ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14440)

Jasomatinandana Prabhu passed away


Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Jasomatinandana Prabhu, Prabhupada’s initiated disciple passed away at approximately 5 PM IST today, Saturday the 24th of October, 2020.As most of you know, he had not been keeping good health for the last few years. He had been infected with Covid-19 nearly two weeks back and had been admitted to the hospital in Ahmedabad. Jasomatinandana Prabhu who joined ISKCON in America was instructed by Srila Prabhupada to go to India and develop Krishna Consciousness in Gujarat.

He was the non-GBC Regional Secretary for Gujarat and a member of the ISKCON Bureau. He had supervised the translation of almost all of Srila Prabhupada’s books into Gujarati. Under his supervision, Krishna
Consciousness had spread throughout Gujarat; over 15 temples were opened. He was also committed to book distribution. We are sure that Srila Prabhupada will be pleased with all his services for the last nearly 50
years. The above is just a brief update and a more detailed report will follow.

Your servant
Gopal Krishna Goswami

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My dear Yasomatinandana,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter, and I am so much pleased to read it. Your letter is so nice that I am advising that it be published in Back to Godhead. In the meantime you can immediately begin translating all our books into the Gujarati language. All these translations will be published in series in our Gujarati BTG, and if you are serious about it, you can be the Editor. So immediately begin translating and regularly produce books in Gujarati, and it will be a great service for you. The more you render service, the more you will be enlightened by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thank you once more for understanding our philosophy very nicely.
Hoping this will meet you in good health,

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letters

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ISKCON opens a grand new temple in Ahmedabad
By Yasomatinandana Dasa

BY THE PURE desire and blessings of Srila Prabhupada, the Ahmedabad ISKCON center, which started in a humble rented space, now has one of the largest and most ornate temples in India.
Srila Prabhupada's venerable godbrother B. V. Puri Maharaja, religious speaker Murari Bapu, and the Honorable Chief Minister of Gujarat led the celebrations this past April to inaugurate the temple. More than ten thousand Gujarati devotees joined in.

During the first month after the inauguration, the temple was visited by more than three hundred thousand people.

The ISKCON project is named "Sri Radha Govinda Dham" after the presiding Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Govindaji. Along with Sri Radha-Govindaji, Lord Krsna also graces the temple altars in the transcendental forms of Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Nathaji, and Sita-Rama-Laksmana-Hanuman.

Ten days of festivals (April 15–24) marked the completion of the first phase of the temple project.

The installation of Sita-Rama, Laksmana, and Hanuman took place on April 16, Rama-navami (the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra). His Holiness B. V. Puri Maharaja offered arati (worship) to the Deities, and more than two thousand people joined him in ceremonially bathing the Lord with waters collected from one thousand holy places.

Sri Radha-Govindaji and the other Deities were installed the next day. On this occasion, Gujarat Chief Minister Sri Shankersinh Waghela and religious speaker Sri Murari Bapu formally opened the temple and praised the achievements of Srila Prabhupada and his movement.

The chief minister said, "By coming to an auspicious place such as this I find great peace, and it reminds me of the great ancient heritage of India, when the powerful rulers were instructed by saintly religious authorities. The power of dharma is always above the material power. Only through dharma can a real welfare state be developed. Srila Prabhupada was such a religious authority, and it is my great pleasure to be present to inaugurate this wonderful offering to Srila Prabhupada on his centennial."

Sri Murari Bapu spoke of Lord Caitanya's instruction that worshiping the Deity is one of the five most important devotional practices. "So today, by installing the Deities, we are certainly engaging in one of the most important functions of life," he said.

On the inauguration day more than ten thousand people received prasadam, food offered to Krsna. In the evening the well-known Bhupendra Singh and Mitali sang devotional songs. During the next seven days, artists such as Pandit Jasaraj, Anup Jalota, and Meenakshi Sheshadri offered cultural performances. On the last day, Srimati Hema Malini performed devotional music and dance.
During the festival, Srila B. V. Puri Maharaja, with tears of love in his eyes, put his hand on my head and said, "I have never seen such a beautiful temple and such beautiful vigrahas [Deities]. Krsna is very kind. The whole festival was very transcendental. This is a sure indication that He has agreed to appear here and bless the people of Gujarat."

Yasomatinandana Dasa is the temple president of ISKCON Ahmedabad.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => ISKCON opens a grand new temple in Ahmedabad.

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We may be surprised to learn that many things we consider as acts of spiritual advancement in Krishna consciousness, like tapasya or austerity, are actually acts of selfishness, and will impede our real growth. Even following the four regulative principles in certain ways, can divert us.

“So this austerity is called tapasya, denial, self-denial” (class on SB. 5.5.1 in Vrndavana, Oct 23, 1976). To give up certain forms of selfishness is required to progress in spiritual life, and this is usually accompanied by some discomfort and hurt; or should it be? If we do not know how austerity works for us, then our transition from lust to love can be a most tortuous affair. But, as they say: “no pain, no gain”

At one stage during early Christian times, self-denial meant to avoid taking a bath. Anything enhancing the bodily appearance was considered sinful. In fact, to be dirty and dirtier was a sign of holiness. The more lice that crawled over the body – which were called pearls of God – the more saintly one became. St Paula said of the time: “The purity of the body, and its garments, means the impurity of the soul” (Havelock Ellis, Studies in the psychology of sex, Vol. IV, p 31).

I remember as a young devotee while staying at Chaitanya College, I went out on sankirtana daily with a senior devotee. During the bitter cold of mid-winter, this devotee would never allow the heater in the car to be put on. Rather, he kept the ventilators open to let the cold air inside, “to encourage us to keep off the bodily platform”. Was there not such a thing as utilising everything in Krishna’s service? Was this act of austerity selfless, or selfish?

Sometimes while out on travelling sankirtana, living in cramped conditions in transit vans, I would wake up in the morning with a fever and temperature. In order again, to “keep off the bodily platform”, to bathe from a bucket of icy cold water was the order of the day, though Ayur Veda says not to. Despite the fact that those times were very austere, I look back on those days with a sense of worth. They were happy times. Do austerity and happiness go well together?

As we go forward in spiritual life, the differences between renunciation and austerity, sacrifice and charity, and their proper or improper usage, can mean the difference between a soft and a hard heart. If the gopis of Vrndavana are the acme of self-denial in all respects, how far can we go to deny ourselves, within reason, to become cent per cent Krishna conscious? How far up the devotional ladder does our selfishness extend?

It is true to say that so long as we fall short of the goal of Krishna-prema, there must be some selfishness somewhere within us. “…On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service’ (SB 7.10.4)

In the Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, we are taken on a fascinating journey and meet with different devotees, who all seem to think their own position lower than that of other devotees they recommend Sri Narada Muni go and visit. After all, these are all unique cases of being hard on oneself. From the brahmana who gave lavishly in charity, to King Indradyumna, Lord Indra, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, we come up to the level of karma-misra-bhakti and jnana-misra-bhakti.

Next, we visit Sri Prahlada Maharaja who is described as being in santa-rasa. He mentions his inability to engage in direct service to the Lord, hence his recommendation for Sri Narada to visit Sri Hanuman who is situated in dasya-rasa. Incidentally, Lord Chaitanya would describe this level of devotion as “Very good, very good…” Next, we visit the Pandavas, the Yadus, Sri Uddhava, and then the gopis of Vrndavana.

When Sri Ramananda Raya describes the different levels of devotional attainment to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, beginning with varnashrama-dharma, to BG 18.66, BG 18.54, the Lord rejected all these saying they were external. Then this verse of Lord Brahma was quoted: “My dear Lord, those devotees who have thrown away the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth and have therefore abandoned discussing empiric philosophical truths should hear from self-realized devotees about Your holy name, form, pastimes and qualities. They should completely follow the principles of devotional service and remain free from illicit sex, gambling, intoxication, and animal slaughter. Surrendering themselves fully with body, words, and mind, they can live in any ashrama or social status. Indeed, You are conquered by such persons, although You are always unconquerable” (SB 10.14.3).

It is interesting how Srila Prabhupada introduced the four regulative principles in this verse, especially as Lord Brahma begun our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudya sampradaya. Here Lord Chaitanya said of the verse: “It is alright…” From the Lord’s unlimited vantage point, He would see anyone beginning his or her devotional career from this “alright” level as: “You are doing just fine…its alright, keep going now…my dear devotee Srila Prabhupada has set you on the right path…just follow”. Besides, anyone can capture the Lord from this level.

“Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu actually accepted this verse (jnane prayasam) as the basic principle of perfection. One has to practice this principle in order to make further progress. When further progress is actually made, one comes to the platform of ecstatic loving service to the Lord” (CC Madhya 8.68 purport).

It is not that Srila Prabhupada set on us an “alright” path. When Sri Ramananda Raya reached up to the spontaneous level of devotion, Lord Chaitanya also said, “It is alright…” When the level of dasya-rasa was described, then Lord Chaitanya said; “Very good, very good, but go further” The lesson we learn is that until we have developed stayi-bhava from santa-rasa onwards, some selfish motives must still be plaguing our hearts.

When we learn of the extreme renunciation of say, the six Goswamis of Vrndavana, theirs was a natural and blissful form of self-denial. It was practical. For instance, let us suppose we are having a terrific japa session and are relishing the chanting, the last thing we want is any interference, like going to the bathroom, or any other impingement. If however we position ourselves stealthily, regulate our habits, and reduce food intake and so on, this voluntary minimisation or tapasya should help to ensure more trouble free japa. It need not be a painful procedure.

On the other hand, if a devotee is not relishing the chanting, and has little or no taste, the chanting can become a laborious, if not unbearable effort, and to follow the four regulative principles on top of that, will make life appear like a tough, austere, and painful survival regime. This is the opposite of happy and joyful self-denial.

If while in the painful mode of living we follow the four regulative principles for fear of going to hell, this is not self-denial, but self-reward. If we put ourselves into a situation that is troubling for us, or inconvenient without good reason, that is also self-reward. “Without such spiritual knowledge, simple detachment from material conditions is but another side of material existence. From the spiritual point of view, it is all external” (CC Madhya 8.64 purport).

Such niyamagrahah behaviour will only cause us to waver in our devotion. We make far more advancement when we willingly perform service for the Lord and His devotees, than to be told to do so. The positive willingness to self-deny in proportion to our spiritual engagement, makes the notion of devotional service being fearful or painful absurd.

Knowing that we have to deny ourselves more and more as we advance, there is one legitimate desire we are allowed to harbour; that is to always remain healthy both physically and mentally. “Life’s desires should never be directed towards sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works” (SB 1.2.10).

For however long we have been here in this world – anadi – all of our self-centered plans have kept us here as greedy merchants of pleasure. If with a greater pleasure of buying into Lord Chaitanya’s scheme, though it is free, we capture His attention and become like blissful madmen, that too is quite “alright” and even better by His standards.

Your servant, Kesava Krsna Dasa.


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8069119066?profile=RESIZE_400xWithout love, nothing can sustain. If I do not love Krishna, I cannot surrender—it is not possible. Just like a small child—he is naturally surrendered to the parents because there is love. The child loves the parents. So without the basic principle of love—the more you love, the more the surrender is perfect. Just like a small child—you slap the child, he’s crying, yet crying with the words, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” because there is love. Even in distress the child cannot forget. That is natural. Similarly, when you remain fully surrendered to the supreme will, either in distress or in happiness, that is your happiness, that is real happiness.

This condition cannot be without love. In any condition, you remain surrendered. It cannot be done without love. When there is lack of love, this kind of mentality cannot develop: “In any condition I shall remain surrendered.” Just like you are; you are, a whole society is, carrying my order, not because I am superior person; there is love. Without love, you cannot do so. You have got some bit of love for me; therefore you carry my order. Otherwise it is not possible. And I cannot also . . . You are foreigners, you are Americans. I came from another country; I have no account. I cannot also order you, “You must do it; otherwise I will chastise you.” Because there is love. It is a connection of love. I can also become bold enough to chastise you, but you also, in whatever condition, carry out my order due to the basic principle of love. Our whole philosophy is love.

— Srila Prabhupada, room conversation


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Gathering Histories by Bhaktimarga Swami

8069113054?profile=RESIZE_584xI take this project very seriously. “Krishna in the Mapleleaf” is a book project that details the earliest days of the birth and growth of Krishna Consciousness in Canada, during the period from 1967-1977. In these first ten years we will highlight the reflections of the different participants from that period. By the grace of God I am spear-heading the project and I am receiving much practical help from friend and devotee; Wade Wilson, from New Brunswick.

This morning David and I headed for a two-and-a-half hour drive north to Owen Sound, to interview two God siblings, Garuda Vaham and Drupada, both from that area. Hearing their stories of the older, golden days was most informative, endearing and entertaining. As I interview these pioneers of consciousness I appreciate more and more their contributions to the change, gradual as it may be, in society. Hopefully readers will pick up on the radical attitudes and sacrifices people made to affect that change, in an effort to check the imbalances in society.

We lunched together, talked and then took a quick drive to Inglis Falls, where the Sydenham River Cascades before spilling into Georgian Bay. Lovely! And it is here that the Bruce Trail runs along for a stretch. A group of six of us took to a small portion of the trail. We were marveling at the fact that a recent runner just broke the record in completing the entire trail in nine days; a 900 km length. That is impressive, especially for trekking on such rough terrain. Krishna bless him!


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Greed by Radhanath Swami


Wherever we see the greed for wealth, gold, power, prestige, name or fame – consequently we see a rise in hate, envy, fighting and war.
Greed is a source of misery because it never gets satisfied. Its demand increases more and more, despite of our efforts to pacify it. It is compared to feeding a blazing fire, no matter how much amount of fuel you put in, the fuel gets consumed in seconds. It always ends in dissatisfaction.
The harder you try to satisfy this enemy of greed, the deeper you fall in the abyss. Its like voluntarily taking a noose around your neck and making it tighter and tighter with every step.

As long as we are engaging this enemy of greed for our selfish purposes we will be tormented. But when the things of this world- wealth, gold, power, prestige, name and fame are used in service to God and humanity, without attachment and pride, then we will experience the tranquility of peace and love within. We must always remember the principle of God consciousness – simple living and high thinking. Otherwise this enemy of greed will wash away all the good qualities of the soul.


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Candidasa was a devoted worshipper of Goddess Durga while his brother was a pure Vaisnava who would worship Shaligram. Candidasa was rich but his brother was poor. Candidasa had a very big and beautiful garden, he used to offer the flowers from the garden to Durga Devi. His brother too desired to offer these beautiful flowers to his Shaligram. And once he mentally offered a beautiful and colourful flower of the garden to his Shaligram. And it so happened that on that day Candidasa offered the same flower to Goddess Durga. As soon as the flower was offered Durga Devi appeared in front of Candidasa. “I am extremely pleased with you Candidasa. What benediction you want?” Candidas was surprised, “I worship you daily but why are you so pleased with me today.” “It is because you have offered me the flower which has been offered to Shaligram i.e. Lord’s maha prasadam. By seeing that prasadam flower I became pleased, so I appeared before you.”

Candidasa immediately inquired, “Is it that you get pleased when one worships the Supreme Lord Krishna.” Goddess Durga in a compassionate voice said, “Yes, the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes and He is the original source of all creation. I get extremely pleased when anyone worships the Supreme Lord Krishna. So if you want to please me worship the Supreme Lord, Krishna.” Candidasa understood the ultimate truth and he became a great devotee of Krishna and this pleased Goddess Durga, the consort of Lord Shiva. Candidasa later composed many songs in which he described the transcendental feelings of separation of Srimati Radharani and Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would love to hear the composition of Candidasa.

Who is Goddess Durga?

In the spiritual world, there are three potencies – samvit, sandhini and hladini. Samvit potency helps the residents of the spiritual world to recognize their relationship with Krishna. Sandhini potency ensures variegatedness in the spiritual world. Hladini potency provides ultimate pleasure to Krishna. Srimati Radharani is the hladini potency, she is the source of all the pleasures.

The hladini potency transforms into the personality of Goddess Durga in this material world. Here she has the responsibility of reforming those souls who have rebelled against the laws of the spiritual land and have come to this mortal material world.

This world which we call wonderful and delight to live in is compared to a prison. Here life is uncertain, misery is inevitable, relationship is temporary and death a certainty. As prisoners are given a uniform, similarly we have been given a uniform – uniform of a human body, animal body, plant body etc. And as long as we have this ephemeral body made of flesh, bones, mucus, blood etc. and we are in this material world we are under the jurisdiction of Durga devi. She on behalf of the Supreme Lord takes complete charge of this material world, she acts under the direction of the Supreme Lord just as shadow follows the substance.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura explains, “Durgā is the presiding deity of this entire material universe. She is ten-armed, representing the tenfold fruitive activities. She rides on the lion, representing her heroic prowess. She tramples down Mahiṣasura, representing the subduer of vices. She is the mother of two sons, Karttikeya and Gaṇesa, representing beauty and success. She is placed between Lakshmi and Sarasvati, representing mundane opulence and mundane knowledge. She is armed with the twenty weapons, representing the various pious activities enjoined by the Vedas for suppression of vices. She holds the snake, representing the beauty of destructive time.” (Brahma Samhita 5.44 purport)

Prisoners of Choice

The unwillingness to live amicably with the family and friends of the spiritual world make us unfit to be part of the spiritual world. Once imprisoned in this mortal material world, we forget our original constitutional position and start considering ourselves as one of the material products. So, we suffer terribly under the influence of the material modes owing to this unholy contact. The vicious cycle of birth, old age, disease and death perpetuates our miseries.

In fact the more we identify ourselves with this material world and the material body, and the more we endeavour to enjoy in this ephemeral world the more we suffer. The Supreme Lord never wants any of His children to get illusioned by the external energy and suffer in this world. The Supreme Lord is compelled to sentence the spiritual beings to the material prison house so that he learns his lessons and get reformed. A doting father sometimes has to put his disobedient child under the care of a strict teacher so that his child gets disciplined. Even the external energy who is a devotee of the Lord does not like to inflict suffering upon us. It’s a thankless task for the external energy but she happily assists the Supreme Lord so that the rebellious souls get reformed. The actual disease which is the cause of all the sufferings for all the living beings in this world is because of being illusioned by the external energy of the Lord.

Carrying her trident she looks for the rebellious souls

Like a loving mother, Goddess Durga continuously gives a clarion call to all the forgetful souls to return back to the kingdom of Krishna. But the stubborn souls who desire to enjoy independent of the supreme Lord and loves to disobey the laws of Krishna needs to be punished. And Durga carrying her trident looks for such rebellious souls to punish them. The trident which she always carries with her represents the threefold material miseries-adhytamika (miseries due to our body and mind), adibautika (miseries due to other living entities) and adidaivika (miseries due to natural calamities). Without any exception everyone at every moment suffers due to one, two or all the three of these miseries.

One of the most celebrated incidents related to Goddess Durga is her killing the demon Mahisasura with her trident. Mahisasura also symbolically represents our demoniac mentality and Durga through the sharp edges of her trident strikes hard to vanquish our evil mentality. The purpose is not to punish us but to make us understand that the more we go away from Krishna’s spiritual care the more we suffer in this world. She always tries to tell us, “This isn’t your home. Go back to your original home. Krishna is waiting for you.”

Her chastisement forces a soul to eventually think, ‘Although I explored all means to enjoy but why suffering always follows me like a shadow. Why am I forced to be in a womb for nine months in an upside-down position in complete darkness? Why I get diseased? Why I am growing old? Why every moment someone is dying? Although I don’t want to die but why I am not allowed to live here forever.”

Once awakened the living entity immediately wants to get out of this horrendous world and immediately wants to be part of the spiritual world.

The best way to please Goddess Durga

Durga being the energy of the Supreme Lord can never be conquered or fooled. She is extremely powerful and when she strikes with her trident then nothing can save us. Durga Devi can give us material benediction but with it comes tons of sufferings. The only way to escape from Durga’s powerful trident is by promising her that we don’t want earthly pleasures but we seriously want spiritual happiness. And as soon as we start endeavoring for it by practicing loving devotional service to Krishna, Goddess Durga is delighted, she immediately withdraws her trident and showers her love upon us. She doesn’t want to imprison us in this world forever. And those who are imprisoned she wants to release them as soon as possible.

She tests our dedication to the Supreme Lord, she checks if our heart has been thoroughly purified of all material diseases such as lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion and false ego. and when she finds that our heart has developed deep love for Krishna then she immediately releases us from this prison house. It is explained that in this age of Kali Yuga, the Supreme Lord incarnates with all His powers and all His opulence in the sound vibration of the Holy Name, “Kali kale Naam rupe Krishna Avatar.” So the best way to practice devotional life is by chanting the holy names of Krishna like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. We should chant this mantra with love, with devotion and with determination. Goddess Durga, the guardian of this world, will assess our dedication and our intention regularly. She even tested Haridasa Thakura’s devotion to Krishna. And Haridasa Thakura passed the test with flying colours because he used to be completely absorbed in chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra, in fact he had taken a vow to chant the mantra 3 lakh times a day. If we too want to please mother Durga then we have to become serious in our devotion to Krishna.

Durga Puja is not about playing movie songs and dancing on those songs. It is not about eating delicious foods and having fun. The best way to celebrate Durga Puja is to understand who goddess Durga is and how she could be pleased. And the best way to please her is to follow the footsteps of Candidasa.

(Purushottam Nitai Das is a member of congregation at Iskcon Kolkata. He works in IBM as an Advisory Consultant.)

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Food for London


This is London in 2020 as hundreds desperately queue for a meal

These pandemic days give us a golden opportunity to push the mission of Lord Caitanya.

The Watford Kitchen / the Jagannath Kitchen, will be a great resource.

Please feel free to enjoy the devotional experience, your service will be eternally appreciated.

Need cooks, devotees chopping veg, baking cakes, delivering Prasad, a bicycle team for delivering door to door for those in isolation.


https://foodforalluk. com/volunteer/

“the Krsna consciousness movement vigorously approves this practice of preparing food, offering it to the Deity and distributing it to the general population”

With food poverty and homeless on a serious increase, so many people struggle to get food on the table and 3 million school children in the UK going to school with no breakfast. Let’s do something amazing.

£200,000 has been invested on the equipment by Rameshbhai’s charity “God my silent partner.” it will be an incredible kitchen, all high tech equipment. Chapati making machine, massive ovens.

It will have the capacity to produce 15,000 healthy meals daily.


Unit S, Penfold Trading Estate, Imperial Way, Watford WD24 4YY We will still keep Krishna’s Castle in operation at the same time.

Services include cooking, chopping veg, loading containers, distributing, cleaning, etc .

All done accordance to safety and government policy


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A Bridge to Krishna by Sacinandana Swami


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: “Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the Holy Name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.71)
One might ask, “Then why do we hear so many lectures on the Bhagavatam in our movement. Why don’t we simply sing and dance instead of listening to so many explanations?” The answer is: the other eight processes of devotional service support the chanting of the Holy Name.
For example, when you hear or read about Krishna you will know who Krishna is. From this position you will chant to a person, you will connect with Krishna; you will chant with sambandha-jnana. However, if you don’t read the Bhagavatam, if you don’t know who Krishna is, He will not mean anything to you and thus you won’t connect with Him. In other words, your chanting will be ‘shadow’ chanting, without substance. You will only think about material things and it will not be devotional service. Therefore you must hear and learn about Krishna, so that your chanting won’t be a bridge that leads nowhere, but a bridge to Krishna.

For me, chanting means touching Krishna. Here is an example for what I mean by that: at airports smoking is forbidden outside of designated smoking rooms. Especially when many people are smoking in one of these rooms, whoever comes out of it smells intensely – having been so immersed in the smoke – and if the person passes you, you’ll immediately know where he or she came from. Similarly, in chanting you want to be so absorbed that you touch Krishna, that you touch the spiritual world and that when you have completed your chanting you will have a Krishna conscious fragrance or influence around you.

Therefore it is so important that every day you enter this ‘room’ of intense, immersed chanting. Then you can bring something of the spiritual atmosphere into your daily life. That is why we are interested in the other eight practices of devotional services – they support us, and we need this support, so that we can chant with taste and absorption.


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8065810888?profile=RESIZE_710xBy Dimple Parmar

School of Bhakti, United Kingdom, will hold a virtual 30-day walkthrough of the mystical village of Vrindavan - the playground of God, where every step is a dance, and every word a song!

There will be daily morning videos, in which Sutapa das and Radhika-Ranjana Das will visit the sacred sites, sharing daily meditations and stories to inspire devotees’ hearts.  

Every evening there will have a special Damodarastakam video for everyone to sing along to and offer candles at their home. 

Every Saturday evenings there will be unique gatherings with special guests. 

To book the free Parikrama trip visit and you will receive the link to join the WhatsApp group where only the Admin will be able to post messages.

For more info visit on the School of Bhakti, visit


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8065786090?profile=RESIZE_400xAs part of the morning program in the ashram we sing a song to praise Krishna. There are many songs (bhajans) to choose from. We have an arrangement where we change up a select few on a weekly basis.

The following is called “Sri Nama Kirtana” and the translation is like so:

1) Sri Krishna is the beloved son of mother Yasoda. He is the transcendental lover in the land of Vraja, the delight of Gokula, Kana, the life and soul of the gopis. He steals the mind of even Cupid and punishes the serpent Kaliya.

2) These pure names of Lord Hari are full of sweet nectarean pastimes. Krishna is the Lord of the 12 forests of Varaja. He is ever youthful and He is the best of lovers. He is always holding a flute to His lips and He is an excellent dresser.

3) Krishna is the protector of the inhabitants of Vraja. He is the destroyer of various demonic dynasties, the tender of Nanada Maharaj’s cows, the giver of pleasure to the cows, land and spiritual senses, the husband of the goddess of fortune, the butter thief and the beautiful cowherd boy of Nanda.

4) Krishna wanders along the banks of the river Yamuna, where he stole the garments of the Gopi‘s (milk maidens). He delights in the mellows of the Rasa dance. He is very merciful. He is the lover and beloved of Radharani. He is the great dancer of Vrindavan, he is the only refuge of Thakura Bhaktivinoda (the author).


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

tam aha prema-vaiklavya-
smaranti tan bahunklesan

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

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

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

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

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

Purport by Srila Prabhupada

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

Purport by Niranjana Swami

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

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

And in the next well-known verse she says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Krsna says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the Lord is indifferent.

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

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

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

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

The Lord then further explains,

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What can I give you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord responded, “No, sorry.”

“What do you mean?” asks Durvasa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ll accept whatever your will is.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then Prabhupada quotes the verse,

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

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

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

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

In the next verse he says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How are you, Prabhu?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the next verse Lord Kapiladeva says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Narada Muni said to King Pracinabarhisat,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen Kunti is praying this way also. She says,

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

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

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

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

Lord Krsna says in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Bhakti Body by Kamala Radha devi dasi

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

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

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

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

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

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


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New Sensation by Bhaktimarga Swami

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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