Thursday, 31 May 2012

Can we dream of Krishna?

Can we dream of Krishna?

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Melbourne, Australia, 17th May 2012) Lecture: House program

It is said that Arjuna was gudakesha – the one who was the conqueror of sleep. He was known as gudakesha, because it is said that he was always chanting! But then Arjuna was found sleeping. So they asked:

'How is he always chanting, when he is sometimes sleeping?'

No, even when he is sleeping, he is chanting. It's like how do we know? You can listen to his hair. His hair is chanting. Therefore he was gudakesha – the conqueror of sleep because he was always chanting. But we also sometimes have that, when you are chanting a lot – 12 hour kirtan or something like that, then you go to bed, and the next morning when you wake up and the tune is still playing in your head. The same tune has been playing the whole night! While you were sleeping the whole night the melody kept on playing! So we are also experiencing it like that – chanting in our sleep. So we become conqueror of sleep.

Balarama was also one who was the conqueror of sleep. While Balarama was sleeping he said:

'Krishna, Krishna how long are you going to play with this demon Kaliya. Why don't you just kill him all at once! Dispose of him right now!'

The anxiety is too much, so even in his dream Balarama was always absorbed too much in Krishna Consciousness.

Prabhupada simply told us:

'Every night take some milk for the finer brain tissue and then read a little from The Krishna book. At least fifteen minutes reading from the Krishna book.'

And it used to be, well that was sort of the practice every night. Prabhupada said:

'Then you will dream of Krishna!'

Caught in so many material things = forgetful of Krishna

Posted: 30 May 2012 02:11 PM PDT

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Sydney, Australia, 13th May 2012) Lecture: SB 5.11.14

Krishna says:

'Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca' (Bg 15.15) – I'm in the heart of all living beings, and from me comes remembrance and forgetfulness.

So if we want to forget Krishna, He will help us to forget Him. So be careful. If you really want to forget Him, then Krishna will make us forget him. He will allow us to forget Him, 'Yes have this. You want it? Yes, have it. You want it all? Yes have that also. Still not enough? You are not satisfied? Still you need more.'

'I need.'

'Take it. Yes you can get it. Yes there is more.'

Until we get caught in so many material things and totally forget Krishna!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Respect - The Fabric of every Relationship

SB 5.5.26: TRANSLATION My dear sons, you should not envy any living entity - be he moving or nonmoving. Knowing that I am situated in them, you should offer respect to all of them at every moment. In this way, you offer respect to Me.

PURPORT In this verse the word vivikta-drgbhih, meaning without envy, is used. All living entities are the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His Paramatma feature. As confirmed in Brahma-samhita: andantara-stham paramanu-cayantara-stham. The Lord is situated in this universe as Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. He is also situated within every atom. According to the Vedic statement: isavasyam idam sarvam. The Supreme Lord is situated everywhere, and wherever He is situated is His temple. We even offer respects to a temple from a distant place, and all living entities should similarly be offered respect. This is different from the theory of pantheism, which holds that everything is God. Everything has a relationship with God because God is situated everywhere. We should not make any particular distinction between the poor and the rich like the foolish worshipers of daridra-narayana. Narayana is present in the rich as well as the poor. One should not simply think Narayana is situated among the poor. He is everywhere. An advanced devotee will offer respects to everyone” even to cats and dogs. (Also see Caitanya Caritamrta Mad 15.106-111 )

Six Essential Qualifications of Good Disciple

Srimad Rahasyatrayasara by Sri Vedanta Deshika

Six Essential Qualifications for a Good Disciple
1. The disciple should have the highest devotion for his guru.
2. The wise disciple spreads the good name and fame of his guru to others.
3. The good disciple takes care of the guru's property and his possessions.
4. The good disciple protects his guru's teachings with a view to transferring them to a worthy disciple of his own.
5. The good disciple is always grateful to his guru.
6. The good disciple leads a pure life untainted by wrong habits and practices. Indeed, he should have the eight virtues of the soul spoken of by the sage Gautama: Compassion, Patience, Contentment, Purity, Earnest Endeavor, Noble Thoughts, Absence of Greed, and Absence of Envy.

Remembering Hladini Mataji


“For Hladini, taking care of others was always a pleasure. That’s what she gave her life for – taking care of others.”

Now some time after Mother Hladini left this planet, Vahna, her husband, found this 2 page, hand written letter among other things that he’d kept, like photos , etc.
(reflecting what a great personality she is…)

Dearest Srila Prabhupada,
I beg You, please accept my most humble obeisances at Your Divine Lotus Feet.
I have; after receiving so much mercy, after being rescued from the empty cold platform of material existence, fallen prey to the overpowering illusion that I can enjoy. It’s as if I’ve forgotten everything, a cloud of insanity-”My turn, Krsna.” It breeds from a platform of comfort. Sudama Brahmin could be comfortable and not wish to dethrone the king.
I can’t stand this consciousness. Srila Prabhupada, I want to be a servant-a good one- unconscious of me. Srila Prabhupada I’ve neglected my medicine haphazardly (obviously) thinking- I needed it no more-”How healthy I am-I can relax”. Now I am raging with fever-Embarassed to come back to the doctor due to my disregard for his selfless help.
Please Srila Prabhupada, help me become a serious disciple. Help me go back to a life of austerity, a life of remembering my service I’ve forgotten due to this impure desire. Please let it be gone.
Every second there is a choice: “Which energy do you want????” Maya is so quick to satisfy, but so quick to burn You are not cheap-but how much it is so worth it? Why am I so foolish-stubborn, stupid. Let me hear what You’re saying. Let me follow cent-per-cent. You’ve given me everything- You are my true father. My true deliverer-my greatest friend.
Dear Srila Prabhupada I am the greatest rascal, I only want to become a pure servant. Please don’t kick me away, but give me another chance. I’ll try so hard to be good.
Oct. 13th is Kartika. The gopis worshiped Durga for Krsna as their husband. They ate rice and moong bearns and prayed everyday for a month. Everything I do is motivated, but Prabhupada let me try to offer this austerity to try and gain control of these raging senses. Dear Prabhupada-all I want is Krsna-Please guide me on the right path-I have no desire on my own. You are my strength, my desire.
The road is there straight & clearly marked-though the detours seem easier and more pleasurable- keep my intelligence firm-Thank You. I have this immense loving propensity; let me repose it at Your divine feet.

Finding the satisfaction of the Heart!

"The whole world is full of questions and answers. The birds, beasts and men are all busy in the matter of perpetual questions and answers...Although they go on making such questions and answers for their whole lives, they are not at all satisfied. Satisfaction of the soul can only be obtained by questions and answers on the subject of Krishna."

-- Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5

Eagerness to Hear

HH Romapada Swami in NY
Even if we start with enthusiasm, sincerity, and a burst of eagerness to go for the real thing, the tendency is that somewhere down the line the standard somehow starts to sag. Then, “Whoa!….I need a vacation. I surrendered a lot prabhu. I need alittle sense gratification.” The spirit of ever striving to reach Krishna is eagerness. Niviṣṭah: it is through the ear, receiving Krishna. And if we are receiving that signal, that transcendental vibration enlivens the heart. It transforms the heart. But one can hear the same message and be like stone, very hard.
 - Adapted from a lecture given by His Holiness Romapada Swami on SB 1.3.44, given on January 6, 2008 in Brooklyn

Monday, 21 May 2012

Deepening our Relationship with the Holy Name!

What is important, of course, is the effort one makes in chanting, but receiving the holy name is also very important. It is a relationship, and we should want to deepen that relationship with Krsna and the holy name. When we make a commitment to a person, then there is both what we extend and what we receive -- the give and take. In our case, we are with Krsna and we are offering some service. So in our relationship with the holy name, the mood of service is very important. Simply chant as a service to the holy name. When we do that, what does the holy name do in turn? We should be ready to receive that which Krsna in the form of the holy name is extending to us. And we should be very open to whatever that is, because it is a relationship. We should especially bear in mind that the relationship with God is always on His terms. He is always the master and we are His servants.

Establish the relationship, or uncover and deepen that relationship we already have in this receptive mood, because many mysteries happen when we chant like that. The journey with the holy name itself is very mysterious. The theme of all of these is that our relationship with the holy name is deepening, even when the reciprocation is not necessarily according to our expectation. Sometimes it seems very painful to see devotees struggle, being in a valley while chanting, but that is also a relationship if we regard the situation properly.

We all can pray like this: "I am ready, on Your terms Krsna, please show me the way through this chanting of Your holy name that I can find myself more close to You in a deeper sense of relationship and connectiveness with You in the form of Your holy name". So be in the mode of receiving and be committed to the relationship with the holy name.

-- From a lecture by HH Romapada Swami titled 'Entering the Mood of the Retreat' during a Japa Retreat, delivered on September 2008 in Gita Nagari, Pennsylvania, US.

Chant from the Heart!

It is going to be pretty difficult when one is about to die, because everything breaks down and there’s so much pain and heat. The mind does not function. It cannot be like completing your rounds; it has to be from the heart. So we can practice chanting from the heart, because when the body is not working, and the mind is not working, and everything is too much overwhelming, it has to come from the soul itself. Govinda!

Adapted from a lecture given by His Holiness Romapada Swami on SB 1.3.41-42, given on March 1, 2008 in Hoffman Estates

Eagerness to Receive

HH Romapada Swami in Tirupati during South Indian Yatra Jan 2011

We have two main categories of service to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna: receiving and giving. Receive that gift of Krishna in the form of the holy name, in the form of these literary incarnations of Krishna. Prabhupada writes that eagerness to receive sustains our enthusiasm to reach Krishna and places us on the spiritual platform. We therefore must accept Srimad-Bhagavatam as the direct representation of Lord Krishna. One who can see Srimad-Bhagavatam can also see Lord Krishna in person. They are identical. We have our Deity form of Radha-Govinda. We have our literary form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. We have the name, the sound form of Krishna. What fortune! We have the association of devotees. We are so fortunate to be in such association. Try it for a while without such association of devotees! We don’t recommend it, but if that happens, one will start to appreciate the association of devotees a whole lot more! And we have the holy dhama, the places where Krishna performs His pastimes. The most sacred powerful things!

Adapted from a lecture given by His Holiness Romapada Swami on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.44, given on January 6, 2008 in Brooklyn

Satisfaction of the Lord

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.15.20: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by the great demigods, controllers of universal affairs. When He is satisfied, nothing is impossible to achieve. For this reason all the demigods, presiding deities of different planets, as well as the inhabitants of their planets, take great pleasure in offering all kinds of paraphernalia for His worship.

All Vedic civilization is summarized in this verse: all living entities, either on this planet or on other planets, have to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by their respective duties. When He is satisfied, all necessities of life are automatically supplied. In the Vedas it is also stated: eko bahūnāḿ yo vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). From the Vedas we understand that He is supplying everyone's necessities, and we can actually see that the lower animals, the birds and the bees, have no business or profession, yet they are not dying for want of food. They are all living in nature's way, and they all have the necessities of life provided — namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

Human society, however, has artificially created a type of civilization which makes one forgetful of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Modern society even enables one to forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead's grace and mercy. Consequently modern civilized man is always unhappy and in need of things. People do not know that the ultimate goal of life is to approach Lord Viṣṇu and satisfy Him. They have taken this materialistic way of life as everything and have become captivated by materialistic activities. Indeed, their leaders are always encouraging them to follow this path, and the general populace, being ignorant of the laws of God, are following their blind leaders down the path of unhappiness. In order to rectify this world situation, all people should be trained in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and act in accordance with the varṇāśrama system. The state should also see that the people are engaged in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the primary duty of the state. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started to convince the general populace to adopt the best process by which to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus solve all problems.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Treasure of Bhakti

Class on BG 4.22: He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions. 

Purport by Srila Prabhupada: A Krsna conscious person does not make much endeavor even to maintain his body. He is satisfied with gains which are obtained of their own accord. He neither begs nor borrows, but he labors honestly as far as is in his power, and is satisfied with whatever is obtained by his own honest labor. He is therefore independent in his livelihood. He does not allow anyone's service to hamper his own service in Krsna consciousness. However, for the service of the Lord he can participate in any kind of action without being disturbed by the duality of the material world. The duality of the material world is felt in terms of heat and cold, or misery and happiness. A Krsna conscious person is above duality because he does not hesitate to act in any way for the satisfaction of Krsna. Therefore he is steady both in success and in failure. These signs are visible when one is fully in transcendental knowledge.
Here Krishna is explaining to Arjuna the symptoms of a person who is experiencing His eternal relationship with Godhead. Because, he is satisfied within that relationship with Krishna, he is not attached to the results of actions in this material world. When a aperson is devoid of Krishna Consciousness, then the ony substance of enjoyment comes through the mind and senses.

This world is a place of uncertainty and such a material state of consciousness leads to unlimited suffering. At any moment, anywhere, if things are just right according to our expectations then we can find some temporary happiness, otherwise, the Bhagavad Gita explains that the conditioned soul is hankering over what the conditioned soul has not achieved and lamenting over what one has lost. In the interim period, we might achieve something; even in that there is always a fear of losing it. As soon as we have anything that is valuable, people will be envious of us and will make all efforts to take it away from us. If we have good reputation, then people will try to slaughter your reputation by blasphemy and nasty rumors. If we have wealth, competitors and thieves will be there to steal the wealth.

A few years ago, I was in Paris, there was a beautiful museum. At one time, it was the palace of one king and queen and they built it so nicely. It takes hours and hours just to walk through and every part of the building is a masterpiece of art. So he would invite so many other kings and princes and entertain them by food, beverages and actually his purpose was just to show-off how great he was. Everyone would come and just talk about how wonderful his property was. In actuality, no-one appreciated him but only burnt with envy. What a miserable condition. You are tying to impress people, but people don't like you for it; in fact they hate you for it. Like in Bombay, we have nice cars to impress people. Externally, others will show appreciation and impressed but in their heart of hearts they are thinking, why do you have this; why not me? This is human nature. So sure enough, the same people he was entertaining, they created a revolution and killed him and cut off the head of his wife. What is the use of a beautiful palace, if you don't have a head to see it with? That is material nature. We make so many material arrangements to impress people but the people we impress only envy us. 

What are devotees impressed with? They are impressed with the humility, service and devotion and these qualities impress Krishna. So Krishna is explaining that we should not strive to work like asses simply to create a condition to enjoy in the material world; because we cannot enjoy in that position. The wealthiest people in the world are no happier than the poor people.

I have told the story that when I was hitch-hiking in Thailand without a penny and one of the biggest television starts of America, picked me up in a Mercedes limousine; the whole way he was telling me what a miserable life he was leading! He said, I was living with the biggest movie starts, politicians and I will tell you something, I was making 20,000 USD per day (Rs. 9,00,000 a day) and so much other money and he was on the number one show for many years. The most beautiful women were co-starring on that show and they became his girlfriends. He had beautiful houses in Hollywood, in Beverley Hills etc. And he says, I am miserable. He said that all these people who come on television and flash big smiles are miserable, lonely and it's all a show. They are lonely, insecure and they know that nobody loves them and everyone is tying to exploit them and use them. I also came to the realization that nobody loves 'me.' So he started crying and said, Swamiji, I want to become like you because you have some peace in your life; I have no peace. Then he saw some peasants on their knees picking rice so he said, I rather be with them than be with these big politicians as these are real people. Then he looked at me in desperation and asked, 'Is there any hope for me?' I said, 'You have understood the futility of material life and you are seeking something higher so you are a special soul.' In the end he took Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita and he was desperate.

So whatever arrangements we make for material happiness, if we develop a little bit of realization of reality, we will be able to see through the facade of maya. In association of devotees we can understand what is real happiness. Real happiness is to love Krishna. Even in our immediate glimpse of life, we can understand that happiness through association, through chanting, through chanting of His message, through Krishna Consciousness.Therefore, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has declared that the greatest treasure, is theTreasure of Bhakti. No money can buy Bhakti. It is free for one who simply has a sincere heart and one who is willing to re-pose his/her faith in the truth. Lord Nityananda Prabhu is freely distributing Krishna Prema and the only price he was asking fo this great treasure, was our faith. There is nothing more precious the faith.

In wrong association, maya will steal that faith our heart. We should protect that faith with more attention than on our bank-balance, family and our own body and lives; these will perish in anytime. But faith in Vaisnavas, Guru and Krishna will lead us to eternal love, satisfaction - therefore that is real wealth

Bhagavad-gita explains how we can remain disentangled from the unlimited illusions and intricacies of material bondage if we keep our mind fixed on this goal. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says the senses are a network leading to death. The work of a net is to trap you and nets are designed in such a way that the victim does not see it until the victim is trapped. Just like the fishermen throw these nets in the ocean and just sit there. The innocent fish they just swim right into the net and then the net does it's work; net-work and then they are trapped. It's no accident that all these television stations are called networks; they trap us.

Bhagavad-gita teaches us how to never be entangled in the network of Maya. When a person dedicates his human birth in the service of God, it is glorious. When a husband and wife come together for the purpose of helping one-another to purify their heart and when they come together to serve Krishna, the Vaisnavas; this is a very rare and glorious offering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If people are living following the regulative principles according to their varna and asrama and are performing devotional service - that is glorious.

Tomorrow is the appearance day of Advaita Acarya. So I would tell a little story about Advaita Acraya. Although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the greatest of all sannyasis, he would take great pleasure in stealing the dust from the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya. One time in Puri, Advaita Acarya invited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at his home and he and his wife were cooking together. Advaita Aacarya was thinking that when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu comes, atleast 10-12 sannyasis would also come; but we want to serve Him very personally and taste the great remnants of His Prasad. Just when it was time to serve Prasad, there was a massive storm in Jagannath Puri. Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Advaita's house and they served Him nice prasad. Then he offered Him prayers that Indra offered to Krishna after Govardhana Pastime. The Lord asked why you are offering these prayers? Advaita said, it is by your desire that these rains have come. Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted these prayers. 

Sita Thakurani and Advaita together had no other mission in life than glorifying the Lord and devotees in perfect harmony. This is the perfect example of how glorious a Krishna conscious marriage can be. Srila Haridas Thakur was one of the most intimate fiends of Advaita Acarya. Years before this pastime, they were living together and every single day they would sing and dance together in Sankirtan and pray that Lord Krishna would descend to propagate the chanting the Holy Name. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, Haridasa Thakur and Advaita saw everyone chanting the Holy Name because it was an eclipse. In their hearts, they could understand that the Lord has appeared and they were dancing in ecstasy. This is a very nice example of how the most austere renunciant and a householder were intimately united in serving the Lord and the Vaisnavas; in performing Sankirtan of the Holy Name together. 

So, Srila Prabhupada has given this great gift of Bhakti and we have this opportunity to share it with one another. We must learn to protect each-other from the temptations of illusion because they are everywhere; Maya is waiting for you. But the association of devotees will protect us; as in that association Krishna's service and name will always be prominent. Srila Prabhupada says the only safest place in the fourteen worlds is where devotees come together to chant the Holy Names. 

- HH Radhanath Swami

Friday, 18 May 2012

Why are Spiritualists against Material Ambitions?

Short Answer: Spiritualists are not against material ambitions; they are against our granting materialism a monopoly on our ambitions.
Detailed Answer:
All of us are naturally ambitious to do something wonderful. But not all of us realize that we have not freely or objectively chosen our definition of what is wonderful; our definition is shaped, even determined, by what people around us consider wonderful. As our mainstream culture is largely materialistic, we subconsciously equate 'wonderful achievement' with 'materialistic achievement.'
But does this subconscious equalization withstand conscious scrutiny? Let's find out:
1.      Might materialistic achievements be not so wonderful?
All materialistic achievements are:
  1. Scarce: We want to be number one in our field, but the number of people who can be number one is one.
  2. Short-lived: Even if we become number one, others will soon end our reign at the top. As records are made to be broken, so are the hearts that seek their happiness in records.
  3. Superficial: Even if we stay briefly at the top, will that stay do anything more than bloat our egos? Will it satisfy our hearts? Our hearts long for love, so it is agonizing to discover that people love the top spot far more than the topper.
Thus, materialistic achievements are not so wonderful: there's no guarantee that we will achieve the top reward, but there's guarantee that, even if we achieve it, it won't satisfy us.
2.      Might non-materialistic achievements be wonderful?
Gita wisdom reveals a vast non-material realm where we can find happiness through spiritual love. It informs us that we are souls, beloved children of Krishna and can find life's greatest happiness by making Krishna the supreme object of our love. Developing this loving relationship with Krishna is life's most wonderful achievement because it is:
  1. Abundant (not scarce): Krishna has a place in his heart reserved for each one of us. As he is infinite, so is his heart. That's why in loving Krishna we don't have to compete with anyone else for his love or encroach on anyone else's happiness for our happiness.
  2. Eternal (not short-lived): As both we as souls and Krishna as the Supreme Soul are eternal, so is our mutual relationship and so is our happiness therein.
  3. Fulfilling (not superficial): Krishna possesses fully all the endearing qualities that attract our hearts. Moreover, he loves us for what we are, not for what we have. That's why loving him satisfies our heart like nothing else – completely and perfectly.
Thus, spiritual achievements are far more rewarding than material achievements – and they don't require us to give up all material achievements. What they do require is that we don't restrict our ambitiousness to only the material realm.
Is that too much of a demand?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ekadashi Darshan from ISKCON temples - 16.05.2012

Remembering HH Gour Govinda Swami

Date: February 23rd, 2011
Topic: Dhruva Maharaja Goes Back To Godhead; The Disappearance Anniversary of HH Gour Govinda Swami
[SB 4.12.17]
Speaker: HH Radhanath Swami
tasyam visuddha-karanah siva-var
vigahya baddhvasanam jita-marun manasahrtaksah
sthule dadhara bhagavat-pratirupa etad
dhyayams tad avyavahito vyasrjat samadhau
TRANSLATION: " In Badarikasrama Dhruva Maharaja’s senses became completely purified because he bathed regularly in the crystal-clear purified water. He fixed his sitting position and by yogic practice controlled the breathing process and the air of life; in this way his senses were completely withdrawn. Then he concentrated his mind on the arca-vigraha form of the Lord, which is the exact replica of the Lord and, thus meditating upon Him, entered into complete trance. "
Here is a description of the astanga-yoga system, to which Dhruva Maharaja was already accustomed. Astanga-yoga was never meant to be practiced in a fashionable city. Dhruva Maharaja went to Badarikasrama, and in a solitary place, alone, he practiced yoga. He concentrated his mind on the arca-vigraha, the worshipable Deity of the Lord, which exactly represents the Supreme Lord, and thus thinking constantly of that Deity, he became absorbed in trance. Worship of the arca-vigraha is not idol worship.
The arca-vigraha is an incarnation of the Lord in a form appreciable by a devotee. Therefore devotees engage in the temple in the service of the Lord as arca-vigraha, a form made of sthula (material) objects such as stone, metal, wood, jewels or paint. All of these are called sthula, or physical representations. Since the devotees follow the regulative principles of worship, even though the Lord is there in His physical form, He is non-different from His original, spiritual form. Thus the devotee gets the benefit of achieving the ultimate goal of life that is to say, becoming always absorbed in thought of the Lord. This incessant thought of the Lord, as prescribed in the Bhagavad-gita, makes one the topmost yogi. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.12.18]

HH Radhanath Swami: I am very grateful to be with all of you in the holy dham of Sri Mayapur. I am very humbled and honored to have this chance to try to serve you by speaking something from Srimad-Bhagavatam. Today we are reading from Canto four chapter twelve entitled ‘Dhruva Maharaja Goes Back to Godhead’, text seventeen.
We read in this story how Dhruva, inspired by his mother from his very early age went to the forest in search of God. It was in Vrindavan that he found his spiritual master. Actually he was in the forest and he found Narada Muni who then sent him to Vrindavan, specifically Madhuvan. And there worshipping the deity of the Lord, made of clay with his own hands, constantly chanting of the mantra om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, he meditated on the Deity within his heart. Within just a few months he attained perfect self realization.
For many thousands of years he ruled the world under the direction of the Lord and at the same time he renounced everything. He went to Badrikasrama and there according to the verse we are reading today, “He concentrated his mind on the arca-vigraha form of the Lord which is the exact replica of the Lord thus meditating upon Him, entered into complete trance.”
Today we are observing the disappearance of His Holiness Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj. And my dear friend Madhavananda Prabhu has given me some of the manuscript of an incredibly outstanding book that he is compiling. I would like to share some excerpts beginning with the parallels of Dhruva Maharaj and Gour Govinda Maharaj.
Gour Govinda Maharaj was also from a very early time in his childhood inspired by his mother to worship the Deity of Gopal and here at Sri Mayapur Dhama like Dhruva Maharaj with a photo of Gopal in his hand surrounded by devotees doing kirtana he entered into the ultimate trance and went back to the spiritual world. He was born on Sept 2nd 1929 near Orissa in a village called Jagannatha-pura. He was named Braja-bandhu. His family was very, very serious devotees coming from the very old tradition of Gaudiya Vasinavaism. His mother from a village of Gadeigiri worshipped for all her life the Deity of Gopal Jui. That deity was worshipped in her family for over three hundred and sixty years.
Srila Prabhupada tells us when he was a child he would see his father worshipping the deity of Radha-Govinda and that had such a deep impression on his life. He taught us that this is the most important responsibility of raising children - from the very beginning to give them that deep impression in their heart not only of the form of the Lord but seeing the parents lovingly worshipping the Lord.
His family was renowned for the performance of nama-sankirtan. Actually when he was just born a famous astrologer told his family members that he would be a great devotee, a great scholar, he will be married for some time then give up all material attachments, become a sadhu, preach all over the world. He would make the village of Gadeigiri famous. And he concluded by saying according to his reading that this child has been sent from the spiritual world for this purpose. [Audience chant Haribol!]
His family members shared with devotees that by the time he was eight years old he was well verse in reading Bhagavad-gita; Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. He would be naughty and cry and the only thing that would stop him from crying is if someone put a Srimad-Bhagavatam in his hands. He would get absorbed in reading it.
By the time he was four, they had no electricity and at night it was dark. His mother would be cooking and he would sit right close to the fire and in its light continue his reading of Srimad-Bhagavatam. When he was between twelve and fifteen he was living with his uncles in Gadai-ghiri. The family told that his basic schedule was that he would wake up early in the morning, do seva to Gopal, do his studies and then when he would come back from his studies he would do kirtana for the rest of the evening and in the night with his uncles sometimes go village to village preaching the glories of the holy names.
He wasn’t interested in playing or cinema. Whenever there was free time he would do kirtana, serve the deities and read Srimad Bhagavatam. Everyone around him could see that he was extraordinary although he always kept himself in a very simple and humble demeanor.
By his mother’s strong wish in 1952 he was married. Soon after that his father passed away from the world. Braja Bandhu being the eldest son had to take the burden of all the finances of the family on himself. He worked and at night he studied and by taking tests he ultimately got degrees and became a teacher in a secondary school.
He had four sons and three daughters. During that time and throughout his life he kept a diary. Most of the entries into the diary were personal letters to Gopal, his worshipable Lord. He would begin each passage, “With the mercy of Gopal this day was spent thus.” And then he would write his realizations, his i, his activities for the day. Each entry would end with a prayer to Gopal, “Please give me prema-bhakti, love for Krishna.”
He performed his duties responsibly with his eldest son was old enough to take care of the family in 1974; he was forty five years old when he had a calling. Srila gour Govinda Maharaj explained to us that he was thinking that he is spending so much of his life teaching these mundane subjects and if he taught the children what was really in his heart, his superiors would find it unacceptable.
He wanted to give his life to teach the eternal truth of Srimad-Bhagavatam. That calling after twenty years, around twenty two years as a householder, detached him from everything except the will to search out a pure devotee he could accept as a guru.
Studying Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta he understood what the truth was and that he had to have a spiritual master who could bless him and give him everything. He had a dream at that time in his life after much prayer Gopal appeared to him and told him to take sannyasa. In the middle of the night he left his family. People tried to stop him in so many ways but he was determined.
He explained to the devotees that he was staying at a temple across from his house where his teachers and other friends and family members were coming and trying to convince him to come back. And he turned to one sadhu and asked him to sing a particular bhajan, a prayer to the mind describing the temporary entanglements of this material world, the nature of this vanishing body and the need to take shelter of the Supreme Lord Govinda. When he sang the last line Braja-bandhu fainted. Everyone knew that they could not stop him.
He went to Gadai-ghiri and prayed to Gopal for direction and it was then that he had that vision, the order to become a sannyasi. He wandered to the Himalayas, all the way down to Kanya-kumari searching for a spiritual master. In the Himalayas he met many yogis, sadhus, swamis, gurus and heard from them. But he was so deeply learned. He was looking for someone who would teach him who is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, how to surrender to that, what is the greatness of bhakti and the holy name. And asrama after asrama meeting gurus he would quote, “That in this age of Kali the recommended process is the chanting of God’s holy names. harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Adi 17.21]Why are you not teaching this?” And his spiritual leaders would usually tell him “Please get out from here.”
In this way he wandered thousands and thousands and thousands of miles and ultimately came to Vrindavan. There he would stay in a different asrama each night, learn what they teach, meet the gurus from all the different sampradayas but somehow he wasn’t completely satisfied. Then one day he was walking down the road in Raman Reti and he saw a sign, ‘The International Society for Krishna Consciousness.’ He went in they were just digging the foundation for the Krishna Balaram Temple. There were a couple mud huts and one small room where Srila Prabhupada lived.
The devotees gave him a ‘Back to Godhead Magazine’ and where he saw Srimad-Bhagavatam, he saw Lord Caitanya and he saw the maha-mantra he was thinking, “This is it.” He went to a devotee and said, “I want to meet this person His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Is it possible?” he said, “You go to his secretary.”
He went to HH Brahmananda Swami who said, “Why do you want to meet Srila Prabhupada?” [Laughter] he said, “He is a paramahamsa. I want to offer my obeisances and receive his blessings.” It was noon time. Srila Prabhupada had just taken prasad and was sitting on a chair and Brahmananda Prabhu went in and he said, “There is a sadhu out there. He wants to see you.” Prabhupada said, “Bring him in.”
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj explained that when Prabhupada looked at him he could feel with all certainty that Srila Prabhupada knew everything. As the representative of the paramatma Srila Prabhupada knew exactly how to teach and bless this devotee who had already taken upon himself the name Gour Gopalananda. Srila Prabhupada then asked him, “Who are you? What is your name? Where do you come from?” Then Srila Prabhupada asked, “Are you a sannyasi?” Gour Gopalananda said, “No.” Srila Prabhupada looked at him and said, “I will give you sannyasa.” [Audience say ‘Haribol!’]
He was speaking in Hindi and Srila Prabhupada was very impressed with his command over the Hindi language. He said, “Would you like to translate my books into Hindi?” he said, “Yes.”
Gour Govinda Maharaj explained that on that first meeting he was certain that ths was his guru and he surrendered his body, mind, words and life to the service of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada had Brahmananda Prabhu give one article from the ‘Back to Godhead’ and said, “Give him a pen and paper and let us see how he can translate.” He translated a couple of paragraphs. Prabhupada read the article and said, “Yes, you will translate my books.” He told him, “You stay here. We will take care of you.” He told the Temple President. The Temple President said, “You cannot stay here!” [Laughter]
So he stayed in an asrama outside and was coming everyday and he was doing services. He was washing pots and rolling chapattis, he was carrying big buckets of water and whenever possible he was translating. After some days he met with Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada said, “Are you comfortable here?” he said, “They won’t let me stay.” He said, “That is all right because they think you might be a thief.” [Laughter] So Srila Prabhupada explained to them and they gave him a nice room. People were thinking, “Nice room. It’s a mud hut. Why is he getting like this?”Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj said that the devotees would often refer to him as, “The Mayavadi sannyasi.” [Laughter]
Srila Prabhupada left that place and from Delhi he wrote him a letter and told him to translate ‘The Perfection of Yoga.’ Srila Prabhupada wrote another letter to him through Brahmananda Prabhu and told him that he was just donated a property in Bhubaneswara and he wanted Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj to go there to develop it, build a temple, train his disciples in Hindi and preach to the people in the Oriyan language. He wasn’t yet initiated. Srila Prabhupada said, “Come to Mayapur right away and we will discuss it.”
In Mayapur Srila Prabhupada gave him first initiation and the name Gour Govinda dasa. Sometime later he got another letter from Srila Prabhupada to come to Bombay. When he came to Bombay he was given second initiation - just couple months later. Then Srila Prabhupada had one disciple, Bhagavat Prabhu who was traveling as a leader of a little brahmacari group. He sent them to Bhubaneswara together to establish Iskcon.
When they got to the land it was far from the city, desolate, no electricity or water anywhere near it. It was a jungle. And Bhagavat Prabhu who was somewhat of an experienced devotee (In those days if you were a devotee for a few years you were very senior.) He said, “We can’t live here. It is horrible and too dangerous. This is the type of place where there are so many dacoits and you could be killed in broad daylight. We have to go.”
Gour Govinda Maharaj said, “It is Srila Prabhupada’s wish that we stay. I am staying. Nothing will take me away from here.” Bhagavat said, “Well we are going.” He said, “Then I will stay alone.” Bhagavat Prabhu said, “You are a brahmacari under me. Bramacaris cannot stay alone. You come.” [Laughter]
Soon after that Srila Prabhupada was in Hyderabad where Gour Govinda Maharaj met him. They were discussing developing Bhubaneswar and Gour Govinda Maharaj said to Prabhupada, “Please give me sannyasa so that I could stay over and develop the land properly for you because nobody else wants to stay there.” [Laughter] Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, I will give you sannyasa at the installation of Krishna Balarama on Ram Naumi in Vrindavan.”
So he went to Vrindavan soon after that but the GBC had made a resolution just recently that any candidates for sannyasa had to be approved by the whole GBC body and then they had to be observed for a minimum of one year. And Srila Prabhupada signed and approved that resolution. [Laughter]
Although there was an initiation for sannyasis in the Krishna Balarama Temple Srila Prabhupada privately called Gour Govinda Maharaj to his room and gave him the mantra, the danda and the dress of a sannyasi. In this way Srila Prabhupada did not violate the rule. [Laughter] But at the same time achieved his aim.
He took first, second and sannyasa initiation within eight months of joining Iskcon and meeting Srila Prabhupada. There were complaints. People complained to Prabhupada that, “This new man, he has so much responsibilities, he is a sannyasi.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “He took his birth as a devotee.” It was Prabhupada speaking to his senior most people. He said, “Gour Govinda Maharaj took his birth as a devotee. You are all new men.” [Laughter]
Gour Govinda Maharaj asked Prabhupada if he would give him some funding, some men and some books to start the project in Bhubaneswara. Srila Prabhupada said, “No.” [Laughter] He said, “My Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaj gave me instruction to spread Krishna consciousness. And when I went to America on the Jaladutta I had no money, I had no funding, I had nothing.”
Srila Prabhupada wanted to give Gour Govinda Maharaj the opportunity to do what he did, but to make it easier for him Prabhupada said, “I went to a foreign land. [Laughter] You are going to Orissa where you are from.” So he went to Bhubaneswar. He took that order as his life and soul. He had no money. He had no one and the land was practically uninhabitable.
So he was going and living in the dharmsala for the night but after sometime he had to get out. He was going from dharamsala to dharamsala to dharamsala. He would go out house to house to beg for food. Then ultimately someone built him a little thatched hut in which he stayed for some time.
Then he had another letter from Prabhupada inviting him to come to the Kumbhamela and there Srila Prabhupada told him, After Kumbhamela I would come with you to Bhubaneswar.” So he rushed back to try to make arrangements for Srila Prabhupada. He tried to arrange a water pipe so that there was water there because there was no water in the land. He tried to arrange a nice little hut made out of clay and straw. He tried to arrange some sort of lighting. He was really working hard day and night trying to clear some of the jungle land.
Then Prabhupada came to Bhubaneswar. He arranged a nice government house for Srila Prabhupada but when Srila Prabhupada saw the very primitive thatched hut on the property, he said, “I will stay here with my beloved disciple Gour Govinda Maharaj.” Prabhupada stayed for sixteen days and every day, sometimes for hours and hours he and Gour Govinda Maharaj would discuss intimate topics.
He told him that he wanted him to translate all of his books into Oriyan language. He told him, “I want you to build a temple here. You will see that in the near future this property will be the centre of Bhubaneswar. And the temple that you will build will be one of the greatest temples in our movement.” Srila Prabhupada told him to preach all over the world. He blessed him.
After Srila Prabhupada departed Gour Govinda Maharaj took this instruction so seriously. He lived on the property and all the other people were some coolies who were doing the hard labor. And he had Prabhupada’s order.
vyavasayatmika buddhir, ekeha kuru-nandana [Bg 2.41]
Srila Prabhupada explained that this is how we advance in Krishna consciousness. By being resolute in purpose and our aim should be one, which is to make the order of our guru our life and our soul.
He heard that Srila Prabhupada was in his last stages in his earthly lila and Gour Govinda Maharaj went to Vrindavan and spent beautiful intimate time with Srila Prabhupada there in his last days. Srila Prabhupada asked Gour Govinda Maharaj, “What is the climate like in Bhubaneswar?” He said, “It is very nice.” Srila Prabhupada said, “I want to go to Bhubaneswar.” This was in the very last days. And also around him was Srila Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj, Bhavananda Prabhu, Tamal Krishna was saying, “No. No. You can’t travel now.” But he actually wanted to go to be with Gour Govinda Maharaj in Bhubaneswar.
He sent Gour Govinda Maharaj back. He left. Bhakti Charu Swami tells the story that Prabhupada asked, “How is he going to the railway station?” Bhakti Charu Swami came back and said, “He is planning to take a bus.” Srila Prabhupada said, “Arrange my own personal car to bring him to the railway station.”
Soon Srila Prabhupada departed and in intense pains of separation from his guru he found his vani his life and soul. And what was it like living there for him? It really was a jungle. Madhavananda Prabhu explains in his book that one day Gour Govinda Maharaj on the land gave a Bhagavad-gita class. Then he got up after the class and a cobra fell from his lap. He did not even know it was there. Every now and then there would be wild elephants coming, deers and snakes - very austere.
He went in 1979 to Mayapur Dham. He came here and at that time one of Srila Prabhupada’s God brothers, HH Bhakti Daitya Madhava Maharaj had passed from the world. There was a samadhi ceremony. Many of the leaders of the Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir went. There was a beautiful kirtan and Gour Govinda Maharaj was absorbed in the holy names and was swaying back and forth. Then suddenly he fell to the ground, fainting. They did not know what happened to him. Devotees picked him up and brought him back to his room and he was crying out, “Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Gopal, Sri Radharani, Krishna!” He was crying and crying Krishna’s names and he persisted for days.
They called on astrologer. The astrologer said, “As far as I could see he is in divine ecstasy.” But some of the devotees were thinking that nobody will believe and astrologer saying that. So they called an ayurvedic doctor and the ayurvedic doctor said, “This is some sort of madness that is very incomprehensible.” Then one day Krsnadasa Babaji Maharaj who was one of Srila Prabhupada’s best friends whom Prabhupada called a paramahamsa, they brought him into Gour Govinda Maharaja’s room and put a piece of straw under his nose, took his pulse, felt his head and then Krsnadasa Babaji Maharaj started laughing and he said, “It is krsna-prema.” [Laughter and applause] And then he walked away. [Applause]
Srila Prabhupada attracted such a variety of incredible personalities! He was in that state for four months where he couldn’t really do anything except for cry out the names of the Lord. He was in Bhubaneswar. After that four months he just came out of it and he asked devotees around him, “How long was I sleeping?” [Laughter] They said, “Four months!” [Laughter] He was amazed. He though it was just a few minutes!
Meanwhile living on the land - so exemplary, his humility, his simplicity and his devotion every day he would go out at four o’clock in the afternoon to beg. He had a quota. He would go to twenty one houses to beg for funds to build a temple. He was doing this for months and months. Later when his students said, “Let me do it, let me do it.” The students did it. And he was making a hundred and sixty rupees a month. That was the beginning stages of building a temple in Bhubaneswar but he was never discouraged because it was the order of his guru.
He was printing ‘Back to Godhead Magazine’ in the Oriyan language and the person who was doing the publishing passed away. So for several months there was no BTG. Then Tejas Prabhu came and started it going again. But about four or five times a month Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj would have to go to the press. From the land he would walk two kilometers. He would take a bus then walk five and a half kilometers. He would go to the press. He would spend most of the day proof reading, doing final editing then he would walk five and a half kilometers back to the bus, take the bus then walk two kilometers again back to the land. By that time it was dark.
Gour Govinda Maharaj would only eat once a day. In fact he had a standard that until he finished a quarter of translating Prabhupada’s books, a quarter of the pages, he wouldn’t even take a drop of water every day. On the days that he went to the press often times it was night and he also had a vow he would eat at night. So he would hardly eat.
One of his disciples said, “Why don’t we get a rickshaw?” Gour Govinda Maharaj said, “We can’t waste so much money.” The rickshaw was three rupees in total. He will never accept it. He said, “This is Srila Prabhupada’s money. We must see it as sacred and never waste it.” That was his spirit. And we can see how that spirit can draw such incredible mercy of Lord Krishna.
In 1985 another aspect of Prabhupada’s instruction to him unfolded. He travelled to Europe. He was from an Orissan Village. Now he was on a jet plane and the person who was serving him on the plane explains it was really a culture shock. There was an airline hostess dressed the way airline hostess’s used to dress in those days, going around and giving people food. And he said, “What is happening? What is she doing? Why is this single lady going up to everybody?” “She is giving everybody food.” Hare Krishna he was chanting.
The brahmacari assistant was very thirsty. He said, “Bring me some juice. Can I have some juice?’ Gour Govida Maharaj said, “I am sannyasi. You are brahmacari. We cannot take food from a woman. We don’t know who she is.” [Laughter]
They went to Rome and he gave a two hour Srimad-Bhagavatam class. But before the class he said, “I have to pass water.” So he went to pass water in the bathroom and he was in it for a really, really long time. And everyone was waiting for the class. They knocked on the door and said, “Is everything all right?” They opened the door and he was completely soaking wet. They said, “What happened?” He said, “I just turned on the water and it all soaked me.” [Laughter] He never saw a shower before. [Laughter] he turned the wrong tap and got a full shower. [Laughter] but he went and gave class. Everyone was spell bound by that class. He kept going on and on. The leader of the community said, “It is time for Prasad.”
He went to Spain. There was a massive drought for one and a half years. The whole community was suffering like anything. Gour Govinda Maharaj said, “If we just have kirtan then the Yajna-purusa, Krishna will send rain.” He gave his Bhagavatam class. I think it was a Gita class and then after the class very intensely he was chanting kirtan for a long time. And thunder started coming in the sky. Devotees said, “Sometimes there is thunder and lightning but there is no rain.
Soon after the class and the kirtan there was a major rain storm. The drought ended. The devotees were so impressed, mesmerized by this. He had such faith and such boldness. They all came to see him. He was supposed to spend many days there but he told his servant, “We should leave immediately.” He said now they are coming to glorify me. I am not one to be glorified. Srila Prabhupada should be glorified. Let us go.”
There are many things to be said. It is already gone overtime which is his tradition [Laughter] but I am not so bold and courageous as him because I have the GBC waiting for me also. [Laughter] But I must at least tell one more story.
It was in 1996. Srila Prabhupada’s centennial was being celebrated all over the world. HH Lokanath Swami Maharaj was inspiring that. In Bhubanesvwar, Gour Govinda Maharaj said to one of his close associates, “This material world is a miserable place. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur said it is not a place for a gentleman and therefore he left this world prematurely. I think I too will be leaving soon.’ That shocked this devotee.
He said, “I will go to Gadeigiri and ask Gopal.” He went before Gopal and prayed before his worshipable Lord. One of his relatives, Ghanasyam, Gour Govinda Maharaj said to him, “You will see the installation of the deities in their new temple in Bhubaneswar, I would not.” He said, “How you say this? I am ten years older than you. I see it and not you?” He knew! He went back to Bhubaneswar and spoke to tens and thousands of people the glories of Srila Prabhupada’s centennial for several days and came here to Sri Mayapur Dham for the annual GBC meetings. It was yesterday. We are celebrating today.
On the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj was in his room and two devotees asked him to speak about why Lord Caitanya had chose to live in Jagannath Puri he was explaining the nature of Gambhira were Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in order to taste the sweetness of Srimati Radharani’s love in separation He spent the last twelve years of His life in the ecstasy of tasting that vipralambha-bhava.
He told of how when Krishna left Vrindavan what was the condition of the Vrajavasis, especially Srimati Radharani, crying in the ecstasy of love day and night in separation from Sri Krishna. And of Krishna’s heart, crying in separation from Sri Radha and how Krishna returned to Vrindavan after so many years. And Sri Radharani came before Him. Seeing the ecstasy of Her love for Him he went into such a state of ecstasy that His limbs entered into His body and His eyes became very large in size. It was the form of Lord Jagannath.
Narada Muni happened to see this and asked for the benediction that this form of the Lord in ecstasy of love in separation from Srimati Radharani upon Their meeting would be worshipped somewhere in this world and that anyone who goes there to see would get that path/part. (?) That is the eternal origin of Lord Jagannatha. He was telling this story; tears were welling in his eyes. He became choked up and he said, “Krishna. Jagannath looked into Sri Radharani’s eyes and Sri Radha looked into Krishna’s eyes.”

Then he became so emotional, he could not speak any longer. He said, “Please excuse me I cannot talk. Kirtan. Kirtan.” Devotees gathered around, performed beautiful kirtan. He asked for a photograph of his beloved Gopal Jui, the deity he worshipped from his birth. And he held that in his hand and gazed upon it as the kirtan was chanted; he chanted the holy name, leaned back and closed his eyes.
Devotees became very worried. They went to get a doctor. Some doctors said, “He is dead.” But an auyurvedic doctor came and felt his pulse and he said, “He is still living.” There was no heart attack. According to this ayurvedic doctor there was no physical reason for him to leave. He just decided to leave or let us say Srila Prabhupada and Krishna just took him on Sri Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s appearance day, during the one hundred anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s birth appearance in this world in the holy land of Sri Mayapur Dhama after speaking the most intimate lilas in ecstasy of divine love, surrounded by the kirtan of the holy name, His Holiness Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj departed from this world. His blessings, his grace and his incredible example will live forever in our hearts.
Srila Prabhupada had a special very unique love for this special, unique disciple. Today is the day we can set aside to honor, appreciate and worship that love. Thank you very much. [Applause] Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj Ki.Jai! Srila Prabhupada Ki! Jai. Anantakoti Vaisnavavnrda Ki.Jai!

Simplicity is Vaisnavism

Although many persons may come to hear Srimad Bhagavatam, who is actually hearing? To whose ears do these words penetrate and go deep into the heart? There are many that are posing to be hearing, but actually they are not hearing. The words are entering into one ear and going out the other. It never penetrates to the heart because they have no faith. They are crooked persons. They are not simple. This is the only reason. They have no faith in the revealed scripture. They are doubtful persons, so how can they get the result?
There was a village where Bhagavat-parayana was going on, recitation of Srimad Bhagavatam for seven days, saptaha. Many people from neighboring villages came to hear the recitation from seven o’clock to nine o’clock each evening. There were two women who were regularly coming. One was an old woman about seventy years old with gray hair. The other was a young girl sixteen years old. She was the daughter-in-law of the elderly woman.

One day in his lecture the speaker sang in Oriya, ananda bolo hari hari, hari karibe upaya — “Chant the name of Lord Hari with pleasure! Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari! That Lord Hari will enable you to cross over the dreadful ocean of material existence.” Both the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law heard the speaker, but from that very moment the daughter-in-law started chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” She put complete faith in those words. Although both of them heard, the mother-in-law did not sing the song. Why is it that the daughter-in-law was able to put full faith in the words of Srimad Bhagavatam and start chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” from that very moment while the old experienced mother-in-law could not do so? Because the old lady was not simple, she was crooked. She had no faith in what she heard. This is a question of samasyatma, doubt. She was a doubtful person. The young girl was very simple. She was not crooked, so immediately she put faith in what she heard and started chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!”

When the recitation finished, the ladies had to return to their home. On the way there was a tidal river that they had to cross. When they had first come the water was knee-deep, but when they were returning it was neck-deep. The daughter-in-law was walking ahead and the mother-in-law was following her. Chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” while she was walking, the daughter-in-law easily crossed over the river and stood on the other bank. Meanwhile, the mother-in-law was drowning in the middle of the river. She shouted, “Oh! Oh! Daughter-in-law! You are there on the other bank! I am drowning here in the river!”
The young girl replied, “You should chant, ‘Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!’”

The mother-in-law replied, “You rascal! Are you my master? Are you teaching me? I am your master! You are my daughter-in-law, I am the mother-in-law!”

The young girl said, “Didn’t you hear? That speaker said, ananda bolo hari hari, hari karibe upaya — ‘Chant the name of Hari with pleasure. That Hari will enable you to cross over the dreadful ocean of material existence.’ So what is this tiny river? Why will Lord Hari not be able to help you cross this small river?”

The mother-in-law got angry. This is a practical consideration of faith and simplicity. The young woman was simple, so immediately she was able to put faith in the speaker’s words and by chanting she easily crossed the river. The old woman was faithless and doubtful. Although she was experienced and old, she was a crooked person. There was no simplicity in her heart. This is the point. The only thing required is to be simple. Give up all of your crookedness and put full faith in Krishna. Put full faith in His words, put full faith in the revealed scriptures, and put full faith in the words of acaryas, sadhus, and mahajanas. Then you will achieve success. This is most important. You should be as simple as a child. By nature a child is very simple. But when he grows up he becomes crooked. Why? Because of association with crooked persons.
Some people will say, “Oh, if we become so simple then we will be cheated. Therefore we will not be simple, we will be crooked”. But Krishna says, nayam loko ’sti na paro na sukham samsayatmanah – “If you have no faith then you cannot get any happiness, either in this life or the next.” [Bg. 4.40] Why should you be crooked? Will it bring you happiness? Will it keep you from being cheated? You are being cheated, and you are not getting happiness, why? Why not be simple and put faith in Krishna’s words and achieve success in life? Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu likes those who have simplicity. They are natural vaisnavas. Simplicity is vaisnavism.

by: Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

Container of the Heart

Sri Rupa  Gosvami states: krsna prema pradaya te, "Lord Caitanya is freely giving krsna-prema to one and all." One might logically ask the question, "Why haven't I received that prema yet?"
"You cannot receive the prema-rasa from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with your hands or any other container. Only with the container of your heart can you get the prema-rasa given by Mahaprabhu. But you should examine the container of your heart to see that there are no holes in it. Is it a pure heart? If there are nasty things like lust, anger, greed, envy, pride and arrogance in it, how can you get the prema-rasa" "These nasty things are holes in the container. Mahaprabhu gives prema indiscriminately, but why all are not getting it? We must take care of the container of the heart so that we may receive Mahaprabhu's mercy. If your chanting is pure and offenseless, then you will definitely get krsna-prema. Mahaprabhu gives prema through chanting, but He gives a condition.

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada hari
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly, (sihastaka 3) "The pot of the heart must be made up of these four constituents: humility, tolerance, respect and pridelessness. Mahaprabhu is the giver and you are the receiver. But if your pot is not made up of these constituents, how can you receive?"

(Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj - Krsna Kathamrta BMu 6/01)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Narsimhadeva – The Lord With A Soft Heart

My relationship with Lord Nrsimhadeva Nrsimha Caturdasi 2012 - New Simachalam, Germany

I was staying in Mayapur when we decided to install Lord Nrsimhadeva. At that time, I was responsible for all the construction in Mayapur. So we were all in great anticipation, 'Nrsimhadeva is coming!'

I had the good fortune that I was allowed to construct His little temple and oversee that construction. We were also unloading the Deity who came in a truck filled with sand; the Deity was lying basically in sand. Then we dug out the Deity which was 450 kilos! So it was quite a thing to take Him out without a crane but my man power! But we did it. Maybe about 12 men lifted Him up and placed Him on the altar. So I was very happy that I was somehow or other allowed to serve the Deity from the very beginning, from when the Deity came. Although they said a grhastha shouldn't go on the altar of Lord Nrsimhadeva because He will destroy your grhastha life, I didn't mind (Laughter).

So from the onset I had a relationship with that Deity, a relationship of service. So it carried on but then with time they asked me to change my service and take charge in Vrndavana. And there I got some real purification after a number of years with a bullet in the back and so on, which is sort of the heavy side of the Lord. Then after I recovered, I came to Mayapur and then I came in front of Lord Nrsimhadeva and I was scared of Him, for the first time! I was really scared of Him and I was thinking, 'Boy, are You heavy!' It sounds very nice when Sacinandana Maharaja explains it like the piano won't fall on your head, but I tell you, I stood in front of Him after the piano just landed! (Laughter)  So I was a little scared of Him at that time. So it took some time to really think deeply how compassionate Lord Nrsimhadeva is. The Lord appeared solely for His devotee And I was thinking, 'Isn't Krsna killing many demons? Isn't Krsna protecting all the residents of Vrndavana? Isn't He also the protector of the devotees? So why anyway do we turn separately to Lord Nrsimhadeva? And aren't there so many incarnations of the Lord?' Jayadeva Gosvami is giving us his 'dasavatara stotram' and is describing the ten various incarnations of the Lord, who appear every millennium, every cycle of four yugas. And these are following the mission as is described in Bhagavad Gita,

 paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge,

They annihilate the demons and they establish the principles of religion, and Krsna also. Although Krsna has His other pastimes in Vrndavana, His personal pastimes, the pastimes in the spiritual world- the killing of the demons is going on everywhere. So then we see that Srila Prabhupada points out that this Nrsimha Caturdasi is one of the main celebrations in the year. Lord Nrsimhadeva is one of the main principle manifestations of the Lord. Thinking about it, it came to my mind that when Lord Vamanadeva is doing His tricks, He tries to do so to reclaim the universe from the demons for the demigods (the devotees) so that the order in the universe will remain intact and so everyone is in his proper place. Ultimately, spiritual knowledge will remain protected within the universe. In other forms the Lord also does that: He helps to save the Vedic literature, the Matsya avatara and so on.

But in the appearance as Lord Nrsimhadeva, the Lord appears really for one devotee. Of course, extended for all devotees but in the actual incident, for one devotee only. That is His motive, that is the very reason why He appears. He is the most personal; He is very personally dealing with the devotees. It is then not surprising that Jayadeva Gisvami is writing, bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimhah, outside He is there stopping the demoniac forces undoubtedly and internally He is there within the heart as vigna vinasana, removing these obstacles from the heart. So He's very personal with Prahlada and with all of us also. His whole appearance- His teeth like thunderbolts and all His nails and very harsh appearance- is a symptom of extreme soft heartedness because of His extreme anger when His devotee was in danger. So the hardness on the outside shows the depth of how deeply He cares for His devotees. The Lord provides us with a personal path When I start to contemplate on that I think, 'All right, He may have just arranged a bullet, which is sort of something intense and somewhat hard. But then if I see the hardness of my head because I'm such a hard-head and such a stubborn person, then I don't think anything lighter might have worked.' So it's not always in the process of becoming purified in Krsna consciousness that the purification is light, it is not always soft. He may be soft in His purification, He may also be strong in His purification, but He will also provide us with a very personal path, a path that is designed for us. It's not that everyone get's the same; one gets what suits ones nature and ones particular situation. And in this way, whether we are receiving the mercy in a mild, gentle way, or receiving the mercy in a strong way, we can have that faith that Lord Nrsimhadeva is dealing with us in a very personal way. He has no other desire than to bring us to that state of pure love of God. In this way we have to place our trust in Him. Even more so than Krsna, Lord Krsna is emerging as the protector. Krsna is the protector when He kills so many demons but Krsna is doing it in an almost playful way and at the same time displaying all His various opulences- He dances, while He is on the hoods of Kaliya. So it's not just chastisement; His focus is not just the chastisement of the demon but His focus at the same time is to display His opulences as the Lord in the spiritual world. But Nrsimhadeva, His whole focus is just His incredible, deep, deep compassion, which is translated as pure, unadulterated anger. There's nothing else in His mood! It's that in relation to Hiranyakasipu. Satsvarupa Maharaja, who wrote so many books (I'm not even sure how many), but one that he wrote, he asked a fundamental question, and the question was the title of the book, Am I a demon or a vaisnava? which we may secretly also have in our heart. We may wonder, 'Well, is there a little Hiranyakasipu in me? And if that is so, then how will He treat me? Who will He deal with? Will He deal with the Hiranyakasipu in me or will He deal with the devotee in me?' So again, a reason to be afraid of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Then we are judging the situation from our own human perspective because we should not forget that the Supreme Lord is extremely generous by nature and His inclination is to see even the smallest service as something very substantial. In this way, even a small service rendered by a vaisnava is taken by the Lord as of great significance. Therefore He accepts us as a devotee. He's assisting us, He's helping us to become purified in a way that is ultimately not going beyond what our capacity can deal with. Bhakta vatsala, the protector of the devotees. The Lord is not going to test His devotees beyond the capacity that they can manage, although at times He may make it a little difficult. But within that, we get so much purified and gain so much strength. Our best friend

So we must trust that the Lord is truly our best friend. Srila Prabhupada said that the Lord is our best friend and the devotee said, 'No, Srila Prabhupada, you are our best friend.' And Prabhupada said, 'No, I may disappoint you because I am not omniscient and I'm limited but Krsna is omniscient and He knows everything and He's completely our well-wisher.' Therefore, there is nothing to fear. He is our best friend at all times and at all time He will take us. His only desire is that we will go back into His association eternally and as soon as possible! That is His desire. Therefore there truly is no reason to fear Lord Nrsimhadeva but rather we are very happy to turn to Him knowing that He protects us. Bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimhah, He protects us from outside, negative forces and He also protects us from ourselves, to save us from sinking down in the material swamp. So in that way we are very eager for that protection and we pray again and again to Lord Nrsimhadeva on His appearance day, to free us from all the material entanglement and uplift us and take us back quickly in the eternal association of Krsna. Thank you very much.   

- HH Kadamba Kanana Swami

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir Vrindavan Daily Darshan - 14.05.2012


The Sincere Friend - A Sadhu

Forgetful men do not know the right path for peace and prosperity. However, the sages know it well, and therefore for the good of all men they are always anxious to perform acts which may bring about peace in the world.

They are sincere friends to all living entities, and at the risk of great personal inconvenience they are always engaged in the service of the Lord for the good of all people. Lord Viṣṇu is just like a great tree, and all others, including the demigods, men, Siddhas, Cāraṇas, Vidyādharas and other living entities, are like branches, twigs and leaves of that tree. By pouring water on the root of the tree, all the parts of the tree are automatically nourished. Only those branches and leaves which are detached cannot be so satisfied. Detached branches and leaves dry up gradually despite all watering attempts. Similarly, human society, when it is detached from the Personality of Godhead like detached branches and leaves, is not capable of being watered, and one attempting to do so is simply wasting his energy and resources.

The modern materialistic society is detached from its relation to the Supreme Lord. And all its plans which are being made by atheistic leaders are sure to be baffled at every step. Yet they do not wake up to this.

In this age, the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the prescribed method for waking up. The ways and means are most scientifically presented by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and intelligent persons may take advantage of His teachings in order to bring about real peace and prosperity.

- SB 1.1.4 Purport

Instructions for Inspiration

Several senior devotees share their memories of personal experiences with Srila Prabhupada, as well as what continues to motivate them about Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada Ki jaya!

How to sing Kirtan?

Brahmananda: I once asked Srila Prabhupada, "What is the best way to sing kirtan?" He replied that "You sing in such a way that you never get tired, so that the kirtan should be able to go on endlessly."

Is God a Person or a Reservoir of energy?

Q. In many lectures and discourses I have heard that just as we are persons, GOD is also a person. But I could not understand this concept as I as a soul have been in different bodies in different lifetimes. Does that mean that this personal theory applies only in the present lifetime since I am a person now?
Similarly how do we understand that Krishna is a person and not a reservoir of energy? Sometimes we are told that the concept of reciprocation is only  possible in case of GOD as a person but I think (please correct me if I am wrong) that in all the impersonal faith/religions, the seeker interacts with the impersonal energy (brahman if we may call it) and it reciprocates. So how come reciprocation is just a feature of the personal theory? I am confused, please help.

According to Vaishnava philosophy, both the living entity and Supreme Lord are eternally persons. This is confirmed by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. (BG 2.12)

Your confusion appears to be founded on a preconceived idea that "Soul" is impersonal, and in the human body alone it assumes personality. In reality, the soul or jiva is a person always, regardless of what body he enters in conditional life. The soul has his original, eternal form which is unaffected by the material body.
We can know for certain that God is a Person by hearing His own description of Himself, which is the most authoritative and conclusive. Krishna repeatedly confirms unequivocally that He is a person.

“Unintelligent men, who do not know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna was impersonal before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.” (BG 7.24)

“Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.

For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that  discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (BG 12.2,12.5)

“I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman <>, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.” (BG 14.27)

“O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real *face* is covered by Your dazzling impersonal effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee.” (Isopanishad 15)
...and numerous such direct assertions leave no room for misinterpretation.

By hearing directly from the Supreme Lord with faith, we can become free from all doubts. Hearing from unauthorized interpreters who have no perfect knowledge leads to confusion and bewilderment. Due to their faulty and incomplete understandings, their spiritual-sounding philosophy is fraught with inconsistencies. The idea of reciprocation from impersonal energy is one such example.

It is quite misleading to speak of interaction with an impersonal energy, and furthermore reciprocations from such an energy. Practically, we have no such experience in any sphere of life where an inert energy can either perceive or reciprocate. As soon as we speak of reciprocation, we are dealing with perception, feelings, qualities - someone perceives your desires or inquisitiveness, hears your prayers, feels your distress and sincerity of purpose; and that entity must feel pleased and impelled to reciprocate, which implies that entity has feelings like compassion, kindness etc. It is unreasonable to consider something that is endowed with so many characteristics, feelings, perception, knowledge etc -- all of which make up the very definition of personality – as simply a featureless, formless energy. Krishna is the basis of the impersonal energy which is but His bodily effulgence, and because He is the reservoir of all good qualities, He reciprocates with every living entity out of His boundless mercy, just as they approach Him.

- HH Romapada Swami