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

Secret appearance of Vrajendra Nandan Krishna!

Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam are two most important scriptures for Kali Yuga, they have specifically manifested for us kali yugians. If we sincerely try to serve these two transcendental scriptures then we can unlock many hidden gems. Let us take a look at the famous verse from Bhagavad gita

जन्म कर्म मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः

त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

(Bg 4.9)

As we read the above verse it looks too simplistic, as if Krishna is simply encouraging everyone to accept His shelter by holding a big carrot in front of us! Rather, coming out from the lotus like mouth of Krishna, every single verse of Bhagavad Gita is Absolute and so is its conclusion and promise. Srila Prabhupada further declares in his purport –

He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation.

(Bg 4.9p)

The above statements may baffle us, especially devotees. We already know that Krishna is the Supreme personality of Godhead, we know about Krishna’s transcendental appearance and activities but liberation seems a bit far. But then how much do we even really know Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, Krishna of Vrindavan.

Both the verse and its purport are ‘packed’ and we can unpack then in multiple ways. Today, however let us unpack it from the angle of Krishna’s birth, how and where exactly did Vrajendra Nandan Krishna appeared.

Scriptures say that Svayam Bhagavan, Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, does not take one step out of Vrindavan. Many of us may have read the pastime when Akrura came to invite Krishna and Balaram to Mathura, the two brothers he took with him to Mathura were a little different then whom he assumed accompanied him.

Vrajendra Nandan Krishna

Nanda Maharaj returned to Vrindavan without Krishna and Balaram. He was accompanied only by the cowherd boys and men. It was certainly a very pathetic scene for the gopis, Mother Yashoda, Srimati Radharani and all the other residents of Vrindavan. Many devotees have tried to make adjustments to Krishna’s being away from Vrindavan because, according to expert opinion, Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never goes even a step out of Vrindavan. He always remains there. The explanation of expert devotees is that Krishna was actually not absent from Vrindavan; He came back with Nanda Maharaj as promised.

When Krishna was starting for Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were blocking the way, Krishna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed and in this way pacified them. But when He failed to come back with Nanda Maharaj, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krishnawas neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krishna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaj and stayed with the gopis and Mother Yashoda in His bhäva expansion. Krishna and Balaram remained in Mathura not in Their original forms but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sakarshana. The real Krishna and Balaram were in Vrindavan in Their bhäva manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krishna. Externally, however, They were absent from Vrindavan.

(Krishna Book, chapter 46)

Now a natural question may arise that if Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never takes even a step out of Vrindavan then how did He take birth in Mathura?

Let us try solve this mystery by seeing it from the eyes of our acharya and the scriptures.

Thereafter, exactly when Vasudeva, being inspired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to take the newborn child from the delivery room, Yoga-māyā, the Lord’s spiritual energy, took birth as the daughter of the wife of Mahārāja Nanda.

Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura discusses that Krishna appeared simultaneously as the son of Devaki and as the son of Yashoda, along with the spiritual energy Yoga-māyā. As the son of Devaki, He first appeared as Vishnu, and because Vasudeva was not in the position of pure affection for Krishna, Vasudeva worshiped his son as Lord Vishnu. Yashoda, however, pleased her son Krishna without understanding His Godhood. This is the difference between Krishna as the son of Yashoda and as the son of Devaki. This is explained by Vishvanath Chakravarty on the authority of Hari-vaśa.

(SB 10.3.47+p)

What Srila Prabhupada is disclosing above is simply astonishing! Prabhupada is divulging to us that Krishna appeared simultaneously in two places- as the son of Devaki and as son of mother Yashoda, in Vrindavan.

Let us read the exact commentary of Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura, which Srila Prabhupada quoted above.

In the Hari Vamsa is says that that in the eighth of her pregnancy Devaki and Yashoda gave birth at the same time to their Children. But here in Bhagavatam it is stated that that Yashoda gave birth after Devaki. How to correlate the two contradictory statements? Exactly when Devaki gave birth to Krishna, Yashoda also gave birth to Krishna. After that, as described in this verse, Yashoda birth to Yagamaya. Yashoda gave birth to two children at different times. This is confirmed in SB 10.4.9, for when Yogamaya falls from the hands of Kansa, she is called younger sister of Krishna. But when Krishna was born to Yashoda it is not stated that he had four hands. It is understood that He was born from Yashoda with two hands.

(Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura purport to SB 10.3.47)

Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura is revealing to us that mother Yashoda gave birth to two kids. A son, Krishna, was born at the very same time when Lord Vishnu appeared as the son of Devaki. (Hence Krishna’s birth is rightly celebrated as Janamashtami everywhere and not on Nandotsava as some devotees tend to suggest.) Second child, as we know, was Yogamaya, Krishna’s ‘younger’ sister.

How can the umbilical cord be still intact if kids were exchanged in the night!

Srimad Bhagavatam itself gives us a hint about this secret while describing how Nanda Maharaj celebrated Krishna’s ‘Jata-Karma’ ceremony, cutting of the umbilical cord connecting the child and placenta.

nandas tv ātmaja utpanne jātāhlādo mahā-manāḥ
āhūya viprān veda-jñān snātaḥ śucir alaṅkṛtaḥ 

vācayitvā svastyayanaṁ jāta-karmātmajasya vai
kārayām āsa vidhivat pitṛ-devārcanaṁ tathā 

Sukhdeva Gosvami said: Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation. Therefore, after bathing and purifying himself and dressing himself properly, he invited brahmanas who knew how to recite Vedic mantras. After having these qualified brahmanas recite auspicious Vedic hymns, he arranged to have the Vedic birth ceremony celebrated for his newborn child according to the rules and regulations, and he also arranged for worship of the demigods and forefathers.

(SB 10.5.1-2)

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :

The jāta-karma ceremony can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut. However, since Krishna was brought by Vasudeva to the house of Nanda Maharaj, where was the chance for this to happen? In this regard, Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura desires to prove with evidence from many shastra that Krishna actually took birth as the son of Yashoda before the birth of Yoga-maya, who is therefore described as the Lord’s younger sister.

(SB 10.5.1-2p)

Srila Rupa Gosvami also gives away the secret!

preshthanandair vraje tais tair atmano ‘pi vimohanaih

lilollasair vilasati shri-lila-purushottamah

Because He enjoys many happy pastimes, delighting His dear associates, and even enchanting Himself, Lord Krishna is called “lila-purushottama” (the most playful person).

asamordhvena bhagavan vatsalyena vrajesayoh

sutatvenaiva sa tayor atmanam vetti sarvada

Because the parental love of Vraja’s king and queen has no equal or superior, Lord Krishna eternally thinks Himself their son.

kecid bhagavatah prahur evam atra puratanah

vyuhah pradurbhaved adyo griheshv anakadundubheh

goshthe tu mayaya sardham shri-lila-purushottamah

In ancient times some devotees have said that the Lord appeared in His Vasudeva feature in the home of Maharaja Vasudeva, and at the same time He appeared, along with Yogamaya, in His original form as Sri Krishna in the village of Vraja.

gatva yadu-varo goshtham tatra suti-griham visan

kanyam eva param vikshya tam adayavrajat puram

pravisad vasudevas tu shri-lila-purushottamam

When Maharaja Vasudeva arrived in Vraja, he entered the maternity room, saw (Yashoda’s, daughter and, taking her with him, returned to Mathura. The Vasudeva expansion (Maharaja Vasudeva carried with him, then merged in the body of Sri Krishna.

etac cati-rahasyatvan noktam tatra katha-krame

kintu kvacit prasangena sucyate shri-sukadibhih

Because this pastime is very confidential, it was not related in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nevertheless, Sukadeva Gosvami and other great devotees have indirectly described it in some of their writings.

Srila Rupa Gosvami then quotes below four verses from Srimad Bhagavatam which specifically describe Krishna as son of Nanda Maharaj.

“Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation.”

(SB 10.5.1)

“Nanda Maharaj was very liberal and simple. He immediately took his son Krishna on his lap as if Krishna had returned from death.”

(SB 10.6.43)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Mother Yashoda, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.”

(SB (10.9.21)

“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the son of Maharaj Nanda, who is standing before me with conchshell earrings and peacock feather on His head. His face is beautiful, He is wearing a helmet, garlanded with forest flowers, and He stands with a morsel of food in His hand. He is decorated with cane, flute, and a bugle made of buffalo horn. He stands before me with small lotus feet.”

(SB 10.14.1)

tatha shri-yamala-vacanam samudaharanti

“krishno ‘nyo yadu-sambhuto yah purnah so ‘sty atah parah

vrindavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati

The different between Krishna’s appearance in Vrindavan and His appearance in Mathura and Dvaraka is described in, Yamala Tantra:

“The Krishna known as Yadukumara is Vasudeva Krishna. He is different from the Krishna who is the son of Nanda Maharaj. Yadukumara Krishna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krishna the son of Nanda Maharaj never at any time leaves Vrindavan.

(Laghu-bhagavatmrta 1.5.452-461)

The above verse has also been quoted in Caitanya Caritamrta, it was spoken by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to … who else…. Srila Rupa Gosvami!

Caution- One should not misunderstand that there are multiple Krishnas! This verse is showing that Vrindavan Krishna, Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, is the original personality of Godhead and rest all are His various plenary expansions/ incarnations. Vrajendra Nandan Krishna is the original source.

pūrṇa bhagavān kṛṣṇa vrajendra-kumāra
goloke vrajera saha nitya vihāra

Lord Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is the Supreme Lord. He eternally enjoys transcendental pastimes in His eternal abode, Goloka, which includes Vrajadhama.

(CC Adi 3.5)

I hope we got a little taste of sweet undercurrents flowing via, seemingly, straight verses of Bhagavad Gita, and also Srimad Bhagavatam, if we simply serve these two scriptures by studying them regularly, then, by the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, many intricate aspects of Absolute Truth, Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, can manifest in our heart.

He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krishna to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed.

(BG 4.9p)

 

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita
srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pum-artho mahan
sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaj, is worshiped along with His transcendental abode Vrindavan. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrindavan. Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything and pure love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

(Caitanya-matta-manjusa by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura)

 

Wish you all a very happy New Year Year. Here is a short clip to welcome, sing and welcome the new year by welcoming and accepting Vrajendra Nandan Krishna as Lord of our heart ! Press here

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Our surrender to Krishna

 

Is God unfair ?

“Why God has made somebody so opulent and why somebody so poor?” This is the general question we hear. Does God discriminates between different souls? Srimad Bhagavatam clears the doubt

naiñä parävara-matir bhavato nanu syät

jantor yathätmä-suhådo jagatas tathäpi

saàsevayä surataror iva te prasädaù

sevänurüpam udayo na parävaratvam

Like the ordinary living entity, my Lord, You have no such discrimination, thinking like ‘He is my friend; he is my enemy, he is favorable, he is unfavorable.’ Such conception of low grade and high grade You have not got. But according to one’s gradation of service, You offer them benediction exactly like the desire tree offers fruits according to the desire of the person. The desire tree has no distinction of low-grade and high-grade position of the beggar.”

(SB 7.9.27)

 

God is Absolute

Parävaratvam. Para means “better,” and apara means “inferior.” Superior and inferior. There are two things, superior and inferior, everywhere, but in the eyes of God, Krishna, there is no such thing superior or inferior. He’s superior, and everything is superior. This should be understood. There is no such discrimination that “Here is a devotee, so he’s superior, and here is a non-devotee, he’s inferior.” That is not God’s discrimination; that is your discrimination.

How is that?

If you like to remain as inferior, you can remain. God has given you independence. And if you like to become superior, you can become superior. It is not God’s discrimination; it is your discrimination. Mind this verse very carefully. Krishna says that “You fully become dependent upon Me, and I shall give you full protection.” This is superiority. As soon as I fully surrender to the supreme superior, Krishna, then my position is immediately superior. But if I don’t do that, then I remain inferior.

There is a verse in the Bhagava gita, ye yathä mäà prapadyante täàs tathaiva bhajämy aham (Bg 4.11- As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.) “It is up to you to… If you surrender cent per cent, then I am also fully cent per cent for you.” But if you have got discrimination—”Certain percentage for my wife, certain percentage for my children, certain percentage for my country, certain percent…,” so on, so on, so on, so on, ultimately, “Zero for God”—then God is also zero. It is up to you. But if you take God—”You are my everything”—then He is also for you, everything. It is up to you. Parävaratvam. He does not discriminate; you discriminate.

Can we understand this via an example?

There are many persons, they come to Vrindavan, and whatever they have earned throughout the whole life, so they give everything to the wife and children and make contract that “I am going to Vrindavan. You send me at least two hundred rupees for my expenditure.” “And what about two lakhs and crores?” “Oh, that is yours. The two lakhs and crores, what I have earned, that is for you, my dear children, my dear wife, and you give me two hundred for God. So I am going to Vrindavan.” So Krishna is very intelligent: “All right, I am also for you two hundred.” Ye yathä mäm… This is the meaning, real meaning.

Srila Prabhupada calls it…

It is called…Responsive cooperation. “If you have surrendered to Me cent per cent, then I respond cent per cent. If you have surrendered twenty-five percent, then I respond twenty-five percent.” This is the position.

 

Mahajans know it!

Prahlada Maharaj knows it, that naiñä parävara-matir bhavato: “You have no such thing as discriminating.”

 

I am very fallen but why can’t God show more compassion?

So one may say that “I may… I am foolish. I may not surrender to Krishna cent per cent, but why He is not kind cent per cent?” So that is Krishna’s discrimination. Why He should? He can. He can become cent per cent, but He does not do so. That means Krishna is senscient; He is not impersonal. Don’t think that whatever you are doing, Krishna cannot see. In the Deity room, if you think that “This Deity is made of brass. Whatever nonsense I can do, He does not see,” no, He can see everything. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti paçyanti pänti kalayanti [Bs. 5.32]. He sees. You rascal, you do not know how Krishna sees. You think that “He has these brass-made eyes. He cannot see. I can do all nonsense with…” No. That is not. He can see everything. Paçyanti pänti. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti. He can see with His lotus feet. He can see with His hand. We can see simply with our eyes, but Krishna can see with all the… Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti. You have seen: Krishna is playing the flute. The fingers are open. A finger touching: “What you are doing?” We do not know the fingers can also see. But this is absolute. Krishna can use His any energy, any power, any part of the body, for anything else. This is Krishna. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti. So Krishna can see within our mind how much we are surrendered and how much we are after material enjoyment.

So what should we do?

Therefore the best thing is we have to make zero. Anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam Çünyam means zero. Unless we make everything zero, simply Krishna fact… Krishna is the only fact, and everything zero.

Zero !!!

Without Krishna, everything zero. Just like one is one, and zero is zero, but when zero is added with one, it becomes ten immediately—ten times. Similarly, this material world is zero, and Krishna is one. If you want to enjoy the material world by your own effort, it will always prove zero. You’ll never be satisfied. But you add this zero by the side of Krishna, you enjoy like anything, ten times. Ten times. With zero it is zero, but when it is added with Krishna, it is ten times. Just see practically. Our Krishna consciousness movement was started with forty rupees. Now that forty rupees or something added with Krishna, it has become forty crores. You see practically. When I started for your country, I came to Mayapur. I offered my obeisances to my spiritual master, then I went. At that time I had no money even to purchase the ticket. And after that, I have come with forty crores. This is the secret: ye yathä mäà prapadyante

And the result will be…

If you fully surrender to Krishna, then Krishna is there. You have to learn how to take from Krishna. Of course, a devotee is never desirous to take anything from Krishna. He wants to give only. This is pure devotee. A pure devotee wants, “Krishna, whatever little I have got, You take it, everything.” And Krishna says, “Yes, because you have given your everything, even up to your life, I’ll also give you My everything to you.” This is Krishna.

God is like a wish fulfilling tree!

Krishna has no discrimination, but it is up to us to know how to take from Krishna. Just like the example is given here that saàsevayä surataror iva. Surataror iva. Surataroù means the desire tree. It is described in the Brahma-saàhitä, desire tree. Cintämaëi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-våkña [Bs. 5.29]. That is kalpa vriksha….. kalpa vriksha there is in the higher planetary system, and especially in the Vaikuntha world. There are trees are kalpa vriksha, because everything is spiritual; nothing is dead. Here you can take some fruits or flower from a particular tree, but there, if you like, you ask kachoré and samosä from a tree—you get. But we have no idea what is surataroù, surataroù, what is kalpa Vriksha. Whatever you desire, you’ll get it. Surabhéh, surabhér abhipäl… The cows are surabhi. Here you have got limitation; you can milk morning and evening to a certain extent. But there the cows are surabhi. Surabhi means you can milk as many times as you like, and as much milk you want, you can take it. But these things are there, but we have no information. We are struggling here. Manaù-ñañöhänéndriyäëi prakåti-sthäni karñati [Bg. 15.7]. Because we are fools and rascals, we are trying to make some adjustment here. That is not possible.

It is duùkhälayam açäçvatam. This is mäyä. We are trying to be happy in this material… It will never be possible. But these fools and rascals, they do not know. They are making big, big plans how to become happy, how to become, in our country, in our home, in our society, in our family, and so on, so on, so on. This means we are simply becoming entangled. Ato gåha-kñetra-sutäpta-vittair janasya moho ‘yam [SB 5.5.8]. Ahaà moha, illusion. It will never be possible. Therefore, the conclusion is we should fully surrender cent per cent to Krishna, and then we become happy. Saàsevayä surataror iva te prasädaù.

The example is: just like the desire tree, kalpa Vriksha. It can fulfill any desire, any desire. We have got so many desires. Krishna can fulfill all the desires. Please surrender to Krishna. This is the process.

Conclusion

Pure devotion means first of all you learn not to order Krishna, “Krishna, give me this, give me that, give me that.” Don’t bother Krishna. That is the beginning of spiritual life. Anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam. You prepare to carry out every order of Krishna. Then it is spiritual life. Don’t make Krishna your order-supplier. You become order-supplier of Krishna.

If you learn how to give service to Krishna cent per cent, then you get everything, everything, without asking. Krishna knows everything, what is required for you. Just like a father knows what is the necessity of the child. The child never begs, “Father, give me this, give me that.” No. He’s simply dependent on parents. The parent knows. Similarly, if we become cent per cent dependent and serve Him faithfully under His order or His representative’s order, then the success is sure.

( Srila Prabhupada lecture, March 5 , 1976, Mayapur)

Now the amazing thing is that all of the above is simply transcript of a lecture given by Srila Prabhupada, I simply copied it ‘as it is’, the language, even the sequence of the paragraphs. I have only inserted questions based on each para! It is simply an amazing lecture, full of gems. We can hear the original audio of this lecture here. Transcript of the complete lecture is here.

If we simply read the transcript carefully and repeatedly or hear the audio with sincerity and attention then we can get many keys to make a very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness and surrender to Krishna.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Krishna as Supersoul- our friend within

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As aspiring devotees, many a times, we feel alone, sometimes even helpless. We, however, forget that Krishna as Supersoul is always with us. Due to our ignorance and dull consciousness we may not be able to see Krishna’s hand in our journey towards Him but He is very much with us. Similarly we may not be able to appreciate and value how Krishna as Supersoul is sitting in our heart and is inspiring us to progress towards Him at every stage in our Krishna consciousness journey. Supersoul plays a very important role in the journey of a devotee. Let us find out how we can connect with Supersoul, hear His voice and take guidance from Him.

Srimad Bhagavatam says

harir deha-bhtām ātmā svaya praktir īśvara
tat-pāda-mūla śaraa yata kemo nṛṇām iha

Śrī Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supersoul and guide of all living entities who have accepted material bodies within this world. He is the supreme controller of all material activities in material nature. He is also our best friend, and everyone should take shelter at His lotus feet. In doing so, one’s life will be auspicious.

(SB 4.29.50)

Krishna is very close!

In Bhagavad-gītā (18.61) it is said, īśvara sarva-bhūtānāṁ hd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati: “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna.” The living entity is within the body, and the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is also there. He is called antaryāmī and caitya-guru. As Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), He is controlling everything:

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca

“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”

(SB 4.29.50p)

Should I take directions from Supersoul?

Everything is being directed by the Supersoul within the body; therefore the better part of valor is to take His direction and be happy. To take His directions, one needs to be a devotee, and this is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te

“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”

(SB 4.29.50p)

Paramatma is our ‘old’ friend

In His Paramatma feature, Krishna is the old friend of everyone. According to Vedic injunction, Krishna is sitting with the living entity side by side. According to the sruti-mantra (dvä suparëä sayujä sakhäyäù), the Lord is sitting within the heart of every living entity as suhrt, the best friend. The Lord is always eager to have the living entity come home, back to Godhead. Sitting with the living entity as witness, the Lord gives him all chances to enjoy himself materially, but whenever there is an opportunity, the Lord gives good counsel and advises the living entity to abandon trying to become happy through material adjustment and instead turn his face toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him.

(SB 4.28.51p)

Can I start talking with Supersoul right now!

The Lord is the Supersoul seated in everyone’s heart, and He acts as the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within. However, He gives direct instructions only to the advanced, pure devotees.

(SB 4.28.41p)

I knew there would be some catch!

Unless you are a devotee, unless you are constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, He will not speak to you. He speaks, but you cannot hear. You have no ears to hear Him. That is not possible. Krishna is speaking. Just like Krishna is speaking in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja [Bg. 18.66]. It is open speaking, but who is hearing? Nobody is hearing. Nobody is hearing. They have got their own conception of life.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6th Nov, 1973, Delhi)

So what chance I have?

When a living entity desires to serve the Lord in transcendental loving service, the Lord helps the devotee in so many ways as the caitya-guru, or the spiritual master within, and thus the devotee can perform many wonderful activities beyond material estimation. By the mercy of the Lord even a layman can compose prayers of the highest spiritual perfection. Such spiritual perfection is not limited by material qualifications but is developed by dint of one’s sincere endeavor to render transcendental service. Voluntary endeavor is the only qualification for spiritual perfection.

(SB 3.9.38p)

We begin by taking shelter of a bona fide guru

A person in full Krishna consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna. In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, dictation is received through the transparent medium of the spiritual master. When one is sufficiently trained and acts in submissive faith and love for Krishna under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. This stage of devotional service by the devotee in Krishna consciousness is the most perfect stage of the yoga system. At this stage, Krishna, or the Supersoul, dictates from within, while from without the devotee is helped by the spiritual master, who is the bona fide representative of Krishna. From within He helps the devotee as caitya, for He is seated within the heart of everyone. Understanding that God is seated within everyone’s heart is not, however, sufficient. One has to be acquainted with God from both within and without, and one must take dictation from within and without to act in Krishna consciousness.

(SB 3.15.45p)

(We all have experienced when we are sitting with a bona-fide spiritual master or a devotee coming in proper disciplic succession, how the questions within our heart are automatically answered or explained by the such speaker, there is a solid connection via supersoul)

It’s a gradual process, coinciding with our purification level

In the beginning, when a devotee is serious and sincere, the Lord gives him directions from within to approach a bona fide spiritual master. When one is trained by the spiritual master according to the regulative principles of devotional service and is situated on the platform of spontaneous attachment for the Lord (räga-bhakti), the Lord also gives instructions from within. teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam [Bg. 10.10]. This distinct advantage is obtained by a liberated soul.

(SB 4.28.41p)

Supersoul manifests outside to help us!

One who is sincere and pure gets an opportunity to consult with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His Paramatma feature sitting within everyone’s heart. The Paramatma is always the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within, and He comes before one externally as the instructor and initiator spiritual master. The Lord can reside within the heart, and He can also come out before a person and give him instructions. Thus the spiritual master is not different from the Supersoul sitting within the heart.

(SB 4.8.52p)

Why does Supersoul need to manifests outside?

jīve sākṣāt nāhi tāte guru caittya-rūpe
śikṣā-guru haya kṛṣṇa-mahānta-svarūpe

Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna Himself.

It is not possible for a conditioned soul to directly meet Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if one becomes a sincere devotee and seriously engages in devotional service, Lord Krishna sends an instructing spiritual master to show him favor and invoke his dormant propensity for serving the Supreme. The preceptor appears before the external senses of the fortunate conditioned soul, and at the same time the devotee is guided from within by the caittya-guru, Krishna, who is seated as the spiritual master within the heart of the living entity.

(CC Adi 1.58+p)

(We should not only see our spiritual master as manifestation of Krishna but also our shiksha guru and senior counselors, from whom we are taking shiksha, as being direct representatives of Krishna. Krishna has personally sent them to help us.)

Wow! can we understand it via some example?

Just like we work in some big establishment, and if we can satisfy our immediate boss, that is the satisfaction of the whole company. You haven’t got to see whether all the members of the company have become satisfied. Simply the immediate boss under which you are working, if he is satisfied, then you know the company is satisfied because he will submit the report of his work.

Similarly, Krishna is very kind. He is helping you in different ways. He is within your heart. Krishna is within your heart. Antaryami, Caitya-guru. And is presenting Himself as spiritual master both ways, externally, internally. He is trying to help you. And when you are actually taking the advantage of that help, and if you are engaged with love and affection in the transcendental service of the Lord, then you can talk with God from within. God is within you. You haven’t got to find out God in so many places. Anywhere you can sit down. But if you are sincere, if you are actually wanting to offer your service to the Lordteñäà satata-yuktänäà bhajatäà préti-pürvakam, dadämi buddhi-yogaà tam [Bg. 10.10]—He will give you intelligence. Simply we have to become sincere servitor.

So it doesn’t matter whether one is householder or a brahmacari or sannyasi. He has to become first of all sincere servitor of the Lord. Then everything is complete. The Lord is within you. He will give you all knowledge, all enlightenment, all dictation, and He will make your life progressive.

(Srila Prabhupada lecture, 14th May 1969, Columbus)

I hope and pray that by reading the above we all can develop more faith to understand how Krishna is sitting within us as Supersoul and more importantly, we can appreciate how He is actively thinking about each one of us. Krishna loves each one of us and for those who are sincere, Krishna directly facilitates all arrangements so that we can go back to Him. For showering such love and personal care, what should be our feelings towards Krishna? And then what should be our feelings and attitude towards those great souls, whom Krishna has made His instrument of compassion and sent them to guide us in our spiritual journey. They are His direct representatives. Krishna Himself is helping every one of us internally as well as externally. Srila Prabhupada explains that there is no difference between internal instructor and external instructor. Can I work on my consciousness to see them non-different from each other?

Simply by accepting and acknowledging our spiritual master, shiksha guru and senior counselor as an external manifestation of Krishna, by valuing their association and contribution in our life, by following their instructions, we can attract further mercy of Krishna and make very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness and one day soon it may be our turn to start receiving direct instructions from someone very special within us, the stealer of hearts, Sri Krishna Chandra.

 

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

 

P.S. – Please use this link to read Lord Kapila describing the specific form of Supersoul residing in our heart and how yogis meditate on that divine form SB 3.28.21

Build an eternal relationship with Srila Prabhupada

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Few years back, I was preparing for a class by hearing a lecture given by HG Rukmini Krishna Prabhuji, from ISKCON Punjabi Bagh, repeatedly. Somehow, by Prabhuji’s mercy and potency, few lines from that lecture touched my heart and remain ingrained forever. Here are those lines-

Everyone in ISKCON should try to build a relationship with Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada is preeminent shiksha guru of everyone in ISKCON and it will be very beneficial for our spiritual life if we build a personal relationship with Srila Prabhupada. And it is possible for everyone in ISKCON to build a personal relationship with him, not just his immediate disciples. We simply need to make efforts in that direction and we will definitely receive his reciprocation ”.

We are well aware that position of an acharya is very unique. An acharya not only teaches us but he also practices everything himself. Hence an acharya teaches us with his own practical example, which is a far easier and practical way to grasp for the conditioned souls.

Let us now see how Srila Prabhupada ‘practiced’ his own relationship with his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, another exalted acharya in our line, and learn from him how we can we develop a permanent relationship with the lotus feet of our acharya- Srila Prabhupada.

An Acharya’s birth is not ordinary

So these äcäryas, they come and they go, that is not like ordinary birth and death. It is called prakaöa, aprakaöa; ävirbhäva, tirobhäva. So even ordinarily nobody takes birth and nobody dies, na jäyate na mréyate vä kadäcit [Bg. 2.20], so what to speak of the äcäryas or Bhagavän.

(Srila Prabhupada lecture — December 22, 1975, Bombay)

Who are these exalted Acharayas?

Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu has given considerable discussion about nitya-siddha and sädhana-siddha devotees. Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuëöha 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 Vaikuëöha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam [Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu 1.1.11]). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment.

….When the Lord Himself appears as an incarnation within this material world, He is not allured by the material atmosphere, and He has nothing to do with material activity, yet by His example He teaches the common man how to become a devotee. Similarly, a devotee who comes here in accordance with the order of the Supreme Lord shows by his personal behavior how to become a pure devotee. A pure devotee, therefore, is a practical example for all living entities, including Lord Brahmä.

(SB 7.10.3p)

Without their practical guidance..

The bona fide spiritual master, by his personal activities, teaches the disciple the principles of devotional service. Without personal service, one would go on speculating like the impersonalists and dry speculators life after life and would be unable to reach the final conclusion.

(SB 2.9.37p)

He is not dead and gone!

So now, by the grace of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Maharaja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahaprabhu you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Maharaja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits. [break]

So he wanted this, and he is not… It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamäne çarére [Bg. 2.20]. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhanta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means… Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that “My Guru Mahäräja is with me.” I never lost this faith. And that is fact. There are two words, väëé and vapuù. Väné means words, and vapuù means this physical body. So väëé is more important than the vapuù. Vapuù will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the väëé, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn’t matter.

(Srila Prabhupada lecture – Atlanta, March 2, 1975)

I won’t die!

Kértanänanda: Why can’t you give us your old age?

Prabhupada: When I see that things are going on nicely, I am happy. What is this with this body? Body is body. We are not body.

Kértanänanda: Wasn’t it Purudäsa that gave his father his youth?

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Rämeçvara: Yayäti. King Yayäti traded his old age.

Kértanänanda: With his son. You can do that.

Prabhupada: [laughs] Who did?

Rämeçvara: King Yayäti.

Prabhupada: Ah. Yayäti. No, why? You are my body. So you live on. There is no difference. Just like I am working, so my Guru Mahäräja is there, Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami. Physically he may not be, but in every action he is there. I think actually I have written that.

Tamäla Kåñëa: Yeah, it’s in the Bhägavatam, that “He who lives with him, he lives eternally. He who remembers his words lives eternally.”

Prabhupada: So I am not going to die. Kértir yasya sa jévati: “One who has done something substantial, he lives forever.” He doesn’t die. Even in our practical life… Of course, this is material, karma-phala. One has to accept another body according to his karma. But for devotee there is no such thing. He always accepts a body for serving Krishna. So there is no karma-phala

(Conversation Pieces- May 27, 1977, Vrindavana)

Mercy is forever available to everyone, it is up to us to take advantage of it.

Prabhupada: You have to associate with both. Guru-kåñëa-kåpäya päya bhakti-latä-béja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. Both guru’s kåpä and Kåñëa’s kåpä, they must be joined. Then you will get.

Jayädvaita: We’re very eager to get that guru-kåpä.

Prabhupada: Who?

Jayädvaita: We are. All of us.

Prabhupada: Yes. Yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädaù. If you get guru’s kåpä, then automatically you get Krishna.

Näräyaëa: Guru-kåpä only comes by pleasing the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada?

Prabhupada: Otherwise how?

Näräyaëa: Excuse me?

Prabhupada: Otherwise how it can come?

Näräyaëa: So those disciples who don’t have opportunity to see you or speak with you…

Prabhupada: That he was speaking, väëé and vapuù. Even if you don’t see his body, you take his word, väëé.

Näräyaëa: But how do they know they’re pleasing you, Srila Prabhupada?

Prabhupada: If you actually follow the words of guru, that means he is pleased. And if you do not follow, how he can be pleased?

Sudämä: Not only that, but your mercy is spread everywhere, and if we take advantage, you told us once, then we will feel the result.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Jayädvaita: And if we have faith in what the guru says, then automatically we’ll do that.

Prabhupada: Yes. My Guru Maharaja passed in 1936, and I started this movement in 1965, thirty years after. Then? I am getting the mercy of guru. This is väëé. Even the guru is not physically present, if you follow the väëé, then you are getting help.

Sudämä: So there’s no question of ever separation as long as the disciple follows the instruction of guru.

Prabhupada: No. Cakhu-dän dilo jei... What is that, next one?

Sudämä: Cakhu-dän dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei.

Prabhupada: Janme janme prabhu sei. So where there is separation? Who has opened your eyes, he is birth after birth your prabhu.

(Morning Walk—July 21, 1975, San Francisco)

A peek into the heart of Srila Prabhupada

Let us now read a pastime from the book ‘Miracle on Second Avenue’, an amazing account of the early days of ISKCON by of HH Mukunda Goswami. It was mercy of HH Gunagrahi Maharaj, who recommended this book to me and having read it, I would request everyone to read it, specially those who would like to build a stronger relationship with Srila Prabhupada by reading about him, his early days in west and how he preached to the westerners and started this movement.

This particular pastime gives us a peek into the very heart of Srila Prabhupada, his spiritual feelings and firm faith in his spiritual master. The background of the below pastime is that Srila Prabhupada has suffered a massive heart attack in New York. Doctors had told devotees that he may not survive this attack but by Krishna’s mercy, and devotees prayers, ‘he made it through’. Prabhupada was still recovering when he decided to visit San Francisco as local devotees there were preparing for the first ever Rathayatra. Devotees had taken a beach front house on rent for Srila Prabhupada, where it was peaceful and quite for him to to rest and recover.

While reading the below pastime please do keep in my mind that these are very early days of ISKCON, its June 1967, devotees are new to Krishna consciousness, they are young and innocent, but their hearts are sold out to Srila Prabhupada.  Here we go, as HH Mukunda maharaja recalls this particular pastime with his spiritual master –

On his second day there, I knocked on his door and sat down on the floor in front of the bed he was sitting on.

“How are you feeling, Swami?” I asked.

He continued to chant softly, gazing at the somewhat primitive painting of Radha and Krishna on the wall to his right painted by a devotee artist. I thought maybe he hadn’t heard me, but after a few minutes he put down his beads and stood up.

“What is this body?” he said, making a gesture with his palms open and his arms outstretched. He looked almost disgusted to inhabit an ephemeral body and incredulous that I would be concerned to inquire about the state of something so fleeting. I realized that although I had read about the temporary nature of the body and the eternality of the spirit soul, he was actually living that philosophy.

For him the material world was not as important as the spiritual world, and he didn’t really care about his body coming to an end.

I went back into the kitchen and told Hayagriva and Kirtanananda about what the swami had said and my impression of what he meant.

“He’s not concerned about leaving his body for himself, because he’ll go back to be with Krishna,” Hayagriva said. “But what would happen to the movement if he was to die?”

“What?” My mouth hung open.

“All I’m saying is that he’s going to leave his body some time,” Hayagriva said. “Maybe you should ask him if someone should take over when he dies.”

“Maybe you should ask him,” I said. I thought he was being a bit too pragmatic about such a sensitive issue.

“No, it should be you,” Hayagriva insisted. “You’re the one he talked to about it.”

“Well, actually, no, he didn’t,” I clarified. “I was the one who started thinking about this stuff because of his comment about his body.”

“Whatever the case, we need to know how we should continue our Krishna consciousness education if he’s not here, shouldn’t we? And how we’d keep his movement alive, right?”

I thought for a few seconds. As blunt as Hayagriva was being about the issue, I had to admit that deep down I wanted to know the answers to these questions for myself too.

“OK, I’ll ask him,” I said. “I guess somebody has to ask about it eventually, and I guess it may as well be me.”

I knocked on his door again.

“Yes?” the swami said from within.

“Swami, can I ask you a question?” I asked. “Yes.” He sat down on his bed again.

I took a deep breath.

“When you die, what will happen to the movement?” I asked. “Will you have a successor who will continue your work and look after our spiritual education?”

As I heard myself say the words, I realized it had been a mistake to ask this. I saw suddenly that I had been put forward to ask this delicate question on someone else’s behalf. The swami sat silently, looking out the window at the sand dunes and the mountains. It was high tide and I could hear the waves pounding the beach. Gulls shrieked. I could feel two sets of ears straining from the kitchen to hear his answer.

The swami muttered something quietly.

“I couldn’t hear what you said, Swami,” I said carefully. “Can you repeat it?”

“Actually, it is an insult to the spiritual master,” he said a little louder.

He turned away from the window and looked at me pensively, as if he was hurt by my question.

“I’m sorry, Swami,” I said. I felt like shrinking into the carpet. He closed his eyes. Outside a dog barked. A shallow stream of tears appeared below each of his eyes and flowed over his cheeks.

He slowly wiped them away.  “My spiritual master …” he said, and his voice choked to gravel. I was stunned. What had I done?

“My spiritual master,” he said, “he was no ordinary spiritual master.” He paused again, and then whispered falteringly, “He saved me.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ll go now.” I was too overcome myself to say more.

Hayagriva and Kirtanananda looked furtive when I came back into the kitchen. I pushed past them and went and sat out on the porch by myself. The swami’s answer was crystal clear to me. There was no question of replacing the spiritual master. His potency to teach would not end with his death but would continue even in his physical absence. What struck me the most was the way the swami taught me this. He didn’t just tell me with words; he showed me through his spiritual emotion toward his own spiritual master.

“The swami is no ordinary spiritual master,” I thought to myself. “I must learn to love and serve my spiritual master unconditionally with the fidelity and loyalty with which he serves his.”

I brushed a few grains of imaginary sand from my hands and went back into the house to talk to Kirtanananda and Hayagriva about the swami’s instruction to us all.

( Miracle on Second Avenue, by HH Mukunda Goswami, chapter 21)

Conclusion

Thank you very much for your sincere endeavor and faith in your Spiritual Master. The key to success in spiritual life is to always endeavor to please the Spiritual Master, and follow his instructions. One who is determined in this effort will advance very quickly in Krishna consciousness.

So far personal association with the Guru is concerned, I was only with my Guru Maharaja four or five times, but I have never left his association, not even for a moment. Because I am following his instructions, I have never felt any separation. There are some of my Godbrothers here in India who had constant personal association with Guru Maharaja, but who are neglecting his orders. This is just like the bug who is sitting on the lap of the king. He may be very puffed-up by his position, but all he can succeed in doing is biting the king. Personal association is not so important as association through service.

(Letter to Satadhanya—Calcutta, 20 February, 1972)

I hope and humbly pray that it touches your heart as it touched mine, that we all feel inspired to daily, and carefully, read Srila Prabhupada books and start following his instructions.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant.

Giriraj dasa

‘Different religions’ and devotees

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

After reading my last post on ‘Other scriptures’ and devotees a kind-hearted vaishnava read me amazing lines, written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, on how a devotee should see different religions. I am sharing the same below.

Why different Religions?

Although human nature is the same everywhere, people living in different nations and on different continents acquire different secondary characteristics. It is impossible to find two people living in the world who have exactly the same secondary nature. Even two brothers born from the same womb will differ in appearance and personality, what to speak of people born in separate countries. In different regions, things such as the locations of bodies of water, air currents, mountains and forests, and the availability of foodstuffs and clothing all vary. Consequently, differences naturally occur in people’s appearance, social status, occupation, and style of dressing and eating. Each nationality has a peculiar disposition of mind, and thus various conceptions of the Supreme Lord, although the same in essence, appear superficially dissimilar. As people in different places rise above their aboriginal condition and gradually develop culture, science, law, and devotion to God, their means of worship also diverge in terms of language, costume, kinds of offerings, and mental attitudes. Considering all these secondary differences impartially, however, we find no discrepancy. As long as the object of worship is the same, there is no harm. Therefore Lord Caitanya has specifically ordered that we should execute our own service to the Supreme Lord in the mode of pure goodness and at the same time refrain from ridiculing the religious codes of others.

Under the influence of the above-mentioned factors, the religious systems proclaimed by different nationalities vary in the following ways:

(1) different spiritual masters

(2) differences in mental and emotional attitudes toward worship

(3) different prescribed rituals of worship

(4) different types of affection for and activities in relation to the object of worship

(5) different names and terminologies resulting from differences in language.

Because of the variety of spiritual authorities, in some places people honor the Vedic sages, in others they revere the prophets led by Muhammed, and in still other regions they esteem the religious personalities who follow Jesus. Similarly, in each locality many different men of knowledge are shown particular respect. Each community should, of course, properly honor its own spiritual masters, but simply for the sake of gaining followers, no one should try to establish that the instructions given by one’s own local spiritual master are better than the instructions of spiritual masters everywhere else. The propagation of such an antagonistic position would certainly be inauspicious for the world.

A devotee’s prescribed ritual of worship varies according to his mentality and devotional feeling. In some places the mode of worship is to seat oneself in a sacred place and practice renunciation and breath control. In another place worship is performed by falling down five times during the day and evening even if caught unprepared to offer obeisances facing the direction of the chief shrine. And elsewhere worshipers kneel down, either in the temple or at home, and with folded hands declare their own fallen condition and the glories of the Lord. Each of these types of worship also differs in the matter of what to wear, whether and how to eat, what is clean or unclean, and so forth. Furthermore, the sentiment and behavior toward the worshipable object vary among religions. Some worshipers, whose consciousness is saturated with devotion, set up a Deity of the Supreme Lord in their heart, in their mind, or in the outside world, with the understanding that it is non-different from the Lord. In other processes, which are inclined more toward logical argument, a conception of the Lord is formed within the mind and worshiped; external images are not accepted. Actually, however, all of these Deities are factual representations.

In accordance with language differences, the Lord is called by various names. Different names are also given to the religious systems, and there are different terminologies for use during worship.

So what should be the approach of a devotee?

The many religions of the world have naturally grown very distinct from each other due to these five kinds of differences. However, to create mutual discord because of these differences would be disastrous. If one happens to be in another’s temple at the time of his worship, one should think, “Here my Lord is being worshiped in a different form. Since I am committed to my particular practice, I cannot take part in this ritual, but as I watch it, I am developing a greater feeling for my own method of worship. The Supreme Absolute Truth is one without a second. Therefore, as I offer my obeisances to the form which I see here, I pray to my Lord, from whom this form comes, that this Deity will help me expand my love for Him.”

And…

Those who do not behave in this way, but who exhibit malice, envy, or ridicule toward other religious processes, certainly deviate from true religion due to a lack of intelligence. If such people actually loved their own Supreme Lord, they would not be attracted to such useless disputes.

Be wary of..

On the other hand, although it is nonsensical to ridicule other religious practices, if we notice some genuine fault, we should never tolerate it. Rather, we should make every effort to uproot it by proper means and thus benefit the deluded practitioners. For this reason, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu argued with the Buddhists, Jains, and Mayavadis and brought them to the true path. All devotees of the Lord should follow the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and reject all so-called religious systems containing the unwanted elements of atheism, agnosticism, materialism, disbelief in the existence of the spirit soul (which amounts to the idea that working for the body is all in all), hedonism, and impersonalism. Devotees should know that these systems are unauthorized, deceptive, and only dim reflections of and sometimes completely against the principles of real religion. Actually, followers of these fraudulent processes are pitiable. According to their ability, devotees should make every effort to protect people in general from all these evils.

Real Religion

Pure, unalloyed love of God is the actual eternal religion of the spirit soul. Thus, in spite of the above-mentioned five kinds of distinctions among religious systems, we should recognize as genuine any religious process whose goal is the realization of pure love of God. It is useless to quarrel over superficial differences. If the goal of a process is pure, then the system is fully auspicious.

(By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksramrta, Chapter 1)

The above lines, of course, would require a detailed commentary for thorough understanding and application, however we do get broad guidelines on how to view different religions.

Here is the link for the full transcription published in BTG magazine in 1976, done by HG Gopiparanadhana Prabhuji, called The Nectarean Teachings of Sri Caitanya.

All glories to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

‘Other Scriptures’ and devotees

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

śraddhāṁ bhāgavate śāstre
’nindām anyatra cāpi hi
mano-vāk-karma-daṇḍaṁ ca
satyaṁ śama-damāv api

One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. At the same time, one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures. One should rigidly control his mind, speech and bodily activities, always speak the truth, and bring the mind and senses under full control.

(SB 11.3.26)

Many a times in our enthusiasm to show supremacy of one scripture we may unconsciously end up criticising another vedic scripture. Devotees, especially preachers, should be very careful about making, even an unintentional, offence against any vedic scripture.

In the above verse Srimad Bhagavatam is saying that ‘One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān’ but in the same verse it is also cautioning us very clearly that “one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures”

Of course, devotees understand that Srimad Bhagavatam is the amala purana, spotless purana, which best describes the glories of Krishna, without any material tinge whatsoever, but at the same time we should not blaspheme other scriptures. The purport of the above verse gives us a very good understanding as to what should be our consciousness in relation to all the other vedic scriptures.

Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted the following statement from the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa: “One should have complete faith in transcendental literature such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other literature that directly glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should also have faith in Vaiṣṇava tantras, the original Vedas, and Mahābhārata,which includes Bhagavad-gītā and which is considered the fifth Veda. The Vedic knowledge originally emanated from the breathing of Viṣṇu, and Vedic literature has been compiled in literary form by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the incarnation of Viṣṇu. Therefore, Lord Viṣṇu should be understood to be the personal speaker of all this Vedic literature.

Some scriptures may seem mundane, be wary of any criticism

“There are other Vedic literatures, called kalā-vidyā, which give instructions in material arts and sciences. Since all such Vedic arts and sciences are ultimately intended to be used to render devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Keśava, saintly persons in the renounced order of life should never blaspheme such apparently mundane literatures; because such literatures are indirectly connected with the Supreme Lord, one may go to hell for blaspheming these secondary literatures.

So what should be our approach?

Śraddhā indicates a faithful mentality, which can be analyzed in two sections. The first type of faith is a firm conviction that all the statements of the multifarious Vedic literatures are true. In other words, the understanding that Vedic knowledge in general is infallible is called śraddhā, or faith. A second type of faith is the belief that one must personally carry out a particular injunction of Vedic literature in order to achieve his goal in life. A devotee of the Supreme Lord should thus apply the first type of faith to the various kalā-vidyās, or Vedic material arts and sciences, but he should not accept such scriptures as pointing out his personal goal in life. Nor should he carry out any Vedic injunction that is contradictory to the injunctions of Vaiṣṇava scriptures such as the Pañcarātra.

Thus one should faithfully accept all Vedic literature as directly or indirectly describing the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should not blaspheme any portion of it. Even for Lord Brahmā, as well as for other creatures, down to the insignificant unmoving species such as trees and stones, blasphemy of any Vedic literature causes one to merge into the darkness of ignorance. Thus the suras — the demigods, great sages and devotees of the Lord — should understand that the Pañcarātric literatures, as well as the four Vedas, the original Rāmāyaṇa, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇas, and the Mahābhārata, are Vedic literatures that establish the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the unique transcendental position of the Lord’s devotees according to their status of spiritual advancement. Any other vision of Vedic literatures is to be considered an illusion. In all authorized religious scriptures the ultimate goal is to understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of everything and everyone, and that the Lord’s devotees are not different from Him, although such devotees are to be understood in terms of their level of spiritual advancement.” Lord Kṛṣṇa has stated in Bhagavad-gītā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo/ vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham: “By all the Vedas, I am to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”

(SB 11.3.26p)

I hope the above verse and its purport gives us a clear direction as what should be our consciousness while speaking with various scriptures.

‘Other scriptures’ also include non-vedic bonafide scriptures!

We may also include scriptures of other bonafide religions also in the definition of ‘other scriptures’ whom we should not criticise.

When we read Srila Prabhupada’s purports we will notice that he quotes from various scriptures, including Bible. Prabhupada wrote how there are different scriptures for people in different modes of nature but he did not criticise any scripture.

God’s service is dharma. This dharma may be described differently in different countries according to different cultural and climatic conditions or situations, but in every religious scripture obedience to God is instructed. No scripture says that there is no God or that we as living entities are independent—not the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas or even the Buddhist literatures.

(Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, chapter 6)

Prabhupada considered other religious scriptures also as shastra!

All the çästras, however, advise nivåtti-märga, or release from the materialistic way of life. Apart from the çästras of the Vedic civilization, which is the oldest of the world, other çästras agree on this point. For example, in the Buddhist çästras Lord Buddha advises that one achieve nirväëa by giving up the materialistic way of life. In the Bible, which is also çästra, one will find the same advice: one should cease materialistic life and return to the kingdom of God.

(SB 6.5.20p)

Similarly Srila Prabhupada translates the word ‘Svadhyayah’ in a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam not as study of only vedic scriptures but also qualifies reading non vedic, bonafide, scriptures.

svädhyäyaùreading of transcendental literatures like Bhagavad-gétä, Çrémad-Bhägavatam, Rämäyaëa and Mahäbhärata (or, for those not in Vedic culture, reading of the Bible or Koran)

(SB 7.11.8-12)

The purity of Srimad Bhagavatam and the vision of a Vaishnava are simply unmatched, and so are their teachings.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa