma, his spiritual institution a material organization.

(Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-Servant of the Servant-The European Yatra-Le Sankirtana Parisien-Tamala Krsna Goswami)

So as his followers and grand children we must develop absolute faith in the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, this alone is sustaining ISKCON and its ever increasing members. Srila Prabhupada is the primary shiksha Guru of all ISKCON devotees. Therefore, we must first carefully study all his books, not just merely read them, and we will find how he has given the essence of Mahaprabhu’s and previous acharayas teachings. Finally, we should daily beg and pray to receive association of those devotees whose pure heart have Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet in them. Only then we can make our life successful in this very lifetime.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Learning to Love Sri Krishna

Hare Krishna.

27th March, 2016. Gurgaon

Krishna taking prasadam

Learning to love Krishna is something like developing love for family and friends in our everyday life. But we can offer all aspects of our life to Krishna, and one of the most important and practical offerings is food. Krishna declares that devotees who eat food first offered to Him make spiritual advancement but those who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment “verily eat only sin” (Bhagavad-gita 3.13). By offering tasty vegetarian dishes for Krishna’s pleasure and then eating His remnants, we not only avoid sinful reaction, but also gradually develop our loving relationship with Him. After all, love is all about give and take.

And Krishna is teaching us give and take.

“You give something,” Krishna is begging. “You try to love Me. You learn how to love Me. Give Me.”

“Sir, I have nothing to give You.”

“Oh, you cannot collect a little fruit and flower and leaf and little water?”

“Oh, yes. Why not? Anyone can collect.”

So the Krishna consciousness movement is so nice. You can make direct friendship with Krishna. You can become direct servant of Krishna.

Srila Prabhupda Lecture, New York, 22nd July 1971

Krishna tells Arjuna, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.26) Out of His kindness, Krishna will accept even the smallest token of our faith — even a little water or a tulasi leaf — if it is offered with love. When Krishna asks us to make such an offering, He is really inviting us to reawaken our eternal, blissful relationship with Him. He wants our love. And so the key ingredient in the preparation and offering process is our affection for Him, our desire to please Him.

As the Supreme Lord, the cause of all causes, and the controller and the proprietor of everything, Krishna is atmarama, self-satisfied. As Srila Prabhupada explains, Krishna does not need food, yet He will accept the offering of a devotee who wants to please and love Him (Bhagavad-gita 9.26 p). Krishna is not hungry for food, He hungers for our love and loving exchange with Him.

How To Offer Food To Krishna

Keep a new plate and glass exclusively for offering home cooked food to Krishna. Place the food prepared for Him on the plate, along with a glass of drinking water. You can place liquid items (such as dal) in small dishes (katories) kept only for these offerings. On each preparation place a tulasi leaf. When the plate is ready, place it on either the altar or a table in front of the altar, or (if there is no altar arrangement) in front of a picture of Krishna. As you sit in front of the altar, meditate on how Krishna will enjoy the offering. Ring the bell while reciting each of the following prayers three times:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale

srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Saraswati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te

krishnaya krishna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvishe namah

O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of  Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca

jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namah

I offer my obeisances again and again to Lord Krishna, who is always worshiped by qualified brahmanas and is very dear to them. He is always concerned with the welfare of the cows, the brahmanas, and the whole universe, and He gives pleasure to the cows, land, and senses.

(jaya) sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu-nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda

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

From the time you take formal shelter of an ISKCON guru, please recite the mantra of your own guru three times before reciting Srila Prabhupada’s pranam-mantra (the first in the list above). Meditate on offering the food to your guru, who then offers it to Krishna. Leave the offering in front of Krishna for ten-fifteen minutes.

Why We Use These Mantras

The devotee doing the offering is presenting everything to his own spiritual master, who will then offer the bhoga through the guru-paramparä to Lord Caitanya, Lord Krishna, and Their associates. That’s why, when offering bhoga we chant the pranam-mantras to the spiritual master, Lord Caitanya, and Lord Krishna. We are praying that They will be kind enough to accept our offering, despite our many faults and limitations. And we are doing things in a way that is approved by Them – and pleasing to Them!

Srila Prabhupada prasadam quote

Offering maha-prasadam to Sri Guru, the Guru Parampara and the Associates of the Lord

Once Krishna has accepted our offering, we can show our affection and respect for Gurudeva, guru-parampara and Krishna’s associates by offering His remnants first to them in gratitude.

  1. To our Gurudeva

idam maha-prasadam aim gurave namah

  1. To Srila Prabhupada

         idam maha-prasadam om ISKCON-samsthapakacaryaya namah

  1. To Krishna’s associates

         idam maha-prasadam om sangopangastra-parshadebhyo namah.

Leave the maha-prasadam with them for a few minutes and then remove it and clean the area for Krishna’s pleasure and theirs.

How to Respect Maha-maha-prasadam

 Please sing the following prayers in gratitude before beginning your meal of Krishna’s Maha-maha-prasadam

  maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani vaisnave
svalpa-punya-vatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate

O king, for those with little pious credit, faith in maha-prasadam, Sri Govinda, the holy name, and the Vaishnavas never arises. (From Mahäbhärata)

 sarira avidya-jal, jodendriya tahe kal,
jive phele visaya-sagore
tar’ madhye jihva ati, lobhamoy sudurmati,
ta ´ke jeta kathina samsare

krishna baro doyamoy, koribare jihva jay,
sva-prasad-anna dilo bhai
sei annamrita pao, radha-krishna-guna gao,
preme dako chaitanya-nitai

O Lord, this material body is a place of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths leading to death. Somehow we have fallen into this ocean of material sense enjoyment, and of all the senses the tongue is the most voracious and uncontrollable. It is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world. But You, dear Krishna, are very kind to us and have given us such nice prasadam just to control the tongue. Now we take this prasadam to our full satisfaction and glorify You- Sri Sri Radha and Krishna – and in love call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Nityänanda.

It is best to honor maha-maha-prasadam in a clean, peaceful place either alone or with friends/family. Talk at the table should be light-hearted and pleasing to the heart. It’s best to wash the mouth and hands both before and after the mercy meal.

(This article has been written on my request by a very senior and kindhearted devotee who preferred to remain anonymous. My primary focus was to highlight that we should offer bhoga to Krishna in a proper disciplic way and more importantly how with a little extra effort we can offer the prasadam to our Guru, Param Guru and Krishna’s associates and then receive maha-maha-prasadam instead of maha-prasadam!)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Srila Prabhupada’s Tirobhava Mahotsava, 2015

Hare Krishna.

15th November, 2015. Vrindavan

(Srila Prabhupada Samadhi Mangal Aratik Darshan 15th Nov)

Srila Prabhupada’s Tirobhava Mahotsava day at Vrindavan.

I was very fortunate to be present on Sunday at Vrindavan and attend the 38th disappearance festival of Srila Prabhupada.

I knew that the temple will be full to its capacity in the morning so I stayed back in the apartment and chanted my rounds. As I was leaving, Arti mataji, whose family I was staying with, asked me if I am keeping normal fast or nirjala fast till noon. I had completely forgotten that it was fast till noon today for Prabhupada disappearance day! I thanked her for reminding me and in my heart profusely thanked Krishna for not allowing me to make this blunder. I further resolved never to stay without the association of devotees!

I reached temple around 7.45am and straight away went to Prabhupada samadhi and paid my humble obeisances.  It’s always a very humbling experience to be here, more so as with each passing day I realise how much Srila Prabhupada did for us and what little I am doing to reciprocate.

As every year, devotees carried Srila Prabhupada’s deity around all the Goswami temples in Vrindavan, people from all walks of life paid their respect to this Premi Bhakta who spread Krishna bhakti all around the world.  Here are some pictures which I copied from the official webpage.

In the temple, a very tastefully decorated pandal had been set up for the disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada to glorify him. One by one senior devotees came and paid their respects to Srila Prabhupada. It was amazing to see how each one of them had their own connection with Prabhupada. HH Lokanath Maharaj said that Prabhupada is still here with us, HH Gopal Krishna Maharaj said that we need to introspect on what actions we can take which will further increase the glorification of Srila Prabhupada, another devotee shared how is serving Prabhupada in `vipralamba bhava’, each one had their own unique relationship with Srila Prabhupada.

Later, it was time for Abhishek ceremony.

Press here to watch Srila Prabhupada Abhishek Video

There was sumptuous prasadam arranged for everyone at Goshalla and I overate!

Srila Prabhupada’s quarters were opened to visitors in the evening with very beautiful decorations.

In the midst of all this I was thinking how to remember Prabhupada. I was very fortunate to meet a very senior devotee who shared some gems written by Srila Prabhupada himself on the connection between Guru and disciple. I am sharing the same. It will be very nice if we can read them loudly, meditate on each of them and remember our param guru.

“The spiritual Master lives forever by His divine instruction and the disciple lives with him.”, because I have always served my Guru Maharaja and followed His teachings I am now even never separated from Him. Sometimes Maya may come and try to interfere but we must not falter, we must always follow the chalked out path layed down by the great acharya’s and in the end you will see.

                                 -Letter to Cidananda — Bhaktivedanta Manor 25 November, 1973

Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my Guru Maharaja since 1936 but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna and in that way the feelings of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.

-Letter to Devotees in New York City, 19th January, 1967

I understand that you are feeling my absence. Krishna will give you strength. Physical presence is immaterial; presence of the transcendental sound received from the spiritual master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you.

-Letter to Devotees in New York City, 19th January, 1967

You cannot survive without my mercy and I cannot survive without your mercy. It is reciprocal. This mutual dependence is based on love—Krishna Consciousness.

-Letter to Jayatirtha Dasa, 22nd, January, 1967

The senior devotee emphasised on each of the above statements, we read them loudly, repeatedly. Especially  highlighting how wonderful is the last statement where Srila Prabhupada is equating love with Krishna consciousness. And in a very beautiful and sweet way he is showing us that an amazing relationship exist between a factual guru and a factual disciple. If both are ‘sat’ then one can’t do without the other. What is the meaning of guru without disciple and what is the meaning of disciple without a guru?  A very powerful statement by Srila Prabhupada.

You cannot survive without my mercy and I cannot survive without your mercy

Can we imagine a heart who feels like that ! It is reciprocal, this mutual dependency which is based on love –  Krishna consciousness. We should be very careful not make the relationship between a Guru and disciple a business affair. We should contemplate if there is heart in the relationship? Where is the intensity of dependence on Guru? This is the actual reality, neither can survive without the mercy of the other. So beautiful.

Then we read the below statement from the book of HH Satsvarupa Maharaj.

Memories of Prabhupada are nectar. Without them, there would be no substance to Prabhupada consciousness. If there were no memories of Prabhupada, then he would become only a legend. But there is a lot more to Prabhupada consciousness than memories of him.  By meditating on the memories and practicing internal, minute-to-minute surrender, we will be Prabhupada conscious. This internal cultivation is very important. Prabhupada recall doesn’t mean only remembering what he did in the 1970s, it means recalling our need to serve him now.                                                                                                                         -HH Satsvarupa Goswami

 

In the end we read the following famous lines from a poem written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die
When thou art living still in sound.
The Vaishnavas die to live and living try
To spread a holy life around!

All glories to the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.