How I came into Krishna Consciousness (II)

I decided to visit an ISKCON temple. The only one I knew was in East of Kailash, Sri Sri Radha Parthasarthi temple. I visited the temple around early evening. It was surprisingly clean and well maintained temple. I visited, looked at the beautiful deities, sat there for some time. I didn’t know what exactly to do. But I liked being there. After I came back a thought/ voice started chasing me from inside. The voice said now that I have visited the temple what would I be ready to give up. I ignored it for some days, thinking that my mind is playing games with me. But it won’t go. To my own surprise, and horror at that time, I myself started dwelling on what could I leave. There were two things to chose from non veg and liquor. I did my own calculation and thought that meat would be a better and easier thing to give up as I could not imagine my life without a drink. Easier said than done, I didn’t use to eat any vegetables at home. And what would I eat when I go out ? Shahi paneer !! But within days I started losing taste in meat. I didn’t want to commit leaving till i was sure I would not come back to eating it.

I still remember the last day I ate meat. We had an office lunch for new year eve in one of the restaurants in Janak Puri. It was a buffet system with many types of meat coming to our table. I first opted for vegetarian menu to the surprise of everyone, I made some lame excuse. While everyone was eating I thought let me try one piece at least. I picked it up, took a bite and could not finish it. I felt as if I am eating raw flesh of some dead animal. I never ate meat again.

My chanting on fingers and reading Bhagavad Gita continued. During one of my meetings I told Mukul that East of Kailash was too far away. He told me that there is another ISKCON temple in Punjabi Bagh, not as big as East of Kailash, still I could go once and see. Again one of the late afternoons I visited the temple. It was very small compared to the almost majestic temple at East of Kailash. It was in a posh residential colony, neat and clean, and for the first time ever I took darshan of Sri Jagannath, Baldeva and Subhadra Maharani. I will narrate their story in a separate blog some day.

I don’t exactly remember whether it was another earlier trip to temple at East of Kailash or the first one at Punjabi Bagh that the strange voice came back to ask me to leave another thing. What was left, just my drinks. I avoided this voice a bit longer. Something strange happened,  I would start my drink but it started tasting so horrible that I could not finish it.  Even a pint of beer I could not finish and had to throw the rest. I left drinking or rather drinking left me for good.

Then another wonderful thing happened. Mukul took me to Vrindavana. I immediately felt at ease after entering the temple, from the rear side entrance and I still use this entrance only. Oh ! What a beautiful temple, it was welcoming, had such wonderful aura,  and so beautiful deities. I was at home and in love. This time no voice needed to prod me , I requested Mukul to please help me buy me a bead bag and Tulsi mala. I was already doing 16 rounds on my fingers so starting on beads proved to be easier. I was hooked on to chanting from that day onwards.

Every time I visit an ISKCON temple I feel bliss. It feels as if I have come to my home not my home rather my paternal grandfather’s home. I know someone is waiting for me there, always looking forward to see me.

HG Mukul Prabhu ki jaya

Sri Sri Radha Parthasarthi temple ki jaya

Sri Sri Radha Radhika Raman, Krishna Balram Temple ki Jaya

Jaya Gaura Nitai, Gaura Nitai, Gaura Nitai, Jaya Gaura Nitai

Jaya Krishna Balram, Krishna Balram, Krishna Balram, Jaya Krishna Balram

Jaya Radha Shyamsundar, Radha Shyamsundar, Radhey Radhey.

Jaya Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya.

How I came into Krishna Consciousness (I)

Hare Krishna


Let me share how I came into Krishna Consciousness. We had invited an old acquaintance to help our start-up company and give us some `gyaan’ on how to scale it and make it big. His name, Mukul Harmilapi. He will change my life for ever.

We hit it off pretty quickly and were soon discussing  many things apart from business. He was, and still is, very intelligent and very calm. He would answer each problem at office with a very simple solution and I would wonder why couldn’t I think of it. I was a little fond of reading and he suggested some books , even gave me a few. The first spiritual book which he gave me was Perfect questions, perfect answers. It definitely impressed me with its logical answers.

Let me give you some background about my own self. I was a `karmi’ to the hilt. I was most fond of eating outside, twice a week. As I grew materially I became fond of liquor and became a big fan of beer. My day could not end without an evening drink and some chicken tikka or snacks to go with it.  Weekends were out to the mall and I was fond of this new lifestyle and all the vices which come with it, but never satisfied at heart.

Now after I read Perfect questions, perfect answers I told Mukul that the book was very good. It was surely very logical and the discussion about animals being killed for the taste of our tongue' left some impression on me. The next book he suggested me was Bhagavad Gita by Srila Prabhupada. My first reaction, I know Bhagavad Gita. I have been reading Bhagavad Gita for last 30 years. Everyday after taking my bath I would read 2 pages sitting in front of the altar. This habit I picked it from my father who would read it for at least 20 minutes after his bath. He told me this book is different. I replied to him that the verses can not change and I know them well. He persisted and I reluctantly opened the book and read a verse, I think it was the first verse, and its purport. I thought let me read one verse only I find something different would I accept it. Indeed it was different. I took it home and started reading it, each page, rather each line revealing more to me than what I had learned in last 30 years. It was like Goddess Saraswati reading it to me. I started looking forward to reading it every morning.  I also felt ashamed on that all these years I have been reading it like a ritual without ever bothering to understand it's meaning and practical application. Yes, that explains it wellPractical Application’ , that’s what Srila Prabhupada taught me, that Bhagavad Gita should be applied in practice not just read it like a good book and carry on with our daily life. I really felt ashamed on the kind of life I was leading and what Srila Prabhupada explained so logically what Krishna wants us to lead.

In the past I have never been a temple person and would never visit a temple except for some vacation trips to may paternal grand father’s home in Himachal Pradesh. I was born there so I had some natural affection for all the places there, lots of Devi temples. In between I started visiting Vaishno Devi mata’s abode. It began with enthusiasm and I continued visiting there for many years, keeping strict fasts during navratras. It slowly fizzled out as my devotion became thinner and thinner. The navratra fasts also went away as I saw people who didn’t keep them also were doing fine in life, there was no basis of my faith .  There was no relationship. I never asked anything from Mata but liked visiting her. Whenever I would to go to Himachal I remember going to a small Shiv temple near our home. No relationship or desires I just liked doing it.  Sometimes there I could feel or imagined Lord Shiva’s presence but coming back to Delhi all my `devotional’ feelings will evaporate. I would forget them completely, only to be back when I would visit them in next summer vacation.

In between I asked Mukul what more could I do and he told me that I could chant Maha Mantra. I started chanting in night counting it on my fingers. I quickly came to chanting 16 rounds on my fingers. I was on a different `high’ and chanting  felt good.  Mukul would visit our office once a week and slowly business took a back seat in our discussions.














After the elephant’s bath

My glum feeling continued, which I shared under `Elephant’s bathing’ post. I felt very gloomy the whole evening and did not know what to do. Should I share with anyone, Sumeet Prabhu or Karuna Prabhuji ? Or should I share with my Guru Maharaj or HG Rukmini Krishna Prabhuji and tell them how much I can fall. Let them scold me. I felt ashamed telling them, I also thought do I have to always approach them with what is bad happening within me. I then thought of driving to Vrindavana and try to get myself `purified’. None of these suggestions would make me feel at ease.

I woke up next morning at 3.30am, slept back, and then waking up again at 5.30am I resolved to go to Punjabi Bagh temple. It was a working day for me but somehow I listened to my inner self and went there.

I reached temple around 9.15 am. It was a festive atmosphere due to Balram Jayanti, and as a special bonus HH Lokanath swami maharaj was giving the morning class on Balram Katha.  HH Lokanath swami maharaj ki jai ! I felt somewhat at ease and tried to  listen attentively.  The katha got over around 10am and then the darshan opened.

As I looked at the beautiful Sri Sri Krishna Balram, I realised something ticked inside me.  As I paid my obeisances, I felt Lord Balram asking me `will you stop doing `it’.’ He didn’t scold me or didn’t make me remember my problem, just said will I stop it.  In my own heart I replied to Him that I try sincerely but still lose control over my mind. I told Him if He were to hold my hand then I won’t do it again, ever. But He will have to promise me that He will not leave my hand. He replied in affirmative and gave me His hand to clasp. I held His hand and my obeisances were complete.

I was immediately cheerful, thankful and so full of energy. I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance and dance right there. Of course, the hall was full to its capacity and everyone was jostling to take their Lordship’s Darshan. I went outside the temple and  bought a pair of garlands, offered it to Sri Krishna and Sri Balram with my deepest feelings of gratitude. I then paid my obeisances to Srila Prabhupada, thanked him profusely for such good association all around me and came out a changed man.

I have resolved to keep my promise to Lord Balram and would not dare to spoil my new found friendship with Him, not the least at the cost of my roving rascal mind. I will never ever leave His hand.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

My Sadhna Bhakti

baby steps in Krishna consciousness

riding in the waves of `maya’,

My feet firmly fixed in the material world,

mind always looking for an excuse to stay away from Krishna,

I wonder if remembering Krishna’s name at the time of death

is my only hope,

No anarth Nivrtti, no taste, no bhava, for me………….ever.

Posted by Giriraj Das on April 15,2013 at 4:35pm ( This was my first post on )

Elephant’s bathing

Some days I really feel sad at my weak self control as I fall again and again from whatever baby steps I take in my sadhna Bhakti. Outside I may take bath twice a day but inside I am full of worst what material nature has to offer. And I do feel very sad after failing to control my mind. But what good is that atonement.

in SB 6.1.9 Pariksit Maharaja says: One may know that sinful activity is injurious for him because he actually sees that a criminal is punished by the government and rebuked by people in general and because he hears from scriptures and learned scholars that one is thrown into hellish conditions in the next life for committing sinful acts. Nevertheless, in spite of such knowledge, one is forced to commit sins again and again, even after performing acts of atonement. Therefore, what is the value of such atonement?

He further adds in 6.1.10: Sometimes one who is very alert so as not to commit sinful acts is victimized by sinful life again. I therefore consider this process of repeated sinning and atoning to be useless. It is like the bathing of an elephant, for an elephant cleanses itself by taking a full bath, but then throws dust over its head and body as soon as it returns to the land.

So this is it, my feeling guilty after committing a mistake, is like an elephant’s bath.  And I am so unfortunate that even after getting association of devotees I still can not control it and I continue to fall again and then again. Somedays I just feel helpless in front my mind, inspite of knowing what is good and what is not at all good for my sadhna bhakti.

I can only humbly pray to my spiritual master and to Srila Prabhupada to please give me strength so that I can control my mind; with my own strength and practice I can not reach anywhere in my spiritual journey, this is confirmed.

And I may be the best candidate for their mercy as they won’t get a more fallen person than me.

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on August 20,2013 at 8:12pm

Simple heart Vs self pity

I learnt an important lesson on June 10th this year.

I was getting myself deeper into a self pity mode.  That’s when I read one transcription of HH Romapad swami maharaj. He instructed that `we should not let ourselves fall into self pity mode and it is best to keep our heart simple and and always be greatful to the Lord for what he has given us.’

These words stuck me like thunder and I realise that I have to snap out of this self pity mode and I did it. Thank you so much Maharaj for this wonderful instruction.

Over the time I realised that as we become more greatful to Krishna our hearts turns softer and softer. I also realise that as our dependence on Krishna increases, He guides us.

To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. (Bg 10.10)

Thank you Srila Prabhupada for constantly showing right directions to a neophyte like me, I know you are there with us, guiding each of your follower and well wisher.

Srila Prabhupada’s purports give us complete knowledge


Since last one week or so I was trying to read NOI as I realised that even after reading it in the past I don’t know much about it, beyond the surface level reading. I downloaded various lectures by senior devotees and downloaded few notes posted on iskcondesiretree and was unsuccessfully trying to learn the `deeper’ meaning of each verse.

Today morning as I sat again to learn the first and second verse I opened pocketveda on my ipad and as I started reading the verse first and then instead of going back to my downloaded notes I felt like again reading Srila Prabhupada’s purport, after reading 3 paras of second verse’s purport the meaning came in a flash to me, I was shocked the way I was able to absorb it.

I realised that atleast for me reading Srila Prabhupada’s books are best way forward. My hankering for reading previous acaraya’s books came down drastically today morning as I realise that Srila Prabhupa has given us jist of all vedic literature. If I understand them well then may be in future I can understand other books better.

I was hopping like a monkey from one book to another and from one lecture to another. I let my own mind and intelligence take the decision over faith in instructions of my diksha and siksha gurus to read only Srila Prabhupada’s books and do not read too many books. I beg forgiveness at their lotus feet and promise to first read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books diligently and beg all vaisanava to help me develop faith in Guru, Shastra and Sadhu.  Today I again realised that using my own intelligence I can’t reach anywhere.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on August 10,2013 at 7:30am

Lasting impressions

Hare Krishna


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

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

Does Krishna loves gopis more than mother Yashoda ?

Hare Krishna
August 8,2013 at 4:35pm


HH Bhakti Charu Swami is going to take to take a seminar on Udhav Gita in December at Ujjain and I thought let me read the book first as I was keen to attend it.

I went through all my e books and got Udhav Sandesh and started reading it. Foolishly I thought they were same books. It was after a while when I realised my mistake but I continued it as it is a short book and it held my attention. Udhava Sandesh entails Krishna asking Udhava to go to Vrindavan and inform all the Vrajawasis that Krishna is going to come back to Vrindavan and tell them how He miss them all. He describes in detail how to reach Vrindavan from Mathura and various milestones on the way. He describes gopi’s love for Him. He remembered His earlier pastimes with many of them and glorify them.

When we read such literature the first thing which strengthens in our heart is that Krishna is a person with feelings.

I had two questions in my heart. I am sharing the first one today

Why there is so less description of suffering of mother Yashoda compared to that of gopis in the book ? Was the gopi’s love for Krishna more than mother Yashoda’s ?

I just had a vague answer in my heart but knowing my position as a neophyte, I asked a senior Prabhuji at temple today morning. He listened patiently and replied that it is difficult to understand the feelings of each acarya and Rupa Goswami, who authored this book, is in madhurya rasa so he has apparently glorified gopi bhav more. He told me that another book on the same topic by another acaraya mentions that Udhava is told to follow a stream of water and when he would reach the source of the stream he will reach Nand Maharaj’s home. The stream is made from Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda’s tears !! He nonetheless added that in Vatsalaya rasa there is only that much one can love someone whereas in madhurya rasa one can cross all the boundaries and we know that  madhurya rasa also has vataslaya rasa inside it.

While listening to Prabhuji’s reply my own hazy answer got suddenly cleared and I told him, `Prabhuji can we also understand that Krishna, as supreme personality of Godhead, has no specific mother or lover he is reciprocating in equivalent degree to whosoever is offering him his/her love. Prabhuji’s eyes lit up and he said yes you can think it like that as well.

His reply and confirmation cleared a lot of doubts inside me and gave a new clarity and my own little realisation. Hare Krishna !


  • Posted by Giriraj Das on August 8,2013 at 4:35pm

Incense stick

 Incense stick

I was doing my evening kirtan/puja the other day and I saw the burning incense stick.

And in a flash I saw myself in it.

The incense stand is ISKCON, rising up and shining bright in a dull world.

The incense stick is my Guru Maharaj, holding me, without him I am nothing.

The incense on the stick is myself. brown in color, neither good nor bad, a nobody, was living an animal’s life.

Ash signifies that under the protection of Guru and with the association of devotees I am turning white, satvik.

The small black ring ring signify my visible anarthas.

The little red burning ring is the knowledge I am gaining.

And the black burnt part hanging from within the incense stick is my heart, still full of invisible anarthas.

Only by serving servant’s of servant of Sri Guru and Gauranga I hope to overcome every obstacle and develop unalloyed love for Krishna.

All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on July 18,2013 at 9:30pm