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

Secret appearance of Vrajendra Nandan Krishna!

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

जन्म कर्म मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः

त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन

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

(Bg 4.9)

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

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

(Bg 4.9p)

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

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

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

Vrajendra Nandan Krishna

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

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

(Krishna Book, chapter 46)

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

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

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

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

(SB 10.3.47+p)

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

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

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

(Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura purport to SB 10.3.47)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(SB 10.5.1-2)

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :

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

(SB 10.5.1-2p)

Srila Rupa Gosvami also gives away the secret!

preshthanandair vraje tais tair atmano ‘pi vimohanaih

lilollasair vilasati shri-lila-purushottamah

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

asamordhvena bhagavan vatsalyena vrajesayoh

sutatvenaiva sa tayor atmanam vetti sarvada

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

kecid bhagavatah prahur evam atra puratanah

vyuhah pradurbhaved adyo griheshv anakadundubheh

goshthe tu mayaya sardham shri-lila-purushottamah

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

gatva yadu-varo goshtham tatra suti-griham visan

kanyam eva param vikshya tam adayavrajat puram

pravisad vasudevas tu shri-lila-purushottamam

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

etac cati-rahasyatvan noktam tatra katha-krame

kintu kvacit prasangena sucyate shri-sukadibhih

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

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

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

(SB 10.5.1)

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

(SB 10.6.43)

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

(SB (10.9.21)

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

(SB 10.14.1)

tatha shri-yamala-vacanam samudaharanti

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

vrindavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati

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

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

(Laghu-bhagavatmrta 1.5.452-461)

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

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

pūrṇa bhagavān kṛṣṇa vrajendra-kumāra
goloke vrajera saha nitya vihāra

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

(CC Adi 3.5)

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

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

(BG 4.9p)

 

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

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

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

 

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

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Our surrender to Krishna

 

Is God unfair ?

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

naiñä parävara-matir bhavato nanu syät

jantor yathätmä-suhådo jagatas tathäpi

saàsevayä surataror iva te prasädaù

sevänurüpam udayo na parävaratvam

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

(SB 7.9.27)

 

God is Absolute

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

How is that?

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

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

Can we understand this via an example?

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

Srila Prabhupada calls it…

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

 

Mahajans know it!

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

 

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

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

So what should we do?

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

Zero !!!

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

And the result will be…

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

God is like a wish fulfilling tree!

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Build an eternal relationship with Srila Prabhupada

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

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

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

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

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

An Acharya’s birth is not ordinary

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

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

Who are these exalted Acharayas?

Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu has given considerable discussion about nitya-siddha and sädhana-siddha devotees. Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuëöha to this material world to teach, by their personal example, how to become a devotee. The living entities in this material world can take lessons from such nitya-siddha devotees and thus become inclined to return home, back to Godhead. A nitya-siddha devotee comes from Vaikuëöha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam [Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu 1.1.11]). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment.

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

(SB 7.10.3p)

Without their practical guidance..

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

(SB 2.9.37p)

He is not dead and gone!

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

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

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

I won’t die!

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

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

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

Prabhupada: Hmm?

Rämeçvara: Yayäti. King Yayäti traded his old age.

Kértanänanda: With his son. You can do that.

Prabhupada: [laughs] Who did?

Rämeçvara: King Yayäti.

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

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

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

(Conversation Pieces- May 27, 1977, Vrindavana)

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

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

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

Prabhupada: Who?

Jayädvaita: We are. All of us.

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

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

Prabhupada: Otherwise how?

Näräyaëa: Excuse me?

Prabhupada: Otherwise how it can come?

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

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

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

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

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

Prabhupada: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A peek into the heart of Srila Prabhupada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” My mouth hung open.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I knocked on his door again.

“Yes?” the swami said from within.

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

I took a deep breath.

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

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

The swami muttered something quietly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant.

Giriraj dasa