ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14146)

7428084065?profile=RESIZE_400xGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.2.23

Translation: Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than He who granted the position of mother to a she-demon [Putana] although she was unfaithful and she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast?

Purport: Here is an example of the extreme mercy of the Lord, even to His enemy. It is said that a noble man accepts the good qualities of a person of doubtful character, just as one accepts nectar from a stock of poison. In His babyhood, He was administered deadly poison by Putana, a she-demon who tried to kill the wonderful baby. And because she was a demon, it was impossible for her to know that the Supreme Lord, even though playing the part of a baby, was no one less than the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. His value as the Supreme Lord did not diminish upon His becoming a baby to please His devotee Yasoda. The Lord may assume the form of a baby or a shape other than that of a human being, but it doesn’t make the slightest difference; He is always the same Supreme. A living creature, however powerful he may become by dint of severe penance, can never become equal to the Supreme Lord.

Lord Krishna accepted the motherhood of Putana because she pretended to be an affectionate mother, allowing Krishna to suck her breast. The Lord accepts the least qualification of the living entity and awards him the highest reward. That is the standard of His character. Therefore, who but the Lord can be the ultimate shelter?

SB 3.2.23, Janmasthami, Dallas (Right click to download)

Source: http://www.girirajswami.com/?p=16231

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Janmashtami 2020 by Tulsi Gabbard



Video: Click here

Aloha and Namaste,

2020 is certainly a year that will not soon be forgotten. For most, if not all, of us, it has brought about many unexpected changes. Changes to our daily routines, our work, and even our relationships.

Whenever we’re put into difficult situations, it gives us the opportunity to take shelter in the loving protection of the Supreme Lord, our Supreme Friend. It propels us to reflect upon and draw upon the lessons we’ve learned from the past and also to consider what changes we can make to live a better life, now and in the future. So if we take the opportunity to slow down and connect with what really matters, we can enjoy a gentler, more meaningful existence.

The challenges we face today, both as individuals and as a society right now, are tremendous. The uncertainty that this year has brought has made me personally reflect upon the time I spent deployed in the Middle East. That too was a time in my life when there was danger at every step. Each day brought new uncertainties, and likewise, many lives were lost. My shelter then and now, has been the Bhagavad-gita, which means “Song of God”.

The Bhagavad-gita, spoken by Sri Krishna, is full of transcendental wisdom that is as relevant today as it was 5000 years ago when it was spoken. On this holy day of Janmashtami, when we celebrate the appearance of Sri Krishna in this world, it is the perfect time to reflect on His sublime instructions, which are like a transcendental lifeline.

When we are blown here and there by the strong winds of change, when giant waves are crashing upon us, when we are feeling unsteady, lost, adrift, the Bhagavad-gita offers us guidance and hope. Looking at our problems through the prism of eternality, rather than merely identifying with our temporary, material circumstances, gives us an anchor that offers great peace, purpose, and stability through even the most trying of times.

May we always be blessed with remembrance of Sri Krishna, His unconditional love and His transcendental appearance in this world.

Jaya Sri Krishna!

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=88288

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By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

August 1973 at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, in the countryside near London. Several thousand guests (including the Indian High Commissioner) listen to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada speak about the day Lord Krsna made His appearance on earth.

Your Excellency the High Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your coming here and participating in this ceremony -Janmastami, the advent of Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita [4.9] Krsna says,

janma karma ca me divyam
evam vo veto tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so’rJuna

“One who knows the transcendental nature of My advent and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode.”

It is a fact that we can stop our repeated births and deaths and achieve the state of immortality. But the modern civilization our great philosophers, great politicians, and great scientists they have no idea that it is possible to attain the stage ofamrtatvam, immortality. We are all amrta, deathless, immortal. In the Bhagavad-gita [2.20] it is said, na jayate na mriyate va kadacit: we living entities we never die and never take birth. Ajo nityah sasvato yam purano na hanyate hanyamane sarire. Every one of us we are primeval and eternal, without beginning and without end. And after the annihilation of this body, we do not die. But when the body is finished, we will have to accept another body.

dehino ‘smin yatha dehe
kaumdram yauvanam jara
tathd dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change:” [Bg. 2.13]

At the present moment, all over the world people are lacking knowledge of this simple thing: that all of us living entities are part and parcel of Lord Krsna that like Krsna, we are eternal, we are blissful, and we are cognizant. Krsna is described in the Vedic literatures:

isvarah paramah krsnah
sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam

“The supreme controller, the uncaused cause of all causes, is Krsna, whose transcendental form is full with eternity, knowledge, and bliss.” [Brahma-samhita 5.1]

Bhagavad Gita

Krsna when I say Krsna, that means “God.” It is sometimes said, “God has no name:” That’s a fact. But God’s name is given by His activities, For instance, Krsna accepted sonship to Maharaja Nanda and Yasodamayi and also to Vasudeva and Devaki. Of course, no one is actually the father or mother of Krsna, because Krsna is the original father of everyone. But when Krsna comes here, when He makes His advent, He accepts certain exalted devotees as His father, as His mother. Krsna is adi-purusam, the original. Adyam purana purusam nava-yauvanam ca: He is the original person.

Then must Krsna be very old? No. Nava-yauvanam ca: always a fresh youth. That is Krsna. When Krsna was on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra you have seen the picture He was just like d boy of twenty years or, at most, twenty-four years. But at that time He had great-grandchildren. So Krsna is always a youth. These are the statements of the Vedic literatures.

But if we simply read the Vedic literatures as a formality, it will be very difficult to understand what Krsna isalthough all the Vedas are meant for understanding Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita [15.15] Krsna says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: “By all the Vedas it is I who am to be known:” What is the use of studying the Vedas if you do not understand Krsna? The ultimate goal of education is to understand the Supreme Lord, the supreme father, the supreme cause. As it is said in the Vedanta-sutra, athato brahma jijnasa “Now in the human form of life is the time to discuss the Supreme Absolute Truth, Brahman:”

And what is this Brahman? Janmady asya yatah. Brahman is the one from whom everything emanates. So science and philosophy mean finding out the ultimate cause of everything. And this we are getting from the Vedic literature that Krsna is sarva-karana-karanam, the cause of all causes.

Just try to understand. For instance, I am caused by my father; my father is caused by his father; he is caused by his father, who is caused by his father . . . In this way if you go on searching, then you’ll ultimately come to someone who is the cause that has no cause. Anadir adir govindah: the cause that has no cause is Govinda Krsna. I may be the cause of my son, but at the same time I am the result of another cause (my father). But the Vedic literatures say that Krsna is the original person; He has no cause. That is Krsna.

Therefore Krsna says, “Just try to learn about the transcendental nature of My advent and activities.” The advent of Krsna it is a very important thing. We should try to understand Krsna, why He makes His advent, why He comes down to this material world, what His business is, what His activities are. If we simply try to understand Krsna, then what will be the result? The result will be tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so’rjuna: we will get immortality.

The aim of life is amrtatvaya kalpate, to achieve immortality. So today, on the advent of Krsna, we shall try to understand the philosophy of Krsna.

If we are anxious for peace . . .”

His Excellency was speaking of peace. The peace formula is there in the Bhagavad-gita spoken by Krsna. What is that?

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
sarva-loka-mahesvaram
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim rcchati

“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” [Bg 5.29] The politicians and diplomats are trying to establish peace in the world. We have the United Nations and many other organizations. They are working to establish real peace and tranquility, to eliminate misunderstanding between man and man and nation and nation. But that is not happening. That is not happening. The defect is that the root is wrong. Everyone is thinking, “It is my country,” “It is my family,” “It is my society,” “It is my property.” This “my” is illusion. In the Vedic literatures it is said, janasya moho ‘yam aham mameti: this “I-and-my” philosophy is maya illusion.

So if you want to get out of this maya, this illusion, then you have to accept Krsna’s formula. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te: whoever surrenders to Krsna can easily cross beyond all illusion. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita,for our guidance, If we accept the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita as it is everything is there. Peace is there, prosperity is there. That is a fact.

Unfortunately, we do not accept it; or we misinterpret it. This is our misfortune. In the Bhagavad-gita [9.34] Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Krsna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer obeisances unto Me.” Is it a very difficult task? Here is Krsna’s Deity. If you think of this Deity, is it very difficult?

You come into the temple, and just as a devotee would do, you offer your respect to the Deity. As far as possible, try to worship the Deity.

Krsna does not want your property. Krsna is open to the poorest man for being worshiped. What is He asking? He says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: “With devotion, if a person offers Me a little leaf, a little fruit, a little water, I accept it.” [Bg. 9.26] Krsna is not hungry, but Krsna wants to make you a devotee. That is the main point. Yo me bhaktya prayacchati: “Offer something to Me with devotion.” That is the main principle. Offer Krsna some little thing. Krsna is not hungry; Krsna is providing food for everyone. But Krsna wants your love, your devotion. Therefore He is begging a little water or fruit or a flower. In this way man-mana bhava mad-bhakto: you can think of Krsna and become His devotee.

Radha Krsna

There is no difficulty in understanding Krsna and accepting Krsna consciousness. But we’ll not do it that is our disease. Otherwise, it is not difficult at all. And as soon as we become a devotee of Krsna, we understand the whole universal situation. Ourbhagavata philosophy, our God conscious philosophy, is also a kind of spiritual communism, because we regard Krsna as the supreme father and all living entities as sons of Krsna. And Krsna says, sarva-loka-mahesvaram: He is the proprietor of all planets. Therefore whatever there is, either in the sky or in the water or on the land, it is all Krsna’s property. And because we are all sons of Krsna, every one of us has the right to use our father’s property. But we should not encroach upon others. This is the formula for peace. Isavasyam idam sarvam . . . and ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam: “Everything belongs to God, and since you are sons of God, you have the right to use your father’s property. But do not take more than you need. This is punishable.” [Isopanisad 1] If anyone takes more than he needs, then he’s a thief. Yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah [Bg. 3.9]: whatever we do, we should do it for the satisfaction of Krsna. We should act for Krsna; we should do everything for Krsna.

That is what we are teaching here. In this temple we are all residing happily. Americans, Indians, Englishmen, Canadians, Africans people from all different parts of the world. You know that. It is like that not only in this temple, but wherever people are Krsna conscious, throughout the world. Krsna makes His advent to teach this lesson.

When we forget this philosophy that Krsna is the supreme father, Krsna is the supreme proprietor, Krsna is the supreme enjoyer, and Krsna is the supreme friend of everyone when we forget this, then we come into this material world and struggle for existence, fight with one another. This is material life.

Nor can we get any relief through our politicians, diplomats, philosophers. They have tried so much, but actually nothing they have tried has become fruitful. Take the United Nations. It was organized after the second great war, and they wanted, “We shall now settle everything peacefully.” But there is no such thing. The fighting is going on, between Pakistan and India or between Vietnam and America or this and that. Mundane politics and diplomacy and philosophy this is not the process. The process is Krsna consciousness. Everyone has to understand this point that we are not proprietors. The actual proprietor is Krsna. That’s a fact. Take America, for example. Say two hundred years ago, the European immigrants were not the proprietors, Somebody else was the proprietor, and before that somebody else was the proprietor, or it was vacant land. But the actual proprietor is Krsna. Artificially we are claiming, “It is my property.” This is called maya, illusion. So Krsna makes His advent to give us this lesson. Krsna says, yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata: “My dear Arjuna. I come when there are discrepancies in the process of religious life:” [Bg. 4.7]

And what is real dharma, real religious life? The simple definition of dharma is dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam: “Real religious life is that which is enunciated directly by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” [Srimad–Bhagavatam 6.3.19] For instance, what do you mean by civil law? Civil law means the word given by the state. You cannot make civil law at home. That is not possible. Whatever the government gives you “You should act like this” that is law. Similarly dharma, religious life, means the direction given by God. That is dharma. Simple definition. If you create some dharma or I create some dharma or another man creates another dharma, these are not dharma.

Therefore Krsna ends the Bhagavad-gita by saying, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Just give up all your concocted ideas about dharma and surrender to Me.” [Bg. 18.66] This is dharma surrender to Krsna. Any other “dharma” is not dharma. Otherwise why does Krsna ask, sarva-dharman parityajya give it all up”? He has already said. In every age I make My advent to establish the principles of religion.” And at last He says that we should give up all the so-called religious principles that we have manufactured. All these man-made principles are not actually religious principles. Real dharma, real religious life, means what is given by God. But we have no understanding of what God is and what His word is. That is modern civilization’s defect.

But the order is there, God is there it is simply that we won’t accept. So where is the possibility of peace? Everything is there, ready-made. But we won’t accept. So what is the remedy for our disease? We are searching after peace, but we won’t accept the very thing that will actually give us peace. This is our disease. Therefore, this Krsna consciousness movement is trying to awaken the dormant Krsna consciousness in everyone’s heart. Just consider: four or five years ago, these Europeans and Americans had never even heard of Krsna so how are they now taking Krsna consciousness so seriously? Krsna consciousness is already there in everyone’s heart. It simply has to be awakened. And this awakening process is described in the Caitanya-caritamrta[Madhya 22.107]:

nitya siddha krsna-prema ‘sadhya ‘kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya

Love for Krsna, devotion for Krsna is within everyone’s heart, but we have forgotten. So this Krsna consciousness movement is simply meant for awakening that dormant love by giving everyone the chance to hear about Krsna. This is the process.

For instance, when you are sleeping. I have to call you loudly. “Mr. Such-and-such! Such-and-such! Get up! You have to tend to this business:” No other senses will act when you are sleeping. But the ear will act. Therefore in this age, when people are so fallen that they will not listen to anything, if we chant this Hare Krsna maha–mantra they’ll be awakened to Krsna consciousness. This is practical. So if we are actually anxious for peace and tranquility in society, then we must be very serious about understanding Krsna. That is my request. Don’t take the Krsna consciousness movement lightly.

This movement can solve all the problems of life, all the problems in the world. Social, political, philosophical, religious, economic everything can be solved by Krsna consciousness. Therefore, we request those who are leaders like His Excellency, who is present here “You should try to understand this Krsna consciousness movement.” It is very scientific and authorized. It is not a mental concoction or a sentimental movement. It is a most scientific movement. So we are inviting all leaders from all countries. “Try to understand.” If you are sober, if you are actually reasonable, you’ll understand that this Krsna consciousness movement is the most sublime movement for the welfare of the whole human society.

The Unlimited, Endless Pleasure

Anyone may come we are prepared to discuss this subject matter. The ultimate goal of human life is to achieve immortality. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. This is our mission, but we have forgotten this. We are simply leading the life of cats and dogs, without any knowledge that we can achieve that perfection of life where there will be no more birth, no more death. We do not even understand that there is the possibility of amrtatvam, immortality. But it is totally possible. Nobody wants to die. Nobody wants to become an old man; nobody wants to become diseased. This is our natural inclination. Why? Because originally, in our spiritual form, there is no birth, no death, no old age, no disease. So after moving through the evolutionary process, up through the aquatics, plants, trees, birds, when at last we come to this human form of body then we should know what the goal of life is. The goal of life is amrtatvam, to become immortal.

Immortal you can become simply by becoming Krsna conscious. Krsna says it. It is a fact. We simply have to understand. Janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah. If you try to understand Krsna in truth, then tyaktva deham punar janma naiti: after giving up this body, you won’t have to accept any more material bodies. And as soon as you don’t accept any more material bodies, that means you have become immortal. The thing is, by nature we are immortal. So Krsna makes His advent, Krsna comes to teach us this lesson:

mamaivamso jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah-sasthanindriyani
prakrti-sthani karsati

“You are immortal by nature. As spirit soul, you are part and parcel of Me. I am immortal, and so you are also immortal. Unnecessarily, you are trying to be happy in this material world.” [Bg. 15.7]

You have already tried and tried to find happiness in sensuous life, through so many bodies as cats, as dogs, as demigods, as trees, as plants, as insects. So now that you have a human body, with its higher intelligence, don’t be captivated by sensuous life. Just try to understand Krsna. That is the verdict of the Vedic literatures. Nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye [Bhag. 5.5.1]: to work very hard like dogs and hogs for sense gratification is not the ambition of human life; human life is meant for a little austerity. Tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam suddhyet: we have to purify our existence; that is the mission of human life. Why shall I purify my existence? Brahma-saukhyam tv anantam: because then you will get spiritual realization, the unlimited, endless pleasure and happiness. That is real pleasure, real happiness.

ramante yogino ‘nante
satyananda-cid-atmani
iti rama-padenasau
param brahmabhidhiyate

“The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rama.” [Padma Purana]

All the great saintly persons of India have cultivated this spiritual knowledge so nicely and fully. Formerly, people used to go to India to find out about spiritual life. Even Jesus Christ went there. And yet we are not taking advantage of it. It is not that these literatures and directions are meant only for the Indians or for the Hindus or for the brahmanas. No. They are meant for everyone, because Krsna claims, aham bija-pradah pita: “I am everyone’s father.” Therefore, He is very anxious to make us peaceful, happy. Just as an ordinary father wants to see that his son is well situated and happy, similarly Krsna wants to see every one of us well situated and happy. Therefore He comes sometimes. This is the purpose of Krsna’s advent. Thank you very much.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=10770

 

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Yamuna Devi: Three Years Ago, on Janmastami, Lord Krsna’s appearance day, I received a copy of the diary Srila Prabhupada wrote aboard the steamship Jaladuta. It’s a personal account of his first journey from India to America. Though I had read excerpts in various publications, the full handwritten text revealed a richness I had barely realized before.
Often difficult to read, the cramped and sometimes blurry script describes dramatic events with life-threatening heart attacks, repeated illness along with personal observations and Srila Prabhupada’s daily routine. It also mentions two prayers he wrote to Lord Krsna while on the ship. I strongly recommend reading these inspiring verses. You can find them in Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, Volume 2: Planting the Seed, by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami.
As an avid student of Srila Prabhupada’s cooking instruction, I was particularly fascinated with entries in his diary noting some of the dishes he cooked and distributed to the crew members. In one entry Srila Prabhupada writes, “Today is the 32nd day of our journey from Calcutta. In the morning I couldn’t take my breakfast properly, then I cooked bati-chachari. It appeared to be delicious, so I was able to take some food.”
In other entries, Srila Prabhupada mentions nourishing dishes that serve as one-pot meals. For example, kicchari is a rice-and-legume stew that can take on new and varied faces for months on end. Kadi, often served with kicchari, is an aromatic yogurt gravy laced with vegetables, cooked beans, or savory dumplings. Chachariis a succulent char-flavored vegetable dish. It combines three cooking procedures in one pot boiling, steaming, and frying without your ever stirring the pot, not even once!
These dishes require no exotic ingredients, are easy to make, and, as was probably done aboard theJaladuta, need only be accompanied with hot wheat flatbreads or a salad for a simple meal.
Srila Prabhupada was a generous cook who taught in the kitchen by demonstration. The same dishes he’d cooked on the Jaladuta he taught in the next two years to his ISKCON students in New York and San Francisco. The dishes became instant favorites. In 1967 I compiled a book of these early recipes. I’d lost track of the book until, to my amazement, someone recently sent me the manuscripts in my original calligraphy. To remember and savor Srila Prabhupada’s Janmastami of 1965, observed aboard the Jaladuta, it seems apropos to pass on a few of these early recipes to you.
Kicchari
(Serves 4-6)
½ cup yellow split peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 dried hot chilies
7 cups water
1 cup long-grain rice
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced Brussels sprout
¾ cup cubed potatoes
melted butter or ghee
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partly cover, and boil gently for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice and vegetables, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked, about 45 minutes. Drizzle with butter or ghee.
Kadi
(Serves 4-6)
1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
½ cup yogurt
3 cups buttermilk
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon crushed red chilies
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
Soak the chickpeas in water over-night and drain. Cook them in plenty of fresh water until tender, 1-2 hours. Drain.
Combine the flour and yogurt in a saucepan and stir the mixture until it’s smooth. Blend in the buttermilk, turmeric, salt, and chickpeas. While stirring, gently boil over moderate heat until thickened, 5-10 minutes.
To prepare the seasoning, place the cumin and chilies in a dry pan and stir-toast until darkened and fragrant. Add the butter or ghee, heat briefly, and pour the seasoning into the kadi.
Bati-Chachari
(Serves 4-6)
1 pound boiling potatoes, cubed
1 pound string beans, cut in 1 ½-inch pieces
1-2 whole red chilies
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons butter or ghee
2 ¾ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partly cover, and boil gently until the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables are fork tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the heat slightly, and cook until the vegetables fry in the seasoned butter. (Do not burn the vegetables; only allow a deep brown crust to form in the pan.) Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Then stir in the crust and serve.
Yamuna Devi is the author of Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.
July 1st, 1991 | Category: Lord Krsna’s Cuisine, Volume-25 Number-04, Yamuna Devi Dasi

Source : http://www.dandavats.com/?p=30784

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Janmastami is just one day, but how we spend it can deeply inspire us for the whole year.
Krishna consciousness mean we are conscious of Krishna. He becomes an active part of our life – like a close friend or an affectionate family member we love to be around. Krishna consciousness, then, is loving to be around Krishna.
Here are 5 ways to love and be with Krishna on his birthday:
1. Come early, stay late – be close to Krishna today, close to the Temple. This is our day with Krishna. There will be classes, music, beautiful meditations, readings, lots of time for quiet chanting by the creek, and lots of opportunities for service…
2. Read Krishna Book – to love someone is to know them. Krishna Book is one of many books that describe Krishna. Start reading something about Krishna everyday. 
3. Fast till mid-night – this is the fast traditionally done on Janmastami, as Krishna appeared at midnight. If we can’t do a complete fast, eat less, or eat only fruit. Fasting can give us a great boost of energy, a great clarity of mind.
4. Do some service – our mood towards Krishna is one of a servant. We don’t usually see ourselves as servants, busy as we are in the center of our own little universe. But if we think about it a bit, as we walk our dog, go shopping, or clock in to work, we are always serving. If not others, then at least ourselves. So on Janmastami, or leading up to it, we can practice seeing ourselves as a servant of Krishna. Contemplate and reflect on that and see what Krishna inspires you to to do. Some practical service opportunities are here.
5. Increase your chanting of Krishna’s names – today is the day that we should find a quiet place and add more mantras to our mind. If you already sit for 15 minutes a day, do 30. If you chant for 5 minutes do 10. If you chant 4 rounds on beads try to make 8. Janmastami is a day for less talk and more thought, less me and more Krishna, more devotion, and deepening our call, our desire to rekindle a long lost relationship. Chant on this day and your life will be sublime.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=30255

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Janmastami; Lord Sri Krsna’s Appearance Day Lecture
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Montreal, August 16, 1968

So today, is the birth appearance ceremony of Lord Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says:

janma karma me divyam
yo janati tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti kaunteya
[Bg. 4.9]

“My dear Arjuna, any person who simply tries to understand about My transcendental birth or appearance and disappearance and activities, janma karma…” The Personality of Godhead is not niskriya, without activities. So anyone who can understand that what kind of activities the Lord has and what kind of birth He accepts, simply by understanding these two things one gets wonderful result. What is that? Tyaktva deham. By quitting this body, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9], he does not take any more birth in this material world. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. Some of us may think that punar janma naiti means he becomes vanquished. No. Punar janma naiti, but mam eti, “He does not come to this material world, but he comes to Me.” Mam eti. Mam eti means, then… [break] …abode where we can go. Simply by understanding the nature of His appearance and activities.

So today is that auspicious day, Janmastami, when Lord Krsna appeared five thousand years ago in India, Mathura. Those who are Indian ladies and gentlemen present, they know very well where is Mathura. It is about ninety miles south of New Delhi. Mathura is still existing and it is eternally existing. Krsna appeared in Mathura in His maternal uncle’s house in a very precarious condition. That birthplace, Lord Krsna’s birthplace, is now maintained very nicely. One who goes to India, they see.

So anyway, Lord Krsna appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. Now Krsna says, janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. Divyam means “not ordinary.” It should not be understood just like we take our birth. Krsna does not take his birth like us.

That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita. When Arjuna inquired from Krsna, “My dear Krsna, You are speaking that formerly You spoke this yoga system of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god. That means it is millions and trillions years ago You spoke. How can I believe it?” Because Krsna was contemporary to Arjuna, so he was thinking that “Krsna is my friend, is my cousin brother. How it is possible that He spoke this Bhagavad-gita yoga to sun-god?” So what was the reply?

The reply was this, that “You also appear many, many times; I also appear many, many times. The difference is that I can remember. You cannot remember.”That is the difference between God and ordinary living creature, that we are also taking birth after birth. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and so long we are in this material world, we are cycling round this birth after birth. So Krsna’s birth is not like that. Therefore Krsna says, janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah [Bg. 4.9]. Tattvatah means in truth. Not superficially. Scientifically, one who knows, he can get immediately liberation.

And how one can understand the same truths? That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. Again the same thing, tattvatah, in truth. If anyone wants to know God, or Krsna, in truth, not superficially, then he has to undertake the process of devotional service. Bhaktya.

In another place Krsna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]. “Any person who gives Me a little fruit, little flower, little water, but with devotion, bhaktya…” That is the only qualification. So Krsna says, taya bhaktya upahrtam asnami. “Because he brings it with devotion and faith and love, I eat.” Krsna eats. We are offering in the temple prasadam. So He eats because He says “I eat.” How you can say that He does not eat?

Some gentleman asked me that “Swamiji, you offer prasadam in the temple, but do you think Krsna or God eats?” I answered, “Yes, why not? He says, ‘I eat.’ How you can say He does not eat? But you do not know how He eats.” Due to poor fund of knowledge, you think that God does not eat. But eat…, His eating process is different. That is answered in the Brahma-samhita. Brahma-samhita, it is said angani yasya sakalendriya-vrtti-manti [Bs. 5.32]. God’s senses, Krsna’s senses are as powerful as other senses. Just like I can see with my eyes, but Krsna can eat also with His eyes. That is… Angani yasya sakalendriya-vrtti-manti. Just like…

There is many examples. Krsna or Visnu, the first creation is that Garbhosayi (Garbhodakasayi) Visnu lying on the ocean and Brahma was created from His navel. There was a lotus stem grown from the abdomen of the Lord, and Brahma was born. Now Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, was just sitting. But as we understand that if we beget child, we require the cooperation of wife, but here we see that wife was sitting, but He begot Brahma from the navel. This is called sarva-saktiman. He does not require anyone’s help. He can beget child. Not exactly as we beget child. Therefore janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9].

He is within your heart, He is everywhere, so He can appear from everywhere. Just like sun rises from the eastern side. It does not mean that eastern side is the mother of sun. We simply see that sun is rising from the eastern side. In this way, if we try to understand in truth, then we can understand what is God. Superficially, if we try to understand by our experimental knowledge, then it is not possible to understand God.

panthastu koti-sata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso muni-pungavanam
so ‘pyasti yat prapada-simny-avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

The Brahma-samhita said that if one starts on the chariot of air and makes progress on the speed of mind, still one cannot understand what is God. Vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau [Bs. 5.33]. He cannot be understood simply by studying Vedas. Traigunya visaya vedah nistraigunyo bhavarjuna. One has to transcend the position of Vedas also. Then one can understand what is God or what is Krsna.

So that process is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, that bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah [Bg. 18.55]. So this bhakti, devotional service of Krsna, is so nice. And under that bhakti category, this Janmastami… Of course, this Janmastami ceremony is observed by all Hindus. Irrespective of becoming Vaisnava or not, this ceremony is observed in India every home. Just like in your Western countries the Christmas is observed in every home, similarly Janmastami is observed in every home. Today is a great ceremonial day. So our program is, at twelve o’clock night the Lord will take birth and we shall receive Him. And just now it is ten o’clock. For two hours our program will continue in kirtana. Kirtana means sometimes chanting with music, and sometimes speaking. Both of them are kirtana. Kirtayati iti kirtanam. Whenever we glorify the Lord, that is called kirtana. The Srimad-Bhagavatam reading is also kirtana. Abhavad vaiyasaki kirtane. Vaiyasaki, Sukadeva Gosvami, he achieved the highest perfection, liberation, simply by reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sri-visnu-sravane pariksit. Pariksit Maharaja, he simply heard. There are nine processes of devotional service. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam. Chanting, hearing. First hearing, then chanting. Without hearing, nobody can chant. Sravanam kirtanam. And what sort of sravanam kirtanam? Visnoh, of Visnu. Not anything else.

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
[SB 7.5.23]

These are nine processes of devotional service, of which sravanam, hearing, is most important. Without hearing, nobody can understand the science of God. Therefore the Vedic mantras are called sruti. Sruti means it is to be heard. It is not to be experimented in the laboratory. It is simply to be heard. Therefore it is called sruti. So sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, arcanam vandanam dasyam. Vandanam, offering prayer. We also offer prayer. The other religious sect, just like the Christians, they offer prayer; the Muhammadans, they offer prayer. So prayer, offering prayer is also one of the items of bhakti. Chanting, hearing, meditating, offering prayers, arcanam, worshiping the Deity in the temple, all of them are together devotional service. So out of the nine… If you can execute all the nine, it is very good. But it is not possible. So even if you can execute one item, you become perfect. It is so nice. Sri visnu sravane pariksit. Just like Maharaja Pariksit, he simply executed the function of hearing, he got perfection. Similarly, abhavad vaiyasaki kirtane. Vaiyasaki means Sukadeva Gosvami, he simply glorified the Lord. Prahladah smarane. Prahlada Maharaja, he was simply meditating. There are many examples. Simply by following one principle of this devotional service, they got the highest perfectional life, liberation, back to home, back to Godhead.

So we shall invite today to speak about Krsna from our students, as well as all the members who are present here. So I shall request Janardana to speak something about his realization of Krsna. (pause) All right. Let him speak.

Janardana:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta svamin iti namine

Krsna, we know, is the ultimate Supreme Personality of Godhead. The name Krsna has a meaning. The meaning of the name Krsna is “the supreme attractive.” Whatever there is that holds any attraction, that attraction is given by Krsna. Krsna explains this Himself in the Bhagavad-gita. So in our life in this material world, we have so many different attractions which we are pursuing in order to build what we think will be our happiness. All this attraction is the attraction of Krsna’s inferior energy. Krsna’s maya holds a great attraction for all the conditioned souls. And by following this attraction of Krsna’s maya, they are continuing in the circle of birth and death. We are born into this world because we desire to enjoy something, so Krsna provides us with a body that is suitable for that enjoyment, and He provides us also the objects of the enjoyment that we desire. However, also to remind us of our highest possible potential, that of the spiritual, unconditioned existence, we have along with these material enjoyments various kinds of suffering. These material enjoyments, although they are temporarily real, come to an end, and then there is feeling of bereavement and regret.So we are now enjoying the maya of Krsna’s external potency in our ordinary life. Unless we realize the personality of Krsna Himself…

We must have personal realization, personal contact with Lord Krsna. So long as we are enjoying these objects of our senses and thinking that these objects belong to us, and so long as we don’t know to whom all these objects belong, to whom belongs the land, the money, the foods that we eat, the clothes that we wear, our families—so long as we do not know to whom all these belong, then we are enjoying in a state of ignorance. Factually we are being thieves. We cannot be happy in such a condition. Krsna is very kind. He provides us with all these objects of enjoyment, as we like them. But we can achieve a far happier state, not only for ourselves but for the whole human kind, if we realize that Krsna, who is the supreme source of all the attractive objects that we are enjoying, is a person who is ready to receive as His loving servants the moment we want to surrender all our false ideas of ownership and come back to the spiritual platform.

So Lord Krsna for this reason has appeared. He wants to call the conditioned souls back to Godhead. He wants us to realize that He is the source of the whole universe, He is the owner of the universe, He is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme knower of everything, and that we are always welcome to associate with Him by the grace of His devotees, by the grace of a spiritual master. And so He has appeared, and we are now celebrating the Janmastami day, the day when Lord Krsna came to this conditioned plane out of His own transcendental power, with His full spiritual potency, in order to reveal the supreme nature of sac-cid-ananda vigrahah [Bs. 5.1], eternal knowledge, consciousness, and bliss, to all the conditioned souls so that they might be attracted to Him, and so that they might come out of the miseries of material existence and of ignorance. At this particular time in the world it is very much necessary that all people hear about Krsna and that they should become attracted to chanting the name of Krsna, to hearing about Krsna’s wonderful pastimes.

So that by this exquisite attraction for Krsna they might forget their lower desires, which are now leading everybody to a hellish condition of life in which it seems inevitable there are going to be wars and pestilences and starvation, diseases, all kinds of social injustice. All these things are unavoidable so long as the world at large does not understand who owns everything, who owns the land, who owns the money, who owns the food. So long as they don’t understand that Krsna is the owner and enjoyer of everything, so long as they don’t understand that it is the highest enjoyment for the living soul to serve Krsna, it is the perfect harmony in this condition to serve Krsna, so long there will be fighting due to ignorance and deluded cross purposes.This International Society for Krsna Consciousness movement is meant for spreading the Krsna consciousness to the whole world so that people might realize their spiritual existence, and so that the whole atmosphere of the world can become spiritualized by chanting the names of Krsna. So we welcome everybody who comes to this temple to inquire about how to make your life perfect by tuning in to the desires of the Supreme Lord Krsna. You’ll find that this is such a pleasant proposition, that all insignificant lower desires will be forgotten. There will not be any need for unnecessary fighting among the people of the world if they can only understand the spiritual plane of Krsna consciousness. The way to realize Krsna consciousness is very simple. Simply chant:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Chant this maha-mantra under the guidance of the spiritual master and the results will be very quick. Thank you very much.

Prabhupada: Gaurasundara?

Gaurasundara:

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur-unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.]

So this mantra is another form of obeisance to the spiritual master, and the meaning is that I, who was standing in darkness with my eyes sealed, now offer my obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has forced me to open my eyes. He has forced me to open my eyes with this torchlight of knowledge which he is bearing. So therefore my spiritual master is my master. He can give me this actual knowledge of my position, my position as an existing entity. And that perfection of understanding my position is understanding Krsna, or the supremely perfect entity. Krsna is perfect existence, the perfect being, and as such, His existence is the greatest certainty of all. In one syllogism or one comparison that I can give, I could say that how can a shadow of my hand exist unless my hand exists? The point is how can these individual entities exist except as the shadow of the perfect entity, God? Of course, we can understand from the Bhagavad-gita or Vedic literatures that living entities are atomic particles of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such they reflect the potencies of that Supreme Person.So because Krsna has personality and because Krsna has individuality, we have individuality. Krsna’s existence, because He is perfect, is the most certain. Imperfect existence has no meaning. Our existence has no meaning except as reference, in reference to Krsna’s existence. We haven’t even got the power to conserve our own existence. Or in other words, we can’t understand how we’re existing. We can understand in some deluded manner that we’re feeding our bodies and so on. We can have some sort of knowledge of ritual. But we don’t actually know what we are and what the ritual is, why we’re performing it.

So getting beneath the actual ritual of daily life by this process of revealed or transcendental ritual taught by the spiritual master, then we can realize the real…

Prabhupada: (in background:) Pradyumna. After he speaks they may…

Gaurasundara: …importance or the real striking features of our own existence. Again I want to come back to this point. Krsna’s existence is the most certain. Sometimes people have the idea that they can debate whether Krsna exists or not. They can do that as long as they want to close their own eyes or keep their own brains, their own minds clouded by so many extraneous factors. Actually, Krsna’s existence is the most certain. We can go through many so-called proofs or logical proofs. Simply because that fact is already established, I might give one or two. We can understand in our mundane logic that if something exists, that there’s some reason for its existence, and similarly, if something does not exist, that there’s some reason for that. Just as we can say something exists…

For example, a harmonium exists because somebody has made that harmonium. A circle exists on the wall because somebody has drawn that circle on the wall. But on the other hand, a square circle does not exist because that existence would involve a contradiction or that would be absurd.So for anything which exists there must be a reason, and for anything which does not exist, then there is a reason why it does not exist. Now Krsna’s existence therefore is most certain because any reason which could deny Krsna’s existence is impossible to be found. Krsna means He is the all-inclusive entity. Therefore any reason which could prevent Krsna’s existence would have to be either external to His own divine nature or in His own nature. Nothing can be outside of Krsna’s all-inclusiveness. Therefore no external agent can prevent Krsna’s existence. And it is again self-contradictory to attribute any imperfection to the perfect being. Therefore the conclusion is that Krsna necessarily exists because no one can prevent His existence.By definition, God is the perfect entity. So just as we’ve seen that existence of Krsna cannot be checked…

And actually nobody can prove that Krsna does not exist, neither can they prevent Him from existing. This is sort of an indirect way to prod you to think about the position that you’re in now. People become very proud because they have some material opulence or material knowledge, and they tend to think that they are self-sufficient. But actually, we’re dependent on so many things. For example, we are just taking it for granted that our bodies will remain unmutilated by various forces in nature, when actually at any moment the bodies could be totally destroyed. And, even granted that our bodies will be with us for some time in operable condition, this field of our activities has many laws which we’re dependent upon. Just as the other day we were discussing the law of gravity. This idea of laws in nature necessarily implies the existence of the lawmaker. And this can be demonstrated very easily in many, many ways. We’ll take the law of gravity again. If some object in nature which has no consciousness behaves in a regulated manner, then it’s obvious that it’s under the control of a law. We call it a law. For example, if an apple drops from a tree, the apple is obeying the law of gravity. The apple does not know the law of gravity; therefore that law is being enforced by some superior entity. In our dealings in society, people know laws. Still, they don’t obey them. They have to be forced to obey the laws, and still, people disobey the law. But the laws of nature are so perfectly enforced that nobody can disobey. Just a little thought will make this a little bit more clear to anyone. So there are twofold implications, namely the law proceeds from lawmaker, law enforcement proceeds from law enforcer. Man has tried so hard to establish law and order. Law and order is already there in this existence which he’s now facing.

I think that we don’t need to consider any more on these points just now. The main point or the main information which we’re considering now is that by understanding Krsna’s existence, understanding Krsna’s appearance before the perception of ourselves, that we can terminate this material existence which we now face. This life we’re now conscious of through these bodies which were born… Now these bodies were very small. They develop into impressive size. The bodies will dwindle and the bodies will be gone ultimately, lost. But all these living entities here in the room will go on existing. This process of birth and death we should understand. And we should especially understand how Krsna appears before us who are trapped by birth and death. If we understand that Krsna’s appearance is not like ours, because He’s perfect and because He’s appearing for our benefit, then we may be able to reach out and grab hold of the lifeline that can… [break] …of our own suicidal bogs.

So anyway, everybody has been coming here knows that we’re recommending, simply associate with us, chant with us and listen to the teachings of our spiritual master. Put questions to us. Any question. And at this point I’d also like to invite questions. Is there any question?

Prabhupada: Let him speak. Mukunda.

Gaurasundara: Mukunda prabhu will speak now.

Mukunda: Let me offer my respectful obeisances to our spiritual master, Swami Bhaktivedanta, who is dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter unto His lotus feet. The Krsna consciousness movement is intended to make a solution to our everyday problems. It’s not a kind of place where people just come because there’s some religious rites being performed. But everyone in this age is thinking that “I am free,” and actually I am not free. I am very bound up. We’re strictly bound up by the stringent laws of nature. In every status of life I have to serve somebody or something or my own body. In every status of life I have to serve my wife or I have to serve my children, I have to serve my pet, I have to serve my work, my boss, my associates. If I’m very wealthy, very elevated, or very beautiful physically, I am born in an aristocratic family, I always have to serve somebody. If nothing else, one has to serve one’s own stomach. I have to eat. I have to get food. I have to serve my stomach. So I am not free at all. I have to do these things. There’s no way I can stop. If I don’t eat, I will die.

So our natural position as a living entity is that we have to serve something. Every living entity has to serve. That’s our natural position. If something is wrong with my hand and I want to be cured, I don’t grab onto some foodstuffs or some medicine, some herbs, and squeeze it with the hand and think that this hand is going to be cured. I take the medicine or the food through my mouth, and then it circulates through the digestive system and through the veins and finally comes to the hand and can work its cure. So the hand, unless it’s serving its source, then it’s useless. The servant must serve its master or the part must serve the whole. And our relationship with God is the same. Just like the hand is made out of bile, blood and air, flesh and bone, as all the body is. So similarly we’re made out of spirit. Qualitatively the same as Krsna, but quantitatively many millions of times less. Qualitatively the same, quantitatively different. Fragmental portion. So if we fragmental portions, separated parts and parcels, can serve the source or the whole, then we can be cured of this material disease which is rampant nowadays. And this is possible only by mercy. By mercy alone we can transcend this material existence and know that I am part and parcel of the Supreme, Krsna, or God, and I can erase all of my karma and situate myself in pure consciousness. But this consciousness cannot be purified unless there is mercy. And in this age, Kali-yuga, as we know, mercy is diminished to being almost nonexistent. And Kali-yuga is just beginning.

So if we can get some information about what I am, what is my position, and what is God and how am I related to God, what is this world, then we’re very fortunate. So by the mercy of the spiritual master we can free ourselves from these stringent laws of nature, and these unbreakable bonds. And only in this way. We can’t free ourselves superficially or by our own mental invention. We can’t sit, just go out and sit and think and free ourselves from this material existence. We must be subject to our own body, bodily discomforts and our own mind, and we must be subject to the actions upon us of other living entities, and we must be subject to the laws of nature, to providence, to pestilence, famine, catastrophe. But if we can accept and hear submissively this teaching of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita from the bona fide spiritual master, then we are free immediately. We are in Vaikuntha.

So we’re very shocked and astonished that so many people are coming to the West, to the United States, and posing as holy men and simply making business, charging money, and giving somebody some magical formula whereby they can become God in half of a year. And so many people who are sincere seekers are being deluded, and this is very unfortunate. There is said to be two classes of men. One class of men is satisfied with his existence. He goes from one pleasure to another. From the cinema to the restaurant to sports, from one to the other. “I can’t wait to finish one to go to the next,” and still he’s saying, “I’m happy. I’m satisfied.” And there’s another class of men that is not satisfied. These men are searching, that there is always something on his mind. He is thinking, “There must be something behind all of this. That I can look at all of this as a unified whole.” So this first class of men will not want to take to spiritual knowledge, but the person who is inquisitive and is not satisfied with this material life, he can hear this knowledge submissively and derive great benefit from it. The symptom of the human being is that he is not satisfied. He’s disgusted, he’s searching. The symptom of animal life is that he is satisfied taking everything, “That’s very nice. Everything is fine.” Like a hog, hog eating stool. He’s thinking, “Oh, it’s very nice.” But the human being will not accept such awful things. The human being has the chance to get out of this shackle of continued, repeated births and deaths.

So simply by hearing the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, and the names of Krsna diligently, submissively, and from a bona fide source, we can immediately get some relief from this material existence. Just like when we were chanting here you could feel some ecstasy. Well, this ecstasy goes unlimitedly and infinitely, eternally, if one takes to it. It’s not as if you reach some point of enlightenment and then you’re enlightened. No. But it’s always eternal, ever increasing. Just like the relationship between ourselves and our spiritual master is eternal and ever increasing, our relationship with God is the same. So please try to realize that this is a very serious movement, and we’re not asking you to sign up or pay us anything, but simply to sincerely try it and you’ll immediately feel some benefit. Thank you.

Prabhupada: Yamuna? Yamuna.

Yamuna:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta svamin iti namine

I am offering my repeated, humble obeisances unto my spiritual preceptor, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. Please try to understand that everything that we are learning here in Krsna consciousness is received through the ears. And unless one does not listen submissively, one cannot hear transcendental message. This is the opening of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. It states that at the reading of the Srimad-Bhagavata, the forest of Naimisaranya, many sages were present, and it was so quiet that the dropping of a pin could be heard on the sand. So the science of Krsna consciousness must be received submissively. Our spiritual preceptor has brought Krsna consciousness to the Western world, in the hopes that the people here will sincerely take to this process of practicing bhakti-yoga, or the yoga of devotional service and love unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna. This is not a sect. This is for people of the world who understand one premise, that “I am not this body; I am pure spirit soul,” that this body is simply a dress. Just like you wear clothes. But what is it that keeps you alive that is eternal? This is spirit soul. This is so simple that even a child at the age of five years can understand this. If it’s from a bona fide source, he can understand this.We are requesting to you that you please come to the practices of Bhagavata. Come to kirtana. By chanting:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

…you at once are elevated into the spiritual platform, and our contaminated material senses may become purified simply because of this association of the names of God. These names are absolute. They are not material. If you chant “water, water, water, water,” your thirst will not be quenched. But if you cry “Krsna, Krsna, Krsna,” you may find your position in this world, where you came from, why are you here, what are you doing, where are you going. These questions man must answer, or he’s not making use of his ability of man. He’s simply living an animal life, eating, sleeping, mating, defending. It does not matter if you are man, you are woman, you are a child, you are Indian, you are American. You simply must ask these questions. And when one comes upon a bona fide source one must take advantage of that source and not pass it up. Krsna consciousness, or the practice of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, are open to all, and we invite you to please come. Chant Hare Krsna. Feel the sublime ecstasy. Thank you very much. Are there any questions?

Prabhupada: Pradyumna? So Hans, you can speak.

Hamsaduta:

There are so many religions. There’s Hindu, there’s Christian, there’s Jewish, Muhammadan, so many things. And people are professing, “Oh, I’m Christian. I’m Hindu. I’m Jewish.” So many things. But this religion is not so cheap. This religion is not simply something I can take up, take it, “Oh, now I think I should be Christian. That’s very nice. Or maybe I’ll become Hindu.” No. You see these boys and girls, they’re not Hindus, they’re not Christians, they’re not Jews. What are they? You see the spiritual master. He’s not Hindu. You may be thinking, “Oh, he’s from India. And these American or these Canadian boys and girls, they’ve taken some fad. They like these Indian things.” No, it’s not like that at all. This is not religion. According to Sanskrit definition, religion means that quality of the living entity which after everything is removed… Oh, you can lose all your money, you can lose your family, you can lose your nationality, but when everything is removed, that religion remains. So what is that? What is that quality that’s common to every living entity? What is that? Just like fire.What is… [break] (end)

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=19588

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We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, Chapter Two: “Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb.”

TEXT 18

tato jagan-mangalam acyutamsam
samahitam sura-sutena devi
dadhara sarvatmakam atma-bhutam
kastha yathananda-karam manastah

SYNONYMS

tatah—thereafter; jagat-mangalam—auspiciousness for all living entities in all the universes of the creation; acyuta-amsam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never bereft of the six opulences, all of which are present in all His plenary expansions; samahitam—fully transferred; sura-sutena—by Vasudeva, the son of Surasena; devi—Devaki-devi; dadhara—carried; sarva-atmakam—the Supreme Soul of everyone; atma-bhutam—the cause of all causes; kastha—the east; yatha—just as; ananda-karam—the blissful (moon); manastah—being placed within the mind.

TRANSLATION

Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krsna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

As indicated here by the word manastah, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was transferred from the core of Vasudeva’s mind or heart to the core of the heart of Devaki. We should note carefully that the Lord was transferred to Devaki not by the ordinary way for a human being, but by diksa, initiation. Thus the importance of initiation is mentioned here. Unless one is initiated by the right person, who always carries within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot acquire the power to carry the Supreme Godhead within the core of one’s own heart.

The word acyutamsam is used because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sad-aisvarya-purna, full in the opulences of wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. The Supreme Godhead is never separated from His personal opulences. As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.39), ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan: the Lord is always situated with all His plenary expansions, such as Rama, Nrsimha, and Varaha. Therefore the word acyutamsam is specifically used here, signifying that the Lord is always present with His plenary expansions and opulences. There is no need to think of the Lord artificially as yogis do. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.13.1). Yogis meditate upon the Supreme Person within the mind. For a devotee, however, the Lord is present, and His presence need only be awakened through initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. The Lord did not need to live within the womb of Devaki, for His presence within the core of her heart was sufficient to carry Him. One is here forbidden to think that Krsna was begotten by Vasudeva within the womb of Devaki and that she carried the child within her womb.

When Vasudeva was sustaining the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, he appeared just like the glowing sun, whose shining rays are always unbearable and scorching to the common man. The form of the Lord situated in the pure, unalloyed heart of Vasudeva is not different from the original form of Krsna. The appearance of the form of Krsna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhama. Dhama refers not only to Krsna’s form, but to His name, His form, His quality, and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.

Thus the eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full potencies was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki, exactly as the setting sun’s rays are transferred to the full moon rising in the east.

Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered the body of Devaki from the body of Vasudeva. He was beyond the conditions of the ordinary living entity. When Krsna is there, it is to be understood that all His plenary expansions, such as Narayana, and incarnations like Lord Nrsimha and Varaha, are with Him, and they are not subject to the conditions of material existence. In this way, Devaki became the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second and the cause of all creation. Devaki became the residence of the Absolute Truth, but because she was within the house of Kamsa, she looked just like a suppressed fire, or like misused education. When fire is covered by the walls of a pot or is kept in a jug, the illuminating rays of the fire cannot be very much appreciated. Similarly, misused knowledge, which does not benefit the people in general, is not very much appreciated. So Devaki was kept within the prison walls of Kamsa’s palace, and no one could see her transcendental beauty, which resulted from her conceiving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Commenting upon this verse, Sri Viraraghava Acarya writes, vasudeva-devaki jatharayor hrdayayor bhagavatah sambandhah. The Supreme Lord’s entrance into the womb of Devaki from the heart of Vasudeva was a heart-to-heart relationship.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

We have gathered here at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna to remember and celebrate His appearance in this world. According to Vedic literature, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). He is the Absolute Truth, the origin of all that exists. And He is realized in three features, nondual (advaya), as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11):

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan.”

Brahman is the impersonal effulgence that emanates from the transcendental form of the Lord, Paramatma is the localized feature of the Lord, within the heart, and Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna Himself, full in six opulences.

The form of Krishna is not material. Our bodies are material, distinct from the soul, which is spiritual. The Bhagavad-gita (2.13) explains,

dehino ’smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” The soul is a nonphysical, nonchemical particle of spiritual energy, and it is the soul that animates the body. As long as the soul is in the body, we say the body is alive. Actually, the body is never alive; it is just a machine. But it appears to be alive when the soul is present to animate it. And when the soul leaves the body, the body has no capacity to act, to function, and then we say that it is dead. In conditioned beings, such as us, there is a distinction between the body, which is made of material energy, and the soul, which is composed of spiritual energy. But in the case of Krishna, there is no difference between His body and soul. Being absolute, His body and He are the same. In our case there is a difference between us and the body, because our real identity is the soul. If someone’s father passes away, he or she will cry, “Oh, my father has left. My father is gone.” Although the body of the father is there, why do we say, “My father has gone”? Intuitively we know, especially at a time like death, that the body lying there in the room is not the person. The body is just a bag of chemicals. The real person is the soul who has left the body, and so the children and other relatives and friends cry, “Oh, he’s gone.”

 

But in the case of Krishna, because He is absolute, He and His body are not different. He is completely spiritual. The Brahma-samhita says, isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah: “Krishna is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal, blissful spiritual body.”

The Brahma-samhita also tells us, anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam: “He is the origin of all, but He Himself has no origin. He is the prime cause of all causes.” Everything we see in the material world has a cause. On a simple level we can say, “I am caused by my parents” (or “my body is caused by my parents”). They, in turn, were caused by their parents, who, in turn, were caused by their parents. And if we keep going back, eventually we will come to the original cause, and that is Krishna (sarva-karana-karanam). He is the cause of everything—the cause of all causes. But He Himself has no cause.

In our conditioned state, this is hard for us to understand, because everything material has a cause, a beginning and an end. But Krishna has no beginning and no end—He is eternal (sanatana). Even we, as spirit souls, are also eternal. We have no beginning and no end. Our life in a particular body has a beginning, which we call “birth” (or “conception”), and it has an end within a particular body, which we call “death.” But we, as spirit souls, have no beginning and no end, because we are parts and parcels of Krishna. We are of the same quality as Krishna, just in different quantity. The Lord says,

mamaivamso jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah-sasthanindriyani
prakrti-sthani karsati

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Gita 15.7)

The living entity is an eternal, fragmental part of Krishna. This is the sublime philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva: the “inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference” of the living entity and the Supreme Lord. We are one in quality with the Lord but different in quantity—He is infinite and we are infinitesimal. Because we have the same qualities, we can have a relationship with Him. Unless there is some commonness, we can’t have a relationship. And because of the difference in quantity—He is the whole and we are the part—our relationship is one of service. It is the natural function of the part to serve the whole. For example, the hand is part of the body, so the function of the hand is to serve the body. If the hand doesn’t serve the body, there is something wrong; it is diseased or dead. So, our natural function is to serve Krishna (jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’). And we are eternal, as Krishna is eternal, and our relationship, our service, is also eternal. It never ends.

Earlier we mentioned the three features of the Absolute Truth: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. There are different classes of transcendentalists, who have different spiritual aspirations. Most people are materialists. They are not even interested in spiritual life. They just want to enjoy the world. But when one becomes a little more elevated, a little more purified in consciousness, one thinks of improving oneself spiritually. And when one becomes serious enough, one will actually enter into a discipline in a particular school of thought and practice. So, one category of transcendentalists is the jnanis. Their goal is to merge and become one with Brahman, the impersonal effulgence that emanates from the transcendental body of Krishna. And higher than the jnanis are the yogis. They want to realize the localized feature, the Lord within the heart (dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah). And the highest are the bhaktas. They want to enter into a loving relationship with Bhagavan, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Although in one sense, because the Absolute Truth is nondual (advaya), all transcendentalists are the same, still, from an analytical, or objective, point of view, there are degrees of realization. As stated earlier, Krishna is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. Sat means “eternal,” cit means “cognizant,” and ananda means “blissful.” The jnanis who attain impersonal Brahman realize only the sat feature, eternal existence. The yogis who realize Paramatma have perception of sat (eternity) and cit (knowledge), because they apprehend the individuality of the Lord in the heart. And the bhaktas have full realization of sat, cit, and ananda (eternity, knowledge, and bliss), because real happiness comes from loving relationships. Although one may say that there is a sort of bliss in impersonal Brahman, compared with the ecstatic happiness of loving service to Krishna, it is insignificant. There are many statements in the shastra, the Vedic scriptures, to the effect that the happiness realized in relationship to Krishna is like an ocean and that the happiness of merging (or trying to merge) into impersonal Brahman is like a puddle of water in comparison.

tvat-saksat-karanahlada-
visuddhabdhi-sthitasya me
sukhani gospadayante
brahmany api jagad-guro

“My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Being situated in that ocean, I now realize all other so-called happiness, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman, to be like the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.” (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 14.36) Practically, there is no comparison.

Furthermore, to realize impersonal Brahman is very difficult, especially in the present age. And even if one succeeds—or imagines that one has succeeded—there is every chance that one will fall down.

ye ’nye ’ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah

“O lotus-eyed Lord, although nondevotees who accept severe austerities and penances to achieve the highest position may think themselves liberated, their intelligence is impure. They fall down from their position of imagined superiority because they have no regard for Your lotus feet.” (SB 10.2.32)

More likely, they just imagine that they have realized Brahman, but whether they have actually realized it or just imagine they have, because they have neglected the service of the lotus feet of Krishna they fall down (patanty adhah).

We, conditioned souls, are rotating in the cycle of repeated birth and death (samsara), and our goal is to gain release from this samsara-chakra. Such liberation is called mukti, or moksha. The impersonal type of liberation, in which the individual soul merges into the spiritual light, is very hard to achieve—if one can achieve itat all. But even if one does, it doesn’t last. Therefore the Bhagavatam says patanty adhah: they fall down. Why? Because they have no engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

Impersonal liberation is like going to sleep. Intelligent people can perceive that there is misery in material existence, and they want relief. That is one factor that may lead someone to consider spiritual life. So, a person trying to achieveimpersonal liberation is similar to someonewho is suffering and tries to escape the suffering by sleeping—“The world is too much.” Well, all right, you can temporarily escape the misery by going to sleep, but how long can you remain asleep? Eventually you will wake up, and the same miseries will be there.

And being suspended in the impersonal Brahman effulgence can be boring. It is a relief—it is definitely a relief to be out of the material world—but eventually it can get boring. Someone may go on a cruise: “Oh, boy, I need to get away from things. Let me go on a cruise. I want to enjoy the sea.” And it may be nice for a while, but eventually one gets bored—just water and waves and wind. Eventually one wants to go back on dry land—even though the land is what he wanted to get away from. Although there was frustration and misery on the land, at least there was some stimulation, some variety.

So, the impersonal jnanis who want to merge and become one with Brahman eventually become restless and fall down (patanty adhah). They want some activity, and because they have no idea of the spiritual activities of Krishna consciousness, devotional service to Krishna, patanty adhah—they fall into material activities, and again they suffer, because the result of material activity is material misery.

So, why does the Lord descend? He is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha: eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. And He lives in His spiritual abode, where everything is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. And He is served by great souls completely free of material contamination, liberated from the material bodies that cause so much pain. So why should the Lord come here at all? What does He have to gain?

Personally, He has nothing to gain. But He comes out of His mercy, to deliver us. The material world is compared to a prison house, and we, conditioned souls, are the prisoners. We are restricted, like prisoners. We can’t just go anywhere and everywhere, wherever we want. Liberated souls can travel anywhere in the universe. They don’t need spaceships or any other such contraptions. They can move about freely. But we, conditioned souls, are bound. We are not allowed to leave this planet very easily, and even if we do, we don’t really have any other place to stay. So we are bound, and at the same time we have to suffer.

I mentioned the body, that there is so much pain in the body. So someone might think, “This swami is very negative about the body.” But the Bhagavad-gita says, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam: one should always perceive the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. You might say, “Why does the swami have to be so negative? I want to enjoy the body. I want to enjoy life. I want to enjoy the here and now”—which is good in a certain context—but if I ask any of you, “Truthfully, do you want disease?” “No.” “Do you want old age?” “No.” “Do you want death?” “No.” Well, that is what comes with the body. When you get a material body, those come in the package; they are what you get with it. You may think, “But there is so much happiness in the body. I can go surfing, I can go hiking, I can eat ice cream, I can drink and eat and enjoy with the body.” Well, yes, but it is not actually the body that enables you to enjoy; it is the soul within the body. All the parts of the body may be there when the soul departs, but where is the enjoyment? There is no enjoyment in the body after the soul leaves. We may think that we are enjoying with the senses, but it is actually because of the presence of the soul that we are able to enjoy and work and live.

The body is the medium for the conditioned soul’s experience. For example, I have these eyeglasses. I see through the eyeglasses—the eyeglasses themselves don’t see. Similarly, we have these senses—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin—and we perceive through them. The senses themselves cannot actually perceive. It is the soul that perceives—through the senses of the body. But we don’t actually need the body to perceive happiness. With the body, there is some perception of happiness—but with lots of pain.

There are different schools of philosophy—sad-darsana—and one of the philosophers has analyzed and concluded that the body is meant for misery. He gives the example of your little finger. How many ways can your little finger enjoy? Not many. And how many ways can it feel pain? So many. Even a little sliver or blister can be so painful. And the finger can be cut, burned, crushed. The body is so vulnerable. But the soul is not. As the Gita says, it can’t be cut, it can’t be burned, it can’t be wet, it can’t be withered—it is beyond the range of material elements.

nainam chindanti sastrani
nainam dahati pavakah
na cainam kledayanty apo
na sosayati marutah

“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.” (Gita 2.23) Without the body, the soul can enjoy freely, in every way, but without the pain.

And because the soul is part and parcel of Krishna, it derives its real happiness in relation to Krishna. We now are like fishes out of water, because originally we come from Krishna, from the spiritual atmosphere, and we have come into the material world and are suffering in a foreign atmosphere. We are always restless, anxious, and fearful.

So, why does Krishna come? He comes to reclaim us, His lost children, to bring us back home, back to Him. That is why He comes. There is no other reason. There is nothing for Him here. He comes only for our sake.

Although He comes into the material world, He doesn’t come in a material body. He comes in His original, spiritual form (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha). And Krishna in particular comes in a form that resembles a human being. “Man is made in the image of God.” That Krishna comes in a humanlike form is very good for us, because it makes it easier for us in human bodies to relate to Him.

anugrahaya bhaktanam
manusam deham asthitah
bhajate tadrsih krida
yah srutva tat-paro bhavet

“When the Lord assumes a humanlike body to show mercy to His devotees, He engages in such pastimes as will attract those who hear about them to become dedicated to Him.” (SB 10.33.36) He comes to reclaim us and deliver us, his lost children and devotees.

And how does He come? He does not take birth like ordinary human beings, through the joining of sperm and egg. Rather, He manifests Himself, or appears.

ajo ’pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro ’pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
sambhavamy atma-mayaya

“Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.” (Gita 4.6)

And that is what we read tonight. It is a very esoteric subject, how the Lord appears. But He chooses a completely purified devotee and enters his mind. The name of that devotee is given here—Vasudeva. And the state that enabled him to receive Krishna within his pure mind is called vasudeva, which means completely beyond the three modes of material nature, completely transcendental—the state of pure goodness, suddha-sattva. As stated in Srimad-Bhagvatam, sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam: completely pure consciousness is known as vasudeva.

sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam
yad iyate tatra puman apavrtah
sattve ca tasmin bhagavan vasudevo
hy adhoksajo me manasa vidhiyate

“The condition of pure goodness, suddha-sattva, in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is revealed without any covering, is called vasudeva. In that pure state the Supreme Godhead, who is beyond the material senses and who is known as Vasudeva, is perceived by my mind.” (SB 4.3.23, quoted as Cc Adi 4.66)

After Vasudeva received Krishna within his purified mind or heart, he, by his spiritual power, transferred Him into the purified heart of Devaki. There was no seminal discharge. And the process by which the Supreme Personality of Godhead was transferred from the heart of Vasudeva to the heart of Devaki is called diksa. Diksa means “spiritual initiation.” Diksa takes place between the teacher, or guru, and disciple. When the guru is qualified enough, he can carry Krishna within his heart. And when the disciple is qualified enough, he can receive Krishna from the guru—through an exchange called diksa.

The process of diksa is essential for the realization of God (Krishna). There is an entire science of bhakti-yoga, described in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and it begins with this process. Guru-padasrayas tasmat: “One must accept shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual master.” Krsna-diksadi-siksanam: “One must take initiation from him and receive instruction from him.” And visrambhena guroh seva: “One must serve him with intimacy.”

We cannot attain Krishna by our own efforts. We have to receive Krishna by the mercy of one who has Him. Thus Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great spiritual teacher, prays to the pure devotee:

krsna se tomara, krsna dite paro,
tomara sakati ache
ami to’ kangala, ‘krsna’ ‘krsna’ boli’,
dhai tava pache pache

“Krishna is yours; you have the power to give Him to me. I am simply running behind you shouting, ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ ” (Saranagati, “Ohe! Vaishnava Thakura”)

This act of diksa, as described in today’s verse, is really the culmination of a gradual process. It is not so easy that we just decide, “Oh, let me find a guru who has Krishna, and he will give Him to me, and my business will be finished.” We have to be qualified to receive Krishna, and the process of becoming qualified proceeds gradually. We have to work to come to that stage of purity where we can receive Krishna in our hearts—and not just receive Him in our hearts, but actually see Him face to face. After residing for some time in the heart of Devaki, Krishna came before her, and they saw each other face to face. She saw Him face to face, and He saw her. That is the perfection of Krishna consciousness.

So, we have to qualify ourselves. We have to cleanse the mirror of the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam).

The process of purification varies from age to age. Although the basic process is the same—Krishna consciousness—in the present age the specific process recommended is to chant the holy names of the Lord:

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

“One should chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of Lord Hari [Krishna]. There is no other means, no other means, no other means for success in this age.” (Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126)

Chant is repeated three times for emphasis. “You must do it, you must do it, you must do it.” There was once a cartoon in a newspaper, which depicted an elderly man sitting across from his wife. She was requesting him, “Chant, chant, chant,” and he was replying, “Can’t, can’t, can’t.” That is our misfortune. Shastra, scripture, tell us, “Chant, chant, chant” (harer nama harer nama harer nama), and for no good reason—just some causeless aversion—we say (not necessarily by our words but by our behavior), “Can’t, can’t, can’t.” “Can’t, because I am too busy.” “Can’t, because I prefer other things.” “Can’t, because . . .”—because, because, because. So harer nama harer nama harer nama is emphatic: chant, chant, chant. And kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva: there is no other way, no other way, no other way.

Now, that phrase might conjure up images of a fanatical Christian insisting, “Jesus is the only way.” But this nasty eva, the “only way,” is a little different. (And we don’t want to presume that there is anything wrong with “Jesus is the only way,” either.) But in this context, nasty eva, “no other way,” has a special meaning.

In different ages different methods for self-realization were recommend. In Satya-yuga it was meditation, in Treta-yuga Vedic sacrifice, and in Dvapara-yuga opulent temple worship. In the present age, however, harer nama, chanting the holy names of God, is prescribed. So, nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva means “not by silent meditation, not by elaborate sacrifices, not by ritualistic temple worship,” but by chanting the holy names.

But the holy names are not sectarian. In fact, there are Christian sects in which practitioners constantly repeat the name of Jesus. We don’t say that you have to chant only the holy name of Krishna. You may chant any name of God. Because God is absolute, any name of God is as good as any other. But you should chant some name. The Muslim tradition also recommends chanting the name of God, of Allah. In Pakistan I came across a book titled, Ninety-Nine Names of Allah. In the Vedic tradition there is Visnu-sahasra-nama, “A Thousand Names of Visnu.” So the principle of chanting the names of God is current in many traditions, but it is often overlooked. Then again, in any tradition, the majority are conventional. It is only the minority who are really mystical, or spiritual. But within the mystical, spiritual traditions, the chanting of God’s names is often advised.

The process of chanting (sankirtana) cleanses the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam) and makes it a fit place for the Lord to reside. That is what we have to do to prepare to receive Him. We have to chant. And chanting is pleasant, as I hope you all experienced. It is pleasurable. That’s the other thing: although the results of Krishna consciousness are the highest, the process is also the easiest and most sublime. It’s almost too good to be true, but it is true. Chanting is easy and joyful, and at the same time it cleanses the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam) and makes it a fit place for the Lord to reside. And that process is accomplished through diksa, the continuing process of diksa, which culminates in perfect realization of Krishna. And then, when one is fully purified and realized, Krishna can’t contain Himself within your heart. He becomes so pleased with your service and so eager to see and embrace you that He comes out of your heart. (Of course, at the same time, He also stays there.) In His own way, He comes out of your heart to look at you and touch you and embrace you and take you by the hand and invite you to come with Him to His eternal abode.

That is the perfection of Krishna consciousness, and it is possible for each and every one of us. We just have to make the effort to chant without offense, and remain encouraged and steady in that effort. So we need association. In every endeavor, one needs association. In every field there are associations of people engaged in the same endeavor, because they support each other. There is the chamber of commerce, the diabetes society, the birdwatchers association—there are societies for everything, because in association with others who are pursuing the same goal, we get encouragement to stay on the path and we learn from them, from their experiences, how to improve in our own efforts and quicken our progress. It is a natural thing. And association is essential. Once we become a little serious, once we develop a little faith and attraction, the next stage is to associate with devotees (adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah). That association will really help us.

Chanting is simple, but the real art of chanting is to hear the chanting. Anyone can chant mindlessly, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna . . .” and look at the trees, look at the moon, look at the newspaper, look at the television, but that’s not real chanting. Real chanting means to hear with one’smind fixed on the sound. This is meditation, mantra meditation, and it takes practice. If you chant for five minutes, will you be able to keep your mind fixed on the sound of the holy name? It will be a challenge. Even one minute is a challenge, because the nature of the mind is to flicker. It is restless. It always wants to go every which way—like the wind. In the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna says that it is as hard to control the mind as to control the wind.

cancalam hi manah krsna
pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva su-duskaram

“The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate, and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.” (Gita 6.34)

How can you control the wind? It is always going here and there. No one can stop it. So how can we control the mind? We can’t. Still, the Bhagavad-gita says it is possible—by practice (abhyasa) and detachment.

asamsayam maha-baho
mano durnigraham calam
abhyasena tu kaunteya
vairagyena ca grhyate

“It is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.” (Gita 6.35)

And this is the suitable practice: hearing about Krishna consciousness and then chanting—and hearing—Lord Krishna’s name. We chant and we hear. We practice fixing our mind on the sound of the holy name of the Lord. That is our sadhana; that is our practice. And it is serious business, and hard work. Asour spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, said, “Chanting is easy”—anyone can articulate the sounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna—“but the determination to chant [and hear with attention] is not so easy.” So that is what we need. We need that determination (drdha-vratah). And that determination develops in the association of devotees who are serious about chanting and hearing. Therefore the association of devotees is so valuable, and it is most important to maintain favorable relationships with devotees.

There are different offenses to be avoided when one chants. The main offense is to be inattentive while chanting, but another is to offend devotees. Devotees are our best well-wishers. They give us the holy name. They give us support in our efforts to chant. And if we offend them, we cut ourselves off from our best well-wishers, our best friends, our best support for the chanting. We cut ourselves off from the mercy that we so desperately need to progress. But if we pay attention to these two points—chanting attentively and maintaining favorable relationships with devotees—then gradually we can come to the stage of perfection. It takes time, but we can actually come to that stage when Krishna will enter our hearts. He is there already, but He will manifest Himself fully to us, and then, eventually, we will see Him face to face. So we should always, at every spare moment, kirtaniyah-sada-harih, chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Whatever you do when you are not chanting should be to place you in a position where you can chant. You may say, “I can’t chant all the time. I have to work. I have to earn money. I have to pay the bills.” That is true, but what is the goal of it all? Why do you want a roof over your head? Why do you want food on your plate? Ultimately, it should be to keep your body and soul together so you can chant the holy names and realize God. That is kirtaniyah-sada-harih, to “always chant the name of God.” We have the body. We must take care of it. We must bathe and dress and eat and sleep. We must get the necessities of life. We must do it all. But why are we doing it? The goal should be to chant the holy names of Krishna and realize Krishna.

So, Krishna comes to give us this message, and if from this occasion, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, we can just take this message—take it in our heart—that will be the beginning of our perfection. We must take it in our heart and practice it and repeat it to others—repeat it both for the benefit of others and for our own sake. And the results will be glorious. Krishna’s purpose in appearing in this world will be fulfilled, and our purpose as human beings will be fulfilled. And we will all be happy in Krishna consciousness together. Hare Krishna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Guest (1): I always ask myself a question. Christians believe in resurrection, and Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation, but personally, I always ask myself, “What is the meaning of starting something and ending something? What is the meaning of several or many lives when we can be comfortable with maybe just one life? Why we are reaching perfection through many lives?

Giriraj Swami: That is a very good question. Miguel says that Christians believe in resurrection and Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation, but what is the need of passing through many lifetimes if you can realize God in one lifetime?

We agree with you completely. That is the whole idea. Especially now that we have come to this human form of life, which is achieved after many lifetimes, and especially now that we have come in touch with devotees who tell us about Krishna and the process of bhakti-yoga, we can and should complete our purpose in this world in this life.

labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat

“After many, many births one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life before his body, which is always subject to death, falls away. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being.” (SB 11.9.29)

And if we chant seriously—chant and hear and follow the regulative principles that support the chanting and hearing—we can achieve complete success in the same lifetime. And that should be our determination.

Still, the Bhagavad-gita explains that if you are not completely successful, then in your next life you continue from where you left off in this one. You don’t have to start all over again. With anything material, you have to start all over again in the next life. In this life you might know seven languages, but in your next life, when you are born, all you can say is “Ga, ga, ga,” and you don’t even know ABC. Materially, whatever you acquire in this life is lost at the time of death. But whatever you gain spiritually through the practice of bhakti-yoga continues in the next life. Suppose in this life you complete only 50 percent; then in the next life you begin from 51 percent. You don’t have to start again from the beginning.

But still, we have the human form of life, and the association of devotees, so why should we take any chances? We should have that determination to be completely successful in this life, just like you said.

Guest (1):Why did we come here in the first place? Why do we have to go through so many lives?

Giriraj Swami: Actually, as mentioned, we all come from Krishna, but when we turn away from Him—when we forget Him and want to enjoy apart from Him—we come under maya and suffer in the material world.

krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga-vancha kare
nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare

“When the living entity desires to enjoy separately from Krishna and turns away from Him, the illusory potency of the Lord, maya, immediately takes the soul in her clutches.” (Prema-vivarta)

But in that process, we don’t start at the bottom; we start at the top. We start as an elevated being on a higher planet. So we can reverse the process from that position and go back to Godhead. We don’t start as a germ or an amoeba. But if we are careless, we can keep declining and end up as an amoeba, in the body of an amoeba. But we don’t start at the bottom. We actually start at the top, and if we are attentive and vigilant, we can reverse the whole process in one lifetime. We don’t have to pass more than one life, and we don’t have to see any lower form of life.

Guest (1): Can we say that everything around us is energy—the material world? Animals, vegetables, minerals—everything is life, even if it doesn’t have consciousness by itself?

Giriraj Swami: Well, that is true—everything is energy—but as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, there are two kinds of energies. One is the material energy, and the other is the spiritual energy. The spiritual energy is conscious, alive. And the material energy is dull, dead.

bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.” (Gita 7.4)

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat

“Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.” (Gita 7.5)

What we see alive in the material world is really a combination of the spiritual and material energies—the spiritual spark within the physical body. And as long as the soul is present, there is consciousness. But an inanimate object—say this piece of metal—has no consciousness. Of course, in an ultimate sense, we could say that there is consciousness everywhere, because Krishna is everywhere. He is expanded within the atoms and in the space between the atoms throughout the entire universe (andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham). But practically, in terms of individual consciousness, animals and vegetables have souls; they are a combination of matter and spirit. Minerals do not have souls; they are material energy. And then there is Krishna, who is completely spiritual.

Guest (1): Are there other forms of intelligence on other planets in the universe, or is it just here on our own planet?

Giriraj Swami: There is, in fact, even more advanced intelligent life on planets other than the earth. Everything is the creation of God. We don’t believe that anything has happened by accident or chance. God has created all these planets to provide different environments for different types of people. Just as there are different relativities on earth—Ojai or Santa Barbara may be relatively more congenial than Alaska or Antarctica—so there are relativities within the universe. Some planets are more heavenly, and some are more hellish. The earth is considered to be in the middle, though a little on the lower side. But there is intelligent life everywhere—and suffering everywhere—and everyone is ultimately meant to become God conscious and go back home, back to Godhead

a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah
punar avartino ’rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

[The Supreme Lord Krishna said:] “From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Gita 8.16)

Guest (2): You said that the only practice we need to do is chant the name of God. That seems to be asking God to receive from Him the grace of the holy name. But what can we do to prepare ourselves in everyday life to better understand and receive this grace?

Giriraj Swami: Yes, there are practices. Although the chanting in and of itself is enough, there are disciplines that we can undertake to make it easier for us to get the full benefit of the chanting, to get the full grace of the Lord. There are certain personal restrictions. But the beauty of the chanting is that even if it is hard at first to accept these restrictions, the process of chanting itself, the process of purification itself, will make it easier to accept them—to the point where we won’t even want to indulge in such adverse activities anymore.

The first restriction is no eating meat. The second is no taking intoxicants. The third is no illicit sex—no sex outside of marriage, no frivolous sex. And the fourth is no gambling. If we are able to follow these regulative principles, our chanting will be more quickly effective, and we will be better receptacles for God’s grace.

And there are other things as well, such as getting up early in the morning. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The early hours of the morning, especially before sunrise, are considered the best for spiritual practice, and therefore we generally rise early. Some devotees, when feasible, get up at two. They may take rest at eight and get up at two. Otherwise, we try rise by four. Initiated disciples have a certain quota of chanting, which takes about two hours to complete. So they rise by four and complete their quota of rounds between five and seven and still have the rest of the day ahead of them.

And the more serious you are, the more things you can learn to improve your practice. But if you can just manage those four restrictions—and get up early—you will be off to a good start. And if you want to know more, we have volumes of books . . .

Guest (2): Hard news. Thank you.

Giriraj Swami: I was going to ask if you were ready for the answer before I gave it, but I figured that you asked, and you seemed sincere, so I just said it.

But again, the good news is that if you chant, all the other things will become easier. That’s why we don’t emphasize the restrictions at first, because we know that if people just chant, they will lose interest in those indulgent acts, and they will become more and more eager to advance in Krishna consciousness.

Guest (2): Inshallah.

Giriraj Swami: When you said “inshallah” it reminded me ofa group of Ahmadiyya Muslims who would sometimes meet me at our Juhu Beach temple. They told me the same thing, that the prayers offered before sunrise—almost like we say, beginning an hour and a half before sunrise—are heard by God more than prayers offered later in the day.

Inshallah, or insha’Allah, means “if Allah wills.” Allah is a name of God, so insha’Allahmeans “God willing.” Of course, we also accept the name Allah. Allah is the same as Krishna. But our devotees in Pakistan, instead of “insha’Allah,” would sometimes say, “insha Krishna,” to mean the same thing—“God willing.”

Krishna Bamani dasi: Maharaja, I was just going to give an example. In the beginning some people think, “Oh, I have to be a vegetarian” when they hear all the negative restrictions. But the process of spiritual life is so pleasant that they experience a higher taste. They actually prefer our food, prasada, to other things they used to eat. And it is kind of like that with all of the seeming restrictions. As we chant and associate with devotees, we develop a higher taste.

Giriraj Swami: Good point.

Krishna Bamani dasi: I was going to say one more thing. You already explained it. But in today’s world, fanatical Muslims, or fanatics in any religion—they may be chanting God’s names, yet so much violence is going on. They may chant, for example, “Allah, Allah,” yet engage in so much violent activity. They are “God’s warriors,” so to speak. So, you have explained that there are ways to chant God’s names properly.

Giriraj Swami: Correct. One must avoid that offense of offending devotees, anddevotees are there in every tradition. One may take the name of God in one’s own tradition, but if he is inimical to devotees in other traditions, that is an offense, not only against the devotees but against the holy name. And if one commits offenses against the holy name, one doesn’t get the benefit. In fact, it is described that when you offend devotees, the holy name is offended and withdraws its mercy. So even though such fanatics are mouthing God’s name, it is almost as if God has left. He has withdrawn His mercy from them, because they are offensive.

Of course, offending devotees is the worst, but offending anyone—causing pain to any living entity—is prohibited. That is the complete injunction. And that is one reason why we don’t kill animals or eat flesh.

So, it is not just a question of mouthing God’s name. One should be in the proper consciousness, the proper mood of service to God and to the devotees of God—in whatever tradition, culture, or community they may be. We should respect and appreciate all genuine devotees, servants of God, and encourage the devotees and chant the holy names. That will bring us all success, and one day the holy name will reveal Himself to us, and we will see Krishna face-to-face.

prabhu kahe,—“vaisnava-seva, nama-sankirtana
dui kara, sighra pabe sri-krsna-carana”

The Lord [Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] said, “You should engage yourself in the service of the servants of Krsna and always chant the holy name of Krsna. If you do these two things, you will very soon attain shelter at Krsna’s lotus feet.” (Cc Madhya 16.70)

Hare Krishna!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Sri Krishna Janmashtami, September 2, 2007, Ojai, California]

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=8819

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Happy Janmashtami!

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On the most auspicious occasion of the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead - Lord Krishna, I wish to offer my most humble obeisances.
 
May the all merciful Lord bestow His unconditional love, causeless mercy and divine blessings on you and your loved ones.
 
My prayers at His Lotus Feet, to ignite the fire of devotion in our hearts, to wipe away results of our past misdeeds, to purify our consciousnessby giving us the intelligence to constantly 
 
remember His glories, to give us countless opportunities to serve Him and to open the doors for us so that we can enter His eternal, all-blissful Spiritual Kingdom.
 
Wish you a very Happy Janmashtami!
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💥🎊 Good News!! Good News!! Good News!! 💥🎊

🎉 On the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami 🎉

✅ Den + GTPL + Hathway have started 📺 Hare Krsna TV 📺 Channel on their Network

🔸Den
East + North + West @ LCN 885
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Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, Bihar, Jharkhand & Assam @ LCN 576
Maharashtra @ LCN 457 (only SCOD market)
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📣 Please don't forget to Call & Thank your Cable Operator for this wonderful gift on Janmashtami

📝 You can thank them by writing on their social media timelines through the following links

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➡️ https://twitter.com/GTPL_Hathway
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DEN
➡️ https://www.facebook.com/denenjoycnpl/

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Janmastami is coming up… we celebrate the appearance of Lord Krsna in this world. Remember that this week is especially a week for serving Krsna, and the more we do so then the more Krsna will reveal Himself and we begin to see right here and now, and at the end of our life, we can go back the spiritual world!
In this world, there are churches, mosques, temples – there are so many different religious groups. Sometimes, in the airport, I see Jews with their black hats and curls on the side of their faces; I see Arabs in their full Middle-Eastern outfits; I see a Christian priest; a few nuns from Africa; some Buddhists from Thailand… and then, there is a Hare Krsna devotee walking in the middle of it all!

In the airports, there is just an exhibition of world religions. So many religions in the world and the reason is because God is invisible!

When an atheist walks past and says, “There is no God!”

Then someone else argues, “HE is the only way.”

There are so many opinions on religion because HE is invisible in this world… that is the issue. Everyone has some information – this group has one prophet and the other group has another. Nobody else has seen ‘it’ but the prophet has and he has written about it. People accept traditions and beliefs from their teachers. This is the reason why there are so many religions in the world and why one group looks at the other without trust and with suspicion.

The more people take to their traditions very seriously and to heart, the more they get realisations and then religion is not just an idea from a book which is taught in some institution… but it begins to manifest within the heart! And the more it manifests within the heart, the more we find the same common experience – that there are no differences in religion actually since these differences exist only externally. If you go deeper then you will see that people in different parts of the world, in different traditions, actually have the same deep experiences however, it may not always be understood in this way.

Beyond this world, there is a spiritual world where pure living beings can go and live eternally with the Supreme Lord. We have heard this in the descriptions of all traditions – some say heaven but we say spiritual world but it is the same thing. In the spiritual world, we should understand that the Supreme Lord is always visible and present, and He appears in His all attractive form. Therefore, He is the one who attracts the attention of everyone! In the spiritual world, everyone can recognise Krsna as being in the centre.

Whether we look at the Vedic tradition, Christianity or Islam, people are practising with the desire to get blessings for good health, beauty or other materialistic things. Ultimately, such things are the lower aspects of spirituality because these things are temporary… so what is the point in praying for something temporary!? This Hare Krsna movement is not interested in that since we should only be interested in the eternal benefit!

Eternal is not after this life, eternal is also right now, eternal is always. So eternal is after this life and it is also now. Therefore, blessings come after and also for the present and this is truly how Krsna Consciousness works since it brings blessings for the present and for the future!

The devotees are not asking for materialistic things because they ask the Supreme Lord Krsna for service, to be allowed to serve Him. And when we serve the Supreme Lord, then a change of heart takes place and then our whole life will become auspicious and very nice!

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=49695

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7390595283?profile=RESIZE_584xJanmastami is an opportunity for us to spend our whole day with Krsna. We cannot waste a second! Krsna’s qualities are so unlimited, that being absorbed in them leave us no time to eat and definitely no time to sleep. Watch out! Watch out for the enemies this Janmastami – the bed, the pillar, a comfortable arm chair, soft pillows, the wall. Beware of these enemies that try to eat away our time from Krsna! Oh no, not today. It is Sri Krsna Janmastami! It is the day to serve Krsna all day!

Video: Click here

Source: https://www.kksblog.com/2020/08/janmastami-meditation-2/

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From Ananda Vrindavan Champu by Srila Kavi Karnapura Translated by Bhanu Swami & Subhaga Swami.

Now we will discuss the truth about the transcendental birthplace of Bhagavan and the appearance of Lord Sri Krishna. Once upon a time, Bhumi, the predominating deity of the earth, felt overburdened by different demons posing as members of the royal order. Feeling aggrieved upon seeing her miserable condition, the lotus-born Brahma appealed to Ksirodakasayi Visnu, the maintainer of the universe, saying, “Please deliver Goddess Bhumi who is feeling greatly distressed by these demoniac kings. Only You can remove this terrible influence from the earth.”

The time for an appearance of the Lord coincided with two internal desires of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. First the Lord desired to descend on earth to increase the fortune of Yasoda and Nanda. Also at that time Krishna wanted to relish the sweet mellow of smgara rasa (paramour love) while enacting His worldly pastimes. For these two reasons the Lord appeared within the material creation on Bhuloka, (earth planet), along with His parents, friends, and other eternal associates.

Another distinction of Lord Krishna’s earthly pastimes is that when the eternally liberated gopis such as Srimati Radharani, Candravali, and others appeared, the Srutis personified also appeared in the homes of other gopis,because they had previously cultivated the desire to serve Sri Krishna as Vraja gopis. The Dandakaranya sages, upon seeing the svakiya bhava (the sweet conjugal relationship) of Lord Ramacandra and Sitadevi, desired to have the same relationship with their Lord Madana Gopala. Upon attaining perfection in their sadhana they achieved the fortunate position of appearing as gopis in Vrindavan. Yogamaya, Lord Krishna’s pastime potency who possesses unlimited abilities, appeared invisibly in Gokula to arrange this, and perform other difficult tasks on behalf of the Lord.

Sri Nanda, Yasoda, and others appeared in Brhadvana (Mahavana) before the Lord. The gopas, gopis, and other eternally liberated associates appeared after the Lord. Then those who had attained perfection by sadhana, namely the sruti-caris and muni-caris, took birth in Vrindavan.

Learning of Krishna’s imminent appearance, the earth personified, feeling like a wife happily greeting her husband after a long separation, immersed in unlimited joy. At the time of Krishna’s birth the general mass of people tasted the inner bliss that devotees forever relish. Auspicious signs abounded everywhere. As Visnu’s conchshell Pancajanya opens in a clockwise fashion, similarly, auspicious sacrificial fires glowed in all directions. Pure gentle breezes brought a refreshing coolness like devotees who satisfy and sanctify everyone with their calm, sweet, and affectionate behavior.

The whole atmosphere became as completely purified as the heart of a devotee. The devotees once again found peace and prosperity in worshiping the lotus feet of Lord Hari. Fruits filled the jubilant trees. But the envious demons exhibited various inauspicious signs of degradation such as rapidly aging bodies and symptoms of imminent death. The desire vines of the celestial denizens seemed to be hanging in the air as if eager to produce fruits. At that time all the directions became felt as pure and joyful as the mind of a devotee who has received the mercy of Lord Hari. Just as gems, mantras, or medicines can a remove a poisonous disease from the body of a man, the advent of the Lord relieved the world from the contamination of material existence and the sinful effect of the demons. Happiness gradually replaced the distress in everyone’s hearts.

The bodies of all creatures manifested extraordinary beauty and youthful vitality. Men felt extremely joyful and displayed virtuous qualities. Throughout the world people behaved cordially and interacted amicably. Happiness twinkled in everyone’s eye. At the end of Dvapara-yuga, which completely destroys faults and doubts, an auspicious, favorable, obstacle-free time appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon in Bhadra month. Just at that sweet moment the Rohini Naksatra, along with the good qualities of the moon and an auspicious conjunction of stars called Ayusman, appeared in the sky to give shelter to gentle persons.

As the living entity comes out from the womb of his mother and the moon appears on the lap of the eastern direction, Yogesvara Sri Krishna, the personification of complete bliss, appeared amidst great festivities. As the moon appears in the lap of the eastern direction, which is like a beautiful bride, Krishna manifested the wonderful pastime of His appearance out of His love and compassion for the conditioned souls.

Due to austerities performed in previous lives, Vasudeva and Devaki received the opportunity to momentarily relish parental affection for Lord Sri Krishna when He appeared before them in His form as Vasudeva. Thereafter in fear of Kamsa, Vasudeva brought Vasudeva Krishna to Gokula. There the Supreme Lord appeared as Govinda before Nanda and Yasoda, His eternal parents who have been smothering Him with the sweetest form of parental love since time immemorial. The four symbols of Visnu (sankha, cakra, gada, padmd) adorned His hands and feet. The flute, flower garland, and kaustubha mani, although present within Him, had not yet manifested.

In fear of cruel Kamsa, Vasudeva decided to transfer all his wives except Devaki to Gokula. He sent Rohini to the house of Vrajaraja Nanda. By the sweet will of the Lord, Yogamaya arranged for the seventh child of Devaki (Balarama) to enter the womb of Rohini. As a result, Balarama appeared in the home of Vrajaraja Nanda before the birth of Krishna.

Lord Hari, who is bliss personified, appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja, the king of Vrindavan for three reasons: to engage the self satisfied sages in devotional service, to please the devotees by performing sweet transcendental pastimes, and to relieve the earth’s burden caused by the demons. At the time of His majestic birth Krishna employed His inconceivable powers to appear in a body of eternity, bliss and knowledge. Everyone in the maternity room swelled with joy upon seeing the Lord’s exquisite transcendental form that looked like a creeper of beauty.

Mother Yasoda resembled a lake of spiritual ecstasy in which a brilliant blue lotus of personified bliss had appeared. Neither the wind nor the bees relished the fragrance of that blue lotus. That unborn lotus was never touched by the waves of the modes of nature. Even Lord Brahma could not see it, what to speak of ordinary men.

After Yasoda and her family members fell asleep in the maternity room, Hari cried beautifully like a newborn baby. His crying sounded like the maha-vakya omkara announcing the auspicious arrival of His pastimes. Omkara is a transcendental vibration that had previously emanated from the mouth of Lord Brahma. When the ladies of Vrindavan heard the sweet sound of Krishna’s crying, they woke up and ran to see the Lord. With the mellow of their matchless overflowing affection they anointed His body.

The natural fragrance of Krishna’s body smelled just like musk. After the ladies bathed Krishna hi sweet ambrosia, He looked cleansed and beautiful. Then they smeared His body with fragrant sandalwood pulp. The presiding deity of the house sent a campaka flower resembling the flame of a lamp into the maternity room to worship that ornament of the three worlds. With the strength of His little arms, delicate as the tender leaves of a tree, Krishna made all the lamps in the maternity room look like a garland of lotus flower buds.

The ladies of Vrindavan saw baby Krishna like a blossoming flower made of the best of blue sapphires, or like a newly unfurled leaf of a tamala tree. Krishna looked like a fresh rain cloud decorated with the musk tilaka of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. The ointment of the greatest auspiciousness lined His eyes. His presence filled the maternity room with good fortune. Although a mere baby, Krishna had a head full of curly hair. To hide the unique signs on His hands (goad, fish, conch etc.) the Lord folded His delicate petal-like fingers into His lotus palm. At that time Krishna laid on His back with His eyes closed.

Mother Yasoda awoke amidst the joyous chattering of the elderly gopis. Leaning over the bed she admired her gorgeous son. But upon noticing her own reflection on Krishna’s body, she imagined it another woman. Thinking that a witch had assumed her form to kidnap Krishna, Yasoda became bewildered and yelled, “Get out of here! You go away!” Spontaneously she cried out to Nrsimhadeva to protect her precious son. Beholding Krishna’s tender face, Yasoda showered tears of affection that looked like an offering of a pearl necklace.

Yasoda saw Krishna’s body as a mound of dark blue musk, softer than the butter churned from the milk ocean. Overflowing with nectar, His charming body appeared like the foam of milk, but being dark blue in color it seemed the foam was full of musk juice. Admiring the supremely delicate form of her son, Yasoda worried about His safety and feared the touch of her body might hurt his tender body.

As she leaned over the bed Yasoda bathed Krishna with the milk dripping from her breasts. The elderly gopis instructed Yasoda how to caress the baby in her lap, and affectionately push the nipple of her breast into Krishna’s mouth to feed Him. Due to Yasoda’s intense love, personified bliss flowed from her breasts as steady streams of milk. When milk sometimes spilled out of Krishna’s bimba fruit red lips onto His cheeks, Mother Yasoda would wipe His face with the edge of her cloth. After feeding her son, Yasoda gazed affectionately at Him in wonder.

She saw her child’s body as made of dazzling blue sapphires. His mouth resembled a red bimba fruit and His hands and feet looked like exquisite rubies. Krishna’s nails shone like precious gems. In this way, Yasoda thought her child was completely made of jewels. Then she perceived that His naturally reddish lips looked like bandhuka flowers, His hands and feet resembled Java flowers, His nails looked like maJlika flowers. Yasoda then thought, “Krishna’s whole body seems to be made of blue lotus flowers. He does not appear to be mine.” After thus deliberating within herself Yasoda became stunned in amazement.

The beautiful, soft curly hairs on the right side of Krishna’s chest resembled the tender stems of a lotus. Seeing the mark of Srivatsa on His chest, Yasoda thought it was breast milk that had previously spilled out of His mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove these ‘milk stains’ with the edge of her cloth. Struck with wonder, Yasoda thought this must be the sign of a great personality. Observing the sign of Laksmi (a small golden line) on the left side of Krishna’s chest, Yasoda thought a small yellow bird had made a nest amidst the leaves of a tamala tree. Could this be a streak of lightning resting on a rain cloud, or could it be the golden streaks marking a black gold-testing stone? Krishna’s delicate, leaf-like hands and feet, glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers floating in the Yamuna.

Sometimes Yasoda saw the curly, dark blue locks of baby Krishna as a swarm of bumblebees surrounding His face. Intoxicated from drinking too much honey nectar, the bees just hovered in the sky. His thick, beautiful blue hair appeared like the dark night. The two lotus eyes of Krishna looked like a pair of blue lotus buds. His cheeks resembled two huge bubbles floating in a lake of liquefied blue sapphires. Krishna’s attractive ears looked like a pair of fresh unfurled leaves growing on a blue creeper.

The tip of Krishna’s dark nose appeared like the sprout of a tree, and His nostrils looked like bubbles in the Yamuna River, the daughter of the sun god. His lips resembled a pair of red Java flower buds. Krishna’s chin rivaled a pair of ripe, redjambu fruits. Seeing the extraordinary beauty of her son fulfilled the purpose of her eyes and submerged Yasoda in an ocean of bliss. The elderly Vrajavasi ladies addressed Vrajaraja Nanda, “O most fortunate one, you fathered a son!” Previously Nanda Maharaja had felt deeply aggrieved over his long-standing inability to obtain a son. His heart was like a small lake that had completely dried up during a long hot summer. But when Nanda Maharaja heard of his son’s birth he felt as if the dry lake of his heart had been blessed with a sudden downpour of nectar. The gentle sound of Krishna’s voice removed all his grief and lamentation. Now he bathed in the rains of bliss, swam in the ocean of nectar, and felt embraced by the joyful stream of the celestial Ganges.

Eager to see his son, Nanda’s body thrilled with astonishment and waves of ecstasy as he stood outside the maternity room. Because he had accumulated heaps of pious activities, it appeared that the King of Vrindavan was now shaking hands with the personification of pious deeds. Anxiously standing in the background, Yogamaya induced Nanda Maharaja to enter the maternity room. He rushed in to see his son, the personified seed of condensed bliss. It seemed that all the auspiciousness of the three worlds now resided within Krishna, the original cause of everything. Nanda saw his son as a perfectly charming person. The kajala around Krishna’s eyes looked like lines on a black creeper of beauty. As the very embodiment of Nanda’s good fortune, Sri Krishna bloomed like a beautiful flower in a garden of desire trees.

The aparajita flower is compared to the body of the Queen of Vrindavan. Her son is like the representative of the Upanisads that are compared to the fruit of the desire creepers. By seeing his glorious son Nanda felt that he had attained happiness, perfection, and the fulfillment of all his desires. Meeting that embodiment of bliss overwhelmed Nanda with immeasurable satisfaction. He stood motionless, stunned; his hair stood erect and tears flowed from his eyes. He appeared like a person carved in stone or a figure drawn in a painting. For some time Nanda Maharaja remained in this semi-conscious state like a sleeping man about to awaken.

Upananda, Sunanda, and other relatives felt extremely joyful while observing the best of brahmanas perform the rites of purification for Krishna’s birth. To insure his son’s welfare Nanda Maharaja donated newborn calves to each and every brahmana, thus turning their homes into abodes of surabhi cows. These cows had gold and silver plated horns and hooves, and jeweled necklaces adorning their necks. In addition, Vrajapati Nanda filled the courtyards of their homes with hills of gold, jewels, and sesame seeds. While Nanda distributed charity, the kamadhenus, touch- stones, and desire-trees lost their power to produce valuable items. Even the jewel-producing oceans lost their stock of jewels, and the goddess of fortune, the abode of lotuses, had but one lotus in her hand. The auspicious news of Krishna’s wonderful appearance spread in all directions by word of mouth. Delight danced in the hearts of Nanda, his brothers Upananda and Sunanda, and all the other gopas. The gopas brought many varieties of delicious dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, wet cheese, and hard cheese in jewel-studded pots. The pots were tied to the ends of bamboo poles with jute straps and carried on their shoulders. Bedecked with many precious jeweled ornaments, the gopas appeared very handsome. They dressed in beautiful yellow cloth defeating the brilliance of lightning, and held staffs topped with gold and jewels in their lotus hands. As a great ocean spreads its waves in all directions, the birth of Krishna filled the Vrajavasis with unbounded bliss. The gopas and gopis enjoyed a grand festival by happily eating and by splashing each other’s bodies with a mixture of yogurt, butter, milk, and condensed milk. The society girls visiting Nanda Maharaja’s house experienced more happiness than they had ever felt since their birth. Their minds saturated with joy and satisfaction. Hearing the delightful description of Krishna’s birth carried away the chariots of their minds and made them abandon all other duties. They became possessed with the desire to see Krishna.

Sparkling rubies hung from the necklaces adorning the society girls. Their diamond-studded armlets shown more beautifully than drops of crystal clear water. Their jewel inlaid golden bangles boasted unparalleled elegance. For this unique festival they took out some highly ornamental waist-belts from their jewel boxes and tied them around their hips. The sweet jingling of the waist-bells resting on their broad hips enhanced the beauty of these society girls. They attracted the minds of everyone with their bulky golden anklets, loosened hair braids, and graceful gait, which resembled the smooth gliding of swans. Their minds entered a state of enchantment as they gazed upon the captivating beauty of Krishna’s transcendental body. To worship Krishna they brought golden trays full of auspicious articles such as fruits, flowers, yogurt, durva grass, uncooked rice, and jewel bedecked lamps. They covered the offering plates with splendid yellow silk cloth and held them in their soft lotus hands. Their jeweled ankle-bells vibrated pleasantly as they walked.

Beholding the astounding beauty of the delicate baby, the society girls considered the purpose of their eyes fulfilled. They perceived Krishna’s perfect birth to be like the appearance of the leaves of an important herbal medicine. Krishna resembled a blue lotus floating hi the lake of His parent’s affection. After bestowing their blessings for Krishna’s prosperity, they worshiped Krishna with fresh flowers and a constant shower of loving glances. With great enthusiasm the society girls glorified Vrajesvari Yasoda since she had attained the essence of all good fortune by having Krishna as her son. Leaving the maternity room, the society girls entered the assembly hall of Nanda Maharaja’s palace. Their faces looked exceedingly beautiful as they sung melodious songs, which resembled the soft sweet humming of bees moving amidst a cluster of lotus flowers. All the guests bathed in a nectar shower produced by these soothing sounds. Overwhelmed with love, they filled then- lotus palms with fragrant oil, turmeric paste, and fresh butter and started smearing each other’s faces and bodies. They looked very attractive with then* smiling faces and glittering white teeth.

Then: red lips seemed more beautiful than red bandhuka flowers. This incredible display of elegance smashed the pride of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. Carried away with joy over Krishna’s birth, they fearlessly threw cheese balls, butter, and yogurt at each other. One could mistake the white balls of cheese for hailstones, solidified moonlight, or white mud from the floor of the milk ocean. Then they showered each other with buttermilk, aromatic oils, and water mixed with turmeric.

Cymbals, damru drums, bherries, and big drums vibrated auspicious sounds in specific melodies. A celestial concert of precise poetical meters, proper rhythms, and metrical compositions suddenly manifested there. The musical ensemble inspired the society girls to sing and dance in mirth and merriment. Though not good singers, by the will of the Lord they sang with great virtuoso. Then” wonderful songs filled Nanda Maharaja’s heart with joy. The combined vibrations of brahmanas’ chanting Vedic hymns, the recitation of Purank lore, and the panegyrists’ prayers transformed the ethers into sabda brahman,

The joy of Krishna’s birth celebration taxed the drains of Nanda’s capital city as they swelled to the brim with milk, yogurt, and other auspicious liquids. Soon rivers of this nectar flooded the streets of the town and permeated the entire atmosphere with a sweet fragrance. Disguising themselves as birds, the demigods descended to Vrajapura to happily drink the flood of nectar. The Vrajavasis decorated their cows with gold and jeweled ornaments. Then in great excitement they smeared them with oil, fresh butter, and turmeric paste. Beholding Krishna in their hearts, these fortunate cows looked like the essence of the earth’s auspicious-ness. The whole world resounded with their jubilant bellowing. Absorbed in the ecstasy of Krishna’s birth, they forgot about eating and drinking.

The festival drowned the gopis in an ocean of joy. After offering oil, vermilion, garlands, and utensils in charity to all the assembled gopis, Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, asked them to bless Krishna, Upon completion of the sacrifice, Upananda and the other relatives felt constant happiness while taking their baths. Keeping the King of Vrindavan in the front,Nanda’s relatives offered opulent cloth, jeweled ornaments, tambula, garlands, and sandalwood pulp to the guests. Then they humbly requested all in attendance to bless that wonderfully auspicious boy who had just appeared in Vrindavan.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=19595

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Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Just wanted to share this news with you that Jacinda Ardern- Prime Minister of New Zealand received Bhagwad-Gita on Thursday 6th August 2020 (Photos Attached)

“It was a great honor to meet New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden today. I gave her the gift of the most valuable transcendental knowledge Bhagavad Gita. She mentioned that she has heard Mahatma Gandhi talked about Bhagavad Gita quite a lot and she was very happy and grateful to receive it. ” Sachin Sindhu ( Sankarsana Rama Das)

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=88222

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The glorious advent of Lord Krishna or Janmastami is celebrated with charming grandeur and magnificent pomp worldwide by millions of exuberant Vaishnavas. Due to the outbreak of a global pandemic, the entire devotee community has been urged to celebrate Janmastami at home.

Since the pandemic, the ISKCON GBC Strategic Planning Team has been providing useful resources online. For this Janmastami we have compiled a celebrate-at-home Janmastami portfolio, which is a compilation of guidelines and instructions to make your Janmastami experience delightful and filled with personal loving service to the Lord.

Please explore our Janmastami Resources section on the GBC SPT Website here:

https://gbcstrategicplanningteam.com/2020/08/janmastami-resource-page/

included on the site is the ISKCON Deity MInistry booklet – “The Temple in our Hearts – A Guide for celebrating Krishna Janmastami at home”

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=88205

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While attending the Janmastami festival at the ISKCON farm in Czechoslovakia several years ago, I was asked to give a lecture about the appearance of Lord Krishna. Afterwards I asked for questions and an elderly, red-haired lady raised her hand. Since almost all the devotees there spoke only Czech, I was surprised when she began to speak in English. She said, “Satsvarupa Gosvami, could you tell us something about Prabhupada, because you knew him very well?”

I started out by remembering Janmastami 1966 in the storefront. “The room we are in now reminds me of that storefront,” I said. “It was about the same size. 1966 was the first year Prabhupada observed Janmastami in America. In 1965, he left India and observed Janmastami at sea a few days later. By 1966, ISKCON had just begun. So he asked the devotees to stay all day in the storefront and fast.

“His request seemed like a very difficult proposal. Some of us expressed doubt that we could do it, so Swamiji said, ‘If you get hungry or weak in the afternoon, you can take some fruit from our refrigerator.’

“When he said that, it gave us some hope, because it seemed almost impossible that a living being could go all day without eating. He wanted us to try for it, and yet it was not such a hard and fast rule that we had to do it or die.

“Fasting was one problem, and another problem was what to do all day? How to control the mind? When Prabhupada stayed with us in the storefront, reading his manuscript from the Bhagavad-gita, then it was very enjoyable. But whenever he left us alone, our consciousness and conversation dropped way down. We began to complain, ‘I don’t think I can do this. How does he expect us to stay like this all day? This is like being in prison; you can’t even leave the temple.”

Even while Prabhupada was present, one of the disciples who was later to be initiated as Janaki dasi said, “Swamiji, I am sorry but I have to leave. I have to go home and feed my cats.” Swamiji said, ‘No, do not do it. Stay here and you can take care of them later.’ Janaki thought about it but then said, ‘I’m sorry, I have to go and take care of them.’”

“The rest of us reluctantly surrendered and stayed there for a whole day, which very slowly turned into afternoon, and night. We sat against the wall drowsily and weakly, trying to chant on our new beads.”

I went on to tell the devotees about the jar of ISKCON bullets that Prabhupada kept in a corner of his room upstairs. Many of his devotees had been cigarette smokers and almost everyone committed illicit sex. This jar of ISKCON bullets was like the last resort against temptation. If you became agitated, before you broke any of the principles, you knew you could go up at any time and take a gulabjamumn, an ISKCON bullet.

 
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By Dravida dasa

Due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, this year the BBT published Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa-puja book in pdf format only. You can download the book by clicking on this link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BuMNtvuBKoTtSP_uTuE9k1rNqrZtzJ0O/view

Your servants,
Members of the NABBT Book Production Team

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=88201

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Unity in Variety by Damodar das

Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.12.

“As members of ISKCON we all under the authority of Srila Prabhupada. And we can serve Srila Prabhupada according to our individuality. But by definition, devotional service must be anukula—favorable—and for our service to be favorable, we have to know what our master wants. We can’t properly offer the master something he doesn’t want under the plea that that is my individuality, because that is a false conception of individuality. So, the first thing is that Srila Prabhupada is the master and we need to know what the master wants. As long as we give him something that he wants, we are all right. We are not all going to offer the same thing, but what we offer will be within the range of what the master wants.”

Unity in Variety (Right click to download)

Source: http://www.girirajswami.com/?p=15081

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The Birth of Lord Krsna

7369750659?profile=RESIZE_400xVasudeva and Devaki were within Kamsa prison when Lord Krsna, in His Visnu form, appeared before them as their son. He appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon. The newborn child had very wonderful lotus-petal eyes and bore in His four hands a conchshell, disc, club, and lotus. On His chest was the mark of Srivatsa, and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem.

Vasudeva could understand that the child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. Having concluded this without a doubt, he became fearless. Bowing down with folded hands, he offered prayers to the child, who illuminated His birthplace with His natural effulgence. Next Vasudeva’s wife Devaki offered her prayers. The Lord, being very pleased by the prayers of His parents, responded, “O My dear mother and father, I appeared twice before as your son because I found no one else as highly elevated as you in simplicity and other good qualities. Both of you should constantly think of Me as your son, but you should always know that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By thus thinking of Me constantly with love and affection, you will achieve the highest perfection: returning home, back to Godhead.”

After thus instructing His father and mother, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, transformed Himself into a small human child.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=88194

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The glorious advent of Lord Krishna or Janmastami is celebrated with charming grandeur and magnificent pomp worldwide by millions of exuberant Vaishnavas. Due to the outbreak of a global pandemic, the entire devotee community has been urged to celebrate Janmastami at home.

Since the pandemic, the ISKCON GBC Strategic Planning Team has been providing useful resources online. For this Janmastami they have compiled a celebrate-at-home Janmastami portfolio, which consists of resources to make devotees' Janmastami experience delightful and filled with personal loving service to the Lord.

The ‘Janmastami Kit’ has four broad sections:

Sraddha Kutir (resources for Deity-worship at home)

Virtual Festivities in devotee sanga (links to major online events)

Delectable world of Prasadam (cooking courses, menus and offerings) 

Children’s Fun Corner (stories, activities)

Included on the site is the ISKCON Deity MInistry booklet - "The Temple in our Hearts - A Guide for celebrating Krishna Janmastami at home"

Please explore Janmastami Resources section on the GBC SPT Website here:

https://gbcstrategicplanningteam.com/2020/08/janmastami-resource-page/ 

Source: https://iskconnews.org/happy-janmastami-resources-to-celebrate-at-home,7458/  

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"God is unlimited, so are the number of His devotees."

Every morning after the morning program in ISKCON temples and every time devotees offer their respects to the devotees of Lord Krishna, it is a custom to chant the phrase - "ananta koti vaishnava vrinda ki jai". It means - "all glories to the unlimited, countless devotees of the Lord". I got to witness a glimpse of this phrase in the recent annual Vrindavan Yatra. The Yatra itself had 7000 registered pilgrim devotees along side lakhs of other devotees who flock to Vrindavan to be in the holiest of holy months, the Karthik month. It was a crazy crowd filled with devotees crazy for Krishna, not minding inconvenience of any sort. In fact, one starts to realise that being surrounded by devotees on all sides is a bliss of a different sort. Vrindavan was filled to the brim. This is only the number of countless devotees in Vrindavan. Add to it the unlimited devotees in other holy places, Tirupati, Sri Rangam, Jagannath Puri, Pandharpura and hundreds of other holy places. Add to it further, all the devotees of Krishna all over the world. And you will get a glimpse of "the unlimited devotee" concept.

But the scriptures tell us that the number of devotees in the material world is very, very less compared to the number of devotees in the spiritual world. And mind you, there are countless planets in the spiritual world. We can't even imagine, the number of devotees that are present there. The only thing we can do is offer our humble obeisances to the countless devotees - those in this world and those beyond this world by chanting - "ananta koti vaishnava vrinda ki jai". Who said that the devotees are outnumbered by materialistic people! No one can outnumber the devotees of the Lord. The family of devotees is the biggest because it is the family of God. Let us feel happy, grateful and protected to a small member of such a huge family - God's family.
 
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