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By Atma Tattva Das

Driven to share the Holy Name, the Bhakti Bloom team has planted the seeds of unity and spiritual awakening at their inaugural Kirtan mela, a two-day extravaganza spanning July 29th and 30th, 2023, near Berlin, Germany. This transformative event drew seekers from diverse backgrounds, offering them a fragrant bouquet of melodies, profound spiritual insights, and a unique opportunity to commune with the Divine.

The event was a resounding success, and its inception and development were envisioned by a remarkable group of individuals. Nandini Devi Dasi, Kanupriya Devi Dasi, Lara, and Sarah, the heart and soul of Bhakti Bloom, shared their insights and experiences in an exclusive interview. Their collective vision for the festival centered on inclusivity, embracing diversity, and fostering a sense of togetherness.

Nandini highlighted the diverse and welcoming atmosphere created during the festival, “It was our desire in the beginning that we get to know each other better…and have meaningful time together. Somehow, Krishna allowed us, so it was quite beautiful.”

Kanupriya, who managed the stalls and played a vital role in the festival’s success, shared her perspective, saying, “Throughout the whole festival, even though I did a lot of running around, I got so much energy from all the spiritual radiance.”

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By Atma Tattva Das

Devotee Care South Africa (DCSA), an integral part of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in South Africa, recently hosted a highly relevant End-of-Life Seminar at the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple in Durban during the last week of August 2023. The seminar, held in collaboration with the Bhaktivedanta Medical Association (BMA), provided invaluable insights into the delicate subject of end-of-life care.

The seminar addressed the profound questions and concerns surrounding end-of-life care within the context of practicing spiritual life. Attendees were offered a wealth of information and practical guidance on navigating the challenges of this critical phase of life. The event was graced by Sukanti Radha Dasi, a vital member of the BMA and a disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami. Her expertise and compassionate approach deeply impacted the audience.

The seminar began by exploring different viewpoints on death and dying, setting the stage for a prescriptive discussion. Attendees were engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue as they contemplated the spiritual dimension of this universal experience. One participant shared, “This was very informative. I understand a lot more about death and dying now.”

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Ekadashi Reminder! 26th Sep 2023


Tomorrow Is Parshva Ekadashi || Also Called Vamana Dwadashi – Vamanadev Appearance

(On This Auspicious Day, One Should Fast From Grains)

Lord Vamanadev is the fifteen incarnations of the lord, In this form, the Lord figures were that of a dwarf, and His bodily hue was blackish, and He was dressed in yellow garments. Lord Viṣṇu appeared at an auspicious moment on Śravaṇa-dvādaśī when the Abhijit star had arisen. At that time, in all the three worlds (including the higher planetary system, outer space, and this earth), all the demigods, the cows, the brāhmaṇas and even the seasons were happy because of God’s appearance.

From this beautiful incarnation of the Lord, He played a beautiful pastime with Bali Mahara.  From this story between Bali Maharaj and Lord Vamanadev, we can learn what it really means to surrender our all and how the lord immediately reciprocates to our surrender by becoming our servant.

Srila Prabhupad: So, Bali Mahārāja dedicated ātma-nivedana, everything = his property, his personal body, everything. So, in exchange, Vāmana, Lord Vāmana became his doorkeeper. So Vāmanadeva said, “My dear Bali Mahārāja, you are so great a devotee. So, in return for your service, I shall remain always your doorkeeper.”

So, by offering everything to Kṛṣṇa, nobody is loser. You must always remem… They are gainer, the best gainer. Because after all, everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa.


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Lord Vamanadeva

The Dwarf Incarnation of Supreme Lord


Sri Ulagalantha Perumal Temple

At Kanchipuram

Vamana avatar, an extraordinary astonishing incarnation of Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as the son of Kasyapa Muni and Aditi to regain the universe for His devotees- the demigods from the great King Bali who had ruled over the entire universe.

He appeared as Lord Vamana, a brahmana dwarf and tricked Bali Maharaja by asking for three steps of land. When Bali agreed to offer Lord three steps of land, the Supreme Lord acting in terms of the material energy expanded His body and covered the whole earth 🌎 with one step. With His second step He covered everything in the universe was within His body, including the earth, the planetary systems, the sky, the directions, the various holes in the universe, the seas, the oceans, the birds, beasts, human beings, the demigods and the great saintly persons. And finally, when there was no place left for Him to take His third step, Lord Vamanadeva asked Bali where should He place His third step that Bali had promised to offer to Him. Bali was fixed to satisfy Lord Vamana to fulfil his promise. He remembered the great determination of his grandfather Prahlada in devotional service. Bali Maharaja, with great humility then requested Lord Vamanadeva to place His third step on his head. Lord Vamanadeva then placed His third lotus foot step on Bali’s head, who thus surrendered 🛐 everything to the Lord. By mercy of Lord Vamana, Bali could see that the Lord is all-pervading and that everything rests in His body. 

Lord Vamana was extremely pleased with the great determination of Bali of him being fixed in devotional service despite losing all his possessions.

🔸 He gave Bali the Sutala planet whose opulence is far greater than of Indra’s.

🔸 Lord Vamana also agreed to become the doorman of Sutala planet, and because this planet is especially protected by Lord, it is free from mental and bodily miseries, fatigue, dizziness, defeat and all other disturbances.

🔸 Lord Vamana, in this way also satisfied the desire of Aditi, the mother of demigods in regaining there kingdom.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 8 chapters 15 to 22 describe this astonishing pastime.

Bali was the grandson of Prahlada (for whom Lord Nrsimhadeva had appeared and protected from great demon Hiranyakasipu). Although born in demonic family, he was a great devotee of Supreme Lord Krishna. Bali had performed a special Visvajit-yajna and received a celestial chariot with yellow horses, bow, arrows and celestial armour. He also received a garland from his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja, with flowers that would never fade and a conchshell from Sukracharya. 

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“Bali Maharaj, very intelligent personality. He was the son of Virochana, grandson of Prahlad, great grandson of Hiranyakashipu, great grand-nephew of Hiranyaksha. A very mixed up type of family heritage!”

So he performed yajna to please his guru Shukracharya, and his guru-maharaj was very pleased with him. In fact he arranged for the descendents of Bhrigu Muni to come to perform this yajna. And his disposition, his good qualities, was so pleasing to everyone that the descendents of Bhrigu showered blessings upon him, his guru Shukra showered blessings upon him. And by the performance of this particular sacrifice, performed by such great personalities, he received such blessings that he became undefeatable in his power. His body was radiating with light, with energy.

He gathered his army together and marched to Indrapur. And when Indra saw Bali Maharaj with his associates surrounding his abode, he was overcome with fear – “What can I do?” Just Bali Maharaj’s effulgence alone manifested such power that he could single-handedly destroy everyone, what to speak of his magnificent armies. So Indra approached his guru Brihaspati and asked: “What to do? I don’t see any hope of fighting against Bali Maharaj; look at his powers!” Brihaspati said: “He has pleased his guru; he has satisfied his guru and the brahmins; what to speak of the descendents of Bhrigu. Therefore time is on his side. There is no use trying to fight him: you will be crushed. The best thing to do is become invisible: evacuate. Evacuate your kingdom and hide.”

They became poverty stricken. They had nothing. They were just wandering around like fugitive, refugees; hiding from the demons. Very embarrassing situation. And there was nothing they could do. Their mother Aditi was feeling great distress to see her children in such a suffering condition. But what could she do? Her husband Kasyapa Muni was in his hermitage in the jungle performing tapasya, meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead; great devotee. Aditi, for a long time, many years, was suffering. She couldn’t even communicate with her children, seeing them deprived of everything. Finally after so many years of waiting Kasyapa Muni came out of his meditation. And he saw that his good wife was lamenting, so he asked her: “Is there some problem in our ashram? How is everything?” She said: “The ashram is fine but everywhere else there is problem. Our children: Indra, Varuna, Vayu; our children, they have been conquered by the demons. They are homeless, hiding like beggars, refugees. What to do? I can’t tolerate; this is causing too much pain to my heart.”

She knew her children’s shortcomings and defects; she knew the mistakes they made, but still, for a mother that is not important. “My children, I love them, I can’t tolerate to see them suffer.” She had such determination to help. So Kasyapa Muni saw his wife’s heart and told her: “The only possibility of bringing back the happiness to your children under this condition is that you must worship Lord Vasudev.” So she asked: “How this should be done?” He instructed her in the process of the Payovrata sacrifice. Payovrata sacrifice is a very, very detailed act of devotional service. A fasting, worshiping the guru, worshiping the Lord, chanting mantras, keeping very, very clean and very perfectly situated in your consciousness for twelve days. And the whole purpose of the Payovrata sacrifice is to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Aditi fell at his lotus feet. She rose with folded palms. She was in so much ecstasy seeing the Lord that tears were flowing from her eyes; she was so choked up, she couldn’t even speak. But finally with great effort she offered her obeisances and her surrender to the Lord.

Lord Narayana told Aditi: “I know exactly why you have approached me. I know your problem. And yes, I will bring back the wealth of your children. I will personally do it by becoming your son. You should worship your husband. I will manifest myself within your husband’s body and if you worship your husband properly then I will enter into your womb and appear as your own son.”

The Lord disappeared, and appeared within the heart of Kasyapa Muni. Aditi served her husband with great faithfulness, chastity and devotion.

Srila Prabhupada explains: “Just like in the forest, when two pieces of wood are pushed together by the wind, fire is created. Now, fire is not wood, and fire is not wind. So how is it that wind and wood create fire? It’s another element that is caused by the interaction. So Srila Prabhupada explains: “On the transcendental platform Aditi and Kasyapa came together and from their union the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifested.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead entered into the womb of Aditi. And on this day, the dwadashi, on the month of Shravan, Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared from the womb of Aditi. Therefore, this day is known as Vijaya, the day of victory. He appeared in his four-armed form as Narayana, from Vaikuntha. They worshipped him with great love, and then right in front of their eyes that four-armed form of Narayana transformed into a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful little brahman boy. He had a golden complexion and golden hair. He was a dwarf: therefore his name – Vamanadev. When the Lord transformed into this form he wasn’t just a little baby, he was a little dwarf. Soon all the demigods and the sages and the rishis came to celebrate the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They gave him various gifts. He was given a deer-skin; he was given rudraksha beads. Lord Brahma gave him kamandalu, a water pot, and goddess Parvati gave him the first alms when he went out to beg. He had a little stick and an umbrella. Little Vamanadev performed the yajna.

The meeting of Vamanadev with Bali Maharaj

Bali Maharaj performed a hundred Aswamedha yajnas when he was ruling very powerfully. So little Vamanadev, just by himself, walked with his bare feet and came upon the arena of the sacrifice on the banks of Narmada River. When Bali Maharaj saw him, this little dwarf – he was so effulgent, so beautiful, he radiated such purity and compassion – Bali Maharaj’s heart filled with joy. He stood up, and all the brahmins who were performing the yajna with him, they all stood up to offer honor and welcome to Lord Vamanadev. Bali Maharaj bowed to him and with deep affection he gave him a very, very honorable seat.

He said: “You have come; you have blessed us. Such a blessing you have given by your presence! You have sanctified my life. You have sanctified the whole yajna-shala. Please take whatever charity you wish. I can give you cows, I can give you property, I can give you homes, I can give you an island; whatever your desire; jewels. Ask for anything you desire.” Vamanadev replied: “If you wish to give me something then please give me three steps of land.”

And he spoke very strongly to his disciple. He said: “Don’t give him anything. Don’t give him these three steps of land, because you don’t know: he is the friend of your enemy. He is Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has come to cheat you. With his three steps of land he will cover everything you own. You will be bereft of everything. He has come to cheat you. He has come to take everything away from you.”

Bali Maharaj said: “But I have already promised. I have given him what he wants.” Shukracharya, he knew the scriptures quite thoroughly. And the nature of this world is if a scholar knows the scriptures you can take whatever you need from the scriptures to justify whatever you want to do or say. That is the problem. So Shukracharya was quoting from scriptures: “Yes, you have given your promise but there are times and circumstances where the scriptures sanction breaking your promise.” And he gave a whole list of reasons: when there is an emergency situation… And he gave all shastric evidence along with a very, very harsh prominent order: “You must break your promise and not give him anything.”

Bali Maharaj was very thoughtful. He paused and began to meditate: “There is nothing more sacred than one’s truthfulness. Even if you lose everything, if you are truthful you have something substantial; you have honor. What is the use if you have so much material opulences but you lose your honor?” In fact, it describes in this beautiful chapter that mother earth can tolerate any type of burden, but she can’t tolerate the burden of one liar that’s stepping upon her. In fact in this age of Kali it’s the last living leg of religiosity that’s wobbling but still existing – truthfulness.

Yudhisthir was an example of this. He was always truthful. Only when Krishna directly specifically told him to tell a lie… even then he hesitated.

sarva-dharmaan parityajya

maam ekam sharanam vraja

You can abandon all varieties of dharma and surrender to Krishna, but devotees can’t misuse this principle. Sometimes there is transcendental trickery in an emergency situation. An emergency situation, Prabhupada explains: If a child is sick and dying and he won’t take medicine, the mother would say: “This is a sweet, please eat it; laddu.” And the child asks if there medicine in it. The mother says: “No, it’s just laddu.” But there is medicine in it. So is she a liar? Because her purpose is selfless; there is absolutely no selfish motivation. She is simply doing it out of a crisis, emergency, to save the life of her child. Sometimes, for this reason we may have to adulterate the truth to save a person’s life.

But in this age of Kali prajalpa, gramya-katha is so prominent. We just don’t take these things seriously. jéve phele viñaya-sägore. The tongue is the most difficult of all the senses to control. The tongue can bring us back home, back to Godhead, if it vibrates the holy names, and the tongue can plumb us down to hellish conditions by speaking disrespectfully or by lying. So yes, we have to take this seriously. Prabhupada took this very seriously. Truthfulness is all important.

So a person who has actual spiritual and religious principles, he is willing to risk and sacrifice many cheap things of this temporary world to sustain the higher principle of truthfulness. And that was Bali Maharaj. His honor of being truthful was more precious than all of his kingdom, than his life itself, because mother earth can’t tolerate the burden of a liar. And he was thinking: “My guru was supposed to teach me to surrender to Vishnu. So my guru is telling me this is Vishnu and he is telling me not to surrender. Therefore, he is not bona fide guru.” So he turned to Vamanadev, and said: “Yes, I will grant your request. You may take three steps of land.” Shukrachayra was really offended. Now this is a difficult situation. Not everything is always easy in this world.

The surrender of King Bali

Trivikram_eSometimes you have no choice but to offend somebody. Yes? Can you imagine Bali Maharaj’s dilemma? He is in a predicament; he could have committed suicide. But outside of that alternative he had to either offend Vishnu by lying to him, or his guru by disobeying his instruction. Very difficult situation to be in!

His guru was outraged. Shukracharya said: “If you defy my order then I curse you ‘you will lose everything.’” Everything lost. Very upset!

Bali Maharaj was a man of exemplary integrity. Therefore he is a mahajan. To be honest, to do the right thing. Sometimes we are at risk of losing so much. But this was Bali Maharaj’s integrity. He had no fear; he was willing to lose everything. He was willing to accept any reaction to do what was right and speak what was right. This is a Vaishnava.

“Yes, take your three steps.”

Actually before this, when Vamanadev first asked for three steps, Bali Maharaj was amazed. “Why only three steps? I am the king of the universe, I can give you anything. You are only a dwarf; your three steps are so tiny.” The amount of land for three steps will hardly be one step for Bali Maharaj. “I can give you islands. I can give you tremendous wealth; I can give you much property. I can give you anything you want. Why only three steps? Ask for more.” Little Vamanadev told: “Actually you have conquered the whole world, but in your mind you are not satisfied. I have nothing. I am just a little dwarf with nothing. But I am satisfied. Happiness is within. If you are not happy in your heart, you can’t be happy if you gain the whole universe. And if you are happy within then whether you have or don’t have you will be happy. Happiness is within the heart. I already have that. I don’t need what you give me. Just give me three steps.”

“Yes, take your three steps.”

Meanwhile, Lord Brahma was worshiping his lotus foot, And Jambavan was doing pujas and circumambulating his lotus foot. It was an incredible scene. And his second step went so high that it actually reached the very end of the universe, above Brahmaloka, and his toe pierced the covering of the universe. And a drop of water from the Causal Ocean came out of that crack that he created and fell on his feet. And then that water that fell on his feet came down. And it is described in the Bhagvatam that different demigods came with their flower-airplanes with pots to get that charanamrita. And they brought it to their heavenly planets. And this was the origin of Ganga-devi.

On the Karana Ocean, the ocean in which the Lord is laying, that water entered into this universe and washed the lotus feet of Lord Vamanadev. Therefore, it is charanamrita, it is eternally sanctified and pure. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained the power of Ganga: “Anyone who sees the Ganga, touches the water of the Ganga, tastes the water of Ganga, bathes in the water of the Ganga, or even if someone is touched by breeze that has come off the Ganga, those persons would become purified of sins and in due course of time love of Krishna will awaken in that person’s heart.” King Bhagirath, by his tremendous determination, I believe 60,000 years of tapasya he performed to bring Ganga-mata from the heavenly worlds to Gangotri in the Himalayas. And thus she flows to sanctify the earth planet.

So he already covered the entire universe with two steps. But Bali Maharaj promised him three steps. Bali Maharaj was watching this whole thing in ecstasy. He was just in bliss. Because he understood, he understood the substance of the integrity of his grandfather, Prahlad Maharaj, and he was following in the footsteps of Prahlad. So at that point Garuda, understanding that Bali Maharaj was a liar, he was not keeping his promise… He promised three steps of land; two steps have already been taken. What he has? He has nothing else to give. Just imagine Bali Maharaj’s predicament. Just to be truthful he accepted the curse of Shukrachayra, he accepted the risk of losing everything just to maintain being truthful, and after all that the Lord made him so that he couldn’t be truthful. When Krishna wants to humble someone, he is thorough, totally thorough. yasyaaham anugrhanaami harishye tad-dhanam shanai.

Yes, in the name of being truthful a devotee is willing to risk everything. But in the end he risked everything, he lost everything and the Lord made him all to be liar, because he couldn’t fulfill his promise of three steps. Therefore, Garuda tied him up with a serpentine rope, like a prisoner. When this happened the soldiers of Bali’s armies, they were outraged. They were really, really outraged. “Just see what Vishnu is doing. He is taking everything away.” If they take it away, they take it away from us. Don’t think that they were selflessly serving Bali Maharaj. Whatever Bali had is they had, whatever he didn’t have what was they lose. So the demons, they were mobilizing armies to attack Vamanadev. And Bali Maharaj said: “No, no, don’t attack. Don’t harm him.” But by that time they saw that he was powerless. Who was he? He was wrapped around with ropes. So they attacked Vishnu. And Vishnu, just his associates defeated all of the asuras. They just scattered in all directions and ran away.

And now Bali Maharaj is being treated as a criminal, made into a prisoner. And he is brought bound with ropes before Vamanadev who now has taken his original form as a dwarf. And when he was in that predicament, when he was in that situation, Vamanadev told him: “You have promised me three steps. Where should I put my third?” Bali Maharaj, this was a very suspenseful situation, please try to be there. What a suspenseful situation this is! He is tied up; he is a prisoner. Everyone is around; they are watching what will he do. Bali Maharaj, he was in bliss. Totally humiliated in front of everybody; his wife, Vindyavali. Usually men don’t like to be humiliated in front of their wife. I am a sannyasi, but this is what I have seen. This is very unbearable for a husband to be outdone or humiliated before the wife. And his wife was watching. And all of his armies and all of his relatives and everybody around is seeing how Bali, the great king of the universe, has become an insignificant beggar, imprisoned; nothing left.

With tears of love in his eyes, Bali Maharaj spoke, he said: “My Lord, you have already taken everything. You have taken all my land, all my property, all my wealth, all my influence and prestige.” He totally took his prestige away. He said: “You have taken everything. There is only one thing left I have: my life, my body and my life.” And Prabhupada explains in this regard that how it was his life that possessed all these other things. His life is actually more valuable than everything else. So the greatest gift: giving the Lord all the planets that I control, all the gold and jewels and all the money and all the prestige and all my followers, giving them all – that is a small thing. But real offering is to give my life – my body, mind, and words.

Prahlad Maharaj was so happy. He appeared and was praising the good qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is so merciful that he took everything away. Prahlad’s prayers are very important. He is praising: “The Lord is the most merciful, the most attractive, the ultimate friend of everyone, because he has taken everything away

How Bali Maharaj became a Mahajan

Bali Maharaj was thinking: “Actually the demigods think that the Lord is merciful to them. Not at all, the Lord is most merciful to the demons.” This was Bali Maharaj’s psychology – “The Lord is most merciful to us – demons.”

Do you understand this? Would you like to hear the psychology of Bali Maharaj? Because the demigods, the Lord protects them and gives them their abodes and protects their abodes and all their opulence, and they get caught up in all the sense gratification and caught up in all this false prestige. And the Lord just keeps giving it to them and giving it to them and protecting them. And even when the demons come and try to take it away, eventually the Lord gives it back to the demigods. So by giving them all these material things, the Lord is not really very merciful to them. But he is merciful to the demons because he takes everything away from us. He takes everything away from us – that is his mercy. He actually favors the demons.

tat te ’nukampaam susamiikshamaano bhunjaana evaatma-krtam vipaakam.

“Prabhupada quotes in this regard that when one is put into very, very difficult circumstance, a devotee is grateful. A devotee, even when the Lord is taking everything away, even when the Lord puts you in the terribly painful condition, that devotee, with folded palms, will thank God: “This is your mercy; this is your kindness. I don’t deserve your kindness. I surrender to you.” To that person alone is liberation a rightful claim. Bali Maharaj manifested this principle. He personified this virtue.”- Radhanath Swami

Bali Maharaj surrendered his life to the Lord. His own wife Vindyavali was praising his good qualities. Prahlad was praising like anything the good qualities and the good fortune of Bali Maharaj for surrendering and losing everything for the Lord. Bali Maharaj meditated on Prahlad. That was how he got his courage to surrender everything. He meditated on his grandfather, Prahlad, and he followed in his footsteps. mahaajano yena gatah sa panthaah.

Vamanadev Accepts the Role of Door-Keeper for Bali Maharaj

Bali Maharaj followed in the footsteps of Prahlad. He was determined to not deter from the integrity of his honesty, his truthfulness and his promise to the Lord.

So Lord Vamanadev was so happy. He was so happy by Bali Maharaj’s unconditional, unmotivated surrender. He was not hoping or expecting anything in return. He gave his everything. Atma-nivedanam. He surrendered everything unconditionally. But the Lord, he reciprocates with our surrender.

ye yathaa maam prapadyante

taams tathaiva bhajaamy aham

[BG 4.11]

Therefore the lord gave Bali Maharaj a planet to rule over, Sutala, because he had nothing else. And Prahlad Maharaj wanted to be with him. He said: “I will also go to Sutala to live with my grandson.” Prahlad was so happy. He was so happy; he was so proud. How many grandfathers are proud of their son when they surrendered everything? Prahlad. And Vamanadev was so grateful. Vamanadev, by his own sweet will, accepted the role of the door-keeper for Bali Maharaj. Now that’s a very menial service. Is it not? A doorman, guarding the door for Bali Maharaj! Why did he accept that humble service?

“That same Lord who just manifested Upendra form, Trivikrama form, the Supreme Lord of all lords who with three steps covered the universe and conquered Bali, accepted the very humble position of the door keeper for Bali because he couldn’t give up the association of this devotee. He wanted to always give satisfaction to Bali Maharaj.”- Radhanath Swami

man-manaa bhava mad-bhakto

mad-yaaji maam namaskuru

maam evaishyasi satyam te

pratijaane priyo ‘si me

[BG 18.65]

“Always think of me, become my devotee, worship me and offer your homage unto me. In this way you will come to me without fail. This is my promise my dear friend.”

Vamanadev was always there in the vision of Bali Maharaj. So he could always remember him with love.

“There are many glorious lessons to be learned by this story. But ultimately like so many other lilas of the Lord, the Lord really descends to this world to glorify his devotee. Narasingha dev appeared in this world to give glory to Prahlad. Krishna appeared in this world to give glory to the Vrajavasis, to the Yadus. And Vamanadev, in his own inconceivable extra-ordinary way, came to glorify Bali Maharaj forever-more as the personified example of one who attains the ultimate perfection of pure love of God by surrendering everything.”

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Srila Prabhupada on Lord Vamanadeva


Srila Prabhupada writes to one his disciples about Lord Vamanadeva:

Montreal 3 July, 1968

My Dear Satsvarupa,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated June 28, 1968, and I thank you very much for it. Regarding Bali Maharaja: He is born in the same atheistic family of Maharaja Prahlada. He happened to be the grandson of Maharaja Prahlada, and as his great grand-father, Hiranyakasipu was very powerful, and as there was animosity between the demigods and the demons, Bali Maharaja also defeated the demigods several times, and was occupying all the planets. At that time Vamanadeva appeared as the son of Kasyamuni. Bali Maharaja was very charitably disposed. Sometimes the atheists are also very charitable. Persons who believe that we are doing pious activities, making charities and welfare work to the human society, why should we bother about God?–such persons even though very moral and pious in the estimation of the material world, are also demons, on account of their apathy for Krishna Consciousness. So, Bali Maharaja was a man of that type. Under the circumstances he was not averse to accept charity and other pious activities. He was being guided by his spiritual master, Sukaracharya. Sukara means the semina. In other words, one claims to become acharya on the principle of being born of a Brahmin father. They may be called sukaracharya, or acharya or preacher not by disciplic succession, but on the right of heredity. In India there are still superstitions that one should be initiated by such sukaracharya family. They are called generally as the jatigosain. Jatigosain means the caste spiritual master. All over India, especially in Bengal, this jatigosain spiritual mastership is very prevalent. But really goswami means one who is master of the influence of different senses, namely the influence of tongue, the influence of mind, the influence of anger, the influence of belly, the influence of genital, and the influence of talking. So one who is master of these influential webs of sense gratification, he is called goswami. Goswami is not by hereditary chart. So Sukaracharya posed himself as such goswami spiritual master. He had many mystic powers, therefore he was considered to be very influential spiritual master of the demons.

So when Vamanadeva appeared, Bali Maharaja was attracted by His beauty as a Dwarf Brahmin, and as he was charitably disposed, he wanted to give Him some charity. But Sukaracharya, being elevated in mystic yogic powers, he could understand that Vamanadeva was Visnu. And in order to favor the demigods, He had come there to cheat Bali Maharaja in the shape of begging some charities. Bali Maharaja was puffed up with his material vanities, and Vamanadeva as He is Visnu, all-peaceful, without interrupting his attitude, just approached him in the form of a Brahmin, Who has a right to beg something from the princely order. And the principle orders also are always disposed, to make charities to the Brahmins.

Question, para. 2, answer: Sukracarya as spiritual master of Bali taught him that everything should be offered to Visnu. But when Visnu actually appeared before Bali, he was afraid of Bali Maharaja’s charitable disposition. He warned Bali Maharaja that this Vamanadeva had come there to take everything from him in the shape of charity, therefore he should not promise Him to give anything. This advice revolted Bali Maharaja because he was formerly instructed that everything should be offered to Visnu, now, why Sukaracharya was asking him not to act by his previous instructions? Sukaracharya was afraid of his own position. He was living at the cost of Bali Maharaja, so if Vamanadeva would take away everything from Bali Maharaja, he was thinking how he would live. That is a materialistic temperament. The materialist does not want to serve or to give to Visnu, because he thinks that by giving away to Visnu he will be put into poverty-stricken condition. This is materialistic estimation. But actually that is not the fact, as it will be evidenced by the dealing of Bali Maharaja and Vamanadeva.

Question 1, answer: That is the materialistic way of worshiping. Materialists are always careful for maintaining his material status quo first, and then please Visnu. Although they profess to be devotees of Visnu. Therefore the Krishna Consciousness persons are greater than such materialistic worshippers. Materialist person perform all pious activities or devotional activities for some material gain, and as soon as there is any hindrance in the path of material gain, they at once become demon. Therefore bhakti means without any material desires. That is the sign of pure devotee. He has no motive to satisfy his material desires by devotional service.

Question 2, answer: That is just his military spirit, that Bali Maharaja says “If He be the illustrious Lord Visnu not desirous of foregoing His own fame, He shall wrest from me this earth after slaying me in battle, or He shall be slain by me.” The last portion of this question is not very clear.

Question 3, answer: Why Bali Maharaja is considered a Mahajana: Bali Maharaja is Mahajana because he wanted to serve Visnu by disobeying his non-bonafide spiritual master. As explained above, Sukracarya was hereditary spiritual master by seminic succession. But Bali Maharaja first revolted against this stereotyped seminic succession spiritual master, and therefore he is Mahajana. Srila Jiva Goswami has described in his Karamasandharvha that one should be anxious to accept a spiritual master who is bona fide in spiritual knowledge. And if need be one should relinquish the connection of hereditary spiritual master and accept a real bona fide spiritual master. So when Sukaracharya advised him contrary to his previous instructions, specifically, he checked Bali Maharaja in the matter of worshipping Visnu, and thus Sukaracharya became at once fallen down from the position of becoming a spiritual master. Nobody can become a spiritual master who is not a devotee of Visnu. A brahmana may be very expert in the matter of performing Vedic rituals, accepting charities, and distributing wealth–all these are exalted qualifications of the brahmanas, but the Vedic injunction is, in spite of possessing all these qualities, if somebody is against Lord Visnu, he cannot be a spiritual master. So when Sukaracharya advised Bali Maharaja against Visnu, he at once became unqualified for becoming a spiritual master. Bali Maharaja disobeyed such unqualified spiritual master, and therefore, he is accepted as Mahajana. Mahajana means a personality whose footprints should be followed. So, his exemplary behavior in rejecting a non-Vaisnava spiritual master being ideal to the bona fide students, he is considered a Mahajana.

If Jadurani wants to paint the picture of Bali Maharaja, it should be like this: 1) The hall must be very nicely decorated, & princely hall, 2) in one side of the hall, the royal throne should be presented as vacant, and 3) Bali Maharaja should pose himself bowing down before Lord Vamanadeva, and Vamanadeva should be painted with one leg on the earth; and one leg high in the sky; and one leg coming out of his navel, and put on the head of Bali Maharaja. This means the charity of one’s possessions is not full for the Spreme Personality of Godhead, but when one’s personal body and head is given to the service of the Lord, then one becomes perfect in offering everything to the Lord. This is called complete surrender of everything that a devotee may possess.

Bali Maharaja may be shown as not more than 40 years old, very nice looking king, well dressed like the royal order, and with mustache and no beard. Sukaracharya should be wearing a Saivite tilaka, and also Maharaja Bali can have a Saivite tilaka, until after he meets with Vamanadeva, and then you can change Bali Maharaja’s tilaka into a Vaisnava one.

Yes, Pradyumna is typing that 3rd canto and will send you soon. Hoping you are all well.

Your ever well-wisher,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

P.S. While posting this letter, I have received your letter by 2nd July, 1968. I am glad to learn that Kirtana process in the Park is going on well as you received $50.00 last Sunday. This is very encouraging as in N.Y. also they are following the same process with success. I have received one letter from Rayarama as he is not going to Boston but he is in L.A. He will write you. Regarding immigration, I am sending here with the copy of the letter addressed to Mr. Hamilton. I think you should see Mr. Hamilton & take from him written letter advising me the right direction. I don’t want to see the U.S. Counsel.


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Sri Vamana-dvadasi by Giriraj Swami

7684039090?profile=RESIZE_400xWe shall read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Eight, Chapter Twenty-two: “Bali Maharaja Surrenders His Life.” We begin with the chapter summary:

“The summary of this twenty-second chapter is as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was pleased by the behavior of Bali Maharaja. Thus the Lord placed him on the planet Sutala, and there, after bestowing benedictions upon him, the Lord agreed to become his doorman.

“Bali Maharaja was extremely truthful. Being unable to keep his promise, he was very much afraid, for he knew that one who has deviated from truthfulness is insignificant in the eyes of society. An exalted person can suffer the consequences of hellish life, but he is very much afraid of being defamed for deviation from the truth. Bali Maharaja agreed with great pleasure to accept the punishment awarded him by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bali Maharaja’s dynasty there were many asuras who because of their enmity toward Visnu had achieved a destination more exalted than that of many mystic yogis. Bali Maharaja specifically remembered the determination of Prahlada Maharaja in devotional service. Considering all these points, he decided to give his head in charity as the place for Visnu’s third step. Bali Maharaja also considered how great personalities give up their family relationships and material possessions to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, they sometimes even sacrifice their lives for the satisfaction of the Lord, just to become His personal servants. Accordingly, by following in the footsteps of previous acaryas and devotees, Bali Maharaja perceived himself successful.

“While Bali Maharaja, having been arrested by the ropes of Varuna, was offering prayers to the Lord, his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja appeared there and described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead had delivered Bali Maharaja by taking his possessions in a tricky way. While Prahlada Maharaja was present, Lord Brahma and Bali’s wife, Vindhyavali, described the supremacy of the Supreme Lord. Since Bali Maharaja had given everything to the Lord, they prayed for his release. The Lord then described how a nondevotee’s possession of wealth is a danger whereas a devotee’s opulence is a benediction from the Lord. Then, being pleased with Bali Maharaja, the Supreme Lord offered His disc to protect Bali Maharaja and promised to remain with him.”

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

The Lord appears in various incarnations to favor the devotees. Bali Maharaja was also a devotee, and although he was born in a family of demons, Vamanadeva still appeared to favor him, as well as to favor the demigods, who were also devotees.

The Lord reciprocates with the particular mentality of each individual devotee. Bali Maharaja was inclined to give charity. In fact, he had achieved his opulence by the favor of the brahmans to whom he had given so much in charity. Therefore Lord Vishnu, in order to take service from Bali Maharaja, assumed the form of a brahman and begged some charity from him. And because Bali Maharaja was so inclined to give charity to brahmans, he agreed to give Vamanadeva whatever He asked. Vamana replied by saying, “I would like three steps of land.” Bali Maharaja was surprised. He said, “I thought you were more intelligent. You could ask for a whole planet. Why do you ask only for three steps of land?” And Vamana replied, “If I cannot be satisfied by three steps of land, I will not be satisfied even by a whole planet.” Srila Prabhupada enunciated the same principle for devotees, especially for brahmacharis: “All you need is a little service, a little prasada, and a little place to lie down at night”—three steps of land and a little prasada and service. Vamanadeva Himself played the role of a brahmachari, so He set the example.

Now we come to the point at which Prahlada Maharaja appears in the arena where Bali Maharaja had been arrested and bound by the ropes of Varuna because of his failure to keep his promise. After Bali Maharaja agreed to give three steps of land, Vamanadeva expanded Himself into a gigantic form. With one step He covered the entire upper planetary system and His toe actually pierced the coverings of the universe. Spiritual water from the causal ocean entered the universe through the hole made by His toe, and that spiritual water became the Ganges River. Then with His second step He covered the entire lower portion of the universe, and so with two steps He had covered the entire universe. Thus He concluded that Bali Maharaja would be unable to fulfill his promise and should therefore be arrested and punished. Now, in the present chapter Bali Maharaja will find the most intelligent solution to the problem and tell the Lord, “You can place Your third step on my head, and thus I will fulfill my promise.”

So, Prahlada Maharaja came and made a statement that is important for today’s verse:


              sri-prahrada uvaca
tvayaiva dattam padam aindram urjitam
  hrtam tad evadya tathaiva sobhanam
manye mahan asya krto hy anugraho
  vibhramsito yac chriya atma-mohanat


Prahlada Maharaja said: My Lord, it is Your Lordship who gave this Bali the very great opulence of the post of heavenly king, and now, today, it is You who have taken it all away. I think You have acted with equal beauty in both ways. Because his exalted position as king of heaven was putting him in the darkness of ignorance, You have done him a very merciful favor by taking away all his opulence.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

As it is said, yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih (SB 10.88.8). It is by the mercy of the Lord that one gets all material opulence, but if such material opulence causes one to become puffed up and forget the process of self-realization, the Lord certainly takes all the opulence away. The Lord bestows mercy upon His devotee by helping him find out his constitutional position. For that purpose, the Lord is always ready to help the devotee in every way. But material opulence is sometimes dangerous because it diverts one’s attention to false prestige by giving one the impression that he is the owner and master of everything he surveys, although actually this is not the fact. To protect the devotee from such a misunderstanding, the Lord, showing special mercy, sometimes takes away his material possessions. Yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih.


Srila Prabhupada remarked that one astrologer in India had predicted that he would become the wealthiest man in India, and in the beginning he was very successful in business—first as the manager of Dr. Bose’s chemical laboratory in Calcutta and later as the proprietor of his own business. But in time his business began to fail, and Srila Prabhupada came across the verse he quoted in the purport here (yasyaham anugrhnami), in which Lord Krishna says that the first installment of His special mercy upon a devotee is to take away the devotee’s opulence so that the devotee has no recourse other than surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And if the devotee tries to build up his opulence again, the Lord will take it away again—and again, until the devotee gives up the vain attempt to enjoy material opulence without the Lord.

Now, someone may hear about the Lord’s special mercy and become fearful: “I don’t want to lose my opulence. If I become a devotee and have to lose my opulence, then I better not become a devotee.” But actually, the Lord does not always take away the devotee’s opulence; sometimes He gives the devotee more opulence, according to whatever is best for the particular devotee in their particular circumstance. So we should have faith in the Lord, that He will do whatever is best for us.

I have seen cases in Bombay where devotees have become extremely opulent by the grace of the Lord. One, Dr. Narendra Desai, who was later initiated as Nathaji dasa, had a father who was a very shrewd businessman and a member of parliament but suddenly passed away and left Dr. Desai, who was still relatively young, with the responsibility of taking over the family’s businesses. I used to meet many of the more affluent people of Bombay, and I heard talk about Dr. Desai, that he was a good person but not as shrewd as his father had been and therefore might not do so well in business. But Dr. Desai increased the business many times over from a business that was already very big into something many times bigger. And he was very strict in his spiritual practices. He would get up early every morning, have mangala-arati at home, and then chant his rounds. He lived in a nice area of Bombay, and in the same compound there were five buildings situated around a large lawn or park, with a driveway running in front of the buildings and encircling the park. So, in the morning, he used to take a japa walk in the garden, and people would come up to him. Especially after he took initiation, people would approach him—people who hardly knew him—and say, “Oh, you have taken initiation. Why didn’t you consult me? I would have advised you differently.” But he opened new companies, and the new businesses flourished, and he became even more opulent.

So, sometimes to encourage a devotee Krishna will give him more opulence, but if the devotee becomes bewildered by the opulence, Krishna may take it away from him so that he becomes free from false prestige and realizes his constitutional position as the eternal servant of Krishna. Whatever Krishna has to do for the benefit of the devotee, He will do. Thus the Lord is like a parent. The father will do whatever is best for the child. Sometimes he will give bitter medicine to the child, and sometimes he will give sweet candies. But in both cases he acts for the child’s benefit. Or sometimes he will indulge the child, and sometimes he will discipline the child. But whatever he does is meant for the child’s benefit. So, the Supreme Lord is the Supreme Father, and whatever He does is for the devotee’s benefit. Whether He gives the devotee opulence or takes it away, He acts with equal beauty.

And the devotee accepts the Lord’s dealings equally. He is completely surrendered to the Lord, with full faith that the Lord will do whatever is best for him. Thus Prthu Maharaja prayed:

tvan-mayayaddha jana isa khandito
  yad anyad asasta rtatmano ’budhah
yatha cared bala-hitam pita svayam
  tatha tvam evarhasi nah samihitum

“My Lord, due to Your illusory energy, all living beings in this material world have forgotten their real constitutional position, and out of ignorance they are always desirous of material happiness in the form of society, friendship, and love. Therefore, please do not ask me to take some material benefits from You, but as a father, not waiting for the son’s demand, does everything for the benefit of the son, please bestow upon me whatever You think best for me.” (SB 4.20.31)

Srila Prabhupada said that in his own case, in the beginning Krishna tested him by taking everything away—his business failed—and that in the end Krishna tested him by giving him everything. And Srila Prabhupada, as Krishna’s representative and servant, actually did become the richest man in India—not just spiritually, but even materially. Of course, he did not think anything was his own. He saw everything as Krishna’s, but he did have very nice places to stay, very nice servants, and very nice prasada according to his taste, and he was blessed with all opulence by the grace of the Lord.

Now we come to today’s verse.


yaya hi vidvan api muhyate yatas
  tat ko vicaste gatim atmano yatha
tasmai namas te jagad-isvaraya vai


Material opulence is so bewildering that it makes even a learned, self-controlled man forget to search for the goal of self-realization. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, the Lord of the universe, can see everything by His will. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.


The words ko vicaste gatim atmano yatha indicate that when one is puffed up by the false prestige of possessing material opulence, he certainly neglects the goal of self-realization. This is the position of the modern world. Because of so-called scientific improvements in material opulence, people have entirely given up the path of self-realization. Practically no one is interested in God, one’s relationship with God, or how one should act. Modern men have altogether forgotten such questions because they are mad for material possessions. If this kind of civilization continues, the time will soon come when the Supreme Personality of Godhead will take away all the material opulences. Then people will come to their senses.


The same principle that operates in an individual’s life also operates in the evolution of a society’s collective life. And here Srila Prabhupada gives the warning that if modern civilization continues to be mad after material acquisition and neglectful of the real goal of life, which is to be reinstated in one’s constitutional position as the eternal servant of Krishna and go back home, back to Godhead, then Krishna, to show favor to the bewildered souls of the modern age, may take away their opulence.

Srila Prabhupada often related the story of the yogi and the mouse. Once a mouse approached a yogi and said, “I am being harassed by a cat.” So the yogi said, “Then what do you want?” The mouse replied, “I want to become a cat.” “All right,” said the yogi. “Now you become a cat!” And he fulfilled the mouse’s desire. After some time the cat approached the yogi and said, “I’m being harassed by a dog.” So the yogi said, “What do you want?” And the cat replied, “I want to become a dog.” “All right; so be it.” After some time the dog approached the yogi and said, “I am afraid of a lion.” “So you want to become a lion?” “Yes.” “So be it.” But as soon as the dog became a lion, he started to look at the yogi as if he were going to pounce on him and devour him. And the yogi immediately said, punar musika bhava—“Again you become a mouse.”

Srila Prabhupada explains that by the grace of the Lord the modern civilization has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. But if in their opulence now people think they can finish the Lord and enjoy their opulence without Him, then the Lord may say, punar musika bhava—“Again you become a mouse. No more skyscrapers, no more superhighways, no more mega-computers. Go back to the fields. Go back to the jungles.” Then people may become sober. They may wake up from their dream. They may consider, “Boy, we’ve put all our efforts into material civilization and look what happened.”

Srila Prabhupada thought that the means for taking away the opulence of the maddened materialistic civilization could be a world war or nuclear war. When I was in the Western European zone, the GBC for the zone showed the leaders there a movie. Of course, in general we don’t see movies, but the movie was about a town in England called Sheffield and what would happen there if an atomic bomb were dropped on it—what would happen to the people. It was quite a terrifying look into a possible future of the world. So, Srila Prabhupada has given the hint that if we remain maddened by material opulence and sense gratification, and forget God and the real purpose of life, then God may take away our material opulence to make us sober. And He may do it through devastation. But then again, if by our preaching and distributing books people can realize their actual identities and purpose of life, they may not need to suffer the consequences of atomic warfare to wake up.

One day in 1971, when Srila Prabhupada was staying in a house in Delhi, the father of the boy who was translating Srila Prabhupada’s books from English into Hindi came there to visit him. The father was also sort of a devotee, but he had a bad habit—smoking. So, Srila Prabhupada asked the father, “Have you given up smoking?” And the father answered, “No. But isn’t there some special mercy? Can’t I get some special mercy so that I can give up smoking?” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Special mercy? Yes, there is special mercy: yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. The Lord can give special mercy, and when He gives that special mercy, the first thing He does is He takes away the devotee’s material opulence. And, as the verse continues, then the devotee becomes poverty-stricken, and when he becomes poverty-stricken all of his friends and relatives reject him. So he suffers doubly. He suffers because he has lost his opulence, and he suffers because his so-called friends and family rebuke him and neglect him. So yes, there is special mercy.” Then Mr. Gupta said, “No, no. That’s all right. I don’t want any special mercy. I’ll make my own efforts.”

So that is the basic choice. As long as we are faithful to Krishna, He won’t forsake us. He will give us the chance to come to Him voluntarily, but if He sees that there is an impediment that we are unable to overcome—and one such impediment can be material opulence—He will remove the impediment so that we can come to Him more easily. And if the Lord does choose to take away the obstacle in the form of material opulence, the devotee accepts it. Yet if the devotee is strong enough to remember his position as the Lord’s eternal servant and use the material opulence to serve Krishna, then the Lord does not have to take it away. As Srila Prabhupada said, “In the beginning the Lord tested me by taking everything away, and in the end He tested me by giving me everything.” So if Krishna feels we are ready, He can give us any amount of opulence to be used in Krishna’s service.

Sometimes Srila Prabhupada would say, “Krishna is the proprietor of the universe, and He can give you the whole world, but what would you do with it?” When we preach, opulence does come, but as we become more and more pure, Krishna will entrust us with more and more opulence, because He knows that we will use it in His service and won’t become bewildered. As Srila Prabhupada once wrote to me, “If we work sincerely without any material aspirations, Krishna will help in all respects.”

In any case, our mood should be like that of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who prayed, manasa, deho, geho, jo kichu mor: “Whatever I have—my mind, my body, my words, my family, my household paraphernalia—it all belongs to You. In life or in death, in happiness or distress, in opulence or poverty, You are my Lord and I will serve You.”

manasa, deho, geho, jo kichu mor
arpilun tuwa pade, nanda-kisor!

“Mind, body, and family, whatever may be mine, I have surrendered at Your lotus feet, O youthful son of Nanda!”

sampade vipade, jivane-marane
day mama gela, tuwa o-pada barane

“In good fortune or bad, in life or death, all my difficulties have disappeared because I have chosen those lotus feet of Yours as my only shelter.” (Saranagati)

That should be our mood in devotional service. Hare Krishna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Sankara Pandita dasa: Do we have to reach any particular stage to understand that the Lord is reciprocating with our mentality?

Giriraj Swami: I would say that a devotee can perceive the Lord’s reciprocation in any stage. Here I think of the different stages that begin with annamaya, appreciating the Lord’s mercy in the form of food. When we were traveling in India with Srila Prabhupada, one tourist from England joined us, and sometimes he would sit next to me during prasada. And he would say, “I am so degraded. I am so fallen. I am so bad. But still the Lord is giving me prasada. The Lord is very merciful.” He would remark, “Krishna is there. Krishna is there. Otherwise, how could I get nice prasada every day, even though I’m such a fallen soul?” He saw that the Lord was associating with him or reciprocating with him by giving him prasada. So I think that any devotee in any stage can more or less appreciate the Lord’s kindness.

And the higher levels of reciprocation will come as we advance—although in principle there is no difference. Krishna says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” (Gita 4.11) But the higher stages come as one progresses. Then one may realize that he or she wants to serve the form of Lord Narayana, so the Lord will appear as Lord Narayana. Someone will want to serve the Lord in the form of Ramachandra, so He will appear in the form of Ramachandra to that devotee. Someone will want to serve the Lord in the form of Krishna, and the Lord will appear in His original form as Krishna. Then too, if one wants to serve Krishna in vatsalya-rasa, Krishna will appear as baby Krishna in kaumara age. If one wants to serve in sakhya-rasa, Krishna will appear in pauganda age, about five to ten. And if someone wants to serve in madhurya-rasa, Krishna will appear in His attractive feature as Kisora, in kaisora age—Kisora-Kisori. So, in the liberated stage when one actually begins to develop his or her eternal relationship with the Lord in the spiritual world, the Lord will reciprocate by manifesting Himself in the particular form in which the devotee wants to see Him and serve Him.

Candramauli Swami: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Candramauli Swami says that the Lord will favor a devotee by giving him the association of advanced devotees and more and more opportunity for service.

Yes, that is very true, very true.

Devakinandana dasa: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Devakinandana Prabhu says that as the world is becoming more materialistic, we can expect that the situation will become more hellish. But at the same time, we are in the golden age of Lord Chaitanya. So can we expect that the world will become better?

One thing I have heard that makes sense—and Srila Prabhupada was not making predictions based on some mystic power or astrological calculations; he was just explaining the law of action and reaction—is that if you are sinful you will suffer and if you are pious you will enjoy. If the people continue to be sinful, they will suffer more, and, as he said, the ultimate loss is the loss of the body—death. Death is the ultimate calamity. One scenario that Srila Prabhupada mentioned is that if people do not become God conscious, there could be a nuclear devastation that would destroy much of the modern civilization and make people more sober. As Srila Prabhupada says here, “The time will soon come when the Supreme Personality of Godhead will take away all the material opulence. Then people will come to their senses.” So, after people start to come to their senses, there will be more and more devotees. At present the number of devotees is insignificant compared with the number of demons. And the demons are much more powerful than the devotees. But after the devastation there will be many devotees, though there will still be many demons. So, the first war will be between the demons—one group of demons killing another group of demons. Then many devotees will come. And then the next war will be between the devotees and the demons, and the devotees will win. And then the world will become God conscious and happy.

Murari Chaitanya dasa: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Murari Prabhu heard that Srila Prabhupada said that the day will come when we won’t have temples. We will just have the holy name.

Murari Chaitanya dasa: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Well, the way you explained it, yes, it is true. We may not have temples, but we will always have the holy name. That’s more of a principle. As far as a prediction for the future, we do hear that at the end of Kali-yuga the world will be so bad that devotees will not be able to practice Krishna consciousness openly. Then they may have only the holy name. They won’t be able to have temples and deities. We saw during the communist era that in some places devotees were not allowed to practice Krishna consciousness freely. But even in jail, even in prison camps, even in psychiatric hospitals, they had the holy name.

Question: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: The point is that whatever happens, we will always have the holy name. Here the emphasis is on the importance of the holy name and the mercy of the holy name, not that Prabhupada was predicting that Krishna would take away our temples or any such thing.

Question: Can we determine whether someone is more Krishna conscious or less Krishna conscious by either the presence of or the absence of material opulence?

Giriraj Swami: There is no absolute answer, because anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam: devotional service is beyond karma and jnana. So there is no material qualification or disqualification for devotional service. Some devotees are opulent by destiny or by the will of the Lord, and some are poor by destiny or by the will of the Lord. And all can be pure devotees. For example, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was born in a very opulent position, but gradually he gave up more and more and more until finally he had nothing—by the grace of the Lord. But Pundarika Vidyanidhi continued to be materially opulent. Once, Mukunda took Gadadhara Pandita to meet Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and Vidyanidhi was sitting like a prince, dressed in fine garments, amidst luxurious furniture and opulent paraphernalia, being fanned with long peacock feathers by two servants. Gadadhara Pandita doubted him: “He is supposed to be a devotee and he is living in such luxury?” Mukunda detected the doubt in Gadadhara Pandita’s mind, so he sang a beautiful verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam. When Pundarika Vidyanidhi heard the verse he was overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy. Tears flowed from his eyes, and his body began to tremble and manifest all the symptoms of ecstatic love for Krishna. Then Gadadhara realized that Pundarika was an exalted devotee and that he (Gadadhara Pandita) had committed an offense by questioning how he could be an exalted devotee when he was enjoying an extravagant life. To atone for his offense, Gadadhara Pandita resolved, “I should accept him as my spiritual master. I should become his disciple and take instruction and initiation from him.”

So, we cannot say definitely that if someone is poor he is more advanced or that if someone is rich he is more advanced. There is also markata-vairagya, the renunciation of monkeys. Srila Prabhupada says that monkeys appear to live like advanced babajis: they have no clothes, they have no house, and they eat only fruits and berries from trees. Yet each monkey has two dozen girlfriends. That is markata-vairagya, the renunciation of monkeys. So we cannot conclude that just because someone is living without opulence he is Krishna conscious, but neither can we conclude that just because someone has been graced with opulence he is Krishna conscious. He may have opulence by virtue of past pious activities, but right now he could have a hellish mentality—and still be enjoying material opulence because of his karma. But pure devotional service is beyond karma (jnana-karmady-anavrtam). Good karma or bad karma, it does not matter. In any case, one can still serve Krishna.

Candramauli Swami: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Candramauli Swami says that we can judge by how their material position affects their devotional service. In other words, if one is attached to Krishna, he won’t be attached to maya—to the extent that he is attached to Krishna. So when someone who is poor and attached to Krishna gets opulence, he won’t be disturbed. He will continue to serve Krishna. And if someone is opulent and attached to Krishna and then loses his opulence, he also won’t be disturbed. He will continue in his service to Krishna. So the real factor is service to Krishna in any condition.

Devakinandana dasa: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Devakinandana Prabhu says that Lord Chaitanya instructed that one should not dress luxuriously or eat opulent food but that sometimes we see that devotees do dress opulently and eat delicious food and still they advance in love of Godhead.

There are some verses:

vairagi bhai gramya-katha na sunibe kane
gramya-varta na kahibe yabe milibe ane

bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe
hrdayete radha-krsna sarvada sevibe

“My dear brother, you are in the renounced order of life and should not listen to talk about ordinary worldly things, nor should you talk about worldly things when you meet with others. Do not eat luxurious dishes or dress in fine garments, but always remain humble and serve Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in your heart of hearts.” (Prema-vivarta, Chapter Seven)

These instructions were given for one in the renounced order of life. But then too, we also have the example of Srila Prabhupada. He was in the renounced order of life, but he was also the acharya, the “world preacher of bhakti cult.” He didn’t indulge in different types of new fashion, but he did accept nice clothes and nice quarters and nice prasada. Not excessive, but nice. Sometimes in America he rode in a Rolls Royce, and sometimes in India he rode in a rickshaw, but he was the same. And that is the point: whether he was riding in the rickshaw or riding in the Rolls Royce, he was the same. He was detached and fully absorbed in devotional service, in Krishna consciousness.

Candramauli Swami: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: That’s nice. Candramauli Swami says that in Boston he heard that Srila Prabhupada had said that for himself he would like to go back to the Radha-Damodara temple and live in the simplicity of Vrindavan but that for him to do so would be sense gratification. Yes, Krishna wanted Srila Prabhupada to spread Krishna consciousness all over the whole world, and to do something opposed to what Krishna wants is sense gratification.

Devakinandana dasa: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Devakinandana Prabhu says that George Harrison at one stage wanted to give up everything—his career—just to serve Krishna. But Srila Prabhupada wanted him to stay in his position and serve Krishna from his position. Yes, I also heard that Srila Prabhupada said, “You remain as a Beatle and you write songs about Krishna.”

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Sri Sri Kisora-Kisori ki jaya!
Nitai-gaura-premanande hari-haribol!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Vamana-dvadasi, August 15, 2000, Chicago]


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Appearance Day of Srila Jiva Goswami


When Sri Gaurasundara came to Ramakeli, Sri Jiva was blessed by having darshana of His worshipable lord, though he was just a baby at the time. Placing the dust of His lotus feet on the child’s head, Mahaprabhu indicated him to be the future sovereign preceptor of the Gaudiya sampradaya.

As he got a little older, Sri Jiva took up the worship of the Deities of Sri-Sri Rama-Krsna. He would carefully decorate Them and offer bhoga and arati, serving Them with his full attention. Even in his play, whatever games he played were connected with Sri krsna’s pastimes.

While studying under the local panditas he became proficent in grammar, poetry and rhetoric. Someone suggested to Jiva to go to Navadwipa, thus Sri Jiva set our for Navadwipa with a group of pilgrims and there Sri Jiva met with Nityananda Prabhu. Sri Jiva spent some days with Nityananda Prabhu, touring the nine islands of Navadwipa. Then, as ordered by Nitya­nanda Prabhu, he set out for Kasi (Varanasi) where he studied Vedanta under Sri Madhusudana Vacaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.

From here Sri Jiva set out for Sri Vrindavana where he received shelter at the lotus feet of his two uncles. Sri Rupa and Sanatana. Sri Rupa began to teach him Srimad Bhagavatam. After initiating him with the divine mantra, Rupa engaged him in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara, fashioned by Rupa Gosvami’s own hand.


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By Rasananda Sankirtana Dasa 

On September 22nd-24th, 2023, the community of Radha-Parisisvara temple will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the installation of Sri-Sri Radha-Parisisvara on the most auspicious day of Radhastami.

On the 22nd, a Maha Harinam will proceed from place Saint-Michel (the historical location where devotees would go on Harinam back then) to rue Lesueur (which was the former location of the temple), passing by Luxembourg Park, where Srila Prabhupada once held an initiation ceremony.

On the 23rd, devotees will celebrate Radhastami and revisit moments of the installation of Sri Sri Radha-Parisisvara. 

On the 24th, devotees will share the glories of Sri Sri Radha-Parisisvara, concluding with a cultural program and the presence of ambassadors and local representatives. A special invitation was extended to disciples of Srila Prabhupada and devotees who were present during the installation to speak on a Zoom call for the benefit of the assembled devotees. Guest speakers like HH Indradyumna Swami are already creating a lot of anticipation for the French Yatra. HH Janananda Goswami Maharaj and Dr. Gopaswami Prabhu are also expected at the ceremony. Everyone is invited to the Radha-Parisisvara temple to chant the holy names on this most auspicious occasion. 

Local devotees will be able to add this jubilee celebration to the list of recent successful festivals like Krsna Janmashtami, the 35th Ratha-Yatra, and the visits of different honorable guests, including HH Radhanath Swami and HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami. In this way, the French Yatra continues to exceed all expectations and inspires hope for the future of Krishna Consciousness in France. 

Read more:


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Teacher Training Course

Discover Your Teaching Potential with the Teacher Training Course I & II


Are you ready to embark on a transformative teaching journey? The Teacher Training Course is your gateway to becoming an empowered teacher and preacher in the Krishna Consciousness movement. This dynamic six-day course, guided by HG Aniruddha Dasa (TTC I) and HG Rsi Kumara Dasa (TTC II), offers a comprehensive curriculum that goes beyond the classroom, equipping you with essential skills that can be applied in various facets of life.


Course Details:

  • Dates: November 18 — 23, 2023

  • Teachers: 

  • TTC I - HG Aniruddha Dasa

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- Speaking skills

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- Proper description of lesson aims and objectives

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- Different interactive teaching and preaching styles

- The art of emphatic listening

- The art of balancing your presentations between study and recreation

The skills acquired during this course are not confined to traditional classrooms. They open doors to countless possibilities for spreading the Krishna Consciousness movement through effective teaching and preaching.


To enroll in the course, you must be an ISKCON devotee in good standing, be able to attend all sessions, and have proficiency in English.


To apply, fill out the admission form available [here]. 


For further details, please contact:

- Phone: +91 89799 43134 (12-6pm IST), +91 88690 53796

- Email:

- Facebook:

Or visit our website:


Elevate your teaching and preaching skills while deepening your connection to Krishna Consciousness. Join the Teacher Training Course and become a beacon of knowledge and devotion in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement and practice yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa

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Tata play customers have to add 'FTA complimentary pack new' pack on their set top box. 

They can add this pack themselves on TATA play app (Android or iOS) or they can add this pack thro the call centre.
By activating this pack, they get 228+ free channels on TATA play. Hare Krsna TV channel is part of this free pack.
For more details, call Hare Krsna TV call centre 7666 839 839.
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The ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry (IDWM) acts on behalf of the GBC to ensure that the worship in our temples and centres is done according to the standards as given by Srila Prabhupada. It also provides training for devotees interested in developing their skills and abilities as Pujaris and brahmanas. The Ministry is also presently compiling ‘position papers’ that address often asked questions related to worship. By closely studying and researching Srila Prabhupada’s books, conversations and letters as well as speaking to various senior devotees it aims to give devotees clear direction and guidance on the common questions asked. For example two of these questions are ‘can we show Radharanis feet on festivals like Radhastami and Gopastami? Can non brahmanas assist in the Abhisekas during festivals? Other questions range from the use of white sugar in cooking, changing the form of the deity, worship of demigods, worship of Dvaraka silas etc. In all the IDWM is presently working on over 20 position papers.

By ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry

Position Statement

Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet should not be ever shown publicly at ISKCON temples, whether on a daily basis or particularly on festivals such as Radhastami and Gopastami.

Supporting Information

  • Srila Prabhupada wrote a clear written response in a letter to the head pujari of ISKCON Los Angeles in 1973, which was the western headquarters of ISKCON. ISKCON LA had one of, if not the most established deity worship programs whereby Prabhupada gave extensive instructions on the subject. Among other questions related to the deity worship in ISKCON LA, the head pujari’s first question was apparently whether Radharani’s feet can ever be shown. Srila Prabhupada’s response was, “Your first question, shall Srimati Radharani’s feet be showing, the answer is no, they should never be seen. Krsna’s feet, however, should be showing.” The deity worship instructions he gave to ISKCON LA is understood to establish principles and standards for other temples to follow. The instruction in this letter cannot be relegated by some to fall under the category of being just a personal instruction from Srila Prabhupada to an individual disciple as the nature of the questions were for how the worship should be conducted publicly at a prominent ISKCON temple. To this day, ISKCON of Los Angeles never shows Radharani’s feet based on this clear instruction they received. (See References section below for full letter)

  • The ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry has been unable to determine any circumstance where Srila Prabhupada instructed, approved, or even witnessed Radharani’s lotus feet being publicly viewed in an ISKCON temple. It seems that the practice of showing Her feet in ISKCON temples on Radhastami and/or Gopastami became popular in ISKCON sometime in the 1980’s. We must assume that he was certainly aware of this practice in some Vrindaban temples, including Radha-Damodar Mandir, where he resided for many years. However, there is no record of him introducing this as a practice for any festival observance.

  • Srila Prabhupada emphasized that we worship Radha-Krishna in the mood of Laxmi-Narayana with awe and reverence as one would worship a king and queen.

This worship is based on primarily on pancaratriki viddhi, emphasizing the mood of awe and reverence. Showing the feet of a queen is generally not compatible with this mood of worship he instructed for deity worship in ISKCON. However, if Srila Prabhupada instead emphasized us to worship Radha-Krishna as a young cowherd boy and girl based on raga-marga principles which is quite prominent in some Vrindaban temples, then arguably there could be scope for license to show Radharani’s lotus feet in ISKCON temples. The indisputable fact is that Srila Prabhupada consistently instructs in Srimad Bhagavatam purports, letters, and lectures that our worship in ISKCON of Radha-Krishna deities is in the mood of worshiping Laxmi-Narayana. He particularly states in a letter, “This is why we should worship Radha-Krsna in Their Laksmi-Narayana feature with all respect and reverence. If we deviate from this standard then we shall be prakrta-sahajiya, or a person who takes things very cheap.”

(See References section below for purports and letters on this topic)

  • ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry requested the GBC body to vote on this topic at their AGM meeting in Mayapur in 2014. They were asked via questionnaire, “Do you feel it is acceptable to show Radharani’s lotus feet?” and requested to respond by selecting “yes”, “no”, or “undecided”. A 65% majority of the GBC body responded that it is not appropriate to ever show Radharani’s feet.

Countering Argument

  • Some devotees who believe that it is acceptable to show Radharani’s feet annually on Radhastami and/or Gopastami in ISKCON temples cite one known instance where Srila Prabhupada apparently gave consent specifically for the

Radha-Damodara deities during a bus tour program when he attended the Rock Opera performance at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania held on Govardhan Puja, 1972. This was not regulated worship at an ISKCON temple.

  • Radha-Damodara have been residing in Gita Nagari for many years now and Radharani’s feet are not shown.

* See References section for accounts of this instance, along with first-hand devotee understandings of this.



4 January, 1973


My Dear Dhruvananda,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 17, 1972, and I have noted the contents with care. You have asked me several questions about the deity worship in Los Angeles, so I shall answer them one after another: Your first question, shall Srimati Radharani’s feet be showing, the answer is no, they should never be seen. Krsna’s feet, however, should be showing.

I do not know when I have said to anyone that Krsna should not wear anything black color, nor I know where I have given any permission to wear black color, but there is no harm if sometimes Krsna dresses something black. Sometimes in Vrndavana they dress Him in black.

Yes, the leaves of Srimati Tulasi Devi may be offered to all Visnu-tattva expansions of Krsna, including Nityananda and Balarama.

You may dress Lord Caitanya in the standard way, main things is do it nicely, don’t make it funny. In your Western countries Lord Caitanya should be entirely covered, He should not appear bare-chested.

Why you are pouring water over the head of Radha and Krsna deities? Big deities should not be bathed in this way, using water or other things. Rather they are bathed daily by mantra, do you not know these things? Under no circumstances shall we bathe the Jagannatha deities with anything water or liquid, they should be bathed with mantra also. Now you are asking if Lord Jagannatha carries flute? Why this nonsense question? You are asking me so many concoctions and manufactured nonsense. Don’t bother my head in this way any more. From now on unless I order you do something change or in addition, go on with the usual standard way. You manufacture ideas and then I have to waste my time. I have given you everything already, there is no need for you to add anything or change anything. Why you are asking these things? Who has given you such freedom? Pujari should operate entirely under the supervision of temple president and GBC, not independently. The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities. So don’t ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that’s all.

=> Letter to: Dhruvananda — Bombay 4 January, 1973

9 October, 1974



My Dear Pariksit dasa:

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated September 13, 1974 and have noted the contents. The answers to your questions are as follows:

  1. Regarding Krsna das Kaviraja, there is no such information, but as far as possible, he was brahmacari.

  2. Lord Nityananda and the associates appeared in the room.

  3. The stick held by Lord Nityananda is like your sketch.

  4. The bodily hues of the devotees of Lord Nityananda, why green? But, it can be done, there is no harm.

  5. You can continue not showing Srimati Radharani’s feet. I hope this meets you in good health.

Your ever well wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami ACBS/bs

=> Letter to: Pariksit — Mayapur 9 October, 1974

Establishing ISKCON Radha-Krishna Worship in the Mood of Laxmi-Narayana

Generally the worship of the Lord begins with the worship of Narayana, or Visnu, whereas the worship of Lord Krsna and Radha is most confidential. Lord Narayana is worshipable by the pancaratrika-vidhi, or regulative principles, whereas Lord Krsna is worshipable by the bhagavata-vidhi. No one can worship the Lord in the bhagavata-vidhi without going through the regulations of the pancaratrika-vidhi. Actually, neophyte devotees worship the Lord according to the pancaratrika-vidhi, or the regulative principles enjoined in the Narada Pancaratra. Radha-Krsna cannot be approached by the neophyte devotees; therefore temple worship according to regulative principles is offered to Laksmi-Narayana. Although there may be a Radha-Krsna vigraha, or form, the worship of the neophyte devotees is acceptable as Laksmi-Narayana worship. Worship according to the pancaratrika-vidhi is called vidhi-marga, and worship according to the bhagavata-vidhi principles is called

raga-marga. The principles of raga-marga are especially meant for devotees who are elevated to the Vrndavana platform.

The inhabitants of Vrndavana — the gopis, Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd boys, the cows and everyone else — are actually on the raga-marga or bhagavata-marga platform. They participate in five basic rasas-dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhurya and santa. But although these five rasas are found in the bhagavata-marga, the bhagavata-marga is especially meant for vatsalya and madhurya, or paternal and conjugal relationships. Yet there is the visrambha-sakhya, the higher fraternal worship of the Lord especially enjoyed by the cowherd boys. Although there is friendship between Krsna and the cowherd boys, this friendship is different from the aisvarya friendship between Krsna and Arjuna. When Arjuna saw the visva-rupa, the gigantic universal form of the Lord, he was afraid for having treated Krsna as an ordinary friend; therefore he begged Krsna’s pardon. However, the cowherd boys who are friends of Krsna in Vrndavana sometimes ride on the shoulders of Krsna. They treat Krsna equally, just as they treat one another, and they are never afraid of Him, nor do

they ever beg His pardon. Thus the raga-marga, or bhagavata-marga, friendship exists on a higher platform with Krsna, namely the platform of visrambha friendship. Paternal friendship, paternal service and conjugal service are visible in the Vrndavana raga-marga relationships.

Without serving Krsna according to the vidhi-marga regulative principles of the pancaratrika-vidhi, unscrupulous persons want to jump immediately to the raga-marga principles. Such persons are called sahajiya. There are also demons who enjoy depicting Krsna and His pastimes with the gopis, taking advantage of Krsna by their licentious character. These demons who print books and write lyrics on the raga-marga principles are

surely on the way to hell. Unfortunately, they lead others down with them. Devotees in Krsna consciousness should be very careful to avoid such demons. One should strictly follow the vidhi-marga regulative principles in the worship of Laksmi-Narayana, although the Lord is present in the temple as Radha-Krsna. Radha-Krsna includes Laksmi-Narayana; therefore when one worships the Lord according to the regulative principles, the Lord accepts the service in the role of Laksmi-Narayana. In The Nectar of Devotion full instructions are given about the vidhi-marga worship of Radha-Krsna, or Laksmi-Narayana. Although there are sixty-four kinds of offenses one can commit in vidhi-marga worship, in raga-marga worship there is no consideration of such offenses because the devotees on that platform are very much elevated, and there is no question of offense. But if we do not follow the regulative principles on the vidhi-marga platform and keep our eyes trained to spot offenses, we will not make progress.

=> SB 4.24.45, SB 4.24.46, SB 4.24.45-46

Regarding your question about why we dress the Deities in very opulent fashion and not as simple cowherds boy and girl, this is an intelligent question and the answer is that according to the regulative principles we cannot worship Radha-Krsna now. Radha-Krsna worship is meant for persons who have already developed spontaneous love of God. In the training period we are only worshiping Laksmi-Narayana. We worship Radha-Krsna because Laksmi-Narayana is there also, but actually we are not worshiping Radha-Krsna with our present Deity ceremonies; we are worshiping Laksmi-Narayana. Narayana is there when Krsna is there, but actually we do not worship Radha-Krsna in Their original form. This is why we should worship Radha-Krsna in Their Laksmi-Narayana feature with all respect and reverence. If we deviate from this standard then we shall be prakrta-sahajiya, or a person who takes things very cheap. We worship Laksmi-Narayana and because Radha-Krsna includes Laksmi-Narayana there is no necessity of installing a Laksmi-Narayana Deity. It is just like a king who is engaged in administering justice. Actually that business belongs to the justice department. But what is the justice department? It is all part of the king’s energy, and the king also has the power to execute this function.

=> Letter to: Madhusudana, 24th January, 1969

Actually, although Radha-Krsna is worshipped in Vrndavana which is like a simple village, but we worship Laksmi-Narayana and the worship is accepted by the Radha-Krsna Deity. Actually, in our present status we cannot worship Radha-Krsna. But as all the Visnu murtis

are situated in Krsna, therefore our Radha-Krsna worship is transferred to Visnu, Lord Narayana. Visnu worship is the regulative devotional principles, and Radha-Krsna worship is spontaneous service of eternal feelings. Therefore, as Laksmi-Narayana is the Deity of great opulences, similarly our Radha- Krsna murtis should be worshipped with great pomp and dignity. Krsna will give you the proper intelligence to do this very nicely. So far as prayers, you may sing Hare Krsna, Govinda jaya jaya and Govindam adi-purusam.

=> Letter to: Satsvarupa, 12th February, 1969

Accounts of Instance Regarding Showing Radharani’s Feet During Radha-Damodara Program

“Srila Prabhupada had seen these Deities on a number of occasions. They had presided, along with His Divine Grace, at the 1972 New Vrindaban Vyasa-puja celebration. Once Prabhupada had asked why Srmati Radharani’s dress was so long as to make Her Look almost like mother Yashoda with her small boy,

Damodara. Visnujana explained that he had thought Radharani’s lotus feet

should be fully covered.”‘You do not like to see Radharani’s Lotus feet?’ Prabhupada chided.

And from that day onward, especially on festive occasions, Radharani’s lotus feet would be slightly showing.”

=> Servant of the Servant – Tamal Krsna Goswami

Regarding the Deity worship, Prabhupada asks Visnujana why Radharani’s dresses are so long as to make her look like Mother Yasoda with her small boy, Damodara. Visnujana explains that he had thought Radharani’s lotus feet should be fully covered.

“Oh? You do not like to see Radharani’s lotus feet?” Prabhupada says with a twinkle in his eye.

Visnujana at once understands that since Radha-Damodara are the childhood forms of the Lord, it would not be immodest for Radharani to display Her lotus feet. From this time onward, especially on festive occasions, Radharani’s lotus feet are slightly shown.

Sankarsana: Radha-Damodara would stay up late to do these concerts, so Prabhupada gave permission for Them to get up later in the morning. Radha-Damodara would take rest for six hours, so whatever time They went to bed, They would get up six hours later.

Visnujana asked Prabhupada directly in Pittsburgh, and Prabhupada authorized it in that situation. Visnujana also got permission to show Radharani’s lotus feet, which is normally not done.

=> Radha Damodar Vilasa – Vaiyasaki dasa

Govardhana Puja 1972

Vishnujana Swami wants to make sweet rice to offer to Radha-Damodara. He loves this festival and prepares enough sweet rice in two large pots. His idea is to satisfy all the Atlanta devotees with Radha-Damodara’s maha-prasadam. After a blissful kirtan his pleasure is to honor each person by personally serving everyone the sweet rice.

Radharani’s lotus feet are visible for this occasion as special nectar for the devotees.

She is the only Radharani Deity whose lotus feet are revealed. She has two outfits that are cut so that Her lotus feet can be seen. On the day She reveals Her lotus feet the devotees go mad in ecstasy. It isn’t a common thing, just on special occasions. Amoghalila is particularly attracted by this pastime. Still, he wonders if it is bona fide and approaches Vishnujana Swami.

Taking him gently by the arm, Maharaja escorts Amoghalila to a quiet place and explains how Srila Prabhupada had come on the bus for Radha-Damodara’s darshan in Pittsburgh.

“Damodara’s outfit displayed His lotus feet as He stood on the base that was locked into the bus altar for stability. Radharani’s long dress, however, not only covered Her feet but the base as well, making Her look much taller than She really was. After offering obeisances, Srila Prabhupada gazed at the two Divine forms and quietly commented, ‘Radharani looks more like Mother Yasoda.’

“I was feeling embarrassed, so I replied, ‘Radharani’s lotus feet are covered out of respect.’

“Prabhupada looked at me, ‘Oh, you don’t like to see Radharani’s lotus feet?’ I was really surprised. ‘Yes, you can show Radharani’s lotus feet,’ he continued, ‘because She is at the Damodara age.’

“It was a moment of enlightenment. And ever since that day, devotees can have the darshan of Radharani’s lotus feet.” Amoghalila is satisfied to hear this nectar story from Maharaja.


Sachi Dulal: The thing I liked about Radha-Damodara was that the bus was nicely painted and kept really clean. The brahmacaris were clean and nicely dressed. Radha-Damodara were so sweet and so beautiful. They were nicely taken care of. They were the only Deities in the movement where Radharani’s lotus feet were shown. I always relished that.

When people come on the bus for darshan, Vishnujana Maharaja explains how Silavati began showing Radharani’s lotus feet many years ago when Radha-Damodara first came to America. Prabhupada had given his sanction because Radha and Damodara are at the kumara age of young children so it’s all right. Silavati was the foremost pujari at the time having been trained personally by Srila Prabhupada.

=> Radha-Damodara Vilasa II – Vaiyasaki dasa

From: “Sankarshan Das Adhikari”

Subject: RE: Radharani’s lotus feet

Date: 3 September 2012 7:33:23 PM AEST

To: “‘Nrsimha Kavaca dasa'” Dear Nrsimha Kavaca Prabhu,

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Due to my traveling and preaching I am heavily backlogged on my emails. That’s why I have taken so long to reply to your important email.

I heard this directly heard it from His Holiness Vishnujana Maharaja on the morning of 9 September 1972 at the ISKCON center in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. This was the morning after the famous Rock Opera performance at the Syria Mosque, which was attended by Srila Prabhupada.

He told me that Prabhupada had instructed him that Radha Damodar could be awakened 6 hours after they took rest. This was because they were up late as the stars of our Rock Opera and could only take rest after the opera was finished.

He also told me that Prabhupada gave us permission to show Radharani’s lotus feet. I understood this as a special instruction for Sri Sri Radha Damodar on the Road Show, not as a general principle for all deities. Also, I do not assume that this applies to Radha and Damodar where they are now stationed on the altar at Gita Nagari. I support your analysis that her feet should not be shown.

I hope this meets you in the best of health and in an ecstatic mood.

Your servant, Sankarshan Das Adhikari


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Dear devotees, I wish you a most fulfilling Radhastami where the blessings of Divine love are abundantly showered upon you and everyone else who aspires for it.

Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami ecstatically raises his voice in glorification of Srimati Radharani:

“If one asks about the origin of love of Krishna the answer is that the origin is Srimati Radharani alone.
If one asks: ‘Who is the most dear friend of Krishna?’
The answer again is: ‘Srimati Radharani alone.’
She is able to fulfill all of Krishna’s desires like no one else.”

Even Lord Krishna Himself cannot reach the limits of the transcendental qualities of Srimati Radharani. How then can an insignificant living entity count them?

(CC Madhya 8. 182 + 185)

Radhastami is an utmost holy day! Therefore, we should hear the words of these dear devotees of Srimati Radharani whose deep realisations can guide us to a spiritual understanding that our own present words and thoughts would not be able to reach otherwise.

Srila Prabhupada taught us how to please Lord Krishna by taking full shelter of Srimati Radharani:

“Anyone who comes before Radharani to serve Krishna , oh, She becomes so pleased, ´Oh, here is a devotee of Krishna !´ She immediately recommends, “Krishna , oh, here is a devotee. He is better than Me.” This is Radharani. I may be a, not devotee. I may be most fallen rascal. But if I try to reach Krishna through Radharani, then my business is successful. Therefore we should worship Radharani first. That is our business. Instead of offering directly one flower to Krishna , you just put it in the hands of Radharani: “My mother Radharani, Jagan-mata, if you kindly take this flower and offer it to Krishna .” “Oh,” Radharani says, “Oh, you have brought a flower?” Krishna said, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati BG 9.26, but don´t try to offer Krishna directly. Just offer through Radharani. It will be very much appreciated by Radharani.”

So today is a day where we can get down on our knees and pray to Radharani for mercy.

Srila Prabhupada guides us further:

“So this is our philosophy, to please Krishna through Radharani. Just today is the auspicious day of Radharani´s appearance. So we should offer puspanjali and pray to Radharani that “Radharani, kindly be merciful and tell about me Your Krishna . Krishna is Yours.” Krishna , Radha-Krishna . Krishna is not independent. Krishna is Radharani´s property. So you have to approach Krishna through Radharani. That is, today is the auspicious day. Worship Radharani very nicely and be happy.”

(Both quotes are excerpts from Srila Prabhupada’s Lecture on Radhastami, given in London, Sep 5, 1073)

May this day be an unforgettable day where the rain of mercy gives fresh nourishment to the plant of your bhakti.

All the best
Sacinandana Swami

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to be with us in Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple to celebrate Radhastami. A day in which we meditate upon the deepest mystery buried within the vast treasure of the Vedic scriptures. According to a particular person’s level of spiritual awareness, and their particular inclinations, Srila Vyasadev, has compiled the Vedic literatures in such a way to elevate the consciousness of humanity. There are puranas specifically ingrained in the mode of ignorance, knowing that there is no other way to help them except to somehow try to lift them to the mode of passion. And for those in the mode of passion, to somehow lift them to the mode of goodness. And for those in the mode of goodness, to lift them to the transcendental plain.

And on the transcendental plain, many seek to annihilate material miseries forever, by losing their own material identity and realizing ones oneness with Brahman with all pervading impersonal aspect of the absolute truth. And for those great yogis to understand their direct and personal connection with the paramatma or the Lord who is situated within their heart’s, there is karma kanda, jnana kanda, the astanga kanda and the upasana kanda. The path of bhakti in which we can have direct experience of our eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss and who is eternally enjoying pastimes with devotees.

Generally we are taught that the absolute truth is the all great supreme master of all living beings. But then Vyasdev goes into deeper mysteries, how can go into a spontaneous loving relations with God, considering oneself an intimate servant or a friend on an equal level or to love the absolute truth as one’s own child or as a lover. The absolute truth is one, but that one truth Krsna is eternally manifested in both a male and female aspect or personalities for the purpose of exchanging love. And just as Krsna, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam, is the source of all incarnations, His eternal pleasure potency, His hladini shakti, Srimati Radharani is the source of all consorts and all goddesses of fortune.

Srila Prabhupada explains that Srimati Radharani is the transformation of Krsna’s supreme love. She is the personification of all spiritual love. And that love is so powerful that it overpowers the all-powerful or Krsna.

How to understand the nature of Radha’s love?

To release the dormant love within our heart is only possible by the grace of the Lords Hladini Shakti, his pleasure potency Srimati Radharani, She holds the key that can unlock the deepest mysteries of the soul. But it is natural that which is most rare, most inconceivable is often misunderstood. When you go into Air India, sometimes you see on the walls painted Rasa Lila and there is Radharani dancing. And people; that are our tradition Radha and Krishna, but it is a very deep subject. That is our tradition Radha and Krishna. In order to understand the nature of Sri Radha we must understand the nature of Love. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami goes to great lengths to define, what is spiritual love and what is the love of the Gopi’s. A relationship based on the misconception that I am this body and mind or a relationship that is based on the concern for my enjoyment that is called Kama. A relationship that is based on the knowledge of our liberated condition that we are eternal spirit souls beyond the ego, the intelligence, the mind, the senses and the body. A relationship based on selfless unconditional service, completely for the purpose of giving pleasure to the object of love that is Prema. That is love that is the nature of the soul in its relationship with Krishna.

The mood of the gopis – to give Krsna pleasure

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained “Jivera svarupa hoy krishnera nitya das” that the soul is eternal servant of Krishna, This is that inherent nature. This is what it means to serve on the spiritual platform. And the Gopis of Vrindavan; even the greatest Sannyasis like Sukadeva Goswami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa and Sanatan Goswami, Raghunath Das Goswami, They have revealed to the world that the purity the intimacy of the love of the Gopi’s is unparalled even in the spiritual world, why because they have not even a tinge of desire for their own purposes. Their hearts, their bodies their minds, their everything is absolutely and constantly dedicated to happiness to Krishna. We read about how the Gopi’s dress themselves very beautifully, they put on cosmetics and fragrances and they comb their hair and put flowers. Now in this world, so many ladies do that and men do it in their own way also, but the Gopi’s , they only want to look beautiful because, Krishna wanted to enjoy it. It’s not that they want to look beautiful; it’s that they know Krishna wants to enjoy their beauty. And Caitanya Caritamrita tells us how the gopis, they make themselves so beautiful. And when Krishna sees their beauty, His beauty increases, due to the happiness of seeing their beauty. And when Gopis see Krishna’s beauty increase, because of the happiness of seeing their beauty, seeing his happiness, their beauty increases more. Because they see they are making Krishna happy by their beauty, so they want to be more beautiful and they become more beautiful and then Krishna becomes more beautiful, and then they become more beautiful and then Krishna becomes more beautiful and they become more beautiful and Krishna becomes more beautiful and I could spend the rest of the class just going on. It goes on for eternity. Now you may think this must be boring, but it’s not boring. It’s what everybody is seeking, the reciprocation of Love. Krishna’s only pleasure is to giving happiness to His devotees. And his devotees’ only happiness is giving pleasure to Krishna. And the gopis have perfected that art to the supreme degree.

Sometimes it’s asked Krishna left Vrindavan and went to Mathura and later to Dwaraka and the residents of Vrindavan, why did they stay there, over a hundred years. Why? Why didn’t they just move to Dwaraka. They could be with Krishna every day. The reason is because they wanted to give happiness to Krishna. They knew that Krishna derived the greatest pleasure only in Vrindavan , nowhere else does his lila compare. And Krishna promised the gopis, I will come back to enjoy Vrindavan pastimes with you in the forests of Kadamba trees on the bank of the Yamuna. I’ll be back. This is where I find the most pleasure. So for Krishna’s pleasure they remained there, they couldn’t go anywhere else. And they remained there. We know that beautiful story where the gopis are willing to suffer in hell for billions of years if by doing so they will Krishna one moment of relief from His headache. And they don’t think about it. It’s not that they were calculating what it would be like. Such Love is impossible in this material world; The gopis have completely spiritual bodies because they have absolutely no false egos. There is no selfishness, everything is for Krishna . The amazing contradiction is when you have absolutely no concern for your own happiness Krishna forces you to be happy. The gopis don’t want happiness they only want Krishna’s happiness. But Krishna reciprocated with that Love by giving them unlimited happiness. The happiness of giving. Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu explains how Daruka was fanning Krishna and he was feeling ecstatic symptoms, which was causing his limbs to tremble and therefore he could not fan properly. So he was praying for his ecstatic symptoms to go away, because it was interfering with how he could give pleasure to the Lord. And gopis when they are fanning Krishna or serving Krishna in so many ways, some times they are in such ecstasy of Love that tears flood their eyes and they cant see what they were doing for Krishna. Let these ecstasies go away, I don’t want them. I only want Krishna’s happiness, this is Bhakti. As long as we are concerned with our own happiness, we can never really be happy. When we have no more concern for our own happiness and we repose all of our energies and desires in Krishna’s happiness then Krishna reciprocates and showers unlimited happiness upon us. That is his selfless love. And of all the Gopis, the supreme most is revealed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 10th canto, where in under the Vamsi Vat tree, on the full moon night of Sharat season, Krishna plays His flute the fifth note and He specifically calls through the song for the gopis to come. What a musician! We hear how beautiful this flute is and this violin and Gaura vani prabhu’s beautiful voice. Whatever we are hearing from these wonderful devotional musicians, they are being empowered by Krishna because of their sincerity. But all arts originate in their full perfection in the absolute truth. Everything is based on Love.

When Krishna plays His flute, the intimate love of His heart manifests through His breath into the holes of the flute and is carried by that song, through the atmosphere, into the ears of the gopis, and then directly into their hearts. Where they are conquered. Lord Caitanya explains when Krishna plays His flute and this love of his heart is manifesting in this divine musical sound vibration and its personally for each gopi. And when it enters into their ears its like a bird that makes a nest to block the ears from everything and anything else. And then that sound goes right into the heart and plunders their entire consciousness. The gopis were helpless they left everything , their reputation and went to see Krishna. And Krishna told them to go home. And the gopis crying we don’t want to go home, we’ve come here only for you. But understand they were only saying those things because they knew that Krishna wanted them to do so. Krishna wanted to Dance with them, so they were presenting so many arguments that we want to dance with you. And K danced and He manifested himself in between each Gopi. But then it appeared that they were all becoming proud thinking Krishna’s only with me. So, He disappeared. And in that feeling of separation, they were going mad, totally engrossed in Krsna. If only we could have this experience, we just go on with our lives. The gopis, they were talking to each other, they were enacting Krsna’s various pastimes with each other, they were asking the trees, the birds, the stars, the moon, “Where is Sri Nandanandana?” All to give their hearts for Krsna’s pleasure.

Why Sukhadeva Goswami never mentions the names of young gopis in Srimad Bhagvatam

Now, Sukadev Goswami, he did not mention the names of any of the young gopis in the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. He mentions Yasoda and some of older Gopis, but there is not a single gopi’s name of the younger gopis of the Madhurya rasa. The reason – because the love of the gopis is so great. And they give such pleasure to Krsna, that if Sukadev Goswami, even once, speak any gopi’s name, he was afraid, he would go into a trance, and not be able to continue the narration. And Parikshit maharaj was going to die in seven days. By the time he was in 10th canto, there was only a few days left. So, out of compassion, he very carefully did not speak their names. But then, he comes to that point where all gopis are searching for Krsna. These are the topmost, highest most intimate transcendentalists. Those who give the most pleasure to the Lord and those who receive the greatest degree of ecstasy from God. And amongst them, they saw the footprints of one Gopi, who Krsna left everyone else to be along with. And at that point, Sukadev Goswami, he couldn’t say Her name, but he almost said Her name. anaradhito nunam bhagavan hari iswara. That Krsna left all of us, Govinda left all of us for this one gopi who loves and serves with greatest devotion. The greatest, the ultimate of all the devotees. And that is Srimati Radharani. All the gopis are expansions of Sri Radha, all love of God in every living entities heart is part and parcel of Sri Radha’s love. She is the complete unlimited reservoir of all love, and Krsna is the complete object of all love. The pastimes of Radha and Krsna are the purest form of spiritual revelation. The highest and most intimate revelation of the Absolute truth.

Reasons for Lord Caitanya’s appearance

As it was spoken of this morning, many deities of Krsna, self-manifested or were carved by Krsna’s grand-son, Vajranabha. And the great devotees, the goswamis worshipped Radha & Krsna in the form of Krsna, knowing, that in the very core of Krsna’s heart is Sri Radha. So when they worship Krsna, their main focus is on the pleasure of Sri Radha as being an assistant to serve, to be a part of Radha’s love for Krsna. So it was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers who so mercifully revealed Srimati Radharani super-excellence even to the people of this world. And deities of Srimati Radharani began to be put along with Krsna. Krsna is all-knowing, he knows everything past, present and future, he knows everything in everyone’s heart. But there is one thing that Krsna longed to know, the nature of Srimati Radharani’s love. The nature of his own pleasure potency. To understand the glory of Sri Radharani’s love, the sweetness she realizes in experiencing his love and what she relishes by seeing him, by tasting his qualities, Krsna. To personally taste the deepest of all secrets. But also to hear that secret and give everyone and anyone without discrimination, of Sri Radha’s love. That is Lord Caitanya’s mercy.

Parama karuna pahu dui jana, nitai gaurachandra…

Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are most merciful. They have given what no other incarnation has ever given. Basu Gosh in his beautiful prayer, he cries, if Lord Gauranga had not come, who would have ever understood, the glory of Radharani’s love. What would be the purpose of my life? What would I live for? Lord Caitanya and his true followers, have reveled this great secret to us.

There are many beautiful pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna which are revealed in the puranas, in the books of great acaryas and goswamis. But what is most important is to understand the spirit of the selfless service of Sri Radha and the gopis. Because unless we enter into that spirit, we cannot really access the great treasure of their pastimes. We must follow in the footsteps of Gopis of vrindavan through selfless devotional service.

How Krsna who is Rasabihari, eternally longs to taste the sweetness of Sri Radha’s love

How Krsna who is Rasabihari, eternally longs to taste the sweetness of Sri Radha’s love. Srila Prabhupada explains it in very simple way. That Krishna is Madanmohan that means his beauty; his grace will conquer even Cupid. That means all of the temptations of this material existence, that are keeping us tightly bound. But Sri Radha is Madanmohanmohini, Which means she conquers the conqueror of Cupid by her love. This is Vrinadavan, love is supreme. Love conquers the beloved. Sri Radha is Vrindavaneshwari, She is the eternal queen, When Sri Radha will become angry with Krishna and she does so only for his pleasure, than Krishna will perform so many wonderful pastimes just to show his subordination to Radha’s love. Sometimes he would dance like a peacock just to make her laugh; sometimes he would place his head at her feet and wash her lotus feet with his tears just to break her anger. Sometimes Krishna will block the path of Sri Radha and the Gopi’s to exact tax in the form of the clay pots filled with yogurt or ghee that are on their heads. But actually what Krishna is doing is he is begging, he is begging for their love in the form of these offerings. He is dependent on the love of his devotees that is Vrindavan. Though Krishna is Abhijna and Svarat, he is all knowing and independent but by his own sweet will he becomes dependent on the love of his devotees.

The Harinaam Sankirtan movement is the eternal pastimes of Radha and Krishna in the spiritual world.”Golokera Prema dhana harinaam sankirtan” and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna tasting the sweetness of Radha’s love has brought the eternal pastime of Naam sankirtan from the spiritual world of Vrindavan to this world and is actually inviting us to engage in this spiritual pastime that is eternally being enacted in Goloka. And when we perform Naam sankirtan with the proper selfless service attitude, that our acharyas have taught, the lord is giving us entrance into Radha and Krishna’s pastimes.

Mood for approaching Radharani today – As a beggar

Today Dwarkadhish prabhu was explaining that when we come before Srimati Radharani we are beggars, we are begging for that love,

We are begging for that grace. When she is pleased with us through our service to Guru, service to the Vaishnavas, through our sincerity than she could remove all the obstacles of lust and envy and anger and pride and greed and illusion and open our hearts and reveal that deep mystery of Prema bhakti. Radhashtami is the day when we celebrate the ultimate bestower of spiritual love. And Srila Prabhupada explains if we are sincere, if we are serious, if we have no ulterior motives than Srimati Radharani easily gives that Love. It is interesting that the Gopis, they are just simple Cowherd girls.

The gopis, they are simple cowherd girls. Laxmi devi, the godess of fortune, She wanted to enter into the Raslila of Krsna. She performed tapasya for 1000s of years for that purpose. She left Vaikunta. But she was not allowed to cross the Yamuna, to enter into the Raslila. She was given the benediction that she could see it. But in order to participate, she had to give up her love in aiswarya bhav. Another words, She had to give that conception that she was a queen. She had to milk cows, she had to pick up cow dung and carry it on her head, She had to go to the Yamuna and fill buckets of water and carry it on her head, some times long distances, do household jobs. The simplicity of Gopi’s love, even Laxmi is longing, praying, and doing tapasya to taste. But she cannot imagine that. Who is Laxmi devi? She is Radharani herself in an expanded form.

And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His divine servant, Srila Prabhupad, is giving us, you and me and all the rest of us tonight, is giving us the opportunity to all of us that even Laxmi can’t achieve. That is Radharani’s mercy manifesting through Her form of Lord Caitanya. When Srila Prabhupad was on the Jaladuta, he was praying to Srimati Radharani to empower Him. And it is Her grace. Her grace manifesting through Lord Caitanya’s heart. Lord Caitanya’s heart is Radharani’s heart. It is Her grace that empowered Srila Prabhupad to give us the greatest of all treasures – access the deepest of all mysteries, the highest essence in perfection of all spiritual knowledge.

On Radhastami we express our gratitude by begging, begging for the chance to serve. Begging for a chance to chant the holy names of the Lord, to hear the glories of the Lord in that spirit in pure and selfless service. It is the age of quarrel and hypocrisy and all quarrel, and all hypocrisy is due to selfish motivations.

trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari

Caintanya Mahaprabhu’s cure to Kali’s influence

Caitanya mahaprabhu gave us such a simple and powerful cure to all the ills and sufferings of Kali. If we can just chant the holy name in this humble state of mind, selfless servitude, following in the footsteps of the Gopis, there can be no real quarrel. And if there is a quarrel, it’s only to enhance the experience of our love. In this world, quarrel enhances our dislike, our envy, our repulsion. In the spiritual world, quarrel increases the unity of our heart, by giving dynamic energy to our love for Krsna and for each other. Sometimes, Lord Nityananda and Advaita would fight, they would throw rice on each other, they would call each other very bad names. And Vrindavan Das Takur explains, anyone who takes the side of two Vaisnavas who fight and offends the other, he will fall down. He explains, these quarrels are simply expressions of their love for each other. Now I don’t know what it’s like between husband and wife but it’s definitely not like that, in this world but on the spiritual platform, where there is

trnand api sunichena,
taror api sahishnuna,
amanina mana dena,
kirtaniya sada hari

Where we focus on the chanting of the holy name in this spirit of selfless unconditional service for the pleasure of Krsna, for the pleasure of Vaisnavas, for the pleasure of all living beings then that type of quarrel and hypocrisy which divides us ceases to exist. Today’s world is full of conflict because our hearts are so full of conflict, because we have so many ulterior motives and so many selfish desires. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srimati Radharani has given us this gift – to rise above all of these superficial disagreements and to unite on the basis of selfless humble servitude and when we chant the holy names in that spirit Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur explains then the entire spiritual world is relived to us from within our hearts. So on this day let us pray, let us pray to Sri Radharani with deep and genuine gratitude and for these qualities that SP has so mercifully emphasized. To cultivate these qualities of humility, gratitude and selfless service to Krsna as the top priority in every aspect of our lives and let us pray that we beg, we beg for such selfless service as we cry out those Holy Names that have descended from Goloka Vrindavan to transport us to the highest perfection.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare  Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Thank you very much.

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By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

Knowledge about Srimati Radharani, Her relationship with Krishna, Her relationships with Her sakhis and gopi manjaris is expanded throughout the confidential literatures of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. In recent years these books are becoming more accessible to English speaking readers. We are becoming more aware, at least theoretically, that devotion to Srimati Radharani is the topmost expression of Krishna consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says in one of his songs, “Srimati Radhika is the teacher of the mellow of conjugal love. The pure love between Radha and Madhava is meant to be discussed and contemplated.”

But there are many warnings that one should never mistake Srimati Radharani and Her affairs with Krishna to be material dealings of man and woman. There is a danger in being curious about Srimati Radharani but not hearing in the proper way. I wanted to therefore impart Prabhupada’s presentation of Srimati Radharani and confining myself to whatever I have found in his books and lectures and talks. You will find that although Srila Prabhupada was on the one hand very reserved in speaking about Radharani he nevertheless imparted to us a sweet and pure understanding of Radharani and the practical means to advance ourselves in Her service.

In his translations and purports to relevant sections of Nectar of Devotion, Krishna Book and Caitanya-caritamrta, Prabhupada deals in all the intricacies of Srimati Radharani’s love for Krishna. I have gone through these many section especially looking for statements where Prabhupada is speaking personally his own realization in his own words.

I can remember Srila Prabhupada speaking about Srimati Radharani in the summer of 1966 at 26 Second Ave. in New York City.

I always remember Prabhupada on Radhastami because I received first initiation from Prabhupada on this day, September 23rd, 1966. Prabhupada’s qualifications for initiation were very easy in those days and so I could have been initiated at the first initiation in ISKCON which was on Janmastami day 1966. But I didn’t feel ready for the surrender of my so-called free activities. It seemed too much to give up and so I passed up the initiation.

But a few days after that I began to regret that I didn’t get initiated. Then I heard from one of the devotees that Prabhupada was planning to hold another initiation in two weeks on the occasion of the appearance day of Srimati Radharani. So then Prabhupada began to explain to us something about Srimati Radharani.

He said that on Janmastami we had to fast all day until midnight because Krishna is very strong and hard. But on Radhastami we would only have to fast until noon because Radharani is soft and kind.

I therefore decided that I would ask Prabhupada if I could get initiated on Radharani’s appearance day. What had seemed too hard two weeks previously on Krishna’s birthday now seemed easier under the protection of Srimati Radharani.

Prabhupada’s first explanation of Radharani is an unforgettable sutra. Prabhupada said that Srimati Radharani is the best devotee of Krishna. Because She loves Him the most.

Prabhupada then explained that Srimati Radharani was interested in the welfare of all devotees and that we could pray to Her. He said you can’t go directly to Krishna but if Krishna’s devotee is pleased with you then he or she will recommend you to Krishna and Krishna will be obliged to give you His mercy. This is especially true if you get the mercy of Srimati Radharani.

Prabhupada put knowledge of Radharani in the very first books that he translated in America, Teachings of Lord Caitanya 1967, Krishna Book 1968, and Nectar of Devotion in 1969. In the Nectar of Devotion, under the category of “Attracting Krishna”, the characteristics of pure devotional service, Prabhupada explained the principle of approaching Krishna through Radha:

To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Radharani, and the devotees in Vrndavana put themselves under the care of Radharani in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service. In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is directly under the control of Radharani. In Bhagavad Gita it is confirmed that the mahatmas or great souls, are under the protection of daivi prakrti, the internal energy—Radharani. So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Krishna, devotional service attracts even Krishna Himself.” (NOD pg. 16)

Prabhupada’s remark that Krishna was hard and Radharani was soft and kind, is collaborated by a statement he made in the Nectar of Devotion under Krishna’s quality of “compassionate”:

“Instead of offering obeisances to Krishna, devotees offer obeisances to His compassionate nature. Actually , because Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Radharani, always pray to Radharani for Krishna’s compassion.” (NOD pg. 176)

Prabhupada sometimes described Radharani as Krishna’s tenderhearted female counter part.

And for praying to Radharani, the easiest way is to address Her in Hare Krishna Mantra which is made up of names of Radha and Krishna. :O Energy of the Lord (Hara) O Lord, please engage me in Your service.”

Prabhupada did not broadcast explicitly the glories of Radharani as much as he did those of Lord Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And yet he does inform us that, according to Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta, Srimati Radharani is the Queen of Vrndavana. She has the power to attract even Krishna. As stated by Prabhupada in the Nectar of Devotion:

“Krishna attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Krishna. The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Radharani. Krishna is called Madana Mohana, which means He is so attractive that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids. But Radharani is still more attractive, for She can attract Krishna. Therefore devotees call Her Madana Mohana Mohini, the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.” (NOD 16)

Why then was Srila Prabhupada so reserved and grave in speaking about Radharani?

One reason Prabhupada was reserved was that we were such neophytes. Also Prabhupada was preaching in the West and it is the nature of materialistic persons outside of Vedic culture to take Radha Krishna affairs as ordinary sex affairs. Prabhupada explained this with the example of the cow who experienced fire in the barn. Once there was a fire in a barn and a cow became so frightened that thereafter whenever she saw the color red she panicked. In a similar way, conditioned souls are so traumatized or addicted to sex pleasure, that as soon as they see a picture of Krishna embracing Radha they think “Yes that’s the same as what I feel for my girlfriend.”

Prabhupada was also very afraid that if the devotees took prematurely to Radha-Krishna affairs they would become prakrta sahajiyas, those who take confidential matters too cheaply. He told about a man who said, “Whenever I hear the name Radha I always think of a barber’s wife whose name is Radha.”

In the Preface to the Krishna Book Prabhupada begins, “In these Western countries, when someone sees a cover of a book like Krishna, he immediately asks “Who is Krishna? Who is the girl with Krishna?” But it’s significant that Prabhupada then completes the Preface by answering the question who is Krishna but he does not mention who Radha is.

Another example of Prabhupada’s reserved mood is that he instructed us not to show the feet of the Radharani Deity although Krishna’s feet should be exposed.

We can get further insight into Prabhupada’s presentation by study of some of the lectures that he gave on the occasion of Radhastami. One lecture was on August 30, 1968 in Montreal.

Prabhupada explained that Radha-Krishna philosophy is a very great philosophy and is understood on the liberated stage, not on the conditioned stage.

He said on the conditioned stage we worship Laksmi Narayana by following regulative principles.

“So in this vidhi marga, when you have no love for God or Krishna, you have to follow the regulative principles and automatically…there is practice. When practicing. Just like you practice this mrdanga playing. In the beginning it is not in order but when you become well versed in the practice, the sound will become so nice.”

This is an interesting example because in 1968 the devotees were just learning to play the mrdanga and their beats were very rudimentary but Prabhupada encouraged them that they would get better. And we see that nowadays in ISKCON there are many expert mrdanga players who have learnt by practice and by associating with other good players.

“Similarly, when we are engaged by regulative principles in the worship of Radha Krishna, that is called vidhi marga. And actually when you are on the love platform, that is called raga marga. So without vidhi marga, if anyone wants to learn the raga marga immediately, that is foolishness. That is foolishness. Nobody can pass M.A. examination without going through the regulative principles or primary schools and colleges.
So therefore I do not indulge in the discussions of Radha and Krishna so easily. Rather, go on with the regulative principle at the present moment. Gradually as you become purified, as you become on the transcendental platform, you will understand what is Radha Krishna.”

So Prabhupada is very strict about not jumping ahead but at the same time he indicates that the path of vaidhi marga will lead upward, as certain as regular mrdanga playing will lead to expert mrdanga playing.

Don’t try to understand Radha Krishna very quickly. It is a very big subject. If we want to understand Radha Krishna very quickly, then there will be so many prakrta sahajiyas. In India there are prakrta sahajiyas. Just like Radha Krishna dancing. Radha Krishna has become a plaything. The painting Radha Krishna, Krishna’s kissing Radha, Radha’s kissing. These are all nonsense. Radha Krishna philosophy has to be understood by the liberated person, not by the conditioned soul. So we shall await for the fortunate moment when we are liberated then we shall understand Radha Krishna pranaya vikrtir.

In this 1968 lecture Prabhupada then asked for a harmonium and he began to sing Rupa Gosvami’s song “Radhe jaya jaya madhava dayite”.

Although Prabhupada was very cautious in his own way he nevertheless distributed the sweetness of Srimati Radharani’s love for Krishna. In this 1968 lecture he went on to explain “Radhe jaya jaya madhava dayite”:

“She’s so dear to Krishna.” Everyone is trying to love Krishna, but Krishna is trying to love somebody. How great She is. Just try to understand. The whole world, the whole universe all living entities are trying to love Krishna. Krishna prema. Krishna prema is so valuable but Krishna is after Radharani. Just see how Radharani is great. Try to understand the greatness of Radharani. She’s so great, we have to offer our respect. And how is she?
gokula taruni mandala mahite.

“Taruni taruni means young girls. You will see the pictures, they are all young girls, She is the most beautiful. She is enchanting to the young girls also. She is so beautiful.

gokula taruni mandala mahite damodara rati vardana vese.

She always dresses Herself so nicely that Damodara, Krishna, because attracted by Her beauty.

She is the only lovable object of Krishna and She is the Queen of Vrndavana. You will find in Vrndavana, if you go to Vrndavana, everyone is worshipping Radharani. Rani means queen. They are always speaking “Jaya Radhe”. Radharani. All the devotees in Vrndavana they are worshipers of Radharani.

(In another lecture that he gave in Vrndavana around 1972 Prabhupada was explaining that there is no one as great as Krishna, matah parataram nanyat. But then he paused and said, “There is one person greater than Krishna. That is Radharani.” He said, “But that is out of love.”)

In his 1968 Radhastami lecture Prabhupada then went on explaining the song karunam kuru mayi karuna-bharite/sanaka-sanatana-varnita-carite.

Now somebody may say, O you are so great learned scholar, you are so great saintly person and you are begging mercy from an ordinary girl? How is that? Therefore Rupa Goswami says, “O, this is not ordinary girl.”
Sanaka sanatana varnita carite.
This girl’s description is possible to be made only by great saintly persons like Sanaka and Sanatana. She is not ordinary.

In Prabhupada’s 1969 lecture on Radhastami which he gave in London, he said “Radharani is the pleasure potency, hladhini shakti.” Prabhupada taught from the very beginning and always re-emphasized—that just as we have a desire to love and have pleasure, so that desire exists in the Supreme Person, Krishna. But when He wants to desire, He doesn’t desire pleasure from an ordinary person. He expands into the pleasure potency and that is Radharani. So actually Radharani is not different from Krishna. As Prabhupada puts it in the introduction to Teachings of Lord Caitanya, “Without Radha, there is no meaning to Krishna, and without Krishna there is no meaning to Radha. Because of this, the Vaisnava philosophy first of all pays obeisances to and worships the internal pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Lord and His potency are always referred to as Radha Krishna.”

In that ‘69 Radhastami lecture Prabhupada began to sing the mantra, “Tapta kancana gaurangi radhe vrndavanesvari” He also mentioned that we should approach Radharani and then we can get Krishna’s favor.

“If we approach Krishna through Radharani, through Her mercy, then it become very easy. If Radharani recommend, “This devotee is very nice” then Krishna immediately accepts, however a fool I may be. Because it is recommended by Radharani, Krishna accepts. Therefore in Vrndavana you will find all the devotees, they are chanting more Radha’s name than Krishna’s. Wherever you go, you will find the devotees are addressing “Jaya Radhe”. You still will find in Vrndavana. They are glorifying Radharani. They are more interested in worshipping Radharani. Because however fallen I may be, if somewhere or another I can please Radharani then it’s very easy for me to understand Krishna.”

Prabhupada criticized people who didn’t understand Radharani even if they did live in Vrndavana. But somehow he was favorably moved by the simple chanting of Radhe Radhe even by seemingly ordinary people in Vrndavana. I remember going on many morning walks with Prabhupada on Bhaktivedanta Swami Marga and sometimes rikshaw wallas would stop their rikshaw, get down and take off their shoes and make obeisances and say “Jaya Radhe”. In his lectures in other parts of the world Prabhupada would talk about it. And through Prabhupada’s eyes we Western disciples come to think that this was the essence of Vrndavana where even ordinary people chant Jaya Radhe. Nowhere else in the whole world, even in India, do you find that. So even if their chanting is not with full understanding Prabhupada liked it.

Another indication of Prabhupada’s deep affection for Srimati Radharani was that he would always begin his lecture by singing “Jaya Radha Madhava”. We don’t find that other Gaudiya Vaisnavas begin their lectures by singing this song as a regulative principle. But Prabhupada always did it and sometimes he would fall into deep ecstasies and not be able to speak.

We also know that Prabhupada’s father prayed that he could please become a devotee of Srimati Radharani.

Also, when Prabhupada was on the boat to America he wrote a poem in which he said, “My dear brothers, you cannot get success in Krishna consciousness unless you worship Srimati Radharani.”

Another important point is that as Radharani worshipped Krishna in the mood of separation, after Krishna left Vrndavana, so Lord Caitanya was in this mood. And Lord Caitanya’s demonstration of separation was taken up by the six Gosvamis. Prabhupada indicates that this should also be taken up by all sincere and serious devotee in this line. There are a few examples of his saying that.

Here is one from the 1969 Radhastami lecture. Prabhupada quoted “He radhe vrajadevike ca lalite, he nanda suno kutah”.

“Where, Radharani, where are You? Where are Your associates? Where are You, Nanda Suno, the son of Nanda Maharaja, Krishna? Where are you all? They were searching after. They never said, “I have seen Krishna dancing with the gopis. Last night I saw.” This is sahajiya. They take everything very cheap. They take Krishna very cheap and Radharani very cheap as if they can see every night. No. The gosvamis don’t teach us like that. They are searching after.
“So we have to follow the footprints of the Gosvamis how to search out Krishna and Radharani. (We may do this in Vrndavana) or within our heart….This process of devotional service is taught by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Don’t say that very easily we have seen Krishna or seen Radharani in Rasa Lila. No not like that. Feel the separation. The more you feel separation from Krishna you should understand that you are advancing.”

Prabhupada told us, If you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord He will reveal Himself to you, “Here I am.” We should feel separation of Krishna just like Radharani, as Lord Caitanya teaches, and engage our tongues in the service of the Lord, then one day when we are mature we will see Krishna eye to eye.

This same point is described in Antya Lila Chapter 14 of Caitanya-caritamrta. Krishna dasa Kaviraja tells us that Radharani’s emotions after seeing Uddhava exactly corresponded to those of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then in the purport Prabhupada says that some theosophists declare, “because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such cultivation of separation is easy for Him but difficult for the living entity. And so we can approach Krishna in any way we like. To nullify this idea, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu demonstrated practically how one can achieve love of Krishna by adopting Srimati Radharani’s mood in separation from Krishna.” (Antya lila 14 14)

Although these confidential matters are not to be cheaply taken up, yet such an esoteric doctrine as separation from Krishna in the mood of Radharani, is something Prabhupada recommends.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu lamented, “I found Krishna in Vrndavana, and now I have again lost Him and come to Kuruksetra. Unless one is a very highly advanced devotee, he cannot understand these intricate feelings. The author of Caitanya-caritamrta, however, has tried to explain this divyon mada as far as possible, and it is our duty simply to appreciate it as far as possible. Therefore the author has made the following request, “My dear readers, simply try to hear this description with faith and love. That will help you to understand transcendental ecstasy and at last you will achieve love of God very easily.” (Antya 14.37 purport)

In the Krishna Book Prabhupada also recommend to all devotees the mood of Radharani in separation. He says that the six Gosvamis were in this mood and so was Lord Caitanya.

“He was in the role of Radharani, feeling separation of Krishna. Those who are in the disciplic succession of Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya should also feel the separation of Krishna, worshipping His transcendental form and discussing His transcendental teachings, His pastimes, His qualities entourage and association. The spiritual masters should enrich the devotees to the highest devotional perfection. Feeling constant separation while engaged in the service of the Lord is the perfection of Krishna consciousness.” (Krishna Book, Chapter 34)

There are just two more short quotes that I have chosen because of Prabhupada’s personal use of words in describing Radharani. This give us another glimpse into the fact that although he didn’t indulge in talking so much about Radharani, his feelings are very great within.

One statement occurs in the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam where he is discussing the feelings of separation felt by the members of the Yadu dynasty for Krishna:

“The feelings of separation cannot be described, but it can simply be imagined by devotees only. After His separation from Vrndavana and the innocent rural cowherd boys, girls, ladies and others, hey all felt shock through their lives, and the separation of Radharani, the most beloved cowherd girl, is beyond expression. Once they met at Kuruksetra during a solar eclipse, and the feeling which was expressed by them is heart rending.” (SB 1.10. verses 9 & 10 purport)

A final quote is from Caitanya-caritamrta about the Supreme position of Radharani even in relationship to Krishna. This is spoken by Lord Caitanya while dancing at the Ratha Yatra and speaking about Radha and Krishna:

Sri Krishna continued, all the inhabitants of Vrndavana dhama—my mother, father, cowherd boyfriends and everything else—are like my life and soul. And among all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, the gopis are my very life and soul. Among the gopis, You Srimati Radharani, are the chief. Therefore you are the very life of My life.

In the purport Prabhupada says:

Srimati Radharani is the center of all Vrndavana’s activities. In Vrndavana, Krishna is the instrument of Srimati Radharani; therefore all the inhabitants of Vrndavana still chant “Jaya Radhe”. From Krishna’s own statement given herein, it appears that Radharani is the Queen of Vrndavana and that Krishna is simply Her decoration. Krishna is known as Madana Mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, but Srimati Radharani is the enchanter of Krishna. (Madhya lila 13.150 verse and purport)

So we like to hear of Srimati Radharani from Srila Prabhupada. It is the safe and most expert way. Because, as Srila Prabhupada writes, “The spiritual master is always considered one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representative of Sri Nityananda prabhu.” (CC Adi 1.46)


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An early offering for Radhastami.

Srimati Radharani, the tenderhearted, feminine counterpart of Godhead, is that one person in all of existence who knows best how to express love for Krsna. She is the supreme container of love for Him, and, as such, She is known as the asraya category. Moreover, it is She who, like a mother, nurtures us in our devotional service.

Krsna, the object of Her love, comes once in a day of Brahma to display and enjoy His pastime mellows. Afterward, however, Krsna was left with three unfulfilled desires, and to fulfill those inner longings is the paramount reason for His return as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srimati Radhika is the unique, munificent cause of those unfulfilled desires of Krsna. In this way Vrishabhanu-nandini is establishing the greatest welfare for Him……..and for all His uncountable jivas.

In order to recognize those desires, we remind ourselves that transcendental ecstatic bliss is called bhava. When bhava becomes condensed, it is called mahabhava. Srimati Radharani is highly concentrated ecstatic bliss, mahabhava, in person.
Krsna, of course, is also tasting bliss. Indeed, He tastes the bliss to which He is entitled as the object of Her love. However, He is noticing that the abode of love, Srimati Radharani, the asraya category, is tasting bliss ten million times greater than His! Radharani was feeling more transcendental pleasure in the company of Krsna than He could understand, and He wanted to experience those blissful emotions for Himself. However, for Sri Krsna to enjoy in the position of Srimati Radharani was impossible, because that position is completely foreign to Him. Krsna is the transcendental male, the masculine counterpart of Godhead. Radharani is the transcendental female, the feminine counterpart of Godhead. As a result, Krsna cannot fulfill His desire unless He Himself actually takes up the position of that Asraya category. Therefore, in order to experience the blissful emotions of Srimati Radharani, and feel the pleasure of the asraya category, Lord Krsna appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Now, in addition, there is a continuous competition between Srimati Radharani and Lord Krsna to see who can most increase the intensity of the love which they have between them.

She increases, He increases, She increases…there’s no end to it. Neither of them wants to be defeated while increasing the intensity of Their love. Similarly, the beauty of Lord Krsna increases when He sees the beauty of the milkmaids. Concomitantly, the more the milkmaids see Lord Krsna’s beauty, the more their beauty increases. In this way a competition takes place between them in which no one acknowledges defeat.

Now, Krsna becomes curious. He can understand this loving competition from His own angle of vision, but He does not understand what’s going on in the mind of Srimati Radharani. He gets a desire to understand what it is like to be on the other side of this loving competition, and to understand this loving exchange from Her angle of vision. He becomes very curious about the mental activities of Srimati Radharani and Her attitude of ever-increasing love for Him.

Now, for Lord Krsna, it is not such a difficult thing to study the mental attitudes of Srimati Radhika, because Her mental attitudes are out there walking around in saris. Srimati Radharani expands Her mental attitudes as Her gopi girlfriends, all of whose activities are concentrated on the pastimes of Krsna. As expansions of Her personal form and transcendental disposition, they are agents of different loving reciprocations in Krsna’s pastimes.

Therefore, Srimati Radharani and Her maidservants decide to help Krsna by setting up a school for Him at Radha Kunda. Radha is the Chancellor of this incomparable school, while Lalita and Visaka are the principal department heads. It is with their help that the only student, Lord Krsna, is then able to study with all those sakhis who are the personified mental activities of Srimati Radhika.

When the study course is finished, it is then time for Krsna to take His final exam, which is administered by Srimati Lalita Devi. Krsna passes the exam.

However, Lalita informs Him that this diligent academic learning is not enough. If He really wants to fully appreciate Radha’s mental attitudes, then practical experience will also be required.

Again, this experience is not possible unless He actually takes up the position of the Asraya category. Radharani’s attraction for Krsna is sublime, and to experience that attraction and understand the transcendental sweetness of Himself, He must personally accept Her mentality. Consequently, in order to fully appreciate the mental activities of Srimati Radhika, He comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Krsna is the personification of conjugal beauty. At one point, in Dwaraka, He sees the beauty of His own reflection in a jewelled fountain. At that time He says, “My mind, bewildered upon seeing this beauty, impetuously wants to enjoy it in the same way that Srimati Radharani enjoys it.” Lord Krsna’s beauty attracts Lord Krsna Himself. However, because He cannot fully enjoy it, His mind remains full of sorrow.

Therefore, in order to relish His beauty the way that She does, He takes up the position of the Asraya category, accepting the emotions and bodily luster of Srimati Radharani, and comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Thus, the primary cause for Krsna’s descent as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was to taste the above three moods of Srimati Radhika, which only She could taste. He therefore borrowed Her internal mood and beauty, and became tadatma with Her. By becoming tadatma with Radhika, He forgot that He is Krsna, and could taste as She does.

Some correlative details appear in a nectarian history told by His Holiness Gour Govinda Swami. This story reveals the origin of the final verse of the Sri Siksastikam:

One day Srimati Radharani had nicely decorated the kunja with the help of Her maidservants. With great anticipation, they are expecting Krsna to come and arrive at the planned rendezvous time. However, Krsna does not show up. They wait and wait, but still no Krsna. Radha is beginning to go into Her sulky mood, and also beginning to cry, so a messenger[dyuti] is sent out to find Him. Along the way, the dyuti encounters one of Candravali’s servants who pleasurably reports that Krsna is over there in that kunja. When the dyuti returns, she of course gives a prompt report to Lalita and Visaka, who in turn relay the news to Srimati Radharani. At that point, Radha’s leftist sulky mood reaches it’s peak, and She forbids that Krsna can enter Her kunja. And She is crying, crying, crying.

Radharani says, “I don’t want Krsna to come. Don’t allow Him to come to My kunja. Entrance is forbidden!”
When Krsna finally does arrive some time later, Lalita and Visaka are standing guard at the entrance, and stop Him. They block His entry and sharply tell Him to “Get out of here”. He pleads for entry to the kunja, but there is no permission. Visakha, who is harder than Lalita, is especially tough on Him at this point. He must turn away and leave.

So Krsna went away to the banks of the Yamuna. Morose and disappointed, Krsna could not understand what to do. He had gone to Candravali’s kunja only to heighten the leftist mood of Radhika, the mood which brings Him so much pleasure. He wanted an opportunity to have Her association while She was in that heightened leftist mood, but His plan firmly backfired. Now, what to do, what to do?

In the meantime, Vrndadevi learns of Krsna’s predicament, so She comes to Him with a solution.
She tells Him that He must completely change His appearance, take up the position of a begging Sannyasi, and sing a special song. She tells Him that He must get rid of all that black hair and shave His head, discard the dress of a cowherd boy and wear sannyas cloth, refrain from the 3-fold bending form, give up the flute and the peacock feather, and learn the song that She will teach Him,…. and then there may be some hope.

When Vrnda said this, immediately that form appeared there. Krsna became that sannyasi form–shaved head, and His complexion was of molten gold. No peacock feather, no flute, no three places curved form. In sannyasi form He immediately appeared there. Vrnda then taught Him to sing a beautiful song in glorification of Radha, the last line of which is, “Today Kanu, Krsna, is moving from door to door begging radha-prema, radha-prema, radha-prema”.

So Krsna, singing, goes back to the kunja where Lalita and Visaka become very happy to see such a blissful sannyasi singer, and very happy to hear such a wonderful song. When they ask Him what He wants, The sannyasi answers, “I have nothing, I am a beggar. I’ve come here to get radha-prema, radha-prema. I am a prema-bhikhari. I am a beggar of prema.”
So Visakha takes the sannyasi into the kunja. She requests Him, “Will You please again sing that nice song You were singing before?”
Then Krsna sang that song in glorification of Radha. “Today Kanu is a bhikari, He is a beggar, moving from door to door begging radha- prema.”
When Radharani heard that last line, She responded thus:

“aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mamadarsanan marma-hatam karotu vayatha tatha va vidadhatu lampatomat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah”

Her response to this song is what we know as the final verse of the Siksastikam. It is the expression of a very deep mood of Srimati Radhika.

Soon after, the sannyasi obtains the audience of Radhika, and upon seeing Radha, immediately Krsna’s form came, tri-bhanga-lalita. That sannyasi form disappeared.

Visaka was absolutely amazed. She says, “What is this? At first I saw You appear like a sannyasi, but now I am seeing You as Syamasundara, the cowherd boy. I saw You appearing as a golden doll, with Your entire body covered by a golden luster. I now see You holding a flute to Your mouth, with Your lotus eyes moving very restlessly due to various ecstasies.”

Much later, in Caitanya lila, Visaka appears as Ramananda Rai. At one point, Lord Caitanya shows Ramananda Rai His Syamasundara form, and what happens? Ramananda faints. Why? As Visaka, He saw the metamorphosis of a Golden Sannyasi to the form of Sri Symasundara, and lo and behold, now again He sees this same transition! He faints.

Radharani was crying, and after the sannyasi reveals Himself to be Krsna, Visakha states, “One day You’ll have to cry like that!” And that day comes at the Gambhira when, as a Golden Sannyasi, He is crying in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Not only that, but Visaka [Ramananda] and Lalita [Swarup Damodara] are there to help Him understand how to cry……..just as Srimati Radhika cried.

In order to study Radharani, Krsna lived in Her role and tried to understand Himself. This is the secret of Lord Caitanya’s incarnation.
Thus, the paramount internal reason why Krsna comes as Gaura is to understand the Glories of Her Love for Him.
The second reason for His descent is to bring with Him a wonderful present for this world. It is a special gift which is nicely explained in the famous verse below:

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalausamarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva bhakti-sriyamharih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba sandipitahsada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah(Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 1.4)

”May that Lord, who is known as the son of Srimati Sacidevi, be trancendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no avatara ever offered before – service to Srimati Radhika as Her confidential maidservant.”

This verse is the mangalam caranam for the entire Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, and everything in that book appearing after it is there to explain this verse.

Srimati Radhika has a very ecstatic mood: “I want to become a dasi of that person who can please Krsna the most. I will become her maidservant”. This mellow is Radharani’s beautiful mood.

This mood of Radhika has taken so many forms——Rupa Manjari, Rati Manjari, Labanga Manjari, Kasturi Manjari…….. Radhika’s beautiful mood became so many different milkmaids. However, these particular maidservants of Radhika have only one mood…….that it is Radhika Herself who should meet with Krsna…….because it is actually She who can please Krsna more than anyone else. It is She whom they want to serve. That propensity is called unnatojjvala rasam sva-bhakti- sriyam—the beauty of Srimati Radharani’s mood, otherwise known as manjari-bhava.

Now, when Krsna becomes influenced by the compassionate, tenderhearted mercy of Radha, He develops a desire to bestow upon all jivas the highest mood of love for God that can be given, which is the service mood of the manjaris.

Wanting to give the world this most charitable present is His second internal reason for coming as Sri Gaurasundara. The first internal reason is to taste Radha’s mood, and the second internal reason is to distribute the service to that mood. Inotherwords, He comes to taste Radha’s bhava, and to give Radha’s beauty. The brilliance of unnata-ujjvala-rasa is unparalleled, and all the acaryas in our Gaudiya sampradaya have come to this world to teach us this beautiful service mood of Radhika’s maidservants.


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Radhastami Festival 2023


Srimati Radharani is the queen of Vrindavana and dear most devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. She is an expert in all the fine arts and Her transcendental form is like an ocean of nectar. Her splendid bodily luster is like the yellow pigment gorocana, molten gold, or stationary lightning. She wears wonderfully beautiful blue garments and She is decorated with various pearls and flowers.

Srimati Radharani is the ideal maha-bhagvat. As the most excellent devotee, She is also the most compassionate. She is unable to bear the suffering of the souls trapped in the material world. When a soul starts to inquire about Krishna, Srimati Radharani is most pleased and takes charge of his devotional advancements. As one makes progress, one continues to invoke the mercy of Srimati Radharani and when She is pleased, Krishna is automatically delighted.

23rd September, 2023 is the auspicious appearance day of Srimati Radharani.  On this day we will have kirtans, katha, bhajans glorifying Her. Plus, there will be Abhishek and Arati of Sri Sri Radha Madhava on the 23rd around noon time followed by a grand feast. You are cordially invited to participate in this festival at Sri Mayapur Dham.

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Sri Radhastami by Giriraj Swami


For the most auspicious celebration of Sri Radhastami, we read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Three: “Pure Devotional Service.”


jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ’bhilabheta yas tu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasan chavo yas tu na veda gandham


The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of the Lord’s pure devotee upon his head is certainly a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the aroma of the tulasi leaves from the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, although breathing.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Visnu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offerings by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement “reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee.” That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional parampara.

Maharaja Rahugana inquired from the great saint Jada Bharata as to how he had attained such a liberated stage of a paramahamsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.12):

rahuganaitat tapasa na yati
na cejyaya nirvapanad grhad va
na cchandasa naiva jalagni-suryair
vina mahat-pada-rajo-’bhisekam

“O King Rahugana, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahamsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya(austerity), the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water, or before the blazing fire.”

In other words, Lord Sri Krsna is the property of His pure unconditional devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Krsna to another devotee; Krsna is never obtainable directly. Lord Caitanya therefore designated Himself as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah (Cc Madhya 13.80), or “the most obedient servant of the servants of the Lord, who maintains the gopi damsels at Vrndavana.” A pure devotee therefore never approaches the Lord directly, but tries to please the servant of the Lord’s servants, and thus the Lord becomes pleased, and only then can the devotee relish the taste of the tulasileaves stuck to His lotus feet. In the Brahma-samhita it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee. In Vrndavana all the pure devotees pray for the mercy of Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Lord Krsna. Srimati Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krsna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance into His association. The conclusion is, therefore, that one should be more serious about seeking the mercy of the devotee than that of the Lord directly, and by one’s doing so (by the good will of the devotee) the natural attraction for the service of the Lord will be revived.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

This verse and purport are so deep. Practically the whole philosophy of Krishna consciousness is contained in the purport, and one could discuss it for many hours and days. Still, we shall try to say something within the time available to us.

The first point—the most basic point—is that the living entity is not the body. The living entity is the soul within the body. The living entity in the material body has material desires for sense gratification and more subtle material desires that express themselves in mental speculation. After leaving the body, some unfortunate living entities end up as ghosts, in subtle, ghostly bodies, but they still have gross desires.

How does someone become a ghost? A typical way is that a living entity full of material desires becomes so frustrated and disappointed (which everyone is to some extent), he commits suicide. The result is that he gets a ghost body, a subtle body without a gross body. Krishna, the Supersoul, fulfills all desires. The person who commits suicide wants to be free from his gross body, so Krishna fulfills his desire and gives him a ghost body, a subtle body. But the frustration and disappointment that gave rise to the impulse to commit suicide came from strong material desires, and he still has the material desires but not a gross body through which to fulfill them. So he is even more frustrated. And so the ghost will try to inhabit, or possess, someone else’s gross body in order to fulfill his desires through that person’s senses.

Another way a person can get the body of a ghost is if he or she is very attached to a thing or place—to a house, for example—and at the time of death the person thinks of that object of attachment. Yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajaty ante kalevaram/ tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad-bhava-bhavitah: “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Gita 8.6) Whatever you think at the time of death will determine your next body. Now, if you think of your house at the time of death, you can’t get the body of a house, because that is not one of the species of life, but you can take birth as a ghost in that house. Therefore, many houses, especially big, opulent ones—mansions and castles—are reputed to be haunted by ghosts.

How to be freed from ghosts? The chanting of the holy name is the best remedy for practically any ill in the world, and it is the remedy for being troubled by ghosts. Sometimes devotees take advantage of this fact. A large estate will be haunted and so people won’t want to buy it, but the devotees will see, “Oh, here is a good opportunity. We can get a major property to use in Krishna’s service for only a small sum of money, and as for the ghosts, we’ll just do hari-nama-sankirtana and the ghosts will go away and we will have a nice place for Krishna.”

In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu Srila Rupa Gosvami composed a beautiful verse in which he says that one who is haunted by material desires can never experience the sweet taste of devotional service.

bhukti-mukti-sprha yavat
pisaci hrdi vartate
tavad bhakti-sukhasyatra
katham abhyudayo bhavet

“The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.” (Brs 1.2.22) Pisaci means “ghost” or “witch.” Material desires are like ghosts that fill our minds with ideas that are foreign to us. In our normal consciousness we think in a certain way, but when a ghost possesses our mind we think in a completely different way. As spirit souls, we are all originally Krishna conscious, by constitution eternal servants of Krishna (jivera ‘svarupa’ haya-krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’). So to desire anything other than to be a servant of Krishna or a servant of a servant of Krishna is like being haunted by a ghost. We get desires, ideas, for sense gratification, and instead of accepting Krishna as the supreme enjoyer, which is His constitutional position, we want to take His place and enjoy independent of Him. Such desires, such ideas, are foreign to our true nature. So being possessed by these desires is like being haunted by a ghost.

Everyone in the material world is in a fearful position, and everyone needs shelter. Once, someone asked Srila Prabhupada, “What do you personally feel when you chant?” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “I feel no fear.” Every conditioned soul is fearful. If we think about it, we are always afraid. We can’t even count all the things we are afraid of all the time. The Bhagavatam (11.2.37) says that fear arises from thinking of things as being separate from Krishna.

bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo ’smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

“Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.” If we recognize that everything is related to Krishna and that Krishna is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor, and our best friend, we won’t be afraid. We’ll feel peaceful.

We need shelter, and we can get the shelter we need only from Krishna. But we cannot get Krishna’s shelter directly. We have no way to approach Him directly. Therefore all scriptures and bona fide acharyas recommend that to achieve the shelter of Krishna we should seek the shelter of a pure devotee who himself has achieved the shelter of another pure devotee who has achieved the shelter of another pure devotee—all the way back to Krishna. This is devotional parampara.

mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jnatva bhutadim avyayam

“Those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” (Gita 9.13) The great souls are not under the material energy. They are under the divine energy, the spiritual energy. Andthey achieve the shelter of the spiritual energy by taking shelter of a pure devotee who is under the spiritual energy, who in turn has taken shelter of a pure devotee under the spiritual energy, and so on back to Krishna.

Once, Srila Prabhupada was invited to speak at the home of the wealthiest family in India then, the Birlas. I presented Mrs. Birla a list of topics on which Srila Prabhupada could speak (though I knew he could speak on any topic), and she chose “How to be Successful.” The invitees would be very successful people, but her choice suggested that they wanted to become even more successful—that they were not satisfied as they were. Thus they would want to learn the secret of how to become more successful.

At the program, Srila Prabhupada gave an interesting definition of success, one that we did not anticipate. He explained that everyone in the material world is under the control of the material energy, personified as Durga, who rides on her lion carrier and exhibits many arms with many weapons. He said that Durga holds a trident (trisul), which represents the threefold miseries of material existence and is always piercing the conditioned souls with these miseries. And opposed to the material energy is the spiritual energy, personified as Srimati Radharani. Srila Prabhupada said that success in life means to transfer oneself from the control of Durgadevi, the material energy, to the shelter of Radharani, the spiritual energy. Of course, Durgadevi herself is serving Lord Krishna, but her service is to punish us conditioned souls who are under her control. She is the warden of the prison house of material existence, and success for a prisoner is to be released from the prison—not to get better facility within the prison house. Success is to be freed.

Srila Prabhupada’s definition was so intelligent and subtle. He was saying that success doesn’t mean to move to a better grade of prison: a better house, a better office, a better car—a better material position. Success means to get out of prison, and that is achieved by surrendering to Krishna, as stated by Him in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14):

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”

We must take shelter of Krishna and move from the control of the material energy to the protection of the spiritual energy, Srimati Radharani. But we cannot do that directly. We do it by taking shelter of someone who has taken shelter of someone who has taken shelter of someone who has taken shelter of Srimati Radharani. That is parampara. We take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and of those working under his direction, just as he took shelter of his guru maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and served him, and as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took shelter of his spiritual master, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and served him—like that, all the way back to Krishna.

It is a simple process, but it requires humility. And that can be a problem, a big problem. We don’t want to submit, to surrender. When Hiranyakasipu asked his five-year-old son, Prahlada, “What is the best thing you have learned in school?” he thought his son would say something agreeable. Sometimes we also ask a child, “What did you learn in school today?” and we would be shocked and dismayed if the child said, “The best thing I learned is how to cheat people and get ahead by driving others into the ground.” We would wonder, “Where did he learn that?” Hiranyakasipu was the type who thought that being selfish and learning how to defeat others was a good thing. So when Prahlada replied, “The best thing I have learned is service to God (sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam),” Hiranyakasipu was shocked: “Where did you learn that? Who has spoiled your consciousness?”

The powerful tyrant accused the boy’s teachers, “You have taught him this nonsense, bhakti, devotional service to Lord Vishnu. You have spoiled his intelligence.” “No, we haven’t,” they replied. “He hasn’t learned devotional service from us or from anyone else. He seems to be naturally Krishna conscious.”

Then Hiranyakasipu asked his son directly, and Prahlada replied with a verse very similar to the one quoted by Srila Prabhupada in the purport. First he said,

matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho ’bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam

“Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.” (SB 7.5.30) Now, if one cannot become Krishna conscious by one’s own efforts, by the efforts of others, or by the combined efforts of oneself and others, how can one become Krishna conscious? It seems that all logical possibilities have been eliminated.

Then Prahlada said,

naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
mahiyasam pada-rajo-’bhisekam
niskincananam na vrnita yavat

“Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.” (SB7.5.32) One cannot become Krishna conscious unless one has been favored by the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has nothing to do with the material world. By taking shelter of the lotus feet of a pure devotee—by serving the instructions of a pure devotee—one becomes free from anarthas, unwanted, miserable conditions. The miseries of birth, death, disease, and old age are all unwanted. And by following the pure devotee’s instructions one becomes free from all unwanted, material desires, which bind us to material existence. One becomes free from everything unfavorable to Krishna consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada explains that Prahlada was indirectly telling his father, “You need not worry about becoming Krishna conscious, because one can become Krishna conscious only if he bows down to the lotus feet of a pure devotee, but you are too proud, so you will never bow down to a pure devotee. So, my dear father, you need not worry about becoming Krishna conscious. It just won’t happen.”

We tend to like to identify with Prahlada and to see other people as Hiranyakasipus, but if we—I shouldn’t speak for all of us, but many of us—if we look inside ourselves, we will see that we also are not that humble. We also have a little rebellious spirit. We don’t want to submit or surrender. We also have something inside us that thinks, as some people actually say, “I’ll never surrender. I’ll never submit.” Or, “I can surrender to God but not to any human being. I can serve God but not some human being.” But that false spirit of independence will not help us.

So, given that we have so many doubts and reservations and rebellious tendencies, what hope do we have? The good news is that in this age of Kali, Sri Krishna came in the mood of Srimati Radharani. And as we read in the purport, Srimati Radharani is the tenderhearted feminine counterpart of Krishna. In TheNectar of Devotion also, Srila Prabhupada says that Srimati Radharani represents the compassionate nature of Krishna. Because Krishna is the father, He might be a little strict (which is sometimes necessary and beneficial), but the mother may be more compassionate, more understanding, more encouraging. Therefore devotees approach Krishna through Sri Radha. “Because Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Radharani, always pray to Radharani for Krsna’s compassion.” (NOD Ch 22) Srimati Radharani, in addition to having other qualifications, is a maha-bhagavata. She sees that everyone is a better servant of Krishna than She. So if someone approaches Her with a desire to serve Krishna, She’ll very easily recommend the person to Krishna, and when Radharani recommends someone, Krishna is bound to accept, because ultimately Krishna wants to please Radharani. Transcendentally, Krishna comes under the control of Radharani. Thus in Radharani’s hometown of Varsana, the devotees have a saying: “Whatever Radha does, Krishna likes. Whatever Radha likes, Krishna does.” So if Radharani wants Krishna to accept us, Krishna will accept us.

Because today is a special day, Radhastami, we can approach Radharani directly—but even then it is through Her servants. Even when we are in the spiritual world, whenever that fortunate occasion arises, we will serve Radha and Krishna not directly, but under the guidance of Their servants. That is an eternal principle. There are different rasas, or relationships, that we can have with Krishna, but in whatever relationship we have, we will be under the eternal guidance of some eternal associates of Krishna. As Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says,

naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

“I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha, or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.” (Cc Madhya 13.80)

That Principle, being the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis, applies both in the conditioned state of sadhana-bhakti and in the liberated state of sadhya-bhakti, or prema-bhakti. It is an eternal principle. And we should welcome the opportunity to serve the servant of the servants. We shouldn’t think, “Oh, all right, in the stage of bondage I am in now, I guess I have to do it. It is the only way to get out.” Like, “Okay, I’m in prison now, so I have to do what the warden says, but once I’m out, that’s it. Then I’m free.” No. This is an eternal principle, and we should welcome it and relish it.

Srila Prabhupada paraphrased Srila Rupa Gosvami’s verse about being haunted by ghosts: “Anyone who has any desire or aspiration for satisfying his senses by becoming more and more important, either in the material sense or in the spiritual sense, cannot actually relish the really sweet taste of devotional service.” (NOD Ch 3) And in a class, Srila Prabhupada stated the same thing in a positive way: “The more you become the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna, the sweeter and sweeter and sweeter and sweeter devotional service becomes.” So it is glorious to be the servant of the servant of the servant.

We want to take shelter of one who is niskincana, who has no material possessions. Yes, in India there are sadhus, saintly persons, who hardly have material possessions. But as Srila Prabhupada explains, niskincana also means one who is free from false proprietorship. Here we are in a beautiful temple, and if I think, “This is my temple,” that is false proprietorship. But if I think, “This is Krishna’s temple, and I am just a humble servant of His servants,” that is also niskincana. A pure devotee’s only possession, so to speak, is his or her service to the lotus feet of the Lord. And the more lotus feet we have to serve—the lotus feet of the servant of the lotus feet of the servant of the lotus feet of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Krishna—the richer we are in bhakti, which is the life of the living entity.

Today’s verse is one of a series that all make the same point: if we are not engaged in pure devotional service, we are dead. In other words, pure devotional service is real life, and anyone engaged in anything other than devotional service is just a walking, breathing dead man.

Srila Prabhupada has given us this life. He has given us this opportunity. Sri Krishna Chaitanya is Krishna but in the mood of Radharani, and in Her kindhearted, tenderhearted, merciful, compassionate mood of love and care, He has given us the easiest and most practical process for success in the present age: the chanting of the holy names.

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

“In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari [Krishna].” (Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126) By chanting the holy names without offense all the dirty things in the heart become cleansed (ceto-darpana-marjanam). Even if we have that little rebellious spirit—“Why should I surrender?”—by chanting, which is both easy and enjoyable, all these dirty things, these misconceptions and false identifications, are cleansed, and naturally we come to our real position as eternal servants of the servants of Krishna. So it is very easy. We just have to do it.

This is, ultimately, Srimati Radharani’s mercy. It is Her mercy that Srila Prabhupada came to America and gave us Krishna consciousness. In a poem he wrote on board the cargo ship he took to America, Srila Prabhupada wrote, krsna taba punya habe bhai, e-punya koribe jabe radharani khusi habe, dhruva ati boli toma tai: “O brothers, you will obtain your good fortune from the Supreme Lord Krishna only when Srimati Radharani becomes pleased with you.” First we must please Radharani. And how? By following the orders of the spiritual master, serving the mission of the spiritual master. So, we have everything—every opportunity. We have beautiful Deities; we have Srila Prabhupada, our founder-acarya; we have his instructions, his books, his translations of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam; we have the holy name; we have the association of devotees—we have everything. We just have to take advantage, and that is why we are here.

Any questions or comments?

Child: How do you become the servant of the servant of the servant?

Giriraj Swami: She is a very intelligent young lady. Do you know what ISKCON is?

Child: Not really.

Giriraj Swami: ISKCON is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a spiritual organization founded by Srila Prabhupada; the temple where we are now sitting is part of that organization. You could say that the more senior devotees here who are steady in devotional service, in following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, are servants of Srila Prabhupada, that Srila Prabhupada is serving the instructions of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is serving the instructions of his spiritual master. And so by following the instructions of one or more of the solid devotees of Srila Prabhupada here, you are automatically serving the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant, going through the line all the way back to Krishna.

Gentleman: How can one overcome the fear of losing one’s identity and uniqueness by surrendering oneself to a pure devotee?

Giriraj Swami: Every living entity has a unique spiritual identity, and the process of Krishna consciousness means to discover what one’s unique, specific, eternal identity is. So you don’t lose your identity; rather, you discover your actual unique identity.

Just imagine Krishna’s situation. There He is in the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrindavan, surrounded by wish-fulfilling cows and trees and gems, being served by unlimited numbers of beautiful, pure, loving devotees. And off somewhere in a cloud is a bunch of angry, morose, belligerent souls, each determined that “I’m not going to serve Him.” Why should Krishna bother with them? Why should He even care? He is enjoying an eternal, celestial party. Why should He bother about us?

One answer is that each one of us is a unique living entity. No two of us are exactly the same. And so when we are liberated our mood of service to Krishna will be unique. This means that as long as we remain in the material world, Krishna in the spiritual world will be deprived of the particular flavor of loving service that each of us is meant to offer Him. Each of us has a specific, unique contribution to make to Krishna’s pleasure that no one else can make in the exact same way.

So we are fully individual and personal. Even in the stage of sadhana-bhakti, we always have our individual preferences, but as devotees we give the highest preference to Krishna’s pleasure. Parents often sacrifice doing what they would ordinarily like to do, for the sake of doing what their children would like them to do. The parents are still individuals, but they give priority to pleasing their children. And when their children are happy, they feel happy. One reason we try so hard to have nice programs for children is that when the children want to come to the temple, even if the parents are feeling a little lethargic, the children will prevail upon them: “Come on, Mommy. Come on, Daddy. I want to go to the temple. I want to see the Deities. I want to sing and dance in the kirtan and arati. I want to meet the other children. I want to eat prasada.” And the parents will come, not because they don’t have their individuality, but out of love. They get more happiness when they see their children happy than when they do things for their own satisfaction that would leave the children feeling neglected. So in devotional service you remain individual but you give preference to Krishna. And as you become purified, you actually experience more pleasure in doing what Krishna likes than you would get out of doing what you would ordinarily like for your own sake.

So do not hesitate. Serving a pure devotee, serving a servant of the servants of Radha and Krishna, is not a matter of force, being forced into a mold without any freedom or individuality. Rather, it is an opportunity for the conditioned soul to realize his or her fullest potential, fullest individuality, and fullest freedom, in divine, ecstatic love.

Thank you very much.

Hare Krishna.


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The 6th annual MAN-tra Men’s Retreat is returning in just a few weeks to New Vrindaban, West Virginia, USA. Space is still available for the gathering which runs from Friday, September 29th thru Sunday, October 1st.

With an aim to empower devotee men to integrate Krishna consciousness into all aspects of their lives, the MAN-tra Retreat was conceived by H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami and H.G. Anuttama Prabhu in 2018. Every year the retreat features a variety of special guest speakers covering topics relevant to devotee men, as well as dramas, ecstatic kirtan, opulent prasadam, and other activities to facilitate meaningful sanga and camaraderie between the attendees.

Past events have seen around 100 participants from across North America and worldwide. Individual temples often organize groups and travel together. Bhaktimarga Swami noted, “At MAN-tra events, men speak about subject matters that we normally don’t discuss. The content is deeply penetrating, healing, and very enriching.”

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By Atma Tattva Das

After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, ISKCON’s 12th European Farm Conference is back and poised to make a significant impact on the future of agriculture. The event is organized by the GBC Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture and will be held on a working farm in Zum Oberdorf, Jesewitz, Germany, from September 29th to October 1st, 2023. Devotees are encouraged to register soon at the following link.

ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has promoted sustainable agriculture and cow protection for decades. One of its most significant initiatives is the European Farm Conference, which has brought devotees, farmers, leaders, experts, and policymakers together to share knowledge and solutions for sustainable farming practices. 

The GBC Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture has been instrumental in fostering the growth of ISKCON farm projects through a three-stage approach: registration, certification, and education. The ministry has also initiated the GoFundCows platform, which financially supports goshalas, furthering the cause of cow protection.

The farm hosting the 2023 European Farm Conference has a Hare Krishna legacy spanning four generations and has cultivated an impressive 300 hectares of land. However, what sets this farm apart is its dedication to regenerative farming practices, a key focus of this year’s conference.

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