Namamrita Seminar : first day

Hare Krishna.

I had the fortune to attend the Namamrita Seminar of His Holiness Bhakti Brhat Bhagavad Swami Maharaja during the third week of September.  I had heard a great deal about the seminar from HG Chitralekha Devi Dasi mataji in her news letters in the past. It was difficult to leave work for 3 days but then the Lord arranged everything to fall perfectly in place as seminar finished by lunch time everyday.

Maharaj started by speaking about the glories of the Holy name and reinforced how Holy name is non different from Krishna. He spoke about relationship with the Holy name and how in this age of kali Hari Nama is the incarnation of Lord and out of nine processes of devotional service it is the most important.

Maharaj also stated that between kirtana and japa, japa is more important. He explained that japa maintains us internally and kirtana brings people from external to internal consciousness. Hence in this sense japa is more important. Secondly we also take a vow in front of our spiritual to chant minimum of 16 rounds of japa  at initiation.

Maharaj brought to highlight another subtle difference between `neophyte chant at least 16 rounds’ and `members of Krishna Consciousness chant a minimum of 16 rounds’. He explained that minimum means we should to chant more than 16 rounds, that is the clear instruction of Srila Prabhupada for initiated devotees.

Chanting Hare Krishna is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to Go back home, back to Godhead.

Stages in chanting the Holy Names : Maharaj explained three stages of chanting :

a. Nama Apradha ( Chanting with offenses)

b. Namabhasha ( Clearing stages)

c. Shudha nama ( Pure Chanting)

He explained that irrespective of what stage we are in, we should simply be repentant and go on chanting and we will cross to the next stage. As we progress we can realise Krishna through our tongue  and ears, not our eyes.

The last topic of the days was Evaluating our Japa. Maharaj stressed that we need to develop a relationship with Nama Prabhu. And we should hear our japa loud and clear and we should sincerely practice to chant without offences.

Maharaj asked everyone to rate our Japa on a scale of 1 to 10 on the criteria of taste and steadiness separately.

In the last he brought another subtle point that as per scriptures there are 32 syllables in the Maha mantra. Which means that the name `Rama’ should be pronounced as `Ramah’ . We should not get so self conscious that we stop at each syllable but we must know what is the correct sanskrit pronunciation.

The day ended with delicious lunch  Prasadam. Later, many munificent devotees went for Nagar Sankirtana.

All glories to His Holiness Bhakti Brhat Bhagavad Swami Maharaja.

All glories to Srila Prabhuada.


My lessons in serving the devotees in Gurgaon

Hare Krishna


Before I started the Bhagavad Gita study group one of the best advice I got was from HG Asit Prabhuji. I had called him, anxious on what I was about to start. He gave few priceless gems which I am sharing

1. Do not think that people who come will stay for the deep philosophy they would hear. They will stay in the group if I serve them with genuine love and care.

2. Never ever feel superior to the newcomers, serve them will all my heart. Always remain humble from the heart, always in a serving mood.

3. Improve my own Sadhna Bhakti.

4. If I ever get to speak in any of the class then I should not speak a single word which I have not realised personally.

5.  Don’t ever think that I am responsible for bringing people in the group. It is all arranged by Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, we are just a via medium.

These instructions sank deep inside me and I pray at the lotus feet of Asit Prabhu that I never forget them and thank him from the bottom of my heart for guiding me so well.

By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada the new group started and as it progresses I can’t help myself  but remember a most humble and dedicated devotee, HG Radheshyam Prabhuji. His home, Radha Niwas, was nothing short of  temple for all the other devotees. He has now moved to Sri Vrindavan Dham. But he will always remain a benchmark for me in serving the devotees. He was never in the front, always at the back, serving and serving. At that time I could not appreciate it as, foolishly, my single point of agenda used to be the lecture and not so much devotees. I never saw him correcting anyone, requesting for a favour but we would all go to him requesting favours after favours and he would always help. There was always prasadam for every one at Radha Niwas, be it a short class at 6am or late class finishing at 10pm. There was music classes for devotees at his home. All visiting Sanyasi’s would be served at best, the list would go on.  I hope that one day I am able to serve 0.1% of what he did.  I wish I had touched the soil under his feet and rubbed on my forehead, I would for sure.

Then Achuyt Hari Prabhuji helped me when against general norms I wanted to set up a stall in my complex on Janamashtami evening, helping me kick start the group. With the help of  Pawan Bajaj Prabhuji I could gather enough courage to stand in the open and gather names of the group. Similarly Pooja Mataji, Arti Ganjoo Mataji, Vishal Kapil Prabhuji, Anand Prabhuji, Atma Prabhuji, Subir Prabhuji, Sumeet Gupta Prabhuji, and many many more devotees, they all inspire me to serve everyone with a clean consciousness. HG Vidur Priya Prabhuji agreed to conduct classes for the new group. He is a senior devotee and still agreed to help start the group where everyone is new to Krishna Consciousness. Later, as the classes had to be shifted to an evening time he then sacrificed his own personal time, or whatever is left of it, to serve Srila Prabhupada.

All these devotees, and many more,  teach me by example and I, like a small child, look at them with admiration as they cross what seems to me as unworkable, impractical and even unthinkable hurdles to serve the Lord and the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to all the wonderful devotees of Gurgaon.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Finding Faults: My biggest disease

Hare Krishna.

I read another pastime  of Srila Prabhupada today morning by Janananda Maharaj sent by HG Chitralekha Devi Dasi mataji. It read:

Prabhupada asked for water. Amogha, who was holding the microphone at the time, got up and went to the kitchen.

Amogha: “In the kitchen a lady handed me a silver tray on which was a pitcher of cold water, with ice in it, and a drinking cup or goblet upside down. The drinking cup had a long slender base that widened at the bottom. As I brought it in I couldn’t understand that it was upside down so I conjectured that it was a funnel which would fill the cup if I poured the water into it. I came close to Srila Prabhupada and nervously, in front of the guests, I poured the water into the bottom of the cup which was standing upside down on the tray. Naturally the water spilled out onto the tray, but I didn’t notice. I thought, ‘They put a funnel there so I wouldn’t spill it’. Srila Prabhupada looked at me and the tray and Srila Prabhupada said, ‘What is that?’ I said, ‘Water, Srila Prabhupada’, and Srila Prabhupada said, ‘NO, what is THAT?’, referring to what I was doing. People began to jump up to assist, but suddenly it dawned upon me what I had done. ‘Oh, No!’ I exclaimed and I poured the water out of the base and filled the cup properly. It was a big embarrassment. Everyone was on edge about it. Red-faced, I sat down where I had been before. At the time I walked in with the cup, Prabhupada was preaching about how people have misused their intelligence. Then I interrupted with the water blunder. After I sat down again Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Misused intelligence’, and everyone laughed heartily and felt relieved. Prabhupada could always say something at the right time that would put everybody at ease.”

As I finished reading the last line I could not understand why is this pastime being mentioned in the first place as I could only read embarrassment in it. It took me couple of seconds to realise their surrender to Srila Prabhupada. Whatever way Srila Prabupada conducted with them,  for them it was coming from Krishna directly. They had understood the meaning of complete devotion to Guru and they know that every action from Srila Prabhupada was for their own betterment.


p style=”text-align: justify;”>aslishya va pada-ratam pinashtu mam
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah

I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.

I knew in a split second that this is what I lack. I judge devotees, and for that matter, everyone else. Neither I have complete faith in Guru and Krishna. I also suffer from another disease of being able to find fault in others.

I had attended a lecture of HG Damodar Prabhuji many months back in Gurgaon where he mentioned that the definition of `Muni’ is the one who does not find fault in others. So I thought let me ask him only for a solution. I requested him for a treatment for this disease to judge others. He instructed me to pray. So now I pray everyday to six Goswamis and Narsimha Deva to please have pity on me and remove this dreaded disease from my heart.

All Glories to all the sons and grandsons of Srila Prabhupada.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All Glories to the most soft hearted and most merciful Gaudia Vaishanva samradaya.

Govardhan parikrama on Radha Ashtami

Hare Krishna.

I left the evening before for Vrindavan, reaching Vrindavan Dham around 9pm. The temple was closed,  I paid my dandvat pranam inside the courtyard and then had a quick dinner at Govinda.

Got a room in my regular guest house, Sri Krishna Sudama Dham, and slept around 11pm after reading a bit.

Radha Ashtami

I got up early and attended Prabhupada’s Arti in the temple after many months, it was wonderful to be just there.

Then it was 4.30 am and time for Mangal Arti. The doors opened and it was a glorious view of their Lordships. Oh ! What a beautiful altar and my first view was of Sri Sri Krishna and Balaram ji. They looked so handsome, happy, jubilant,  the words fail me to describe Them and enjoying their pastimes at Govardhan hill, which was the back ground. I was in Vrindavan after many months and though I see Them every day via internet still being there is an entirely different experience. I was very emotional meeting Them and paid as many obeisances mentally as I could, begging for Their mercy. And somehow I felt the connection and it was a most wonderful feeling in the heart. Then with so many people I could move some feet to my right and get to see only Radharani and Vishakha sakhi. I haven’t seen a more beautiful deity of Radharani ever before, she looked gorgeous. I was spell bound by her sheer beauty and dazzling smile. There was a spark in her eyes and she seemed be glowing more by every passing second. I  tried to push more to see the complete altar but could not as there simply too many people. I then moved to Sri Gaura Nitai and took Their darshan and paid obeisances in my mind. I then came back in the middle for the Arti and kept my eyes firmly fixed on Sri Krishna and Balaram. I left just before the start of the Tulsi arti for Govardhan.

I was about to start Bhagavad Gita Study group from the coming Sunday at my home, my baby step to help our preaching movement,  and I felt inspired to take the blessing of Giri Govardhan before I begin.

I chanted my rounds sitting in the back of the car, admiring the fresh morning scenery outside, all serene and calm.  I reached Govardhan at 6.15 and started the Govardhan parikrama immediately. Being alone I had my phone and MP3 player loaded with many lectures for the trip. There were not too many devotees but as I progressed I could see many devotees doing Govardhan parikrama.  As I took  left turn from the bus stand towards Govardhan my eye met a pair of very bright eyes. I had never seen a brighter pair of eyes in my life before. He was a very tall, fair and lean person, dressed up in surprisingly neat, and I would add even majestic, clothes, wearing a turban on his head. Our eyes met, he held my gaze and then he crossed. My heart told me that don’t be so surprised as many demigods come to Govardhan for Govardhan parikrama every day, Giriraj Maharaj Ki Jai.

The biggest advantage I found doing Govardhan parikrama in the morning was that there was very less noise pollution from those blaring horns selling some ring, `surma’, etc today. In fact except for some odd TV playing at loud level at tea stalls it was was very peaceful and I heard Mahamantra japa in many temples for the first time. As I completed my rounds I remember I have to do some extra rounds from my past `account’  . Once I completed them I asked myself that do I have no taste at all for the chanting and all I wish to do now is listen to lectures I brought. I decided to chant more. I completed the Govardhan parikrama in five and a half hours, walking non stop and chanting all the way through. While doing  Govardhan parikrama it is difficult not to get distracted by things around but by the mercy of Lord I did the Parikrama pretty much focused on my chanting, paying obeisances to Giriraj Maharaj and soaking in the atmosphere. I tried to keep my heart soft and prayed that I get His blessings to serve Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON and don’t let HG Rukmini Prabhu ji down. I tried to remember all the glories of Giriraj Maharaj explained by HH Sacinandan Maharaj in his Govardhan retreat, I had listened the audio recording some months back.

I was tired when I reached Radha Kund. The dip in the holy water filled me with bliss and gratitude towards the Lord and Srimati Radharani . Taking a dip in Radha Kund is always a unique experience for me.

I have taken bath many times in Radha Kund but today I felt silly taking a bath in my small shorts.  I bought two `gamchas’ for my bath next time.

I came back to the SBI ATM where the driver was waiting for me, paid my obeisances and then left for Krishna Balrama temple for the  Maha Prasad. I was hungry for Their darshan again.

After many months I completed 64 rounds today.

Radharani Ki Jaya!

Giri Govardhan ki jaya!

Govardhan Parikrama ki jaya !

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.


your servant,

Giriraj dasa