Vedic philosophy

This is the second part of the blog on six branches of Vedic philosophy. In the last blog we read about these different philosophies or ṣaḍ-darśana, today we will read how they are connected with each other, each leading to another, like the rung of a ladder. Below is an excerpt from the book Ocean of Mercy by HH Bhakti Charu Swami. Maharaj is with Srila Prabhupada, the place is Rishikesh, somewhere between May 5 and May 15, 1977. Please relish the ease with which Srila Prabhupada unravels them.

A Question

Often, when senior devotees were gathered around Śrīla Prabhupāda in his room, he would spontaneously instruct them about devotional service.

On one such occasion, when I was sitting with the group, he said that an ideal preacher should have the proper understanding of the six branches of Vedic philosophy, ṣaḍ-darśana. “When one understands them properly,” he declared, “one can understand that devotional service is the ultimate goal of the Vedas. Only then does one become eligible to impart the conclusion of Vedic wisdom.”

 I listened, a question flashed in my mind. Śrīla Prabhupāda had mentioned in his books that five out of six branches of Vedic philosophy were atheistic, so how could an understanding of those branches lead to the conclusion that devotional service to Krishna was the ultimate goal? I still felt shy to ask questions in front of the others, so I remained silent. But at night, when I was alone with Śrīla Prabhupāda, I remembered Tamāl Krishna’s advice. So I gathered my courage and asked, “Srila Prabhupada, in your books you mention that five of the six branches of ṣaḍ-darśana are considered atheistic. And at the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Nārada Muni points out to Śrīla Vyāsadeva that even the sixth branch—Vedānta—is tinged with impersonalism. So that also falls short of perfection. Why, then, is it necessary to study them, and how is that knowledge going to benefit us? Is it in order to defeat the proponents of the other doctrines?”

Ultimate Goal

Śrīla Prabhupāda seemed pleased with my question. “No,”he explained, “our main business is not to defeat others, but to establish the fact that devotion to Krishna— Krishna consciousness—is the ultimate spiritual goal. This material nature is the perverted reflection of the spiritual reality. We have to understand that whatever is here in this world has its origin in the spiritual world. When in a reflection of a tree we see the green leaves, red flowers, and yellow fruits, we have to understand that they must be there in the real tree. Otherwise how can they be in the reflection? Everything is coming from the spiritual sky. Whatever is here in this material nature is also existing in the spiritual reality. “The perfect perception is to see things in that light. The Vedas have been designed to reveal the identity of Krishna and bring the living entities to His lotus feet. The six branches of Vedic philosophy are actually six steps of gradual elevation to understanding the ultimate goal—devotion to Krishna.

Six branches of Vedic Philosophy

“These six branches are Pūrva-mīmāṁsā [preliminary conclusions, or Karma-mīmāṁsā], Nyāya [logic], Vaiśeṣika [atomic theory], Sāṅkhya [analytical studies], Yoga [linking with the Supreme Lord], and Uttara-mīmāṁsā [final conclusions], Vedānta. If you simply regard them as independent branches of philosophy and study them without their relation to Krishna, they appear to be atheistic. These six branches are like rungs on a ladder. The rungs of the ladder by themselves cannot be the real goal. Their actual utility is in relation to the ladder, and the purpose of the ladder is to reach the ultimate height—devotional service to Krishna.

“The Vedas impart three levels of understanding—karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, and bhakti.

Initially, one in this material nature wants to enjoy through sense gratification, and the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas gives directions on how to enjoy. As you act, accordingly you will get the result: right action leads to enjoyment and wrong action to suffering. This is called the law of karma—the principle of action and reaction. Therefore, one must know how to act in order to really enjoy. Which can lead one to the highest region of the material universe—Satyaloka, where Lord Brahmā is situated. “However, in spite of all endeavors for enjoyment, one eventually realizes that he cannot avoid suffering—uninterrupted enjoyment is not possible in this material nature; suffering comes on its own and is unavoidable.

“When a person begins to wonder why he is suffering and tries to find the way out of it, he comes to the jñāna-kāṇḍa platform, and through four branches of Vedic philosophy—Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, and Yoga—he gradually transcends the material world and establishes his connection to the Lord in the heart.

Through Nyāya he comes to understand that this material nature is a place of suffering, duḥkhālayam, and that the material body is a perfect instrument for receiving pain. For example, just consider how many ways you can inflict pain on your little finger, or any part of your body, but you will find so few ways to give it pleasure—from which we can conclude that this material body is a wonderful instrument for receiving pain.

“Thereafter, one begins to consider what this material nature really is, and through the Vaiśeṣika branch of philosophy he realizes that the perceivable material world is actually composed of the minutest particles, called paramāṇu, or atoms. But to our senses it takes various shapes, forms, and perceptions. In other words, what appears to our senses to be real is not actually real. Therefore, this material nature is an illusion.

“This leads to the next branch of Vedic philosophy, called Sāṅkhya, or analytical study, which describes the material nature consisting of five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and the individual with five senses—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. The senses interact with the elements, and five objects of the senses are generated: the ears interact with ether, and sound is produced; the skin interacts with air, and touch is produced; the eyes interact with fire, and form is produced; the tongue interacts with water, and taste is produced; and the nose interacts with earth, and smell is produced. “There are also five working senses, with which we become active in this world—namely, the hands, legs, voice, anus, and genitals. In this way Sāṅkhya philosophy determines twenty tattvas, or aspects of material nature, and then considers three subtle elements beyond that—the mind, intelligence, and false ego—and subsequently, the mahat-tattva, the total material energy, from which the entire creation became manifest. “Through these twenty-four manifestations, Sāṅkhya philosophy analyzes the entire material nature. However, it concludes that these twenty-four manifestations are objective in nature and cannot exist without the subject—the ‘I’, the self, the soul. The entire material nature has been analyzed, but the soul cannot be found there; therefore, it comes from another reality—the spiritual nature—and has its origin, its source, in the Supreme Soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, Sāṅkhya philosophy takes one to the spiritual reality and transcends the material nature.

“Recognition of the fact that the soul is a part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead leads to the final aspect of jñāna-kāṇḍa, called Yoga. Yoga is the process by which the spirit soul becomes connected to the Supersoul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This process has eight different stages, or limbs; therefore, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga—yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, and samādhi. In the final stage, samādhi, one perceives the Supersoul—the Supreme Personality of Godhead—in one’s heart. Recognizing one’s minuteness and the greatness of the Supreme Lord, one’s head automatically bends down in respect and one surrenders to Him.

Perfect Understanding

“This surrender to the Lord is the very foundation of devotional service—bhakti, the main aspect of the final branch of Vedic philosophy—and it has been explained through the sixth branch of Vedic philosophy, called Uttara-mīmāṁsā, or the final conclusion. It is also called Vedānta. The Vedanta philosophy is based on the Vedānta-sūtra, which apparently refers to the impersonal Brahman, but in his natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva establishes that surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and loving devotional service to Him is the actual objective of Vedānta philosophy. Thus bhakti takes one beyond liberation to engagement in loving devotional service to the Lord. “In this way, through karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa, one is gradually elevated to the ultimate point of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the perfect understanding of the six branches of Vedic philosophy.”

(Ocean of Mercy, chapter 7)

I hope we learned something about six branches of Vedic philosophy, their conclusions, how each one leads to the next one, leading to their final destination- the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.

It is our good fortune that by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada many complex topics have been revealed to us in an easy to understand manner. It may be a good idea to read Srila Prabhupada’s books every day.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Karna vs Arjuna

The rivalry between Karna and Arjuna is one of the highlights of Mahabharata. Even today people debate who was better among the two great warriors- pitted against each other by destiny. It’s Karna Vs Arjuna.

Karna vs Arjuna

Karna

Karna is one of the most complex characters in Mahabharata. We see his virtuous side, he was well known for his charitable nature, his word, his archery skills, a great warrior, and amongst all this, being the son of the sun-god. On the other hand, we also see a person driven blindly by pride and personal ambition. It was Karna who prompted Duryodhana that Draupadi is dragged into the assembly and then further suggested that Draupadi should be disrobed publically in the court assembly. He asked Draupadi to select another husband because, being lost by Pandavas, she was rendered a slave of Kurus. Karna hid his urge for self-glory behind his so-called gratitude and friendship with Duryodhana.

Karna refused the advice of his own father sun-god, his mother Kunti, and even Krishna. He was envious of Pandavas, especially Arjuna. Overconfident, he often bragged about his prowess which made Duryodhana even more confident of his victory, leading to the disastrous war. He refused to fight under grandfather Bhishma, boasting that he can finish up the Pandavas within five days if Bhishma would not interfere with his plans. His arrogance and pride led him to earn curses from Parshurama, a brahmana and mother earth.

Duryodhana was bereft of his fortune and duration of life because of the intricacy of ill advice given by Karṇa, Duḥśāsana and Saubala.

(SB 3.3.13)

Arjuna

On the other side is Arjuna. He is also the son of a demigod- Indra, who is the king of all the demigods. Arjuna is one of the greatest archers and a close friend of Krishna. He was a favorite disciple of his teacher Dronacharya, who, impressed with his dedication, sincerity and humility, lovingly bestowed upon him all the blessings of military science. All the Pandavas due to their virtuous behavior were favorites not only of their elders but also of all the citizens of the Hastinapur. Arjuna used his powers to protect dharma and never fought out of arrogance or false pride. As a result, he received boons from personalities like lord Siva, Indra, fire-god, Yamaraja, Varuna and Kuvera.

Arjuna was not itching to fight with his envious and irreligious cousins who had left no trick of the trade to kill his family. Unlike Duryodhana, who saw Pandavas as his enemies, Arjuna still saw them as his brothers and relatives. He had the compassion and strength to say:

How can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship? It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers.’

(BG 2.4-5)

Life seemed unfair

It may seem that life was not fair to Karna. He was born out of wedlock, abandoned by his mother, brought up (lovingly) by a chariot maker, denied the respect due as a great warrior, etc. But the same is more true for Arjuna, who suffered far more. Bereft of a father, staying with envious cousins who were always plotting to insult and kill them, and had humiliated his wife in front of the whole assembly. They had to go to the jungle for 13 years after being cheated in a gambling match. Theirs is a much longer list.

Difference in Character

The difference is how they both reacted to those so-called unfavorable circumstances. Karna was brash, overconfident, bitter and became determined to fight against what destiny was rolling out for him. Arjuna, on the other hand, remained calm during all atrocities, accepted all injustices as the will of Lord and had complete faith in Krishna.

It is said that giving good counsel to a foolish person causes the fool to become angry, just as feeding milk to a snake only increases its venomous poison. Saint Vidura was so honorable that his character was looked up to by all respectable persons. But Duryodhana was so foolish that he dared to insult Vidura. This was due to his bad association with Śakuni, his maternal uncle, as well as with his friend Karṇa, who always encouraged Duryodhana in his nefarious acts.

(SB 3.1.14p)

According to Vedic civilization, a descendant of a brāhmaṇa family should never be heavily punished. This was exemplified in Arjuna’s treatment of Aśvatthāmā. Aśvatthāmā was the son of a great brāhmaṇa, Droṇācārya, and in spite of his having committed the great offense of killing all the sleeping sons of the Pāṇḍavas, for which he was condemned even by Lord Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna excused him by not killing him because he happened to be the son of a brāhmaṇa.

(SB 4.7.13p)

Hence we can see that circumstances do not make us Krishna conscious but it is what we do in those circumstances which makes us Krishna conscious.

Who are Karna and Arjuna?

Mahabharata reveals that Karna was a demon called Dambodbhava in his previous life. He led a very sinful life and killed thousands of humans and rishi munis on the strength of a boon he received from sun-god. He was finally defeated by Nara- Narayana rishis but as he was about to be killed he took shelter of sun-god. This same demon took birth as Karna in his next birth.

Devotees like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees.

(Bg 4.5p)

So we can appreciate that Arjuna is an eternal associate of Lord Krishna, wherever Krishna’s pastimes manifest Arjuna participates in it. A soul worth taking shelter of. No wonder Krishna made Arjuna an instrument to speak Bhagavad Gita and also the hero of Mahabharata.

Srila Prabhupada gives us a very nice description of Arjuna in SB 1.12.21p and Karna in SB 1.15.16p.

We can also read a very interesting and detailed point by point comparison of Karna vs Arjuna made by HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhu here. It’s an eye-opener.

I hope we can see beyond the rivalry of Karna vs Arjuna.

All glories to Krishna’s eternal friend Arjuna.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Bhagavad Gita 18.74

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

A few weeks back we read Bhagavad Gita 18.74 verse on our Whatsapp group. I am sharing the verse and my two penny worth of thoughts on it.

Sanjay is saying that he felt ecstasy after hearing the conversation between Govindadev and Arjuna. It made me think as to how many times I felt ecstatic after reading verses from Bhagavad Gita… not too many.

If we wish to progress in spiritual life then it’s very important for us to hear very attentively. Out of nine limbs of bhakti Sravanam or hearing is the most important and most effective. And proper hearing naturally includes following the instructions.

Being Krishna consciousness does not mean becoming a pious Hindu, which is not very different from being a pious Christian or a pious Muslim. I follow a particular faith simply because I am born in it. I have no clue about who is God, what is my relationship with God or what is God’s role in my personal life, going back to God doesn’t even come in my list of priorities.

The teaching of Bhagavad Gita, on the other hand, is the supreme science- the science of the soul. It’s a revelation, which if heard sincerely and from a bonafide source, starts a revolution within us. If we will follow Krishna’s instructions then definitely there will be a revolution in our heart. We will find the purpose of our existence and how to reach there.

Srimad Bhagavatam says

On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly hones.

(SB 1.5.11)

That’s why Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport of Bhagavad Gita 18.74 that if we follow in the footsteps of Arjuna to understand Krishna, then our life will be happy and successful.

Our proposition is to give up all these mental concoctions and come to the spiritual platform. If one comes to the spiritual platform, there will be no more revolution. As Dhruva Maharaja said, nātaḥ paraṁ parama vedmi na yatra vādaḥ: “Now that I am seeing God, I am completely satisfied. Now all kinds of theorizing processes are finished.” So God consciousness is the final revolution.

(JSD, chapter 7)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get goosebumps after reading every single verse of Bhagavad Gita? Don’t we have a desire to see God face to face?

We had so many lifetimes, can’t we offer just one lifetime to Krishna?

All glories to Srimad Bhagavad Gita

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Bhagavad Gita 18.69

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

We daily post one Bhagavad Gita verse and its purport on our preaching whatsapp groups. Sometimes I share some impromptu thoughts on it. I will start sharing the same with you. Kindly tolerate them and also give your feedback. Here it goes

16th April

Today we read the Bhagavad gita 18.69 and I am sharing my two pennies worth of thoughts on it.

Govindadev ji is emphasising his last verse (18.68) today also. Yesterday we read –

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.

(Bg 18.68)

Today Krishna’s mood is the same as He openly declares that there is no servant more dear to Him than such a devotee who shares this supreme science with others.

Many a time older devotees struggle or get stagnate in their journey in Krishna consciousness. Among many other reasons, one very important reason is that we are not willing to take the next step forward and come out of our comfort zone to serve Krishna or we get disheartened with some bad experiences. But who said becoming a lover of God is easy.

We also stagnate because we become satisfied with a little sattava guna and auspiciousness which practicing bhakti-yoga brings in the initial stages of Krishna consciousness, but there is much more ahead.

Srimad Bhagavatam calls such a devotee who remains satisfied in serving the deity of Krishna at home, eating prasadam, etc. as a neophyte devotee. It’s not a bad stage, we all go through it but the main thing is that we should not remain there like everyone goes to grade 1 in school but we don’t remain in grade 1.

We must have some feelings and then think how else can I serve the Lord of my heart and finally act upon it.

Getting continuous favour of Krishna is not so cheap but it is easily available to a sold-out heart.

All the best.

All glories to Bhagavad gita

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

p.s.: I hope reading Bhagavad Gita 18.69 will be more meaningful next time onwards.

Remedy for Coronavirus

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

Cause of coronavirus or other epidemics

Animal killing

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

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

(SB 7.15.24p)

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

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

(SB 1.7.37+p)

(pestilence means a fatal epidemic disease )

Irreligious rulers

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

(SB 4.20.14)

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

(SB 9.16.18-19p)

Degraded civilisation

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

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

(SB 4.20.21p)

Remedy for coronavirus

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

(SB 1.14.10p)

Our real position

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

(SB 7.9.19p)

What should we do?

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

(SB 6.3.18p)

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

(SB 7.9.19p)

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

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

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

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

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Why Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

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

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

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

Three external reasons for the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

1. To bestow Vraja bhakti upon us.

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

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

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

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

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

F02.

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

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

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

(CC Adi 3.50-55, 58)

3. Loud cries by Sri Advaita Acarya

Advaita_Acarya

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

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

(CC Adi 3.96-98, 108-11)

Three confidential reasons for the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

A loving prayer to Thakuraji

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

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

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

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

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

All glories to daily prayer to Thakuraji

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

thakur-ji-part-4

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

Good morning Thakuraji- a prayer to Krishna

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

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

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

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

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

All the best,

All glories to Prayer to Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

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

Thakuraji-Part-1

Unity in diversity

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

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

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

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

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

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

(SB 4.30.8+p)

Srila Prabhupada sets the mood- unity in diversity

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

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


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

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

(letter to Kirtananda, 18th October 1973)

Work together

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

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

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

(conversation, 16th March 1976, Mayapur)

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

All glories to practicing unity in diversity

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

your servant,

Giriraj das

Three main Deities of Vrindavan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(CC Antya 142-143)

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

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

(CC Adi 1.19)

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

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

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

(CC Adi 1.19p)

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

(CC Adi 7.73p)

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

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

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

All glories to the three main Deities of Vrindavan.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriranj dasa

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