ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14430)

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The following is a partially edited transcription of a lecture on SB 10.58-8-10, given in Chowpatty. Radhanath Swami’s lecture is also included.

tam aha prema-vaiklavya-
ruddha-kanthasru-locana
smaranti tan bahunklesan
klesapayatma-darsanam

“So overcome by love that her throat choked up and her eyes filled with tears, Queen Kunti remembered the many troubles she and her sons had endured. Thus she addressed Lord Krisna, who appears before His devotees to drive away their distress.”

tadaiva kusalam no ‘bhut
sa-nathas te krta vayam
jnatin nah smarata krsna
bhrata me presitas tvaya

“[Queen Kunti said:] My dear Krisna, our welfare was assured only when You remembered us, Your relatives, and gave us Your protection by sending my brother to visit us.”

na te ‘sti sva-para-bhrantir
visvasya suhrd-atmanah
tathapi smaratam sasvat
klesan hamsi hrdi sthitah

“For You, the well-wishing friend and Supreme Soul of the universe, there is never any illusion of “us” and “them.” Yet even so, residing within the hearts of all, You eradicate the sufferings of those who remember You constantly.”

Purport by Srila Prabhupada

The intelligent Queen Kunti here points out that even though Lord Krsna is dealing with her affectionately as a relative, He is not compromising His position as the well-wishing Soul of the universe. In other words, the Lord doesn’t play favorites. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.29), samo ‘ham sarva-bhutesu, “I am equal to everyone.” So while the Lord reciprocates with all souls, it is natural that those who love Him intensely receive His special attention, for they want Him and nothing else.

Purport by Niranjana Swami

Here, in these three verses, we are getting an opportunity to hear a wonderful expression of deep attachment within the heart of Queen Kunti. As we know from her prayers in the First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, when Krsna appeared before her, she was remembering many troubles she and her sons endured.

She prayed, “My dear Krsna, Your Lordship has protected us from a poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest and from the battle where great generals fought. And now You have saved us from the weapon of Asvatthama. (SB 1.8.24)

And in the next well-known verse she says:

vipadah santu tah sasvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darsanam yat syad
apunar bhava-darsanam (SB 1.8.25)

“I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.”

When we reflect on this verse, we can become bewildered as to how such a prayer can be made. When comparing it to our own lives, are we prepared to ask for calamities as severe as those which were endured by Kunti and Pandavas? Are we prepared to take shelter under every circumstance as they always did being confident of the Lord’s constant protection?

The protection described here is, “We remembered you and understood that you were thinking of us.” Just that thought in itself, for Kunti, was a great solace to know that the Lord was thinking of her and her sons.

Therefore in the next verse she says, “Our welfare was assured only when You remembered us, Your relatives, and gave us Your protection by sending my brother to visit us.” She is referring here to Akrura. Here in this verse she is saying, “You are the well-wishing friend and the Supreme Soul of the universe and there is never any illusion of ‘us’ and ‘them.”

In other words, she is explaining that it appears that He is showing some partiality, because, “You are the well-wishing friend of everyone but even though You are residing in everyone’s heart and You are the well-wisher of all living beings, You are giving special attention to those who always remember You.” And she is feeling that.

Lord Krsna says:

samo ‘ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo ‘sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu capy aham (Bg 9.29) (15:43:42)

“I am not envious of anyone. I am equal to all, but whoever renders service to Me is a friend to Me and I am a friend to them.” Being situated in the heart of all living beings, the Lord is equal to everyone and reciprocates according to the mood of their worship.

In connection to this verse, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives an analogy of a wish-fulfilling desire tree. He explains that a wish-fulfilling desire tree will give fruit according to the mood of those who take shelter of it. Whatever fruit one wishes from this tree, the wish-fulfilling desire tree reciprocates accordingly. It’s equally disposed to fulfill the desires of everyone who takes shelter of that tree. But obviously those who don’t take shelter of it don’t get any result.

In the same way the Supreme Personality of Godhead also differentiates between those who take shelter of Him and those who don’t take shelter of Him. He gives different results accordingly, just like the desire-tree.

However, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that the speciality of the Lord in comparison to wish-fulfilling desire tree is that the desire tree will not become subordinate to those who worship it, whereas the Supreme Lord will become subordinate to His devotees or to those who possess bhakti. Therefore, the qualities we may see in the Supreme Lord – that He sometimes displays – such as friendship, hatred or indifference, are simply due to the relationship with bhakti, because it’s bhakti that controls the Lord.

na sadhayati mam yogo
na sankhyam dharma uddhava
na svadhyayas tapas tyago
yatha bhaktir mamorjita (SB 11.14.20)

Krsna tells Uddhava, “Unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotee brings Me under the control of the devotee.” That’s His speciality. That’s the difference between the Lord and the desire tree. The desire tree will give certain results according to the mood of the worshipper. Those who don’t take shelter get a different result. The Lord does the same thing. He is impartial, He maintains His impartiality. But for the devotee, as herein explained, while the Lord reciprocates with all souls, it is natural that those who love Him intensely receive His special attention because they want Him and nothing else.

This is the unique characteristic of a devotee. When his heart is filled with bhakti, then the Lord feels bound to reciprocate. This is the well-known quality described as bhakta-vatsalya.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also explains elsewhere that one should never think that this bhakta-vatsalya is mundane partiality. It appears like the Lord is playing favorites, but actually this quality is an ornament of the Lord. The word given is bhusana. It’s the one quality of the Supreme Lord which reconciles any apparent contradictions one may perceive His behavior. All contradictions can be reconciled by this one quality. Krsna will always be consistent in this regard. This reciprocal love which manifests because of the devotee’s exclusive dependence, is natural. How can the Lord not reciprocate? He is equal to everyone.

If you exclusively depend on the Lord, then naturally the Lord will think, “This devotee who is depending on Me exclusively, how can I neglect him? How can I not reciprocate? How can I not give him My attention? How can I not remember him? He is always remembering Me. How can I not remember him?” It’s natural. It’s reciprocal.

When the Lord thinks this way about His devotees by always remembering them, He displays this quality, this characteristic which is so much relished and appreciated by His devotees – how the Lord is so merciful, so kind – that He can never forget anyone who renders service to Him. He never forgets even the small amount of service.

This point was is made clear with Durvasa Muni, to whom the Lord appeared to be indifferent. You then may say, “If He is equal to everyone, then how can He be indifferent to Durvasa Muni?” Because bhakti was present within Ambarisa Maharaja. Due to Ambarisa Maharaja’s bhakti the Lord appeared to manifest indifference when Durvasa Muni appealed to the Lord and the Lord then responded with the well-known verse, “I am completely under the control of My devotee. I am never, not for a moment, independent from My devotee. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me.”

What was Durvasa Muni asking? He was appealing, “Look! I’ve gone to Brahma, I’ve gone to Siva. I’ve been chased by Sudarsana cakra. They were incapable of helping. They could not give me any shelter. They told me it was beyond their ability to do anything. But I know it’s not beyond Your ability to do something. You are the person who invoked this cakra, so now I’ve come before You and I am taking shelter of You. Please protect me.”

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura elaborates on this well-known conversation between Durvasa Muni and the Lord:

“I’ve come to You for shelter. Please think about my situation and manifest Your heart for someone who has come to You for shelter.”

But the Lord is indifferent.

“Sorry. I can’t do anything to help you.”

“What do you mean You can’t do anything to help me?”

The Lord then describes how the bhakti in the heart of Maharaja Ambarisa was controlling Him.

“The devotee is always in My heart and I am always in the heart of My devotee. The devotee doesn’t think of anyone but Me, and I never think of anyone but him.”

The Lord then further explains,

“Maharaja Ambarisa takes Me into the core of his heart and he serves Me so very nicely there. And because he serves Me so nicely within his heart, naturally I want to reciprocate. Therefore I ask My devotee, ‘Please let me give you something.’”

That’s natural. The Lord wants to give something in return. But when He tries to offer something to His devotee, His devotee says,

“I am not interested in that. I don’t want wealth. I don’t want fame. I don’t want power.”

The Lord says, “What can I offer you?”

“I don’t want anything. Just let me remember You.”

We see so many prayers in the Bhagavatam when the devotees, in the Lord’s presence, are asked,

“What can I give you?”

And the devotees say, “Please let me remember You. Please let me be counted as one of Your devotees. Wherever I may go, whatever birth I may take, please recognize me as Your devotee.”… as spoken by Lord Brahma.

Or His devotees may say, “Wherever I may take my birth please let me take birth in the association of Your devotees so that I can always remember You by hearing Your glories in their association.”

The devotee doesn’t ask for anything other than to serve Him in constant remembrance of Him.

Just like the well-known response Prahlada Maharaja gave when Lord Nrsimhadeva asked Prahlada, “Please let Me give you a benediction.” Prahlada said to the Lord, “I am not a merchant. Don’t forget I was born in a family of demons. Don’t tempt me like this. I am not engaged in Your service for something in return. Just be my master and let me be Your servant birth after birth and then I will be happy.”

That is a devotee. A devotee simply wants the opportunity to remember and serve the Lord.

Continuing with Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura’s explanation… Durvasa Muni was pleading,

“Please I am taking shelter of You. To whom else can I go for protection? Consider my situation and protect me. Please have a heart.”

The Lord responded, “No, sorry.”

“What do you mean?” asks Durvasa.

“My devotee is so dear to Me. I ask him again and again ‘Please let Me give you something’ but he does not want Me to give him anything. Because of his deep love for Me, he never wants anything else. So I had to give him something you’re asking from Me personally but I don’t have it available right now. You are asking Me to have a heart. Sorry. Not there. You are asking Me to think of you. Sorry, I don’t even have My mind, because My thoughts are always with My devotee. He is always thinking of Me and I am always thinking of him.

Although My devotee doesn’t want anything I still want to give him something. Therefore, I give him the most valuable treasure I have in My treasure house. What could I give him that he will consider of value? I gave him My heart. So now you’re asking for My heart, but I am telling you it’s not there.”

This perfect example shows how bhakti controls the Lord. The Lord’s apparent indifference towards Durvasa has nothing to do with Durvasa Muni. It’s connected with Maharaja Ambarisa’s bhakti.

Therefore, wherever the Lord also displays either friendship or hatred…

Just like the Lord told Duryodhana, “Because you are envious of the Pandavas, because you are their enemy, therefore you are My enemy.”

Duryodhana invited the Lord to his home but the Lord was not willing to accept his invitation. He said,

“No. You are the enemy of the Pandavas. They are fully dependent on Me.”

His apparent enmity toward Duryodhana was not directly with Duryodhana, but it was due to the presence of bhakti in the hearts of the Pandavas. He is controlled by their bhakti. Although He is equal to everyone, the speciality of the Lord’s quality which is different from the desire tree is that the Lord becomes subordinate to his devotee.

Therefore whatever may appear to be like friendship… Krsna says,

“Whoever renders service to Me is a friend to Me and I am a friend to them.”

As explained here, He is not compromising His position as the well-wishing soul of the universe. In other words, the Lord is not playing favorites. He is not absorbed in this mentality or as the verse itself says, “For you the well-wishing friend, the soul of the universe there is never illusion of ‘us’ and ‘them.’”

That mentality comes into the mind of a person who thinks, “Because you are my friend I am your friend. If you are not my friend, you have enmity towards me, then I am not your friend. My friend is on my side, so we are together.

But the Lord does not think “us” and “them” in relationship to Himself. There’s no enemy for the Lord. Nobody is successful in being an enemy of the Lord. Neither does the Lord deal with anyone as His enemy, because whatever the Lord does is always for the ultimate benefit even of one who is apparently His enemy.

When the Lord kills demons, they get liberation. Whatever the Lord does is always for the benefit of the recipient. He is not like a politician who needs to stay in his position because he is getting support from his friends and if you are not supporting him you are his enemies. The Lord doesn’t need votes to stay in his position as the Supreme Lord. He is the Lord and it doesn’t make any difference for Him if anyone votes for Him or not. He still is the Supreme Lord. That is His position.

The Lord explains in the Twelfth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita that “…for those who are always meditating on Me, I become the swift deliverer of repeated birth and death.” He delivers them, frees them from all distresses.

There’s a verse in the Third Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:

mad-asrayah katha mrstah
srnvanti kathayanti ca
tapanti vividhas tapa
naitan mad-gata-cetasah (SB 3.25.23)

Lord Kapiladeva says to Devahuti, “Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.”

A devotee, in all circumstances naturally — spontaneously– remembers the Lord. We were just speaking from a verse from Bhagavatam in Mayapur the other day.

“As one mistakenly considers a flower garland to be a snake or experiences happiness and distress in a dream, so, in the material world, by a lack of careful consideration, we differentiate between happiness and distress, considering one good and the other bad.” (6.17.30)

This verse comes just after the well-known verse spoken by Lord Siva.

Parvati was astonished. She couldn’t understand. “How is it that I just gave a curse to Citraketu Maharaja to take birth as a demon, Citraketu Maharaja understood fully what that curse meant – He would take birth as a demon – but he has no fear. He is ready fully accept that curse.”

Citraketu came down from his plane before Siva and Parvati and was completely equipoised.

“I’ll accept whatever your will is.”

Lord Siva explained that that is the nature of bhakti. That is a devotee.

narayana-parah sarve
na kutascana bibhyati
svargapavarga-narakesv
api tulyartha-darsinah (SB 6.17.28)

“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayaṇa, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.”

A devotee doesn’t fear any condition of life, whether he is in heaven or hell, whether he is liberated. For him it’s all the same. Why? Because for a devotee whether he is in heaven, in hell or liberated, he is interested in one thing only – service. That is all. One of the most favorable ways to render service to the Lord is to constantly remember Him under all circumstances.

In the verses just after, Lord Siva begins to describe the nature of the duality of the material world. When speaking from that verse, we quoted Lord Caitanya:

dvaite’ bhadrabhadra-jnana, saba — ‘manodharma’
‘ei bhala, ei manda’, — ei saba ‘bhrama’ (CC Antya 4.176)

“In the material world to say ‘this is good’ and ‘this is bad’ is a mental speculation.” Therefore to say “this is good” and “this is bad” is all a mistake.

Under the influence of duality in this material world we tend to think “this is good” and “this is bad” in terms “this is pleasing, it makes me happy,” “this is bad – it causes my suffering.”

Prabhupada explains in that commentary that in the material world, there is duality consciousness. But there’s no such thing as good or bad. It’s all a mistake. It has nothing to do with the transcendental platform. Those who are in the transcendental consciousness see that even miseries of the material world as happiness, and material happiness as misery.

Then Prabhupada quotes the verse,

kaivalyam narakayate tri-dasa-pur akasa-puspayate
durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate
visvam purna-sukhayate vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate
yat-karunya-kataksa-vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah (Caitanya-candramrta 5)

“For a devotee who has received Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s merciful glance, kaivalya, merging into the existence of Brahman, appears hellish, the heavenly planets appear like phantasmagoria, the senses appear like serpents with broken teeth, the entire world becomes a replica of Vaikuntha, and the position of demigods headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Indra is considered equal to that of a tiny insect.”

Srila Prabhupada’s purport to the verse we spoke on in Mayapura was all about dreams, how in the material world there are bad dreams and good dreams. We think, “This is a bad dream” or, “This is a good dream,” but the happiness and distress we experience are only in relationship to dreams.

We gave an example from the Eleventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam that was given by the sage Kavi, one of the nine Yogendras, in his conversation with Maharaja Nimi. When Maharaja Nimi was asking about the nature of devotional service and how to become freed from fear, the sage Kavi explained that fear arises due to being absorbed in the material consciousness and bodily concept of life, thinking that one is a material body, and therefore by forgetting Krsna one forgets that he is the eternal servant of Krsna.

In the next verse he says,

“Although the duality of the material world does not ultimately exist, the conditioned soul experiences it as real under the influence of his own conditioned intelligence. This imaginary experience of a world separate from Krsna can be compared to the acts of dreaming and desiring. When the conditioned soul dreams at night of something desirable or horrible, or when he daydreams of what he would like to have or avoid, he creates a reality that has no existence beyond his own imagination.” (SB 11.2.38)

He uses this analogy in relationship to dreams. Everyone can relate to dreaming because most people have dreams. Prabhupada even uses an analogy to help us understand the importance of analogies. He says that if you want to see the moon moving in the sky at night, you can stare at the moon, but it’s very difficult to see how it is moving by this way. But if you look at the moon through the branches of a tree, because the branches are closer, you can see from this branch to that branch how the moon is moving. Similarly we need analogies, something closer to us, within our realm of experience, to help us understand something that may seem too theoretical.

If we have a dream, a very good dream. Has anyone had a good dream before? [Mostly everyone raises their hand]. Has anyone had a bad dream before? [Mostly everyone raises their hand once again]. Ok you can relate to this then.

When you have a good dream and you are enjoying it, because usually a good dream means that it’s enjoyable, then all of a sudden something happens and you wake up, you are sad,

“It was a dream. I thought it was so real. But it was a dream.”

So you feel very sad. But when you have a bad dream… for instance, you’re being eaten by a tiger.

For example, I have this experience a lot, because I fly a lot. While I’m on a plane, I may fall asleep and I start dreaming that the plane is falling very fast (laughter) and I wake up and I am happy (more laughter). “It was only a dream!”

Kavi explains that the happiness we feel in relationship to a bad dream and distress we feel in relationship to a good dream are not connected to reality, they are only connected to a dream. There is no connection to reality at all. So that’s the night dream.

Then there is the daydream. The daydream is no different than the night dream. In the daydream we dream of something we would like to have and we feel happy. “Yes, I feel good. I’d really like to have that.” But because it’s not connected to reality and because we are trying to enjoy something separate from Krsna, when we get the fulfillment of our so-called daydream, it generally does not quite fit the bill. It didn’t bring us all the happiness we expected especially when we lose it or we see the other problems we didn’t anticipate, that come with it.

That’s the daydream – things that we would like to have. Then there are things we would like to avoid. For instance, everybody tries to avoid death, disease, suffering.

Sometimes people even think that they are happy if they are not suffering.

“How are you, Prabhu?”

“Things aren’t that bad. I guess I must be happy.”

But there’s much more to happiness than not suffering. We think of happiness and distress in relationship to the daydream, but there’s really no difference between that and the happiness and distress in relationship to the night dream.

Prabhupada quoted in the commentary to that Sixth Canto verse, “visvam purna-sukhayate”… for a devotee, for one who gets that merciful glance of Lord Caitanya, the whole universe becomes ecstatic. The devotee can be happy even when he’s experiencing so-called distress.

After class one devotee came up to me and asked, “Maharaja, how can we be happy in distress?” I tried to explain to him about example we just gave about Queen Kunti and then I tried to explain the verse:

tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak (SB 10.14.8)

…how a devotee tolerates all the distresses of his life because it gives him the opportunity to remember the Lord. What is the spontaneous nature of a devotee? What is the test of a devotee? The test of a devotee is that in the face of adversity, a devotee does not ask the Lord to counteract his difficulty.

Similarly, Ambarisa Maharaja didn’t ask to counteract the difficulty he was put in. He just very naturally remembered the Lord. That’s what was most natural for him.

Prabhupada explains in one purport in the chapter about Maharaja Ambarisa that Maharaja Ambarisa simply did what was natural for him. He didn’t say to the Lord, “Protect me.” He just naturally remembered the Lord and felt completely protected. And because he was completely dependent on the Lord, the Lord felt compelled to arrange to protect him, even though Ambarisa Maharaja was not asking for it. The devotee feels sheltered, even in the face of adversity, by remembering the Lord.

mad-asrayah katha mrstah
srnvanti kathayanti ca
tapanti vividhas tapa
naitan mad-gata-cetasah (SB 3.25.23)

“Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.”

In the next verse Lord Kapiladeva says:

ta ete sadhavah sadhvi
sarva-sanga-vivarjitah
sangas tesv atha te prarthyah
sanga-dosa-hara hi te (SB 3.25.24)

“O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men, for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment.”

The devotee’s greatest fear, wherever he may be, is to forget the Lord. Therefore he always prays, “Let me remember You. Always keep me in the association of Your devotees. Let me always be hearing Your glories in the association of Your devotees.”

When Haridasa was asked for a benediction from the Lord, he said,

“I am going to ask You for something but forgive me for being so arrogant for asking for something very high. Please birth after birth let me have the remnants of the foodstuff of Your devotees. Just keep me somehow in the association of Your devotees.”

This is how a devotee finds his shelter – by always staying in the association of devotees.

Narada Muni said to King Pracinabarhisat,

“In the place where My pure devotees congregate always discussing the pastimes of the Lord if one gets the chance to hear the river of nectar which flows like the waves of the river, if one gets caught up in that flow of the nectar coming from the devotees, then one will forget about all the necessities of live, such as hunger and thirst and one will become free from all kinds of illusion, lamentation and fear.”

It is like getting caught up in a tsunami. You cannot do anything, you are caught. When you get caught up in these waves of the devotees who are always discussing the glories of the Lord, it is the best opportunity to remember the Lord. Not only does one feel sheltered by remembering the Lord, but as Queen Kunti is praying here, “The Lord is so kindly remembering me. He is remembering me because I developed the urge to hear His messages.”

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
punya-sravana-kirtanah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam (SB 1.2.17)

The Lord is sitting within the heart of every living being. He remembers that devotee who develops the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. What does He do? Not only does He remember His devotee, but He acts within the heart to remove all the obstacles within the heart of that devotee in order to make that devotee’s heart pure and clean. The devotee feels,

“The Lord is so kind. He remembers me.”

Just by developing the urge to hear about Him constantly, the Lord acts within the heart.

Queen Kunti is praying this way also. She says,

“Our welfare is assured only when You remember us and gave us Your protection.”

These three verses here help us to understand this unique characteristic of Lord’s pure devotees. Although sometimes we have a tendency to think,

“This is the Lord’s pure devotee but what does this have to do with me? There are always these pure devotees we hear about in Srimad Bhagavatam, but what does that have to do with us?”

It has a lot to do with us. Although Srimad Bhagavatam may not be speaking about us, for anyone who develops the faith and desire to hear about these pure devotees, Krsna accepts that desire to hear as service to Him. Simply by cultivating the desire to hear about these devotees, Krsna accepts that as service to Him.

Lord Krsna says in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam,

“Having awaken the faith in hearing the narration of My glories, being disgusted with sense gratification, knowing that all sense gratification leads to suffering but still not able to give it up, My devotee continues to worship Me with faith and remains happy, because My devotee knows that even though sense gratification leads to suffering and he cannot give it up, because he has awakened faith in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, he sincerely repents any sense gratification he commits.” (SB 11.20.27-28)

The devotee has faith in the Lord’s kindness. The devotee thinks, “If I simply go on hearing, Krsna will act from within the heart and He’ll remove all obstacles and impediments from within my heart. I’m convinced He will help me by my constant endeavor to hear about Him.”

tesam satata-yuktanam
bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te (Bg 10.10)

The Lord will remove all obstacles from within. That’s how He acts within the heart of a devotee. Within the heart of non-devotee – it’s a different story. He doesn’t have to be so directly involved. He is simply there as a witness and giving sanction. There is no lila. He is like a desire-tree, simply allowing them. “You do not take shelter of Me? OK. Material nature will take care of everything for you. But My devotee who always remembers Me, who always endeavors,”

tesam evanukampartham
aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhava-stho
jnana-dipena bhasvata (Bg 10.11)

“Just out of compassion for them I will destroy with a shining lamp of knowledge the darkness of ignorance. I will help them to come to Me.”

The Lord gives special attention to those who take shelter in these transcendental narrations. This is, of course, the benefit of hearing about such great devotees as Queen Kunti and hearing her realization about the nature of the Lord’s reciprocal love to those who exclusively love Him.

Maybe I should end here. You were going to speak (to Radhanatha Maharaja), and I need to hear. And I do not need to hear anything about me.

Radhanatha Swami: I would like to express deep gratitude to HH Niranjana Swami Maharaja for this eloquent, purely devotional tsunami of hari-katha.

Maharaja was speaking of Queen Kunti’s prayers. In the First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we find the scene after the battle of Kuruksetra, after the Pandavas were victorious. Yudhisthira Maharaja was coronated as king and everything seems very peaceful. Queen Kunti is offering her prayers, because Krsna is about to leave, and she is praying, “Let these calamities happen again and again.”

When we read these stories, we should read or hear not only with our ears and our mind’s attention but with our heart also. Sometimes we think we are in a difficult situation, but really what were Kunti’s calamities she was talking about? We just heard how her own relatives, her own nephews were trying to kill her children in the house of lac to literally burn them to death. She was with them at that time. Somehow or other Vidura helped them and they escaped. Vidura was her brother-in-law. And then we find they were exiled. She saw Draupadi being insulted. During the battlefield of Kuruksetra she saw her eldest son, Karna, whom she loved as much as her other children, and her other son Arjuna to be the worst enemies who wanted to destroy each other. And then she saw one of her children kill her other child – Arjuna killed Karna.

Those of you who are mothers what kind of distress would that have in your heart? Abhumanyu was her grandchild. She saw him slaughtered by unfair means. She witnessed the pain of Subhadra and Arjuna, the mother and father. She saw five of her other grandchildren, a child from each of her sons to Draupadi, slaughtered while they were sleeping by Asvatthama, killed.

I am a Swami, I don’t know so much about the direct experience of these things but I see grandparents usually love children as much or more than the parents themselves. She saw her son die at the hands of another son. She saw six of her grandchildren die in most ignoble way, not chivalrously. These are serious calamities. They weren’t just things that happened to her. They were things that she was seeing happen to those whom she loved most. And yet she is praying to Krsna, “Let those calamities happen again and again, because in these situations I remember You. I have no one else to turn except You. I have no other shelter, and in seeing You and remembering You, I see You, and seeing You I don’t have to experience birth and death anymore.”

The calamities of death, the calamities of being cheated, the calamities of physical pains watching her five children and their wife living in the exile in the forest and being hunted – it was very difficult. If she could have been there with them, it would have been much easier. But she wasn’t allowed to go with them. She was at Vidura’s house in Hastinapura. And she would have to hear about these things. She would hear nasty, terrible rumors being spread around Hastinapura by Duryodhana about her own children.

This is the exalted status of Kunti. If she was some sort of hard-hearted, detached yogini, it wouldn’t have been the same type of prayer. But devotees have soft hearts. She was a mother. She was a grandmother. She was a wife and her husband died. Practically everything possible we could think that could happen to a person happened to her. And it’s not that she didn’t suffer but in that suffering she was experiencing the eternal joy of remembering Krsna. The more desperate the suffering, the more desperately she took shelter of Krsna. And that is the meaning of this prayer.

Srila Prabhupada said whether we would pray for calamities or not, they will come. Really we don’t have to pray like Kunti for calamities, they will come anyway. Everyone is going to die anyway. The setbacks of this world, the reversals, unfairness of envious people – it is all going to come upon us. The real prayer is in all circumstances to remember You, Krsna.

Her own daughter-in-law, Draupadi… What is the most famous, inspiring story of Draupadi? How many times do we hear in lectures about how happy she was when she was to marry Arjuna or how happy she was when Bhima prepared a nice feast for her? But when she was being stripped naked by Duhsasana and there was no one who was protecting her, she felt utterly betrayed by everyone she trusted in this world. In that stage she understood, “Only Krsna is my real fried who can save me.” And she helplessly lifted her arms and cried out, “Hey, Krsna! Hey, Govinda!” In the intensity of her surrender, saranagati, Krsna appeared before her. That is the glory of her life, that instant that inspires people five millenniums later more than any other. Kunti was watching all these things happen.

His Holiness Niranjana Maharaja was speaking about the daydreams and the night dreams. Srila Prabhupada would write to us, all of his devotees, “I hope this meets you in good health.” What’s this health? Of course, spiritual health, but he was also talking about emotional health and physical health, too. If it is all a dream, who cares? The bodies are just a dream and miseries we are going through are just a dream… Who cares? Why even try to liberate people, because whatever suffering we are going through is just a dream anyway?

The soul is eternal. The soul is full of bliss. Because a devotee, although he or she understands the nature of these good dreams and bad dreams, daydreams and night dreams, still it’s the atma that is identifying with it. The devotee feels compassion. What does Prabhupada mean when he says para-dukha-dukhi, a devotee suffers when he sees others suffering and he is happy when he sees others happy? If all the suffering is just a dream, why should we suffer when we see others suffering a dream?

It’s because the eternal soul, a part of Krsna, is loved so much by Krsna. If Krsna loves us, therefore a devotee loves us. Identifying with this dream is what causes us suffering. Devotees feel suffering when they see others suffering. But there is a difference, because when an ordinary materially-oriented person suffers to see another suffer, we just try to make a make-shift change of the dream, from a suffering dream to a more happy dream. That’s all a material person can do. But a devotee wants to wake us up.

In Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was speaking to Haridasa Thakura and He was really suffering. He said, “My heart is feeling such pain to see all the people suffering in this material world in forgetfulness of Krsna.” Haridasa Thakura said, “But You came here to wake them up from the dream of the suffering, from the bad and good suffering, because You have come to this world and You have personally chanted the holy name.”

jiva jago, jiv jago, gauracanda bole
kota nidra jao maya-pisacira kole

We daydream because we are sleeping on the lap of maya, of illusion. And yes, we feel for people who are dreaming in this way. Good dream, bad dream – it is all bad, because it’s all distracting us from our true natural wakeful state. jivera ‘svarupa’ haya-krsnera ‘nitya-dasa.

We are all eternal servants of Krsna and love for Krsna is our true nature. But actually to understand this, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, we must follow in the footsteps of great souls. And the great souls come to this world and pass through situations that are very similar to us but they show us how to do it. And that is Kunti.

She didn’t select the sufferings. She didn’t place an order on the internet, “Let my five grandchildren die. Let Abhimanyu die. Let my elder son be killed by my younger son.” These were things she was trying to avoid like anything because she’s a mother and a grandmother. Whatever could pain her heart the most, it all happened. But she never felt, “Krsna, why?” She understood that Krsna is her only shelter and she understood that by taking shelter of Krsna, Krsna would give his highest mercy to all of her loved ones and to everyone.

In today’s verses, which is from the Tenth Canto, Kunti is in a very different situation, because in the First Canto we read “The war is over.” All the problems have already happened. Now Yudhisthira Maharaja is king. And she is offering her prayers to Krsna, “This is the most difficult moment of my life now, because You are leaving us. When the calamities were here we were always together. You were always with us, but now when everything is all right, I may forget You.” That was her prayer.

But it today’s verses it’s right in the middle of everything. While she is speaking to Krsna, Duryodhana is in the palace, Karna is in the palace, Sakuni, Duhsasana – they are all there. What is going to happen next? They just tried to murder and burn alive the Pandavas. The Pandavas were hiding, they were coming back and she knows the envy and the hatred of her nephews is worse than ever. But Kunti in her gracious, divine, motherly nature has simply given her heart to Krsna.

His Holiness Niranjana Swami Maharaja has so eloquently told how Krsna gave His heart to Ambarisa Maharaja. So when Durvasa Muni said, “Please have a heart. Protect me. I am taking shelter of You.” So beautifully he explained, “I don’t have My heart. Ambarisa has My heart. You have to go to him.” That is actually – that principle of how a devotee gives his or her heart fully to Krsna and Krsna reciprocates by giving His heart to His devotee – that is the ultimate culmination of all knowledge, of all the scriptures. That is truly the essence. Whatever rules, regulations or philosophical explanations may be there, this pastime of the Lord being subordinate to the devotee’s love and a devotee being subordinate to the Lord’s love is the essence of all truths.

That is what Srila Prabhupada came to give us. Who are we to understand the essence of all truths? But if we have a simple heart with faith to receive it and, as Maharaja said, if we actually take great happiness in hearing about the great devotees of the Lord – what is their love for the Lord and what is the Lord’s love for the devotees – just by developing that taste to appreciate another Vaisnava’s love, that is actually how the doors to our hearts open to receive that love ourselves. It’s most important.

Duryodhana was living with the Pandavas. They loved Krsna but he didn’t appreciate their love. He was envious of the blessings they were receiving.

Srila Prabhupada explains that if we are not envious, if we have a simple heart, and we can appreciate the devotion of others and appreciate the blessings that Krsna is giving others, and appreciate how Krsna is conquered by the love of the devotee, and how a devotee is conquered by the love of Krsna, and that mainly comes through hearing. Then we become qualified also. Queen Kunti’s prayer:

vipadah santu tah sasvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darsanam yat syad
apunar bhava-darsanam (SB 1.8.25)

“Let calamities come again and again so that I can remember You.”, you will never be able to understand that prayer just through philosophy. It’s too much beyond philosophy. We can only understand that prayer when we receive Krsna’s grace. And Krsna will give us that grace when we learn to love and appreciate those to whom He has given His heart. This is really what it means to be the servant of the servant.

Thank you His Holiness Niranjana Swami Maharaja. And I want to say one thing to you. You may be a little proud by how you clapped for him, but in Ukraine they clap at least a million times louder.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=48237

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The Bhakti Body by Kamala Radha devi dasi

8062229271?profile=RESIZE_400xKrishna Consciousness 101 is that we are not our bodies. We may not be our bodies, but our bodies are our vehicles, we use them to get around this world, and just like vehicles it’s important that we maintain them. Simple understanding but we tend to forget this. Even Srila Prabhupada emphasized health from time to time. "It is important to keep the body fit and healthy so that we will not meet the obstacle of ill health while serving Krishna. Ill health may hinder one's service, so, we want to avoid it as much as possible." -(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 19, 1975)

As devotees we may neglect our bodies from time to time in the name of service and the Vaishnavi Ministry of North America is now presenting a class to help us find the balance.

This class will be given by Her Grace Vrindavaneswari Radhika dasi. Vrindavaneswari is a doctor of clinical nutrition and a clinical herbalist. She also holds a masters in integrative nutrition. She is the sole proprietor of her own health clinic called Sage Integrative Health in Philadelphia where she specializes in gut health, women’s health, chronic illness, and plant-based nutrition. Vrindavaneswari also teaches at Bhaktivedanta College in Durbuy Belgium where she teaches their Plant-Based Nutrition Course. "In my experience, whether a person is on this particular spiritual path or not, when the body is out of balance, when there are aches and pains and discomforts, it can really become the focal point" states Vrindavaneswari, "If a person is in pain, they are not sleeping well, their gut is out of balance, they are suffering from headaches and so on, they may find that these things can detract from life. When we are trying to focus our energies on a relationship with God through our sadhana (spiritual practice), if our body is complaining it can make progress difficult. So health issues, if not addressed, can become impediments on our spiritual path."

This class will be focused on addressing imbalances in the female body. The purpose of this particular class will be to provide an overview for Vaishnavis while also offering suggestions on nutrition and herbal medicine. Vaishnavis will be able to have an open discussion about health concerns from a devotional standpoint. This class will use a natural approach to health concerns and bodily issues that affect women, and to allow the Vaishnavi community to explore some other topics in a safe space."Sometimes women in our society (and all over the world) hold the weight of the world on their shoulders, and in taking care of so many others aside from ourselves we often put health on the back burner. One thing that I really want to bring to the table for this class is to encourage Vaishnavis to take their health seriously, to recognize that their health is beneficial not only to themselves, but to their families, to their service, and to their relationship with Krishna".

This class will have practical applications that you can integrate into your life with ease. Vrindavaneswari will go through common health concerns, address nutritional and holistic approaches to healing, and herbal treatments for the body. It is the primary goal of this seminar to give Vaishnavis a safe space to talk about their health issues, but Vrindavaneswari shared that she really wants it to be an example of how females should treat one another as well. “It’s important that women support one another and to encourage a culture of self-care and nourishment.

To RSVP for this event, please visit Vaishnavi Ministry North America.

Source: https://iskconnews.org/the-bhakti-body,7538/

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New Sensation by Bhaktimarga Swami

8062175088?profile=RESIZE_400xIt is rather a new sensation for Aisvarya—rustling through the fallen leaves. He’s a Trinidad boy, used to the tropical experience, but at this portion in his life he’s touching autumn for the first time. He’s now gone
through three seasons. He would be in his home country by now, Trinidad, but Covid-19 has created some complications, as it has for a lot of people.

Aisvarya and I made it to the park at Allan Gardens, where the grass is still very green but the autumn drying leaves are complementary in colour. I showed him the house at 187 Gerrard Street, across the street, where I was spiritually born. You see, that was where I joined in ’73, to don the clothes of a monk and put my mind to bhakti. I understand an accountant lives there now. I wonder if he has picked up on the devotional vibes of the place, if they are still there.

Our route, on return to the ashram, was a left-right-left-right, across the grid of Toronto. At one point we met Gayatri, who works with Children’s Aid. We also met one of those Uber boys, a student from India, who delivers food to residents. “Radhe! Radhe!” He said, upon seeing my saffron. He’s now going to connect with the temple. Another fellow asked if Aisvarya and I are Buddhist. “No! Hare Krishna!” we replied.

A light remark came from an old hippie-type whom we met on Yoge, right at the spot where a cash-transit Brink’s truck was parked. With enthusiasm he pointed to the truck and addressed us saying “How do you like my piggy bank?” We liked that.

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Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2020/10/tuesday-october-13-2020.html

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These are all the activities of sadhana-bhakti-yoga, it cleanses the heart from the conception that “I am the body” and it changes the spirit of possessiveness from “I want to possess things for myself, my enjoyment” to “I only want to possess Krishna”. And when we give ourselves to this process of hearing and chanting about Krishna, then the more we do it the more we want to do it, because we get the taste and there is nothing that’s more powerful than the taste. And when we get the taste for Krishna, we become like mad people.

So the more we will clear ourselves and dip ourselves into this process of sadhana-bhakti, which is the bhakti-lata-bija, then the more our greediness and our possessiveness for Krishna will grow. And when we’re possessive that we just can’t live without having Krishna, when we get to the point when we don’t want anything else in life, that we just want Krishna and nothing else, then that’s called pure devotion. And when our devotion becomes purified, and that type of devotion is burning inside of our hearts, then Lord Krishna He cannot resist that, and Lord Krishna gives His mercy. And His mercy is called “vishuddha-sattva”. It means His whole internal potency from the spiritual world, He just sends it down and it touches our hearts.

And the first thing that will happen is that no more material conception. The second thing that will happen is that we understand who we are. Once and for all we actually know who we are in there, inside. Just like now if I ask any of you, I say “Who are you?”, and You will say “I am Krishna das, I am Krishna’s servant”. And I’ll say “Well, that’s very good. Which servant of Krishna are you? What do you do? Where do you live?”, then we all go “Hmmm…. well I’m not there yet”. And that’s ok.

Srila Prabhupada said that the following example, say you have your Spanskiy train to Astana, as long as you stay in the train you’re going to arrive to Astana. See, so we’re doing the sadhana-bhakti-yoga, and now we have the general conception that I am Krishna’s servant, but if you stay on the train, stay in the process and keep cultivating the Krishna consciousness, then we will arrive. Krishna will give us mercy. And just in a flash everything will change.

After Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, he says something very interesting in his commentary on Siksastaka. He is talking about taking Krishna consciousness from the position of just the awakening of faith in Krishna to the position of Krishna-prema-bhakti. And he says that there are different stages of sadhana-bhakti and at certain point sadhana stops and then perfection begins. Sadhana means “practice” and siddhi means “perfection”. Like we have a saying in English, probably means the same in Russian also: “Practice makes perfect”.

So at a certain point the practice will stop and the perfection will begin, and the last stage of practice is called Asakti, and asakti means “attachment”. So, what is the last stage of the practice that’s called “attachment”? Because at that time by the practice of your sadhana the attachment has become a 100% changed. And instead of being attached to matter you’re only attached to Krishna.

And Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that when you chant Hare Krishna in that position, the chanting is called shuddha-nama, or pure chanting of the Holy Names. And he says, then at that point the mrror of the heart that it talks about, the mirror of the heart is like perfectly polished. You know when Lord Chaitanya says ceto-darpana-marjanam, He says about cleansing the mirror of the heart. So at asakti the mirror of the heart is clean and polished. He says, that when the devotee chants shuddha-nama, he looks inside of the mirror of the heart and he sees who he is. And he says, also, sometimes, when the devotee looks inside of the mirror of the heart, from the corner of the mirror he sees this beautiful blue boy looking at him. And he becomes more mad, and more eager to have Krishna. So this is what actually is the bhakti-lata-bija.

HH Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami
2013.01.06 Day of the Holy Names [36:30 onwards] Almaty, Kazakhstan

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=48325

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From a rickshaw puller to a pilot flying high in the sky, from a government employee to a head of the government, from a beggar on the street to a business tycoon, from a baby in her cradle to a man knocking at the door of graveyard – all continuously search for happiness.

But in spite of our obsession with ‘happiness’, ‘miseries’ continuously accompany us like a shadow. Misery can be physical or can be psychological and it has a knack of appearing and disappearing at its own whims.

Scriptures tell us about the fourfold misery – birth, old age, disease and death. Till date since the dawn of creation there has not been a single being including non -humans who have not been affected by it. Who in this world would want to be diseased, grow old and ultimately die? But it happens to all of us. In this world we are also subjected to three other types of miseries:

Miseries caused by nature such as excessive heat or cold, flood or famine, earthquake, tsunami etc. (adhidaivika-klesa)

Miseries caused by the activities of fellow beings like terrorists or sometimes by our own near and dear ones. Even other species like mosquitoes, viruses too inflict on us sufferings in form of several diseases. (adhibhautika-klesa)

Suffering caused by our own body and mind (adhyatmika-klesa). Bodily diseases, anxiety, depression, stress, fear of future etc. do not allow us to live in peace.
In spite of our repeated efforts we are not able to defend ourselves against the onslaught of material miseries. The only approach which we consider effective is by increasing our worldly possessions and enhancing our material positions. We think by filling our coffers with lots of money we can bribe misery when it knocks at our door and can change our destiny. But sadly our gestures do not succeed in cutting the ice and we get hit hard.

One of the advantages of being a human is that we have been gifted with intelligence. So, as an intelligent species shouldn’t we ask why in spite of all my efforts, irrespective of all the measures taken we are not able to free ourselves from the strong grip of grief and sorrow? Are the precautionary measures taken by us aren’t sufficient or is it that the measures itself is erroneous and so outcome is always ineffective.

When we buy a new gadget such as an IPhone then along with it is given to us a manual which not just explains the functionalities of the device but also specifies dos and don’ts. And for effective functioning we are supposed to adhere to given guidelines. But if we go against the advices then the device starts malfunctioning.

Similarly we have also been given manuals by the creator of this world who is also our Supreme Father. These manuals are the sacred literatures which comprehensively give detail about this world, about our life and also delineate the process by which we can ward off all miseries and lead a peaceful life. It will not just protect us from all dangers but will also guide us to a path which will open the door of perennial bliss.

Arjuna was in abject misery and in tears just before the Mahabharat war. But after being thoroughly educated by Krishna in spiritual science he got enlightened and decided to work according to the directive of Krishna, the Supreme Lord. He fought with grit without worrying about gain or loss. And since he was executing his given duties as per the laws of God, he was victorious. Krishna was always with him providing protection and guidance.

We suffer here because we go against the laws of God, we do not turn towards him but we turn away from him. But like Arjuna, if we do all our activities in conjunction with the scriptures and if we invite Krishna in our life then we can protect ourselves from many unpleasant situations and circumstances.

After the Mahabharat war ended, Krishna asked Arjuna to get down from the chariot first. But Arjuna requested Krishna to get down first. Krishna advised Arjuna to do what he is being asked to do. So Arjuna got down first and then Krishna followed. And as soon as Krishna got down, it blew up and burned to ashes. Arjuna was horrified. Krishna explained that the weapons unleashed by Bhisma, Drona and other Kaurava warriors were extremely powerful but because of him the lethal weapons did not harm Arjuna a bit. Arjuna always remained safe in Krishna’s hand. Krishna, the all-powerful and all merciful is our only saviour.

Yes it is true that in this world a devotee of the Lord too undergoes through old age, disease and death and three types of miseries impinge him too. But Krishna shields his devotees from all the dangers and provides him sufficient intelligence and inner strength which helps to nullify the miseries of this world. If we are in Krishna’s care there is no fear and Krishna wipes all our tear. Not just this after leaving this world we get an opportunity to return back to the kingdom of Krishna where there is no rebirth, no disease, no old age, no death, no adhidaivika-klesa, no adhibhautika-klesa and no adhyatmika-klesa.

In Bhagavad Gita 3.10, Krishns says “Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.” And the yajna in this world is chanting the names of Krishna, the Hare Krishna mantra. Chanting brings Krishna’s grace and it opens the gateway to the spiritual world which is the abode of eternity and bliss. And so Srila Prabhupada famously said, “Chant and be happy.”

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=21829

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Tamal Krishna Goswami served as ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner from 1970-2002, and ISKCON Initiating Spiritual Master from 1977-2002. In January 1972, he accepted the renounced order of life, sannyasa, in Jaipur. He served as India’s GBC Secretary from 1970–74 and as trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, overseeing sales in the USA from 1977-2002. He is fondly called “Srila Gurudeva” by his many disciples and “Goswami” by his godbrothers and members of the academe.

Born in Harlem New York, he began associating with the Krishna Consciousness movement in 1968 and was accepted as a disciple by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in San Francisco, the same year. Immediately he emerged as a leader and assumed various positions of leadership. From 1975 until 1979, Tamal Krishna Goswami headed the “Radha-Damodara Party”. The party consisted of hundreds of Swami Prabhupada’s disciples, who traveled around America on buses, distributing Prabhupada’s books. He also spearheaded the establishment of ISKCON temples and centers in India, France, Great Britain and the United States. He worked closely with Srila Prabhupada as his secretary and as Governing Body Commissioner for India, developing major ISKCON projects in Vrindavan, Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and Mayapur.

In 1972, he was awarded sannyasa, the renounced order of life, in Jaipur, India and assumed the title of Goswami, meaning controller of the senses.

In 1974, Tamal Krishna Goswami returned to the United States to work on large-scale preaching programs, organizing and leading book distribution and the unparalleled Radha-Damodara Sankirtana / Book Distribution Party.

In 1977, as on of Srila Prabhupada’s most trusted disciples, Tamal Krishna Goswami served as his personal secretary, during the seven months before Srila Prabhupada’s passing in the same year.

In 1995, Tamal Krishna Goswami enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, graduating in 1998 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. He then moved to England to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, where under the supervision of Dr. Julius Lipner, he wrote his dissertation on the theological teachings of Srila Prabhupada.

In 2002, March 15th, Tamal Krishna Goswami passed away in a vehicular accident in the sacred place of Phuliya in West Bengal, India. He left his life the same way he had lived it, completely absorbed in service to his spiritual master and Krishna. His Samadhi is placed besides Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi in ISKCON Sri Mayapura-dhama, West Bengal, India.

Tamal Krishna Goswami was a respected figure in the academic world and a regular and popular presenter at the American Academy of Religion annual conference. He was the author of several books on various religious subjects, including two collections of essays, two memoirs, a novel and two classical Vedic dramas. He was also doctoral student at Clare Hall, Cambridge, under Dr. Julius J. Lipner where his thesis was on the theology of ISKCON’s founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. At the time of his death, he had completed all but the conclusion. This dissertation “A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti”, Tamal Krishna Goswami’s posthumously released PhD thesis (with help from a professor of religious studies, Garuda Dasa (Graham M. Schweig of Christopher Newport University) is now a book published by Oxford University Press in New York. His lectures are widely distributed and help listeners understand Vedic culture and philosophy from a practical present-day perspective.

Though no longer physically present among us, Tamal Krishna Goswami lives forever through his instructions, books, academic work and in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=90532

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8057561856?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen

A three-storey, fifty-bed secondary care hospital is set to be built on Bhaktisiddhanta Road opposite the ISKCON Mayapur campus in West Bengal, expanding the already existing Sri Mayapur Community Hospital. 

The hospital will be staffed by qualified devotee doctors and nurses, and will serve ISKCON devotees, Vaishnavas from the nearby Gaudiya Maths, local villagers and pilgrims. The convenient service will save patients a journey to a hospital in Kolkata and will provide them with high quality treatment in a more personalized way and at a much more affordable cost.

The history of health care services in Mayapur goes back some 25 years, when the Sri Mayapur Vikas Sanga was formed to serve the greater Mayapur area. In the early days, a homeopathy van traveled from village to village. Later, a hospital building was constructed where basic nursing and healthcare services were provided. Parallel to this effort, community nursing services were offered by Prayojana Dasi, and midwifery services were offered for many years by devotees like Krishna Laulya Dasi and the late Ramadevi Dasi.

The next step came in 2013, when Dr. Madhavananda Das, director of Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, established a clinic at the existing Mayapur hospital building, run by husband and wife Dr. Dina Pavan Das and Dr. Lila Radhika Dasi. The clinic cared for basic illnesses, while dental services were run by Dr. Keshava and Dr. Yashoda Jivan. Later, Bhaktivedanta Hospital also set up an eyecare facility.

In 2016, Bhaktivedanta Hospital passed management on to the Mayapur Administrative Council (MAC), who in 2019 decided to expand the project, now named the Sri Mayapur Community Hospital. Soon after, Medical Superintendent Dr. Sukhi Acyuta Das came on board. Finally in March 2020, when COVID-19 hit, the team spent the lockdown period from March to June working virtually on developing the hospital design.

The present team comprises of Dr. Sukhi Achyuta, the Medical Superintendent; general physician Dr. Soumik Debnath; physiotherapist Mukunda Govardhan; senior dentist Dr. Keshava; resident dentist Dr. Yashoda Jivan; Dr. Nandapriya Nevadita; and Dr. Rangini. Dr. Vinay Gaurachandra, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami’s personal doctor, offers extensive telemedical consultations as part of the hospital team; while many other visiting experts and surgeons such as Dr. Bonamali Roy regularly see patients at the hospital. 

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/fifty-bed-secondary-care-hospital-to-be-built-at-iskcon-mayapur,7536/

 

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6 days of Parikrama with 40,000 devotees hearing Gaura Katha from more than 15 Sannyasis and Prabhupad Diciples!! Want to hear our story??

It all began …

in the auspicious month of Purusottama this year when ISKCON Mayapur announced a Virtual Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama. This idea was conceived under the guidance of the Parikrama Commander HH Jayapataka Swami and conducted by Mayapur Tourism Division. It is prescribed in the Purusottama Month that one should visit Holy places and perform as much as extra devotional activities as possible.  By doing so one achieves unlimited spiritual benefits. What more holy place is there than Navadvipa – the birth and pastimes places  of Lord Gaurachandra and what greater devotional service can be there than performing parikrama of Navadvipa with senior devotees, hearing the Nectarian pastimes in each island. 

Thus, this project was launched on 18th September the first day of Purusottama month, by HH Jayapataka Swami. It was promoted on the official ISKCON Mayapur Facebook page Mayapur.com and on all other social media platforms. Devotees had to register themselves free of charge at mayapuronlinefestival.com choosing their preferred language. The parikrama was conducted in 6 Languages – English, Hindi, Bengali, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. Total of 11,800 devotees registered for this Parikrama.

At the same time back in Mayapur, the Camera and Production team began the shooting of Parikrama footages. They went each day to different islands with HG Atul Krsna Das prabhu who was our Parikrama anchor and the other senior devotees from Mayapur who spoke about the significance of that holy place, sharing the sweet pastimes of Gauranga.  It was a star studded Parikrama with 10 Sannyasis and more than 10 Senior devotees sharing their experiences and explaining about the temples. The Sannyasis and Prabhupad Disciples who gave their association in the parikrama are HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Gopalkrsna Goswami, HH Lokanath Swami, HH Bhakti Chaitanya Swami, HH Bhakti Vighna Vinasana Narasimha Swami, HG Jananivas Das, HG Pankajanghri Das, HG Pancaratna das, HG Rajendranandana Das,  HH Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami, HH Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, HH Bhakti Ashraya Vaisnava Swami, HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami, HH Gauranga Prema Swami, HH Bhakti Vijay Bhagavat Swami , HG Sankarshan Nitai das , HG Narugopal das and many more senior Vaisnavas. 

The devotees received the Zoom links to join the parikrama on their email ID and the Parikrama began on 9th October with the Adivas ceremony. There were 8 Zoom accounts running simultaneously with one devotee in each zoom account as the host. The devotees mentally arrived at Yogapitha and under the auspicious neem tree where Sri Visvambhara was born and took their Sankalpa (vow) to perform the Parikrama for the next 6 days. From 10th to 15th October the devotees went through the 9 islands of Navadvipa and also had the opportunity to offer lamps to the deities in each island. Finally on 19th October the Mahamilan utsav- the festival when all the groups meet took place. HH Jayaptaka Swami, HG Padmanetra Das – Namahatta Head and HG Atul Krsna Das spoke to the devotees and the participants also shared their realizations with us. Here are few of those priceless realizations…

The online Purushottama maas Navadvipa  Parikrama on zoom was a wonderful experience. As we were watching the videos we were completely unaware of the time of the day at our place.  It was as if we were physically present in the Dham.  When the various Senior Devotees were speaking on the glories and the pastimes of Lord Gauranga it was like we were sitting in that place and hearing from Them directly.  The videos were well made and we could see all The Deities, Ponds, The Bhajan Kutirs all so clearly.  These will surely help us meditate on the Dham. Thank you from the bottom of our heart the entire team of this Parikrama for this wonderful, unforgettable experience, which proved nothing can stop the Dham Devotees who come up with such innovative ideas.  

Mangalamayi Malini Devi Dasi

Hyderabad, Telengana

I am so happy and delighted by your efforts for the virtual parikrama. Every time we travel to Dham for the parikrama but this year the beautiful Dham of Mayapur and Parikrama has come to us, what a wonderful thing!!!!! It is such a pleasure and bliss to be able to do the parikrama from home as every member of the family gets darshan and also an opportunity to do some seva(online)

Mayapur has always been my favourite Dham and have actually felt Mahaprabhus mercy in my life. 

Dwarka Vasini D.D.

ISKCON NAIROBI KENYA

I live in the USA and never had an opportunity to physically perform the Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama, but I have an intense desire to do so. Gradually the sweet Gaura and Nitai fulfilled my desire. When I visited Sri Mayapur Dhama last year, I came across the wonderful book on Sri Navadvipa Parikrama and started reading it. Later, TOVP sent me a book Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After reading these two books, my desire to visit Navadvipa and perform the parikrama grew more intense. Finally by the causeless mercy of Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya (and of course Srila Prabhupada), I am able to visit the dhama by virtually performing the parikrama. The Supreme Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Absolute. There is no difference between His name, form, qualities, pastimes, and abode. Similarly there is no difference between performing the parikrama physically, mentally, or virtually. I take solace in the fact that I am able to get the same mercy and blessings by performing the virtual parikrama as I would through physical parikrama. It is mesmerizing to hear from senior vaishnavas about the pastimes and significance of each place as they are slowly revealing the hidden secrets behind the dhama.

Your aspiring servant,

Bhakta Pritam Dey
 

I realized how Krishna Consciousness is beyond all barriers. Although it was virtual, but the mood of the devotees who took us there, who described their glories and enthusiastic devotees who attended online, enlightened me. Although physically not together, but together in spirit, the parikrama became more ecstatic . Despite all the challenges the world and devotees community across the globe is facing, this parikrama nevertheless showered the mercy of Lord Gauranga to all of us, uplifting my consciousness and purifying my desires to serve the Dham and when things get better, visit those places and roll in the dust of the Dham!
I offer my humble obeisances at the dust of the lotus feet of the devotees, who tirelessly worked hard to make this parikrama special for us!

Snigdhamayi Sudevi Devi Dasi 

Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama Album : https://bit.ly/37kQ1jb

Sri Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama ki Jai!

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!

Sourcehttp://www.dandavats.com/?p=90528

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A Backtrack by Bhaktimarga Swami

8057442093?profile=RESIZE_400xKaruna and I traveled safely, in our temple car, to the location of my God brother, Girijadhava. He and I sat outside, safely in the backyard, not just to “shoot the breeze” and speak about the current socio-political situation in the world but to, in a way, go back through a time machine. I was basically interviewing him about his time as a monk, living in the ashram in the 70’s, what led him to that and how he feels about that experience before he settled down to marriage and had a daughter.

The purpose behind the back-track was to gain material for a book on the early days of the pioneers of Krishna Consciousness in Canada. Giri played a major role in helping to establish this higher consciousness by promoting literature. As he recalled, “We went on Yonge St. with these huge bags for carrying the smaller publications, in addition to lugging a box of heavier hard-bound books for approaching the public.” Perhaps for the first time, western folks were taking an interest in eastern thought through cultural curiosity. The philosophy and the stories of Krishna were novel.

I also recall those times on the street, meeting people. We made our own incense and we would stop people with one of those sticks to engage them in conversation and then show them a book. We spent hours outside, even during the winter. For me it was quite the adjustment, having come from a farm, out in the country, and now being confronted with the passions of a growing city—the hustle and bustle. Nevertheless they were good times. As Giri himself says (and he’s a businessman), “Those were the most conscious days of my life.”

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2020/10/monday-october-12-2020.html

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Meet Bhakta Lee!

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By Kaliya Krishna Das


This nice gentleman is Lee or as some call him “Hippy Lee” or as some of the Harinam devotees more appropriately simply call him Bhakta Lee! He’s been participating in the NYC Harinam practically since it was started over 8 years ago. He walked by the Harinam in Union square park one summer and has been coming ever since. He’s a flute enthusiast who brings several different types of flutes to play along with the kirtans. A wonderful person who likes the association of devotees and enjoys spending his retirement years chanting the Holy name instead of playing shuffle board! He just recently shared one of his realizations by saying: “NYC Harinam is the best thing that’s happening in town man!” — at Columbus Circle.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=90521

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8054044691?profile=RESIZE_584xDear Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
On behalf of our ISKCON GBC representative, His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaja and our ISKCON Pandharpur Community, we are appealing to you for your kind help. On Oct, 16th, Sri Pandharpur Dhama was flooded by the Chandrabhaga River. The damages are estimated at more than USD $56,000. We are not in a position to rebuild our losses. Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath’s crops and flowers growing in the fields are now submerged in water and gone. Their Lordships’ temple, goshala, ashram, guest house, Govinda’s Restaurant, offices, BBT Books, Gurukula, and Srila Prabhupada Ghata have all been severely damaged. We need your help.
Mosquitoes are breeding in the flooded lands. Devotees need proper shelter to insure their safety. Our cows will not receive the high standard of care at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath until their goshala is cleaned and repaired. We are not currently able to properly receive and host our guests.
We appeal to devotees around the world to please donate generously. With your donations we can rebuild. Our cows can come back to their goshala and once again graze there in a happy and peaceful mood. Tons of mud can be cleaned from the buildings. Damaged structures can be repaired. Devotees can return to their ashrams. Our infrastructure can return to the new normal and continue to serve the global community of devotees. Srila Prabhupada Ghata can continue attracting and offering shelter to pilgrims from all over the world.
Please donate today! We urgently need your help now!
As a token of gratitude, everyone who gives any donation will receive a signed copy of the book written by Lokanath Swami Maharaja, “Bhu-Vaikuntha” by post. Bhu-Vaikuntha is a comprehensive guidebook to Sri Pandharpur Dhama. The glories and history of Sri Pandharpur Dhama including visits of Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, Visvarupa Prabhu and Tukaram Maharaja are revealed.
Link to photos:
https://drive.google.com/…/1I2Wy6KJ8MNHZgSdFWKuH1BdFWF…
I am enclosing donation transfer details below. You can donate from both India and abroad. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any additional details.
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Sri Sri Radha Pandharinath and Pandharpur Dhama
Dhanurdhar Arjun Das
Secretary – ISKCON Pandharpur
Phone and whatsapp: +91 90961 49069
dad.lns.sp@gmail.com

Short videos about the damage caused by the floods:

 

Read more: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=90504

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By Mira Rose-Dewil

Here are some practical ideas for creating a Krishna conscious environment for kids at home, many based on Montessori principles that I have found successful in my school. They are geared toward the 2-6 age group. I would love to hear from anyone who might have more ideas for this age group or for older children.

1. Organize the physical environment so that all devotional items and activities are easily within reach for children to access independently. Have a specific place for each item so that children know where to find things and how to pack away when they are done. This can make a huge difference to how often your child spontaneously engages in KC activities. For example:

Put your Bhagavatams and other books on a low shelf so that kids can take them out and look at the fascinating pictures whenever they want.

Have a kids’ altar at kids level so that they can offer things whenever they want, clean, or just hang out in front of the altar.

Have a low shelf nearby with a child-size offering set, cleaning cloths (spray bottles are fun), a basket for picking flowers, a child-size arati set.

Have musical instruments in a basket right near the altar so they can do kirtan whenever they want.

Make your kitchen child-friendly by having a step ladder so that they can reach the taps and counters. Have a low table for them to work at with a child-safe chopper, chopping board, bowls, peeler.

2. Children of this age love to be engaged in practical activities and thrive on doing such work. There are so many possibilities for age-appropriate practical activities. For example:

Have a little tray set up for brass polishing with cotton wool, a dropper bottle with Brasso, and polishing cloths.

Pouring. Have a little jug and tiny cups that your child can pour water into to offer to the deity pictures on their altar.

Threading. Have a tray with string and beads for making bead garlands. (Very small children can use chunky beads and older children can use quite tiny beads.) Have drawing pins or hooks in the back of the picture frames and show your child how to hang the garland on the picture. Older children can use a blunt needle and thread and make flower garlands.

Dish-washing. Show your child how to wash Krishna’s dishes after making an offering.

Food preparation. Have a child-friendly set-up as described above. Potato and carrot peeling are popular, as is chopping. We have a serrated child’s chopper and the children are always very proud to identify the bits of vegetables or fruits that they have chopped in the prasada. The possibilities are endless – baking, pancakes, sandwiches . . .

Cleaning. Show your child how to carefully remove everything from the altar and wipe the altar and all pictures before replacing everything.

3. Teach by teaching and not by correcting. Many children are very sensitive to being corrected or scolded for mistakes, and this can dent a child’s confidence or sap enthusiasm for an activity. So make sure you anticipate possible challenges and demonstrate everything in a clear and logical way to avert unnecessary difficulties.

For example, rather than having a situation where you end up scolding a child for putting a sacred book on the floor, show the child: “This is how you carefully take the Bhagavatam off the shelf. This is how you carry it to the table or the cloth that you have laid on the floor. This is how you open it. This is how you carefully turn the pages holding onto the corner of the page, until you find the pictures. This is how you close it and carefully put it back when you are finished.” The same careful demonstration applies for every activity.

Accept mistakes and accidents calmly and matter-of-factly. Show kids how to carry things with two hands. Show kids how to wipe up spills and clean up after accidents.

Don’t be hung up about rules and regulations and worried about children making “offenses.” Krishna should feel like an all-loving friend to them and they should not have to tiptoe around Him or be scared of doing something wrong. If a toddler pulls himself up at the altar and offers Krishna a sticky sweet that he has held in his hand for half an hour and dropped on the floor several times, we should be delighted by his impulse to offer something precious to Krishna.

4. Independence and free will. Kids of this age are really striving to learn to do things by themselves. We should facilitate by allowing them to do things without undue interference, advice, and hovering. Also, children should never feel forced to engage in some kind of devotional activity. If they are not interested in something because it does not serve some meaningful inner purpose for them, coercion may kill any likelihood of their natural interest in the activity arising at a future time. As soon as we try to force small children to do some devotional activity as a matter of routine, it could become a chore. Also, we deprive ourselves and them of the joy that arises when they spontaneously decide to decorate the altar with flowers, or take their deities (pictures) on an outing to a nice spot with a cool breeze and sing bhajans, or take out all the Bhagavatams and “read” them all in one go, etc., etc.

5. Don’t over-praise. Of course we want to encourage our children and express our satisfaction when they do something devotional nicely. But excessive praise may make children dependent on outside approval and validation for their activities, rather than wanting to do something for its own sake, and feeling satisfied by their own evaluation of what they have done. Simple observations can be very effective e.g. “I saw how carefully you chose only the perfect flowers to offer to the Lord.” Or “Look how shiny the acamana cup is now!”

Here are a few other ideas that I have found quite successful:

Have a set chanting time during the day. From early on begin training your kids that “Now is my chanting time. You may be here if you want to chant or if you are silent. Otherwise you may play anywhere else in the house.” Gradually the period of time during which they can adhere to your request extends.

Get kids counter beads to chant on. It is very exciting for them to finish a “round” quickly.

Get squares of felt in 3 different colours (I used pink for “Hare,” blue for “Krishna,” and green for “Rama”) and lay them out on a carpet to make chanting stepping stones. This is a great way for them to chant when they don’t want to be still. Also good for introducing other kids who don’t know the mantra.

Have festivals at home. Even if you live close to a temple, there are benefits to having festivals at home specially for small children as temple festivals may not always be geared for them. We have “birthday parties” for appearance days, and it’s something the kids can really relate to. We invite all the neighborhood kids and they come and bring or make presents. We cook a simple prep like biscuits or halava, get flowers for offering and decorating, chant, dance and have stories and maybe a puppet show. There has to be a cake with candles and preferably balloons. They LOVE the festivals.

Sing songs together. You can make up long epic songs about pastimes, which can be useful for entertaining kids while you are doing something else like cooking or driving. If you sing it the same way each time they will quickly learn the words. Teach them traditional bhajans. I first realized how easily kids learn songs in other languages by seeing how effortlessly our 3- and 5-year-old learned “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika,” our national anthem. If you choose a song and sing it repeatedly over a period of time, they will soon pick it up and sing it again and again.

So many crafts can be done. For example:
Make hand puppets or finger puppets. Kids can glue on eyes and jewels or flowers.
Get cardboard and make beautiful jeweled picture frames for deity pictures.
Make bows and arrows and shields (and clubs and swords!) to offer to Lord Rama.
Make a picture book of your child’s trip to Ratha-yatra or India or some other spiritual occasion. These can be really simple with a photo and one or two sentences per page. Kids love to re-live their experiences in this way.

Have a “special night” regularly or occasionally where the whole family does something fun together e.g. a play where you all dress up and Mom is Sita, Dad is Ravana, kids are Rama and Hanuman and Lakshman, or a puppet show or story-telling.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=9108

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8053986674?profile=RESIZE_584xWith the coronavirus death toll now exceeding one million people worldwide, the World Health Organization reported a record one-day rise in global coronavirus cases on Thursday October 8th,saying the total rose by 338,779 in 24 hours. 

In this environment more ISKCON devotees are also falling ill with COVID-19 around the world. Most recently, senior Russian sannyasi Nitai Chaitanya Goswami was admitted to the ICU with severe symptoms. Yadunandana Swami, president of New Vrajamandala, Spain, has recovered. And Guru and GBC Chaitanya Chandra Charan Das and his wife Gouracandrika Devi Dasi were discharged after a hospital stay and are on the road to recovery. 

Devotees worldwide have offered sincere and heartfelt prayers for them all, hoping for their speedy and full recovery. 

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/as-who-reports-record-one-day-rise-in-global-coronavirus-cases-devotee-doctor-gives-guidance-on-health-and-safety,7534/

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Perhaps we are the only society who is proclaiming, “Here is God, Krishna. Take it.” We are the only society in the whole world. Otherwise they are all misled, all misled.

Others may cooperate or not cooperate; we don’t mind. But we cannot change our policy. Our policy is, “Krishna says, ‘I am the Supreme.’ ” We must declare throughout the whole world that Krishna is the Supreme. Krishna says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya. (Gita 7.7) [“O conqueror of wealth (Arjuna), there is no Truth superior to Me.”] We shall declare to the whole world that “Krishna is the Supreme; there is no one superior to Krishna.” This is our Krishna consciousness movement. Krishna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. (Gita 18.65) [“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”]

We are preaching this. In this temple we are asking everyone, “Here is Krishna. Always think of Krishna. Chant Hare Krishna.” Then you will have to think. “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna” means thinking of Krishna. As soon as you hear the name of Krishna—man-mana. And who will do that? Mad-bhakta. Unless you become a devotee of Krishna, you will not waste your time, “Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.” That means simply by chanting Hare Krishna mantra you become a devotee of Krishna. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji. Now, this worship of Krishna: the whole day is engaged for Krishna’s mangala-aratika, for Krishna’s chanting, for Krishna’s cooking, for Krishna’s prasada distribution, so many ways. Our devotees all over the world—there are 102 centers—they are simply engaged in Krishna consciousness. This is our propaganda. Always, no other business. We don’t do any business, but we are spending at least twenty-five lakhs of rupees every month, and Krishna is supplying. Tesam nityabhiyuktanam yoga-ksemam vahamy aham. (Gita 9.22) [“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.”]

If you remain Krishna conscious, fully dependent on Krishna, then there will be no scarcity. I started this Krishna business with forty rupees. Now we have got forty crores of rupees. Is there any businessman in the whole world who within ten years with forty rupees he can increase to forty crores? There is no example. And ten thousand men, they are eating prasadam daily. So this is Krishna consciousness. Yoga-ksemam vahamy aham. As soon as you become Krishna conscious, you simply depend on Him and work sincerely and then Krishna will supply everything—everything.

This is practically being manifested. Take, for example, in Bombay. Now the land is worth one crore of rupees. And when I purchased the land, I had maybe three or four lakhs. So it was completely speculation, but I was confident that “I shall be able to pay. Krishna will give me.” There was no money. That’s a long history—I do not wish to discuss. But I have got now practical experience that you depend on Krishna, there will be no scarcity. Whatever you want, it will be fulfilled. Tesam nityabhiyuktanam. So be always engaged in Krishna consciousness. Then everything will be fulfilled, any desire, if you have got.

— Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1, December 2, 1975, Vrindavan

Source: https://girirajswami.com/blog/?p=16453

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Sunday Outdoors by Bhaktimarga Swami

8053956094?profile=RESIZE_400xOur drama crew executed a meaningful practice, for our upcoming production, in the park. Two filmmakers also came so we could explore theater-by-camera. The pandemic is forcing innovation so we are discussing the settings, locations, camera angles and so forth.

Dhruva migrated from India and Michaella came from Croatia and it looks like they will work together. Dhruva is young and shows some resilience with his sockless, flip-flop shoes but Michaella’s remark was, “You make me cold looking at you.”

With weather that is not so forgiving, at 10°C, you can hardly call this “Indian summer” weather—warm in the day and cool at night. Is it politically correct to use that term anymore?

Two families followed me, during the mid-afternoon, to Queen’s Park by the way of meandering through nooks and alleyways. “Insulin was invented by Dr. Banting, here at the UOT, 99 years ago,” I mentioned to Ritesh, a chemist. That was interesting to him. Apparently all 10 dogs died during the experimentation. That would be bad news for dog lovers to hear, who are strolling along in the park, and along a trail called “Philosophers Walk,” with their pets.

Nimai and Ritesh’s families were with me, enjoying the sun, wind, buildings, people, dogs and God. Indeed, we spoke of Krishna and about chanting over the course of our walk.

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2020/10/sunday-october-11-2020.html

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Virtual Parikrama Mahamilan!

8050720098?profile=RESIZE_584xHare Krishna.
Please accept our humble obeisances.All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
 
Congratulations on successfully completing the Navadvipa Mandala Mandala Parikrama. We thank you for being with us for the six days, giving us an opportunity to serve you. The most exiciting part of the Parikrama is Mahamilan utsava- the meeting of different parties together after finishing Parikrama , everyone singing, dancing and embracing each other- it is a festival of loving exchanges.
 
We are happy to inform you that we will have Mahamilan utsav tomorrow at 7:30 pm (IST) . Joining us in the session will be HH Jayapataka Swami, our Parikrama commander, HG Atul Krsna das, Parikrama anchor and other senior devotees. We will also have Parikrama participants sharing their realizations.
 
You would have attended the Parikrama in full or may be for just a day or even you could not join us in Parikrama due to some constraints, no worries. You can still join us in the Maha milan tomorrow!
 
Date :19 Oct 2020
Time: 07:30 pm IST ( 19:30 hours)
Special guest: HH Jayapataka Swami
It will be broadcast live on Facebook and on ZOOM.
Passcode: 1008
 
You will meet devotees in 5 English parties, 2 Hindi parties, 2 Russian parties, chinese and spanish party.
Don’t miss to login at 7:30 pm.
 
Lord Gauranga’s mercy is waiting for you!
 
Your Servants,
Sri Mayapur Purusottama Parikrama team
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What Would You Do? By Satyaraja Dasa

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Prabhupada’s Money Analogy and the Politics of Doing the Right Thing

 - Satyaraja Dasa (Steven J. Rosen)

According to Srila Prabhupada, one can gauge a person’s spiritual status by how they react to finding money on the street: Do they keep it for themselves? Do they leave it lying there? Or do they look for the original owner? What would you do?

In Sanskrit, there are three terms that cover the gamut of possible reactions to finding money in the street: bhoga, (enjoyment); tyaga (renunciation); and seva (a service attitude). In Prabhupada’s “money analogy,” a bhogi is one who finds money in the street and uses it for his own purposes. This is the enjoying spirit to which most people are slaves. Their senses dictate what they do. The world is meant for their pleasure. If they find something that doesn’t belong to them, no matter, they will use it as they see fit.

A step beyond this is the tyagi. Here is someone who realizes the value of renunciation. Such a person has risen beyond the usual pleasures of the world and is now rejoicing in more subtle forms of material enjoyment. At best, they know that nothing in this world truly belongs to them, and they are thus willing to relinquish the enjoying spirit. In Prabhupada’s analogy, this person leaves the money in the street: “It’s not mine, and I have nothing to do with it.”

As laudable as this approach might at first seem, a superior mode of behavior quickly reveals itself to a thoughtful person. The money left in the street obviously belongs to someone. Why not pick it up and give it back to its original owner? If it is at all possible to discern who left the money there in the first place, wouldn’t the best course of action involve returning it to that person? This is called seva, or service.

But this is all to illustrate an analogy.

If we take the accouterments of this world and use it in God’s service — for it all obviously belongs to Him — we are then properly reacting to the phenomena we see around us. Otherwise, we are merely thieves.

Sometimes Prabhupada would use this same analogy to highlight three other Sanskrit words: karma, jnana, and bhakti, which are closely related to the other three words mentioned above. Prabhupada’s use of the analogy is always enlightening:

There is another example. Just like somebody drops his money bag, unconsciously drops. So somebody picks up and he thinks, “Oh, here is so much money. Put it in my pocket.” [laughter] He’s a thief. He’s a thief. That is karmi. Karmi is trying to simply take from God’s property and put it in his own pocket. That is karmi. “Bring me more. Bring me more. Bring me more.” And the jnani, he sees that one purse is there, somebody has left, so “Why shall I touch it? Let it remain there.” He doesn’t touch
anyone’s property. Jnani: “Why shall I be criminal? Let it remain.” He’s jnani. But a bhakta, he finds a purse, so what his duty? He does not put it into his back pocket; neither does he throw it away — “let it stay there.” He finds out, “Who is the proprietor? Who is the proprietor?” So he can ask somebody if anyone has lost anything. So somebody says, “Yes, yes. I have lost my purse.” So you can examine whether it belongs to him: “I will now examine it. Sir, here is the purse.” “Yes, it is mine.” So these three men, who is best? Hmm? The man who takes the purse and puts it in his pocket — is he the best? Or is it the man who neglects it? This second one says, brahma satyam jagan mithya, “Why shall I touch it? It is mithya. It is false.” Eh? He is good?Or the one who finds out and gives to the proprietor? Who is good?(Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.31 — Honolulu, May 30, 1976)

What would you do?

In life, we are often confronted with this choice, or choices that reflect similar truths. Let’s face it: the world is not ours for the taking. It belongs to God. We are simply here as visitors, and we’ll be leaving all-too-quickly. While here, we should use whatever is given to us in the service of the Lord. How can we pretend that anything really belongs to us? The natural elements come from God. Everything we see, taste, touch, smell or hold dear are His and only His. Are we not thieves — bhogis or karmis — if we just take it for our own enjoyment, without recognize to whom it really belongs? Are we not thieves, too — call it tyagis or jnanis — if we renounce the world, which was given us by our Maker? Are we not obviously put here for a reason — not to enjoy or renounce but to serve? Clearly, the virtuous person is the sevaite or the bhakta — the person who sees that nothing really belongs to him but that everything belongs to God. Such vision necessitates using all things of this world in God’s service. This is the realization that the Krsna Consciousness movement hopes to share with the world.

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8050701080?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen

Disciples and well-wishers of ISKCON guru Varsana Swami have established a Health Care Fund to help cover costs as Maharaja faces various health challenges. 

A beloved long-time resident of New Vrindaban and dedicated disciple of Srila Prabhupada, Varsana Swami has been battling Chronic Lyme Syndrome for several years. Most recently, he developed a severe acute episode which has further complicated his progress in healing. The neurological conditions suggest that Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick, is the cause. 

This has has exacerbated Varsana Swami’s debilitation and aggravated pre-existing health conditions. Currently, Maharaja is struggling to manage a number of health challenges and symptoms, including chronic fatigue causing light-headedness and fainting; joint pain stiffness; aggravated arthritis; neurological dysfunction; cognitive impairment; sleep deprivation and gastrointestinal disorders.

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/fund-established-to-care-for-varsana-swami-amidst-health-challenges,7531/

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