Spiritual realisation vs. material prosperity

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

This is the third in the series of articles and letters by great acharyas in Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession. In the previous blogs we read the amazing article of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur on Lord Jagannath and the incredible letter written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur to one of his disciples giving multiple gems on what should the mood a practicing devotee.

Today I am posting a letter by Srila Prabhupada to India’s then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru – highlighting India’s unparalleled spiritual knowledge and heritage and urging the prime minister to help kick start a worldwide revolution based on spiritual realisation rather than simply desiring material prosperity.

Bombay
4 August, 1958

Pandit Sri Jawaharlal Nehru,
Prime Minister of India,
New Delhi-2

My dear Pandit Ji,

Please accept my respectful Namaskar. I beg to inform you that your speech on 2/8/58 at the Gurukul University Haridwar, has given me some inspiration to inform you something about Indian culture. The basic principle of Indian culture is spiritualism which defies the external attraction of phenomenal materialism.

You are thinking of adjusting western ways of material adjustment with Indian culture of spiritualism and I beg to give you herewith the clue that materialism conducted with an aim of reaching spiritual perfection, is the right adjustment of human activity.

If the aim of spiritual realisation is missed, the whole plan of materialism is sure to be frustrated and that is the law of Nature. The law of nature is so made by a superior authority and no body can surpass the intricacies of material nature simply by partial adjustment of material science. The history of the West beginning from the time of the Greeks and the Romans down to the modern age of atomic war—is a continuous chain of sense gratificatory materialism and the result is that the westerners were never in peace within the memory of 3000 years of historical records. Neither it will be possible for them at any time in future to live in peace till the message of spiritualism just suitable to the present age does not reach their heart.

Therefore India may not waste her time in imitating the western way of life. You have admitted it that the position of India’s culture is of very high order. But at the same time you want to bring in material prosperity of India by scientific advancement of knowledge. And what is that scientific Knowledge? Spiritualism is also advanced scientific knowledge. Material advancement of scientific knowledge cannot give even the desired material prosperity to the people in general without spiritual help. Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi was adjusted in spiritualism more than materialism. Do you think that horseless carriage or telephonic or radio communication or any other such ephemeral facilities of life, can bring in material prosperity? No it cannot. Material prosperity means that the people must have sufficient to eat or to maintain the body and soul together in sound health for further development in spiritual consciousness which is conspicuous by its absence in the sense gratificatory life of the animal. Do you think that your different plans have brought in that standard of material prosperity or that modern western civilization can bring in that ideal prosperity? Even they are given all the facilities of material need yet the unrest will continue to go on till there is spiritual satisfaction of life. That is the secret of peace.

Both the Americans and the Russians are better materially advanced and although they have different political philosophy of life till they are not materially happy and peaceful because both of them are unconciously hankering after spiritual realisation as the child cries for the mother without expression by language. You can help the people of the world for satisfying their spiritual hankering as the true Indian messenger of peace. The world has recognized your sincere effort for endeavouring peace in the world and this is the suitable time to help your friends and at the same time glorify the standard of Indian spiritual advancement of knowledge for world peace. Please take up the matter in cool brain.

Poverty means poverty of knowledge. Prime minister Canakya Pandit used to live in a thatched house or cottage but he was the dictator of India in the days of Emperor Candra Gupta. Mahatma Gandhi your political Guru voluntarily accepted the ways of the so called poor Indians and still he was the dictator of India’s destiny. But was he actually poverty sticken on account of his plain living with the primitive charkha? He was always proud of his spiritual knowledge. Therefore it is the spiritual knowledge which makes a man really rich and not the radio set or the motor car. Please therefore try to understand this position of Indian culture and try to give it to the western brothers in the prescribed standard method of the liberated persons and that will be an exchange of Indian culture with western material advancement and necessarily bring in a happy life in the peaceful world.

Here is a programme of spiritual movement (an appeal enclosed herewith). I am struggling alone very hard to give it an effective shape without any help from persons like you. You can help the movement a lot without the least difficulty or disturbances.

My humble advice to you, as I am your old friend from Allahabad, is that you should now take leave form you present responsibility of Prime ministership and as you are a popular gentleman of the world you can just engage the rest of your most valuable life in this organized spiritual movement to achieve the aim of your life which is yet to be known by the __ the world. By pushing on this authorized spiritual movement you can make a real adjustment of the western material science combined with Indian way of spiritual realisation.

Please therefore think over this proposal very seriously and let me know your reaction upon it and oblige. If you can spare a little time, I am sure to convince you about its importance more quickly. Thanking you in anticipation and awaiting your early reply.

Yours sincerely,
A.C. B.

Private letter per registered post
Enclosure:-1.

Srila Prabhupada didn’t receive reply to his letter.

But this letter, like it’s glorious author, is self-illumined. We can spend a couple of hours explaining deeper points put across in such a simple and easy to understand manner, the quality of analogies and examples used is simply outstanding. Srila Prabhupada’s conviction in India’s spiritual knowledge and values shines bright. And this is Srila Prabhupada in 1958!

An intelligent person should therefore discuss, contemplate and analyse this thought-provoking letter for its practical application. We can also use this letter as a yardstick to measure our own conviction in spiritual values and spiritual realisation. And finally to check what is my priority in life :- Spiritual realisation or material prosperity?

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Please click here to see the scanned copy of the original hand written letter written by Srila Prabhupada.

Lord Jagannath

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

The more we read and glorify the great acharayas in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaudiya vaishnava paramapara, the more we can appreciate our own good fortune and the golden opportunity available to every single soul on this planet to return back home back to Godhead. It may also inspire us to carefully and with complete faith read every single word they have written for our benefit.

In next three blogs I will be sharing three outstanding articles/letters written by three of our stalwart acharayas, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, all three acharayas descended from the spiritual world, on the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to liberate conditioned souls like us. Reading their writings with faith and sincerity can open multiple doors for us to make rapid progress in our spiritual journey.

Jagannath Rath yatra started few days back and aptly the first article I am sharing was written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1871 on the history temple of Jagannath at Puri, about superstitious and ignorance versus timeless principle of love of God, about love versus logic, about the glories of Mahaprasadam and how the temple of Lord Jagannath is the emblem of Supreme Absolute truth as explained in Vedanta Sutras. It is a little long so kindly remain patient as great spiritual riches await us. Here it goes-

There is not a Hindu who has not heard the name of this temple. The old and the young, the male and the female, the Rajah and the ryot, and the weak and the stout, all visit this temple out of a religious curiosity. Three hundred and one miles south-west of the Vice-Regal palace at Calcutta, stands this famous temple close to the seashore affording an object for a telescopic observation to the new-comer on broad the ship bound for Bengal. It stands on a platform measuring 20 cubits in height from the level of water. The platform itself is 375 cubits by 400 cubits made of huge stone cemented with a mortar composed of lime and sand. The temple itself is 92 cubits in height of a structure purely Indian. The pilgrims sees its towering head from the distance of 7 miles where the shrewd Panda takes a rupee from him by showing him the holy Chakra.

This temple was erected by Raja Ananga Bhimbdeb about 800 years ago in place of another one, then in state of dilapidation. In old accounts we find this temple styled Niladri or the blue hill. From this it appears that the former temple which was probably raised by the emigrating Rajah Indradyumna was a blue or dark coloured one. Otherwise we cannot account for the name Nilachala unless we take it for granted that the name was after the Nilgiri Hills, a small range which runs through this Province from one end to the other.

The Utkalakhanda in the Puranas, the Niladri Mahodadhi, and the Matla Panjee (an account regularly kept by the temple officers) declare that Jagannath is a very ancient institution amongst the Hindus. Whatever may be the value of the authorities quoted, we are inclined to believe that Puri was considered sacred even at the time when the Puranas were written, because we find in Wilson’s copy of the Vishnu Purana that one Kandu Rishi resorted to a place called Purushottama for the purpose of divine contemplation. At all events Rajah Indradyumna, to whom the whole affair is generally ascribed, lived a long time before Rajah Vikramaditya, the contemporary of Augustus Caesar of Rome. We are sure, that Puri is not so old as Benares and Gaya, of which repeated mention is made in all the Puranas and the Mahabharata, yet it is not a place of recent origin created after the commencement of the Christian Era. We cannot believe that the institution originated in pure stupidity of the religious sentiment; for we cannot but observe a great deal of wisdom in the man with whom the idea of Jagannath first originated. We do not profess to belong to any of the sects of religion under the sun, we believe the absolute Faith, founded upon instinctive love of God, natural in all human souls.

There are two great sects of religion all over the world who fight with each other without any advantage whatever. One of them holds that it is absolutely necessary to believe that God is without any form whatever and believers in the form are but, idolatrous. The other class maintains that God has out of kindness shown His form to the pious in order to be worshiped by them. Both of them are wrong, because both of them fight on a purely material point. The most unsectarian view of the point is, that God is neither a form nor a formless object but is purely spiritual. Matter alone can embrace the idea of form; consequently all positive and negative assertions with regard to it must naturally be material. Those who worship the form and those who describe God as formless, are both idolatrous and superstitious, and consequently can never form an idea of the spiritual Deity. Sectarians of the same class are expected to hate each other, but those, who have nothing in common with them, have no reason for hatred. We therefore cannot, like the fanatics of the formless class consider all idols as unsacred and hold the worship of a formless Deity (identifying Him with something like space and eternity) to be the natural worship of God. We go so far as to maintain that the worshiper of the spiritual God in an idol is infinitely superior to a mere believer in a formless existence who considers that formlessness is one of the attributes of the Spirit.

Spirit is not exactly the opposite of matter, but it is certainly something different from it. it is difficult indeed to decide what is the exact relation of the Spirit to matter, space and time, and it is not given to us to know. It would indeed be the height error to conceive that all the opposite qualities of matter, space and time are in Spirit. Hence we must look to some other attributes for Spirit. Love and wisdom are certainly spiritual attributes which are not opposite qualities of matter. Man must be wise and love God. This is the religion of the soul. All debates about the essence of God (e.g. God is formless or with a form) are but sectarian. Now we allow men to love God wisely, i.e. spiritually while their eyes are on idol as well as while they contemplating an Infinite thing like the space. When the soul worships, the mind also finds an employment. The mind can never conceive of anything that is not material. It is therefore exceedingly difficult for man in his present state to separate himself from idolatry. What man is obliged to do, is his lot and hence we must put off the meaning of idolatry to some other process. We therefore conclude that he that worship the idol as God (whether the idol be formless or form) is idolatrous, but he that worships the spirit in wise love (however near he may be to an idol of form or of no form) is a worshiper of Spirit. But we go further to tolerate all these classes if they be sincere.

God accepts the worship of all those who worship their highest ideal, whether it is form, formless or Spirit, and it is under some regular processes that the idea of God becomes purer and purer in every soul and not by fits and starts. That man has no heart for his brother and consequently for God also, who sneer at the highest ideal of another behind him, is idolatrous. A war against the idol worshipers either in words or action is not a crusade but a fit of rash, loveless and ambitious fanaticism of a very unphilanthropic character. We therefore, with all our due attempts at the spiritual reformation of our erring brothers, tolerate all classes of idolatry from the worshipers of formlessness to the worshipers of man, or matter as God.

We are opposed to the atheists alone who live and enjoy for themselves. Those who are anxious for the blessing of God are our brothers in faith, whatever error there may be in their ideas and forms of worship. Love of God, however misdirected it may be, does by force of its own natural strength, rise higher and higher in the scale of spiritual progress. Its want is the degradation of the soul alone. Those who do not love God have an opposite course from us and are objects of pity with all classes of theists. God save them. We were led to these remarks by a desire to show that we are candid examiners of the institution of Jagannath without that hatred to the idolatrous (who are not prepared to understand the philosophy of Purushottam Tattva) which is perceivable in the short sighted and rash reformers of our country.

The system of Jagannath is viewed in two different ways. The superstitious and the ignorant take it as a system of idolatry by worshiping the idols in the temple as God Almighty appearing in the shape of a carved wood for the salvation of the Orias. But the Saragrahi Vaishnavas find the idols as emblems of some eternal truth which has been explained in the Vedanta Sutras of Vyasa. Within the temples in which are to be found the idols of Bimala, Shiva, Ganesha and Surya, the big, towering temple of Jagannath stands in the middle of the compound. Those who examined the system of Hindu Theology with a philosophic eye, are well aware that there are five different forms of faith comprised therein.

* The first form of faith is Shaktaism or the worship of nature as God.
* The second is the worship of Surya or the sun which is identified with heat; the only active element in lifeless matter.
* The third teaches one to worship the Spirit in its most unsatisfactory form of development in the lower animals. In this form, the elephant-man or Ganesha is the object of worship.
* Man is the object of worship in fourth stage of Hinduism. The soul, well developed as it is in the man, is worshiped in Shiva in whom the human souls is said to be observed after salvation.
* In the fifth stage alone, the Infinite God distinct from the human soul, is perceived and worshiped. Here commences Vaishnavism.

In these five stage are shown the whole history of Hindu Theology, nay, the whole history of Theology in general. All sorts of creeds that have come to existence since the creation of man, are included in these five stages. Name any system of faith that man has discovered and we will find no difficulty in classing it with any one of the five, viz. Materialism, Elementalism, Fetishism, Man worship and God worship. This is summing up of all systems of faith philosophically and not instructing people to believe in any one of them except the last. The visitor of the temple of Jagannath will find a similar display of these systems in their proper places. Consequently we find the temple of Jagannath in the middle of the compound, and our remarks will now relate to Jagannath exclusively.

We have several times entered the shrine of Jagannath, and, approaching the sandal bolts, have observed in the middle room an elevated seat on which stand four different forms viz. Jagannath, Balaram, Subhadra and Sudarshan. According to the Vedanta, God is without a second, but He has infinite energies and attributes which are not fully known to man. But then man perceives only three energies in God, because he has no other corresponding sides to understand the other powers. From one of the energies proceeds matter in all its different forms and properties and this energy is styled Maya Shakti of God. From the second energy proceeds all spiritual creation, in all its relations and phases. This power is entitled the Jiva Shakti of God. The third energy perceivable by man is the energy of Will, which is called Cit Shakti. God moving in creation is what is meant by this infinite energy.

Jagannath is the emblem of God having no other form than the eyes and the hands. They mean to show that God sees and knows and creates. Balaram is the source of Jiva Shakti of God; Subhudra, the Maya Shakti; and Sudarshana is the energy of Will. We cannot form any ideas of these energies and hence it is worship of Jagannath that depends upon the collection of these four forms on the same platform. Here we see God analyzed in the shape of forms for the sake of those who want to conceive of Him. It is the same thing to see Jagannath as to study the Vedanta in all its Branches. The temple and its institution appear to me to be a book for those who can read it, to the foolish the institution is useless except as a means of reminding them of the Deity who created the world.

There is one more thing in the temple which explains the philosophical superiority of Jagannath over all other Hindu institutions. We mean the Mahaprasad system. Rice dedicated to Jagannath is sold in the Bazaar to all pilgrims. Brahmins and the Khettries, Vaishnavas and Shaktas, the Sannyasis and the Grahastas, all accept it without any hesitation whatever. Brahminical aristocracy has no rule in the temple. This shows that when people get wise, they need not obey the foolish dictates of the Brahmins which are mainly intended for those who are unable to chalk out ways for themselves. When man admits the superiority of Love to God to all other systems of rule and ethics, he is not bound to work according to the Shastras intended for lower order of men. The common bonds of the inferior Dharma Shastras of Manu and Yagnavalkya have no influence on the free Vaishnavas who are God’s own soldiers in the crusade against evil.

The system of Mahaprasad is not only emblematic of the superior life of the Vaishnavas, but it is a part of the worship which ordinary theists cannot fully understand. The ordinary men are very much inclined to preserve the superiority of Reason over intuitive feelings of man towards the God of Love. We must now proceed to show with healthy arguments that our intuitive feelings want us to offer everything we eat to the God of our heart. We must first examine the arguments of the antagonist. The Rationalists holds that God is infinite and without wants, and consequently it is foolish to offer eatables to such Being. It is sacrilege to offer created things to the Creator and thereby degrade the Divinity of God into humanity. These are reasonable arguments indeed, and one who has heard them will certainly be inclined to declare to others, “Down with the Mahaprasad.” These conclusions, however reasonable, are dry and destructive. They tend to separate us from all connections with God in the form of worship. When you say that the infinite wants nothing, you forbid all contemplation and prayer. The Infinite does not want your grateful expressions or, in other words, flattery. Utter a word to the Unconditioned and you are sure to degrade Him into a conditioned Being. Hymns, prayers and sermons are all over! Shut your temple door and the church gates , because our Rationalist has advised you to do so. Believe a creating principle and you have done your duty! Oh! What a shame! What a dreadful fall! Theists, beware of these degrading principles!

Now the Rationalists appears in another shape and admits prayers, sermons, psalms and church going, saying that these things are wanted for the improvement of the soul, but God does not want them at all. We are glad that the Rationalists have come towards us and will make further approaches in course of time.

Yes, the progressive Rationalists has admitted a very broad principle in Theology, viz. whatever we do towards God is for our own benefit and not for the benefit of God, who is not in want of any such thing. But the Rationalists is a Rationalists still and will continue to be so, as long as he will seek self-interest. We know for certain that religion promises to give eternal felicity to man and it is impossible to conceive of any religion which has not at its bottom self-interest. This view however, smells of utilitarianism and can never claim to be theistic. We must love God for God’s sake, however unreasonable our action may be. Our love must be without any object whatever that concerns ourselves. This must be a natural emotion to the Deity as our Lover without inference or experience. Salvation, dear as it is, should not be the object of this love: what then about other shapes of felicity? “Love of God” is its own reward. Salvation as a concomitant consequence, must be a hand-maid of Love, but we must not look on it as its main object.

If Rationalist be prepared to believe this, he becomes a Theist of the Vaishnava class; but the mere assuming of the name is of no consequence. Though fully aware that the unconditioned has no conditions whatever, yet our holy and sweet principle of love take a quite different view of the matter. Reason says one thing but Love prescribes its contrary. Reason tell me that God has no sorrow, but Love sees God in tears for those of His sons that are misled to evil. Reason tells me that the strict laws of God reward and punish me in a cold manner, but Love reveals that God slackens His laws to the repentant soul! Reason tells me that with all his improvements, man will never touch the Absolute God; but Love preaches that on the conversion of the soul into state of spiritual womanhood, God, the unconditioned as He is, accepts an eternal marriage with the conditioned soul of man! Reason tells me that God is in infinite space and time, but Love describes that the all-beautiful God is sitting before us like a respected relative and enjoying all the pleasures of society.

As a father in his amusements with his young children, God is spreading all sorts of delicious food all over the earth and expecting that His sons should gather all the scattered blessings and, without the exercise of reason in consequence of a strong feeling of love, offer all the blessing to the Father whom they love more than their lives. The Father again, in reply to their kind feelings, gives back the blessings to the children and tells them these kindlier words, “O! My children! These blessings intended for you! Out of your natural love you bring them to me for my enjoyment; but I have naturally no wants to supply. But then I have accepted that part of your offering which corresponds with me, viz. your unmixed love and disinterested affections for which alone I am exceedingly anxious. Take back these sweet things and enjoy them.”

This process of disinterested love, which dry reason can never brook, sanctifies the food we take, and leaves us to harmless enjoyment for all the days of our natural life! This is the system of sincere worship which theists of a higher class alone can act upon. We cannot express the joy we often felt when we took the holy Mahaprasad in the temple! The holiness we attach to it is its sweetness and often pray that all men may enjoy it. To the Saragrahi Vaishnava, the temple has such thrilling charms which the ordinary Rationalist can never understand. We do not mean to say that Reason is a foolish principle. On the contrary we do not find better admirers of Reason than our humble selves. We hold that man’s superiority amongst all created beings consist in man’s possessing the noble gift of Reason.

What we maintain in this, that independent of this noble principle there is another higher gift in man which goes by the name of Love. Reason helps Love to maintain its proper bounds in the Spiritual world. Love often tends to degrade itself by exercising its functions on objects other than God and converts itself into lust for woman, wine, meat and gold. Here Reason advises her to rise higher till she reaches her proper sphere above. Thus we find that the object of Reason is to help Love and not to create it. Reason may be properly styled as the servant of Love and must always be subject to her in all her hopes, aspirations and holy works. The Rationalist on the contrary considers Reason as all in all. This is degradation of humanity. The progressive Rationalist, on the other hand, believes in the principle of love, but attempts to make her the maid-servant of Reason. This is another error. He makes spiritual love sometimes a prisoner in the Jails of Reason. Love wants to soar on her spiritual wings to a realm where the Jailer (Reason) cannot go and the latter is sure to tie up her wings for fear lest she goes to an unworthy place. Love utters sounds of a spiritual character peculiar to herself, but Reason, having no previous experience of it, mistakes it for a disease and administers medicines for her cure. Thus it is that the natural strength of the Queen of our Soul is crippled by artificial administrations of the dry principle of Reason and she rests in us as if a bird taken in a cage.

Oh. What a havoc doth Reason commit by abuse of his power. Oh. Shame to the Rationalist. God, help the man. Theists take care of those amongst you who mix with you only by assuming the name of Theist but are in fact Rationalists of very dry character. They are divisible into two classes viz. the designing and the dupe. The designing Theist is he who is in fact a Rationalist but by assuming the name of a Theist want to degrade the sincere by his bad influence. He that calls himself a Theist in order to get rid of the name of a Rationalist but still holds Love in subjection to Reason is a dupe because he is unable to find out his own position. The sincere theist should however take care of both of them and preserve the sovereignty of Love over Reason and his comrades.

We will now show that others, who have allowed their Love to degrade without caring for the proper instructions of Reason on the other hand, have gone down to a gross idolatry and superstition. The Temple of Jagannath is under the superintendence of the local Rajah of Puri whom the foolish men worship as an incarnation of the Deity. Under his superintendence there are 36 classes of servants at the temple who are styled the Chhatrisha Niyoga. There are six hundred families of Suars (Soopakars) or cooks in the temple. It is needless here to enumerate all these classes of servants. Several Pandas, Pariharis, Pashupals and Suars send their servants to different parts of India to collect pilgrims to the temple. These agents or Gomasthas (as they are called) visit the gentleman of the places they go to and give some sweetmeat Mahaprasad proposing that they are ready to take pilgrims to Puri under their care.

By this means, the agents collect a large number of souls (amongst whom the greatest number are woman of an advanced age) and march on with the sound of Haribol. We must admit that the Pandas and their Gomasthas (generally of the Kayestha class) take a great deal of trouble for the sake of their pilgrims and sometimes advance money for their expenses on the road. The Bengal Jattris generally visit Puri at the Snana Jattra and the Ratha Jattra festivals but the upcountry men come to Puri at all times in the year.

When the pilgrims arrive at Puri the Panda, whose agent brought them, visit them with some Mahaprasad near the Narendra Tank at the approach of the town. The pilgrims see Jagannath on the very day that they arrive and perform the ceremony of Pancha Tirtha on the following day or the day after that. By Pancha Tirtha is meant the business of bathing in the Tanks of Markandeya and Indradyumna and in the sea and, after performing Sradha in those three places, seeing the emblems of Jagannath and Balarama in the temple.

The Panda all along keeps silent, but on the last day he is sure to take everything that the pilgrim has and sometimes to take a bond for an amount according to the circumstances of the pilgrim. That day the Panda with all his usual gravity takes the pilgrim to an elevated roof in the northern part of the temple called Koili Vaikoontha and there utters his Mahabakya and Shufala in order to persuade the pilgrim to pay whatever he or she has with him or her. Thus the pilgrim returns to his native place without anything but a patara of sweetmeat Mahaprasada and a few slips of Jagannath’s likeness in rude paintings!

In fact the temple servants, one, and all, are not a bit a better than Brahminical priests who deal with the next world as a means of gain. They are rude in the extreme and quite ignorant of Hindu Theology. They never attempt to teach or learn, but often rove in quest of money. Most of them are fond of drinking a liquor prepared from Bhang and hence they have (nearly all of them) a swelling of their legs sometimes coming up to the stage of disease called elephantiasis. With all their gains, the temple servants can never store wealth because they are very careless. Besides the temple they generally keep a place called an Akhra where they meet together for the purpose of drinking Bhang and seeing the dance of young boys clad in the dress of females! We will try to give you an account of all the Akhras in Puri in my next paper, and as this paper has become much longer than we at first intended, we take leave of you for the present.

(Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, 1871)

(If we can invest a little more time to carefully read the above article two more times, three times in total, then it can reveal many more hidden jewels to us.)

All glories to Lord Jagannath.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

How to conquer Krishna

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

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

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

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

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

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

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

(SB 10.14.3)

Rupanugas are super practical, like their boss

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

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

(JSD, chapter 6)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu approved it

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

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

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

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

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

(TLC, chapter 28)

Lord Shiva recommends it

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

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

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

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

(SB 4.24.69+p)

Brahma ji practiced it

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

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

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

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

(SB 2.9.18p)

Gopis practiced it and conquered Krishna!

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

(SPL, 28th Feb 1975, Atlanta)

Prabhupada established ISKCON based upon this very principle

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

(SB 4.24.69p)

How to conquer Krishna?

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

Conclusion – Simply Sravanam kirtanam

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

(SB 4.30.33p)

And the result..

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

(SB 4.30.33p)

What’s the secret?

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

(NoD, chapter 21)

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

All glories to Sri Guru Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

How to see Vrindavan?

Vrindavan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Vrindavan Days, Chapter 5)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Time, place and circumstances

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

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

Time Place and circumstances

HH Bhaktividya Purna Swami:

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

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

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

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

Time place circumstances – comes from Vedas

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

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

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

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

Expert devotees know how to apply it

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

(SB 1.5.16p)

Time place and circumstances for Political Leaders

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

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

(SB 1.17.32P)

Time place and circumstances- role of an Acharya

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

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

The application necessitates….

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

( My Glorious Master by HG Bhurijana Prabhu)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

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

Bhakti is independent

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

Krishna does not give bhakti directly !

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

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā -bhakti comes from bhakti

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

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

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

(SB 11.3.31)

Mercy of Krishna flows via His devotees

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

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

(SB 11.2.46)

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

Why only a madhyama adhikari?

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

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

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

(Bg 18.68-69)

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

Magic happens when an Uttama adhikari comes downs to preach!

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

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

(CC Madhya 24.205p)

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

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

(Lecture, 4th Nov. 1972, Vrindavana)

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

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

He is someone very special

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

(SB 7.10.3p)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Markine-Bhagavata Dharma by Srila Prabhupada)

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

Desires of such a Nitya-siddha

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

(SB 10.13.50p)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(SB 10.2.18p)

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

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

(HH Jayapataka Swami, 6th Sept. 2015)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

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

 

 

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

Janmashtami – 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.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>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)

 

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p class=”verse” style=”text-align: center;”>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