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“As a matter of principle, devotees should read, speak and hear Srimad-Bhagavatam persistently, twenty-four hours daily if possible. That is the recommendation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu” Srila Prabhupada Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.16, Translation and Purport


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8583594687?profile=RESIZE_710xBy Madhava Smullen 

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bhakti Center in New York City has been offering a new selection of virtual yoga teacher training and meditation teacher training programs, as well as training in Ayurveda and kirtan.

Taking advantage of the online format, the classes are held at times that also accommodate a global audience – often hour-and-a-half sessions from 5:30 to 7:00pm on weekdays, with some modules offered between 10:00am and 5:00pm on weekends. This draws a wide and varied audience of all age groups, phases of life, and backgrounds from around the world.

Program Director Doyal Gauranga Das also hopes the global platform will facilitate ISKCON devotees who would like an authentic learning experience in various practices, taught by devotees from a Vaishnava perspective.

“Devotees around the world have interest in yoga and meditation, but it can be tough to find schools or institutions that train according to our Vaishnava lineage,” he says. “We want to be able to offer that support for devotees to get trained as teachers and to feel empowered as leaders.”

Programs include both 200-hour and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings, as well as meditation teacher trainings levels 1, 2, and 3, and 50-hour yoga nidra teacher training, all taught by Charuchandra Das aka Yogi Charu.

The 300-hour yoga teacher training, for example, covers intermediate to advanced postures; advanced pranayama meditation techniques; understanding the five basic elements that make up the body; Swara Yoga (the science of energetic rhythms and breath regulation); japa yoga; and mantra meditation. Teacher trainings equip students to teach on a basic level, although many take them simply to go deeper in their own practice rather than to teach others.

Meanwhile the Living Ayurveda and Ayurveda: The Subtle Body trainings, taught by Dhyana Masla, Vira Tansey, and others feature modules on digestion and nutrition; disease pathology;  cooking; Ayurvedic psychology; why and how to Abhyanga (apply oils to the body); and the history and philosophy of Ayurveda.

Kirtan training, taught by Doyal Gauranga and Kishor Chandra, includes understanding how the harmonium works; basic rhythm and timing; the meaning of mantra; the mood of kirtan; and the history of kirtan. Teachers also discuss how to live a life that facilitates a powerful kirtan experience.

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Today is the disappearance anniversary of Sripada Ramanujacharya, the principal acharya in the Sri, or Lakshmi, sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada wrote, “We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacharya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” (letter 22.11.1974) And in the early days of ISKCON in India, before we had Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is in Hindi, Prabhupada would refer people to read the Hindi edition of the Gita with Sri Ramanujacharya’s commentary.

Srila Prabhupada often told a story about Sri Ramanujacharya’s merciful, compassionate nature. As he related it in Ahmedabad in 1972, “The servants of Krishna take all risk for Krishna’s sake. Just like Ramanujacharya. Sri Ramanujacharya’s spiritual master said, ‘My dear son, the mantra which I am giving, you chant silently and you will be delivered. It is so powerful. Don’t chant this mantra loudly so others can hear.’

“Ramanujacharya thought, ‘If this mantra is so powerful that if others hear it they’ll also be delivered, then why not?’ He immediately went to the market and began to chant the mantra. So, his spiritual master became very angry, that ‘I told you not to chant loudly, so others may not hear.’ And Ramanujacharya replied, ‘My Lordship, I have done offense unto you. That’s all right. For this I am prepared to go to hell. But if this mantra is so powerful, I must speak it to everyone.’ ”

In this mood, following in the footsteps of Sripada Ramanujacharya, Srila Prabhupada broadcast the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita everywhere, to everyone.

We pray and aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Hare Krishna.


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In 1895 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published in his “Sajjana-tosani” selected verses from “Śrī Prapannāmṛta”, a 12th century book by Sri Ananta Acarya, son of the great Kuresa, famous disciple and chief associate of Srila Ramanujacarya. The book contains valuable information and biographical accounts of the great founders of the Sri-sampradaya – Nathamuni, Yamunacarya and Ramanuja. It is stated in “Prapannāmṛta” in relation to Ramanujacarya’s birth:

caitre meṣe śukla-pakṣe pañcamyāṁ guru-vāsare |
madhyāhne karkaṭe lagne nakṣatre rudra-daivate ||

“[Ramanuja was born] on the fifth day of the waxing moon during Caitra month [March-April], on Thursday, at noon when Cancer was the ascendant and the Moon was in Ardra-naksatra.” (Sri Prapannamrta, 2.25).

Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself states the following in “Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya” (16.54):

“From Ramanuja I take two essential principles – unalloyed devotion and service to the devotees of the Lord.”

To provide some knowledge of the Sri-sampradaya to the residents of Bengal Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura translated some verses from the section of “Prapannamrta” where Ramanuja instructs his followers and then published them in his “Sajjana-tosani” (Vol.7, numbers 3 and 4, June-July 1895) under a title “Ramanuja Swamir Upadesh”, “Instructions of Ramanuja Swami”. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur quoted some of these verses in his book “Brahmana and Vaiṣṇava”. In honor of Srila Ramanujacarya’s 1000th anniversary celebrations we present here some of his instructions with the English translation of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Bengali translation-cum-explanation.

yā prītir āsīt satataṁ bhagavan-nāma-kīrtane |
sā syāt prītir hi tad-bhakta-nāma-saṅkīrtane ca vaḥ ||9||

As you had an affection for chanting the Lord’s holy names, may you have the same affection for chanting the names of His devotees.

kāraṇaṁ bhagavat-prāpter mahā-bhāgavatāśrayaḥ |
iti matvā dṛḍhaṁ teṣāṁ ājñayā vartayet sadā ||10||

Having realized that the only cause of attaining the Lord is the shelter of the great devotees you should always remain under their guidance.

vihāya viṣṇu-kaiṅkaryaṁ kaiṅkaryaṁ vaiṣṇavasya ca |
vinaśyet sa naraḥ prājñaḥ rāgādi-prerito yadi ||11||
Just as a wise person perishes due to his attachment to sense gratification, similarly any person meets with destruction if he gives up service to Lord Viṣṇu or to His devotees.

vaiṣṇavānām anuṣṭhāne nopāya matim unnayet |
upeyam eva satataṁ unnayet su-mahā-manāḥ ||12||

A wise person should never consider service to Vaiṣṇavas as a method (upāya), but should always consider it to be the goal (upeya). A method-attitude (upāya-buddhi) is when we think that we achieve some other result by serving Vaiṣṇavas. But when we think that Vaiṣṇava-sevā becomes possible only after performing many other pious activities – such attitude is called “goal-attitude” (upeya-buddhi).

nāhūyed eka-vacanān mahābhāgavatān janān |
pūrvāñjaliṁ vaiṣṇavānāṁ dṛṣṭi-mātre ca kārayet ||13||

If one needs to call great Vaiṣṇavas he should not use singular number, which denotes disrespect, but instead he should use plural number denoting respect. When one sees a Vaiṣṇava he should immediately fold his hands with respect.

harer bhagavato viṣṇor vaiṣṇavānāṁ ca sannidhau ||
pādau prasārya na vaset kadācit amalātmanāṁ ||14||

One should not sit near Lord Viṣṇu or pure Vaiṣṇavas with one’s legs spread before them.

vaiṣṇavāgamanaṁ śrutvā gacched abhimukhaṁ tadā |
sākaṁ gacchet kvacid dūraṁ bhaktyā teṣāṁ vinirgame ||19||

When one hears that a Vaiṣṇava is coming one should walk some distance to meet him. When a Vaiṣṇava departs one should walk some distance along with him.

śrī-vaiṣṇavānāṁ sarveṣāṁ deha-chāyā na laṅghayet |
sva-deha-chāyā saṁsparśaṁ vaiṣṇaveṣu na kārayet ||27||

One should not step over the shadow from the Vaiṣṇavas’ body. Also one should not make other Vaiṣṇavas touch one’s own shadow.

yadi praṇamate pūrvaṁ dāso’haṁ iti vaiṣṇavaḥ |
anādare kṛte tasmin aparādho mahān bhavet ||29||

One commits a great offense by disrespecting a Vaiṣṇava who, considering himself a servant, offers his respects first.

vaiṣṇavānāṁ ca janmāni nidrālasyāni yāni ca |
dṛṣṭvā tāny aprakāśyāni janebhyo na vadet kvacit || 30||
teṣāṁ doṣān vihāyāśu guṇāṁś caiva prakīrtayet ||31||

Vaiṣṇavas’ birth, sleep and laziness are not to be disclosed to others. If one sees them one should not tell others anything about them. Quickly giving up their faults one should glorify their good qualities.

viṣṇu-pādodakaṁ caiva bhakta-pādodakan tu vā |
prākṛteṣu ca paśyatsu na pibet toyam uttamam ||32||

One should not drink the great water that washed the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu or of His devotees while being looked upon by materialistic people.

tattva-trayasya jñānena śrī-rahasya-trayasya ca |
rahitasyāṅghri-jaṁ toyaṁ grāhayen na kadācana ||33||

One should never drink the water that washed the feet of a person who is devoid of knowledge of the three tattvas and three rahasyas. Three tattvas are cit (living entities), acit (matter) and Īśvara (God). Bhagavān is one non-dual entity and this non-dual entity possesses two viśeṣas (attributes) – cit and acit. Even if a person devoid of this knowledge has undergone five saṁskāras, still one should not accept the water from his feet.

jñānānuṣṭhāna-yuktasya sadācāra-ratasya ca |
pādodakaṁ vaiṣṇavasya piben nityaṁ prayatnataḥ ||34||

One should endeavor to always drink the water from the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas who possess proper knowledge, in other words the knowledge of artha-pancaka and three tattvas, and is devoted to following proper behavior (sadācara-rata).

māṁ ca bhāgavataiḥ sārddhaṁ sāmya-buddhiṁ na kārayet |
prākṛtānāṁ ca saṁsparśaṁ prāptaḥ prāmādikād yadi |
snātaḥ sacailaḥ sahasā vaiṣṇavāṅghri-jalaṁ pibet ||35||

One should not consider oneself equal to Vaiṣṇavas. As soon as one accidentally touches a materialist one should immediately take bath with one’s cloth on and then drink Vaiṣṇava-caraṇāmṛta.

na grāhayed viṣṇu-tīrthaṁ prākṛtānāṁ gṛheṣu ca |
prākṛtānāṁ nivāsa-sthān na seved viṣṇu-vigrahān ||38||

One should not accept caraṇāmṛta from the śālagrāma-śilā situated in the house of materialistic people. One should not serve the Deity of Lord Viṣṇu situated in the house of materialistic people.

śrī-harer-divya-deśeṣu paśyatsu prākṛteṣv api |
tīrtha-prasāda-grahanaṁ kārayen na tu saṁśayaṁ ||39||

One should accept prasādam from the Lord’s holy places even while being looked upon by materialistic persons residing in those places. One should not have any doubts about this.

yadi śri-vaiṣṇavair dattaṁ prasādaṁ viṣṇu-sannidhau |
upavāsādi-niyama-yukto ‘ham iti na tyajet ||40||

If a Vaiṣṇava gives you some prasādam in front of Lord Viṣṇu you should not refuse it saying “I’m fasting”.

sannidhau vaiṣṇavānāṁ ca sva-guṇān naiva kīrtayet |
śrī-vaiṣṇavānāṁ sānnidhye nānyaṁ paribhavej janaṁ ||42||

One should not sing one’s own glories in front of the Vaiṣṇavas and one should not criticize anyone in front of the Vaiṣṇavas.

dinaika ghaṭīkāyāṁ ca varṇayed guru-sad-guṇān |
dinaika ghaṭikā-madhye hy api viśvāsa-pūrvakam ||
śaṭhāryādi prabandhāṁ vā prabandhān kīrtayed guroḥ ||44||

Every day one should faithfully glorify the good qualities of one’s guru for half an hour. One should certainly devote half an hour every day for glorifying the pastimes of of Sathakopa and other great Acaryas or one’s own guru’s pastimes.

dehābhimāninā sārdhaṁ saha-vāsaṁ na kārayet |

One should not live together with a person who identifies himself with his body.

śrī-vaiṣṇavānāṁ cihnāni dhṛtvāpi viṣayāturaiḥ |
taiḥ sārdhaṁ vañcaka-janaiḥ saha-vāsaṁ na kārayet ||46||

If cheaters attached to sense gratification wear Vaiṣṇava signs still one should not live together with them.

sva-deha-priya-bhogyāni nārpayet paramātmane |
śāstrīya-sarva-bhogāṁs tu viṣṇave tāni cārpayet ||59||

One should not offer to the Supreme Lord those kinds of food and other items which are pleasing to one’s own body. One should offer to Lord Viṣṇu those items which are prescribed by śāstra.

śrīmad bhāgavatārcanaṁ bhagavataḥ pūjā-vidher uttamam |
śrī-viṣṇor avamānanād guru-taraṁ śrī-vaiṣṇavollaṅghanam |
tīrthād acyuta-pādajād guru-taraṁ tīrthaṁ tadīyāṅghri-jam |
tasmān nityam atantrito bhava satāṁ teṣāṁ samārādhane ||65||

The highest rule in worshiping the Lord is worship of His devotees. Neglecting Vaiṣṇavas is more dangerous than disrespecting Lord Viṣṇu. The water from the feet of Vaiṣṇavas is greater than water from the feet of Lord Viṣṇu. Knowing this you should endeavor to serve the Vaiṣṇavas without any laziness.


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Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir!

Date: February 2nd, 2012 Topic: Maharaj Prthu’s Going Back Home Verse: SB 4.23.18 Occasion: Disappearance Anniversary of Srila Ramanujacarya Speaker: HG Jananivas Prabhu

tam sarva-guna-vinyasam jive mayamaye nyadhat tam canusayam atma-stham asav anusayi puman jnana-vairagya-viryena svarupa-stho ‘jahat prabhuh

TRANSLATION: Prthu Maharaja then offered the total designation of the living entity unto the supreme controller of illusory energy. Being released from all the designations by which the living entity became entrapped, he became free by knowledge and renunciation and by the spiritual force of his devotional service. In this way, being situated in his original constitutional position of Krsna consciousness, he gave up this body as a prabhu, or controller of the senses. PURPORT: As stated in the Vedas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the source of material energy. Consequently He is sometimes called maya-maya, or the Supreme person, who can create His pastimes through His potency known as the material energy. The jiva, or the individual living entity, becomes entrapped by the material energy by the supreme will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita (18.61) we understand: isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya Isvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is situated within the heart of all conditioned souls, and by His supreme will the living entity, or individual soul, gets the facility to lord it over material nature in various types of bodies, which are known as yantra, or the moving vehicle offered by the total material energy, maya. Although the individual living entity (jiva) and the Lord are both situated within the material energy, the Lord is directing the movements of the jiva soul by offering him different types of bodies through the material energy, and thus the living entity is wandering throughout the universes in various forms of body and becomes implicated in different situations, partaking of the reactions of fruitive activities. When Prthu Maharaja became spiritually powerful by the enhancement of his spiritual knowledge (jnana) and renunciation of material desires, he became a prabhu, or master of his senses (sometimes called gosvami or svami). This means that he was no longer controlled by the influence of material energy. When one is strong enough to give up the influence of material energy, he is called prabhu. In this verse the word svarupa-sthah is also very significant. The real identity of the individual soul lies in understanding or attaining the knowledge that he is eternally a servant of Krsna. This understanding is called svarupopalabdhi. By culturing devotional service, the devotee gradually comes to understand his actual relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This understanding of one’s pure spiritual position is called svarupopalabdhi, and when one attains that stage he can understand how he is related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a servant or friend or as a parent or conjugal lover. This stage of understanding is called svarupa-sthah. Prthu Maharaja realized this svarupa completely, and it will be clear in the later verses that he personally left this world, or this body, by riding on a chariot sent from Vaikuntha. In this verse the word prabhu is also significant. As stated before, when one is completely self-realized and acts according to that position, he can be called prabhu. The spiritual master is addressed as “Prabhupada” because he is a completely self-realized soul. The word pada means “position,” and Prabhupada indicates that he is given the position of prabhu, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for he acts on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless one is a prabhu, or controller of the senses, he cannot act as spiritual master, who is authorized by the supreme prabhu, or Lord Krsna. In his verses praising the spiritual master, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes: saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih ** “The spiritual master is honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord.” Thus Prthu Maharaja can also be called Prabhupada, or, as described herein, prabhu. Another question may be raised in this connection. Since Prthu Maharaja was a power incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, saktyavesa-avatara, why did he have to execute the regulative principles in order to become a prabhu? Because he appeared on this earth as an ideal king and because it is the duty of the king to instruct the citizens in the execution of devotional service, he followed all the regulative principles of devotional service in order to teach others. Similarly, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although Krsna Himself, taught us how to approach Krsna as a devotee. It is said, apani acari’ bhakti sikhainu sabare. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed others in the process of devotional service by setting the example Himself through His own personal actions. Similarly, Prthu Maharaja, although a saktyavesa-avatara incarnation, still behaved exactly as a devotee in order to achieve the position of prabhu. Furthermore, svarupa-sthah means “complete liberation.” As it is said (SB 2.10.6), hitvanyatha-rupam svarupena vyavasthitih: when a living entity abandons the activities of maya and attains the position from which he can execute devotional service, his state is called svarupa-sthah, or complete liberation. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.23.19]

HG Jananivas Prabhu: So today is also the disappearance of Srila Ramanujacarya. I will speak a little bit on his relationship with Mayapur dham. He visited Puri with his disciples. He was conquering the whole of India with his philosophy visistadvaita-vada. He was conquering and at that time he was in Puri and he was questioning the pundits that the system of worship recommended in Kali Yuga is pancaratrika worship but you all are using vaidiki worship because vaidiki worship, tantric worship. Pancaratriki worship is slightly in between. It is a mixture of both. Vaidiki worship consists of lots of long mantras, tantric, lots of rituals and things like that.

Pancaratriki worship is a little different or in between. So he said that, “It is recommended in kali Yuga that that Pancaratriki worship should go on. So you should change.” They got upset with him. The pundits became very, very scared. He was a very, very powerful personality at that time. He was influencing everyone. So the king also said, “You have to do something.” So the pundits prayed to Lord Jagannath “He is trying to change our seva.” So Jagannath was very old and he had the same seva going for long. Maybe He didn’t like changes also. (People don’t like changes when they get old.) Anyway he said, “Better you leave here.” He followed the Ramanujacarya seva.

He woke up in the morning and he wasn’t in Puri anymore. He was in … miles and miles away. Anyway Bhaktivinode Thakur mentions in the Navadvip Dham Mahatmya that actually Jagannath spoke to him. He said, “Anyway leave things as they are. But you should go and visit Mayapura – very special abode, Navadvip – My very favoured abode. You should go there. Then he woke up in Navadvip that next day. Then Jagannath spoke to him and said, “This is My eternal abode that has descended by the influence of My inconceivable potency. There is no place of maya here. This is the spiritual realm here. Here I appeared in the form of Lord Gauranga. I am teaching pure devotional service.”
Ramanujacarya said, “I have heard this name of Gauranga. It is there in scripture but it is kind of secret. Now You are speaking about it I can understand where it is all coming from. There are so many statements in the sastra about Gauranga’s appearance but it is all kept secret. Now I can understand what all this means.”
Then the Lord appeared to him as his worshipable Lords Laxmi narayan. So he was in ecstasy. Then Lord Narayan – they disappeared and They became Gauranga. He saw this beautiful form as Lord Gauranga. He said, “This is that form.” So he said, “Now I understand what the sastras are saying. It happens in Kali Yuga. So now I am going to go out and preach pure unalloyed devotional service to Krishna in these different mellows of Vrindavan. Just order me, just order me, I am ready to go conquer.”
Lord Jagannath said, “No, no, no. When I come I will do that. For the time being you cultivate and preach up to dasya rasa. Within your heart you can worship Me as your lover but you preach up to dasya rasa. When I come then I will present this.” He said, “I must be here when you perform Your pastimes.” So the Lord gave him the benediction that he would be here. So he appeared as Sri Ananta in Gauranga’s pastimes. He is also an incarnation of Anantasesa. It is also said it the Navadvip Dham Mahatmya that Anantasesa, Nagaraj went to see Visnu and he was offering so many prayers to the Lord. Then he said, “You are showed me so many of Your forms. You revealed to me so many things. Now I would like to see that form of Radha and Krishna, that original form.” He had gone to Svetadvip.
Lord Visnu said, “What are you asking Ananta? Even I can’t see Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. Brahma has to perform tapasya for hundred years and you are asking. After all you are a snake. You are not very intelligent. But if you are asking this question i can understand you must be the greatest devotee. Anyway you have to go to Navadvip then you will be able to understand.” If you understand the Lord’s form as Gauranga then you will be able to understand what is Radha and Krishna. Then he came here and had the darsan as Gauranga.

Lord Gauranga also instructed him that, “When I perform My pastimes you will also take birth there as the large bodied….. anybody knows?” Member from audience answers: Jai Nitai!] Jai Nitai. Nityananda Prabhu. Lord Nityananda Prabhu Ki! Jai! He is an incarnation of Nityananda Prabhu and Anantadev. So He appears here as Lord Nityananda Prabhu in the pastimes.
Our proposition is to the Ramanujacarya followers because they are very, very strong, especially in South India they are prominent, purifying all of the world actually. It is mentioned in the Bhagavatam that when pure devotees appear in South India they then maintain the pure principles of bhakti. So there are many followers of Ramanujacarya. So our proposition to them is that now your worship of the Lord as Ramanujacarya. All his followers need to follow His latest incarnation. That was many hundreds of years ago that he appeared as Ramanujacarya. Now He has appeared in Navadvip in the lasts incarnation as Nityananda Prabhu. So you should all actually follow Nityananda Prabhu. And He taught all to chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And worship Radha and Krishna. The proposition – evidence is there from sastra. Vedic evidence is there. So if you are living in South India then you can convert all the Ramanujas to become followers of Mahaprabhu. Even if they worship Laxmi Narayan they will go back to Godhead very quickly because of that by the mercy of Panca-Tattva. Ramanuja Mahasayi Ki Jai.
“Prthu Maharaja then offered the total designation of the living entity unto the supreme controller of illusory energy. Being released from all the designations by which the living entity became entrapped, he became free by knowledge and renunciation and by the spiritual force of his devotional service. In this way, being situated in his original constitutional position of Krsna consciousness, he gave up this body as a prabhu, or controller of the senses.” [SB 4.23.18]
They asked Srila Prabhupada how can Sri Caitanya say that: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [ [Cc. Adi 17.31]

How can he say that, “I am lower than a blade of grass.” He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not lower than a blade of grass. Prabhupada said He could say that because He understood that I am one ten thousand the size of the tip of the hair. (Which He is not.) The soul is considered one ten thousand the tip of the hair. We are all one ten thousand the tip of the hair. Everything is emanating or coming from Krishna. He is the Supreme source of everything. So He is not one tenth thousand the tip of a hair.
Prabhupada said, “He is playing as a bhakta but He is actually believing that, “I am one ten thousand the size of the tip of the hair.” Therefore ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram, he can pray with such feeling, such devotion. He is understanding… So this is Mahaprabhu setting the example. … impossible for the people of Kali yuga. So this is the example. We have to follow this example then we will also get the results of these examples, being situated in our constitutional position – Krishna consciousness and free from designation. This is the beginning of spiritual life, situated properly in the svarup – our original constitutional position, waking up our real identity.
Vrinda devi is svarupa-stho. [As mentioned in the verse above.] They tried to move her from Kamyavana. She just sat there. They wanted to take Vrnda devi to Jaipur. They stopped at Kamyavan and tried to move her but nobody could lift her. She remained there fixed. That is happening there in Vrindavan. The description of Vrindadevi is given by Rupa Goswami in Radha Krishna Ganadesa Dipika. She is always immersed in love for Radha and Krishna. She is always helping to arrange for Their meetings and she is always trying to assist Their transcendental pastimes. So this is her fixed consciousness. It is fixed on her service to Radha and Krishna. It is not her love for Radha and Krishna or my love for Krishna. We have to love. It is me and Krishna. It is not exactly my love for Krishna but it is Krishna. Krishna’s love for Radha and Radha’s love for Krishna. This is important. My love for Krishna is not so important. It is Raha’s love for Krishna that is important.
So there devotees are assisting to enhance Radha and Krishna’s love and not my relationship or my love for Krishna above Hers. She is shy. This is their attitude. They simply want Radha and Krishna’s love. They are assisting in that loving relationship… Rukmini Devi Dasi made a very wonderful statement. She said that actually the centre of creation is a love affair – It is Radha and Krishna. The centre of the creation is a love affair. That is a fact – aham sarvasya prabhavo [Bg 10.8] So it is a fact that is what is happening. This is the original feature of Godhead – Radha and Krishna whom all the other features of God come from. All the other relationships come from there. Everything comes from there.
So that is actually the centre of creation. It is a love affair and the maha mantra, Hare Krishna is the musical … for the film or the drama. You have a love story and then you have a musical theme in a movie. So Hare Krishna is the musical theme. So everyone there is chanting Hare Krishna. Actually the spiritual world is made of Hare Krishna. Prabhupada says in his explanation of Hare Krishna – Mother Hara or Radha please engage me in Your service. Radha Krishna – Hare Krishna.
So this is what the picture of Vrindvan is. Everything is assisting Radha and Krishna in Their loving exchange. Please engage me in the service of Radha. Please engage me in the service of Krishna. So everything is made of Hare Krishna in the spiritual world because that is the purpose there – simply to unite Radha and Krishna and separate Them. As soon as They are separated They can be united again and when They are united They can be separated again. So this is the picture of Vrindavan. Everybody is bringing together Radha and Krishna and then they separate Them only to bring them together.
Everything is made of Hare Krishna. Golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana, that is what is coming into this Navadvip. He has brought the treasure of golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana. What goes on in the centre of creation/ A love affair. So that is what Narada Muni actually brought – golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana. This is the great gift that we have in Kali Yuga.

Devotees of Ramanuja Acarya all go back to Vaikuntha after a long time but here in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission in Navadvip Dham Panca-Tattva … can be done in one lifetime. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai! Prthu Maharak going back to Godhead Ki Jai! Nitai Gaura Premanande. Hari Haribol. Any comments?

Prabhu: I have one question. You said you know devotional service starts after liberation right? So we have to get rid of these designations to get liberated. So Prabhupada was saying yesterday or someday in the class, if you surrender to a bona fide spiritual master immediately you get liberated. Normally it takes millions of lifetimes. Then he says the qualifications of a spiritual master there in the purport. He says saksad dharitvena – pure Krishna consciousness – 100 percent and he was talking about Vaikuntha. I don’t remember. Suppose you get that person who is fully realised – my question is that if we are still on the bodily platform – means we haven’t surrendered completely to him. So what is going on before that? If it is not devotional service, what is it? HG Jananivas Prabhu: Saddhana Bhakti. Prabhu: Sadhanna Bhakti is not devotional service. HG Jananivas Prabhu: It is not? Prabhu: I am asking. HG Jananivas Prabhu: Wasting my time. [Laughter] Prabhu: I am just asking -If devotional starts after liberation. That is what Srila Prabhupada in the book said. So before that? HG Jananivas Prabhu: Yes. You want realisation. So then there is a process adau sraddha, sadhu- sanga ‘nartha-nivrttih and all the way up to prema there is a progression. So if you want realisation then you practice and see where you are step by step and you put that into full practice and you try to go to the next platform and to the next platform right up to bhava and prema. You can do that. That may not take one lifetime. It may take many lifetimes. The progression is there. If you want it that is how it scientifically goes. You want realisation? Prabhu: Who doesn’t want? I also heard but I am not sure about this. I heard that devotional service before liberation is pious activities. HG Jananivas Prabhu: The process is given by Rupa Goswami. He doesn’t write things himself. He is practicing raganuga-bhakti. He is an eternal associate of the Lord. He doesn’t practice sadhana-bhakti but he came to teach sadhana-bhakti… So it is not pious activity. Anyway even if it is as you say, if you follow the orders of the spiritual master that sound vibration – if you surrender to the sound vibration and follow this process of sadhana. If you surrender to that sound vibration you surrender to guru. The idea is your devotional service in the stage of sadhana-bhakti – service is the main thing. It is the medium by which we are expressing our emotions to Krishna through service. That is the main thing. But you have got service from the very beginning – from day one. The fact is that you are already liberated.
If you want to understand and realise first you enlighten yourself. Become brahma-bhuta and then all the other stages. Then you have to practice them. The idea is as Krishna says, “As you surrender to Me I will reward you accordingly. So if you think I have got to come to the stage of bhajana-kriya. Then I have to come to the stage of anartha-nivritti then you have got to come to the stage of… You do it but Krishna is reciprocating. If you think you have got to come to the stage of anarthana-nivrtti before you approach Me okay. I will wait until you come to the stage of anathana-nivrtti. If that is what you are thinking you have to do to approach Krishna… you wait until you have realised anathana-nivrtti. Then you want ruci, you want taste then Krishna says wait until you develop it. It should be I can’t understand Krishna until I have ruci and I have got asakti and I have got prema. So Krishna says okay He will wait. That will take you lifetimes. Then eventually you will be born in a pure Vaisnava family and then you get liberated.

Otherwise if we are not interested so much in liberation – like Sanatan Goswami when he approached Mahaprabhu and he said, “They are calling me a pandit. I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know if i am this body, if i am the mind or intelligence or so. I don’t know who I am.[End of recording] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to]
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Siva-ratri by Giriraj Swami

By Giriraj Swami

Today is Siva-ratri. Vaishnavas generally do not celebrate Siva-ratri, and to begin, I will explain why, with reference to the Bhagavad-gita. We read from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter 7, “Knowledge of the Absolute,” text

antavat tu phalam tesam
  tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
devan deva-yajo yanti
  mad-bhakta yanti mam api


Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Some commentators on the Bhagavad-gita say that one who worships a demigod can reach the Supreme Lord, but here it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to the different planetary systems where various demigods are situated, just
as a worshiper of the sun achieves the sun or a worshiper of the demigod of the moon achieves the moon. Similarly, if anyone wants to worship a demigod like Indra, he can attain that particular god’s planet. It is not that everyone, regardless of
whatever demigod is worshiped, will reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is denied here, for it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to different planets in the material world but the devotee of the Supreme Lord goes directly
to the supreme planet of the Personality of Godhead.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

This is logical. As Srila Prabhupada remarked, if you buy a ticket to Calcutta, you cannot expect to reach Bombay. If you worship a demigod, you go to the planet of the demigod. If you worship Krishna, you reach the supreme abode of Krishna.

PURPORT (continued)

Here the point may be raised that if the demigods are different parts of the body of the Supreme Lord, then the same end should be achieved by worshiping them. However, worshipers of the demigods are less intelligent because they don’t know to what part
of the body food must be supplied. Some of them are so foolish that they claim that there are many parts and many ways to supply food. This isn’t very sanguine. Can anyone supply food to the body through the ears or eyes? They do not know that these
demigods are different parts of the universal body of the Supreme Lord, and in their ignorance they believe that each and every demigod is a separate God and a competitor of the Supreme Lord.


We read in the Fourth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam that just as by pouring water on the root of a tree all the limbs and branches and leaves are watered and just as by supplying food to the stomach all the different limbs of the body are nourished,
similarly, by offering worship or rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, all of the demigods and all living entities are served and satisfied:

yatha taror mula-nisecanena
  trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah
pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam
  tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya

“By giving water to the root of a tree one satisfies its branches, twigs, and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies all the senses of the body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord one automatically
satisfies all the demigods and all other living entities.” (SB 4.31.14)

PURPORT (concluded)

The results achieved by the demigods’ benedictions are perishable because within this material world the planets, the demigods, and their worshipers are all perishable. Therefore it is clearly stated in this verse that all results achieved by worshiping
demigods are perishable, and therefore such worship is performed by the less intelligent living entity. Because the pure devotee engaged in Krsna consciousness in devotional service of the Supreme Lord achieves eternal blissful existence that is full
of knowledge, his achievements and those of the common worshiper of the demigods are different. The Supreme Lord is unlimited; His favor is unlimited; His mercy is unlimited. Therefore the mercy of the Supreme Lord upon His pure devotees is unlimited.


Everything material is temporary. The demigods—their bodies—are temporary, the bodies of their worshipers are temporary, their planets are temporary, and the fruits that one obtains from worshiping them are temporary. The demigods have authority only
within the material world. They can give only material benefits to their worshipers. Only Vishnu, or Krishna, can award liberation from material bondage. No demigod can grant liberation. And beyond liberation, the devotees of Krishna also achieve
krsna-bhakti, or krsna-prema—the ultimate goal of life.

Srila Prabhupada said that the impersonalists want to become one with God but that the devotees actually become greater than God, because God comes under their control. We see in the Bhagavad-gita that Krishna is acting as Arjuna’s chariot driver.
Arjuna is commanding Krishna, senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me ’cyuta: “Please draw my chariot between the two armies so I can see who has assembled on the battlefield to fight.” The Lord likes to be controlled by His devotees, and
He comes under the control of their pure love. Of course, the Lord is supreme—no one is equal to Him or greater than Him (na tat-samas cabhyadikas ca drsyate)—but out of love He becomes subordinate to His devotee. The idea of becoming one
with the Lord is repugnant to a devotee, because in that impersonal oneness there is no service, no exchange of love.

The demigod worshipers, as described in this verse, are alpa-medhasah, “less intelligent.” The opposite of alpa-medhasah is su-medhasah, or “very intelligent.” Those who worship Krishna, especially
through the sankirtana movement in the present age, are described as su-medhasah.

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair
  yajanti hi su-medhasah

 “In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krsna.” (SB 11.5.32, Cc Adi 3.52)

Further, the demigods are not able to give even material benedictions without the sanction of the Supreme Lord. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati—the Lord is in the heart of everyone, including the demigods, so unless He gives His
sanction, the demigods themselves cannot give even limited temporary benefits. So, from every point of view, one should worship Krishna. And devotees of Krishna need not worship any demigod. Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is like the king, and the various
demigods are like ministers in the cabinet of the king or department heads in the government. As Srila Prabhupada said, if you pay taxes to the central treasury, you need not bribe the ministers or officers in charge of different departments. When
you pay your taxes into the central treasury, you have met your obligation and are entitled to all the benefits of a citizen.

So, there is no need to worship demigods, and in fact the worship of demigods is discouraged in the Bhagavad-gita. The Supreme Lord Krishna says,

ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta
  yajante sraddhayanvitah
te ’pi mam eva kaunteya
  yajanty avidhi-purvakam

“Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way.” (Bg 9.23)

Therefore, Vaishnavas do not celebrate Siva-ratri.

Yet there is another aspect to Lord Siva, a confidential one that ordinary people with insufficient knowledge of shastra, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, do not know: Lord Siva himself is the greatest Vaishnava (vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh), and
the worship of Vaishnavas, the service of Vaishnavas, and the glorification of Vaishnavas is included in Krishna consciousness. In fact, it is most highly recommended. So in an assembly of learned devotees we can appreciate Siva as a Vaishnava. But
otherwise we don’t worship Lord Siva, because if we did, people could misunderstand and conclude, “ISKCON devotees worship Siva, so we will too.” And they will worship Lord Siva for material benefit. Or they may think that Lord Siva is on the same
level as Krishna—or supreme.

In India there is a history of debate between Vaishnavas and Saivites over who is supreme. And as Srila Prabhupada said, in such debates the Vaishnavas always win. Still, that sense of competition is there. Saivites say, “Siva is supreme,” and Vaishnavas
respond, “No, Vishnu is supreme.” In the 1950s a European gentleman came to India and took sannyasain the line of Shankaracharya, receiving the name Agehananda Bharati. Later, in 1973, he wrote an article published in the popular Indian
magazine The Illustrated Weekly of India, in which he gave his account of a debate he had with our Hridayananda das Goswami.

The editor, Khushwant Singh, apparently wanted to make them both look foolish, and he titled the article “Hare Krishna vs. Shiva Shiva,” as if to say, “How silly. These people are arguing over whether Krishna is supreme or Siva is supreme. God is one;
there is no difference. Ultimately, God has no name, no form, no personality”—or “Ultimately, there is no God.” I wrote Srila Prabhupada about how I perceived the situation, and he remarked, “Yes, Giriraj is right. Bharati is a fool, but Singh is
a demon.”

When I visited Madras in 1971, I met many intellectuals whose attitude was similar to that of the editor. They thought, “Oh, how silly. You are arguing that Krishna is supreme, and someone else is arguing that Siva is supreme.” These impersonalists considered
themselves to be more intelligent than the naive sentimentalists who worship particular deities, and they counted us as naive sentimentalists because we loved Krishna, worshipped Krishna, chanted Krishna’s name, and preached Krishna’s supremacy.

In Madras there are many Saivites, and they argue that Siva is supreme. As the first ISKCON devotee to visit Madras, I became quite a sensation—an American Vaishnava. Most people there had never seen a Western sadhu, and they wanted to help. Several suggested
that I meet a Mr. Ramakrishna, who they said was pious and religious and would be happy to hear of our activities. So I met him, and he turned out to be one of those people who thought that Siva was supreme. Very quickly we came to blows—verbal blows.
He had a volatile nature, and he became angry. He became red in the face and raised his voice, and the meeting ended quite abruptly. But I kept preaching and meeting people who suggested, “You have to meet Mr. Ramakrishna. He is a very pious man.
He is a very religious man.” And I imagine that he was meeting people saying, “Oh, you should meet the Hare Krishna devotees. They are very good people. They are doing excellent work.”

After a few weeks, I thought, “Maybe I should give it another try. This time I will be more careful.” So, I phoned him, and he immediately agreed to meet me. That made me think that people were also speaking favorably about us to him and that it was embarrassing
for him as well that we had disagreed so vehemently. We met, and I tried to restrain myself, and he tried to restrain himself, but eventually we came to the same point: Who is supreme—Krishna (Vishnu) or Siva? The argument escalated, but neither of
us wanted it to end the same way the previous one had. Then I got an inspiration and suggested, “In two weeks my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is coming to Madras. So instead of us discussing, why don’t I
invite you to meet him when he comes, and you can discuss with him directly.” He liked the idea. It was a way out for both of us. And ultimately, what could be better than to meet a pure devotee of Krishna?

After Srila Prabhupada arrived, Mr. Ramakrishna came to meet him. “I met your disciple Giriraj,” Mr. Ramakrishna said, “and I argued that Siva is supreme, and he argued that Krishna is supreme. So, who is supreme?”

Prabhupada took a different approach. He didn’t enter into the polemics about who was supreme. Rather, he said, “There are two words in Sanskrit—puja and bhakti. In puja one worships the deity to get some material benefit, and in bhakti
one worships only to give pleasure to the deity, without expectation of personal return. The worshipers of Siva engage in puja—they worship to get some material benefit—whereas in bhakti we worship Krishna for the sake of Krishna’s pleasure, just
to please Him.”

“Is it not possible to worship Siva in the mood of bhakti?” Mr. Ramakrishna asked.”

“It is possible, Prabhupada replied,” but it would be exceptional. For example, generally people go to a liquor shop to buy liquor. Now, one could go for another purpose, but that would be an exception. Generally people go to buy liquor.”

Mr. Ramakrishna was satisfied with the answer. Srila Prabhupada did not enter into the controversy over which deity was supreme; rather, he explained different moods in the worship of different deities.

Later, toward the end of Prabhupada’s stay in Madras, a wealthy householder invited him to his home for the consecration of his temple. The host had invited many dignitaries, and although the temple was a good size for a home, it wasn’t large enough to
accommodate Prabhupada’s disciples along with all the dignitaries. So Prabhupada and the others went inside the temple, and we disciples looked in from outside.

As part of the ceremony, the host distributed flower petals to the guests to offer to the deity of Lord Siva, a siva-linga. And we all were interested to see how Prabhupada would deal with the situation. At the appropriate moment, all the participants
threw their flower petals on the deity of Lord Siva—except for Prabhupada. He threw his in the corner. We thought, “He is the acharya. We have to learn from him.” So, after the ceremony, when the other invitees came out, we went into the temple and
looked in the corner. And there we saw a small Deity of Krishna. Prabhupada had offered his flowers to Krishna.

As Srila Prabhupada’s representatives, ISKCON and its members are meant to follow his instructions and precedents. And we must be careful not to encourage people’s misconceptions—even if what we do is otherwise all right. If we were to observe Siva-ratri
with participants who are not well versed in sastric conclusions, in Vaishnava siddhanta—if we were to celebrate Siva-ratri to cater to Hindus who want to worship Lord Siva on Siva-ratri but who do not know his actual position as
a Vaishnava—they might mistakenly conclude that we accept Lord Siva on the same level as Krishna. Then, even if they chant the holy name of Krishna, as long as they maintain the idea that Siva and Krishna are the same, they will not make much advancement,
because they will be committing an offense against the holy name. The second of the ten offenses against the holy name is to consider the names of demigods such as Lord Siva to be equal to or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu.

That is why we don’t observe Siva-ratri. And as Vaishnavas, we have no need to worship Siva, because we are worshiping Krishna directly. Still, we may worship Lord Siva as a Vaishnava, a devotee of Krishna, because the worship of Krishna’s devotees pleases
Lord Krishna.

The basic definition of bhakti is given by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11):

anukulyena krsnanu-
  silanam bhaktir uttama

“One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.” In pure devotional service,
one should have no desire other than to serve and please Krishna (anyabhilasita-sunyam). And jnana-karmady-anavrtam—one’s service should not be covered by jnana, speculative knowledge that leads to a conclusion of impersonal monism;
or by karma, fruitive work, as in ordinary puja, which one performs for personal gain. In ordinary affairs, for example, one may invite someone to a restaurant and give him food and drink in the hope of getting some benefit from him. In a similar
way, one may offer bael leaves and ganga-jala to Lord Siva in order to get some personal return. That fruitive mentality has no place in pure devotion, and certainly the speculative idea of merging and becoming one with God has no
place. Anything that covers the true nature of bhakti has no place (jnana-karmady-anavrtam). Pure devotional service must be rendered favorably to Krishna (anukulyena krsnanusilanam).

Acharyas who have commented on this verse from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu—such as Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and Srila Prabhupada—have explained that “Krishna” does not mean Krishna alone. Srila Prabhupada’s introduction
to The Nectar of Devotion discusses this verse in detail and includes much of the commentaries of Jiva and Visvanatha. And all agree that in this verse “Krishna” does not mean Krishna alone but includes His personal expansions, such
as Lord Ramachandra, Lord Nrsimha, Lord Varaha, and other visnu-tattvas, as well as His name, form, qualities, pastimes, paraphernalia, and pure devotees. “Krsna includes all such expansions, as well as His pure devotees,” Prabhupada writes.
Serving and worshiping pure devotees is included within uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service to Krishna, and thus devotees of Krishna sometimes worship Lord Siva as a pure devotee.

Many of Lord Siva’s pastimes are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the perfectly pure, spotless Purana (srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam) and is called the Paramahamsa-samhitabecause it
is meant for the highest class of transcendentalists, who are completely free from envy. It is the topmost scripture and discusses no subject other than Krishna and pure devotional service. These pastimes with Lord Siva show his true nature, or internal
mood, as a Vaishnava, a pure devotee of Krishna. In one pastime the hundred sons of King Barhisat, known as the Pracetas, were engaged in austerities to realize Vishnu, or Krishna. Lord Siva met them and, appreciating their austerities, acted as their
guru to guide them. He gave them a series of prayers to sing to please Lord Vishnu and become pure devotees. Upon first meeting the Pracetas, he made the following statement, from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Four, Chapter Twenty-four—“Chanting
the Song Sung by Lord Siva”:


atha bhagavata yuyam
  priyah stha bhagavan yatha
na mad bhagavatanam ca
  preyan anyo’sti karhicit


You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees
as I am.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

It is said, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Siva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Krsna are also devotees of Lord Siva. In Vrndavana there is Lord Siva’s temple called Gopisvara. The gopis used to worship not
only Lord Siva but Katyayani, or Durga, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Krsna. A devotee of Lord Krsna does not disrespect Lord Siva but worships Lord Siva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krsna. Consequently, whenever a
devotee worships Lord Siva, he prays to Lord Siva to achieve the favor of Krsna, and he does not request material profit. In Bhagavad-gita (7.20) it is said that generally people worship demigods for some material profit. Kamais tais tair hrta jnanah.
Driven by material lust, they worship demigods, but a devotee never does so, for he is never driven by material lust. That is the difference between a devotee’s respect for Lord Siva and an asura’s respect for him. The asura worships
Lord Siva, takes some benediction from him, misuses the benediction, and ultimately is killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards him liberation.

Because Lord Siva is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he loves all the devotees of the Supreme Lord.


This is a symptom of a devotee. One who is actually a devotee of the Supreme Lord will love all other devotees of the Supreme Lord. Lord Siva truly loved the Pracetas. He went out of his way to help them, and further, he respected them as representatives
of the Supreme Lord.

PURPORT (continued)

Lord Siva told the Pracetas that because they were devotees of the Lord, he loved them very much. Lord Siva was not kind and merciful only to the Pracetas; anyone who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very dear to Lord Siva. Not only
are the devotees dear to Lord Siva, but he respects them as much as he respects the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, devotees of the Supreme Lord also worship Lord Siva as the most dear devotee of Lord Krsna. They do not worship him as a
separate Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the list of namaparadhas that it is an offense to think that the chanting of the name of Hari and the chanting of Hara, or Siva, are the same. The devotees must always know that Lord Visnu
is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Siva is His devotee. A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord Rama, the Personality of Godhead Himself,
sometimes worshiped Lord Siva. If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord?


In other words, if a devotee is worshipable by the Lord Himself, why should other devotees not worship a devotee on the same level as the Lord? Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair: the spiritual master is worshiped on the same level as the Supreme
Lord. But kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya—although one honors the spiritual master as much as the Lord, one knows that he is not identical with the Lord but is a most confidential servitor of the Lord.

PURPORT (continued)

If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From this verse it appears that Lord Siva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality.


In relation to the demons (asuras), Lord Siva thinks, “Okay, they are worshiping me. They want something. Okay, I will give them something.” Thus one of Siva’s names is Asutosa, because he gives benedictions very easily. As Srila Prabhupada said,
“Many demons go to bother Lord Siva: ‘Give me this. Give me that.’ And his name is Asutosa. He gives immediately: ‘All right, take it. Go away. Don’t bother me.’ ” He blesses then simply for the sake of formality, to get rid of them.

PURPORT (concluded)

From this verse it appears that Lord Siva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality. Actually he loves one who is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


In addition to the pastimes of Lord Siva described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, there are many pastimes with Lord Siva in Vrindavan that show his great love for Lord Krishna and his eagerness to serve Him. And Lord Krishna’s great-grandson Vajranabha,
who established many of the main temples in Vrindavan, installed several deities of Lord Siva in Vraja to honor his pastimes there.

One prominent deity of Lord Siva in Vraja is Nandesvara Mahadeva, at Nanda-grama. He is worshiped in a small temple situated within the courtyard of the main temple there, and every day the pujaris offer him the remnants of food that has been
offered to Lord Krishna in the main temple. This tradition goes back to the time when Krishna and Balarama lived in Nanda-grama with Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yasoda. As the local history goes, when Lord Siva came to Nanda Bhavan to see his beloved
Lord Krishna, he arrived in his usual attire—with matted hair, ashes all over his body, and a snake wrapped around his neck—playing his damaru drum. When Mother Yasoda came to the door, she could not bring herself to let this wild-looking
ascetic in to see her darling little child. And so she gave him alms and sent him on his way. After his leaving, however, baby Krishna began to cry. Mother Yasoda tried in many ways to pacify Him, but she couldn’t; He was inconsolable. She considered
that she might have committed an offense against the ascetic and that he had put a spell on her baby, so she sent for him. In the end, Lord Siva was found in the forest now known as Asesvara-vana, the forest of hope, where he was praying, hoping against
hope (aça means “hope”) that he would somehow get the darshan of Nandalal, Krishna. So he was very happy when he was asked to return to Nanda Bhavan.  And as soon as Lord Siva arrived, baby Krishna stopped crying. But when Mother Yasoda
indicated that it was time for Siva to leave, Krishna again began to cry; he didn’t want him to leave. It was then settled that Siva would remain permanently in Nanda Bhavan and get the caranamrta and food remnants of Nandalal every day.
And to this day it has been so.

Another important deity is Kamesvara Mahadeva, who resides at Kamyavana. He fulfills all desires, and so devotees pray to him to give them pure devotional service to Krishna.

Caklesvara Mahadeva resides at Cakra-tirtha, by Manasi-ganga at Govardhana Hill. It is said that Sanatana Gosvami was good friends with Lord Siva and always resided near him in Vraja. At Manasi-ganga, Sanatana Gosvami’s bhajana-kutira is next
to Caklesvara Mahadeva, and at the Madana-mohana temple, near the Yamuna River in Vrindavan, his bhajana-kutira is not far from Gopisvara Mahadeva.

Once, at Cakra-tirtha, Sanatana Gosvami was being disturbed by mosquitoes and couldn’t do his bhajanaor write his books. So he decided to leave. When Lord Siva saw that his dear friend was about to leave, he came in the guise of a brahman and
inquired, “Why are you leaving?” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I am too disturbed by the mosquitoes and cannot do my seva.” Lord Siva was relieved, because he knew that this was a problem he could easily solve. He requested Sanatana Gosvami,
“Please stay one more night, and if the mosquitoes still bother you, you may go.” Then Lord Siva summoned the demigod in charge of insect life and told him, “I don’t want any mosquitoes disturbing this great devotee here. So tell your boys to lay
off.” The mosquitoes stopped coming there, and Sanatana Gosvami stayed. So, from this we can see the intimacy of their relationship.

The most famous and important deity of Lord Siva for us is Gopisvara Mahadeva, established by Vajranabha near the site of the rasa dance, near Vamsivata, where Gopinatha played upon His flute to call the gopis. Gopisvara Mahadeva wanted
to participate in the rasa dance, the highest and best of all of Lord Krishna’s pastimes. According to one version, Lord Siva approached Paurnamasi, an elderly brahmani and siksa-guru of the Vrajavasis, who was the mother
of Sandipani Muni, Lord Krishna’s guru. She advised Mahadeva to perform some austerities and then take bath in the Yamuna; thus he would get the form of a gopi. According to other sources, Paurnamasi directed him to Vrndadevi and Vrndadevi
advised him to take bath in Mana-sarovara, a little further south across the Yamuna River from Kesi-ghata. Be it as it may, he took bath and came out in the form of a gopi.

When Krishna was about to enjoy His rasa-lila with the gopis, this new gopi appeared. The other gopistook note—“Oh, a new gopi has come”—and gathered around her. They asked, “What village are you from?” She
didn’t know what to say. “What is your husband’s name?” “How many cows does he have?” “Who are your children?” She had no answers. So the other gopis thought, “This is not a gopi. She is not one of us. This is an imposter.” They
were ready to beat this imitation gopi when Mother Paurnamasi appeared and said, “This is Mahadeva Siva. He is a great demigod. Do not take any action against him.” She told Lord Siva, “No one can participate in the rasa dance without
being a gopi. You can observe it from a distance, but you cannot actually enter it.” And she gave him a service: he could guard the arena of the rasa dance. One of Lord Siva’s regular services is to be ksetra-pala, protector
of the dhama, and he serves as such in Vrindavan, Navadvipa, Jagannatha Puri, and other holy places. Paurnamasi gave Mahadeva the authority to restrain the unqualified and to admit the qualified. But beyond that, he would have the power to
give someone the qualification to enter. So devotees, Vaishnavas, in Vrindavan pray to Gopisvara Mahadeva to enable them to enter the pastimes of Krishna with the gopis.

The deity of Gopisvara Mahadeva is worshiped as a regular siva-linga during the day, but every evening at about four the pujaris dress the siva-linga like a gopi. They cover the linga with a sari and ornaments and decorate
it to resemble a gopi, with a crown on it or a shawl draped over its top. And devotees come and worship Gopisvara Mahadeva to attain the favor of Radha and Krishna.

In his Sankalpa-kalpadruma (103) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura prays:

vrndavanavani-pate jaya soma soma-
  maule sanandana-sanatana-naradedya
gopisvara vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
  prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namaste

“O gatekeeper of Vrindavan! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon (soma), and who is worshiped by the sages headed by Sanandana, Sanatana, and Narada! O Gopisvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me limitless
love for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer my obeisances unto you again and again.”

Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva ki jaya!

Once, as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men went to Ambikavana to observe Siva-ratri. The Bhagavatam uses the word ekada, “once.” Srila Prabhupada explains, “Between the Dola-yatra ceremony [Holi] and the rasa-lila ceremony there is an important ceremony called Siva-ratri, which is especially observed by the Saivites, or devotees of Lord Siva. Sometimes the Vaisnavas also observe this ceremony because they accept Lord Siva as the foremost
Vaisnava. But the function of Siva-ratri is not observed very regularly by the bhaktas, or devotees of Krsna. Under the circumstances, Srimad-Bhagavatam states that Nanda Maharaja and the other cowherd men ‘once upon a time desired.’
This means that they were not regularly observing the Siva-ratri function but that once upon a time they wanted to go to Ambikavana.” (Krsna, Chapter 34) And what was the result? “They had come to worship Lord Siva and Ambika, but the result
was that they became more and more attached to Krishna.”

Are there any questions or comments?

Rasaraja dasa: I have a question about Lord Siva and impersonalists. Although many of his statements and songs are in the mood of bhakti, Lord Siva is normally worshiped by impersonalists. How is the impersonal philosophy associated with him?

Giriraj Swami: The first answer is that Lord Siva has a planet that is situated on the border of the material sky and the spiritual sky. And it is said that the impersonalists who want to merge end up there. It is the borderline between matter and spirit.

Another answer is that Lord Siva, for a very specific purpose, appeared as Shankaracharya, the great proponent of Mayavada philosophy. Earlier, because the so-called followers of the Vedas had been misusing the Vedas to support animal
slaughter, Lord Krishna incarnated as Buddha, out of compassion for the innocent animals and to save these so-called Vedic followers from the sin of killing them. Buddha preached the philosophy of ahimsa, non-violence. He said, “Don’t follow the Vedas.
If the Vedas say that you can kill animals, then don’t follow the Vedas. Just follow ahimsa.” Thus the Lord’s purpose was served: people stopped killing animals in the name of Vedic sacrifice. But then the Lord wanted to reestablish
the authority of the Vedas, and because the Buddhist philosophy was nontheistic, followers would not immediately accept the correct, theistic understanding of the Vedas. So He wanted someone to reestablish the authority of the Vedas with a nontheistic interpretation—Advaitavada—which admits no difference between the individual soul and the supreme soul. In other words, it advocates impersonal monism. But when Lord Narayana approached His assembly of servants, no one was willing.
They said, “Advaitavada? No, no—not Advaitavada. Ask anything but that. We don’t want to touch Advaitavada.” Only Lord Siva, the greatest of the Vaishnavas, agreed. It was like when the demigods and demons were churning the ocean and it turned into
poison, Lord Siva was the one who came forward and said, “All right, I will drink the ocean of poison.” In this case, he spit out an ocean of poison in the form of Advaitavada, or Mayavada, as Shankaracharya. Shankara is a name for Lord Siva, and
so he became Shankaracharya. Because of the connection between Shankaracharya and Shankara, or Siva, Mayavadis often are inclined toward Lord Siva. But whether Mayavadis worship Siva or Krishna, their goal is to merge and become one with Brahman.

Even Shankaracharya on occasion revealed his inner mood as a devotee. The most famous expression of his devotion was his parting words before he left this world: bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam mudha-mate. He advised his followers,

bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam mudha-mate
samprapte sannihite kale na hi na hi raksati dukrn-karane

“You fools and rascals, all your grammatical word jugglery of suffixes, prefixes, and philosophical speculation will not save you at the time of death. Just worship Govinda! Worship Govinda! Worship Govinda!”

There are other expressions as well. When Shankaracharya saw the Deity of Krishna, Vitthala Thakura, in Pandarapura, he recited many wonderful prayers to the Lord, which are inscribed in marble in the temple, the most famous and popular in Maharashtra.
Similarly, Shankaracharya visited the temple of Guruvayurappan in Guruvayur, the most famous temple in Kerala. It is said that with his mystic powers he was flying over the temple and saw the devotees worshiping, and he thought, “What is this? What
are these people doing? What is going on here?” As soon as that thought entered his mind, his power to fly was withdrawn and he came crashing down to the ground right in front of the Deity. Then he saw, “Oh, it is Lord Narayana, Lord Vishnu.” He recited
many beautiful prayers, which are inscribed in the temple there. And in his Gita-bhasya commentary on Srimad Bhagavad-gita, he admitted, narayana paro ’vyaktat: “Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is
beyond the material creation.”

Lord Siva, even as Shankaracharya is a devotee, but he has different services. As Lord Siva, he is the demigod in charge of destruction. He is in charge of the mode of ignorance, and he gives shelter to people in ignorance—to ghosts and hobgoblins. He
is merciful even to them. But his true feature, his inner mood, is as a devotee of Krishna.

On this occasion we pray to Lord Siva that out of his immense compassion and love he may be merciful to us and help us to attentively chant the holy names, respect and honor all devotees, and serve his Lord and master, the Lord of the gopis,
Sri Krishna.

Hare Krishna.

Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Nitai-gaura-premanande hari-haribol!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Siva-rati, March 7, 2008, Dallas]

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By Garuda Das

The picture above is of Tom and I in his library at his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, taken about two years ago, when he was eighty-nine years of age. Tom and I were very good friends and close colleagues. Please note the books on some of the shelves behind us: all the Līlāmṛtam volumes, the three original “Delhi” Bhāgavatams, other books by devotees, and a complete set of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies on the top shelf.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

My Dear Vaishnava Sisters and Brothers:

I offer all of you my affectionate pranāmas. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!


I write to inform all of you that one of the ISKCON Movement’s best friends and scholarly supporters has just passed away in the morning of Saturday, February 20, 2021. I have known Tom Hopkins for decades and he has been such a supporter of devotees and well-wisher of the Movement. He met Śrīla Prabhupāda and the early devotees in 1966 at 26 Second Avenue, and purchased his first set of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s “Delhi” Bhāgavatams at that time (those volumes are currently in my possession). At one point, Tom even arranged for Śrīla Prabhupāda to teach a course at Franklin and Marshall College, where he was a professor. In the end, Śrīla Prabhupāda declined the generous offer of Tom because Śrīla Prabhupāda was too busy establishing the ISKCON and its temple-centers.

Tom contributed his eloquent writing to many ISKCON publications, such as his article entitled, “A Vital Transition: The Molding of the Hare Krishna Movement in British India,” for the BTG Magazine (Vol. 16, No. 8). A “Preface” to one of Kuśakratha Dāsa’s works, a “Foreword” to Hari Śauri Dāsa’s book, A Transcendental Diary, another “Foreword” to Satyaraja’s fairly recent work entitled, Swamiji: An Early Disciple, Brahmananda Dāsa, Remembers His Guru, and other works.

But perhaps Tom’s most well known is his wonderful “Foreword” to the second volume of Sātsvarupa Dāsa Goswami’s wonderful biography of Śrīla Prabhupāda, entitled, “Planting the Seed,” with his famous first words: “The story you are about to read is, like many true stories, highly improbable.” He goes on to write, “What follows is a remarkable tale of faith, determination, and success beyond anyone’s expectation.” These observations that Tom makes about our Śrīla Prabhupāda are truly precious.

The obituary I just wrote for academic colleagues around the world is found below, and will give you an idea of Tom’s whole academic life. Just keep in mind that he had truly a great love for devotees, for Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON, and for the vibrant Vaishnava tradition and its rich literature.

So, my Vaishnava Sisters and Brothers, let us wish Tom well in his sojourn from this world, where his unique contributions to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s legacy will never be forgotten. Let us wish him well as he leaves this world after having given so much to the understanding of Krishna Bhakti in the intellectual world. And let us wish him well by celebrating him who offered both his mind and heart to the spread of Krishna’s love around the world.

Dāso ‘smi premni,

Garuḍa Dāsa

The following is what I wrote to nearly one thousand scholars worldwide:

Dear Friends:

It is with much sadness (but also many sweet memories!) that I report to all of you that our beloved colleague and friend Tom Hopkins gently passed away this morning in his asleep at the age of ninety-one. A couple of months ago, Tom suffered a stroke, but appeared to be recovering quite steadily and well from it, so his departure today comes unexpectedly.

Tom was born on July 28th, 1930 in Champaign, Illinois. He was married to Fran (Skinner) Hopkins on December 22, 1956. Together they had four children, five grandchildren, and even four great-grandchildren. He will be very missed by all of them.

Tom’s colorful educational background can be spelled out as follows: Tom earned his B.S. in Physics in 1953, and went on to MIT earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in the same year. He then went on to Yale Divinity School to earn his B.D. in Religion and Culture, and then completed the M.A. in 1959 and the Ph.D. in 1962 in Comparative Religion from Yale University Gradue School. His unpublished dissertaion is entitled, The Vaishnava Bhakti Movement in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa.

From 1961 to 1996, Tom taught in the Religious Studies Department at Franklin and Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he also served as department chair from 1974 to 1994. From 1998 to 1999, he was Director of Academic Affairs for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, an independently recognized centre by Oxford University, where he acted as liaison between the Centre and various Oxford academic program, tutored two graduate students, and gave a seminar and series of lectures on Hinduism under the auspices of the Faculty of Theology of Oxford University.

His chapter, entitled, “The Social Teaching of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa,” was published in a landmark publication in the field at the time, entitled, Krishna: Myths, Rites, and Attitudes, edited by Milton Singer (published by East-West Center Press, 1966, and then in softcover edition by University of Chicago Press, 1969). Among Tom’s many publications, he is perhaps most well-known for his book, The Hindu Religious Tradition, originally published by Dickenson Publishing Co. in 1971, used in the classroom as a standard textbook by so many colleagues. During his last years of life he had practically doubled the size of the book to produce a second edition to bring his work up to date with current research. Over the past year, I have been in the process of working on Tom’s behalf to get this second edition published, and will continue to do this for him.

Many of us in the field knew him back in those days when he was a very active and vibrant participant at every annual international meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). In fact, he was a member of the AAR from its very inception back in 1963, up until 1990. I myself remember him very well when I started attending the AAR 1977, and was amazed by his generosity toward budding graduate students as well as his wise counsel to accomplished scholars in the field and to the Academy as well. His personality was warm and intellectually active, and had a tempered sense of humor that was enjoyed by everyone. He was very gregarious, a good friend to so many, and just an example of the finest of humanity. And though he has been retired for well over twenty years, his contribution of mind and heart will never be forgotten and will always be remembered especially by those whose intellects and hearts he has touched.



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The theology of Lord Caitanya

8580233859?profile=RESIZE_584xDiving deep into the core elements of our philosophy as expounded in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, GBC Strategic Planning Team (SPT) invites you to join us for an enlivening talk by Kadamba Kanana Swami.

Video: Click here

About Kadamba Kanana Swami

Kadamba Kanana Swami started his spiritual life in Vrndavana, the Holy land of Krishna and immediately felt he found his home. He became a disciple of HH Jayadvaita Swami.
He joined ISKCON in 1978 shortly after Srila Prabhupada’s departure from this world and served in Vrndavana from ’78 to ’84 in various types of management.
After a one year break from India in Australia he returned to India this time to take charge of the construction of Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi in Mayapura and remained there from ’85 to ’90.
He liked the pioneering spirit of working in India and above all he liked to stay in the Holy Dhama. In 1990 he became the Temple President of the Krsna Balarama temple in Vrndavana and remained in that position untill ’95.
After that he began to travel and preach around the world and in 1997 he received sannyasa.
These days besides preaching in Europe, South Africa, India and Australia, he still has some involvement in supervision of the Vrndavana temple.


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8580211292?profile=RESIZE_400xBy Madhava Smullen

“The Rising Sun: Vrindavan Samadhi Diary” by Alfred Valerio (Bhaktisiddhanta Das), now available on Amazon Kindle, recounts the story of how the Vrindaban samadhi, or mausoleum, for ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada was built. 

Author Bhaktisiddhanta Das, a seasoned professional in bronze casting, fiber-glass and mixed media sculpture, assisted in the design and construction of both the Vrindaban Samadhi and Mayapur Pushpa Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada. He also created sculptural panels and oil murals for the ISKCON Delhi Glory of India Museum, and has been assisting in the design of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur. 

His book covers Srila Prabhupada’s final moments, and tells the history of his Vrindaban Samadhi, starting with the beginning of construction in 1978 and ending with the recent installation of new bronze panels in 2016, including all the setbacks, difficulties and successes. Along the way, paintings show each stage of construction.

The book describes how the late Surabhir Abhipalayantam Das, who was tasked with constructing both Srila Prabhupada’s Vrindaban and Mayapur samadhis, conceived the design.

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Sports Active by Bhaktimarga Swami


Amala Ratna is a highly devotional-type of person with a night job. She drives around from skating rink to skating rink in the downtown area for maintenance of those operations. They are all over the city and kids/adults are on a craze about gliding on ice. While walking on an average day I come upon these ice fields in parks and I’m sure, one day, I’ll have the opportunity to meet up with Amala and wish her a “Haribol!” Which means “say the name of Krishna!”

During a phone call today, I spoke with another Krishna-person from the States. He’s an old tennis pro, “Tennis,” he said “is gaining a lot of interest among the public.”

We both agreed that between tennis versus boxing one sport is truly more sattvic. Tennis is becoming popular because it’s one of the few sports where social distancing is honoured. I couldn’t agree with him more and I told him I do see enthusiasts playing in the courtyard in the dead of winter. My friend, who enjoys southern weather, is impressed.

For a brief trek at 12 noon, I teamed up with Victor. It was for the purpose of talking and walking. My mask kept me snug against the biting chill. We spoke about his skydiving experiences. Victor expressed it as being very liberating up there. He also mentioned that some people faint in the process and thus don’t have a good landing. “Media doesn’t often report the deaths from skydiving.”

“I’m glad you made it, Victor. Haribol!”


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indriyesu manas tani tan-matresu yathodbhavam bhutadinamuny utkrsya mahaty atmani sandadhe

TRANSLATION: He amalgamated the mind with the senses and the senses with the sense objects, according to their respective positions, and he also amalgamated the material ego with the total material energy, mahat-tattva.

PURPORT: In respect to the ego, the total material energy is sundered in two parts — one agitated by the mode of ignorance and the other agitated by the modes of passion and goodness. Due to agitation by the mode of ignorance, the five gross elements are created. Due to agitation by the mode of passion, the mind is created, and due to agitation by the mode of goodness, false egoism, or identification with matter, is created. The mind is protected by a particular type of demigod. Sometimes the mind (manah) is also understood to have a controlling deity or demigod. In this way the total mind, namely the material mind controlled by material demigods, was amalgamated with the senses. The senses, in turn, were amalgamated with the sense objects. The sense objects are forms, tastes, smells, sounds, etc. Sound is the ultimate source of the sense objects. The mind was attracted by the senses and the senses by the sense objects, and all of them were ultimately amalgamated in the sky. The creation is so arranged that cause and effect follow one after the other. The merging process involves amalgamating the effect with the original cause. Since the ultimate cause in the material world is mahat-tattva, everything was gradually wound up and amalgamated with the mahat-tattva. This may be compared to sunya-vada, or voidism, but this is the process for cleansing the real spiritual mind, or consciousness. When the mind is completely washed of all material contamination, the pure consciousness acts. The sound vibration from the spiritual sky can automatically cleanse all material contaminations, as confirmed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu: ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. We need only take the advice of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and chant the Hare Krsna mantra to cleanse the mind of all material contamination, and this may be considered the summary of this difficult verse. As soon as the whole material contamination is washed away by this process of chanting, all desires and reactions to material activities become immediately vanquished, and real life, peaceful existence, begins. In this age of Kali it is very difficult to adopt the yogic process mentioned in this verse. Unless one is very expert in such yoga, the best course is to adopt the ways and means of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, sri-krsna-sankirtanam. Thus one can gloriously become freed from all material contamination by the simple process of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Just as life in this material world has its beginning in material sound, similarly a spiritual life has its beginning in this spiritual sound vibration. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.23.18]

HH Rasamrta Swami: Hare Krishna. As Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport this is a difficult passage. It is hard to understand intellectually how the process that is being described here actually works. It is really not possible to comprehend it in the way that we would like to with our experience of this world. Even the material world cannot be really understood. What then to speak of the spiritual world? Nevertheless very mercifully the Lord has given us the Srimad-Bhagavatam which contains information that we can somehow try to assimilate and grasp as much as we can. And by the mercy of the Lord and the acaryas these things will be revealed.

This chapter is entitled, ‘Maharaj Prthu’s Going Back Home.’ There are numerous such examples mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam of such glorious departures. Prthu Maharaja himself, a saktyaves-avatara who was endowed with praja palana-sakti – the power to maintain the praja of the citizens has made his life perfect and is headed back to the spiritual world. However Prthu Maharaja’s example is not the only one. In fact there are so many other examples like Bhismadev, Dhruva Maharaj and so on who’s successful and glorious passing away has been described here in this text. What then to speak of Maharaj Pariksit – because of whom the whole Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken? Simply by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam one can make one’s life successful as Pariksit Mahara did.

Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport here that the process of yoga that is being described in these passages that Prthu Maharaj followed is not possible for us to follow in this day and age. For us the process primarily is to chant the holy names of the Lord and to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. Indeed this is what Sukadev Goswami immediately answered to King Pariksit. When King Pariksit asked the very important questions, “What is the duty of a man who is about to die? What should he remember? What should he worship?” And so on. Promptly Sukadev Goswami answered:

tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavan isvaro harih srotavyah kirtitavyas ca smartavyas cecchatabhayam [SB 2.1.5]

He said for one who wants to be fearless – because generally everyone is fearful of death. So if one wants to be fearless even in the face of death then one must hear about, chant about, remember, glorify and worship The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. So this process of hearing and chanting insures a successful passing away from this world and entrance into the realm of the Lord in the Vaikuntha planets.

Today also happens to be the disappearance day anniversary of Srila Madhvacarya – another glorious passing away. So although there is much to talk about in this verse and purport but Srila Madhvacrya is a very important acarya for us and we come in his sampradaya we will discuss a few things about his teachings and pastimes. There is also a lot to say about Srila Madhvacarya. Nevertheless given the limitation of time we will try to at least enumerate some of the noteworthy pastimes.

We as Gaudiya Vaisnavas are connected to the Brahma Madhva Sampradaya. So we are called the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. There are four Vaisnava sampradayas originating from the Supreme Lord but the primary source of each of them are firstly Sri or Laxmi – from whom comes the Sri Sampradaya. Ramanuja Acarya is considere the main acarya in this line. Then from the four Kumaras comes the Kumara Sampradaya. And Nimbarkacarya is considered the primary acarya in this. Then there is the Rudra Sampradaya, starting from Lord Siva. Visnuswami is considered the primary acarya in this sampradaya although Vallabacarya is also highly regarded by modern followers in this sampradaya. Then we have the sampradaya started by Lord Brahma. The main acarya in this sampradaya is Madhvacarya.

Madhvacarya’s sampraday continues on and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu – because of Whom we are called Gaudiyas, connected Himself to the Madhava Samparadaya through Madhavendra Puri who was His param-guru. Mahaprabhu took initiation from Srila Isvara Puri who in turn took initiation from Srila Madhavendra Puri. Madhavendr Puri it is said took initiation from Laxmipati Tirtha who guru was Vyasa Tirtha and so on in the Madhva line.

So there appears to be an interesting change at this point when Madhavendra Puri comes into the picture because until that time love of God in the mood of Vrindavan, ecstatic spontaneous love in the mood of Vrindavan, specifically in the sringara or madhurya rasa, the conjugal mood was not known in the Madhva Sampradaya. It began with Srila Madhavendra Puri. And then Isvara Puri and Mahaprabhu and all Mahaprabhu’s followers. So in a sense we can say that the Gaudiya Sampradaya is like a fifth Sampradaya. Nevertheless the Lord maintains the program or the arrangement the He has created for this world.

The Lord Himself doesn’t need to connect Himself to any sampradaya but nevertheless to set the example for the sake of authenticity if at all it was needed he connected Himself through Madhavendra Puri to the Madhva Sampradaya. So this is our sampradaya – The Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya
– one of the four Vaisnava sampradayas.

This material world is sometimes compared to a deep dark well and as conditioned souls we are all deep within this well. The four Vaisnava sampradayas represent the four ropes – so to speak – that are released into this well so that those who have fallen into this well may hold on to it and climb out of the well. In other words the four Vaisnava Sampradayas are bona fide via media for us to transcend the bondage of this material world and go back to the spiritual world. So the Vaisnava sampradayas are very important for us to know.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakura (down the road we will see it in his matha. Here he established the deities of the four sampradaya acaryas inoder to establish that Vaisnavism was indeed bona fide. And also that the path that he was propagating was also bona fide because it was connected to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and also these acaryas.

As opposed to the Vaisnava acaryas or the Vaisnava schools of thought there is the Mayavad school of thought. There is some common ground between the Mayavad schools and the Vaisnava schools. The two essential points of common ground in the two are: 1. That both accept the Vedas. The Buddhists didn’t. That was one of the prime preaching points of Buddha when he came. 2. Both accept an ultimate absolute spiritual reality which the Buddhists don’t.

The Buddists philosophy is called sunyavad which means void or zero. Everything is void. Everything is illusion. Nothing exists. The Mayavad philosophy in accordance with the principles taught in Sariraka-bhasya of Sankaracarya emphasised that there is an absolute reality or spiritual reality. So the common ground is there but the differences are many and very, very significant and it is for the devotee very important to know these differences so that one does not get misled, for example even though the Mayavadi’s accept the Vedas but they primarily accept as evidence or pramana only the sruti pramana and the Upanisad and the Sutra but they don’t really give much importance to the Puransa and the Itihasyas – the smrti sastra. It is not considered very highly by them but Vaisnavas give great importance to the Puranas in addition to the other scriptures.

Secondly when it comes to the point of the absolute spiritual reality there is a difference in terms of how we view that spiritual reality and also in how we view the material world. How do the Mayavadis deal with the diversity or the variegatedness that is found within this world if everything is one? Their philosophy is monistic, monism or everything is one. So if everything is one how does one explain the infinite variety that we see within this world? They explain it away by saying that it is all illusion.

In the ultimate analysis on the platform of knowledge and liberation there is no variety, there is no differentiation. Therefore they say brahma satyam jagan mithya – that the only reality is Brahman, that impersonal spiritual light and this material world is illusion and everything else within it is illusion. But the Vaisnava do not accept that. The Vaisnavas accept the material world as real but the material energy undergoes many, many transformations.

When we identify with the names and forms of this world that is the illusion. When we consider the body as ourselves that is illusion, but the material energy, the cosmic manifestation itself is not illusory. Furthermore the Vaisnavas also go beyond the understanding of the ultimate absolute truth as being just an impersonal light.

Now we will come to the four Vaisnava sampradayas. Why are there four different Vaisnava sampradayas? Because there are some subtle differences philosophically, theologically between these four. We will not get into the details of that in this class but so far as to say there is a lot of common ground between these four sampradayas – a lot of common ground. Specifically all the four Vaisnava sampradayas together differ from the Mayavadis in the understanding not only of the ultimate Absolute Truth but also the process of getting there and what happens after liberation. While the Mayavadis think that the Absolute Truth is only an impersonal light. The Vaisnavas understand the impersonal light is merely the effulgence from the transcendental body of the Lord. It is not wrong to say that the impersonal effulgence is the Absolute Truth but it is not the complete understanding.

So all the four Vaisnava sampradays understand that the Absolute Truth is ultimately a person – a Supreme Person, a transcendental Supreme Person. He is called Krishna, Visnu, Narayana and so on. Also a very important difference is that the Vaisnavas from all the four sampradayas emphasise eternal servitude to the Lord as the eternal function of the jiva or the soul whereas the Mayavadis do not emphasise that. They say that once the individual living entity attains the platform of liberation he merges into the Brahman and extinguishes his individuality. But the Vaisnavas say that the individuality is eternally maintained and one is eternally the servant of the Lord even after liberation. In fact it is after liberation that our real business begins of serving the Lord purely. So the conceptions of service and liberation also differ from the Vaisnava sampradayas on one hand and the Mayavadis on the other hand.

Among the four Vaisnava sampradayas also some differences may be there. You see even before Sankaracarya came about a thousand plus years ago Visnu swami had already advented in the Rudra sampradaya. And he had put forwarded his theology or his philosophy if suddha advaita vada – pure monism. This pure monism was also devotional. It was not monism in the way that Sankacarya would later present it. Sankara’s teachings of the Sariraka-bhasya, he tried to counteract that by presenting kevala avaita vada. He propounded the monistic idea that brahma satyam jagan mithya – the Absolute Truth is simply impersonal. There is no variegatedness – nirvisesa
– no variety, no differentiation.

Soon after Sankara came Ramaunjacarya. Ramanuja propounded the visistadvaita-vada siddhanta – the philosophy of qualified or specific oneness visistadvaita – in which he said, “Yes i accept there is oneness butin this oneness also there is individuality. There is differentiation – visesa.” So there is specific monism differentiated monism: God, His expansions and His energies are all one in one sense but They also have Their distinct individualities. So that is differentiation as well. So Ramanujacarya qualified Sankara’s oneness by saying that there is also differentiation.

Later came Madhva and then of course we had also Nimbarkacarya who was also there. Nimbarkacaryas philosophy is called dvaitadvaita-vada. It is the middle-way between Sankara and Madhva’s philosphies – dvaitadvaita-vada. And Madhva was the other extreme to the Mayavadis. When the Mayavadis said kevala-advaita – only oneness, Madhva said suddha dvaita – only duality. So they are two extremes. Now we should not confuse the two. Visnu Swami said suddha advaita and Madhva said suddhadvaita. Both are Vaisnava theologies. Nevertheless in Madhvacaryas presentation he emphasised very greatly on the distinction between the Lord and everything else.

He said the Lord is the Absolute truth and the other truths are dependant truths. The other two truths are matter and the soul. The concept of these three truths he also accepted as Ramanuja had said. Ramanuja emphasised these three truths. So Madhvacarya said the Lord on the one hand is the independent Absolute Truth and the other two categories are dependant truths. Then he propounded the philosophical distinction between these prapanca – five kinds of differences: 1. The difference between the soul and the Lord. 2. The difference between two souls because two souls are individual souls, unique in their individuality. 3. The difference between the souls and matter. 4. The difference between matter and the Lord. 5. And the difference between different material objects which are endowed with different qualities, gunas. So in this way he gave a lot of emphasis to the distinction between the Lord. So on one extreme you have the kevaladvaita and the other extreme you have Madhvas dvaitavada. Caitanya Mahaprabhu of course presented His famous acintya bheda-and-abheda-tattva in which He harmonised everything by speaking about the simultaneous and inconceivable oneness and difference. Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the course of His travels after taking sannyasa visited Udipi, the headquarters of the Madhva sampradaya. He interacted with some of the sannyasis and the priests there. And Kaviraj Gosvami refers to the followers of Madhvacarya as tattva-vadis. Srila Prabhupada is his purport in that section of the Caitanya-caritamrta mentions how the Upanisads and the other Vedic scriptures actually describe the personal form of the Lord but the Mayavadis adopt the laksanavrtti or the method of taking out indirect meanings of these verses and the arrive at a faulty conclusion that the Absolute Truth is ultimately impersonal. Therefore they take shelter of Mayavada or illusion because they think everything is illusion. Ultimately they save that even the Lords form is illusion. That when the Lord descends into this world he accepts a body that is made of material elements. That is the meaning of the word Mayavad.

Madhvacarya propagated tattva-vada. He took shelter of tattva, not of maya. So the followers of Madhvacrya are called tattva-vadis. Srila Prabhupada in the Caianya-caritamrta also has given an amazing description of the life of Srila Madhvacarya in which he has briefly mentioned some of the pastimes. Because the pastimes are too numerous he mentioned many of the important ones but briefly.

The Madhvas accept Madhvacarya as an incarnation of Vayu – the demigod in charge of wind. They say that in Treta Yuga Vayu came as Hanuman, in Dvarpa Yuga he came as Bhima and in Kali Yuga he came as Madhvacarya. And because Vayu is a great devotee of the Lord he is also a great scholar and he is also additionally very strong physically. So Madhvacarya had all this. He was a great devotee, a great scholar and he was also physically very, very strong. So the followers of Madhvacarya call him Mukhya-prana – another name for Vayu. So for them the Mahabharata is a very important scripture. They also worship Hanuman and Bhima especially. So let us talk a little bit about the life and some of the pastimes of Madhvacarya.

Madhvacarya’s advent was principally to counter and defeat the Mayavad conclusions. In South India despite Ramanujacarya’s aggressive preaching for many years and very potent dissemination of the principle of pure bhakti there was still Mayavad that was well entrenched. And the Mayavadis were also becoming very aggressive and they were spreading like anything everywhere. So Madhvacarya’s purpose of advent was essentially to be like a connecting link between Sankara and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu if one looks at it like that.

The whole emphasis of his teachings was on countering Mayavad. Therefore we see in the Madhva sampradaya you would constantly hear the brahmanas if you are hearing them discuss countering this aspect of Mayavad and that aspect. So hammer and tongs he went after the Mayavad philosophy and he engaged in debates all through his life to establish the devotional conclusion.

He was born some distance from Udipi. Udipd is a town in southern coastal region of Kanarada State of South India. Many of you may have been there. There is a famous temple called Sri Krishna Math there where there is a deity of Bala Krishna that was obtained by Madhvacarya. We will talk about it shortly.

Twelve miles away from Udipi there is a village called Pajaka-ksetra. His father’s name was Madhyageha Bhatta – who was a brahmana of the Sivalli-brahmana community. He would worship Anantesvara who was an unusual form of the Lord in the form of a Siva-linga but was actually Lord Visnu. An Hari-Hara deity. The Anantesvara temple is very famous in that part. Just alongside it is another famous temple of Lord Siva called Chandramauli Isvara temple.

So Madhyageha Bhatta would regularly visit the Anantesvara temple and he would see the Sivalinga as Lord Visnu. One day at the time of the auspicious Makar Sankranthi festival thousands of people had gathered at Anantesvara temple. All of a sudden one man who seemed to be mentally deranged climbed up the flagpole that was at the entrance of the temple and he began to shout and scream and spread his hands as if he was a madman. After he had managed to attract the attention of everybody who were all standing and looking up at him he calmed down and began to speak that, “Very shortly the god Vayu would advent himself here in Udipi and he will spread the philosophy of pure devotion and he will refute very strongly and very convincingly the principles of Mayavad as enunciated by the various preachers here in South India. No longer will the devotees of lord Visnu have to hear blasphemous statements that the lord has no form, senses and so on. Now devotees will be able to live joyously.” Having made this proclamation the man descended and disappeared into the crowds and nobody knew who he was and where he went.

Such episodes were fairly common at that time in that part of the country where it is said by folklore that Anantesvara would enter the body of certain people whom He selected, (They might have been just ordinary people) and He would make proclamations or make prophetic statements.

So Madhyageha Bhatta was one of those that were there in that assembly at that time but little did he know that he would be the father of this child. Soon he was married to Vedavatidevi, a very chaste and young lady from a brahmana family. Both were very devoted. They did not have an offspring for some time so they decided to perform austerities to please Lord Anantesvara. They fasted on milk and so on for twelve long years. They would go daily to Anantesvara temple. At the end of twelve years finally they had a son.

At the time of his appearance there were all auspicious symptoms that appeared. The astrologers came and they were astonished to see an exceptional horoscope. The child also had thirty-two symptoms that a great personality has. They all prophesized that he would be a great personality just like Bhima and Hanuman and that he would very strongly preach the principles of pure devotion to the Supreme Lord.

Madhyageha Bhatta was very happy to hear this and so he celebrated a festival and many, many people came. As much as he could afford he gave away things in charity and so on. He was an exceptional child. Right from childhood there were all kinds of miracles that happened. Soon after the prescribed period, when the contamination period was over then Madhyageha Bhatta decided to take the child, Vasudev to Anantesvara temple. There was some people with him as he went.

On the return journey after having went and shown the child to Anantesvara and let the child have darsan of Anantesvara they got late and it was night when they were walking back through the forest, back to Pajaka-ksetra. There was a ghost who was living in a tree in the forest and he possessed one of the people who was accompanying Madhyageha Bhatta and it was a frightening situation for them and Madhvacarya who was then only a small child was called Vasudev, he was very helpless – just newborn baby in the arms of his mother.

The ghost who had possessed that man began to speak through the man and said, “No other mantras or chanting is going to help you. If you want me to leave this man’s body then place the feet of your child on this man’s head.” Madhyageha Bhatta was extremely fearful to do that bu nevertheless he did that. The moment he touched the feet of the child to the man’s head the ghost disappeared. So Madhyageha Bhatta understood that great things were in store for his son and that this child was definitely not an ordinary child.

Because he was Bhima he had a voracious appetite and he would continue to eat all and drink all day long and his mother couldn’t keep up to feed him the milk that he needed from her body. Once when he was still only drinking mother’s milk his mother went out of the house on some errand and she told her daughter who was also a very small girl, “Look after Vasudev till i come back. I will be back in a few minutes.” Vasudev began to feel hungry and he started crying. The little girl was perplexed. She did not know how to pacify him and she also started crying and she was looking around and her mother hadn’t come back. Eventually she did not know what to do. She had to give him something. So there was some sacks of grains that were kept there to feed the bull that was in the house. So she just gave him some grains to somehow pacify him and very happily he started to eat the grains and he ate the whole sack. [Laughter] When the mother came back and she saw what had happened she was alarmed (and that may be an understatement.) Madhyageha Bhatta also came and she said, “What is going to happen? He has eaten enough grains that even aa full grown bull cannot eat! Still he seems to be happy and smiling as if nothing can happen.” The biographer of Madhvacarya – Narayanacarya mentions that this was the most extraordinary annaprasana ceremony.

Generally children are given grains and there is a big ceremony andthen one grain is given and then it is a big thing made out of it. And just one grain! But here he had a whole sack of grains that was meant to be cow fodder. So Mahvacarya did it in grand fashion. Another time as he was growing up he asked his father for food. He was constantly asking for food! And his father said, “Look there is no food now. I borrowed money from one man to buy a new bull and this man is waiting on the doorstep. He wants his money and he will not leave the doorstep until I pay him. But I don’t have money to pay him so I have to fast today.” Vasudev said, “Father don’t worry. I will see that his debt is discharged.”

So he went into the backyard of the house where there was a tamarind tree. As a child he would play with these tamarind seeds. They are quite shiny seeds. Children like to play with them for those of you who may have seen the tamarind seeds. He got together a whole bunch of them – a sack of them and he called this man in. He said, “Come in. I will give you your payment.” And he help out some tamarind seeds to give him.

The man was surprised but just to humour the child he extended his palms forward. When they fell into his hand he saw it had become gold coins. He was struck with wonder but did not stay to argue. He fled from there in case the boy changed his mind or something else happened to that because the value of that gold was much more than the value of the bull. After some time he came back and thanked Madhyageha Bhatta saying, “Your son has given me so much payment – much more than what I gave you and it is also enough to cover all the interest and everything for the very, very late payment that you are making me.” So Madhyageha Bhatta was astonished when he heard the story.

One by one pastimes like this began to unfold. Actually when he was only about three and a half years old, his parents had gone off to some other place. He disappeared from their midst and walked two and a half kilometres to Ananteswara temple and came back. Actually they had to go there to find him because he disappeared. Three and a half year old child finding his way through a forest and going to Anantesvara temple! So his father was in constant anxiety about where the child would be because he had this nature of moving everywhere.

He was also very precautious. He was a genius child from childhood. Even at that age, around four or so when the Vidyaramba was done, the process where the child is made to write some alphabets for the first time, he learnt it just by hearing it once. Whenever his father asked him to recite the syllables one after the other, he said, “Father, don’t make me repeat. I know it.” Because one time he would hear it and he would remember it. And the father was astonished to see the intelligence of this boy. This went on like this. He very quickly grasped everything that a person had to teach him. He was quiet a protege.

One time he was sitting in a discourse where one brahmana was speaking on some Purana and he made some deviations from the original story and the little boy Vasudev who was only about four years old raised his hand and pointed out some corrections. He said, “Actually the story is not like this. It should be like that.” And he elaborated. Everyone was struck with wonder. He went back home and asked his father, “I spoke like this. The pandit was saying like that. Was I correct?” And the father said, “Yes you were correct. Your version was right.”

One time he even corrected his father who was speaking on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. There was a verse in which he was describing different types of trees like the banyan tree, the neem tree, the mango tree and so on. He missed out one tree – the likucha tree. He asked the father, “Father you missed out something. You missed out the likucha tree.” And the other people that were listening said, “Yes, yes. Please explain to us what this is.” And Madhyageha Bhatta could not answer. Young Vasudev said, “Actually my dear father you are just a pretender. You don’t even know about this. This likucha tree is actually a lemon tree.” Madhyageha Bhatta was astonished. Everyday such pastimes would take place and Madhyageha Bhatta understood how exceptional his son was.

Normally the sacred thread ceremony in traditional brahmana homes takes place when the child is about eight years old but understanding the nature of the boy, how precautious he was, they had it at five years. Very quickly he mastered all the rituals, the mantras that a braahmana is supposed to do, including the Sandhya-vandanam prayers, chanted the Gayatri mantras and so on. He seemed effulgent.

One time he was playing with his friends on a nearby hill and there was a huge snake who was in his previous life a demon called Maniman whom Bhima had killed. He wanted to reap vengeance and appeared as a snake and wanted to kill Madhvacarya. He pounced on Madhvacarya and he bit him. The children fled in fear to tell the elders. Meanwhile young Vasudev simply put his toe on the head of Maniman and killed him. Today if you go to Pajakasetra, some distance away from the house (Madhvacarya’s house is still there) there is a depression in the stone where you actually see the impression of the toe of Madhvacarya as he crushed the head of that snake.

His mother Vedavati-devi became very anxious and she was calling out loudly for him. He heard her from a large distance and in just one jump reached her because after all he is Vayu. So Vayu did not have a problem. He just leaped and came in front of his mother. There are numerous such instances and episodes but of course time does not permit us. I’ll just skip/jump straight to the time when he took sannyasa. He was only twelve years old. The spirit of renunciation blazed brightly in his heart. His father was heartbroken when he saw that he was associating with Acyutapreksa – a Vaisnava sannyasi who was living nearby. He approached Acyutapreksa and said, “Please don’t give my son sannyasa. He is my only son.”

Onetime however Madhvacarya or rather Vasudev was preparing to take sannyasa Madhyageha Bhatta heard this and he came running and he pleaded with his son, “Please, we are alone. We are old. We have no one to look after us.” Finally Madhvacarya replied, “All right. I will stay ’til such time you have another son.” So he postponed his sannyasa ceremony. Within a few months his mother was pregnant again and there was a son and as per the agreement his mother had to give the blessings. The father was still unwilling. The father actually even fell at his feet and Vasudev replied, “This is you blessing because a father will never fall at the feet of his son unless he is a sannyasi.”

So eventually the father relented and he went and took sannyasa from Acyutapreksa. He was called Purnaprajna Tirtha. He was very brilliant. He established many, many conclusions. He defeated many, many great scholars in debate. He especially engaged in debate with the Mayavadi scholars. In those days there was a custom in these debate competitions. Just like nowadays we have Olympics and physical sports, in those days they had these debate contests in which great scholars would come together and debate on very abstract philosophical points. There was a proper method. There would be judges and people would judge who was the winner. So he defeated all these great Mayavadi scholars. Time went by. (I am really jumping through the whole life.)

I would just like to speak about the Udipi temple itself. One time he felt joyful within himself and understood that something special was going to happen. Something really wonderful was to happen. By this time he was much elder in age and he decided to walk to the beach. He walked there at night and he stayed there. Soon there was a huge storm. There was a boat that was there. The boat got stuck in the coral reef. The people in the boat were in great anxiety. They called out for help. Madhvacarya took his sannyasa staff, tied his upper cloth to the end of it and waved it to control the air and he breathed in deep. Low and behold what happened? The storm subsided and the boat was pulled in towards the shore away from the coral reef.

The captain of the ship who was a merchant was very grateful. He came forward to Madhvacarya and offered him whatever daksina or gift that he wanted. Madhvacarya asked him what was in the boat. There was various types of merchandise. Madhvacarya was not interested in that. He asked him, “Where are you coming from?” He said, “Dvaraka.” Then he said, “Do you have gopi-chandan?” He said, “Yes indeed. I do. In fact we have lots of it. We use it as a ballast.” You know what is a ballast? You use it as a heavy weight at the bottom of a ship to balance it so that it doesn’t topple over.

So there was a lot of ballast. So he went and said, “Let me choose it.” So he went down and he selected a particular big block of chandan. There were many sailors in that boat. Narayana Acarya and … the biographer says that fifty sailors couldn’t lift it but Madhvacarya lean over and lifted it up like Hanuman was lifting the Gandhamadana hill. The sailors were dumbstruck. They couldn’t understand how this sannyasi could do such a thing.

He carried this gopi-chandan back which was very, very heavy. As he was walking back one part of the gopi-chandan broke off and fell to the ground and miraculously it revealed the deity of Balaram. He installed the deity there in the temple. The place is called Malpe. This temple still exists there. Lord Balarama’s deity is still there. Unfortunately many of the modern madhava’s don’t accept Balaram as the Supreme Lord. They think He is a jiva. That is another issue. But anyway the temple of Balaram is there.

Then he went on near the Anantesvara temple and there was a small lake there. He placed the chandan in that lake. The chandan dissolved and again from that there emerged a deity of Krishna. Actually as Madhvacarya had been walking to the sea and back he composed his famous Dwadasha Stotram – twelve prayers in glorification of Krishna. He completed the composition on the way back when he was carrying the gopi-chandan. So this deity of Krishna was a form of baby Krishna who was standing in one arm carrying a rope to bind the cows and the other hand a cow herding stick. So he installed the deity there and many people came forward after seeing this miracle but he just preferred to build a small temple because he didn’t want to have the temple of Anantesvara and Chandramaulisvara eclipsed by this temple. And also because he did not want it to become for people to take trouble to come stand in line and take darsan and so on. Since then the Sri Krishna Math in Udipi started.

There is a nice history that comes down from aural tradition of these deities Krishna and Balarama. We all know that even though Krishna was born of Mother Devaki and Vasudev in Mathura but they never enjoyed His childhood pastimes because Mother Yasoda and Nanada Maharaja in Vrindavan did so. So Mother Devaki was always lamenting that she never got a chance to see the childhood pastimes of Krishna.

Eventually when Krishna came to Dvaraka, mother Devaki expressed this desire to see Krishna’s childhood form and pastimes. Krishna is Bhaktavatsala – very affectionate to His devotees. So he wanted to fulfil the desire of His mother. So He transformed Himself into a child – into baby Krishna and then drank her milk. Then He began to crawl and do all the things that he would do when He was in Vrindavan. He manifested the grinding mortar. Mother Devaki was grinding and he would come up and hold the grinding rod and hold her hand and so on. Then she would give Him some butter and He would eat. This was going on in front of the astonished Devaki’s eyes. In this way with the unfolding of this pastime mother Devaki’s heart was completely satiated. Now she was satisfied having seen and participated in the childhood pastimes of Krishna.

Rukminidevi also heard about this and she also wanted to see. The mother may see the son as a child. That is the nature of the mother. However old the son is the mother still thinks the son as a child. But if the wife had to see the son as a child that is something strange. So Krishna then wanted to fulfil Rukmini Devi’s desire. So He summoned Visvakarma the heavenly architect from the heavenly planets and He said, “Please carve out – go to Gandaki River in Nepal. Get two suitably large shaligrama shilas from there and carve out My deity and a deity of My elder brother Balaram.”

So Visvakarma did that. He carved out one fairly large set of deities of Krishna Balarama and another small one which was given to Mother Devaki. It is said that Uddhava took the smaller deity to Vrindavan but then somehow They were lost. Nobody knows where those smaller deities are. The larger deities were worshipped by Rukmini Devi. On one hand she served her husband Krishna personally physically in Dvaraka and on the other hand she also worshipped these deities of Krishna and Balarama. Time went on.

Krishna eventually performed His disappearance pastime and at that time Arjuna took these deities and placed Them in Rukminivana. In course of time They got buried over by mud and so on. Many, many years passed. Actually couple of thousands of years passed and the merchants were looking for some ballast. They cut out the gopi-chandan from there and placed it as a ballast in the boat and that is how these deities came to Udipi. So the history of the Krishna deity and the Balarama deity is that originally They were worship by Rukmini Devi. They were personally ordered by Lord Krishna. So those Deities are very special.

There is a lot of culture there in Udipi. Those of you that want to get acquainted more and more with traditional culture there is still some of it remaining over there Madhvacarya established very strongly the devotional methods, processes of worship and so on. He established eight Maths and he had eight disciples he gave sannyasa to and made each of them the heads of these Maths. The Astamathas are still going on. Each of these sannyasis takes one disciple who is a sannyasi who then becomes the next acarya and so on.

Madhvacarya disappearance was equally dramatic. He was sitting at the Anantesvara temple giving a lecture on his lifelong favourite scripture the Aitareya Upanisad and he decided the time had come for him to depart. Even as he was discoursing on this scripture he suddenly disappeared. The asana on which he was sitting on when he disappeared is still preserved and when one goes to the Anantesvara temple there is a window through which you can look in to see that asana. We are not allowed to enter that room.

So on this tithi, on this day approximately seven hundred years ago Madhvacarya disappeared. Today is his disappearance day and we can pray at the lotus feet of Srila Madhvacarya to bless us with pure devotion to the Supreme Lord so that we can follow in his footsteps and achieve the success of this life. Thank you very much. Sorry i went on ’til late. I wanted to especially talk about the deity pastimes. Srila Madhvacarya ki! Jai! Grantaraj srimad Bhagavatam Ki! Jai Srila Prabhupada Ki! Jai! Gaurapremanande Hari-haribol. Hare Krishna. [End] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to]


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I am very grateful to be with all of you, thank you for being here. Bhakti Vinod Thakur has written that the difficulties endured in his service to the Lord, for the pleasure of the Lord, is his greatest happiness.

“Material life is when we put the flickering pleasures and securities of the mind and the senses in the center of our lives, our decisions, our aspirations, our goals are according. Spiritual life or true bhakti is when we put the pleasures of God or Krishna in the center of our life— what pleases Krishna, all of our decisions, our aspirations are orchestrated accordingly.” –Radhanath Swami

“Of course we have bodies, we have minds, and they are gifts of Krishna, so for Krishna’s pleasure, we should keep our gifts as far as possible in good conditions, but for the purpose of being instruments of service.” –Radhanath Swami

Here in Udupi, Sripad Madhavacharya, he taught the path of bhakti in a way that is revolutionary at that time. Because even people who were sincere were so much affected by impersonalistic philosophical arguments. They were so all-pervading that the general population and even the scholars were very confused. He taught that the jiva, the individual soul, is an eternal servant of the paramatma, the supreme soul. And the constitutional nature of the atma is seva or service— to serve with love. That the absolute truth, Narayan, Krishna, his body is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.

Radhanath Swami on Love for Krishna



In Srimad Bhagvatam, in one particular verse, it explains so many mysteries that people fight about, argue about and confused about in regard to the nature of God.

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

That learned transcendentalists, they understand that there is one absolute truth and that one absolute truth eternally has three features: brahman, paramatama and bhagvan. The all-pervading energy, brahman, which is like a light, that is everywhere within and outside of everything that exists both in material and spiritual worlds. Paramatma, the Lord that personally, out of love for all of his children, appears in the heart of every living being. And Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate object of everyone’s love, who is supremely lovable, who performs pastimes forever in the spiritual world and those pastimes inconceivably include every living being. Just like in this little yatra of ours, I was told that there is about 4,500 people gathered together in this little tent and when we want to go to holy places we have to divide up in so many groups because so many buses and so many crowds and so much traffic and when you want darshan, you have to stand in line, sometimes for prasad you have to stand in line, so some inconveniences. In the spiritual world, Krishna, the Supreme lover, nobody has to stand in line, there are limitless devotees, literally countless devotees, four thousand five hundreds, ten thousand, hundred thousand, million thousands, million million, billion billion, billion quadrillions, nothing, that is just a drop. Limitless devotees in the spiritual world, in so many forms and each one is unique.

achintya–bheda–abheda tattva

We are all one, in the sense we are all of the same substance, we are all part of Krishna.

mamaivamsho jiva loke jiva bhuta sanatana

“Eternally we are a part of Krishna. We are sat-chit-ananda, eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss. Krishna is the reservoir of all love and, being qualitatively part of Krishna, our eternal natural substance is to love, to serve. Quantitatively, Kirshna is the complete whole and we are the parts. Krishna is the Supreme master and we are the eternal servants.

Now in the material world being a servant is considered a lesser position. Vrindavan das Thakur, he gives us a beautiful insight into this idea. He explains how, higher than being a president, prime minister, king, higher than attaining all the eight mystic siddhis of the yogis that takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of births to achieve, higher than elevation to the heavenly worlds where there is such a long life of health and beauty and the most inconceivable ways to enjoy, higher than even liberation is to actually receive the title, das, servant of the Lord, because none of those other positions could actually satisfy the heart, the soul because they are unnatural. They are actually foreign to our nature because the nature of the soul ananda mayo bhyasat, is seeking eternal happiness and all of these things have beginning and an end and all are limited. But in the true sense, service is an expression of love. It is the highest thing we could receive. And therefore we find in Srimad Bhagvatam, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Chaitanya Charitamrita and in the lives of so many historical saints, it’s the only thing they pray for, is to serve with love.

na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isha kamaye
mama janmani janmanishvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki twayi

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered this prayer, and in doing so, set the standard of what we should be praying for, striving for in our life. “My Lord you can bestow upon me anything. I don’t want wealth, power, fame of being a great scholar, I don’t want followers, I don’t want the optimum sensual pleasures, not even liberation. I only want to serve you birth after birth after birth— unconditionally.”

anukulyena k???anu-
silana? bhaktir uttama

Lord Chaitanya, he personally wrote these eight Sikshatakam verses and he spoke so many deep instructions to his followers. He especially requested Rupa Goswami and Santan Goswami to extract the very essence of all the knowledge of all the vedas, pure devotional service to Sri Sri Radha Krishna in Vrindavan, and write books. And the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu describes, in great detail, what is the ultimate goal and how to achieve it. And he begins with this verse, that true devotion bhakti, real love, is untainted by any desires for material acquisition, even mystic powers or liberation.

samsiddhir hari-tosanam

its object is simply for the pleasure of Krishna. Srimad Bhagvatam explains it in such a simple way, that when you water the root of the tree, that water naturally extends to nourish every part of the tree.

Janmasya yathah

The absolute truth, who has many names, whose all attractive form is Krishna, is the root of all existence, from whom everything and everyone emanates.

“When we offer our love, our service to Krishna, it naturally extends everywhere. Universal love, in this sense, is natural for the soul. When we love Krishna we see everything in relation to Krishna and actually our love for Krishna extends accordingly.” –Radhanath Swami

A few days ago, in Kishkinta Kshetra, we celebrated Govardhan Puja where the Brajvasis, according to their tradition, they were following practices that was very much recommended in authorized scriptures to honor Indra, the Deva who supplies water. Because when we receive, we should understand that we are depending on a higher power, we should be grateful and we should reciprocate. But when you water the root of the tree, when you satisfy Krishna, every single demigod is fully satisfied, because they are all like flowers and fruits of the tree of Krishna. And our mothers and our fathers and our grandparents and great grandparents, all of our forefathers and ancestors and everyone, we offer the highest love to all of them, and to every living being, because whatever they have and whoever they are, they are always parts of Krishna. And to love Krishna is not something theoretical, its something practical.

“In the spiritual world, all the limitless living beings, who are in their pure spiritual forms, they are all feeling Krishna’s personal intimate presence. Time is conspicuous by its absence in the spiritual world, but for our calculation, 24 hours a day for all of eternity, in other words, at all times.” –Radhanath Swami

No one has to stand in a line to meet Krishna. When Krishna was sitting on the banks of Yamuna with cowherd boys, there were limitless cowherd boys, and each and every one of them was thinking that Krishna is only looking at me. Not just for a moment, the whole afternoon they were thinking like that. And they were all right, because Krishna was looking at all of them. Now how is that possible? He only had one head and he only had two eyes, but this is his achintya swarupa, inconceivable form. With his two eyes, he can see all living beings everywhere in all spiritual and material worlds.


When our eyes are decorated with love, then we can see Krishna, and we know that Krishna is always with us.

Radhanath Swami Addresses the Mayavadi Misconception

So Madhavacharya, here in Udupi, he wanted to establish this principle, that we have a personal relationship with Krishna and love is forever but the predominating philosophy is whatever yoga you may perform, ultimately it is meant to bring you to overcome the false ego and when there is no more false ego, you realize everything of this world is illusion and you become God, aham brahma asmi. The actual teaching of aham brhamasmi means I am part of God. I am of the same substance of God, and I could be godly if I make that connection. But to become God, Srila Prabhupad would say, “How do you become God? God is always God.” Well, I have always been God, but I just forgot. Param brahma, param dhama, Arjuna when he sees Krishna, he says, you are the supreme brahman, you are the supreme abode.

mayaa adhyakshena prakritih
suuyate sa charaacharam

I am the controller of the material existence.

tum he sarvesvara

I am the controller of all controllers. God doesn’t forget. God is never under the influence of maya and sometimes in Krishna’s pastimes, when it appears that he forgets, sometimes, it appears he forgets that he is God, when mother Yasoda picks up stick and says “Krishna, why did you steal this butter?” and Krishna is crying and he is saying, “No, no I didn’t steal it.” She said, “I saw you stealing it.” “Ok I stole it but please put down your stick!” Is he pretending? He is overcome with her love so much that in order to increase her love as a mother and his love, the intimacy, he is stepping aside his role as the Supreme to actually be the child of Yasoda. But that’s ecstatic, that’s ananda rasa, that’s the highest ecstasy, beyond liberation, beyond Vaikuntha! But the forgetfulness we have in this world, it’s not under our control, its not defined by love, it’s the cause of suffering, and it induces us to do so many things that are regrettable. So the Absolute Truth never comes under such a spell. It’s not a lila, being in maya is not a lila. Krishna is in lila and Krishna is inviting us into a lila, and material creation is part of Krishna’s lila, and we are in it, but we don’t realize it, we have forgotten it. So we never can forget, Srila Prabhupad explained it in such a simple way. He said “The jiva is the tatashta sakti, it always has the choice between material and spiritual energy. We are always subordinate to the beauty, the grace and the love of God. And if we reciprocate with God’s love in a positive way, we come under the control of yoga maya or the daivi sakti, the spiritual energy where everything simply facilitates deeper, ever-increasing experiences of feeling Krishna’s love and loving Krishna, through limitless ways. But the bahiranga sakti or the maya sakti, when we come under that control, these three modes of nature, goodness, passion and ignorance, keep us in a state of forgetfulness.” Krishna tells in Gita,

daivi hy e?a gu?amayi
mama maya duratyaya

That this material energy consisting of the three modes of nature, its Krishna’s energy, it’s all-powerful, it’s beyond our intelligence, it’s beyond our ability to control our mind and senses. Time, the controlling factor of God’s presence within this world, destroys everything. From the perspective of a eternal time, it’s just the matter of a seconds till the sun turns to ashes. Every ocean is dried up, the earth planet and every other planet becomes powder. And what to speak of our little lifetimes, how long do we live? We are getting old, we are getting diseases, we are dying, It’s the nature of the body. So maya is very, very strong, but if we take shelter of Krishna, if we recognize that we‘re completely dependent on Krishna, and that’s not a depressing situation, that’s the most optimistic state. If we are completely dependent on somebody who is very mean, that’s depressing. But when we hear Krishna’s loving pastimes and Krishna’s loving teachings from Srimad Bhagvatam, from Ramayan, from Bhagvad Gita, to be completely dependent on Krishna, on Sri Radha, as our mother and our father, our friend, our lover, it makes us totally fearless and nothing in this world could impede our happiness because we know that we are connected to Krishna, the source of all happiness. So this conception that ultimately the God is formless and you are formless, Gods form is illusion, God’s pastimes are illusion, God’s name, everyone who reads the scriptures knows it’s the yugadharma for this age.

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam

In the Kali-santarana Upanishad it describes the 16 words, 32 syllable mantra, the Mahamantra, there is no greater medicine to cure us of the ignorance and illusion in this age of kali than the chanting of

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

So in this sense, anybody who knows sastra understands this. But the mayavad conception is just like you take a thorn out of your foot with another thorn and then you throw both thorns away and you walk way. Yes? So similarly, the name of God, the pastimes of God, the deity of God, they are pure goodness, but still they’re manifestations within maya and they could free us from maya but then after we free from maya and we realize our liberated state, we don’t need these things anymore. But for great bhaktas like Madhavacharya, Ramanujacharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahapurbhu, Vallabhacharya, these great saints and avatars and the scriptures themselves, such a idea breaks their hearts. Gods’ name is non-different than God, Hanumanji was constantly chanting Ram’s names, he was constantly serving Ram and when he was offered any benediction, the only that he wanted, “Let me always remember you, eternally chant your names, and eternally serve you.” Little Prahalad Mahraj, he was offered any benediction, “Let me always remember you as your servant.” This material world is not an illusion because its God’s energy.

Om puranam adah purnam idam

If we understand the absolute truth is absolute, then God’s energy is not an illusion; God’s energy is divine. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna says

daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya

“Daivi means eternal, daivi means its transcendental. He says, “This material energy, this divine energy of mine consisting of the three modes of nature.” Prakriti is Krishna’s energy, everything all the manifestations within it are ever changing but the principle of prakriti, the energy, is eternal. So devotees don’t say that all that you are seeing is not real, its an illusion, the misconception of how we identify it is an illusion.” –Radhanath Swami

An example our own bodies, according to mayavad conception, this body is an illusion, and ultimately the jiva, the atma is an illusion. The Vaishnav philosophy is the atma is eternal and this body may be temporary but its made of God’s energy, therefore it’s real. The illusion is when the atma identifies, “I am this body”— that’s maya.

“Maya isn’t that “matter exists.” Maya is when we identify ourselves as being matter, and under that misconception thinking that I am the controller, I am the enjoyer, I am the proprietor, that’s an illusion, and that’s the source of all the suffering. To understand sacredness of the world is possible when we learn how to utilize this energy in Krishna’s service. Transformation of material into spiritual is bhakti and that’s done simply through consciousness to seeing the potential within everything and everyone.” –Radhanath Swami

So Sripad Madhavacharya, he was really strong, and he was quiet athletic. He was Bhima! He was an expansion of Hanuman! When we were at Kishkinta Keshetra, when Hanuman was jumping across the ocean, he understood that this body of his is an instrument by which he can do wonderful things for Ram. With that body of his, he presented the ring of Ram to Sita and brought her the greatest joy. She was in such desperate separation from Sri Ramchandra. Hanuman saw her weeping, crying, just crying out Ram’s name. And with his hand, he presented her Ram’s ring. She took that ring and she pressed it to her heart. She experienced Ram in that ring and she cried in happiness. So for Hanuman, this is what the body is for, his utilizing his body instrument of devotion made Sita so happy! And then Sita gave Hanumanji her jewel, and Hanuman jumped over the ocean and went to Maliyavanta, the parsavana mountain in Kishkinta and presented that jewel to Ram. He pressed it to his heart and cried in ecstasy. He was talking to the jewel. “Sita you have come to me, I am remembering you, I am coming, I am coming Sita, I am coming soon.”

“So when we use our body for the pleasure of the Lord, how can we say it’s an illusion, how can we see its unreal. It’s something beautiful. Even this body may be temporary, the soul is eternal and while in this body, the human form of body could be sacred boat to take us across this ocean of material existence and give pleasure to Krishna.” –Radhanath Swami

Prasad, prasad is ordinary food but when its offered with love and devotion to Krishna, it becomes his mercy, becomes very special, it’s spiritual, we don’t walk over it, we don’t disrespect it because we appreciate its spiritual reality and the truth within it. So the world is real but the misconception of the eternal soul identifying itself—

“We are not the body; we are in the body. The body is not meant for our enjoyment, the body is meant for Krishna’s enjoyment, that’s the highest truth. The misconception is maya.” -Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami on Renunciation

We were speaking yesterday how Sripad Madhavacharya, he took sannyas when he was about ten years old, because he was really enthusiastic. The tradition often is, when you get really old, you get married, you have children, you have grandchildren, after you have children and grandchildren and they take over all the responsibilities of the family then you take vanaprashta, and eventually take sanyas, just before death. But Sripad Madhavacharya, he had a different conception of sannyas. His idea was Sannyas is not just meant for our own liberation, because actually the path of bhakti is so powerful that you could be a grihasta, you could be a family person and attain the highest perfection. If you see your home as Krishna’s home, if you see your family as Krishna’s family, if you see your body as Krishna’s body, if your see your occupation as a means of facilitating Krishna’s service, we chant the holy name. Bhakti Vinod Thakur, he had over ten children and a wife and several houses and a job, and yet the greatest renunciates, Gaur Kishordas Babaji Maharaj and others, were coming to get his blessings and learn what are the highest truths from him.

grihe thako, vane thako, sada ‘hari’ bole’ dako,
sukhe duhkhe bhulo na’ko, vadane hari-nam koro re
gaya Gaur madhur svare

ittle Prahalad became a grihastaha, Dhruva Mahraj became a grishastha— They were married! Ambarisa Maharaj was married, Durvasa Muni was renunciate, and who has had a deeper connection? Ambarisa! He was not only married, he was king. Ranti Dev, what was his renunciation, he had a wife and children. Kunti Devi, she was a mother with children. So many of the greatest personalities,

“…so the path of bhakti is so strong, you don’t have to become a sanyasi, you don’t have to renounce. You can attain the highest perfection and live in the highest perfection just by living in that spirit of devotion.” –Radhanath Swami

Sripad Madhavacharya took sanyas out of deep compassion, because he wanted to clarify the prevailing misconceptions of who God is and establish principles that actually open the doors to real love and real devotion. And he wanted to give his entire energy for that purpose, and for that he considered sannyas to be favorable. He had nothing else to do, no other obligation to anything or to anyone except to spread the glories of pure devotional service. And he had that determination at the age of ten.

Soon after that, he went on a tour to South India and many historical records describe his incredible accomplishments. This little boy, Achyutapreksha, his guru came with him for some of the way also and they travelled and he was giving lectures, he taught Sripad Madhavacharya that achar and vichar are necessary to be harmonized to actually gain the grace of God and realization.

“To receive knowledge and to give knowledge, philosophy is very important, it’s essential, but the character and how we live and how we speak and how we interact with other living beings and how we interact with nature and how we interact with God within our heart is all important.” –Radhanath Swami

Krishna tells in Gita jnana and vijnana, there’s two types of knowledge: there is theoretical and realized. Theoretical knowledge we could learn in books, we could understand by hearing classes, kathas, but when we apply those teachings to our life and live with true character of selfless devotion, morality, humility, gratitude, compassion, self-control, when we live with these principles on basis of that philosophy, we get realization. He explained that the conduct in which we live and the philosophy by which we live by are like the two wings of a bird. Did you ever see a bird flying with one wing? Most people these days don’t have any wings. So they can’t fly very much. And if we just have moral high character without a philosophy of understanding our eternal connection with the Supreme Lord, it’s like having one wing, we don’t really get anywhere spiritually. And if we have all this high high philosophy and we understand and we memorize, even if we memorize every little detail of the highest rasas going on in the spiritual world, if we don’t live with humility and compassion and self-control and we are not in the spirit of the servant of the servant of the servant, it’s just one wing, doesn’t get you anywhere. So he wanted to teach people how to fly back home back to Godhead.

And his body was very strong too, when he was in Goa, he was given 4000 gigantic bananas to eat and thirty pitchers of milk and within a few minutes he ate it all— and he didn’t get fat, he didn’t even have to lay on his left side, he didn’t have indigestion, he just, we can’t imitate. But he was showing that, his body, One time he had about 30 disciples, this is when he was very old, and they were young, and they seemed to be kind of proud of being young. So he challenged them all to a wrestling match, simultaneous and within seconds he defeated all thirty of them. Now brahmacharis, you don’t try to imitate this. But he had a philosophical import to everything he did, he saw that he saw his body is, he was travelling around, he was walking to Himalayas, he was walking to Kanyakumari, to Badrik ashram, he was going to all over the place with his body, he was going to places where no human being could go, so he was keeping his body fit to receive blessings and to give blessings. He was completely on the spiritual platform.

Madhvacharya Sets Out for Badrinath



Then he decided, because Achyuta preksha, his sanyas guru, he was still very, very influenced, even though he was devotee, he was very influenced by all of this “Brahman is, the all-pervading formless, quality-less absolute and the world is an illusion.” It is so simple to understand it properly, but when you don’t have the association for someone like Srila Prabhupad who is just telling us as it is, can really get confused. And when everybody around is like that, he was quiet confused himself. And what was most confusing is that traditionally the acharyas accept that any system of true spirituality has to be supported by a commentary of Brahma Sutra or Vedana Sutra and everyone was reading the Shariraka Bhashya. So Achyutapreksha told Madvacharya that, “If you really want to convince me and if you really want to convince others, you have to have a commentary of the Vedanta Sutra to establish this principle.” Madhavacharya was such a humble person, although he was Vayudev, the divine incarnation of the God’ intimate devotee, Mukhayaprana, by his example and by his own heart, he wanted to get the teachings and the blessings of Vyasdeva, because the Brahma Sutra was written by Vyasdeva! The four Vedas, the Upanishad, the Itihastas, the Mahabharat, the Samhitas, Vysdeva helped to bring these all together to compile them, and then he took the essence of the summary and put it into the Vedanta Sutras. Then we read in Srimad Bhagvatam how, even after he did all that, he was still unsatisfied and that’s when Narada Muni came to him in Badrikashram and told him to write his own commentary of Vedanta Sutra, the Srimad Bhagvatam. So in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, we accept the Srimad Bhagvatam as the ultimate authority because it is the commentary of the essence of all Vedas by the person who wrote all the Vedas, and the essence of all the Vedas. But at that time, to have a commentary of Vedanta sutra was the stamp to give you the authority, but it really had to be convincing. So Madhavacharya decided he was going to personally go to meet Vyasdeva and Lord Narayan, and he knew where they lived, because scriptures tell, he lives in Badrinath. But there are two Badris there is Badri where humans can go to and there is another Badri way way way way high high into the celestial area of Himalayas that no human can reach. So he told Satyatirtha, one of his intimate disciples and some others, “Let us go to Badri.” And, from Udupi, they walked. Incredible things happened on the way. Eventually, they went to Badrinath. Please raise your hands if you have been to Badrinath, raise both your hands and say Hari bol.

So there is the temple of Badrivishal, it’s on the banks of Alaknanda river. In olden days, just one or two generations back, there was only one way to go there and that was to walk. And for most people, they went to Badrinath when they are about to die, because usually if you walk there, you never came back because you went through jungles and everything. But in Kaliyuga so many things happen. What happened is China, we have some really wonderful Chinese devotees here, so with all respects to China, back in 50’s and 60’s there was some tension between India and China and China is at the border of India, so they wanted to have military troops, so they built roads, and there is military stations near Badrinath. So now, because of military roads, we can drive to Badrinath. But in those days, this is about 750 years ago, Madhavacharya walked, and he was a fast walker, he was Vayuputra, and they went all the way through the jungles and the Himalayan peaks and reached Badrinath. And Madhavacharya, he went there to request the blessings and the empowerment to write a bhasya, a commentary on Brahma sutras, but he wanted to offer something also. So, he personally wrote a commentary on Bhagvad Gita, the Gita bhasyam and he presented that to the deity of Badrivishal, Badrinaryan, and offered through Badrinarayan to Vyasdeva and to Lord Narayan, because his spirit was I am coming to ask for service but I should offer something also.

He fasted and he performed some tapasya while he was there for some days and then he heard a voice, and some of his devotees heard it! Vyasdeva was calling him to the upper Badrinath— where no one can go. So Madhavacharya said, “I am going to the highest peaks on the transcendental plains of the Himalayas where no human can go, but I am going.” And his devotees were really worried, “We may never see you again, let us come with you!” He said, “No, no you cannot come with me.” but Satyatirtha came with him anyway! Madhavacharya was walking, he was walking through the snow of these high, high mountains, he was walking fast but he was slowing down because Satyatirtha was running and running and he was eventually he couldn’t breathe and he was falling in the snow and he was completely exhausted and he could not take another step. And he’s just looking up ahead and he seeing his guru, just enthusiastically moving forward. So Madhavacharya turned back to Satyatirtha and smiled and, with one wave of his hand, he went like this, and instantly Satyatirtha was back at the lower Badrinath with all of his Godbrothers. He just was there, it’s not that he flew, he just was there. And he was telling all his Godbrothers what our Gurudev is doing, Madhvacharya. And Madhavacharya, then he didn’t have to slow down for anyone, he just walked and walked and walked like Hanumanji. And ultimately, he came to a place, after walking for days to total snow wilderness, nothing, and he came to the spiritual world.

Radhanath Swami on Madhvacharya’s Arrival in Badrinath

Within these highest peaks of Himalayas was a transcendental world; you can’t even see it unless you are given the eyes to see. There were lakes and beautiful trees, especially Badri trees, and there were hundreds and hundreds of completely enlightened yogis and they were all sitting around Vyasdeva. And he was brought to meet Vyasdeva whom he accepted as his own guru. He offered his prostrated obeisances and Vyasdeva was so pleased to see Madhavacharya, his determination, his love, his devotion, his compassion, he lifted up Madhavacharya and embraced him. And for many days, Madhavacharya sat at the feet of Vedvyas to hear from him. And Vyasdeva said, “Let us go to see Lord Narayan who is also living here.” And he took him even higher, where three of them Vyasdeva, Narayan and Madhava sat together. And Narayan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lives there in his abode along with Vyasdeva, they explained to Sripad Madhavacharya the true essence of the Brahma Sutras, and not only explained, empowered, but instructed him to write his commentary.

Madhvacharya Composes the Purnapranga Bhashya

Vyasadeva brought him down to the other rishis and after taking leave, he came down to the lower area of Badrinath and met his disciples and told them everything that happened. And it was there in Badrinath, in the little village where the temple is, that he recited his commentary of the Brahma Sutras and Satyatirth, he wrote everything down on palm leaves. In those days, there were no computers, there wasn’t even papers and pens. He had to carve them on palm leaves, but he did with such efficiency because he had such a desire to please his guru. It was in Badrinath, it is said that Vedvyas, he spoke Mahabharat to Ganesh and Ganesh wrote everything down without ever asking, “What did you say?” that was his enthusiasm. So in a similar way, Madhvacharya wrote his Purnapragna Bhashya by speaking to Satyatirtha.

Madhvacharya Enlightens Sobhanabhatta

When it was written, they left Badrinath and began to travel to the Southern parts of India. They travelled to many places, but one of the very historical events that happened is there was an area on the banks of the Godavari river, where the greatest scholars in the whole country would meet. Sometimes they would have debates; sometimes they would just try to deeply discuss scriptures and philosophies. Madhavacharya went there and he spoke and he convinced people so much. The president of the whole association, the most respected scholar practically in the whole land of India, his name was Sobhanabhatt, he listened to Madhavacharya, he spoke to him, he had questions for him, he had challenges for him, it was so convincing and what was the most convincing is the humility, the intelligence, the compassion and the character of Madhvacharya, it deeply impressed him, “This person is an acharya, he is not just speaking the incredible philosophy that answers all the questions but he lives it.” There is one beautiful tape where Srila Prabhupad says that, “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” Sobhanabhatt, he was a philosopher, here in Madhvacharya, he found superior philosophy and inclusive comprehensive philosophy, that was spoken by a person, who because he had love for Krishna, for Narayan, he had deep, genuine, selfless compassion for every living being. But because he was like the king of all scholars, he really needed, in order for him to be transformed, he needed something very substantial to put his faith in.

Sripad Madhavacharya had his Bhashya, his commentary of Brahma Sutras and he gave it to Sobhanabhatt to read it and discuss it with him. And after seeing this, Sobhanabhatt decided that he is going to dedicate the rest of his life to expound the teachings of Sripad Madhavacharya, to propound that the highest perfection of life is pure unalloyed devotional service to the absolute truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead knowing that we are the eternally loving servants of the Lord, and through loving service, we can make that connection. Srila Prabhupad explained it in a very simple way. He said, “In bhakti the goal, the sadhya and the sadhana are the same.” (The goal and the way to achieve it) The way to achieve the highest goal Krishna tells:

bhaktya tu ananyaya sakya
aham evam vidurjana

“Only by pure bhakti can I be known as I am”

“And the goal we achieve by loving service, is loving service. We practice loving service to become purified and in the pure state, and loving service cleanse us of our egos and of our selfishness, it is the most powerful thing in all of creation because it attracts Krishna’s grace, and when we become cleansed then we serve with ecstatic love. We become an instrument of Krishna’s ecstatic love in everything we do and there is no greater joy than that, forever.” –Radhanath Swami

When Sobhanabhatt understood this, he was so respected that anywhere he went– he was the keynote speaker, as we would say today. Any school he went, they would say, yes you teach us. Any scholarly debate, he will be given the first right, the highest position because he was so accomplished. And now, with all of that incredible facilities he had, with deep compassion as an instrument of Madhavacharya’s grace, he was teaching pure devotional service— incredible, the impact that one man had. And later on, he took sannyas from Madhavacharya and his name was Padmanabhtirtha.

Madhvacharya Enlightens Achyutaprekesh

When Sripad Madhavacharya returned to Udupi, Achyutapreksha, his sanyas guru, was so happy to see him after so long separation. And Madhavacharya presented him his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras. In those days, that was the seal that you really have an authorized school to teach from. And when Achyutapreksha read it, and asked his questions to Sripad Madhavacharya, he was totally convinced. All of his misconceptions, all of his impersonal tendencies, they were gone forever. Philosophically, logically, scripturally, experientially and through realization he had realized the topmost spiritual state of love for God.

When Sirpad Madhavacharya was on his way back, actually when he was in Udupi– how many of you went to Udupi Krishna temple. Please if you went and you had nice experience, say Haribol very loudly, much louder please, one more time. Thank you, thank you.

Madhvacharya Saves the Sea Merchant

One day, Sripad Madhavacharya was sitting on the ocean side, the area is called Malpe, the Arabian sea and he was composing beautiful prayers in glorification of Krishna. And as he was composing those prayers, there was a storm, a heavy windstorm, and because of that the waves became extremely violent. There was a boat, a boat of merchant who was coming from Dvarka and he put so much of his life sayings into the goods that he was carrying on this boat that he was taking south to sell, but the storm was so turbulent that his boat was sinking. And waves were crashing against them, and the winds were smashing him, he was helpless. Not only his boat going to sink and all of his wealth going to be destroyed but he was going to die along with it. So he was helpless.

Srila Prabhupad in one place he said, when he was in the Jalduta, which is a cargo ship sailing across the Arabian sea, the same sea, and there was some storms and there were waves, that’s when he had heart attacks, Prabhupad said, he looked around and all there was the rains, and the winds and the turbulent sea with the waves getting bigger and bigger and he said his boat felt like a little tiny matchbox in the middle of the ocean. You really can understand the need for higher powers in the situation like that, and he just gave his heart to Krishna. So this boat man, he was about to die and loose everything. And right at the last moment, he happened to see Madhavacharya sitting in meditation on the seashore. And he cried out because he saw, He is a yogi, he is a saint, maybe he could help me. He was taking shelter.

“You see, when you take shelter of saintly people, you are actually receptive to receive their mercy. You can ask for the blessing, you can demand blessings, but you are not going to get much. But if you actually feel dependent and take shelter and understand the importance of the association of saintly people, then we are actually receptive to receive, the words they speak and the blessings that they can transform us with.” –Radhanath Swami

So this person saw the beautiful form of Sripad Madhavacharya and he was in such a helpless state, he was crying out for Madhavacharya, “Help!” Madhavacharya had a saffron chadar on, some cloth he was wearing, a kaupin, and he took that cloth and he just waved it, and the storm disappeared, not only that, the ocean became calm. And then Sripad Mdhavacharya just kind of went like this, and the wind took his boat to the shore and everything was fine. So this person had full realization that this yogi saved his life, saved his wealth, saved everything! And he came down with real deep gratitude and bowed down to Sripad Madhvacharya and said I have so much wealth on this boat, “I will give you anything you want. What can I give you; I will give you the whole boat!” Sripad Madhavacharya said, “I don’t want anything. What do I need?”

“Devotees who have Krishna in the hearts are atmarama, they are self-satisfied. If you are not satisfied with Krishna in your heart, no matter what you have, you will never be satisfied.” –Radhanath Swami

He [Madhvacharya] said, “I don’t want anything.” But the person really wanted to, He said, “I have gold! I have pots! I have boat! anything, I will give you.” Madhavacharya said, “You are coming from Dwarka?” He said, “Yes.” He said,“Do you have any gopi chandan?” Gopi chandan is clay! Especially in those days, that clay was so easily to get in Dwarka, it’s for free there were places of clay and blocks of clay! And sailors, in order to balance their ship, they would have gopi chandan because it really didn’t cost anything. it was more or less, from the material side, it was so easily available, it had no value. But when you take things off your ship, you have to balance it with something else, so they keep mounds of gopi chandan. Now for a devotee, gopi chandan is what you, it’s, if you go to Dwarka, there is a place called Gopi Talab. How many have been there? Please raise your hands and say Haribol. We should go on another yatra there. And that’s the place where actually Gopis came and bathed and Sri Radharani and Krishna and Gopis bathe there in this Gopi Talab, this kund. And the dust from Krishna and Sri Radha’s bodies and the dust of the feet of all of the gopis became that clay. So from that time, it’s considered priceless. From a businessperson’s perspective in those days, it was worth nothing; but for Madhavacharya, it was worth everything. It’s the dust of the feet of Krishna and Radha and Gopis. And we put it on our bodies, its called tilak. We put it one our foreheads, twelve parts of our body, and it’s the way of consecrating our body, mind, words and life to Krishna.

So he said, “Please give me, you have some gopi chandan?” He said, “Yes, I have two mounds of gopi chandan!” So he said, “you can give me that.” And they took two mounds of gopi chandan out and one of the mounds broke open and inside was an incredible deity of Balaram. And then Madhavacharya, he was chanting beautiful hymns and mantras and the other lump of gopi chandan opened up and there was a deity of Krishna, incredible deity of Krishna. And Madhvacharya knew the history of that deity.

Madhvacharya Tells the Story of the Gopi Chandan Deities

During the time of Krishna, which is approximately 5000 years ago, Krishna lived in Dwarka with Devaki and Vasudev, his mother and father. And he lived in beautiful palaces with queens like Satyabhama and Rukmini, Jambavati. Krishna lived approximately 10-11 years in Vrindavan, and then Akrura brought Krishna to Mathura and we spoke about the story in Srimad Bhagvatam class in Radha Gopinath temple a couple weeks ago where Kaliyavana, who was incredible yavana demon with millions of soldiers, 30 million they attacked for Mathura on one side, and then Jarasandha was coming with millions of soldiers, all these Akshohini divisions, he was coming attacking Mathura on the another side. So Krishna and Balaram went out to meet Kaliyavana and in order to protect citizens of Mathura, he empowered Vishwakarma to build the fort in the sea called Dwarka. Now I think day after tomorrow our yatra is complete, it’s the beginning of the yatra actually, the second part of the yatra, but then you all have to return to your homes, may be by train or plane or bus, or rickshaw. Now, when Krishna wants to move you, it’s very special. The people of Mathura, the whole Yadu dynasty, they were in their palaces in Mathura, their homes, they all went to sleep at night peacefully. So Krishna, he transferred them all to Dwarka, and nobody even woke up, in the morning they woke up and they were in brand new palace in Dwarka, they were looking around, incredible. So that’s how Dwarka was created by Krishna.

But Devaki, who was Krishna’s mother in Mathura, according to Srimad Bhagvatam, he was within her womb when she was living in the prison of Kamsa, the Janmastami lila and then that very night, Vasudev took him across the Yamuna River to Gokul where he was raised by Yasoda and Nand Maharaj. Devaki expressed to Krishna in the inner chambers of their palace in Dwarka, that, “I heard so many beautiful lilas or stories about your charming childhood activities in Vrindavan. Yasoda Mayi, as your mother, she was a witness; she could be the part of those childhood activities. I heard stories where you would just be a naughty little boy and you’d steal butter and you’d completely conquer everyone’s hearts. By the time you came back you were a prince! I want to see those pastimes that as your mother, I never saw you as a little child.” So Krishna fulfilled Devaki’s desires. He manifested himself as Bal Gopal, little Krishna. And he jumped on her lap and drank her milk and then he went and he started breaking butter pots, he was stealing, he was doing all this little childhood pastimes, he was holding stick and a rope for churning butter, as he was stealing and Devaki was completely mesmerized. She was thinking in her heart, I have never experienced such happiness as this, your Vrindavan lila.

Rukmini, Krishna’s queen, was watching, and she never experienced such happiness as seeing Krishna’s Bal lila of Vrindavan. She requested Krishna, “I want to worship you in this form as Bal Gopal stealing butter. Can you give me a murti that I could worship? So Krishna called Vishwakarma to carve that identical form that Rukmini was seeing of Krishna of Vrindavan as the butter thief, and he carved, out of a pure Saligram Sila, that form of Krishna, and in one hand he is holding a stick and in another a rope. And Rukmini Devi, although she was personally serving Dwarkadish Krishna day and night, her greatest happiness was in worshipping this deity form in the temple in her inner room of Gopal. Years later, when the Yadu dynasty was sent back to the spiritual world, Arjuna, Krishna’s dearest friend, he brought the deity of Rukmini after the Rukmini had already left, and put it in Rukmini’s garden. And over the years, the deity of Gopal that was worshipped by Rukmini in Dwarka was covered by gopi chandan along with the deity of Balram, and was completely lost. So those sailors they didn’t know, there was anything inside that lump of gopi chandan, it was just mud, clay. But it was Krishna’s wish and Balaram’s wish to come here to Udupi to be worshipped by Sripad Madhavacharya, and later to be visited by Sri Chaitanaya Mahaprabhu. And even then, when Udupi Krishna was on that boat in that storm, he knew that all of us would be here today.

The devotees, Sripad Madhvacharya said, “Let us bring–” Balaram is installed in a temple close to where the sea is. Did you all go to see the Balaram temple? But he wanted to bring Krishana back to the town of Udupi, but Krishna was so heavy, nobody could pick him up. Thirty of his disciples tried to lift him but they could not lift him. Then Madhvacharya, chanting beautiful songs in glorification of Lord Krishna, effortlessly picked Krishna. And as he was carrying Krishna back to Udupi, he completed his beautiful prayers the Dwadasa Stotram, which for many followers in the Sri Madhava Sampradaya, even almost 800 years later, chant every day.

Radhanath Swami Presents the Merchant Analogy



We can see an analogy in this story too. That merchant who was on the ship is like the jivatma and the boat is like the human form of life and the Arabian Sea (the ocean), is like the ocean of samsara. And the purpose of human form of life is to take the jivatma across the ocean of samsara to the abode of Krishna. That storm is like the attraction of the senses for their objects, lust, envy, anger, arrogance, greed, illusion, all of these human frailties, we want to be the controller, we want to be the proprietor, we want to be the enjoyer, and there are so many distractions! Mental distraction is desire for recognition, prestige, adoration and then there’s the senses that want to feel something, touch something, taste something, hear something, smell something, see something, just enjoy. Have you ever had that experience? That’s like the storm, and that storm, if we get too attached to the attractions between the mind and the senses for the objects of this world, we sink, we sink in the storm in the ocean of samsara and in that sinking we take birth after birth after birth again. But Madhavacharya, in this case, he is the grace, the grace of the God which comes through the grace of guru, the grace of Vaishnavas, the grace of holy scriptures. And like the man on that boat, when the jiva really realizes his helpless condition in this ocean of material existence and really understands how helpless we are in the storms of the temptations and aversions of maya, we cry out, we take shelter, and when we do, by the grace of the Lord, he helps us. And one of the first ways he helps us is he teaches us what really is of value. The man’s wealth, everything else, Madhavacharya didn’t give much value to that but gopi chandan, that had value. What is gopi chandan? We put the tilak of gopi chandan on our bodies to represent a Vaishnava life style. The gopi chandan represents the character, the aspiration, the sadhana, living a life of a Vaishnava. So the grace of Guru and the grace of God is they give us this type of life to live, to live as servant of the servant, to live with morality for Krishna’s pleasure, to live as an instrument of compassion for Krishna’ pleasure.

yoginam api sarvesam

Krishna tells, “Of all yogis, one who abides in me with great faith is most intimately united me with in yoga and is the highest of all.” So to actually receive, when we asked Srila Prabhupad, “What can we do to repay you for all you have given us?” He said, “Just sincerely accept this path of devotional service and share with others.” That’s the life of a devotee.

“Gopi chandan represents when we get the grace of guru we receive what he gives us, a life of service, a life of purification and through that grace, Krishna appears.” –Radhanath Swami

Madhvacharya Installs Bal Gopal

Sripad Madhavacharya brought Krishna to Madhva Sarovar and bathed Krishna with his disciples and then performed a beautiful ceremony to install him where we see him today, in this beautiful temple. The temple was built a little later but he was installed here and Sripad Madhavacharya personally established the form of worship. And Krishna was so beautiful, so sweet, so merciful and because of Madhvacharya, and his followers, because of the way they worshipped him, people by the millions started coming to Udupi to have the darshan of Sri Krishna.

Radhanath Swami on Madhvacharya’s Return to Badrinath

Madvacharya wanted to go back to Badrinath to offer his gratitude to Vyasdeva, his guru, for all that he had given him. And he wanted to present to him the Purna Pragna Bhasya, the commentary of Vedanta Sutra that he wrote under his instructions. So along with several of his then sannyasis and other disciples, they began their journey from Udupi back to Badrikashram. And biographers of Sripad Madhvacharya tell many incredible stories about what happened on the way. Can I tell just a few?

“There was a king and his name was Ishwaradeva and the problem was he really thought that he was Ishwaradeva. That’s the fundamental basic problem with life is we want to be the master and the enjoyer, and ultimately we want to just be a God, then we have no competitors. But for a devotee Krishna, Ram, so beautiful, so merciful, we just want to glorify them and love them and chant their holy names.” –Radhanath Swami

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Madhvacharya Hoodwinks King Isvardeva

King Isvaradeva, he was a thief, he was arrogant, he wanted to exploit people, he just- everything was just about him. So he wanted to build some lakes for his own satisfaction, and anybody he would see, he had his armies, he would force those people to dig the lake and not pay him anything. So here is Madhvacharya with his sannyasi disciples, they were walking and soldiers came, and no respect! They told Madhvacharya, “You have to dig the lake otherwise the king will punish you.” So Sripad Madhvacharya meets the king and the king has spade, shovel, “I don’t care who you are, dig the lake” Madhvacharya, he said, “I am a swami, I don’t know how to dig lakes. You show me how to dig then I will dig.” He [the king] said, “You just take it like this!” He [Madhvacarya] said, “you show me how to dig.” So King started digging! And the king got so illusioned, he got so mystified by Sripad Madhvacharya, he got so totally immersed in digging, that he forgot about everything and Madhvacharya and his followers just walked away.

Madhvacharya Charms the Turkish King

Another time, because in those days, India was so many little kingdoms, there was a Turkish king who really hated Hindus and he was also a very cruel person. So he had armies, and they came to the river Ganges, the Ganga, and they stopped any boats from crossing river. It’s a wide river, very forceful river! Now to get to Badrinath, you have to cross Ganga there, so there were no boats, and on the other side there were armies who were going to kill anybody who tries to get into their territory. So what are you going to do? Sripad Madhavacharya, told his sadhu disciples, “Stand in a line one after another, single file, hold each other’s hands.” So they were on the shore of the river, holding each other’s hands and then he went right into the front and he held the hand of the first person, the first Swamiji. And he started walking into the Ganges and he was pulling all of them, and they crossed it! The biographers, I haven’t found where it says whether, like Vasudeva and Krishna, where it just kind of opened it for him or they walked over the water, somehow they crossed it! You see, Vasudev when he crossed Yamuna, Krishna was in his hands; with Madhavacharya, Krishna was in his heart. but as soon as they came to the other side, the armies were there with weapons ready to imprison them, torture them or kill them. So Madhavacharya said, “I want to meet your king.” The king didn’t speak Hindi, he spoke Turkish, he had Turkish soldiers, he was an invader. So Sripad Madhavacharya came before him, and spoke eloquent Turkish language, nobody knew that he knew Turkish language! And he spoke with such compassion and such intelligence and even such respect for this person. Even though the soldiers were about to kill them, the king, he was charmed. He told Madhavacharya, “I am just so happy to meet you, I am so enlightened to meet you, I want to donate to you some nice land where you could live.” Sripad Madhavachya didn’t want any land, the king touched his feet and asked for his blessings and they continued their journey.

Madhvacharya Saves Satyatirtha

When they got near Badrikashram they were going through a forest. And Satyatirtha, who was the person who would– he was such a faithful, devoted disciple, he would do anything for his guru and he was the one who was empowered to write down the books as Sripad Madhavacharya would dictate. But Satyatirtha was alone in this area of forest and suddenly a gigantic tiger attacked him— and nobody was around. So he thought of Krishna this is the end, and suddenly, Sripad Madhavacharya, appeared right there, and with one touch of the head of the tiger, the tiger fell unconscious. The moral of this story is

“…there are many tigers in this world; but if we take shelter of the Vaishnavas, who hold Krishna in their hearts, we can be rescued from those tigers within and without.” –Radhanath Swami

Madhvacharya Reunites With Vyasdev and The Lord

Sripad Madhavacharya, he presented his Geeta Bhasyam, his commentary of Bhagavad Gita, to the deity of Badrivishal, in the lower part of Badrinath, but the Bhasyam on the Vedanta Sutra, he wanted to directly present to the Vyasadeva and Lord Narayan. So he told his devotees that he is going to the upper Badri again and nobody even attempted to come with him! And he was really enthusiastic and he went like Hanumanji to the spiritual world. And there, he bowed down to the Vyasdeva who brought him to Lord Narayan and he embraced him and he presented to them the Purna Pragna Bhasya, the Vaishnava commentary of Brahma Sutras. And they were so pleased because it was their words, that he was an instrument to present to the world. At that time, Vyasadeva gave eight murtis to Sripad Madhavacharya and also gave him an instruction; “You should write a summary commentary on the Mahabharata.” And with that command, after sitting with his guru and his beloved Lord, he returned to his devotees.

Madhvacharya Reveals His Old Club

When he came down to the Ganga again, in the plains of India, he was with many scholars and many simple common people. Every type of people, he could attract their hearts with his wisdom, with his compassion, his love, and what an incredible philosophy. Some of the people said, “You should write commentaries on the Upanishads also.” And he did, during the chaturmasya on the bank of the Ganges, after going to Badrinath for the second time, he wrote bhasyams or commentaries for ten of the primary Upanishads. He took his devotees to Kurukshetra. And there, he was at Jyotisar, he saw the place where Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna and in doing so, spoke to the whole world. And he was remembering his pastimes as Bhima on the Kurukshetra battlefield which is a major part of the Mahabharat. And some of the devotees asked him, “Do you remember where you put your weapons after the battle?” And Sripad Madhavacharya said, “Come and follow me.” and they walked into these fields of Kurukshetra and he came to one place and said “Dig here.” and they dug, and in the earth, they discovered Bhima’s club. Now Bhima was really large in size and his club was enormous. There was Bhima’s club! They were mystified! And then he told them “Bury it again.” because nobody could pick it up except him.

Madhvacharya Leaves His Body

And eventually they returned after incredible tours of going to so many different lands and so many kingdoms and bestowing so much compassion on so many people, and returned to Udupi. When he was around 79 years old, he told his devotes that, “When I physically depart from you, my spirit will remain here in Udupi and my body will go to Badrikashram to live with my beloved Gurudev Srila Vyasdeva. And in the Anantheswar Temple, he would give his lectures on a regular basis, and on the side of the temple, there is a window, when you look in the window you see the same seat that Sripad Madhavacharya would give his talks. In the Udupi Krishna temple there is a seat he would preach and meet people, and in that same seat, is where his, the Pejavar swamis, his successors, sit even today. It was there when he was speaking the Aitareya Upanishad Samhita, he was speaking and his body simply disappeared and those who were witness to this, understood that his spirit is forever here.

Radhanath Swami Gives the Essence of Madhvacharya’s Teachings

So we have come to Udupi because it is such a special place for us. In our yatras, we often go to Sri Mayapur Dham, Sri Vrindavan Dham and we have been so many other places. We regularly go to Jagannath Puri Dham, sometimes we go to Ayodhaya or Naimisaranya, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Pandarpur, Rangakshetra, Tirupati, Kurmakshetra, Simhachalam, Ahobilam, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Chitrakoot, we’ve had many yatras.

The idea of the yatra is that we come together, we put everything in the world aside, and we are just pilgrims. We are among people who have one purpose— this is onen

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By Sivarama Swami

Some years back, in response to repeated requests to write something about prayer, we published the prayers I recite daily upon rising. The name of the book is My Daily Prayers. While that book is now out of print, Lāl Publishing would like to make it easily available to devotees as an ebook, which can be downloaded from here:

At this time our planet and our devotees need prayer. No doubt many devotees have their own prayers. Yet some do not. It can be downloaded, there is no cost. You can forward it to whoever you think would value it or who would benefit from it. Our hope is that the contents will ease devotees’ concerns during the challenging times that face us.

With a prayer that Radha-Syama protect you all and enable you to remember their names, forms, qualities and pastimes whatever providence has in store; I thank you!


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Video: Click here

“Metpally . . . Radha-Krishna installation . . . festival . . .” Our ashram at ISKCON Chowpatty was buzzing with this discussion last week when I visited after a gap of few days. Many brahmacharis were excited about visiting this small town in Telangana, around 800 kms from Mumbai. The temple managers were busy arranging for all the essential services that had to be taken care of in the absence of so many devotees.

Ever since lockdown was imposed in Mumbai and the rest of India, most of us couldn’t step out of our ashram for more than 10 months. All our outreach programs and book distribution were confined to video calls on Zoom. Although this was a phenomenal success, resulting in the opening of several unknown avenues, we were sorely missing personal contact with devotees and celebration of Krishna conscious festivals. Upon the arrival of this invitation, therefore, all of us were eager to come out of our virtual reality and experience the physical world outside.

Metpally is mainly an agricultural town with a population of one lakh. ISKCON’s activities began here a few years ago when His Grace Narahari Prabhu from Chowpatty started preaching here. With a small group of young boys, he began his satsanga programs, which soon attracted local villagers. Many of them started taking the process of Krishna consciousness seriously and chanted Hare Krishna on beads regularly. The Sunday festivals began to attract hundreds of devotees and prasadam distribution increased manifold. The annual Ratha-yatra festivals were a huge success, and thus Hare Krishna became a household word in the nearby villages. As expected, the need for a temple was increasingly felt so that more devotees can assemble and participate in the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna, the prime method of religion for this age.

On February 16th, the day of Vasanta Panchami, a grand installation of Radha-Krishna deities was performed, which was attended by thousands of devotees. With the arrival of archa-vigraha, more devotees will start thronging the temple, and many will find opportunities for service. This will expand the Krishna consciousness movement even more.

I know Narahari Prabhu as a very loving devotee, expert in various skills like cooking and deity dressing. Although strict with his vows and standards, he is very sensitive and accommodative with others. He has been tirelessly working here, almost alone, for the last several years, trying to bring the message of Krishna consciousness to everyone.

Lord Chaitanya has predicted, prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: “In every town and village My name will be heard.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura used to say, prana ache yar sei hetu prachar: “One who has life (prana), he can preach.” And Srila Prabhupada, in a letter to an acquaintance, wrote, “We are interested more in preaching members than in the sleeping members.” He wanted that every devotee preach the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and try to convince people about the importance of rejecting sinful life and following spiritual life.

I feel proud that one of my close friends and godbrothers has attained such success and glory in fulfilling the mission of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although I couldn’t attend this function due to personal commitments in Mumbai, I hope to visit this beautiful town and temple one day and relish the experience of expanding Krishna consciousness.


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8577731271?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Gauranga Das

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) stands appraised and recognized with one of the highest honors nationally- “IGBC Green Champion Award 2020” during the 18th edition of ‘Green Building Congress’ organized from 29th – 31st October 2020. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was unanimously chosen as a winner of the 7th IGBC Green Champion Awards under the category of ‘Pioneering Institution in sensitizing the masses by going green’.

The award was granted in the presence of Mr. V. Suresh, Chairman Indian Green Building Council, Mr Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, CII Godrej GBC, Mr Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman, IGBC, Mr Syed Mohamed Beary, Chairman, IGBC Bangalore Chapter and Mr. Shrikant Bapat, Country General Manager and Managing Director, Johnson Controls (I) Pvt. Ltd.

Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is India’s premier institution accrediting green buildings and offering specialized services like Green building auditor training program, memberships with 26 chapters operating nationally. During IGBC’s annual flagship event called Green Building Congress, the IGBC Green Champions Award are recognized for major achievements towards green practices. The Green Champions are recognized for their valuable contribution towards inspiration to millions of people with their environmental advocacy. Because of IGBC, India stands among one of the top 5 countries in the world with a green footprint of 7.61 billion sq ft.

ISKCON’s 2 projects namely ISKCON’s Govardhan Eco-village and ISKCON Chowpatty Mandir in Mumbai have achieved the Platinum level IGBC green certification. ISKCON also plans to design, construct, operate and certify their upcoming University of Bhaktivedanta Research Centre as a green campus. The international green committee of ISKCON is closely working with IGBC to develop a framework for ISKCON temples across the world to be developed as Green Places of Worship. On behalf of ISKCON, Gauranga Das, Director – ISKCON Govardhan Ecovillage and Global Duty Officer of ISKCON received the award.

ISKCON leaders and well-wishers from across the world expressed their gratitude during the event. HH Gopal Krishna Goswami, ISKCON Governing Body Commission Member, mentioned, “I would like to thank IGBC for promoting the urgent need for having green building project. The Vedic message for having a peaceful, stress-free life is to keep God in the center and practice simple living and high thinking. ISKCON’s founder acharya Srila Prabhupada took this ancient message around the globe. We are grateful that the IGBC has recognized ISKCON for promoting this message.”


HH Jayapataka Swami, ISKCON Governing Body Commission Member expressed, “Thank you for the Green Champion Award on behalf of Śrī Māyāpur Candrodaya Mandir our world spiritual headquarters. We are committed to preserving the planet through our various green initiatives, such as our Zero Waste, recycling project and others”

HH Radhanath Swami, Founder Govardhan Ecovillage expressed, “The Bhagavad Gita teaches that yoga is the art of living in harmony, the body, the mind, the soul, all living beings, God and nature. All of nature is God’s gift and to see the presence of God’s grace in nature is an inherent teaching of Bhagavad Gita and it is very much foundational to the principles of ISKCON. We are hoping and praying that more and more the world will understand the need for this truth to be practiced.”

Mr. Alfred Ford, Trustee Ford Motors and Chairman, Temple of Vedic Planetarium shared, “We are very much in sync with the green agenda and we hope that there will be more success along this line. We are coming up with the Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP). The temple is larger than the Tajmahal, it’s going to have one of the largest domes in Asia, its 350 feet high. The kirtan hall will hold 10,000 devotees at a time all chanting.”

Anuttama Prabhu, Global Communications Director for ISKCON, mentioned, “Our Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada instructed us that we should follow the principles of ‘Simple Living and High Thinking’ included within that is care for the environment. All of our 700 temples around the world, we are trying to promote this principle of sustainability and learning how to protect the Earth. This award honoring us for those efforts is really appreciated.”

Gauranga Das shared, “Ancient Indian tradition and culture has always emphasized on the importance of balance with nature along with the sustainability. Spiritual wellness along with health & well-being of all the devotee and our staff are of supreme importance to us. Especially in light of the current scenario, places of congregation like temples need to further enhance their green quotient. With help of IGBC we wish to enhance the overall well-being of lakhs of devotees and temple authorities.”

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8577718055?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen

The Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies, founded by American businessman Robert T. Bigelow, is currently running an essay competition on “Best Evidence for Afterlife.” Bigelow is the owner of hotel chain Budget Suites of America and the founder of Bigelow Aerospace.

According to, “The goal of the essay contest is to award contestants for writing papers that summarize the best evidence available for the survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death.”

The essays, which must be up to 25,000 words, will be judged by five renowned experts, including a forensic neurologist, a professor of statistics, and a chairman emeritus of psychiatry.

Entrants must first submit an application by February 28th, describing their background and qualifications. All applicants must provide evidence that they have investigated the topic of Survival of Human Consciousness after Death for five years or more. Once approved, they must submit their essay by August 1st, 2021.

Winners will be announced on November 1st, 2021. The winning essay will receive $500,000, while $300,000 will be awarded to the essay in second place, and $150,000 to the third, totalling nearly $1 million in prizes.

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The goal of life by Kadamba Kanana Swami

8577705692?profile=RESIZE_584xI have had the fortune of staying in Vrndavana. There were prices of austerities to pay undoubtedly. I had a lot of malaria in the Holy Dhama. In one year, I had it twelve times and each time it took about two weeks to recover. So I was sick for about half of the year. As a result, I lost a lot of weight and they sent me to Australia. When I arrived in Melbourne, I found that the sparrows there were twice as fat as they were in India, and I knew that I had come to the right place! (laughter) I knew that I would be able to gain some weight in Australia. Of course, what I did not realise right there and then is that not all the sparrows in Australia were that big. But it were the sparrows that were living near the temple because there was so much prasadam, so much mercy, that even the sparrows were just flooding in this transcendental mercy. Somehow or other, we have the good fortune of a human birth. It is rare, it is not often obtained. We attained it and therefore we are able to receive transcendental knowledge which can give us a clear understanding of what the goal of life is, to render devotional service to Krsna. This goal of life should remain at the forefront at all times.   


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Inspiring Captain by Bhaktimarga Swami

8577692501?profile=RESIZE_584xA poem I wrote to honor the guru (Prabhupada):

Inspiring Captain

Bless that a new power be bestowed upon me

To be humbled as if standing next to the big sea.

It’s what I’ve never known, never seen

For behind the ears, I’m embarrassingly green.

I am small, I am petite

Searching constantly for what’s labelled as sweet.

Conceit is the weakness that brings this about

Causing an entrance, an exit — I’m in, I’m out.

I find a straw-in-teeth so hard to swallow.

Pride ‘n snobbery is what I’m up to follow.

To snub these is the greatest challenge of all.

To tackle the ego is an order so tall.

Where’s the real sweetness — the promised love —

This potential prema that comes from above?

If it’s there, then why doesn’t it fall?

Seems it lacks the gravity of a heavy ball.

As time ticks, 70 comes to my door,

I’m getting closer to being flat on the floor.

With no expectation to finish my term soon,

My service is forever as it is over the moon.

You took on the weighty world like a fighter.

You knock down maya to make everything lighter.

Though towering ocean waves, you keep me afloat,

As the inspiring captain on the bhakti boat.

            -Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk©


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Appearance of Bhishmadeva

From Vishnu were descended in the following order - Brahma-Atri-Candra-Budha - Pururavas - Ayus - Nahusha- Yayati - Puru - Janamejaya - Prachinvaa - Pravira - Namasyu - Vitabhava - Shundu - Bahuvidha - Samyati - Rahovadi - Raudrasva - Matinara - Santurodha - Dushyanta - Bharata - Suhotra - Gala - Gardda - Suketu - Brhatksetra - Hasti - Ajamidha - Riksha - Samvarana - Kuru - Jahnu - Suratha - Vidaratha - Sarvabhauma - Jayatsena - Ravyaya - Bhavuka - Chakroddhata - Devatithi - Riksha - Bhima-Pratipa-Shantanu-Bhishma.

Birth and Boyhood:
Bhishma's name in his boyhood was Devavrata. He was the eighth son of Shantanu, a king of the lunar dynasty and Gangadevi. This boy was the human embodiment of Dyau, one of the Ashthavasus. Shantanu, his father was the re-birth of another king, Mahabhisheka. The story concerning this is given in the Mahabharata as follows:

King Mahabhisheka after his death, attained Vishnuloka. Once he went to visit Brahma at Satyaloka. At that time Ganga devi was also present in Brahma's assembly. In that pious atmosphere, a gentle breeze began to blow and Gangadevi's clothes were slightly deranged. Just at that moment Mahabhisheka took a stealthy glance at her and she also returned that glance. This was noted by Brahma who turned both of them into human beings by a curse. Gangadevi begged pardon and Brahma lifted the curse and blessed her that the Ashthavasus would come to the earth to be born as her sons and that afterwards she could come back to heaven. After that Gangadevi was born as a mortal woman in the world under the name Ganga and she spent her days in the forests near the Ganga river valleys.

In those days the ruler of the lunar dynasty was a king named Pratipa. Having no children he went to the bank of the Ganga and performed tapas there. Gangadevi who was moving about in the forests nearby, saw the king deeply absorbed in tapas. She approached him and sat on his right thigh. She wanted the king to be her husband. He explained to her that the right thigh is the proper seat of the daughter-in-law and so she would become his son's wife in due course. In due course of time, Pratipa has a son, Shantanu, born to him. When Shantanu grew up into a young man, one day he went for a hunt to the Ganga-valley and there he met Gangadevi. He fell in love with her at first sight and courted her. Gangadevi agreed to become his wife on the condition that he should not say anything to displease her and if he violated that condition she would leave him. The king accepted the condition and they became man and wife.

At about that time, the wife of Dyo, one of the Ashthavasus, happened to see the sacrificial cow of the sage Vasishtha and wished to have it. She expressed her desire to her husband, Dyo. Dyo with the other seven vasus went and took away by force Vasishtha's cow. Vasishtha in his anger cursed the Ashthavasus to be born as mortals. they repented and begged pardon from Vasishtha. The sage told them that all of them would be born as the sons of Gangadevi and all except Dyo, who actually stole the cow, would return to heaven at the time of birth itself. As for Dyo, he would continue to live in the world for a long time, as an adventurous hero.

Gangadevi became pregnant and gave birth to her first child. She carried the child to the river Ganga and threw it into the river. Shantanu who followed her up to the river bank, did not say anything against her, remebering his promise.

Seven children were born to her and she threw all of them into the river in this way. When she gave birth to the eighth child Shantanu insisted that he would not allow her to throw away that child in the river. As he had violated the conditions of his promise, the angry Gangadevi left the palace with her child. She named it Devavrata and brought him up in the forest. The sage Vasishtha and Gangadevi taught him all branches of knowledge. Thirtytwo years later, the king went to the same forest for hunting. He saw a handsome by stopping the flow of the river Ganga. Getting interested in the boy, the king approached him. But by that time he had disappeared. The king prayed to Gangadevi to give back the child. She appeared with the child and after handing over the child to him vanished. The king returned to the palace with the child (Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapters 95-100.)

The name of Bhishma:
Devavrata was anointed, as heir-apparent. One day king Shantanu reached the forest near the Ganga river valley, for hunting. As he was hunting absorbed in the beauty of the forest scenery, he felt the perfume of musk filling the air in the forest. He wondered from where it could come. He went on and on trying to find out the source of this smell until he reached the cottage of a fisherman. The fisherman had a daughter named Satyavati. It was from her that the fragrance of musk spread all around (Satyavati's original name was Kali. The fisherman got her from the stomach of a fish. Since she had a smell of a fish she got the name Matsyagandhi.
She used to assist a fisherman in his work as a ferryman in the river Ganga. Once the sage Parasara happened to get into her boat and fell deeply in love with her. The sage removed the smell of fish from her and gave her the perfume of musk instead. By this mystic power he created a mist at noon and under its cover, he had a sexual union with her. As a result of it the child Krsna (Vyaasa) was born. The child immediately left the mother to perform tapas in the forest after promising to return to her whenever she wished for his presence. Although she gave birth to a child, Parasara blessed her that she would again remain a virgin. The whole episode remained a secret. As usual, Satyavati returned to the fisherman's cottage in the evening and continued to live with him. It is at this stage that Shantanu was attracted by the perfume of musk and came to the cottage where he met Satyavati.

The king fell in love with her at first sight. He asked the fisherman to give the girl in marriage to him. But the brave fisherman did not yeild to the king's demand immediately. He laid down several conditions; one of which was that Satyavati's sons should succeed to the throne of Shantanu. The king was in a fix. Devavrata was the eldest son and heir-apparent. To deny kingship to his sons would be highly improper. Unable to find a solution to this difficult problem, the king returned to the palace, much depressed and gloomy. there he avoided all company and took to his bed, passing his time in sadness and solitude.

When Devavrata knew about hism father's condition, he called the Ministers and asked them about it. They told him everything in details. At once, without informing even his father, Devavrata went to the fisherman's cottage on the bank of the river Ganges and begged for Satyavati on behalf of his father. the fisherman repeated his former condition. Devavrata agreed that Satyavati's son shall be given the right of kinship. The fisherman pointed out that disputes were likely to arise between Devavrata's sons and Satyavati's children regarding the right of succession to the throne. At once Devavrata stood up and made a solemn pledge (drdavrata) that he would remain a bachelor for life. The fisherman gave Satyavati to Devavrata to be taken to the king. Devavrata took her to the palace and presented her to his father.

The king, when he came to know of the part played by his son in that matter, rose from his bed and embraced Devavrata with tears of joy and gratitude. the gods showered flowers on the scene. Because he had taken such a solemn oath, it was decalred that henceforth he would be known by the name BHISHMA. The loving father Shantanu also gave him a boon that Bhishma would die only when he wished. (Mahabharata. Adi Parva, Chapter 100.)
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8574793087?profile=RESIZE_710xToday is the day when we honor that personality who has brought the descent of Lord Caitanya into this world Shri Advaita Acarya, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is Mahavishnu, He is the personality who created this entire cosmic manifestation and knowing the purpose of the cosmic manifestations to send everyone back to Godhead that same Mahavishnu incarnated within this material world slightly over five hundred years ago. He was born in a little village in Bengal called Navagram, his mother’s name was Näbhadevé and his name was Kuvera pandit. When he was just a small child he was given two names Kamaläkña and Advaita. It is said that immediately after his birth the first word that came out of his mouth were Shri Krishna Caitanya but nobody could understand this. Playing the role of an ordinary human being, when he was very young he received the sacred thread, when he was only about four years old his parents moved to Shantipur on the banks of the Ganges. His parents both left this world; they died when he was just a very young man. So after performing the Çraddhä ceremony in Gaya he decided to go and Tirth Yatra to visit the holy places through all of India. During his journey he met that great spiritual master Madhavendra puri and he accepted initiation from him.

Advaita Acharya appeared in fifteenth century Bengal, India, as a teacher of Krishna consciousness.

He is frequently mentioned in the biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Chaitanya Charitamrita, as an intimate associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and as an avatar of Krishna (specifically an incarnation of Sadashiva and Maha-Vishnu).

Chaitanya Charitamrita relates how Advaita Acharya was so pained to see the degraded condition of the people in Kali Yuga, the Age of Quarrel, that He fervently prayed for Krishna Himself to descend and remedy the situation.

Sri Advaita worshiped Krishna on the banks of the Ganges with Ganges water and Tulasi leaves, crying out and begging for the Lord to come save the suffering souls.

Pin response to Sri Adwaita Acharya’s devotion and compassion, Krishna decided to appear, in the form of His own devotee—Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Advaita Acharya was the first among Mahaprabhu’s associates to appear within the material world.

Some sixty years prior to Mahaprabhu’s own advent, Advaita Acharya had already begun chanting Krishna’s names in the streets with devotees and discussing scriptures on devotional service to Krishna.

Advaita Acharya’s name indicates that He is nondifferent—Advaita—from Krishna, and spiritual master—acharya—because He taught devotional service to Krishna.

Advaita Acharya lived in Shantipura and Mayapura, in what is now West Bengal, and was the head of the Vaishnava community of Nadia.


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