Position of demigods and pure devotees

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Position of demigods

Sometime we have confusion on the position of demigods. We also observe that Vaishnavas, especially Gaudiya vaishnavas, do not worship demigods whereas the spiritual master and acharya are worshiped thrice a day! Is it mere sentimentalism or is there a solid philosophy behind it. Srimad Bhagavatam answers this question in the below verse, as to whose shelter devotees should seek, and it’s very instructive purport on the position of demigods.

sarvato manaso ’saṅgam ādau saṅgaṁ ca sādhuṣu
dayāṁ maitrīṁ praśrayaṁ ca bhūteṣv addhā yathocitam

A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living beings.

High position of demigods

Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted from the Garuḍa Purāṇa to demonstrate that within this universe those who take birth as demigods, great ṛṣis or pious human beings are all considered santaḥ, or saintly persons. According to Bhagavad-gītā, traiguṇya-viṣayā vedāḥ: the varṇāśrama culture described in Vedic literature deals mostly with the living entities who are struggling within the three modes of nature. The Vedic literatures teach such conditioned souls that material happiness can be achieved only through pious works. In this sense, the demigods are to be considered the most pious living entities within the three modes of material nature. The ṛṣis, or the great saintly mystics of the universe, who are able to travel at will to various planets and who cultivate mystic powers, are to be considered somewhat below the demigods. And those human beings on earth who perfectly execute the Vedic rituals are to be considered in the third or lowest category of santaḥ, or saintly persons.

Pure devotees transcends the material modes

But a devotee of the Lord is beyond the three modes of material nature. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” Thus Lord Krishna clearly says that a Vaiṣṇava who does not fall down from the regulations of bhakti-yoga is beyond the three modes of nature. And Lord Krishna advised Arjuna, a Krishna-bhakta, to transcend the three material qualities of the illusory creation of māyā (nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna).

What about demigods?

In the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.40) the Lord says:

na tad asti pṛthivyāṁ vā divi deveṣu vā punaḥ
sattvaṁ prakṛti-jair muktaṁ yad ebhiḥ syāt tribhir guṇaiḥ

“There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, who is free from the three modes of material nature.” Thus the demigods are not exempt from the pollution of the three modes of material nature, whereas a pure devotee actually becomes guṇātīta, or transcendental to the influence of māyā.

Conclusion

Therefore, one should cultivate the association of the uttama-adhikārī, or pure devotee of the Lord, as stated previously (Bhāg. 11.3.21):

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam

“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”…

One cannot be liberated without association with a pure devotee of the Lord.

(SB 11.3.23+p)

 

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

P.S. Please read the full purport at SB 11.3.23

White dress worn by the six Goswamis

Hare Krishna
19th March, 2015. Gurgaon

sixgoswamis

Q: Why don’t we (or the sanyasis in ISKCON) wear the white dress as was worn by the six goswamis ?
Answer : Srila Prabhupada said
 

One who is qualified as a brāhmana, he has to observe the four āśramas:the brahmacārī-āśrama, the grhastha-āśrama, the vānaprastha-āśrama and the sannyāsa-āśrama.

The ksatriyas have to observe three āśramas: brahmacārī, grhastha and vānaprastha.

And the vaiśyas, two āśramas: brahmacārī and grhastha.

And śūdra, only one āśrama – grhastha.

A śūdra is never offered sannyāsa. Only the brāhmana is offered. So in Śankara-sampradāya, strictly, unless one is born in brāhmana family, he’s not offered sannyāsa. He’s not given sannyāsa.

So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyāsa to the brāhmana, and not to the śūdras. But according to quality we create brāhmanas. Not that we are offering sannyāsa to the śūdras, No. The principle is: sannyāsa can be offered only to the brāhmanas. So one may not mistake that we are offering sannyāsa to the mlecchas, yavanas, as they complain. Some of my Godbrothers, they criticize like that, that I am offering sannyāsa to the mlecchas, yavanas. This is wrong idea. This is nārakī-buddhi.

Actually, a Vaisnava is above this varnāśrama-dharma. But we don’t claim that we have become perfect Vaisnava. We are not so impudent. We want to remain under the Vaisnava. Otherwise Vaisnava means… In Caitanya-caritāmrta you’ll find the Vaisnava is paramahamsa. Vaisnava has no saffron cloth. Vaisnava is white cloth because Vaisnava is paramahamsa.

But we don’t claim the position of Vaisnava. We want to remain servant of Vaisnava. Therefore sannyāsa order is below the position of Vaisnava. Sannyāsa order means still in the material classification. But this Vaisnava is paramo nirmatsarānām satām. Dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmat… [SB 1.1.2]. This Vaisnavism is meant for paramo nirmatsarānām, paramahamsa.

Sa gunān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. Vaisnava position is not very easy thing, (He is) above all qualities. Therefore Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura introduced not to become an imitation of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvami, the Gosvāmīs of Vrndāvana, they are paramahamsas.

And in Vrndāvana you’ll find so-called bābājīs, they have imitated the dress of Rūpa Gosvāmī—half loincloth—but a bidi in the mouth. What is this nonsense? Rūpa Gosvāmī used to smoke bidi? Not only that. You’ll find in Vrndāvana so many Rūpa Gosvāmīs are making bidi. Have you seen in the Gopīnātha Bazaar? They’re making trade – bidis – and shameless. Therefore my Guru Mahārāja introduced this.

Of course, sannyāsa is there in the Vaisnava… All the ācāryas, they were sannyāsis, but later on, it got so degraded that these bidi-smokers, gānjā-smokers, they imitated Rūpa Gosvāmī. Therefore to purify, Guru Mahārāja introduced this sannyāsa system, below the paramahamsas, not that by artificial means I become a paramahamsa, No.

[An excerpt from a lecture given on the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.41 in Mayapur, West Bengal on October 21, 1974]

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

The joy of Initiation

Hare Krishna and Dandavat Pranam.

All Glories to Sri Sri Gauranga, Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev.

Please accept my humble obeisances.

It is so wonderful to receive Giriraj Prabhu’s email detailing ecstatic moments spent in Ujjain during Nityanand Tryodashi 2014. I was really touched as Prabhuji was so excited (genuinely) that 3 devotees are getting initiated from Gurgaon. With Prabhuji, I really understood the meaning of true friend…infact there is nothing in this world like devotee friend as they are friend in true sense.

I will now jump to Gurudev’s meeting with 8 of us on 11th Feb at 3pm – a day before initiation. It was so touching. Maharaj first welcomed all of us asking if we are all comfortable. Then he stated very lovingly that we have to take sadhana bhakti even more seriously and if we make any mistakes then he shall chastise us. To be honest even the word chastise felt like love. Since we have all been accustomed to Guru Maharaj’s ever smiling and loving gestures, there was a bit of question in everyone’s eyes. Guru Maharaj then explained: “When I was a young boy (10-12yrs), I had few servants and one of them was head servant (30-35yrs) who was quite strict with me. Even I was scared of him as all servants used to listen to him and he used to bossify over me too. I was scared of him as the head servant was very close to my father and he used share every detail with my father.” Then Guru Maharaj closed his eyes a bit and said: “I am like that servant who may chastise YOU – “the children of Krishna” so that u are in the right path as per instructions of Krishna. You are Krishna’s children and I am his servant. I am just doing my duty of serving Krishna so you have to listen to me.”

My heart melted and then Guru Maharaj went on: “However every evening around 7:30-8pm, the head servant would take me on his shoulder and give me a ride. I was fascinated by the moon and was bewildered that moon is walking with me. My head servant used to say – I and Moon love you a lot….wherever you will go, we will follow u. Just like that servant, I will always love you and I will be always with you as I am just a servant helping you to go back to Prabhupad who will take you to Krishna.”

Listening to this, my eyes swelled with tears. His humility, surrender and love was unparallel…I have never heard such profound statement and realization from such an example. My throat was wet and I paid my humble obeisances. I gathered myself and said: “I am such a fallen soul and you are taking my demonic karma that I am feeling downcast. You are so loving and humble and I am so sorry that I have done such bad karmas. I promise that I will never ever do it again knowingly” and begged for forgiveness. I really wanted to cry as I was filled with gratitude that such an exalted, loving and realized soul has accepted to be my Guru. I can never ever forget this incident in my life and feeling of my surrender knew no bounds.

Then on the next day, the initiation started whereby Guru Maharaj patiently made us understand the importance of Diksha and made us promise of following 4 regulative principles, 16 rounds and avoid 10 offences. Then he was about to say our initiated name. Like a small boy, I waited pressing my ears, waiting anxiously and he said: “Shyam Sunder Krishna Das”…I was thrilled. I had never imagined such a beautiful name…I could relate instantaneously to the deity “Radha Shyam sunder” of Vrindavan ISKCON temple and the main Radha Shyam sunder deity gifted by Radha Rani to Shyamsunder prabhu. Guru Maharaj then explained the meaning: “All beautiful Lord Krishna.” After sometime, I smiled because in my first meeting with Guru Maharaj (3 yrs back), when I had asked him the meaning of Bhakti Charu, he responded: “Charu=Beautiful; Bhakti=devotion, so it means beautiful in devotion.”

sumeet initiation 2

When the ceremony ended, I was in pure ecstasy to get such a merciful Guru. I sat in my room and wanted to chant the rounds on beads touched by Guru Maharaj. I was inquisitive to touch the beads touched by Guru Maharaj. Like a child I could feel his touch in beads. It was so inspirational.

sumeet initiation 11

After one round, my wife: Shilpi asked me how I am feeling? I said: I am feeling – joyful, ecstasy, liberated, humbled, full of gratitude and more importantly determined and resolute to succeed in spiritual life. Many devotees used to discuss before “how important it is to get initiated?” I sincerely request one must get serious in spiritual life and surely get initiated as its the best moment of one’s life…

I want to thank most profusely – HH Janananda Maharaj who taught me how to chant 16 rounds when I was not able to move beyond 10 rounds. He also taught me simplicity and servitude mood.

I also want to thank few devotees who really helped me to reach here – Ajay Prabhu (Burijana Prabhu aspiring disciple) who introduced me to Krishna Consciousness and HG Dayananda Prabhu from Australia, my loving brother – HG Vishnu Yagna Prabhu in Jaipur who introduced me to Guru Maharaj and guided me selflessly; HG Mukund Murari Prabhu who removed lot of cobwebs when my mind was cluttered how to select Guru; HG Achyut Hari Prabhu who helped me to get association in Gurgaon; HG Giriraj Prabhu who is my best friend and true love relationship and my wife Shilpi who is more pure than me and was constant companion in serving all senior Vaishnavas and Sanniyasis.

This was such powerful moment that even writing this I am feeling again very high and rejuvenated….Pls pray for me that I keep serving you all; I imbibe same love that our Guru Maharaj has for everyone, I do not offend anyone and that my attachment to Guru, His Godbrothers, Vaishnavas and eventually Lord keeps increasing..

Guru Dev ki Jai!

Samved Bhakt Vrind ki Jai…

Very fallen and menial servant,

Shyam Sunder Krishna Das

Year 2013

Hare Krishna.

31 Dec 2013, Ujjain, 8.30pm.

As the year 2013 comes to an end at midnight tonight I look back at what all happened in my spiritual life.

1. In my wildest imagination I could not have dreamt that I will be at Ujjain on new year eve and attending a wonderful retreat by Guru Maharaj.

2. That I am in the association of devotees is the cherry on the cake. Of course in the company of Shyamal Prabhu, Atma Prabhu, Radhapad Prabhu I am like a crow staring at a group of swans. Still by some good fortune I am here in their midst.

3. Guru Maharaj showered his complete mercy by visiting our home so many times and ensuring that as a family we remain steadfast on way to start our devotional journey.

4. The trip to Surat with devotees was a wonderful experience for me. It was trailer of what are happy devotee families and what is preaching with passion and care.

5. I had one of the best Kartika months ever and never been in Dhama for so many days.

6. I somehow gathered courage and started a weekly Bhagavad Gita study group at my home. The suport l received from my family, my devotee friends and the local centre was very humbling experience for me.

7. This group gave me a focus and also meaning to my devotional life.

8. I realised that grow to in devotional life I need to cultivate relationships, a most difficult part for me.

9. I attended many seminars and each one enriched me.

10. I got some inclination on what is chanting and what is meant by devotional service.

11. The visit of HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj would remain a highlight for the whole life.

12. I got a little taste for hearing and could hear lectures daily.

13. I fell in love with HH Radha Govind Maharaj and could take his Darshan for the first time.

14. It seems somehow by Krishna’s mercy I am getting a taste and longing to remain in the association of devotees. It’s a different matter that except for few devotees like Sumeet Prabhu, Karuna Prabhu, most of them, rightly, stay away for me. A crow among swans.

15. My wife made a very nice altar and then very nice presence of Srila Prabhupada in our new home, Guru Maharaj named it Krishna Kunj.

16. I could somehow feel the presence of mercy in all aspects of my devotional life , be it from devotees, Srila Prabhupada, Guru Maharaj or Krishna. I could appreciate a little the word causeless mercy.

17. I started reading Chaitanaya Charitamrita and found its teachings most profound.

18. I got some faith in Gaur Nitai and the six Goswamis.

18. Guru Maharaj strong teachings have converted me to become a strong supporter of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada.

19. Guru Maharaj taught about Yukta Vairagaya today morning and I hope to imbibe it inside me.

20. I feel more peaceful, contended and happy than at the start of the year.

21. I could carry the Deity of Srila Prabhupada to all the 6 Goswami temples of Vrindavan.

22. Went to Mayapur Dham for the first time after my initiation.

23. Got initiated by never ending causeless mercy of HG Rukmini Prabhuji and Guru Maharaj.

24. I found a wonderful and most merciful brother in Sumeet Prabhu, except for the wrong habit glorifying me for no purpose he is near perfect. He guides me affectionately like a younger brother and keep my enthusiasm running. Being myself a zero in both my material and spiritual journey I can’t reciprocate nor return his feelings and gestures. I can only pray to Krishna for his spiritual and material well being.

25. I never felt alone for a moment ; there were devotees who took pity on me , Guru Maharaj who showered his causeless mercy on me, Srila Prabhupada who listened to my prayers , developed relationship with Gaur Nitai and reciprocation of love happened with Sri Sri Radha and Shyamsunder

I am looking forward to the promise I made to a Devotee today to reach the temple before Mangal Arti tomorrow morning and chant our rounds early on the first day of the year.

As I sit alone in my room in the temple guest house, ready to sleep early, I have my bead bag next to me and only Krishna and His devotee in my thoughts. I have no interest in the celebrations going in the temple nor in my dinner, I only hope to chant at least one japa round with love for Krishna before I wake up next year.

I pray at the lotus feet of all the devotees to please bless me with their association in the coming year.

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

Lasting impressions

Hare Krishna

Quotes-by-Srila-Prabhupada-on-Speech-of-A-Pure-Devotee

I was talking with a close devotee friend, Sumeet Gupta Prabhuji, yesterday evening. While talking to him I realised how so many senior devotees have left their mark on me. I am sharing some of them to show my deep appreciation for them. And there are hundreds of others senior devotees in ISKCON from whom we get inspiration every day.

The first one to leave his imprint, continues to do it, HG Rukmini Krishna Das Prabhuji, he is the temple president of Sri Sri Radha Radhika Raman and Krishna Balram temple, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi. Let me admit that whatever little sadhna bhakti I have in me is all thanks to him. His lectures shaped me each time I listened to him and I was fortunate to be able to get his direct instructions which saved me many a times whenever I felt constrained or disturbed. The only good thing I have done in my spiritual life is to go to him and share whatever I felt inside me openly. Looking back, I can laugh at myself and my silly questions or agitations on small issues. He always heard me patiently and gave instructions which saved me from going astray. He takes class every Saturday and each lecture is a gem to be absorbed in heart and follow. The centre is one of the best in India and dedication to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON runs supreme.

Second is a short description. During my initial years I one day saw lots of hustle and bustle in Punjabi Bagh temple and I found someone special is visiting. I couldn’t get the name initially and listened to his lecture, it was mesmerising. I later told my wife, rather foolishly, that after listening to his lecture I felt like leaving everything and walking behind him. My wife suffered a lot of insecurity due to this foolish statement to her and she many a time would tell me that she dreams that one of the western devotees has taken her husband away with them J . Even today I remember the power and conviction his lecture had and I am sure that if he would stood up and asked who would like to dedicate his life to Krishna, I would have raised my hand. I can only imagine what effect Srila Prabhupada had on these young disciples. That person is HH Giriraj Swami Maharaj. I am most fortunate to be called his servant in my spiritual name.

Third one is very special, he gave me diksha this year in Feb, HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. I met him two and a half years ago in Gurgaon, another good story for some other time as to how Krishna makes us meet our Guru. I paid my obeisances and my life was never the same again. I had know idea who he was, I just knew that he took my heart away with him. I could not keep him out of my thoughts and within days I pleaded with him to take me under his shelter and he took pity on me and accepted me as his son and disciple. He inspires me everyday and shapes me. Most of all he cemented my relationship with ISKCON as an organisation, my strong love and attachment for ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada today is all his mercy.

And the last on today’s list is HH Radha Govinda swami maharaj. What a speaker, what style of katha and so much rasa in every sentence, in every word. HG Karuna Chandra Das recommended listening to his lectures. He made me lose interest in philosophy and learn to absorb Krishna katha, from Bhishma stuti, Giriraj Dharan lila, Bali Maharaj, Prahalad Stuti….., each katha is dipped in love for Krishna. I hope to take his darshan very soon in Vrindavan Dham.

Today morning, at a Bhakti Vriksha seminar, I was told that we can only give what we have. If we have a grief then we can give grief , if we have anxiety then we can pass on anxiety and only if we have Krishna then we can offer Krishna consciousness to others. All these senior Vaisanavas gave me Krishna Consciousness, it is entirely my lack of receptiveness that I am still a neophyte. I should rather say that despite all my shortcomings and material propensities I still tasted Krishna’s nectar due to their pure consciousness.

I will write about my realisations from other senior Vaisanavas soon.

All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.

 

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on August 8,2013 at 5:26pm