A true Vaishnava

Hare Krishna.
6th March, 2015. Gurgaon


Kindly accept my good wishes for Gaur Purnima and Holi.

I had the good fortune, or some sukriti, to be able to attend the sanyasa diksha of HG Ganganarayan Prabhuji, who is now HH Bhakti Prema Swami, at Ujjain yesterday. He is the first disciple of HH Bhakti Charu Swami to get sanyasa diksha. I took darshan of guru maharaj, that too on Gaur Purnima day, and association of so many senior vaishnavas and then saw an exceptionally qualified devotee & disciple becoming a sanyasi. So it was all extra extra bonuses for my parched soul.

I didn’t have the good fortune to get too much association of HH Bhakti Prema Maharaj but whenever I have met maharaj in the past he always gave me something- to act upon, to contemplate or to follow. I have never met him without receiving some form of mercy from him. Maharaj is very humble in nature, does wonderful Gaur katha & deep explanations of vaishnava bhajans, in other words maharaj is adorned with the finest of vaishnava qualities. Maharaj is a qualified MBBS doctor who surrendered to his spiritual master in his very first meeting with him.

HH Bhakti Prema Swami accepting greetings after receiving his sanyasa diksha,

HH Bhakti Prema Swami accepting greetings after receiving his sanyasa diksha,

HH Bhakti Prema Maharaj later meeting devotees in his room

HH Bhakti Prema Maharaj later meeting devotees in his room

I could get association of HH Bhakti Prema Maharaj who met devotees and answered their questions with ease and in a style we could all absorb it.


HH Bhakti Charu swami maharaj too met devotees briefly and informed, to the delight of all the present, that there is going to be a mid year retreat in Rishikesh, India, this year. Hari Bol !

Later, I was fortunate to meet so many senior devotees from all over the country. At one such time I was in association of HG Mukunda Priya Prabhuji and other devotees from Surat, all listening with rapt attention to HG Parashurama Prabhuji’s witty anecdotes. During the conversation Prabhuji asked `who is a vaishnava?’, we all knew that something different was coming our way. Prabhuji then narrated a very nice story which I am sharing below.

Many years back there was a disciple in Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya, at Srirangam, who once asked Parasara Bhatt `what are the true qualities of a Vaishnava? Parasara Bhatt did not give a direct answer and instead instructs this devotee to go to Tirupati and ask this question from Ananta Acharya. The devotee, after several days of travel, reached Tirupati. After reaching there he met Ananta Acharya and asked the same question. To his surprise, Ananta Acharya ignores his question. When the devotee observes that Ananta Acharya didn’t reply he feels that may be he is not qualified to ask such a question or may be didn’t ask the question in a submissive mood and he needs to become more humble. He then start serving the temple and devotees. After some time there was a festival in the temple and a lot of devotees were attending it. Ananta Acharya saw this devotee sitting down and waiting to honour the prasadam. He asked the devotee to first serve all the other devotees before taking his prasadam. The devotee readily gets up and enthusiastically serves till the last guest was fed.

After the festival was over Ananta Acharya called this devotee and told him that he will now reply to his question. He answered that a true Vaishnava is like a crane, like a hen, like salt and like you. The devotee thanked him but he could not understand its real meaning. He comes back to Parasara Bhatt, narrates him the whole story and then requests him to explain its meaning to him. Parasara Bhatt, of course, understood it all and explained as :

Crane: A crane stands on one leg for hours and keep looking in the water. If he sees a small fish, he let it pass but as soon as he sees a big fish he immediately catches it. Similarly a Vaishnava does not want to hear the talk of mundane people who are like small fish but he is eager to feast on the wisdom of great devotees who are like a big fish. Also a crane’s colour is white, symbol for purity and pure goodness. In the same way the heart of a Vaishnava is always completely pure and his actions are always for the good of others. Another quality of a crane is that during the change of season a crane flies hundreds of kilometers to a new country/region. Similarly when a Vaishnava sees that a place in which he is living is full of material dealings, he will leave that place and seek the association of true devotees elsewhere.

Hen: A hen goes to garbage bins which are full of rubbish and picks out some very wholesome seeds, it eats them and feeds them to the kids. Similarly, a Vaishnava is Saragrahi, he is only concerned with the essence not with other things. So a vaishnava picks up the essence of all the shastras, filtering out the rest, and gives the same to others as well. 

Salt: When we taste a delicious preparation, we usually glorify different items but not the salt. Actually it is the salt which brings out the flavour in any preparation but no one talks about it, it remains hidden. Similarly a true Vaishnava is forever willing to do great service and yet he doesn’t want any glory for himself and wants to remain hidden. As as in order to give flavor to the preparation, the salt is willing to melt and completely willing to give up its identity, similarly, a Vaishnava too is willing to give up everything just to serve the devotees.

You : It means that like you served other devotee, a vaishnava always serves others.

What a beautiful way to explain the characteristics of a Vaishnava! I really liked the comparison of vaishnava with the salt.

HH Bhakti Prema swami has all the above four attributes in generous amount.

It was an impromptu trip, which I hastily planned after speaking with Murari Prabhuji. We, myself and Shyamsundar prabhuji, spent less than 6 hours in Ujjain and almost 24 hours in the train journey but my soul felt satiated due to association with so many vaishnavas, from the beginning to the very end of my trip.

All glories to our illustrious guru parampara.
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

P.s.: A new page has been added on our blog called `Srimad Bhagavatam teaches’ where I have posted all my notes from Srimad Bhagavatam in Q&A form here. I request you to kindly visit this page by clicking the link below and give your feedback and guidance on how to improve it.



Hare Krishna.

31st Dec, Ujjain.


The meals at the Ujjain retreat are very lavish by ISKCON standards. So yesterday after having another sumptuous breakfast I commented to Baljinder Prabhu how nice the arrangements are for the meals and there are so many devotees serving us as if we are in some 5 star restaurant. After we filled our plates initially, each dish was being served piping hot at our tables so that we don’t have to get up from our tables. That was my consciousness.

Then I met Atma Prabhu outside the hall and he told that he is going to have the lunch Prasadam with the Brahamcharis. When I asked him the reason he told me that one of the Brahmachari , when Atma prabhu invited him to eat in the main dining hall, told him ‘ We are servants and servants do not eat with their masters.’ I was bowled over by their humble statement. That was their consciousness.

When I came back to the room then Subal Shyam Prabhu told me that he wish to have his lunch Prasadam at ….. You guessed it right … at Brahamchari ashram. His reason, he does not like to take so much service from the devotees. That was his consciousness.

So it’s the same hall, the same prasadam, same facilities and yet each one of us is accepting it with a different consciousness.

This showed me how I can carefully observe our devotee brothers and learn from them and how association of devotees is beneficial to us innumerable ways.

All glories to the merciful Vaishanavas.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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