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8574779083?profile=RESIZE_400xToday we shall discuss Sri Advaita Acharya and His desire to induce the Lord to appear to deliver the fallen souls, who were so engrossed in material thoughts and activities, by introducing the yuga-dharma of hari-nama-sankirtana.

We read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Three: “The External Reasons for Lord Caitanya’s Appearance.”


prakatiya dekhe acarya sakala samsara
krsna-bhakti gandha-hina visaya-vyavahara


Advaita Acarya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Sri Krsna because people were engrossed in material affairs.


keha pape, keha punye kare visaya-bhoga
bhakti-gandha nahi, yate yaya bhava-roga


Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death.


Advaita Acarya saw the entire world to be engaged in activities of material piety and impiety, without a trace of devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, anywhere. The fact is that in this material world there is no scarcity of anything except Krsna consciousness. Material necessities are supplied by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. We sometimes feel scarcity because of our mismanagement, but the real problem is that people are out of touch with Krsna consciousness. Everyone is engaged in material sense gratification, but people have no plan for making an ultimate solution to their real problems, namely birth, disease, old age and death. These four material miseries are called bhava-roga, or material diseases. They can be cured only by Krsna consciousness. Therefore Krsna consciousness is the greatest benediction for human society.


loka-gati dekhi’ acarya karuna-hrdaya
vicara karena, lokera kaiche hita haya


Seeing the activities of the world, the Acarya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.


This sort of serious interest in the welfare of the public makes one a bona fide acarya. An acarya does not exploit his followers. Since the acarya is a confidential servitor of the Lord, his heart is always full of compassion for humanity in its suffering. He knows that all suffering is due to the absence of devotional service to the Lord, and therefore he always tries to find ways to change people’s activities, making them favorable for the attainment of devotion. That is the qualification of an acarya. Although Sri Advaita Prabhu Himself was powerful enough to do the work, as a submissive servitor He thought that without the personal appearance of the Lord, no one could improve the fallen condition of society.

In the grim clutches of maya, the first-class prisoners of this material world wrongly think themselves happy because they are rich, powerful, resourceful and so on. These foolish creatures do not know that they are nothing but play dolls in the hands of material nature and that at any moment material nature’s pitiless intrigues can crush to dust all their plans for godless activities. Such foolish prisoners cannot see that however they improve their position by artificial means, the calamities of repeated birth, death, disease and old age are always beyond the jurisdiction of their control. Foolish as they are, they neglect these major problems of life and busy themselves with false things that cannot help them solve their real problems. They know that they do not want to suffer death or the pangs of disease and old age, but under the influence of the illusory energy, they are grossly negligent and therefore do nothing to solve the problems. This is called maya. People held in the grip of maya are thrown into oblivion after death, and as a result of their karma, in the next life they become dogs or gods, although most of them become dogs. To become gods in the next life, they must engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; otherwise, they are sure to become dogs or hogs in terms of the laws of nature.

The third-class prisoners, being less materially opulent than the first-class prisoners, endeavor to imitate them, for they also have no information of the real nature of their imprisonment. Thus they also are misled by the illusory material nature. The function of the acarya, however, is to change the activities of both the first-class and third-class prisoners for their real benefit. This endeavor makes him a very dear devotee of the Lord, who says clearly in the Bhagavad-gita that no one in human society is dearer to Him than a devotee who constantly engages in His service by finding ways to preach the message of Godhead for the real benefit of the world. The so-called acaryas of the Age of Kali are more concerned with exploiting the resources of their followers than mitigating their miseries; but Sri Advaita Prabhu, as an ideal acarya, was concerned with improving the condition of the world situation.


apani sri-krsna yadi karena avatara\
apane acari’ bhakti karena pracara


[Advaita Acarya thought:] “If Sri Krsna were to appear as an incarnation, He Himself could preach devotion by His personal example.

TEXT 100

nama vinu kali-kale dharma nahi ara
kali-kale kaiche habe krsna avatara


“In this Age of Kali there is no religion other than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, but how in this age will the Lord appear as an incarnation?

TEXT 101

suddha-bhave kariba krsnera aradhana
nirantara sadainye kariba nivedana


“I shall worship Krsna in a purified state of mind. I shall constantly petition Him in humbleness.

TEXT 102

aniya krsnere karon kirtana sancara
tabe se ‘advaita’ nama saphala amara


“My name, ‘Advaita,’ will be fitting if I am able to induce Krsna to inaugurate the movement of the chanting of the holy name.”

TEXT 103

krsna vasa karibena kon aradhane
vicarite eka sloka aila tanra mane


While Advaita Acarya was thinking about how to propitiate Krsna by worship, the following verse came to His mind.

TEXT 104

  jalasya culukena va
vikrinite svam atmanam
  bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalah


“Sri Krsna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.”


This is a verse from the Gautamiya-tantra.

TEXTS 105–106

ei slokartha acarya karena vicarana
krsnake tulasi-jala deya yei jana

tara rna sodhite krsna karena cintana-
‘jala-tulasira sama kichu ghare nahi dhana’


Advaita Acarya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: “Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water, Lord Krsna thinks, ‘There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasi leaf and water.’

TEXT 107

tabe atma veci’ kare rnera sodhana
eta bhavi’ acarya karena aradhana


“Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering Himself to the devotee.” Considering in this way, the Acarya began worshiping the Lord.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Through devotional service one can easily please Lord Krsna with a leaf of the tulasi plant and a little water. As the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water (patram puspam phalam toyam), when offered with devotion, very much pleases Him. He universally accepts the services of His devotees. Even the poorest of devotees in any part of the world can secure a small flower, fruit or leaf, and a little water, and if these offerings, and especially tulasi leaves and Ganges water, are offered to Krsna with devotion, He is very satisfied. It is said that Krsna is so much pleased by such devotional service that He offers Himself to His devotees in exchange for it. Srila Advaita Acarya knew this fact, and therefore He decided to call for the Personality of Godhead Krsna to descend by worshiping the Lord with tulasi leaves and the water of the Ganges.

TEXT 108

ganga-jala, tulasi-manjari anuksana
krsna-pada-padma bhavi’ kare samarpana


Thinking of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, He constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganges.

TEXT 109

krsnera ahvana kare kariya hunkara
e-mate krsnere karaila avatara


He appealed to Sri Krsna with loud calls and thus made it possible for Krsna to appear.

TEXT 110

caitanyera avatare ei mukhya hetu
bhaktera icchaya avatare dharma-setu


Therefore the principal reason for Sri Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Acarya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

When we read these verses about Advaita Acharya’s worship of the Lord with tulasi leaves and manjaris and Ganges water, we could think, “We also have salagrama-silas, and we also worship the Lord with tulasi leaves and Ganges water, but the Lord doesn’t appear. Why?” There are some other requirements besides just the external offering of patram puspam phalam toyam, and the first requirement is bhakti:

patram puspam phalam toyam
  yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
  asnami prayatatmanah
            (Gita 9.26)

If one offers Krishna a leaf, a fruit, a flower, or some water with love and devotion, He will accept it. And our love and devotion are manifested in our care and attention in our service.

Yesterday when I came to offer guru-puja to Srila Prabhupada, I was struck by how beautiful the arati tray was. Each item—the different plates and bowls—were themselves of very high quality. They were brilliantly polished—shiny and bright. And they were placed meticulously on the plate in the order in which they were to be offered. It was a work of art, and I was stunned by seeing the devotion that went into the apparently simple act of preparation.

Then I thought of an incident with Srila Prabhupada in Bombay in 1972. He had entered into an agreement to purchase the Juhu land, but the landlord was trying to cheat him. He took a deposit from Srila Prabhupada but then refused to sell Prabhupada the land, but at the same time he was holding onto the deposit, which was quite a large amount. Srila Prabhupada was staying in the unfinished house of a life member. It was almost ready but not completely, and Srila Prabhupada was staying on the second floor. Early one morning, maybe six or six-thirty—the sun had not yet risen, but there was a little light in the sky—Srila Prabhupada was sitting in his room, absorbed in discussion with friends and disciples about the struggle for the land. Suddenly a muscular, sinewy laborer appeared at the door, paused, and, with all eyes on him, entered the room. The man’s complexion was dark, and he wore only a small, faded cloth around his waist. I was apprehensive. Then he walked toward Prabhupada, placed a bunch of flowers on his desk, bowed down, looked at him, and walked out.

Prabhupada was so moved by the man’s simple act of devotion that for several moments he could not speak. He just looked down and closed his eyes. Finally, with a choked voice, he said, “Such a simple man. Yet somehow he understood that a saintly person is here, and he gathered some flowers to offer. In the Bhagavad-gétä, Lord Krishna says, patraà puñpaà phalaà toyaà yo me bhaktyä prayacchati/ tad ahaà bhakty-upahåtam açnämi prayatätmanaù: ‘If one offers Me a leaf or flower with love and devotion, I will accept it.’ Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and even His heart is touched by such devotion, what to speak of an insignificant living entity like me—how much more I will feel overwhelmed.”

So, this is the real element—the bhakti, the sincere devotion. The humble laborer just offered the flowers, bowed down, and left. Many people worship but have different motives; many come to God to make business with Him. They feel that if they give something to God, they’ll get something more in return. So it becomes an investment.

There is a temple in India at Tirupati, and the Deity is called Venkateswar or, more commonly, Balaji. He is famous in India for giving material boons to worshippers, and every day hundreds of thousands of worshippers come to see Him and put money in the box, the hundi, many with the thought that they’ll get much more in return in the future. Sometimes politicians go there in the hopes of winning the election. Even from Mauritius the prime minister went to Balaji to get blessings to win the election. And in India they do it, too.

This is not bhakti; this is business. So, Srila Prabhupada had a good friend in Bombay, Mr. Brijratan Mohatta, a very intelligent, affluent man, and very supportive, but he had some mistaken ideas—he hadn’t yet understood the spirit of pure devotion. Just before the Juhu temple opened, he told Srila Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, if you want to get a lot of collections in the hundi box you have to spread the rumor that people who give money to the Deities here [Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari] get more back in return.” Srila Prabhupada replied, “No, this is against our principles: we don’t do business with the Deity.”

They even have jokes in India. A man went to the Deity and prayed, “Dear Lord, I’m going to the races to bet on a horse, and if I win a lakh of rupees I will give You half.” So, the man went, bet on his horse, and won fifty thousand rupees. He went back to the Lord and prayed, “Lord, You didn’t trust me—You took Your half first!” So, people not only do business with the Lord, straight business, but they can also be crooked—make a deal with the Lord and then try to cheat.

That type of worship will not make the Lord feel so indebted to His devotee that He feels the only way He can repay His devotee is by giving Himself.

There are many very important words embedded in the verses we just read. Text 108 says, ganga-jala, tulasi-manjari anuksana. Anuksana means “constantly.” Advaita Acharya was constantly worshipping the Lord. It was His complete purpose. He was so fixed in His intention that His worship of the Lord was constant. So, that is also our goal; that is part of the definition of pure devotional service:

anukulyena krsnanu-
  silanam bhaktir uttama
(Brs 1.1.11)

Anusilanam. Silanam means “cultivation,” and anu can mean “to follow.” We cultivate pure devotional service following the instructions of sadhu, shastra, and guru, following the previous acharyas, and anu also means “continuous.” Pure devotional service is ahaituky apratihata: unmotivated and uninterrupted. It is not enough that we do devotional service for some time every day but then also do other things. Everything should be done in the mood of service to Krishna.

So, anusilanam means continuous cultivation. And in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Lord Chaitanya says, nirantara—devotees’ chanting is nirantara, without cessation, continuous. This doesn’t mean that we can’t take time to maintain our bodies, because we must. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that engaging in necessary activities for the maintenance of the body is not a violation of the principle of continuous devotional service, or kirtaniyah sada harih—chanting the holy name constantly. It doesn’t mean that we don’t bathe, brush our teeth, dress properly, eat as required, take rest as required. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that one should not eat too much or eat too little, sleep too much or sleep too little. But it should be done in the mood of service to Krishna, that “I have to keep the body and soul fit to serve Krishna”—not that I have to keep the body fit to enjoy sense gratification. It is a matter of consciousness.

I have been reading Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami, wherein he describes an incident in which a disciple complained to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura that he didn’t have time to complete his quota of rounds. He was asking for permission to do less. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta replied, “No, you have to complete your quota. You can eat less or sleep less, but you have to complete your quota.” Then the disciple said, “But I see other devotees are not finishing their quota.” Now, this quota was higher than our quota of sixteen rounds; it was sixty-four rounds. And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati replied, “You don’t see, but I see.” Later, the disciple had the realization that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was seeing that these disciples were so fully absorbed in service to the mission that their service counted as good as hari-nama because it was broadcasting the glories of the Lord.

That’s a bit of an intricate topic, about our quota, but in our case Srila Prabhupada gave the quota of sixteen rounds, which leaves us plenty of time to engage in practical service to the mission, which he also wanted us to do. Also, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati gave different quotas to different disciples. In general it was sixty-four rounds, but for some it was sixteen, and for some even four, depending on the situation. And in some cases he said, “Just do what you can.” In ISKCON Prabhupada set one standard for everyone, and the standard is sixteen rounds. And that was his standard when he was in grihastha-ashrama—sixteen rounds.

Srila Prabhupada told his servant Hari-sauri that every day he had the principle that before breakfast he would chant at least four rounds, before lunch he would chant another four rounds, before dinner he would chant another four rounds, and before taking rest he would chant another four rounds—in that way he was sure to complete his sixteen rounds every day. He broke it up into smaller numbers, and he wouldn’t allow himself to eat—or sleep—unless he did his required number, and then he was sure to do it.

So, drdha-vratah—we have to have determination to keep up our vows, and that will make us strong and that will attract Krishna’s attention and mercy.

So, “continuous” doesn’t mean that we neglect the body or don’t engage in activities required for living in the world. For example, paying taxes—if you don’t pay your taxes, there’ll be trouble. There are different requirements imposed upon us by virtue of our having a material body and living in a society, and we have to meet those. But we should do so in a straightforward way that’s not too complicated, so that we can think of Krishna even while we’re doing it. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also said that if you can’t chant sixty-four rounds on your beads, then whatever you’re doing—cleaning the temple or going here or there for service—whatever you are doing, just keep chanting while you’re doing it, and the rounds will add up. You’ll complete sixty-four even if you’re not counting them on your beads. Our quota is sixteen, and certainly whatever Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura came to give in terms of Krishna consciousness we can get from Srila Prabhupada by following the instructions that Srila Prabhupada gave us.

So, this continuous cultivation, continuous chanting, continuous worshipping doesn’t mean that we don’t take care of the necessities of life, but we should do so in a straightforward way that’s not too complicated, so we can think of Krishna. And our purpose should be to keep the body and soul together, to keep our affairs in order, so that we can serve Krishna. Then that counts as part of kirtaniyah sada harih. And this is also in the verse ganga-jala, tulasi-manjari anuksana—constantly.

Krsna-pada-padma bhavi’ kare samarpana. Krsna-pada-padma bhavi’ means thinking of the lotus feet of Krishna. That also is not so easy. It is easier to engage in service with our body. It depends on the service, but there are some services that we can do with the body without engaging the mind—in other words, when we do the service externally. Unfortunately, one such service can even be chanting the holy name. We can have our hand in our bead bag and our tongue engaged in chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, but our mind may be somewhere else. You could be cutting vegetables for the sacred service of the Lord, but your mind could be somewhere else. But Advaita Acharya’s mind was on the lotus feet of Krishna while He was doing His worship. Of course, He was a perfect devotee, nitya-siddha. And more than a perfect devotee, He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, acting as a devotee. We are in the stage of sadhana, and though in that stage we can’t always think of Krishna, the basic principle of sadhana-bhakti is to always remember Krishna and never forget Him—that’s our endeavor, our hope. So we persevere.

smartavyah satatam visnur
  vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur
  etayor eva kinkarah

“Lord Visnu [Krsna is the origin of Visnu] should always be remembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should be the servants of these two principles.” (Padma Purana, quoted as Cc Madhya 22.113)

Once, a disciple told Srila Prabhupada that when he cleaned the temple he wasn’t thinking of Krishna—his mind was wandering—so did his cleaning the temple even count as devotional service? And Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, we are in the kingdom of maya, so it is natural that maya will call us, ‘Come on, enjoy me. Come on, enjoy me,’ but if you don’t heed her call, if you continue with your service, eventually she’ll stop calling.” Just like if someone is pursuing you by telephone, if you don’t answer the phone enough times, the person will get the idea, “This person does not want to entertain me,” and stop calling. So, Maya is always calling us, “Come on, enjoy me,” offering us different varieties of gross and subtle sense gratification to please our senses and mind. And those thoughts will come in our mind while we are engaged in service, but Srila Prabhupada said that if we continue with our service and don’t heed Maya’s call, don’t act on the allurements that she is presenting to us, then eventually she’ll stop calling.

So, we continue and pray for the mercy that we can actually focus on the holy name when we are chanting, can actually think of Krishna while we are serving Him, whether cleaning the temple, cutting vegetables, cooking, dressing Him, making garlands, or any variety of service.

The care and attention we give to a service counts. That’s really what brings us to Krishna consciousness, and I must say that I was very pleased by what I saw in the pujari area yesterday—very clean, very orderly. It seemed that everything had its proper place and everything was in its proper place. There were a few leaves from the flowers on the floor of the hallway. First I thought it was 100 percent, then I thought 98 percent, and then I saw some more leaves and I thought maybe 95 percent. I went up to chant in Srila Prabhupada’s rooms, and then when I came down I saw a devotee sweeping the floor. So I thought, “Well, okay, that’s good.” So, that is very uplifting to the consciousness when the devotees are attentive and conscientious in their service. That’s how we show our devotion, and that’s how we develop our devotion. And then naturally the more advanced stages of Krishna consciousness will follow.

The last word on which I want to comment is in text 109—hunkara. Hunkara means “loud shouts.” Srila Prabhupada had a disciple named Hunkara. I’d never heard the name, so I asked him what it meant, and he said, “Loud shouts.” The word is also used in relation to Lord Chaitanya’s dancing at the Ratha-yatra: He also called out to the Lord, or cried out to the Lord with loud shouts. So, this means there is great intensity, and that makes all the difference. No matter what our level is, what our stage is, if we engage in devotional service with intensity, we get Krishna—we get Krishna consciousness, and we get Krishna. Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10) states,

akamah sarva-kamo va
  moksa-kama udara-dhih
tivrena bhakti-yogena
  yajeta purusam param

“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he is full of all material desire, is free from material desire, or has a desire for liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.”

Akamah means one who has no desires. A devotee has no desires—material desires, selfish desires. Sarva-kamo means full of all sorts of material desires. Moksa kama: desirous of liberation. Tivrena bhakti-yogena: if he engages in bhakti-yoga, tivrena, with great force, great intensity, he can approach Krishna. And Srila Prabhupada comments in his purport that tivra is like unadulterated sun rays—very powerful, intense. Tapasya is related to that word tapa, and tapa is related to the word “heat.” So, we have to do some tapasya, and our basic tapasya is to engage in devotional service with intensity.

Devotees who have been successful—every devotee is successful, but devotees who’ve been eminently successful—have been very intense, or consistent. One example is our godbrother Aindra Prabhu, who was very focused in hari-nama-sankirtana, very intense. He would hardly eat or sleep. He was constantly chanting japa or kirtan. And also reading—he was very knowledgeable in scripture. One devotee mentioned that once he was in Aindra Prabhu’s room when Aindra was chanting japa, and at the end of finishing his rounds he took his bead bag and threw it against the wall and lamented, “No taste!” That’s intensity. Maybe that’s our version of hunkara, loud shouts. But he had that desire. He wasn’t just going to let it go—he kept at it; he kept struggling.

And that’s our condition—every conditioned soul. Rupa Gosvami says that in the beginning . . . It’s like we are in a diseased condition, jaundiced condition, so when we chant the holy name, form, qualities, or pastimes of the Lord, we don’t relish the sweetness, because someone who has the disease and is jaundiced doesn’t taste sweet things as being sweet. He actually relishes bitter things. But the Ayurvedic cure for jaundice is sugar candy, rock candy, and even though the rock candy tastes bitter at first, if the patient keeps taking it, he’ll gradually recover and experience the sweetness of the candy as sweet—sweeter, sweeter, sweeter, until he can taste it as it is, as nectar.

As stated by Srila Rupa Gosvami in The Nectar of Instruction (7):

syat krsna-nama-caritadi-sitapy avidya-
  pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocika nu
kintv adarad anudinam khalu saiva justa
  svadvi kramad bhavati tad-gada-mula-hantri

“The holy name, character, pastimes, and activities of Krsna are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidya [ignorance] cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.”

That is our condition, and the disease is avidya, ignorance, ignorance of our actual position, that we are eternal servants of Krishna. We may say, “Well, I know that. I know I am not the body, that I am part and parcel of Krishna. I know I am the eternal servant of Krishna.” But there is a difference between theoretical knowledge and practical realization. When we chant and our mind wanders, and if we analyze the thoughts we are entertaining in our mind, it generally comes back to the idea that we’re the body, because we are thinking of so many things in relation to the body.

I’m a perfect example. I don’t think I was on the hari-nama for more than a half hour when I thought, “I’m starting to feel a little hungry. I wonder how hungry I’ll be at the end of the hari-nama and what’s going to be waiting for me when I get back.” So, we know we’re not the body theoretically, but practically a lot of our thoughts and desires hover around the body. Or we think, “I’m the enjoyer. I’m the controller. I’m the proprietor.” And the thoughts that fill our mind are extensions of those ideas, thinking, “I want to enjoy this. I want to get this so I can enjoy.” Or, “I want to be able to control this. I don’t like this thing. Somebody is coming in my way. I’m not able to control things as I want. I want this thing. I am having trouble getting it.” Of course, all those things can be dovetailed in Krishna’s service, but a lot of the time the connection with Krishna is more remote and the connection with our bodies and minds is more immediate; we have the theoretical knowledge but we haven’t really realized it. It means we still are affected by ignorance, because we are identifying with the body and the world and things of the world and the body.

And so it gives rise to the question “What do we really want?” Again I’ll use myself as an example. Towards the end of the hari-nama I thought, “Boy, this is such an auspicious day, and we are on hari-nama. I can pray to Advaita Acharya; I can ask for whatever I want.” On their appearance days our acharyas and incarnations of God are very mercifully disposed. So I began, “Okay, pure devotional service. I want to be freed from lust and anger and greed and envy and pride.” And then I thought, “Well, what would life be like if I was actually free from those things? If I really want to be free from them, why aren’t I free from them now? What would it be like if I wasn’t proud? I would be the servant of the servant of the servant. But do I really want to be the servant of the servant of the servant? Or do I want people to serve me?” And then I thought, “Of course, I want to be the servant of the servant of the servant. That’s our philosophy.” “Yes, that’s your philosophy, that’s what the books say, but what do you really want?”

So, these are things that we may confront as we endeavor to make progress. And hari-nama-sankirtana, or the effort to preach Krishna consciousness, is so powerful that it can wash away all these things. But we have to be consistent. I saw it in Juhu, and I am sure you see it here too, but we would get a certain crowd every Sunday—we would always get so many thousand people on Sundays—but if, for example, Janmashtami fell in the middle of the week, the crowd on Sunday would be smaller, because so many Hindus or life members or whatever, their quota for going to the temple is once a week. So they felt, “We’ve already been on Janmashtami; we don’t have to go on Sunday. We’ve already gone once a week; we’ve fulfilled our quota.” So, okay, we did hari-nama last night, and it was great—I will discuss that a little later—and there’s another hari-nama tonight, in Santa Monica, at the Third Street Promenade. So, how many are going to think, “I already did hari-nama last night. Why do I have to do it again tonight?” So, there is the question of consistency, being consistent.

I don’t really know the people here, I don’t know what’s under the surface, but what I saw on the hari-nama-sankirtana was that people loved it, especially compared with when we used to go out on the streets in the sixties and seventies. Here people were smiling, they were saying, “Hare Krishna,” some were even trying to chant with us, a lot of people were dancing, and if they happened to have drums, many stopped and played drums with us. So, in that sense people were very receptive, and I thought, “If we did this every day for hours, we would meet so many people, give them invitations, and they would be bound to come. Give them books. Some of them are bound to read the books; some of them are bound to come.” It really struck me that we could be growing and flourishing like in the sixties and seventies, but we would have to be consistent. In those days we had more resident devotees maintained by the temple. Now it’s a little different, but the principle is that the more we’re out there chanting the holy names and giving out books and invitations, the more people will read the books, the more they will come to the temple, the more they’ll become devotees. They really seem so receptive and so open and so happy to see us.

But then we also have to think, “What will they experience when they come here?” That’s also a question, because we want Krishna consciousness to be accessible to the people. Some people are naturally devotees; they may have been devotees in their past life. So they come in and are just overwhelmed by the temple and love everything about it. But other people, without so much pious background, might just be curious, and they might benefit more from a little special treatment.

For a while in Durban, South Africa, His Holiness Indradyumna Swami was the temple president, and he had devotees out all day distributing books, and when they distributed the books, they always got the name and phone number of the people who took the books, if they were willing to give it. And then on Friday or even Thursday he had the devotees phone the people who had taken books during the week—specifically Europeans—to illustrate the point that some people require different treatment. I didn’t really look at the invitation card, but if it was something like, “Mangala-arati, 4:30 a.m.; Srngara-darsana, 7:00 a.m.; Guru-puja: . . .,” then people would think, “What is this? What does all this mean?” If we want to attract new people, we need an invitation card in a language that they can understand and then a program that’s accessible to them.

So, in Durban, say from Thursday, he had the devotees, the book distributors, start phoning the people and inviting them for the special program we had specifically for them on Saturday evening. The program was held in a very nice room, which we called the Prabhupada library, and there would be very mellow kirtan. Of course, Indradyumna Swami himself sings so beautifully. There would be a very mellow kirtan that people could appreciate. Not everyone, especially in the beginning, can relate to very fast, wild, exuberant kirtan. We were talking about that mood of compassion yesterday. It’s not just about our own ecstasy; it’s really about serving the Lord and the Lord’s mission and extending the Lord’s mercy to other people. It is mentioned in The Nectar of Devotion, that Krishna had a servant who was fanning Him, and while fanning Krishna the servant became so overwhelmed with ecstasy, he started to tremble and tears came in his eyes. But then he checked his ecstatic symptoms, because they were interfering with his service of fanning Krishna. Now, that’s pure devotion. Yes, ecstasy comes, and we’re happy when it comes, but the real goal is always to serve and please Krishna. So we might have to check our own exuberance in the kirtan. Of course, that can be good too, but sometimes something slow and mellow is more suitable for new people.

So, that was the Saturday evening program we had for the European people. The first kirtan would be very slow and mellow and melodious, and then Indradyumna Swami or whoever was there would give an introductory talk—very simple, in language that the audience could understand, mainly about the holy name and the importance of chanting. And then during the last kirtan, after the talk, he would get them to stand up. You have to assess what the audience can do, but in the second kirtan he’d have them stand up and get them to dance.

Then there would be a fabulous feast served in the restaurant. From whatever time it was, they’d close off a major section of the restaurant and serve this fabulous feast. Maharaja trained all the devotees how to dress, how to look nice, how to serve, and it was such a fantastic experience, people wanted to come back. It was hard to get through to Europeans then. Krishna consciousness was relatively new, and it was apartheid, and they were the rulers, but at the same time they were nervous: “Are the others going to overthrow us?” It was pretty tense. But they just had such a good experience.

So, that is something to consider: just go out, give people appropriate invitations, and invite them, maybe not just to the daily program, but maybe to a special program for new people that’s designed to make it easier for them to relate to and appreciate Krishna consciousness and devotees.

I never before saw as many happy, smiling faces—in a period of just two hours—as I did last night on hari-nama-sankirtana. It was really wonderful.

Hare Krishna.

Amala-bhakta dasa: Are you aware of any specific instances when Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to chant more than sixteen rounds?

Giriraj Swami: I am not aware of any time that Srila Prabhupada told a disciple that he or she must chant more than sixteen rounds. It was recommended on Ekadasi to chant twenty-five rounds, but, reading Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, I realized that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s mission, although similar to ISKCON, was fairly localized in India. It wasn’t international. And even within India it was more concentrated in Bengal and Orissa. So he spent a lot of time with his disciples, and because the distances were not so great, even if he didn’t visit all the centers in India or in Bengal, it was easy enough for disciples to come to where he was. So they had a lot of personal association with him that was hard to get for many of Prabhupada’s disciples because they were all over the United States, all over the world. And so he gave a lot more individualized instruction, which Srila Prabhupada couldn’t do. But Srila Prabhupada certainly said we could increase the number.

There is a very interesting talk with His Holiness Lokanath Swami and Srila Prabhupada in Juhu Beach in which Maharaja asked Srila Prabhupada why he had prescribed sixteen rounds. “Why not less or more?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “No. We say ‘minimum’ sixteen.  Minimum. If you can chant sixteen thousand, you can do. That is welcome.” Lokanath Swami continued, “Some devotees have fixed different numbers than sixteen. Some are chanting twenty minimum, or twenty-five.” Prabhupada said, “Yes, it should be increased. But don’t decrease—increase.” Then Lokanath Swami asked, “If we chant more than sixteen, how do we know if we are imitating Haridasa Thakura or following in his footsteps?” And Srila Prabhupada said, “Imitation is also good. If you imitate Haridasa Thakura, that is your great fortune. But if you have some other business and you say, ‘Now I am imitating Haridasa Thakura; I cannot do it,’ that is very bad.”

So, the idea was to increase. So much depends on time, place, and circumstance, but as we grow older we might not have the physical capacity to do as much active, physically demanding service as we did before, so then we can chant more or read and write. But I am not aware of Prabhupada specifically ordering a disciple to chant more than sixteen rounds.

According to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura thought it was more important for householders to chant sixty-four rounds than for the devotees in the matha, because the devotees in the matha were engaged in service to the mission, so it was easier for them to think of Krishna, whereas those who were not so engaged, how would they think of Krishna? They should chant extra rounds.

Do we chant fewer rounds because we are busy serving the mission or because we have to gossip or have to read the latest news? That is for each of us to see. We may not have taste; that may be the problem. But by forcing ourselves to chant and serve in different ways, we develop taste. We do have taste for other things, but coming back to the hari-nama-sankirtana, nagara-sankirtana, not many things could compare with that.

Srila Prabhupada was such a spiritual genius, such an empowered servant of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his guru maharaja, that he knew exactly how to engage us. Ultimately everything depends on mercy. We make our efforts, but ultimately everything depends on mercy, and by going out and distributing the holy name, distributing the message of Krishna and bringing people to Krishna consciousness, we get the maximum mercy, and it really all depends on mercy. I have realized that in my own life. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura preached at a different time, to a different audience, and dealt with a different type of person; what Prabhupada did for us is just perfect—he emphasized preaching, hari-nama-sankirtana, book distribution, brhat-mrdanga, brhat-kirtana. If we just do that, we will be fine—but we have to do it, and we have to be consistent. If we just do that, we will get everything, everything that those matha-vasis got by chanting sixty-four rounds or what they did in their time, we’ll get it all. I am confident of that.

Thank you very much.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Yuga-dharma sri hari-nama-sankirtana ki jaya!
Sri Advaita Acharya ki jaya!

 Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Advaita Acharya’s appearance day, February 11, 2011, New Dvaraka, Los Angeles]


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Today 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.
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Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir!
Date: January 30th, 2012 Topic: Sri Advaita Acarya’s Appearance day Verse: C. C. Adi 6.5 Speaker: H. H. Bhakti V. V. Narasimha Swami

So today being the occasion of the appearance of Advaita Acarya we will speak on the pastimes, some of the significant events in relation to Advaita Acarya. This is from Adi Lila, chapter 6 – The Glories of Advaita Acarya, text 6.

advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-samsanat bhaktavataram isam tam advaitacaryam asraye

TRANSLATION: Because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him. [CC Adi 6.5]

So this is one of the two verses which are used in the beginning of Caitanya-caritamrta by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami to introduce us to Advaita Acarya. The chapter then goes on to explain how Advaita Acarya is the second branch of the tree of Caitanya Mahaprabhu – the first branch of course being Lord Nityananda and the main trunk being Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. So Advaita Acarya is the second branch of the tree. And from this branch there are many sub branches of the followers of Advaita Acarya. Then we are told how Advaita Acarya had six sons but from his six sons only three were followers and the other three were deviants and were rejected by him.

Prabhupada then in the purport goes on to explain something of the history of Gaudiya Math and their entanglement in legal affairs, legal disputes because they did not properly work together according to the order of the spiritual master.

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah

That, for those who have implicit faith in the Lord and the spiritual master and who follow their instructions then all the purports of the scripture are revealed. (Svetasvara Upaniñad 6.23)

Srila Prabhupada explains to us that you can understand who is a faithful follower of the spiritual master by the results which they achieve. When the branch is connected to the tree then the branch will produce flowers and fruits. But if a branch is disconnected from the tree then the branch will dry up. The leaves will wither and dry up.

In the same way in propagating Krishna consciousness or the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu should be properly spread according to the instructions of the previous acaryas. And if we keep the instructions of the previous acaryas always in the forefront then we can be successful. Srila Prabhupada tells us how he himself always kept his own spiritual masters instruction in mind that whenever he got money use it to print books. This was how Srila Prabhupada explained to us his own success in spreading the message of Lord Caitanya.

In the case of Advaita Acarya there was some controversy. Just as we see controversy, disputes within our own Krishna consciousness movement from time to time there arises some dispute or some different opinions. So similarly some five hundred years ago in the time of Advaita Acarya there was also this problem – difficulties to work together.

Originally there was one idea but in course of time there was some split. Different opinions came out. There was some misunderstanding or different opinions of who was actually the supreme Lord. Who was svayam bhagavan. Some of the followers of Advaita Acarya were claiming that he was the svayam bhagavan. But Advaita Acarya himself had never given that instruction. Rather he always claimed that he was the servant of the Lord. He was the servant of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We see this brought out in many different pastimes involving Advaita Acarya.

The Caitanya-caritamrta describes to us how Advaita Acarya was first of all responsible for the Lord to descend from the spiritual world, from Vaikuntha. Advaita Acarya was lamenting the fallen condition of the world. He was seeing how the people were all engaged in the worship of demigods for material benefits and how they were spending all their wealth on arranging the marriages of their children and they had no interest in the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita. They were not concerned to take up the process of devotional service.

So although Advaita Acarya is Maha-Visnu Himself and he does the work of creating the material world he did not consider himself competent to deliver the people of the world. Therefore he thought the Lord Himeself, the Supreme Lord, svayam bhagavan, Lord Sri Krishna Himself has to come and deliver them. In this way he remembered a verse from the Gautamiya Tantra which said that if one worships the Lord with devotion offering Him water of the Ganges and Tulasi leaves then the Lord becomes purchased by that devotee and He becomes his servant.

In this way Advaita Acarya residing at his home in Santipur began to offer Tulasi leaves and Ganga water and called to the Lord to come and deliver the world. His calling did not go in vain. Later on Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu would remind Advaita Acarya that, “You were the one that woke Me up. I was sleeping peacefully in the milk ocean but your loud calling disturbed Me and brought Me here. So Advaita Acarya was responsible for the Lord to descend.

Initially the Lord did not reveal Himself to Advaita Acarya. Caitanya-bhagavat describes how when the Lord was ready to reveal Himself to the devotees, at that time He sent the brother of Srivas Pandit, Ramai to go to the home of Advaita Acarya and bring him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the home of Srivas Pandit. He had sent Ramai. Ramai did not know who wasAdvaita Acarya. He did not know where to go. He was simply guided by the Lord’s inspiration. Somehow or the other he found his way to Santipur and to the home of Advaita Acarya.

When he finally got there he did not know what to say but Advaita Acarya could understand everything. He said, “I know why you have come here. I know who has sent you. Tell me what do you want.” Ramai asked him, “The Lord is calling you. You please come.” Advaita Acarya was questioning him, “Where in the scriptures does it say that the Supreme Lord will appear in Navadvip? Is it in any scriptures you know?” He said, “Your brother Srivas knows my religious principles. Why is he doing this to me?” In this way Advaita Acarya was challenging Ramai but at the same time he said, “I will come with you but I will not come immediately to see Caitanya. We will first go to the home of Nandanacarya and I will wait there. You go to Nimai Pandit and you tell him that I am not coming and see what He says.”

In this way Rami was sent back to Srivas Pandits home and he told Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that, “Advaita Acarya said he is not coming.” But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed His ominscince. He said, “You cannot trick Me. I know this person. He is always trying to trick Me. He is always playing games with Me. I know he is at the home of Nandanacarya. You go and tell him to come here now. I am waiting for him.”

So in this way Advaita Acarya when he heard the words of Lord Caitanya He was very happy and he came to Srivas Pandit’s home. Lord Nityananda had already appeared and Advaita Acarya was united with Them. So They were together and could begin to have Their kirtan and chant the holy names. In this way Lord Caitanya became more and more ecstatic in enjoying the pleasure of kirtan experiencing more and more ecstasy.

On one particular occasion all of the devotees requested him. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was giving benedictions to different devotees. He was blessing them with krsna-prema. So Srivas said to Him, “What about Mother Saci. You should give Mother Saci krsna-prema also.” But when Lord Caitanya heard this He changed. He became very serious, very grave looking and He said, “I cannot give krsna-prema to Mother Saci. She cannot get krsna-prema.” All the devotees were shocked. “Mother Saci! She is the mother of the universe! You cannot give her krsna-prema? Why You cannot give to her?” The devotees said, “If You cannot give her krsna-prema we will have to give up our lives. We cannot tolerate.” Lord Caitanya said, “I cannot give Mother Saci krsna-prema because she has committed vaisnava-aparadha. She has offended the devotee.” All the devotees were shocked. “What devotee Mother Saci could have offended?” Lord Caitanya revealed that, “She has offended Advaita Acarya. Instead of calling him Advaita she called him Dvaita.”

It was revealed that Mother Saci was disturbed because her eldest son Visvarupa had left home. Her eldest son Visvarupa used to regularly go to the home of Advaita Acarya. And in the association of Advaita Acarya he would hear all the revealed scriptures particularly Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita. So at some particular point Mother Scai and Jagannath Misra were planning to arrange the marriage of Visvarupa. Visvarupa understood so he left home and became a sannyasi. He never returned.

After some time Lord Caitanya was also going to the home of Advaita Acarya and Lord Caitanya was not showing any interest even in His beautiful wife, Laxmipriya. He was simply going to the home of Advaita Acarya. Every day he would spend His time there in the company of Advaita Acarya. When Mother Saci saw this then she said, “This Advaita Acarya pretends like he is a friend of our family but actually he is Dvaita. He is putting me in a net of maya. He is entangling me in a net of illusion. He will do the same with my other son. He has already had one son go and take sannyas. Now Nimai will also want to leave home and become a sannyasi. So he is not Advaita. He is Dvaita.”

For this reason which was not really an offense but Lord Caitanya in order to instruct all the devotees on the importance of not committing vaisnava-aparadha He enacted this pastime among the devotees saying He will not give Mother Saci krsna-prema. So all the devotees were telling Mother Saci, “You have to come and get forgiveness from Advaita Acarya. You have to come and touch his feet and get forgiveness.”

Some other devotees went and brought Advaita Acarya and they were telling him, “Mother Saci has committed and offence against you. You have to forgive her.” And Advaita Acarya, “What? Mother Saci offended me? How is that possible? She is the Mother of the universe. I worship her lotus feet. She could never ever commit and offense against me. I am the offender of her. I can never forgive her offenses against me. It is me who should be forgiven if I have offended her. In this way Advaita Acarya became more and more ecstatic thinking of Mother Saci and as he became ecstatic he lost consciousness. He became ecstatic just thinking of Mother Saci.

When he lost consciousness the devotees rushed Mother Saci, “Quick! Now is the time. Go and get the dust from his lotus feet. Otherwise he will never allow you to touch his feet.” So Mother Saci came. She took the dust from the feet of Advaita Acarya. Then she became unconscious. [Laughter] Mother Saci became unconscious thinking of Advaita Acarya and Advaita Acarya was unconscious thinking of Mother Saci. So this is the loving dealings between the Lord and His devotees.

So Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is instructing all of us in the importance of avoiding offences. Advaita Acarya had recounted this pastime later on. When he was in Jagannath Puri Advaita Acarya had gone to visit Caitanya Mahaprabhu and at that time one of the servants of Advaita Acarya – like the secretary of Advaita Acarya named Kamala Kanta Visvasa also got some problem. Kamala Kanta Visvasa it is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta that he had come to Jagannath Puri along with Paramananda Puri. And it is recorded there in the Caitanya-caritamrta.

Kamala Kanta Visvasa was assisting Advaita Acarya in his duties and at some point he had written a message, a note. Therein he requested Maharaj Prataparudra to liquidate a debt of some three hundred rupees which Advaita Acarya owed. So in the note Kamala Kanta Visvasa had stated that Advaita Acarya is the Personality of Godhead but he is in debt for three hundred rupees! [Laughter] He was requesting Maharaj Prataparudra to kindly liquidate this debt.

Somehow this note came to the hands of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and when Mahaprabhu saw this note He was pleased in some ways because He thought, “This is very good. He understand Advaita Acarya is the Personality of Godhead. But it is not good that he has said that he is in debt for three hundred rupees.” He said, “This person Kamala Kanta Visvasa is a buliya
-meaning one who does not know things as they are.” Then Lord Caitanya instructed His servant, “From today on I don’t want to see his face. He should not come in my presence. So when this news came to Kamala Kanta Visvasa he was very disturbed that he could no longer have darsan of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He felt very bad.

Advaita Acarya however felt very happy. He said, “Oh you are very fortunate. This is very good. You have been punished by the Lord. The Lord is always equal. Whatever He does is always for our good. If He rewards us or punishes us it is always good. You should not worry.” Advaita Acarya remembers how Mukunda had also been punished and then Advaita Acarya recounts, “I was also punished by the Lord.”

Advaita Acarya was also punished by the Lord. He said, “Previously Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu always used to treat me like His father.” Advaita Acarya was about fifty years of age or so when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. So Advaita Acarya was a contemporary of His father, Jagannath Misra. So Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu would always respect Advaita Acarya as His senior. Advaita Acarya was also a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. Madhavendra Puri was also the guru of Isvara Puri. And lord Caitanya took initiation from Isvara Puri. Therefore Lord Caitanya always respected Advaita Acarya like His spiritual master or like His father.

Caitanya-Bhagavat also describes that when Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyas He came to the house of Advaita Acarya and Advaita Acarya’s young son Acyutananda at that time was five years old. Caitanya-Bhagavat describes that Lord Caitanya took the naked little boy on His lap and told him that, “Advaita Acarya is like my father. So you and I are brothers.” In this way Lord Caitanya was disturbing the mind of Advaita Acarya because He was offering him so much respect and reverence as His senior.

Advaita Acarya was thinking, “I brought the Lord here. I did not want Him to worship me. I want to worship Him. He is the Lord. I want to worship Him but He comes and worships me.” So Advaita Acarya devised a plan by which he could change the situation. He decided that he would begin preaching impersonalism. He took the book ‘Yoga Vasista’ and in this book they give all importance to the impersonal Brahman and the process of speculative knowledge. So Advaita Acarya began preaching from this book that the goal of life is to get mukti and you have to achieve it by speculative knowledge and this is how you will achieve perfection. There is no other way.

When news of this came to Lord Caitanya He was not happy and He set out to come to Santipur along with Lord Nityananda. When Lord Caitanya came into the presence of Advaita Acarya He immediately challenged him. “So which is the better process, devotional service or speculative knowledge?”

Advaita Acarya looked at Him and said, “Speculative knowledge is the best process.” [Laughter] Lord Caitanya immediately dragged him out of his chair, dragged him onto the floor out of the house and began to beat him on his back. Advaita Acarya’s wife, Sita Mata came running saying, “He is a Brahmin. You will kill him. It is very sinful. You get severe reactions for killing a Brahmin. Be careful.”

In this way Advaita Acarya was rejoicing that, “Now I am feeling some pleasure.” [Laughter] “This is very nice. Please give me more of this kind of dealing.” Advaita Acarya then heard Lord Caitanya describe to him that actually, “I am that person that killed Kamsa, Ravan. I also killed Hiranyakasipu. Now I have come to deliver the holy name to everyone and to bless everyone with pure devotion.” Advaita Acarya was very happy to hear these words.

Lord Caitanya requested him to ask for a blessing but Advaita Acarya said, “Blessing? No I am already blessed but if you want to please me then give prema bhakti to those people who are low born, to the sudras and to the women, to the ignorant and the uneducated but do not give Your prema bhakti to those who are proud of their birth, who are proud of their wealth and who are proud of their great knowledge and education and who have no interest in devotional service and who are offensive to the devotees. Do not give Your bhakti to them.”

We see also how this wish of Advaita Acarya is enacted. Ever since then Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings have been embraced by people especially in the lower levels of society. Whereas those people who are born in the high class brahminical families are much against the Vaisnava culture.

Advaita Acarya was born in a brahmana family. He was the head of the Brahmins of Santipur but he had no regard for the social culture at that time. He never concerned himself with what was proper and what was not for a Brahmana. He allowed Haridasa Thakura to come and live at his place. He made a home for Haridasa Thakura nearby his own home and everyday he would have food with Haridasa Thakura. When Advaita Acarya’s father disappeared Advaita Acarya performed the sraddha ceremony and with the sraddha ceremony it is customary to give the offering to the most elevated of the Brahmanas. And at that time Advaita Acarya brought the sraddha plate and gave it to Haridasa Thakura

Haridasa Thakura felt embarrassed and uncomfortable that, “I am born in a Muslim family. I am low class and low born. You are a high class Brahmana. Why you feeding me?” But Advaita Acarya said, “By feeding you I am satisfying millions of Brahmanas. You are more elevated than any of these so called Brahmanas. One who is a devotee of the Lord and who is engaged in the Lord’s service even though he may be born in a family of dog eaters is better than the non devotee brahmana who knows all the Vedas.” So Advaita Acarya exemplified this kind of thinking in his life. Although he is a high class smarta Brahmana he has no regard for these smarta traditions and he is interested in preaching Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. He spent his time doing that.

He was so happy with the appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He could spread the sankirtan movement. We were telling about Kamala Kanta Visvasa – how he had written this message and Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not want him to come again into His presence. So Advaita Acarya then went to see Caitanya Mahaprabhu and he challenged Him that, “You have given more mercy to Kamala Kanta Visvasa than to me. I never got mercy like that. You have told him not to come in Your presence. You only beat me but You never told me that I could not come in Your presence. Why You give him more mercy than me? What has he done to get the greatest mercy?”

Caitanya Mahaprabhu was appreciating Advaita Acarya’s arguments. Caitanya Mahaprabhu then called Kamal Kanta Visvasa and He explained to him his mistake that, “You must be very careful that the Supreme Lord is not a poor man first of all.” And most importantly He also warned all of His devotees that by accepting charity from materialistic people we become contaminated. It is customary for people to give charity to Brahmanas and to sannyasis. But by accepting charity from people we also accept something of their karma. And certainly if a person is materialistic and sinful then it is very dangerous to accept charity from them.

Prabhupada warned us about going to people’s homes that if they are not vegetarian you don’t want to take any food in their home. You can only take uncut fruit but don’t eat any food. If you eat grains then certainly you will accept also their sinful activities. So it is very important accepting charity. As representatives of the Krishna consciousness movement how do we apply this? Of course we accept charity from so many sinful people but we do not accept it on our own behalf for our own maintenance or subsistence. We accept it on behalf of the Krishna consciousness movement for propagating Krishna consciousness around the world. That is not a problem if we accept money for the service of Krishna consciousness, to spread Krishna consciousness then there is no problem for us and there is only benefit also for the people who are giving charity. So accepting charity is there if it is done with the right mood for the service of Krishna.

Advaita Acarya’s home was in Santipur. One time Srila Prabhupada was considering having his world head quarters in Santipur. Srila Prabhupada used to regulary visit Santipur even before he took sannyas. As a grhasta he used to visit Santipur and he would sit there and chant the holy name. He would spend hours there chanting the holy name. The pujari, one of the priests in Santipur remembers how this man used to come in his white khadhi. He would come and sit ther and chant the holy name and before leaving he would come and see the pujari and thank him for serving the Deity.

Then the pujari describes how he did not see this man for many, many years. Then after many, many years he saw this man and he was in a sannyasi dress. He had become a sannyasi and he was again chanting the holy name as he used to very intently for hours. Then he understood that this is the same person who used to come. Previously he was in white. Now he is a sannyasi. He noticed as he was chanting he was shedding tears and the pujari describes how he had spoken to Prabhupada and asked him what was the cause of all of his shedding tears and Prabhupada had explained to him that, “I have been given the mission to go to the west. My Guru Maharaj has ordered me that I have to go to the west and spread Krishna consciousness and it is impossible but I have to do it. So I am just chanting here and praying for some mercy that I can take on this task.”

It was many years later when the devotees came back to Mayapur and that pujari was able to reveal all of this to the devotees. So Santipura is a very important place. We go there every year of course. We go there on the appearance day of Madhavendra Puri because Madhavendra Puri also came to Santipura. And just like Advaita Acarya was lamenting the fallen condition of the world and how there are hardly any devotees anywhere and the people are all absorbed in sense pleasure, Madhavendra Puri was similarly wandering the earth thinking how hopeless it is and how difficult it is to try to preach. He was thinking to go and live in the forest and at that time he came to Santipur and he met Advaita Acarya.

When Advaita Acarya met with Madhavendra Puri then they both rejoiced. They were both so happy they could understand that they had a common interest in topics of Krishna and hearing and chanting Srimad-Bhagavatam and the holy name of the Lord and in this way they passed many, many days together. From that time on every year Advaita Acarya would observe the appearance day of Madhavendra Puri. He had accepted Madhavendra Puri as his spiritual master and he organized a very big festival. The Caitanya-bhagavat explains in great detail ho Advaita Acarya would fill rooms and rooms with provisions for the festival and people would come from everywhere.

Of course in the present time we are trying to continue that tradition in a similar way. We don’t cook with as much variety as Advaita Acarya did. Usually it is only kitchri in Santipur but we do have a nice festival.

Some years back the descendants of Advaita Acarya came and requested the Iskcon devotees to help them again to take up that festival as Advaita Acarya used to perform – offering so much food stuffs and distributing prasadam for all of the thousands of people who lived around that area.

So Advaita Acarya’s home was in Santipur. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda would regularly come there and visit him. A nice pastime is described – some of the joking words which used to take place between Caitanya and Nityananda are revealed to us in the Caitanya-caritamrta. Krsnadasa Kaviraja describes how on a particular occasion or maybe it was just after Caitanya Mahaprabhu had taken sannyasa. Lord Nityananda tricked Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to come into Santipura. Lord Caitanya was eager to go to Vrindavan but in His ecstacy He could not recognise where He was going and Lord Nityananda tricked him and brought Him back to Santipur.

When Advaita Acarya appeared Lord Caitanya was surprised and said, “What are you doing in Vrindavan?” [Laughter] Advaita Acarya then replied, “Wherever You are that is Vrindavan.” Wherever Caitanya Mahaprabhu is that is Vrindavan because Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna and Krishna never goes out of Vrindavan. So in this way Lord Caitanya was pacified. He went to take bath. Then Advaita Acarya requested Him saying, “Please come to my home. I have prepared some very simple food – just a palm full of rice and a few liquid vegetables – very suitable for a sannyasi.” [Laughter]

So Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu thought, “Well all right. Just a palm full of rice and a little liquid vegetable, that is okay.” And when He came and He saw the worship was going on and the food was on the altar and He saw so many preparations – hundreds of vegetables and all different sweets and cakes and rice covered with ghee. It was so opulent and the whole thing was covered in Tulasi manjaris. Lord Caitanya was so pleased. He said, “Whoever is worshipping the Lord in this way I take the dust from their feet. They are doing so nicely. Such nice worship!”

Advaita Acarya brought the plates over and said, “Here, this is Yours. One is for Lord Nityananda.” [Laughter] And when Lord Caitanya understood that He was supposed to eat all of these things then He objected. “Common I am a sannyasi I cannot eat like this.’ But Advaita Acarya reminded Him saying, “Common I know Your identity. You eat fifty four times a day at Jagannath Puri. [Laughter] And every time there are hundreds of preparations also. What is this! This is just a mere morsel for You.” Lord Caitanya was coerced to sit down and to begin to eat. As He would eat Advaita Acarya would come and refill everything. Lord Caitanya would eat and again Advaita Acarya would come and refill. In this way it was going on.

Lord Nityananda was joking. He said, “I have been fasting for three days. This is a mere morsel. This would not satisfy My hunger.” Actually They had been travelling for three days. They come from Katwa. Lord Caitanya had taken sannyasa in Katwa. It took Then three days to come to Santipur. So Lord Nityananda was saying, “I have been fasting for three days. What is this? This will not satisfy My hunger.”

Advaita Acarya said, “I am a poor brahamana. You have come to my home. Please kindly accept whatever I offer You.” Lord Nityananda said, “Look you invited Me. You should give Me whatever I want. This is hardly anything. This will not satisfy My hunger.” Anyway Advaita Acarya was persuading Him to sit down Advaita Acarya also rebuked Him saying, You are reject paramhamsa.” By calling Him reject paramahamsa actually Advaita Acarya was not insulting Him. He was glorifying Him because Lord Nityananda is actually paramahamsa. He is an avadhutta. Lord Nityananda is avadhutta and he was on the highest stage of life. He was a paramahamsa. As a paramahamsa one may wear the dress of the sannyasi or one may not. He may sometimes wear the dress of a grhasta. He is not obliged to any particular attire. This is the position of paramahamsa.

So Lord Nityananda is famous as avadutta. Advaita Acarya is glorifying Him that this is His exalted position. We see amidst some of our devotees we have to also sometimes take that risk that you have to put on the civilian dress to get into some country to travel and preach. In certain countries – if you go to Islamic countries, some places where we are not legal you may have to put on civilian dress in order to preach.

I was with some people and someone said, “I will never go there if you have to do that.” But this is a risk we have to take. It is certainly a great risk. If you are Lord Nityananda it is no risk. He is paramahamsa. He is avadhutta. We are imitating when we do that. Very dangerous! Be careful.

So Advaita Acarya was serving the food to Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. After sometime They finished eating. Lord Nityananda stood up and said, “This food has not satisfied Me. I am not going to take a mere portion of it. It is not sufficient for Me.” He took some rice in an angry mood and He threw it and it hit the body of Advaita Acarya. And when the food hit Advaita Acarya then Advaita Acarya began to dance. Then Lord Nityananda said to Advaita Acarya that, “This food is prasadam. It has been offered to Lord Krishna. You have committed an offense by having it touch your body like that and dancing on it. Now you have to feed a hundred sannyasis in order to get relief from the offence.” However Advaita Acarya said, “I will never invite another sannyasi to my house.” [Laughter]

Actually this pastime shows the potency of prasadam. That because Lord Nityananda was taking prasadam, the remnants of the devotee is so powerful. It simply just touches the body of Advaita Acarya and he danced in ecstasy. This is prasadam that it is so powerful, so purifying that even if it touches the body then it is purifying.

So Advaita Acarya was imitating the smarta brahmana – one who is in the position of being an orthodox brahmana. But he was showing how by coming in contact of Lord Nityananda, the Vaisnava, he was being delivered from this position.

Advaita Acarya performs many wonderful pastimes in the association of the Lord. Later on in Jagannath Puri we also saw the son of Advaita Acarya who was brought back to life by the grace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One of his sons, Gopal was asked Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to dance in the kirtan. But while he was dancing at a certain point Gopal fell down and fainted. His father and all of the devotees surrounded him and when they saw that he was no longer breathing, they were all shocked. They thought, “How to revive him?” They were chanting the names of Lord Nrsimhadev. They were calling to the Lord. Nothing could revive him. They began to cry. They began to weep. They though he has left the body, he has given up his life but then Lord Caitanya came. He out His hand on his chest and loudly shouted, “Gopal, get up and dance.” And Gopal came back to consciousness and stood up and began to dance. This is the loving dealings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu with Advaita Acarya.

Advaita Acarya was responsible for the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and he was also responsible for Lord Caitanya to leave this world, to complete His pastimes in this world. Jagadananda Pandit had gone to Navadvip to meet Mother Saci and to bring prasadam for her and to associate with all of the devotees in Navadvip. At that time Advaita Acarya had given a poem or a sonnet which he had written and he had asked, “Please give this to lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” So the meaning of this sonnet could not be understood by ordinary people. Jagadananda Pandit brought it back. When he delivered this message to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu then Caitanya Mahaprabhu greatly intensified His mood of bhava and His feelings of separation for the Lord and became totally like a mad man.

The sonnet simply said that all of the stores already have sufficient supply of rice. There is no longer anymore need to supply. So in this way Caitanya Mahaprabhu took this as a signal for Him to complete His pastimes in this world. So Advaita Acarya is certainly non-different from the Lord and as he is described in this verse he is also acarya – teacher by example. He teaches us the example to be the servant and not to be the master. He gave up any of those persons who wanted to put him in the position of being the master. He rejected them. Even his own sons were rejected for wanting to put him in the position of being the master.

It was described that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was saying that He wanted to deliver everyone. Advaita Acarya pointed out to Lord Caitanya that one who will worship the servant without worshipping the master is doomed. He gave examples. He said, “Just like Satrajit worshipped the sun-god and he was killed. Dhuryodhana although he was a disciple of Balaram he could never be successful. Hiranyakasipu worshipped Lord Brahma. Neither could he be successful. Similarly Ravan also was a devotee of Siva. He was also slain.” Another example is also given of Sudaksana, the son of the King of Kasi, he was also a great devotee of Siva and he produced a fearful demon. He performed a yajna which produced a great asura but Sudaksana requested this demon to go and burn Dvaraka. The demon went to Dvaraka and then surrendered to Sudarsan. Then Sudarsan sent the demon back to kill Sudaksana.

All of these different examples were given by Advaita Acarya to remind all of his followers that, “If you ever separate Me from Lord Gauranga then you will never be successful. If you are actually my follower then you must also surrender yourself to Lord Gauranga. You cannot just simply worship me.” Advaita Acarya also established himself as the servant of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Not as the master! It would have been easy for him to claim to be the master but that was not his mood. He came in the mood as a servant of the devotee. So, all of these different pastimes which he enacted are there for our education to enlighten us. We will stop now. Thank you. Hare Krishna. [Applause] If there are any questions or comments we can take them. [No questions.] Okay thank you. Hare Krishna. Srila Prabhupada Ki! Jai! [End] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to]

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2515227564?profile=RESIZE_710xToday we are observing Advaita Acarya’s appearance day, which is on saptami tithi in the month of Magha.
Advaita Acarya appeared first, then He made Mahaprabhu, Krishna, appear. By Advaita Acarya’s calling Krishna appeared. Therefore it is a very auspicious day so we should speak something on Srila Advaita Acarya and beg for His mercy. If He bestows His mercy on us then we can get Caitanya Nitai, otherwise we cannot.

He Is the Lord and the Incarnation of the Lord’s Devotee

First we should know who Advaita Acarya is. It is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta adi-lila,

maha-vishnur jagat-karta
mayaya yah srjaty adah
tasyavatara evayam
advaitacarya isvarah

“Lord Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of maya.” (Caitanya-caritamrta adi-lila 1.12)

advaitam harinadvaitad
acaryam bhakti-samsanat
bhaktavataram isam tam
advaitacaryam asraye

”Because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.” (Caitanya-caritamrta adi-lila 1.13)

Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika states,

bhaktavatara acaryo’dvaito yah sri-sadasivah
(Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 11)

That means Advaita Acarya is bhakta-avatara.

panca-tattvatmakam krshnam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam
namami bhakta-saktikam (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 7.6)

“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee and devotional energy.”


The panca-tattva is bhakta-rupa, bhakta-svarupa, bhakta-avatara, bhaktakhya and bhakti-sakti. Bhakta-rupa is Mahaprabhu in the form of a devotee. Bhakta-svarupa is Nityananda. Bhakta-avatara is Advaita Acarya. Bhaktakhya is Srivasa and bhakta-sakti is Gadadhara; panca-tattva. Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika states, bhaktavatara acaryo’dvaito yah sri-sadasivah. Advaita Acarya is bhaktavatara and He is also Sadasiva, Sadasiva Maha-Vishnu avatara. When we say Maha-Vishnu avatara then Sadasiva comes. This is Advaita Acarya. This is advaita-tattva. Advaita Acarya is such a devotee that He made Krishna descend here.


Advaita Acarya’s father’s name was Kuvera Misra and His mother’s name was Srimati Nabhadevi. They were first living in Srihatta. Kuvera Pandita, the father of Advaita Acarya, had no son for a very long period. In his old age he got this son Advaita Acarya. In Srihatta district there was a village named Nava-grama. That is the birthplace of Advaita Acarya. He appeared on this day in the month of Magha saptami, on the seventh day of the bright fortnight, Magha sukla saptami.
After that Kuvera Pandita wanted to go and stay on the bank of the Ganges. He left and shifted his residence from the bank of the Ganges to Santipura. Santipura is now famous as Advaita’s dhama, patha. He is also called Santipura-natha, Lord of Santipura.
When Kuvera Pandita performed the nama-karana, name giving ceremony, of his son, he gave one name Mangala and another name Kamalakna, but why is He called Advaita Acarya we quoted already from Caitanya-caritamrta.

The Two Wives of Advaita Acarya

Advaita Acarya’s father and mother disappeared when he was very young. Feeling very distressed he went on pilgrimage visiting many, many holy places. When He came back, some of His relatives requested Him to marry. Therefore, at the request of the relatives He was willing to marry. At that time one very pious orthodox brahmana was living there whose name was Nrsimha Vaduri. He had two daughters; their names were Sri and Sita. They were both very beautiful and Advaita Acarya married both of them. Thus Advaita Acarya had two wives; Sri and Sita. Sita Thakurani is famous. Advaita Acarya is also famous as Sita-natha or Sita-pati because the name of His wife was Sita Thakurani. Sita Thakurani is an incarnation of Yogamaya, and Sri devi is a manifestation of Yogamaya. Advaita Acarya is a Maha-Vishnu avatara and in Maha-Vishnu there is Sadasiva therefore we call Him Sadasiva avatara.

I Am Dependent on My Bhakta

When Advaita Acarya grew up, He saw how the people of this Kali-yuga are suffering and He could not tolerate it. He thought, “I must make Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appear here.” Who can make the Supreme Lord appear? It is stated, bhaktera icchaya krshnera sarva avatara Cc Adi 3.112], and bhaktecchopatta-rupaya, [Bhag. 10.59.25] by the desire of His dear devotee the Lord appears. No one can make the Lord appear. He is not our order carrier. However He has said, aham bhakta-paradhino. One who is His very dear devotee, intimate devotee, prema-bhakti, Krishna said, “I am dependent on him. I have no independence.” Though He is supremely independent.
In Bhagavad-gita Krishna has said, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg.7.7], “O Dhananjaya, Arjuna, there is no one superior to Me.” Ekale isvara krshna, ara saba bhrtya, Krishna is the only isvara. All others are His servants, but that Krishna is bhakta-vatsala because He is very dear to His devotees, and a prema-bhakti can bind Him with the rope of love. Therefore it is said in the ninth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam,

aham bhakta-paradhino
hy asvatantra iva dvija
sadhubhir grasta-hrdayo
bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brahmana: I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the core of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.4.63)

He said this to Durvasa Muni, “I have no independence”. He, who is supremely independent, says, “I have no independence. I am bhakta-paradhino, I am dependent on My bhakta. What My bhakta says I do.” So what a dear devotees says Krishna does. If a dear devotee says, “Please come down here”, then He comes down here. Bhaktera bhaktera icchaya krshnera sarva avatara, all incarnations are there by the will of a bhakta [Cc Adi 3.112], and this is also mentioned in the verse bhaktecchopatta-rupaya paramatman namo ‘stu te. [SB 10.59.25] Thus, without the call of His dear devotee Goloka-bihari, Purna-brahma Krishna will never descend here. He never comes here for ordinary reasons.

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca dunkrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
(Bhagavad-gita 4.7-8)

In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna has said, “When there is a rise of irreligion and when bhagavata-dharma is declining, miscreants, demons are rising and sadhus, bhaktas are persecuted, at that time I descend to kill the miscreants and protect the sadhus and establish bhagavata-dharma.” For that purpose His incarnation descends.

Advaita Acarya Was Crying in His Heart

At one time all the demigods headed by Brahma, went to the bank of knira-sagara, the milk ocean, and offered prayers to Krishna. By their prayers Krishna appeared. Similarly, by the prayers of Advaita Acarya, Prema Purunottama Gauranga Mahaprabhu appeared in this material world and manifested His lila. Advaita Acarya could not tolerate the suffering of the jivas of Kali-yuga. He was crying in His heart. Therefore He thought, “I must make the Supreme Lord Krishna appear here”.

advaita-acarya gosani saknat isvara
yanhara mahima nahe jivera gocara

“Sri Advaita Acarya is indeed directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His glory is beyond the conception of ordinary living beings.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 6.6)

advaita-acarya koti-brahmandera karta
ara eka eka murtye brahmandera bharta

“Sri Advaita Acarya is the creator of millions and millions of universes, and by His expansions [as Garbhodakasayi Vishnu] He maintains each and every universe.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 6.21

He is isvara [the controller], He is non-different from Hari therefore He is advaita [oneness, non-dual]. Here it says, [referring to Cc Adi 1.12-13 above] “Advaita Acarya, because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya”. Therefore he is called Advaita Acarya. Caitanya-caritamrta states the same, advaita-acarya gosani saknat isvara, because He is non-different from Hari, saknat isvara. Yanhara mahima nahe jivera gocara, ordinary jivas cannot understand the glory of Advaita Acarya.

He Made a Wonderful Promise

Maha-Vishnu avatara, He is an incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, and therefore He could feel the pains of the jivas here because all jivas come from Maha-Vishnu. He was a Maha-Vishnu avatara, and He could feel the suffering and pain of the kali-hata jiva. He observed that there was no bhakti in Kali-yuga and therefore He promised, “I must make Krishna appear to propagate bhakti”.

karaimu krshna sarva-nayana-gocara
tabe se ‘advaita’-nama krshnera kinkara!

“I will make Krishna appear before the eyes of all, then this person named “Advaita” will be known as the servant of Krishna. (Caitanya Bhagavata. Adi-khanda 11.64)

Advaita Acarya promised, “I must make Krishna appear here and show Krishna to every one. If I do not, then I will not be known by the name Advaita Acarya, krshnera kinkara, the servant of Krishna.” He made this promise. It is a wonderful promise. Who can make such a promise? Only because He is such a dear devotee He can make Krishna appear. Otherwise no one can make Krishna appear.

“If I cannot make Krishna appear here, if I cannot make Him manifest here, and cannot show Him to all the people of Kali-yuga, My name is not Advaita Acarya. Then I’ll give up this name.” He made such a promise, a very strong promise. This is a very wonderful promise. No one has ever heard of such a promise. No one has made such a promise.

He Worshipped salagrama-sila with Tulasi and Ganga-Jala

So every day He was offering worship to salagrama-sila with tulasi leaf and ganga-jala, and uttering the name of Krishna, crying, crying, and crying.
In Caitanya-caritamrta there is a verse quoted from Gautamiya-tantra vacana,

tulasi-dala-matrena jalasya culukena va
vikrinite svam atmanam bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalah

“Sri Krishna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.” (Caitanya-caritamrta adi-lila 3.104)

Every day He was offering tulasi leaf and a palmful of ganga-jala, Ganges water. So He thought of this and He deliberated on this. He said,

ei slokartha acarya karena vicarana
krshnake tulasi-jala deya yei jana
tara rna sodhite krshna karena cintana —
‘jala-tulasira sama kichu ghare nahi dhana’

“Advaita Acarya considered the meaning of the verse in this way: “Not finding any way to repay the debt He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water, Lord Krishna thinks, ‘There is no wealth in My possession that is equal to a tulasi leaf and water.” Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 3.105-106

tabe atma veci’ kare rnera sodhana
eta bhavi’ acarya karena aradhana

“Thus the Lord liquidates the debt by offering Himself to the devotee.” Considering in this way, the Acarya began worshiping the Lord. (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 3.107)

Every day He was worshipping the Lord in the form of salagrama-sila with tulasi leaf and ganga-jala, Ganges water, crying, crying, crying and uttering the name of Krishna and calling in a roaring voice, “Please come down! Please come down!”

His Call Entered the Spiritual Sky

One of Advaita Acarya’s names is Nada. One day Mahaprabhu said “Nadair-hunkara.” Hunkara means “roaring voice”. “With a roaring voice Nada, Advaita Acarya, called Me. My seat shook in My eternal abode so I couldn’t stay there; I had to come down here. He made Me come down.”
Krishna also had the desire to come down again to teach bhakti. Yoga-maya manifests all lilas. So antaranga-sakti, Yoga-maya, was waiting for Advaita Acarya’s call, “Let Advaita Acarya call.” Advaita Acarya was calling Him every day with a roaring voice, while offering worship to salagrama-sila. His call penetrated the seven layers of this material universe, entered into the spiritual sky and went to Goloka Vrndavana. Upon hearing this lila-sutra-dhari, Yoga-maya thought, “Advaita Acarya is calling. Now I must make Krishna appear as Gaura.” Therefore Prema Purunottama Gauranga Mahaprabhu appeared. This is one of the reasons of Gaura’s appearance.

Sitanatha Made Krishna Appear

Bhaktera icchaya krshnera sarva avatara [Cc Adi 3.112]; bhaktecchopatta-rupaya [Bhag. 10.59.25], by the will of His devotee Krishna appears. Who can make Krishna appear? A dear devotee can make Krishna appear. Who is bhakta-vatsala? Who is very dear? Advaita Acarya is so dear. He is bhakti-avatara. He is a very intimate devotee. Therefore He, Sitanatha, made Krishna appear.
Mahaprabhu appeared with His dhama, with His associates in this material world. When Mahaprabhu appeared in Nadia as the son of Jagashnatha Misra and Saci-mata, while staying at Santipura, Advaita Acarya could understand, “Yes, Mahaprabhu has appeared.” He first sent his wife Sita Thakurani to Navadvipa, Mayapur, to Jagashnath Misra’s house. After that He Himself came and saw the child. In Caitanya-caritamrta it is mentioned,

bhaknya, bhojya, upahara, sange la-ila bahu bhara,
saci-grhe haila upanita
dekhiya balaka-thama, saknat gokula-kana,
varna-matra dekhi viparita

“When Sita Thakurani came to the house of Sacidevi, bringing with her many kinds of eatables, dresses and other gifts, she was astonished to see the newborn child, for she appreciated that except for a difference in colour, the child was directly Krishna of Gokula Himself.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 13.115)

He is saknat gokula-krshna, Krishna directly from Gokula except for a difference in His complexion; instead of black He is gaura. That it stated. So this saknat gokula-hari, Gokulanatha Hari, only has a different complexion; He is gaura-varna. When Advaita Acarya Prabhu saw Him He became very, very happy. “Yes, My desire is fulfilled. I made Krishna appear.”
In Caitanya-bhagavata also it is mentioned,

ye pujara samaye ye deva dhyana kare
taha dekhe cari-dige caranera tale

Those demigods that are meditated on at the time of worship were all seen surrounding the lotus feet of the Lord. (Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-khanda 6.86)

My Birth and Activities Are Crowned with Success

When Advaita Acarya looked at the child He saw the same child that He had been meditating upon, while He was daily offering worship to salagrama-sila with ganga-jala and tulasi leaf. “Yes, Krishna has appeared.” He also saw in His meditation all the demigods who were offering prayers to that Supreme Lord. Seeing this, Advaita Acarya became very much ecstatic, blissful and said,

“aji se saphala mora dina parakasa
aji se saphala haila yata abhilana

aji mora janma-karma sakala saphala
saknate dekhilun tora carana-yugala

ghone matra cari vede, yare nahi dekhe
hena tumi mora lagi’ haila parateke
Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-kandha 6.100-102

”Today My life has become successful.” Advaita Acarya said, “Because I saw My beloved Lord. Today all My desires were fulfilled.” aji mora janma-karma sakala saphala, “Today My birth and My activities are all crowned with success.” saknate dekhilun tora carana-yugala, “I have directly seen Your lotus feet, O My beloved Lord.” Ghone matra cari vede, yare nahi dekhe, hena tumi mora lagi’ haila parateke, “In the four Vedas His glories are described, but no one sees Him. Yet today I have seen Him. He has appeared O, My dear Lord, for Me.”

Advaita Acarya Worships Sriman Mahaprabhu

Mahaprabhu asked Acarya, “O, Acarya You offer worship to Me.” Then Advaita Acarya offered worship at the lotus feet of Sriman Mahaprabhu. This is mentioned in Caitanya-bhagavata,

prathame carana dhui’ suvasita jale
sene gandhe paripurna pada-padme dhale

“He first washed the lotus feet of the Lord with fragrant water and then smeared them with sandalwood paste.” Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-kandha 6.106

candane dubai’ divya tulasi-manjari
arghyera sahita dila carana-upari

“He dipped tulasi-manjaris in the sandalwood paste and placed them and the ingredients of arghya on the Lord’s lotus feet.” (Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-kandha 6.107)

gandha, punpa, dhupa, dipa, panca upacare
puja kare prema-jale vahe asru-dhare

“He worshipped the Lord with five ingredients like sandalwood paste, flowers, incense, and ghee. As He worshipped the Lord, tears of love flowed from His eyes.”

panca-sikha jvali’ punah karena vandana
sene ‘jaya-jaya’-dhvani karaye ghonana

“He offered a lamp with five ghee wicks and again offered prayers. Finally He loudly chanted, ‘Jaya! Jaya!’. ”

While shedding tears of love, prema-asru, He offered puja, lit panca-pradipa and offered arati. In this way He worshiped baby Gaura Hari. Advaita Acarya Prabhu offered worship to the lotus feet of Sri Gaura Hari according to scriptural evidences and scriptural methods.

Advaita Acarya’s Prayers to Mahaprabhu

At last He offered these prayers to Mahaprabhu, which are all mentioned in Caitanya-bhagavata:

jaya jaya sarva-prana-natha visvambhara
jaya jaya gauracandra karuna-sagara

jaya jaya bhakata-vacana-satyakari
jaya jaya mahaprabhu maha-avatari

jaya jaya sindhu-suta-rupa-manorama
jaya jaya srivatsa-kaustubha-vibhunana

jaya jaya ‘hare-krshna’-mantrera prakasa
jaya jaya nija-bhakti-grahana-vilasa

jaya jaya mahaprabhu ananta-sayana
jaya jaya jaya sarva-jivera sarana
(Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-kandha 6.114-118)

He offered this prayer unto Mahaprabhu. Jaya jaya sarva-prana-natha visvambhara His name is Visvambhara. All glories to Visvambhara, who is the life and soul of all jivas. Jaya jaya gauracandra karuna-sagara, all glories to Gauracandra, who is an ocean of mercy.
Jaya jaya bhakata-vacana-satyakari, all glories to He who makes the words of His devotees come true. That is Krishna’s thought, “When My devotee has promised to make Me appear, I must appear. If I won’t appear, then the words of My devotees will be false. Then no one will be My devotee.” Therefore He makes His dear devotee’s words come true. Jaya jaya mahaprabhu maha-avatari, “You are the source of all avataras.” Because He is Krishna and Krishna is the source of all avataras.
Jaya jaya sindhu-suta-rupa-manorama. Sindhu-suta means Laknmidevi. He is as beautiful as Laknmidevi; very beautiful. Jaya jaya srivatsa-kaustubha-vibhunana, “On His chest is srivatsa-kaustubha.”
Jaya jaya ‘hare-krshna’-mantrera prakasa, “Who spoke the hare-krshna maha-mantra. That Mahaprabhu, let Him be glorified.” Jaya jaya nija-bhakti-grahana-vilasa, “Who came to teach His own bhakti-yoga, let Him be glorified.”
Jaya jaya mahaprabhu ananta-sayana, “Who lies on the bed of Ananta-naga. That is Mahaprabhu, jaya jaya.” Jaya jaya jaya sarva-jivera sarana, “At whose lotus feet all jivas take shelter, let that Mahaprabhu be glorified.”
So these are His jaya-gana [songs of glorification]. In this way Advaita Acarya Prabhupada offered many prayers at the lotus feet of Sri Gaurasundara.

Advaita Acarya’s Boon

In this way He was offering worship and prayers to baby Gaura. Much talking was going on between Advaita Acarya and Gaurasundara. When the baby was talking, no one else would say anything. Gaurasundara laughed and said, “O Acarya, I am very much pleased with Your prayers. You may ask for a boon.” It is also mentioned in Caitanya-bhagavata that Advaita Acarya asked for this boon:

advaita balaye, — yadi bhakti bilai
bastri-sudra-adi yata murkhere se diba
(Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-lila 6.167)

Advaita Acarya said, “All right. Please grant Me this boon: You should give bhakti to one and all; stri, women, sudras, to those who are most ignorant fools and to those who are most degraded. Please give bhakti to one and all. Please give Me this boon. Let it be granted.” When Advaita Acarya asked for this boon Mahaprabhu granted it. When He accepted Advaita Acarya’s prayer and granted it, His very intimate devotees could understand that this boon was granted. At that time, simultaneously they said, “Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!”

Gaurahari is karuna-sagara, an ocean of mercy, karuna-maya, merciful. He makes true what His bhakta has said, bhakta-vacana-satyakari. To those who are dina hina papi panandi, He offered that prema. Brahmara durlabha prema saba kare yache patita pamara nahi bache, it is not an easy thing even on the part of Brahma to obtain it. Mahaprabhu offered that prema, krshna-prema, which is such a rare attainment, indiscriminately to all patitas (fallen), pamaras (the most degraded souls), papis (sinful men), panandis (atheists), dina (distressed) and hina (inferior). Thus it is by the calling of Santipura-natha, Santipura-pati Advaita Acarya, that Mahaprabhu appeared.
Therefore His appearance day is a very, very auspicious day.

Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!
Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!
Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!

Please shower Your mercy on us most degraded jivas. O Advaita Acarya Prabhu, if You shower Your mercy on us then we can get Gaura and Nitai. Otherwise what is the value of our life?
So on this day we must offer prayers at the lotus feet of karuna-maya, the most merciful Lord of Santipura, Sri Sri Advaita Acarya.

This is only a brief summary about Advaita Acarya Prabhu’s life. At last we offer some prayers unto Him. So we will sing a song by Locana dasa Thakura glorifying Advaita Acarya. If you do not sing it, you cannot relish it. Therefore you should all sing it.

jaya jaya advaita acarya dayamaya
yara huhunkare gaura avatara haya

Hunkara means roaring call. With thunderous voice He was calling, “Please, please come down, please!” Yara huhunkare gaura avatara haya, by whose roaring call Gaura appeared.


prema-data sita-natha karuna-sagara
yara prema-rase a-ila gauranga nagara

The bestower of prema Sitanatha, the husband of Sita Thakurani, is an ocean of mercy, by whose loving mellow the all-merciful Gauranga Mahaprabhu came down.


yahare karuna kari krpa dithe caya
prema-rase se-jana caitanya-guna gaya

Sriman Mahaprabhu came down here and bestowed His mercy on Advaita Acarya Prabhu. If one is fortunate to get the mercy of Advaita Acarya then he will be able to glorify Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


tahara padete yeba la-ila sarana
se-jana pa-ila gaura-prema-maha-dhana

One who takes shelter at the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya is very fortunate and will definitely get gaura-prema, which is an invaluable asset.


emana dayara nidhi kene na bhajilum
locana bale nija mathe bajara padilum

Emana dayara nidhi, Advaita Acarya Prabhu is such an ocean of mercy. I am such a rascal. I am not doing the bhajana of Advaita Acarya. One who does not do the bhajana of Advaita Acarya, who is the ocean of mercy, Locana dasa Thakura says, bale nija mathe bajara padilum, “He puts a thunderbolt on his own head.”

This is a song written by Locana dasa Thakura glorifying Advaita Acarya Thakura.

Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Sri Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!
Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Sri Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!
Jaya karuna-maya Santipura-pati Sri Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya!
Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki subha avirbhava-tithi ki jaya!
Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki subha avirbhava-tithi ki jaya!
Samaveta bhakta vrnda ki jaya!
Gaura-premanande hari hari bol!

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Sri Advaita Acharya


By Giriraj Swami

To honor Sri Advaita Acharya’s appearance day, we present Srila Prabhupada’s talk about him in Mayapur on April 6, 1975.

advaitam harinadvaitad
acaryam bhakti-samsanat
bhaktavataram isam tam
advaita acaryam asraye

“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.” (Cc Adi 1.13)

So, gradually the author is offering respect: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita. He has already offered respect to Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda. Now it is the turn for Sri Advaita Acharya. Advaitam: “nondifferent”—He is expansion of Maha-vishnu. He is visnu-tattva. He is not jiva-tattva. Therefore He is Advaita. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam. Krishna has got unlimited number of expansions—expansions, expansions of the expansions, and then expansions of those expansions, in this way. So Advaita Acharya is an expansion of Krishna, as already explained. Therefore He is called advaitam.

And acaryam bhakti-samsanat. This is the business of acharya: to spread the bhakti cult. Acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit. It is said by the Lord, “You should accept the acharya.” Acharya means one who transmits the bhakti cult. Bhakti-samsanat, spreading—gosthy-anandi. One who is not spreading—he is cultivating Krishna consciousness for his personal benefit in a secluded place, sitting and chanting—that is also nice, but he’s not acharya. Acharya means he must spread—gosthy-anandi. Bhajananandi, gosthy-anandi. Generally, gosthy-anandi means one who wants to increase the number of devotees. He’s called gosthy-anandi. And one who is self-satisfied, that “Let me do my own duty,” he is called bhajananandi.

My guru maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, was a gosthy-anandi; he wanted to increase the number of devotees. And the more you increase the number of devotees, the more you become recognized by Krishna. It is Krishna’s business. Krishna personally comes as He is to spread this bhakti cult. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. He’s canvassing personally.

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge

“To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.” (Gita 4.8)

So, the same thing is entrusted to another devotee, who spreads—he’s acharya. So Krishna says, the acharya . . . Here it is said, advaitam harinadvaitad. Of course, Advaita Acharya is expansion of visnu-tattva, but any acharya is to be considered identical with the Lord. The Lord says that: acaryam mam vijaniyan—“One should understand the acharya.” Acaryam bhakti-samsanat. Acharya means one who is spreading the pure bhakti cult. “That acharya,” Krishna says, “you should consider as Myself.”

acaryam mam vijaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruh

“One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.” (SB 11.17.27, Cc Adi1.46).

You cannot consider, “Yes, he’s acharya, but not as good as Krishna.” No. Navamanyeta: don’t deride in that way. Then there will be falldown. Acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit. And in the Vedasalso it is said:

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23) All the Vedic literature becomes revealed (prakasante) simply by these two principles.

Guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija. We should not jump over to Krishna, without the help of guru. That is not possible. You must go through, because Krishna says, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam: “One who is actually serious to understand higher transcendental subject matter, he must approach guru.” Tasmad gurum prapadyeta. These are Vedic injunctions. Cakhu-dan dilo jei, janme janme prabhu sei. Anyone who opens . . . Guru means one who opens the eyes of the ignorant person. Ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya—opening the eyes by giving real knowledge. Guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija. The bhakti-lata, the seed of devotional service, can be received by the parampara system through a bona fide spiritual master. And if we abide by the orders of spiritual master faithfully, then Krishna becomes pleased. That is stated by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura: yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Ar na koriho mane asa—Narottama dasa. All the acharyas say like that.

Acaryavan puruso veda: “One who has accepted acharya, he knows things as they are.” Others, they do not know; it is not possible. So Advaita Acharya is the typical example of how to become acharya. All are our acharyas: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. All of them are acharyas because they are following the supreme acharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore they are acharyas. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh.

So, we have to follow the acharya. Then, when you are completely, cent percent, follower of acharya, then you can also act as acharya. This is the process. Don’t become premature acharya. First of all, follow the orders of acharya and become mature. Then it is better to become acharya. We are interested in preparing acharyas, but the etiquette is, at least for the period when the guru is present, one should not become acharya. Even if he is complete, he should not, because the etiquette is if somebody comes for becoming initiated, it is the duty of such person to bring that prospective candidate to his acharya, not that “Now people are coming to me, so I can become acharya.” That is avamanya. Navamanyeta karhicit. Don’t transgress this etiquette. Navamanyeta. That will be falldown. Just like during the lifetime of our guru maharaja, all our godbrothers who are now acting as acharya, they did not do so. That is not etiquette. Acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta. That is insult. If you insult your acharya, then you are finished. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ’pi—finished. If you displease your acharya, then you are finished. Therefore it is said—Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says to all the acharyas . . . Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, and Srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda, they are all carriers of orders of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

So, try to follow the path of acharya process. Then life will be successful. And to become acharya is not very difficult. First of all, become a very faithful servant of your acharya: follow strictly what he says and try to please him and spread Krishna consciousness. That’s all. It is not at all difficult. Try to follow the instruction of your guru maharaja and spread Krishna consciousness. That is the order of Lord Chaitanya. Amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa, yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa: “By following My order, you become guru.” And if we strictly follow the acharya system and try our best to spread the instruction of Krishna . . . Yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa. There are two kinds of krsna-upadesa. Upadesameans instruction. Instruction given by Krishna, that is krsna-upadesa, and instruction received about Krishna, that is also krsna-upadesa. Krsnasya upadesa iti krsna-upadesa. Samasa, sasti-tat-purusa-samasa. And krsna visaya upadesa, that is also Krishna upadesa. Bahu-vrihi-samasa. This is the way of analyzing Sanskrit grammar. So Krishna’s upadesa is Bhagavad-gita. He’s directly giving instruction.

So, those who are spreading krsna-upadesa, simply repeat what is said by Krishna. Then you become acharya. Not difficult at all. Everything is stated there. We have to simply repeat like parrot. Not exactly parrot. Parrot does not understand the meaning; he simply vibrates. But you should understand the meaning also. Otherwise, how you can explain? So, we want to spread Krishna consciousness. Simply prepare yourself how to repeat Krishna’s instructions very nicely, without any malinterpretation. Then, in future . . . Suppose now you have got ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to ten million.

Devotees: Jaya!

Srila Prabhupada: So, there will be no scarcity of acharya, and people will understand Krishna consciousness very easily. So, make that organization. Don’t be falsely puffed up. Follow the acharya’s instruction and try to make yourself perfect, mature. Then it will be very easy to fight maya. Yes, acharyas declare war against maya’s activities. Maya is instructing, “Here is wine, here is cigarette, here is . . .” In your country these advertisements are very prominent—wine advertisement, cigarette advertisement, naked woman advertisement, and sometimes also gambling advertisement. What is that? Congo?

Devotees: Bingo.

Srila Prabhupada: Bingo. Yes. So, this is maya. And our declaration of war against maya—no intoxication, no meat-eating, no bingo. This is our declaration of war. So, we have to fight in that way, because nobody can understand Krishna without being free from all sinful activities. These are sinful activities. Therefore it is the acharya’s business to stop these nonsense activities. Otherwise they’ll not be able to understand, especially the meat-eaters. They cannot understand.

nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad
bhavausadhac chrotra-mano-’bhiramat
ka uttamasloka-gunanuvadat
puman virajyeta vina pasughnat

“Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except one who is killing animals or one who is killing his own self?” (SB10.1.4)

Unless one is very expert in killing animals, he is not bereft of Krishna consciousness. That means one who is very expert in killing, he cannot understand. Therefore Christ also said, “Thou shall not kill”—the first business. Nobody will be able if one is a killer of animals, small or big—ultimately killer of his own children, killer of his own self. The killing process is so nice that it goes up to the point of killing one’s children. That is now happening. The killing business has so expanded that they are killing their own children. Just see the influence of Kali-yuga. The children take shelter of the father and mother, thinking themselves very safe. Now, in this Kali-yuga, there is no safety even under the care of father and mother. Just see how this material civilization is progressing. Very, very dangerous. Kalau nasta-drsam. Therefore that Bhagavata verse is there:

krsne sva-dhamopagate
dharma-jnanadibhih saha
kalau nasta-drsam esa
puranarko ’dhunoditah

“This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krsna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana.”

Very, very abominable condition in this age of Kali—very, very. It is the beginning of Kali. Now we have to pass through 427,000 years. Kali-yuga will make progress in that way. And people are now practicing eating their children, and at the end of Kali there will be no food available. They’ll have to eat the children, like the snakes do. The snakes eat their own children. There are many animals who eat their own children. So, don’t try to repeat your birth again and again in this Kali-yuga. It will be not very happy life. Better sacrifice everything in this life and be fully Krishna conscious and go back home, back to Godhead. Don’t wait for the next life. This is very seriously repeated, that “This life I shall finish my Krishna consciousness business.” And as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna consciousness business means to understand Krishna rightly. And He’s explaining Himself rightly. Where is the difficulty to finish the Krishna consciousness business? If Krishna is explaining Himself—what He is—then where is your difficulty? Krishna is explaining Himself in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna is sending His representative, acharya, to teach you, and Krishna is within you trying to teach you, if you are actually serious. Then where is the difficulty? Inside, outside, all ways—books, knowledge—He is prepared.

So where is the difficulty to make yourself perfect in Krishna consciousness? There is no difficulty at all. Provided you are serious, you can become fully Krishna conscious in this very life.


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Advaita Acharya’s Appearance Day


The foremost of all the Vaishnavas who reside at Navadwip is Sri Advaita Acarya, whose virtuous presence has made all the worlds blessed. He is the most preeminent preceptor in all fields including knowledge, renunciation and devotion. In explaining Krishna-bhakti he is like Lord Shankara (Shiva) himself, and whatever scriptures that exist within the three worlds he explains in the light of Krishna-bhakti.

With intense eagerness, he continually worships the Shalagram of Sri Krishna with Tulasi manjaris and Ganges water. By the momentum of his spiritual force, his loud shouts pierce the coverings of this universe and, resounding throughout Vaikuntha, reach the ears of Sri Krishna. Hearing this loving summons saturated with devotion, Sri Krishna advents Himself.

Advaita Thakur ki jay!!


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Lord Krishna’s 64 qualities

8570750098?profile=RESIZE_400xLord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and cause of ALL causes, who has 64 qualities in full.

This means those 64 qualities of Krishna ARE His full potential, having 100% of His own attributes.

However, the Vishnu-tattva (also God) expansions of Krishna have only 60 qualities or attributes out of the full 64 which is 93.75% of Krishna’s qualities.

Some Vedic scholars and academics and other Sangas cannot understand why Krishna has more qualities than Vishnu or Narayana, and why Krishna IS the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and cause of ALL causes.

To start with, Vishnu or Narayana are expansions of Krishna and NOT the other way around as many Hindus wrongly believe.

In other words, Krishna is NOT an expansion of Vishnu, Krishna IS the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and cause of ALL causes.

This including being the source of all Vishnu/ Narayana forms of God.

And the 4 qualities or attributes Vishnu or Narayana do NOT have in full that Krishna DOES have in full is as follows –

(61) Krishna is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes).

(62) Krishna is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead.

(63) Krishna can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute.

(64) Krishna has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.

These four qualities Krishna has in full is important to understand because all Vishnu/Narayana forms of God do NOT have these 4 qualities “in full”, only sometimes exhibited partially.

Shiva-tattva has 54 qualities or attributes which is 84.375% of Krishna’s qualities.

Jiva-tattva has 50 qualities or attributes which is 78.125% of Krishna’s qualities.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna has all sixty four transcendental qualities in full.

And their are four extra qualities that not even Vishnu has in full, mentioned above.

So for those who ask what is the difference between Krishna (64 qualities) and Vishnu/Narayana (60 qualities) read the four extra qualities above that only Krishna has in full.

In actual fact, the full extent of Krishna’s wonderful qualities or attributes are inconceivable.

Here are Krishna’s 64 qualities or attributes –

(1) Beautiful features of the entire body

(2) Marked with all auspicious characteristics

(3) Extremely pleasing

(4) Effulgent

(5) Strong

(6) Ever youthful

(7) Wonderful linguist

(8) Truthful

(9) Talks pleasingly

(10) Fluent

(11) Highly learned

(12) Highly intelligent

(13) Genius

(14) Artistic

(15) Extremely clever

(16) Expert

(17) Grateful

(18) Firmly determined

(19) An expert judge of time and circumstances

(20) Sees and speaks on the authority of Vedas, or scriptures

(21) Pure

(22) Self-controlled

(23) Steadfast

(24) Forbearing

(25) Forgiving

(26) Grave

(27) Self-satisfied

(28) Possessing equilibrium

(29) Magnanimous

(30) Religious

(31) Heroic

(32) Compassionate

(33) Respectful

(34) Gentle

(35) Liberal

(36) Shy

(37) The protector of surrendered souls

(38) Happy

(39) The well-wisher of devotees

(40) Controlled by love

(41) all-auspicious

(42) Most powerful

(43) all-famous

(44) Popular

(45) Partial to devotees

(46) Very attractive to all women

(47) all-worship able

(48) all-opulent

(49) all-honourable

(50) The supreme controller.

Besides all of the above-mentioned fifty qualities, Lord Krishna possesses five more, which are sometimes partially manifested in Lord Brahma or Lord Shiva.

These transcendental qualities are as follows:

(51) Changeless

(52) all-cognizant

(53) Ever fresh

(54) sac-cid-ananda
(possessing an eternal blissful body)

(55) Possessing all mystic perfections.

Krishna also possesses five other qualities, which are manifest in the body of Narayana/Vishnu, and they are listed as follows:

(56) He has inconceivable potency.

(57) Uncountable universes generate from His body.

(58) He is the original source of all incarnations.

(59) He is the giver of salvation to the enemies whom He kills.

(60) He is the attractor of liberated souls.

Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Krishna has four more, which are not manifested even in the Vishnu/Narayana form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities.

They are as follows:

(61) He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes).

(62) He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead.

(63) He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute.

(64) He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.

The Absolute Truth is anandamaya (desiring to increase His joy), hence from His original form He expands and becomes many.

These emanations from the Supreme Person are of two categories: full expansions and partially manifested expansions.

The Lord’s various full and partial expansions and the Lord Himself simultaneously co-exist, only appearing to manifest under the influence of time.

These expansions of Krishna are known as Vishnu-tattva Forms of God, and they are also the Supreme Absolute Truth.

While non-different from Lord Krishna, the Vishnu-tattvas like

Maha Vishnu, Garbhodakashayi Vishnu etc

All accept their own role as Godhead in the mood of Servitor to the “original” Supreme Being Lord Krishna, for example Vishnu and Narayana Forms, all with different names, are found on all Vaikuntha Planets in the Spiritual sky.

This relationship is the foundation of Vedic monotheism, which encompasses the inconceivable, absolute personal nature of the original Godhead.

Lord Krishna possesses two other expansive qualities known as Shiva-tattva and jiva-tattva.

Together with Vishnu-tattva, these three qualities are representative of the Absolute Person’s internal, external and marginal energies.

The Lord has expanded Himself as Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, and we, the living entities, are also expansions.

Like us, Lord Brahma is also jiva-tattva.

Lord Siva is between Vishnu-tattva and jiva-tattva.

And Lord Visnu is Vishnu-tattva.

So clearly Vishnu-tattva and jiva-tattva are all expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna.

Therefore as a reminder we can summarize as follows

Lord Krishna. 64 qualities or 100%

Vishnu tattva. 60 qualities or – 93.75%

Shiva tattva. 54 qualities or – 84.375%

Jiva tattva. 50 qualities or – 78.125%

This is the reason why Krishna is called Param Purushottam, Purnavatar or Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Reference from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.29 –

Learned scholars in transcendental subjects have carefully analyzed the summum bonum Krsna to have sixty-four principal attributes.

All the expansions or categories of the Lord possess only some percentages of these attributes. But Sri Krsna is the possessor of the attributes cent percent.

And His personal expansions such as svayam-prakasa, tad-ekatma up to the categories of the avataras who are all visnu-tattva, possess up to 93.75% of these transcendental attributes.

Lord Siva, who is neither avatara nor avesa nor in between them, possesses almost 84.375% of the attributes.

But the jivas, or the individual living beings in different statuses of life, possess up to the limit of 78.125% of the attributes.

In the conditioned state of material existence, the living being possesses these attributes in very minute quantity, varying in terms of the pious life of the living being.

The most perfect of living beings is Brahma, the supreme administrator of one universe.

He possesses 78.125% percent of the attributes in full.

All other demigods have the same attributes in less quantity, whereas human beings possess the attributes in very minute quantity.

The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to seventy-eight percent in full.

The marginal living entities or jiva-tattvas can never possess attributes like Shiva, Vishnu or Lord Krishna.

A living being (jiva-tattva) can become godly by developing their full potential of 78.125% of their transcendental attributes but he can never become a God like Krishna or Vishnu or Shiva.

Although he can become a Brahma in due course.

The godly living beings who are all residents of the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky, are eternal associates of Vishnu in different spiritual planets called Hari-dhama and Mahesa-dhama.

However, the abode of Lord Krishna is above all these Vaikuntha planets and is called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana, and the perfected living being, by developing 78.125% of the above attributes in full, can enter the planet of Krsnaloka after leaving the present material body.

From your servant Gauragopala dasa


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We are gathered here to celebrate the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya. Advaita Acharya is an incarnation of Maha-vishnu. In terms of pastimes, He appeared before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and so was considered an elder by Mahaprabhu. He was actually older than Lord Chaitanya’s own father.

Advaita Acharya, although Vishnu Himself, was in the mood of a Vaishnava. As a Vaishnava, He felt compassion for the fallen conditioned souls who were suffering without Krishna consciousness. Although previously Navadvipa had been a great center of devotion, it had deteriorated into a center of dry learning. Thus, Advaita Acharya felt compassion for the fallen souls of the age, so engrossed in material affairs, devoid of devotional service to Krishna. In the mood of a humble Vaishnava, although He was Vishnu Himself, He felt that He was not capable of delivering the fallen souls. He believed that only Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself could preach the yuga-dharma of hari-nama-sankirtana and deliver them.

Advaita Acharya Prabhu was an ideal householder. He had read in the scriptures that the Lord sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water. As a grihastha brahman, He worshipped a salagrama-sila at home. Therefore, He specifically began to worship Salagrama with Ganges water and tulasi leaves with the aim of bringing about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent.

The Caitanya-caritamrta describes Sri Advaita Acharya’s appeal to Lord Krishna to appear again on earth. He cried with such intensity that the sound traveled throughout the entire universe and ultimately reached Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of the loud cries of Sri Advaita Acharya, Mahaprabhu did indeed descend, appearing in Navadvipa on the full moon night of Phalguna (February-March). Thus the Lord came at the request of Advaita Acharya, His pure devotee, to reclaim the fallen souls.

What was the method by which He reclaimed them? The method was hari-nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. And so, in response to Advaita Acharya’s cries, the Lord appeared in Navadvipa on the full moon night of the Phalguna month, during a lunar eclipse, while millions of Hindus were bathing in the Ganges loudly chanting the holy names. Later, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself practiced sankirtana in Navadvipa-dhama, and after adopting the renounced order of life (sannyasa) left Navadvipa and traveled throughout India. Wherever He went, He chanted the holy names and induced others to chant the holy names as well.

Originally, after Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa, He wanted to make His residence in Vrindavan. His mother, however, could not bear the thought that He would be so far away. So in deference to His mother’s will, He made His headquarters in Jagannatha Puri, which is not so far from Navadvipa. Every year, devotees would travel from Navadvipa to Puri to attend the Ratha-yatra festival and have the association of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus, they would go back and forth between Navadvipa and Puri and bring news to Mother Sachi about Lord Chaitanya.

Still, Lord Chaitanya had an ardent desire to visit Vrindavan, and so He left by foot from Puri to travel to Vrindavan-dhama. On the way, He stopped in a place called Ramakeli, the capital of the Muslim despot Nawab Hussein Shah. There the prime minister and the finance minister of the Nawab, who later became known as Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami, came to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in disguise.

At the time, thousands of devotees were following Lord Chaitanya, and Lord Chaitanya inaugurated the hari-nama-sankirtana in Ramakeli just outside the area of the Nawab’s palace. The devotees chanted and danced day and night for many days. They totally forgot about eating, sleeping, and other bodily demands. They were simply absorbed in the ecstasy of hari-nama-sankirtana.

But after some time, a few of the devotees began to think of the Nawab, realizing that they were just outside the doorsteps of his palace. The Nawab, Hussein Shah, was a terrible tyrant. He killed people like anything. And he used intimidation to compel Rupa and Sanatana to serve him, threatening that if they didn’t accept his proposal to act as his ministers or secretaries, he would wreak havoc on the Hindu community and kill thousands. Some of the devotees began to become anxious that they were doing such loud hari-nama–sankirtana so close to the Nawab’s palace: “What if he takes notice of us and becomes enraged? He could kill us all!”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as the omniscient Lord, could understand the anxiety of these devotees. So He stopped the kirtan and told the devotees, “Although I am acting as a devotee, actually I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and because I am the Supreme Lord, no one can harm Me or My movement.” He explained that His movement of hari-nama–sankirtana was destined to spread to every town and village of every country of the world: prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. (Cb Antya 4.126)

During the time of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His mission spread throughout India. But with the passage of time, even in India, it became weak. Unauthorized groups who claimed to be His followers but who did not actually understand or follow His principles arose and became prominent. The situation got worse and worse until, in the 1800s, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared. He separated Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s true followers from the pseudo-followers and identified at least thirteen deviant groups (apasampradayas). He re-established the true idea of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He also discovered the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur-dhama, and with his followers he located many different sites associated with the Lord’s pastimes, including the residence of Sri Advaita Acharya in Mayapur. Advaita Acharya actually had two residences—one in Mayapur-dhama itself and one about twenty miles away in Shantipur.

Although Lord Chaitanya had predicted that the holy name would be chanted and preached in every town and village of the world, even learned devotees could not imagine how such a phenomenon could come to pass. Still, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted that very soon somebody would come to fulfill the prediction of Lord Chaitanya. And, as we know, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada did emerge from the followers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to fulfill the desire and prediction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Yet this entire arrangement, from one point of view, was created simply to fulfill the desire of Sri Advaita Acharya. Sri Advaita Acharya was the one who so intensely desired that the Lord should come and deliver the fallen souls, especially through hari-nama-sankirtana, that Lord Chaitanya did appear. And now, more than five hundred years later, we are gathered here in Camarillo, California, chanting the holy names of Krishna. This is possible only because Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu desired so intensely that we would be able to do so and thus be delivered from the bondage of material existence and imbued with the ecstasy of devotional service.

The sixteen words of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—contain all spiritual truths. Realized devotees have actually seen the entire pastimes of Radha and Krishna within the maha-mantra. Srila Jiva Gosvami wrote a poem describing various pastimes of Radha and Krsna that transpire in the course of chanting one round of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discussed the import of each word of the maha-mantra, and each pair of words (Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, etc.). There are eight pairs of names that combine to make the sixteen words of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Bhaktivinoda Thakura explained how each pair corresponds to one verse of the Siksastaka prayer of Lord Chaitanya. Further, he wrote an entire chapter on each verse of the Siksastaka.

So, although superficially the Hare Krishna maha-mantra appears to be a simple combination of three different words arranged in a combination of sixteen, actually it contains the entire spiritual world. And as we go deeper and deeper in chanting the maha-mantra, we come closer and closer to entering into the spiritual world and the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Thus, what Lord Chaitanya came to give by the intense desire of Sri Advaita Acharya, although it appears to be very simple—just an arrangement of sixteen words—is actually deeply profound and unlimitedly vast. It is the entire spiritual world, in comparison with which the whole material world is just a fraction.

The whole process is inconceivable. We know the story of Mother Yasoda and baby Krishna. On Krishna’s birthday, Balarama and the cowherd boys accused Krishna of having eaten some dirt, and Balarama and other sons of the gopas complained to Mother Yasoda. But Krishna denied that He had eaten any dirt. To the contrary, He accused Balarama and the other friends of being angry with Him from Their play and wanting to get Him into trouble. He said, “If you have any doubts, Mother, you can look into My mouth and see if there is any dirt.” So, Krishna opened His mouth, and Mother Yasoda looked inside. And in Krishna’s mouth she saw the entire universe, the whole cosmic manifestation. She saw all moving and nonmoving entities and all directions. She saw past, present, and future. She saw the material elements and the three qualities of nature. She even saw herself and Sri Vrindavan-dhama, and she became completely bewildered.

Mother Yasoda saw the entire cosmic manifestation in the mouth of Krishna, while Krishna Himself appeared just like a small child that she could hold in her arms. In the same way, the entire spiritual world is contained within the two syllables Krs and na, because the two syllables Krs-na are Krishna Himself, the origin of everything. That is actually the invaluable gift of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu upon the fallen souls, given to us due to the desire of Sri Advaita Acharya.

Sri Advaita Acharya is very merciful. Advaita means “nondifferent.” He is Advaita because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord (advaitam harinadvaitad). And He is Acharya because He preaches the cult of devotion (acaryam bhakti-samsanat).

We are followers of Advaita Acharya. He is one of the acharyas in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually, He was initiated by Sri Madhavendra Puri and therefore is in the same generation of spiritual masters as Sri Isvara Puri, the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Nevertheless, in one sense we can say Sri Advaita Acharya is in the line of Lord Chaitanya because He considered Himself to be His servant.

So He is acharya—Advaita Acharya. Not only did He induce Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to descend to deliver the fallen souls through the holy name, but He also set the example how one can be acharya. Even as a grihastha, He was an acharya. Most people, especially in Kali-yuga, marry and become householders. Therefore, the example of Sri Advaita Acharya is most important for us. In some ways, His example may be even more relevant for most people in Kali-yuga than the example of Lord Chaitanya, who renounced family life at an early age, or that of Nityananda Prabhu, who as an avadhuta was beyond all material categories.

Thus, we all have been blessed by the mercy of Advaita Acharya, directly and indirectly. We should take advantage of His mercy and of the mercy He caused to descend from the spiritual world for us. We should serve Him with great love and affection.

Hare Krishna.

Devotee: Some of Lord Chaitanya’s devotees went and stayed with Him in Jagannatha Puri. So why not Advaita Acharya?

Giriraj Swami: Advaita Acharya was a grihastha, so He remained in Bengal. But when the other devotees would travel from Bengal to Orissa to join in the Ratha-yatra festival and spend the four months known as Chaturmasya with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri, He would accompany them. But then He would go back. It was really just the renunciates who were able to join Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some of them were married previously but joined later. Advaita Acharya, however, as far as we know, remained based in Bengal.

Actually, all the members of the Pancha-tattva more or less concealed their glories. It was only later that the devotees gradually realized their positions.

So, I conclude with a beautiful verse from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 1.13):

advaitam harinadvaitad
acaryam bhakti-samsanat
bhaktavataram isam tam
advaita acaryam asraye

“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.”

Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Sri Advaita Acharya’s appearance day, February 8, 2003, Camarillo, California]


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By the Sastric Advisory Committee

Listed below are evidences for both sides of the issue, our analysis and conclusion.

Pro-Beard Evidence (mainly from Srila Prabhupada’s letters, lectures and conversations):

1) “The Pashca-tattva can all be golden. The Deity of Lord Caitanya is very nicely done so there is no need to change the color. Yes, Srivasa Pandita has sikha. Vaishnava must have sikha. Advaita Prabhu has a full white beard. He was an old man. He was practically older than the father of Lord Caitanya. He was an elder gentleman in the town of Navadvipa, elder of the brahmana community.” (Letter to Govinda Dasi / 20 November 1971)

2) “According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sampradaya, they keep themselves clean-shaven. And only single instance is there, Advaita Prabhu. He had his beard. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu never asked Him to cleanse. Because one reason is that Advaita Prabhu was just contemporary to His father, so He did not like to dictate. But otherwise, all His disciples, they were clean-shaved. (Lecture / Cc Madhya 20.66-96 / 21 November1966)

3) “You see this picture, five learned brahmanas. In the center there is one picture who is Lord Caitanya. He started this movement when He was only seventeen years old, a boy. A boy only—a schoolboy. He was student, but He introduced this movement five hundred years ago, and some of the elderly men, as you see, one elderly man with beard, He also helped Him, and the others…Actually this movement was originally started by young boys. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Advaita Prabhu, They started. (Brandeis University Lecture / April 29, 1969)

4) “As far as wearing beards one class of men like Advaita Prabhu never wore clean shaven appearance but always had a beard.”

(Letter to Muralidhara [BBT artist] / 7 March 1974 LA)

5) “You can also arrange for costumes and wig; one boy may be dressed as Lord Caitanya, another as Nityananda, as well as Gadadhara, Advaita with white beard and Srivasa with shaven head.” (Letter to Hamsaduta / 3 March, 1968 LA)

6) “Yes, the Pashca-tattva picture is standard, no need of changing.” (Letter to Jadurani / 8 April 1968)

7) “Thank you for the nice photos. I saw one photo there of Bharadvaja’s doll studio along with the others. You can tell him that we want many Pashca-tattva Deities made out of cement or plaster paris. They can be made the same size as the L.A. Gaura-Nitai Deities.” (Letter to Kalacanda / 31 May 1975 Honolulu)

[NOTE: Here Srila Prabhupada does not say he wanted the Deities to be different than the instructions he had given for Deities and paintings of Advaita Prabhu. This may be taken as evidence that the instruction to Govinda Dasi did not refer to only one set of Deities.]

8) “As you have suggested I am instructing Bharadvaja to immediately make a new set of Pashca-tattva Deities for our Hawaii temple.” (Letter to Gurukripa / 6 April 1977 Bombay)

[NOTE: In 1977 new Pashca-tattva Deities were made for the Hawaii temple, according to the same standard as the first set, with Advaita Prabhu having a beard.]

10) “I have enclosed herewith some photos from the deity installation of Pashca-tattva in Honolulu. I remember that you have good ability to do propaganda work, so I am entrusting that you will try for printing these photos in the big newspapers in Bombay. You can write that they are taken at the deity

installation in our Honolulu ISKCON center on May 7, 1972.” (Letter to Cyavana / 23 May, 1972 LA)

[NOTE: Prabhupada wanted the pictures of Advaita Prabhu with a beard printed in the newspapers in Bombay, India.]


Bhavananda: These are the remnants of old dioramas that we had.

Prabhupada: That means you have broken them?

Bhavananda: They were broken.

Prabhupada: Huh? Broken by?

Jayapataka: Time. They were clay. They started just falling…. No doll maker is here. After one year they started to fall apart.

Tamala Krishna: Is this last years’ exhibit?

Bhavananda: From three years ago.

Tamala Krishna: Three years ago. Last years’ are still good?

Prabhupada: No, they break.

Bhavananda: Some. The Pashca-tattva and…

Jayapataka: They should have been put in the Ganges.

Prabhupada: No, how it breaks? They keep it for years, and you broke them?

How you…? How you broke? Automatically?

(Morning Walk / January 16, 1976, Mayapura)

[NOTE: This conversation indicates that there were Pashca-tattva dioramas in Mayapura that Srila Prabhupada knew about. We assume that Advaita Prabhu in this Pashca-tattva diorama was shown with a beard, as always in ISKCON. This diorama was obviously for display in Mayapura, and would have been seen by the local people, and not just ISKCON members. This could be investigated further. It is meager evidence, but it does offer some indication.]

12) “Regarding taking Lord Jagannatha to your next center, that will not be very good because you already do not have enough devotees to engage in Arcana. Unless there is a Deity worshipper [pujari] available, we may worship Pashca-tattva and guru. That can be done by all initiated students whether they are once or twice initiated. Before an altar with pictures of Lord Caitanya, Pashca-tattva and Acaryas, everyone can offer aratrika and bhoga. (Letter to Himavati /1 April1970 LA)

[NOTE: This is evidence that worship of Lord Advaita with a beard was not just for Hawaii, but for all temples, although in painting form.]

13) In the book Gauradesa: A Devotional Guide to Navadvipa Dhama, by Mashjari Devi Dasi, there is on page 157 a photo of a painting of Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, and Advaita Acarya speaking about the confidential pastimes of Lord Krishna. The painting shows Advaita Prabhu with a beard. The painting is in a small shrine at the house of Advaita Acarya in Santipura.

Anti-Beard Evidence (from various sources):

1) Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s Pashca-tattva Deities at the Yogapitha in Mayapura: No beard
2) Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s Deities at Srivasa Angana in Mayapura: No beard
3) Sri Advaita Acarya Deity at Santipura: No beard
4) Many babaji– and gosvami-parivaras (caste gosvamis) insist that He did not have one. (In their paintings they usually portray Him in a youthful form.)
5) Advaitashtakam verse: eka-anga tridha murti kaisoradi sada varam
(“All three of Them are one personality in three forms. Their forms are eternally youthful”.)
6) Caitanya-bhagavata purport by Srila Sarasvati Thakura [the verse itself could be taken as evidence for pro-beard,but see the commentary]

Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya 16.99:
tarjje garjje acarya dadite diya hata
bhrukuti kariya nace santipura-natha

“The Acarya threatened and roared, placing his hand on his beard. That Lord of Santipura furled his eyebrows and began to dance.” (translated by Gopiparanadhana Prabhu) Original Bengali commentary by Srila Sarasvati Thakura:

sri-advaita-prabhu sastracara-sampanna gumpha-smasru-kesadi-mundita chilena. dadi va cibuke ye unnata kesa (smasru) deya yaya, uhake sadharana bhashaya ‘dadi’ bale. taj-janya keha keha anabhijshata-vase ajsha bauliyara vesha smasru-kesadir niyoga karena. kintu prakrita prastave tini mundita-kesa chilena. tanhake ‘nada’-sabde abhihita karaya mundita-keseri nirdesa bujha yaya.

Translation of Commentary

“Sri Advaita Prabhu was perfectly fixed in proper behavior according to scripture, and was clean shaven, without whiskers, beard and hair on his head. A ‘beard’ or long-grown hair (smasru) found on the chin is called in the vernacular dadi. Therefore some people, swayed by their ignorance, try to ascribe to Him the dress of a foolish Baul and a Baul’s beard, hairy head and so on. But actually He had all His hair shaven. This is indicated by the word Nada, which refers to one who is clean-shaven.” (translated by Gopiparanadhana Prabhu)

[NOTE: Srila Sarasvati Thakura seems to cross over the information in the verse to make his point. He is clearly concerned that no one accepts Sri Advaita Prabhu as a Baul.]

Opinions from two ISKCON leaders:

7) H.H. Jayapataka Swami: “In this detail of iconography which Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura specifically said wasn’t bona fide, I can’t imagine that Srila Prabhupada would have maintained it if he was aware of these instructions.”

8) H.G. Krishnakshetra Prabhu: “As for determining the weight of different pramanas, my understanding has always been that Srila Prabhupada considered his books as decisive and normative for the Society, over and above particular comments he wrote to particular devotees in letters or made to specific devotees should there seem to be contradiction. Mutatis mutandis, we may consider, as he showed consistent concern to honor the instructions of his Guru Maharaja, he would expect an explicit instruction from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakura written in one of his published books to be honored by us. I think this can be a general guiding principle. But in a particular case there might be other considerations outweighing this one.”

Observation of Evidence

It is clear that there are two views: one coming from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and one from our Srila Prabhupada. How can we reconcile these two varying perspectives?


One argument for a beardless deity of Advaita Acarya is that we should follow Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Certainly we should follow the previous acaryas. Sometimes, as in the case of Maharaja Priyavrata, theparam-guru may override the decision of the guru. In this regard, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “The duty of a great devotee is to carry out the order of the spiritual master, or the spiritual master of the spiritual master in the parampara system. “ (SB 5.1.20 purport) Unfortunately, neither Srila Prabhupada nor his Guru Maharaja is physically present with us. Srila Prabhupada also wrote, “In the Skanda Purana it is advised that a devotee follow the pastacaryas and saintly persons, because by such following one can achieve the desired results, with no chance of lamenting or being baffled in his progress.” (NOD Ch. 7)

A guru’s authority is derived from the scriptures and from Krishna Himself through the parampara of sadhus. Therefore, one must evaluate and apply the instructions of the guru in the context of these other two—sadhu andsastra. Yet, simultaneously, one understands sadhu, sastra and tradition, through the guru.

There are two dangers—one is to follow Prabhupada’s literal instructions without reference to sadhu, sastra and tradition. Such following could easily become blind and condemned. This type of obedience runs the risk of preserving in stone, not eternal principles, but interpretation and application. Truth is then lost in institutional formula, so that hundreds of years from now, a “Sunday love feast” will become unquestionable canon.

On the other hand, if any difference or apparent difference between Prabhupada’s instructions and tradition or othersadhus or sastra is decided in an opposite way as to what Prabhupada gave us, we run the risk of losing our identity as his followers. Our goals, values, and practices become so fluid that anyone can bring anything from the tradition and assert its place and superiority in our Society. There are reasons, albeit reasons we may not fully understand, for how and why Prabhupada did things. When those reasons are clearly circumstantial or most likely circumstantial, then it is our duty to consider an issue fluid. When the reasons are not apparent at all, or the context is clearly applicable to all members for all times (such as mangala aratrika or sixteen rounds minimum) then we should cease to be ISKCON if we make a change of institutional policy, except in a very rare case or in a temporary emergency.

It would be easy if tradition, the examples of sadhus, sastric instructions, and the guidance of guru were always the same for everyone. However, such cannot be the case in a vibrant tradition that is rooted in eternal individuality as an element of absolute truth. Individuality directly implies different perspectives and decisions, even in the realm of transcendence which is freed from the bias of cheating and imperfect senses.

“So far as your question about controversy amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja, that is a fact. But this controversy is not material. Just like in a national program, different political parties are sometimes in conflict and make propaganda against each other, but their central point is always service to the country. Similarly, amongst the disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati there may be some controversy, but the central point is how to preach the mission of His Divine Grace. If the central point is fixed up then there is no harm in such controversy. Every individual being must have his opinion; that is the significance of individuality, but all such differences of opinions must coincide in Krishna.” (Letter to Mandalibhadra / 28 July 1969)

“Wherever there are individuals there is bound to be difference of opinion.” (Letter to Rupanuga / 14 February 1973)

There are many instances where great Acaryas do not concur. “As for your question about santa-rasa and the opinions of Rupa Gosvami and Sridhara Svami, I don’t remember. You can send me the appropriate passages. There is no reason why acaryas cannot differ on certain points.” (Letter to Upendra / 19 February 1972)

Sometimes this difference of opinion occurs due to what would appear to be a matter of objective facts, as in the following: “According to Sripada Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, there is not always a devastation after the change of every Manu. And yet this inundation after the period of Cakshusa Manu took place in order to show some wonders to Satyavrata. But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs from authoritative scriptures (like Vishnu-dharmottara, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, etc.) that there is always a devastation after the end of each and every Manu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported Srila Jiva Gosvami, and he (Sri Cakravarti) has also quoted from Bhagavatamrita about this inundation after each Manu.” (SB 1.3.15 purport)

If we find varying perspectives between our founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada and his guru, his Godbrothers, anyone else in our Gaudiya tradition, other acaryas in other sampradayas, or statements of scripture, our first inclination should be to simply follow Srila Prabhupada because “a basic principle is that one has to accept a spiritual master. Exactly how one follows the instructions of his spiritual master is considered a detail. For example, if one is following the instruction of his spiritual master and that instruction is different from the instructions of another spiritual master, this is called detailed information. But the basic principle of acceptance of a spiritual master is good everywhere, although the details may be different.” (NOD Ch 6)

Overriding Criteria (Srila Prabhupada’s statements are our primary authority)

To follow others’ statements, even Srila Prabhupada’s own guru, Srila Sarasvati Thakura, and override Srila Prabhupada’s statements, there should be one or more of the following criteria:

  • Srila Prabhupada stated that his instruction was based on time, place, and circumstance.

  • Srila Prabhupada gave differing instructions on the same topic at different times, places, or to different individuals, showing implicitly that the instruction was relative.

  • There is an emergency where life is in danger, such as preaching in a Muslim country.

  • There is a unique circumstance which Prabhupada never encountered and there is ambiguity as to whether the instruction is general or relative due to its rarity of occurrence and/or unknown factors about the circumstances in which it was given.

  • There is ambiguity as to the general or relative nature of the instruction, and to take a different course would greatly enhance the preaching. Such a decision should be with a consensus of a large body of strict followers of Srila Prabhupada. This ambiguity could be present if the instruction didn’t occur in purports, or not in purports and public lectures, or was not generally practiced in ISKCON or was of a very peripheral nature to our basic preaching work. Consensus would exist if there were no marked controversy even among senior, strict followers who have a reputation for brahminical, independent thinking and are fluid and innovative in their preaching application. A greatly enhanced result does not exist where the proposed gain is uncertain.

In the case before us of whether or not to have a beard on the Deity of Advaita Acarya, all of Prabhupada’s instructions on the matter indicate that he wished for Advaita Acarya to be shown with a beard. All the paintings in ISKCON publications show Him this way, as do the Deities which Prabhupada personally directed in Hawaii. There is no evidence that Prabhupada intended these instructions to be relative. The negative evidences that he did not give these specific instructions for Mayapura, nor present them in purports and public lectures are not strong enough unless there are witnesses to the circumstances in Hawaii and with the artists to be unique in some way.


The statements of the two respected ISKCON devotees (7 & 8) above are basically that if Srila Prabhupada was physically with us today and read the quoted commentary by his Guru Maharaja in the Caitanya-bhagavata, then surely he would make an adjustment and withdraw the beard from the Deity of Sri Advaita Acarya.

This is a possibility. He might just do that.

The Gaudiya Matha temples (1&2) referred to above present Deities of Sri Advaita Acarya without a beard. This also indicates the opinion and instruction of Srila Sarasvati Thakura, at least in regards to the murti of Sri Advaita Prabhu in Mayapura. This corresponds to and supports his Caitanya-bhagavata commentary.

Counter Argument

The statements of the senior devotees (7 & 8 above) make two assumptions that cannot be demonstrated:

1) That Srila Prabhupada was unaware of the statement by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. In other words, he may have been aware of it. During the time of Srila Sarasvati Thakura, Caitanya-bhagavata was published and widely read by Gaudiya Matha devotees due to their guru’s recommendation. It is also possible that Srila Prabhupada had already read that specific comment or at least was aware of the Pashca-tattva Deities installed in the Gaudiya Matha temples.

2) That if he was aware of it, he would have simply accepted it. Although his acceptance is possible, it is also possible, however, that if informed of this Srila Prabhupada might reply, “Oh, my Guru Maharaja established themurti of Sri Advaita Acarya as such because . . .”

Further Reasoning

We cannot be cent percent sure of how Srila Prabhupada would have reacted to this issue. If we decide to alter the appearance of the Deity of Sri Advaita Acarya in one or more ISKCON temples based on the possibility that Prabhupada had not known about the Caitanya-bhagavata commentary, we do so at the risk of displeasing Srila Prabhupada.

We do know for sure that Srila Prabhupada directly instructed his disciple in Honolulu to present the Deity of Advaita Acarya with a full white beard. And in a letter dated 1974 to a BBT artist in regards to his own books he wrote, “Advaita Prabhu never wore clean shaven appearance but always had a beard.”

To propose that Srila Prabhupada did not see the Deities at the Yogapitha or did not read Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s commentary to Caitanya-bhagavata is also negative evidence, somewhat speculative and inconclusive at best. It is also possible that Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s commentary was due to relative circumstances.

Srila Prabhupada did not unequivocally state that his instruction to Govinda Dasi in Honolulu for installing the Deity of Advaita Prabhu should be applied in all future circumstances. However, there is also no indication that the instruction to Govinda Dasi should not be applied in future circumstances. Nor did Prabhupada ever ask that Advaita Acarya be shown in any other way. Moreover, the pro-beard references above (7-10) offer indications of future application the instruction to Govinda Dasi.

SAC’s Conclusion

We take shelter of guru, sadhu and sastra as our guidelines.Can we emphasize guru and overlook the otherpramanas? That should generally not be done.We must accept Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s vision of Advaita Prabhu as one variant of the truth. In other words, one should not be considered a heretic if he presents Advaita Prabhu’s Deity without a beard.

Ultimately, there are no opposing opinions between guru and sadhu, although at times acaryas may take positions that are in fact different. There is some transcendental reason for their taking a different position, temporarily. But ultimately, there is no difference among them. If there is, however, some apparent difference, then we should accept what our own acarya says while waiting for Krishna to reveal how there really is no difference. That is a reasonable approach to the question of pramanas.

In other words, siddhanticly speaking, both forms of Advaita Prabhu are acceptable by our sampradaya, but since our founder-acarya has specifically instructed us to present Advaita Prabhu with a beard in ISKCON, the SAC recommends the GBC to follow the instructions given to Govinda Dasi in 1974 by Srila Prabhupada. This should be generally followed when installing deities of Sri Advaita Acarya in ISKCON.

Rare Circumstances

In a very rare situation, e.g. in a location where it may be somehow unfavorable for ISKCON’s preaching or for differentiating Gaudiya Vaishnavism from the Bauls or other deviant sects, we accept the possibility that an adjustment could be made according to time, place and circumstance. Such circumstances should be determined by the GBC. (A relative consideration such as preventing Bauls from authorizing their sect may be the very reason why Sarasvati Thakura installed the beardless murti of Sri Advaita Acarya and wrote his commentary to Caitanya-bhagavata.) Nevertheless, any possible local circumstances should be weighed against the impact of overriding Srila Prabhupada’s directions.


SAC’s conclusion does not indicate that an ISKCON devotee may ignore the instructions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. It should be understood that there may sometimes exist a variety of bona fide instructions coming from different Acaryas. We pray that Srila Sarasvati Thakura will accept our decision as proper for chaste disciples. Furthermore, our conclusion might possibly be read by some as ISKCON’s stepping away from the wider Sarasvata Gaudiya tradition. This is not the case, and it should be clearly understood and explained if need be.

Mayapura: Relative Considerations (loka-vicara)

What reasons are given for installing a Deity of Advaita Prabhu without a beard in Mayapura? One is a concern that other Gaudiya members and organizations will criticize us otherwise. A second concern might be to not give credence to apasampradayas. Let us discuss the former reason.

Neighboring Gaudiya Matha devotees in Mayapura might criticize a Deity of Advaita Acarya with a beard. The small Pashca-tattva, however, has been in Mayapura for years with a bearded form of Advaita Acarya. Still, Jayapataka Maharaja has maintained working relationships with the other Gaudiya branches there.

Therefore it doesn’t seem likely that our neighbors will get too upset about us having a bearded Deity of Advaita Prabhu.

Another example to illustrate this is the Ugra Nrisimha Deity. He is like nothing ever seen in Bengal. We have heard that this Deity provoked much curiosity among the local Gaudiyas. Often devotees from other mathas visited us just to have a look at Him. The excitement gradually died down, as it eventually will do. So why does a concern for increased unity among the Sarasvati family mean quid pro quo we should install a Deity of Advaita Acarya in Mayapura without a beard?

There will be little or no gain from changing the Deity in Mayapura to be like those at the Yogapitha. With the present small Pashca-tattva and Ugra Nrisimha, our relationships with the other Gaudiya Mathas seem to be good, fair, or poor depending on the specific individuals involved more than such differences. There are so many differences, and surely we are not going to imitate all the aspects of the mathas simply for public relations. Such was not Prabhupada’s general mood, though he made some accommodations to local customs.

The potential harm, however, from changing the form of Advaita Acarya is great. It would set a standard that when there is some difference between Prabhupada and other Acaryas that we will choose the others if we feel we will gain some advantage. This mentality is prevalent in those who have left ISKCON, accepting other Gaudiya leaders as siksha-guru. When there is a disagreement between our Srila Prabhupada and their siksha-guru, they explain Prabhupada through the latter. We would want, instead, to understand other Gaudiyas through the medium of Srila Prabhupada. We risk creating a free-for-all where temples change things dramatically to accommodate local people. Such is already happening in some ISKCON centers—“Hinduizing” or “New Ageing” some places almost beyond recognition. An additional loss would be the loss of the good wishes of many of ISKCON’s loyal members. On the other hand, very few ISKCON members will feel upset if a bearded Advaita Acarya is installed.

Again, after considering the relative situation, SAC recommends that the Deity of Advaita Acarya should be installed with a beard as generally done in ISKCON.

A Piece of ISKCON’s History (presented by HH Suhotra Swami)

I served in Harikesa Swami’s zone from the late 70’s to the late ’80’s. In 1986 he installed Pashca-tattva Deities in Almviksgaard, an ISKCON farm near Stockholm, Sweden. He insisted that the Sri Advaita Deity be made without a beard. I and some other Godbrothers in the zone expressed our concern that

this decision went against Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, but he was adamant. He had heard from HH Jayapataka Maharaja that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wrote that Sri Advaita must not be worshiped with a beard. His mind locked onto the conclusion that Srila Prabhupada was not aware of this order of his spiritual master; thus Prabhupada was mistaken in making Sri Advaita with a beard the ISKCON standard. I was not happy about this, but what could be done? That period of ISKCON’s history was more or less still overshadowed by the zonal-acaryasystem. And, as was confirmed to me recently, this Sri Advaita murti has been worshiped all these years without at beard; not even a wig-hair beard was ever fitted to His face.

It appears that this precedent of beardless Sri Advaita worship within ISKCON is not much known around our Society. Personally, I think it would be unreasonable to assume that this Sri Advaita Deity is “not bona fide.” I would just say that He is unique. And I would add that He should remain unique, i.e. this precedent is not for the rest of the movement to follow. It goes without saying that Harikesa Swami left a reputation behind him in ISKCON for sticking to his own ideas no matter what anyone else advised him. This is yet another example. To my knowledge he did no sastric research, nor did he hold discussions with different senior Godbrothers, nor did he consult with experienced Gaudiya Vaishnavas outside of ISKCON in arriving at the conclusion that Sri Advaita should have no beard. He simply heard from one Godbrother about one quotation by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. And that was it. Thus his method of decision-making is open to the charge of being whimsical. The devotees of ISKCON today are rightfully unsatisfied with an autocratic style of setting policy, especially if it seems at variance with Srila Prabhupada’s own instructions. Therefore the worship of Sri Advaita without a beard in ISKCON Sweden for the last 17 years is not a legal precedent for a decision on how Sri Advaita ought to be worshiped at ISKCON Mayapura.


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8570715488?profile=RESIZE_584xIn a recent ISKCON Leadership Sangha (ILS-2020) Lokanath Swami requested ISKCON Nepal regional secretary Patri dasa to organize a padayatra (pilgrimage) in Nepal. Patri took Maharaja’s words to heart and discussed the idea with the Nepali devotees.

A friend of Patri, Brahmacari Sahastranam dasa from Ukraine, who has been serving in Nepal for twelve years engaged in community and farm services, was inspired by the proposition and used his own money, to buy oxen and construct a cart from his unique design. He also collected books from the temple for distribution himself.

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Sri Advaita Path

House of Sri Advaita Acarya at Shantipur


Sri Advaita Acarya is avatar of Sadashiva, the original Siva of the spiritual world and Maha Vishnu, the original purusha of the universal creation. That same personality descended into this world to assist Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu by accepting the role of the servant of the servant. It was only because of Advaita Acarya’s deep compassion and fervent loud crying and prayers to Lord Krishna for us conditioned souls of Kali Yuga who are been glided in the materialistic ocean of darkness bereft of forgetfulness of Lord Krishna, that He made Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to appear to spread the holy name of Krishna and save us from clutches of maya.

At Shantipur, amidst the groves of beautiful mango trees is the house of Sri Advaita Acarya. Shantipur is 1 hour from Sri Mayapur Dhama and lies just off of the main road to Kolkata in Ranaghat area. It is here in Santipur that Advaita Acarya made the vow to make Lord Krishna advent to this world in Kali-yuga as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to deliver us fallen souls by taking up the chanting of Lord Krishna's name and to spread pure unalloyed devotion. The deity of Sri Madan Gopal and the saligrama-sila that Advaita Acarya worshipped to invoke the advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu are there at Santipur temple. Several wonderful pastimes took place in Shantipur including meeting of Haridas Thakura and Advaita Acarya, pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu and Lord Caitanya, Lord Caitanya’s arrival at Santipur after His sannayasa and the first meeting of Srila Raghunatha dasa Thakura with Lord Caitanya. Srila Madhavendra Puri, the spiritual master of Advaita Acarya’s also visited here while he was visiting Jagannatha Puri to get sandalwood for his Gopal in Govardhana. Every year on the disappearance day of Srila Madhavendra Puri, which comes just before Gaura Purnima, thousands of Gaudiya Vaishnavas assemble in the holy land of Santipur, and a big feast is served to everyone. Great importance and speciality of this day is that every Vaishnava that comes to Shantipur on this day, makes sure to do at least little service to serve the maha-prasadam to other Vaishnavas.

Srila Prabhupada visited Shantipur during his grihastha days and the day before departing to USA on Jaladhuta in 1965, he again came here chanting Hare Krishna japa deeply and weeping bitterly praying for the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu. The pujari of Shantipur temple had seen him coming since 1940s & 1950s coming here and now it’s been several years that he come back again. Pujari asked him, “Who are you? I remember you coming for so many years.” Srila Prabhupada responded, “My name is Abhaya Charanavinda Bhaktivedanta Swami, and I am a disciple of that empowered soul, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, who has come to deliver world. I have been coming here because my gurudeva has given me an impossible mission to perform. He has ordered me to take the message of Lord Caitanya and the Holy Names of Krishna across the ocean to spread all over the world. I have no qualification, no ability, people in the western world have never heard the name of Krishna or who is Radharani. How to convince them? Therefore, for all these years, I have been coming here. Because this is the place that Advaita Acarya, Lord Caitanya, and Nityananda Prabhu are eternally present. They are planning to take the Holy Names all over world. I have been coming here, praying to Them to empower me to fulfil my guru’s order. Tomorrow I am taking a cargo ship to New York City. But I don’t know what I will find there. I don’t know how I will do it. So I am crying to my gurudeva and to the Supreme Personality of Godhead to empower me.”

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila chapter 6 describes: “Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Maha-Visnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of maya. Because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. His glories are beyond the conception of ordinary living beings. Maha-Visnu performs all the functions for the creation of the universes. Sri Advaita Acarya is His direct incarnation.”

Among many important festivals of Bengal, Ras Yatra in Shantipur is very ancient. This festival was started by Mathuresh Goswami, the grandson of Sri Advaita Acarya. The principle deity of the town is Sri Radharaman in the family of Baro Gosai descending from the lineage of Mathuresh Goswami. The deity was originally installed as 'Dol Govinda' in Orissa by king Indradyumna. Later, due to some threats over there, king Basanta Roy brought the Deity to Yashohar (Jessore in Bangaldesh). Mathuresh Goswami was the spiritual master of Basanta Roy. Approximately in 1588, when Man Singha attacked Bengal under the Mughal rule, king Basanta Roy handed the deity to Mathuresh Goswami, who brought Him to Shantipur and established Him as Radharaman with another Deity of Radharani named as Srimati. During Ras Festival all the deities of Shantipur come out of Their temples. In special chariots known as Haoda, They visit the town. We were present there on the final day of the festival to witness 'Kunja-Bhanga', when after the Rasa Dance the deities return to Their respective temples. Devotees carry the deities in special rhythmic dance which is performed as per the beats of special percussion known as Dhak.

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8570569489?profile=RESIZE_584xThe message came from Ohio. It came from a fine fella who considers himself a punk, perhaps an X. His name is Kaustubha and it is good news — I’m sure he doesn’t mind me sharing the message regarding a new trail. Seems like he would go for trail blazing it. That’s his offer. He’s wondering if I still have some steam in my tank for a marathon. My answer is “Yes, most probably, but after some work is done on the knees.” Here is his message:

“Just saw a wonderful article about a new walking/biking trail that connects New York City to the Canadian border. It’s at least a couple hundred miles. I know it’s not your normal country trek but going from where ISKCON started to where it ended up in Canada, would be pretty awesome. And if you don’t have the time or inclination to do it, I can take the trek for you. ‘Walking Punk Walks for Walking Monk.’ The headline just sells itself! I’ll leave a link below for the article. Hopefully the trail is really busy since we’ve all been stuck at home for the past year. Hope all is well! Haribol!”

Haribol! Indeed! This sounds better than the Super Bowl.

I will encourage my dear Kaustubha to take up the challenge. I’m looking for people who will continue the tradition. Thanks for stepping forward, Kaustubha!


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Arrows of Kama By Saurav Sarmah


Kama (Cupid) possesses five arrows, with which he inflicts all conditioned living entities. According to Sripad Prabodhananda Saraswati (in his commentary on the Gita Govinda), these arrows are: infatuation, agitation, heart-burning, extreme dryness and destruction. Let us elaborate:

During the course of one’s life, one sees many members of the opposite sex. There is a natural attraction caused by the arrangement of Maya because we identify ourselves with the body (pumsah-striya-maithuni bhava). It produces passionate heat in our bodies, which in turn, unleashes the material desires stored within our hearts since time immemorial and also provides the drive to achieve them. Thus, the hrdaya granthi (material entanglement) is tightened and we continue to undergo life-times of transmigration within various species.

Although there is natural attraction between sexes in the material world, the conditioned souls (especially human beings) do not chase after the first visible object of enjoyment. Due to previous conditioning or samskara, the mind had recorded certain enjoyable traits like beauty, education, wealth, fame, morality, etc. and favourable methods for association. When one finds prima facie some of these traits in a person and the opportunity to engage in association, Kama releases his arrows:

The first arrow makes one infatuated. One identifies only the best qualities in the other person. One constantly thinks of the other and if the opportunity permits, they talk with or meet each other. In this way, the infatuation is deepened.

When the next arrow pierces the heart, separation becomes unbearable. One’s mind and senses are agitated. If opportunity permits, the couple increase their interaction until it covers the entire day. They derive mellow from each other’s association: nectar to start with; then follow other things like children, household responsibilities, etc.

But such state does not last for long, as the third arrow pierces the heart which begins to burn. The pain is almost intolerable. One’s intelligence gets bewildered and one acts like a madman. Often, the relationships enter problematic phase with frequent frictions producing more heat.

The heat produces dryness as the fourth arrow pierces. One enters the extreme state of pain: break-up, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, divorce, depression, stress, alcoholism, violence, ulcers, hair-loss, etc.

Finally, Kama releases the fifth arrow, which just destroys the victim: suicide, acid-throwing, murder, etc. Death separates even the most intimate couples. In this way, one suffers in this life and the next (entering into ghostly species).

All the five arrows are meant to increase the intensity of material entanglement and
degrade one into the darkest pits of illusion. Two options are normally available for the conditioned souls:

1.Bhoga: Some philosophers like Daksa Prajapati say that one must continue to enjoy the material objects according to religious principles until one gets totally burnt out. The nature of passionate energy is that initially, it appears like nectar, but later becomes poison. Therefore, when the nectar turns into poison, it is the appropriate time to engage in yoga (union with the spiritual energy). However, these karma-mimamsikas ignore the fact that after performing yoga for some time, the senses again becomes active, ready to derive nectar from material objects. In fact, by engagement in material gratification, the samskara (passionate energy driving our desires and repeated transmigration) is only deepened. Such bhogi-yogis soon fall down to perverted material enjoyment and enter hellish planets.

2.Tyaga: Other philosophers like Astavakra say that one must completely renounce material objects and engage in yoga because the material nature is a falsity. The perception of nectar or poison from material objects is due to illusion of the existence of these objects and one’s separate ego. Through proper knowledge, one can transcend the passionate energy and set oneself free from repeated birth and death. However, these jnana-mimamsikas forget that even when one renounces the material objects, the stored desires remain, to be evacuated in different ways when opportunities are provided by Maya. The hrdaya granthi is too tight to be untied by cultivation of imaginary knowledge and passive renunciation. Such tyagi-yogis fall down due to dryness of the senses and take birth among species with dormant consciousness like plants.

Due to the mercy of Krishna (God) and His representatives, we have access to an alternative, viz., engagement in devotional service. Srila Rupa Goswami notes:

sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam
hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate

The material nature is neither an object of our enjoyment nor it is a falsity. It is a reality meant for the enjoyment of the Master of the senses and the sense-objects, Krishna. Similarly, our ego is neither an independent product of the material nature nor a falsity, but a separated part of Krishna’s ego. Therefore, it needs to be purified of all material designations (identification of one’s body as the self for material enjoyment) and then engaged in the service of Krishna (the constitutional position of our ego) through purified senses. Indeed, the desires for bhoga-tyaga are detrimental to cultivation of favourable devotional service and can be identified as deviations from the right path.

In devotional service, since the senses and objects of senses are engaged in the service of Krishna, no samskara for material enjoyment is produced. However, the senses do not remain dry due to direct association with Krishna, the reservoir of all mellows. The work according to religious principles is performed for satisfaction of Krishna (not for one’s own ego). So, it liberates the ego from repeated transmigration. The cultivation of knowledge is based on factual position that one’s ego is an eternal
servant of Krishna (not that everything that exists is false) and the renunciation is based on the active principle of service. Hence, there is no fall down to material designations (unless one commits offenses and Krishna withdraws His mercy).

The complete victory of the devotional process over Kama was demonstrated by Thakur Haridas, when he was approached by a beautiful prostitute at midnight in a secluded place. Due to his attachment to the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna, he not only resisted the attempts by the lady to enjoy with him but also transformed her into a pure devotee.


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8563460863?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen

The Hare Krishna Festivals program, started by the late Tribhuvanatha Dasa on the instruction of his guru Srila Prabhupada, has organized festivals in halls all over the UK to share Krishna consciousness, attracting many to spiritual life.

Continued by Giridhari Das after Tribhuvanatha’s passing in 2001, the program has put on festivals for 34 consecutive years starting in 1986. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, 2020 was the program’s first year without festivals.

The Hare Krishna Festivals team has been doing what they can to continue their mission in creative ways. They’ve showed videos of past years’ festivals on their Facebook page, published a book of Tribhuvanatha’s introductory talks on Krishna consciousness, chanted live online for Glastonbury music festival’s virtual edition GlastHomeBury, and had a socially-distanced, masked kirtan on a boat down the Paddington Basin through Wembley.

With 2021 unfortunately again looking unlikely to allow festivals in the old model, the team has now decided to start a weekly video podcast, “Hare Krishna Festivals UK Tour,” which will “travel” virtually around the UK. Host Narada Das aims to chat with unsung heroes and highlight smaller, lesser-known Hare Krishna communities and projects beyond London. The Festival team will also launch a support program for (now virtual) Namahatta groups and sangas around the UK, offering them resources like online kirtans and talks.

Like the Hare Krishna Festival program, the podcast will be designed to reach not only ISKCON devotees but also the general public, using an accessible approach and language. It will be pre-recorded and available to watch on Fridays from 7pm GMT on the Hare Krishna Festivals UK Facebook and Youtube pages. Episodes will run from 30 mins to an hour.

“We have 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 8,000 subscribers on our Youtube channel,” Narada says. “So if at least 500 watch the podcast every week, that’s equivalent to a big festival.”

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8563432867?profile=RESIZE_400xI took to a balcony walk and had some time to reflect on today’s class with the Scarborough crew. The topic was “From Passion to Compassion.” I mentioned to the group on Zoom that I would come close to cringing when I first read that message from chapter 2 of the Gita. “The wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.”

It sounded extreme. Is there any room for compassion in the culture? Answer, “Yes.” For instance, after the Kuruksetra war many widows suddenly came into being and Krishna was there to offer the women folk much support. So why such a statement about not lamenting when people are in pain? The empathy factor must be projected during trying times for others.

The major point is to give more importance to the soul, which is permanent, whereas the body is a machine that is disposable. From a world of passion, temporal desire, we should evolve to the point of placing compassion in the right direction, to that of the soul.

A few helpful quotes on the subject of compassion:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato

“Compassion is the basis of morality.” Arthur Schopenhauer

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama

“It is easy to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” Gandhi

If our dear Prabhupada did not demonstrate compassion I would not be in the reality where I am today; in safety, peacefulness and joy.


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Mystic Understanding By Kesava Krsna dasa


Some devotees seldom use the word ‘mystical’ when describing other worldly subjects, due to obscure hazy connotations; preferring instead to use terms like inconceivable, transcendental or spiritual. Srila Prabhupada quite often used the word in the context of performing sincere devotional service, and the benefits derived from Bhakti.

It is known that Srila Prabhupada had a number of mystical experiences which he would tell to his close friends. Being aware of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s order to spread the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu worldwide, he cultivated a helpless mood. In true humility, he sought help from our previous acaryas, imploring and begging to be a worthy accomplice in this mighty deed. His perfection in chanting bore the results of his sublime characteristics, out of which, the natural mystic power of a vaisnava were displayed for all to see. His writings and deeds attest to this.

The dialogue of Bhagavad-Gita was transmitted as a live commentary from the heart of Sanjaya to Dhrtarastra. Such mystical ability did not require communication masts or radio waves, but the grace of Guru, in this case Srila Vyasadeva. Srila Prabhupada writes: “….one has to understand Krsna not directly but through the medium of the spiritual master. The spiritual master is the transcendental via medium, although it is true that the experience is still direct. This is the mystery of the disciplic succession.” BG.18.75 purport. But that grace has to be earned by purity, “Therefore by the grace of Vyasa, Sanjaya’s senses were purified, and he could see and hear Krsna directly. One who directly hears Krsna can understand this confidential knowledge.”

When Lord Narayana threads a camel through an eye of a needle, it is a normal occurrence for Him. When a self-understood vaisnava is observed, no-one can understand. Lord Chaitanya says: “Even the most learned man cannot understand the words, activities and symptoms of a person situated in love of Godhead.” CC.Mad.23.39. Yet the process of Bhakti-yoga entails we become yogis of the highest order – sa me yuktatamo matah – the highest of all, BG.6.47. So what is this understanding? Can we witness any ‘mystical’ happenings?

Every day of a disciple’s life is witness to an ongoing mystical process. For instance, quite often one’s spiritual master is away on preaching duties, perhaps half a planet away. In other cases, the Guru has departed from this mortal world for Goloka Vrndavana or to assist his spiritual master in further sankirtana activities elsewhere. When a sincere disciple prays to the Guru during Guru-puja, or silently seeks his blessings before undertaking any activity like chanting japa and so on, he invokes the Guru’s presence, which is not limited by time or space. Did Srila Prabhupada not say that he always felt the presence of his Guru Maharaja? This mystical calling is borne by Krsna who is Yogesvara, and as the Supreme Guru, is unceasingly maintaining the background of the Guru/disciple relationship – as in eternity. He bridges any apparent divide. Lord Chaitanya said to the brahmana Kurma; “If you follow this instruction [to preach], your materialistic life at home, will not obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose my company.” Furthermore, when glorifying the Guru, a disciple sings – jamne jamne prabhu sei – that you are my Lord and Master birth after birth, and – Divya jnana hrde prokasito – the Guru fills the heart with transcendental knowledge. Evidently, the simple act of following is the key to understanding. Did Srila Prabhupada relate his mystical experiences in his writings? He certainly did.

The famous verse from Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.38. – Yasya deve para bhaktir….is translated as “Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” The interesting word here is, ‘automatically.’ The word – prakasante – means, are revealed, or revelation. Why does Srila Prabhupada put the word – automatically when it appears there is no need to do so? because it is a product of vijnana. Srila Prabhupada has been blessed with many ‘mystical’experiences which come of their own accord. This can be substantiated by looking at the purport to BG.9.2. This important verse, “This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed” highlights the workings of automatic revelation. Pratyaksa – means, by direct experience, and avagamam – means, understood. Srila Prabhupada describes the previous life of Sri Narada Muni. He quotes Vedanta Sutra – 3.2.26 – prakasas ca karmany abhyasat – with the formal ‘Devotional service is so potent that simply by engaging in the activities of devotional service one becomes enlightened without a doubt.” He then explains how the disqualification as a young child was overcome by the mother’s service to the great sages, and the eating of very potent prasadam, enabled the boy to become enlightened. Srila Prabhupada now writes his vijnana on the same Vedanta Sutra verse – ‘Therefore, as described in the Vedanta Sutra, prakasas ca karmany abhyasat: if one is simply engaged in the acts of devotional service, everything is revealed to him automatically, and he can understand.’ The consistent use of the word automatically means mystical revelation. Of course, pratyaksa is not a valid means of acquiring knowledge, but it is synonymous with what Srila Jiva Goswami calls – vaidusya pratyaksa – which means mystical revelation, and is infallible.

As we advance in spiritual life, little glimpses of Absolute Truth are revealed to us. Krsna enables us to understand Him by lessening the mystery, by allowing us to – enter into the mystery of My understanding – BG.11.54. Other than what Krsna says about Himself in Bhagavad-Gita, not much is revealed about Him.

He tells everyone to fully surrender, because His omniscience knew that after His departure from this world, the Srimad Bhagavatam would – puranarko ‘dhunoditah – the Srimad Bhagavatam will be as brilliant as the sun, arising just after His departure, SB.1.3.43, and which – puranam brahma-sammitam – be the incarnation of Himself, SB.1.3.40, in which we can learn all we need about the personal attributes of Krsna.

The most potent way of receiving revelation, aside from associating with pure devotees, is to chant. In science, in quantum physics to be precise, where at any given time, sub-atomic particles appear causelessly out of a quantum vacuum, usually to be negated by their anti-matter counterparts. So out from the quantum fullness of the holy name can come gifts of revelation and understanding. It does not require any material qualification to benefit at all. If Srila Gaura Kishora dasa Babaji was illiterate, so how was he able to, when necessary, preach such high profound Krsna conscious philosophy? He was blessed with understanding which supersedes all mundane or even average spiritual knowledge.

Though we are certainly not mystic yogis of any kind, the simple act of following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas will guarantee we experience more than any other practitioner can ever imagine. How? because those great souls have – dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhyam – the solid truth of religious principles is hidden the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person, Mahabharata, Vana Parva 313.117, and at any time they choose, they can fill our own hearts with mystical understanding should they feel inclined, and such knowledge would be – the mature fruit of all mysticism – BG.4.38. How they do so from wherever they may be is inconceivable, but of course, threading a camel through an eye of a needle is as easy as a mystical understanding of this fact, is a mystical reality!

Your servant, Kesava Krsna dasa.

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From Back to Godhead

Because many factors influence the way we see the world, too much faith in our own perspective can be materially and spiritually dangerous.

My husband and I were counseling a couple and making progress, but then we reached an impasse. The husband insisted that his perceptions of the couple’s interactions were reality and anything different from those perceptions was false or illusory. In other words, his wife’s view was wrong if it differed from his. My husband and I did our best to help him broaden his perspective. We hoped he could entertain the possibility of seeing things differently. But he wouldn’t budge from his position, and he ended the couple’s counseling.

After this incident I reflected on a heated debate I’d had with a friend of mine before I became a devotee. He insisted that there was no absolute reality, only our individual subjective reality, while my stance was that there was an absolute reality-we just couldn’t perceive it. He insisted that my position was just my subjective reality. We both walked away frustrated and angry.

Later, after becoming a devotee, I discovered that according to the Vedic teachings my assertions were right. But now I could understand something about the nature of that absolute reality: It is Krishna. Everything we see in this world comes from one of Krishna’s many energies. But His illusory energy (maya) keeps us from perceiving things properly. Just as a magician can make us think we’re seeing something that’s not there, Krishna uses illusion to create our supposed reality.

One might wonder why God would want to prevent us from seeing the truth? Actually, that isn’t His desire, but rather He is supporting our own desire to enjoy separately from Him. When we are totally disconnected from our Lord, we cannot perceive reality. Instead, we believe in an illusory “reality,” like people under the spell of a stage hypnotist who think they’re a duck or a dog. In fact, by maya’s influence the soul in the material world does think it is a duck or a dog or a man or a woman. But that relative reality is temporary and will vanish at death. Only the eternal soul endures.
Dhruva Overcomes Illusion

Sometimes even great devotees become bewildered by the illusions of the material energy. Dhruva Maharaja was a powerful king and devotee of the Lord. Yet when avenging his brother’s death, Dhruva was bewildered by the magical feats of his opponents, the Yakshas, who were skilled at creating wonderful illusions. Dhruva believed he was in the midst of an environmental holocaust. He saw trunks of bodies raining down from the sky along with dangerous weapons and great boulders. He saw a tsunami and an array of wild animals coming to devour him.

Divine energy protects great devotees. For Dhruva, that divine energy came in the form of merciful sages who arrived to instruct him on how to dispel the illusion. Following their instructions, Dhruva remembered Krishna and His holy names and was able to see through the illusions created by the Yakshas. This same divine shelter is available to all of us. When we chant Hare Krishna, the illusion of the material realm begins to lift. Krishna sends us help in the form of spiritual guides to teach us how to dispel the material illusions and reawaken our dormant love for God. Then we become perfectly situated in the absolute reality.
Brain Filter

The husband we were counseling was sure there was an absolute reality, but he mistakenly believed he could perceive it through imperfect senses. Science tells us that at every moment we are bombarded with over six million bits of information that come streaming in through our senses. Scientists postulate that the reticular activating system located at the base of the brain acts as a gatekeeper to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed by this overload of information. This filtering system allows information into our conscious awareness based on our experiences and our beliefs about ourselves.

In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains to his friend and disciple Arjuna that He is the source of all remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness. Krishna, as the Supersoul within our heart, sanctions what information comes into our conscious awareness. According to our desires, Krishna strengthens our faith in certain perceptions or ideals so as to support a particular experience within the material realm.

While modern science and ancient wisdom aren’t always in harmony, scientific explanations can sometimes be useful in making philosophical points. For example, we might say that our prarabdha (manifest) karma appears through the medium of chromosomes or DNA. Similarly, the Supersoul may, through the medium of the reticular system, filter out information contrary to our beliefs. For example, if people tell me I’m a nice person, I might reject their perceptions and think they want to sell me something or manipulate me in some way.

Besides this information filter in the brain, our senses also make mistakes. We might see a rope and think it is a snake. And depending on how invested we are in convincing others about what we think, we might cheat or lie about our data. An experimenter’s desire for a particular outcome often contaminates scientific experiments.

Until we have purified our consciousness, our conditioned nature will influence our thoughts and our ability to understand even absolute knowledge descending from pure sources. For instance, if because of my upbringing I believe that God is vindictive and angry, then I will filter out information that shows how loving and merciful He is to His devotees. So it is prudent to question our own perception of reality and stay open to input from others, especially spiritually advanced persons.
Stages of Thinking

Another aspect of our psychological makeup that affects our ability to perceive absolute reality is our cognitive development, or the way our thought processes have grown. William Perry, a developmental psychologist, describes stages of cognitive development I feel can be useful to devotees in distinguishing between fanaticism and enlightenment. The first stage is black-and-white thinking, where we can’t entertain viewpoints different from our own and our thinking is rigid and dogmatic. Some of us don’t move beyond this stage; the rest progress to relativistic thinking and hear and consider different perspectives and opinions. Relativistic thinking helps people start and keep intimate relationships. The final stage, which Perry says is rarely achieved, is commitment. A person on this stage has fixed beliefs but tolerates others’ perceptions. According to Perry’s research, only a select few persons of highly developed spiritual consciousness could be classified in this final stage.

At first glance the black-and-white thinker and the committed thinker may look alike: They’re both convinced of their beliefs, unlike the relativistic thinker (stage two). But the committed thinker will oblige and accept others, whereas the black-and-white thinker is often fanatical and unbending. Terrorists are stuck in stage one and create havoc in the world by thinking their subjective reality is the only truth. Their mission is to convert others to their heinous way of thinking. As recent history has shown, this kind of sectarian thinking in the guise of religion is extremely dangerous.
Dangers of Sectarianism

Srila Prabhupada, a superlative committed Vaishnava, stressed many times that his society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was nonsectarian. He wasn’t invested in converting people from one religion to another; he wanted to help people develop love for God. Prabhupada’s predecessor Bhaktivinoda Thakura listed sectarianism as one of the main obstacles that impede spiritual progress, because it creates problems in finding a guru and associating with sincere devotees who may be outside one’s tightly defined group.

In accepting the Absolute Truth, we have to remember that we live in a relative world and our perceptions and experiences are subjective. If I feel cold and someone else feels hot, is it hot or cold? To say “I feel cold” expresses my subjective reality, but to say “It is cold” imposes my subjective reality on others. Prabhupada teaches us not to rely upon our subjective reality to understand truth. He uses the example of a group of blind men trying to figure out what an elephant is by touching it. One man, feeling the trunk, declares the creature to be a great snake. Another, putting his arms around a leg, surmises the elephant to be a huge pillar. The limited, subjective perception of each man in the group fails to correctly identify the elephant. To arrive at the truth, they need help from a man with sight.

Relativity will influence us until our conditioned nature is purified. Therefore, Prabhupada teaches us to cultivate a humble attitude and serve others, especially advanced souls. Only by their mercy can we understand the realm of the Absolute. When we stop asserting our impressions and perceptions as the absolute standard and accept the experiences of others, we become more loving.

This kind of thinking will help increase our effectiveness in spreading the teachings of Vaishnavism, as well as in sustaining relationships with other Vaishnavas, including our spouses. Black-and-white thinking makes for a rocky marriage and a high probability of divorce. If we see ourselves entrenched in asserting absolutes from our relative perspective, we should pray to progress beyond this stage of thinking.

Moving beyond black-and-white thinking will help us advance spiritually. Then one day we will enter the absolute reality, where our subjective perceptions are perfect. At that stage, no longer contaminated by the material energy, we come under the influence of Krishna’s internal energy and view the spiritual reality through our particular relationship with Krishna. The cowherd boys see Krishna as their best friend, the elder cowherds see Him as their son, and the young cowherd girls see Him as their lover. They all feel that their position is the best, and subjectively they are all correct.

By sincerity, service, and mercy we can transcend material existence and enter a world devoid of tension between the subjective and the absolute realities. In the material word, the relative and the absolute compete for supremacy and can destroy relationships. In the spiritual world, the relative and the absolute work together to accentuate loving relationships. Once going there, we will never have to come back to a world of relativity where “it’s my way or the highway.”


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The King of Seasons

jaya jaya sundara nanda-kumāra

“O handsome son of Nanda, O Lord who enjoys springtime pastimes in the fragrant forest of Vrndavana, all glories to You! All glories to You!”
– Srila Rupa Goswami
Vasanta Pancami usually takes place during the month of January or February, and marks the first official day of spring. The spring season signifies new life and joy, and Mother Nature shares that jubilation in the form of blossoming flowers and flourishing trees. It is indeed a very beautiful time of the year. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘ham ṛtūnāṁ kusumākaraḥ: “…and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.”
Traditionally in Vrndavan, Vasanta Pancami is celebrated very wonderfully. All the deities are dressed and decorated in beautiful yellow cloth and elaborately decorated, and everyone dresses in various shades of yellow or green.
In the Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, Sri Sri Radha Madhava are offered a new dress designed by the community devotees and decorated with many flowers. Everything, from the cloth to the jewellery to the decorations and even the complexion of Srimati Radharani and the gopis, is yellow.
The white marble of the gopis’ forms is given a golden hue using a specially prepared mixture of saffron powder and water, personally prepared by His Grace Jananivas Prabhu. Along with a small group of pujaris, Jananivas Prabhu carefully applies the fragrant pigmented mixture on the gopis’ bodies with a soft cloth.
The deities look so breathtakingly beautiful in Their new flower-bedecked outfits, which perfectly complement Their golden complexions, and the heavenly aroma from the bodies of Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis permeates the temple hall, and amplifies the sweetness and ecstasy of the devotees.
The Vasanta season is celebrated as the best of seasons, not only because it represents life and joy, but because it is the most fortunate of all the seasons, as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the Vasanta season.

“King Vasanta (the personification of the spring season) heard that Lord Gauranga would appear in the flower bearing spring, and he became jubilant and ecstatic and began to dance with his five brothers (who represent the other five seasons).”
– Sri Navadvipa Dham – A Pilgrim’s Guide


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Sri Vishnupriya Devi


Katha-Kirtan on Sri Vishnupriya-devi
(Gour Govinda Swami sings a song of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura)

jaya jaya guru gosani-sri-carana sara
yaha ha-ite haba para e bhava-samsara

“All glories to the glorious feet of the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead that enable us to cross to the other side of the ocean of birth and death!”

manera anande bala hari bhaja vrndavana
sri-guru vainnava paya majaiya mana

“With a joyful heart please chant, ‘Hari!’ Please worship Vrndavana. Plunge your heart into meditation on our spiritual master and the Vainnavas.
jaya rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha
sri-jiva gopala bhatta dasa raghunatha

All glories to Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

ei chaya gosanira karama carana vandana
yaha haite vighna-nasa abhinta purana

“Please bow down before the feet of these six Gosvamis. Their feet will destroy obstacles and fulfil desires.”

jaya rasa-nagari jaya nanda-lala
jaya jaya madana-mohana sri-gopala

“All glories to Sri Radha, the heroine of nectar pastimes! Glory to Sri Krnna, who is Nanda’s son! All glories, all glories to the cowherd boy Krnna, who is more enchanting than Kamadeva!”

jaya saci-suta gauranga-sundara
jaya nityananda padmavatira konara

“All glories to handsome Lord Gauranga-sundara, who is Saci’s son! All Glories to Lord Nityananda, who is Padmavati’s son!”

jaya jaya sita-natha advaita gosani
yahara karuna-bale gora-guna gai

“All glories, all glories to Lord Advaita Gosani, who is Sita’s husband! By the power of His mercy I chant Lord Gaura’s glories.”

jaya jaya srivasa jaya gadadhara
jaya svarupa ramananda premera sagara

“All glories, all glories to Srivasa! All glories to Gadadhara! All glories to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, who are like oceans of ecstatic spiritual love!”

jaya jaya sanatana jaya sri-rupa
jaya jaya raghunatha pranera svarupa

“All glories to Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami! All glories to Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, who is Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s very life!”

jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda daya kara more
sabara carana-dhuli dhari nija sire

“All glories to Lord Gaura’s devotees! O devotees, please be merciful to me. I take the dust of all your feet. I place that dust upon my head.”

jaya jaya nilacala-candra jagannatha
mo papire daya kari kara atma-satha

“All glories, all glories to Lord Jagannatha, the moon of Nilacala! O Lord, please be kind and accept this sinner as one of Your personal associates.”
jaya jaya gopala deva bhakata-vatsala
nava ghana jini tanu parama ujjvala

“All glories, all glories to Lord Gopala, who loves the devotees, and whose glorious form is more splendid than new monsoon clouds!”

jaya radhe jaya krnna jaya vrndavana
jaya jaya nilacala nala prabhu yama
sri rasa-nagari jaya nanda-lala
jaya jaya mohana sri-madana-gopala

hare krnna hare krnna krnna krnna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

nitai-gaura haribol ! haribol !haribol ! haribol !
nitai-gaura haribol ! haribol !haribol ! haribol 
Sri Vishnupriya-devi avirbhava-tithi ki jaya!
Samaveta bhakta vrnda ki jaya!
Gaur premanandi ! haribol !

tasmai maha-prema-rasa-pradaya
caitanya-candraya namo namas te

“O Lord Caitanyacandra, whose form is full of blissful pastimes, whose complexion is as splendid as gold, and who gives in charity the most glorious mellow of pure love for Lord Krnna, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.” (Caitanya Candramrta 11)

Today is Vasanta-pancami [the fifth day of the light lunar quarter of Magha, January-February], Krnna’s vasanta–rasa, rasa-rasotsava also begins from this day. It is the appearance day of Sri Sri Vishnupriya-devi, and also the appearance day of Sri Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami. It is a very, very auspicious day today.

So I had the desire to do some katha-kirtan on Vishnupriya-devi. Have patience, sit down quietly with concentrated attention, and hear the nectarine katha of Vishnupriya-devi.

Bhagavan’s Three saktis

Vishnupriya Thakurani was the second wife of Gaurasundara. His first wife was Lakshmipriya. When Lakshmipriya passed away Mahaprabhu married Vishnupriya.

Bhagavan has three saktis, potencies: sri, bhu, nila. It is said that Vishnupriya is Bhu-sakti. Bhu-sakti was Satyabhama in krnna–lila. It is said that bhu-sakti is generally the creative sakti, energy, jagat-srnti-sakti.

sri-sakti is Yogamaya. Raga-bhakti, Rukmini all the wives of Krnna, Lakshmi and especially Radharani come under this sri-sakti and sri-sakti is said to be jagat palana–sakti, the maintaining potency of the whole world.

Yuthesvari Syamala and her group come under nila-sakti. In nila-sakti there are yuthesvaris. Amongst Radha’s sakhis, there are many groups, which are called yutha. Each yutha has one head, called yuthesvari. One yuthesvari is syamala. So Nila-sakti is Syamala and the sakhis in that group, yutha, come under nila-sakti.

Two saktis beside Lord Jagannatha

We find that bhu-sakti and sri-sakti are on the two sides of Lord Jagannatha. Sometimes the question is raised, “Why is it so? Why are there two saktis, bhu-sakti and sri-sakti, beside Lord Jagannatha? In answer we might say that Lord Jagannatha in that way is presenting Himself as the Creator and the Maintainer of the whole world, the cosmic manifestation. Therefore two saktis are there. This is tattva, tattva–vicara.

Vishnupriya is said to be Bhu-sakti, and it is said that She was Satyabhama in krnna–lila; but it is also said that Jagadananda Pandit was Satyabhama in krnna–lila. How is this possible? Jagadananda Pandit is Satyabhama and Vishnupriya is also Satyabhama? Your material mind cannot conceive it. It is not a question of your material logic and argument that you can understand it; this is inconceivable, it is a spiritual topic and it is transcendental. Don’t exhaust your material mind on it. Just accept it; that is all. How can you understand this through your material logic and argument? Give that up, baba! Just accept the siddhanta, what the acaryas have said. Do not exhaust your material brain on it; that is an unnecessary waste of energy. Don’t do it.

Sanatana Misra’s Daughter

In Navadvipa-dhama, there was a very dear vinnu–bhakta brahmana named Sanatana Misra. He was also known as Raja Pandita, because he was a pandita in the king’s court; and he was Satrajita in Dvaraka. Satrajita’s daughter is Satyabhama. It is said that Sanatana Misra was always engaged in worshiping Lord Vishnu. As a result, he obtained this daughter, Vishnupriya, who was parama sundari, supremely beautiful. From her very childhood, Vishnupriya was taking bath three times a day in the Ganges, and was offering puja, worship, to the vigraha and tulasi. She was engaged in many varieties of puja.

When she would see Sacimata on the bank of the Ganges, she would pay very humbly dandavat pranama to Sacimata. Sacimata would bless her, “Alright, may You have a very good husband.” That was Sacimata’s blessing, but in her mind Sacimata was thinking that it would be good if this girl would become her daughter-in-law.

Mahaprabhu Was Very Devoted to His Mother

After Gaurasundara’s first wife Lakshmipriya passed away, Sacimata became very much aggrieved. Therefore she proposed this second marriage to Gaurasundara. Sriman Mahaprabhu was very much devoted to His mother. Whatever Sacimata said, He would do. He did not want to give any unhappiness or distress to His mother. Thus He agreed, “Alright I will have a second marriage; I will accept another wife.”

The Mediator Kasinatha Pandita

Then Sacimata called for Kasinatha Pandita, who was known as a ghataka. Ghataka means a mediator, who performs these marriage negotiations. When the question of marriage comes, there should be a mediator. One should not approach directly. Do not commit such mistake. This is the process: one mediator should go to the bride’s side then to the bridegroom’s side, and talk. A negotiation will take place, and everything will be settled. That is the process.

Thus this Kasinatha Pandita, who was a famous mediator in marriage affairs in Navadvipa-dhama, was called for and he came. Sacimata said, “I called you to mediate the marriage of Nimai Pandita, my son.” When the question of who the bride could be arose, Sacimata said, “I have been thinking of Sanatana Misra’s daughter, Vishnupriya.” When Kasinatha Pandita heard this, he became very pleased and said, “Thakurani, I was just going to say the same thing, and you said it!” Then Sacimata said, “We are very poor. Will Sanatana Misra be willing to give his daughter to Nimai? You go and talk with him. Make some negotiations.” Kasinath Pandit said, “Thakurani, your son Nimai Pandita is very famous in Nadia, Navadvipa. Why would Sanatana Misra be unwilling to give his daughter to Nimai? I don’t think he will disagree. To whom else will he give Her? He must give Her to your son Nimai.”

Kasinatha Pandita went to Sanatana Misra’s house. Sanatana Misra and his wife were both in anxiety because their daughter had already attained marriageable age. That is the parent’s anxiety. Such grown up girl should not be kept in her father’s house. Therefore they were in anxiety. They were pondering over it, “What to do? Who is a befitting bridegroom for our daughter?” They were thinking that Nimai Pandita was the only befitting bridegroom in Nadia. “His qualities, His beauty, and everything else are incomparable. If we have acquired some sukrti, then it will take place.” They were thinking in this way and they were praying to the Lord, “O Lord Hari, if we have acquired some sukrti, then we’ll be able to give our daughter to Nimai Pandita.”

Just at that time, the ghataka Kasinatha Pandita arrived. Sanatana Misra became very happy, gave him a nice seat, some sweet water to drink and asked, “It is my good fortune that you have come. Why have you come?” Kasinatha Pandita smilingly said,

visvambhara-panditere tomara duhita
dana kara’—e sambandha ucita sarvatha
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda15.57
This is mentioned in Caitanya-bhagavata, “I have come for the marriage proposal of Visvambhara Pandita, Nimai Pandita and your daughter Vishnupriya. Nimai Pandita is the most befitting bridegroom for your daughter. Your daughter is very beautiful, and maha-sati, very chaste. Vishnupriya and Nimai Pandita are as suitable a match as Krnna and Rukmini were!”

When Sanatana Misra and his wife heard this, they became very, very joyful. They were very thankful to Bhagavan Lord Hari because He had answered their prayers. Sanatana Misra said, “Only if we are very fortunate, we can get a son-in-law like Nimai Pandita.” All their relatives and family members became very happy. Then everything else was discussed: how the marriage would take place, what kind of arrangements needed to be made, and what was needed. 

Then Kasinath Pandita went to Sacimata and said, “Everything is already settled. They are very happy.” Sacimata said, “We are very poor. No one is there for us, only Lord Hari.”

Then all over Nadia the message spread that Nimai Pandit was going to marry. Nimai Pandita was a teacher. He was teaching grammar, rhetoric, alankara, vyakharana, nyaya sastras. So all His students said, “Alright! We will help arrange Pandita’s marriage to the best of our capability.” Buddhimanta Khan, who was a very rich man, said, “I will bear the whole expense of this marriage ceremony.” Mukunda, a friend who was also present, said, “Please give me some of the burden of the expenses. We will arrange a very nice and pompous ceremony like the marriage of a prince.” Is there any difficulty in arranging Bhagavan’s marriage?

An Ocean of Happiness

The whole of Navadvipa was blissful. On adhi-vasa, the day before the marriage, many Vainnavas, brahmanas and friends came. There were nice decorations. It was a pompous ceremony, with musicians playing musical instruments and drummers playing many varieties of drums. aratika, puja, raja-bhoga, was all going on. Women who are sarvanari brahmanis, who have husbands, not widows, generally come to these functions. Hundreds of such sarvanari brahmanis came. Out of joy, they do this ulu-dhvani, [a sound Bengali women make while vibrating their tongues], “Hulahuli!” The men say, “Haribol!” and the women say, “Hulahuli!” This is a custom, a Vedic custom. Because of the marriage of Bhagavan, an ocean of happiness, sukha sindhu, was swelling up. Gaurasundara Himself individually put candana on the forehead and gave one mala to each of the many brahmanas and Vainnavas who had come. The whole of Nadiya Puri was drowning in an ocean of happiness, sukha-sindhu.

All these preparations were done on the day before the marriage. On the day of the marriage itself, Gaurasundara dressed as a bridegroom. After getting dressed, He went first to pay obeisance to His mother, Sacimata. Then He paid obeisances to all guru-janas, superior persons. Then He went into a nicely decorated palanquin. They took Him to the bank of Ganges. He got down from the palanquin and paid obeisances to Mother Ganges. At that time, varieties of musical instruments were being played. Many men and women were in the marriage procession. The time of the day was go-dhuli lagna, dusk. Gaurasundara and all the persons following vivaha-yatri, the marriage ceremony, then went to Sanatana Misra’s house at dusk.

Sanatana Misra and his wife came forward and gave their asirbad, blessings, to their son-in-law, Gaurasundara. The ladies decorated Vishnupriya: a nice sari, nice ornaments, a flower garland, everything looked nice. There was an elevated pandal, or bedi, where the marriage ceremony was to take place. The brahmanas were uttering veda-mantras. Then the ladies brought Vishnupriya, who is Mahalakshmi, to that bedi where Her eternal Husband Gaura-Narayana was. Vishnupriya circumambulated Gaura-Narayana seven times, and then paid Her obeisances at His lotus feet. Gaurasundara made Her sit on His left side. After that They exchanged malas, flower garlands.

age laknmi jagan-mata prabhura carane
mala diya karilena atma-samarpane
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.176

First Lakshmipriya gave a mala to Gaura-Narayana, paid obeisances, then: prabhu inat hasiya laknmira galaya mala dilena tuliya, (Cb adi 15.177) Gauracandra smilingly put a mala around the neck of Lakshmipriya.
tabe laknmi narayane punpa-phelapheli
karite lagila hai maha-kutuhali
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.178
This is described in Caitanya-bhavagata. Then they played, throwing flowers at each other. Gaura-Narayana and Lakshmipriya were playing this nice play. You might have played it? No? There are no plays like this in the Western countries. There it is all dry, isn’t it? Only maya is there. The ugly witch maya is there, and a ghost. A witch and a ghost are married, so no such function is there.

Vaikunthananda Descended that Day

Then the marriage ceremony took place. Sanatana Misra gave much dowry to Gaurasundara, his son-in-law, and he offered Him his daughter in charity, kanya-dana, like Janakaraja, King Janaka who gave his daughter Sita to Lord Rama, or like King Bhinmaka who gave his daughter Rukmini to Krnna.

So, in the house of Sanatana Misra, there was vaikunthananda, the ananda available in Vaikuntha. That ananda descended on that day. With great pomp and ceremony this took place. Innumerable men, women, boys, and girls came to see Gaura-Narayana, Lakshmi-Narayana, and their lives were successful. All the family members, friends, kith and kin of Sanatana Misra became very, very happy. 

Gaurasundara Takes Vishnupriya to His House

In the afternoon of the following day, Gaurasundara took His newly wedded wife Vishnupriya to His own house. They went in a nicely decorated palanquin accompanied by a variety of sounds: bugles, drums, and other musical instruments. All the men and women of Nadia saw the beautiful form of Lakshmi-Narayana and they were all talking among themselves how very, very fortunate, bhagyavati, this girl was. “How many lives has she served the goddess Kamala, Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and Parvati; how many lives to become so fortunate?”

Keha bale, — “ei hena bujhi hara-gauri (Cb adi 15.206), some said, “I think They are Siva and Parvati.” Others said, keha bale, — “hena bujhi kamala sri-hari” (Cb adi 15.206), “I think They are Hari and Kamala.” Keha bale, — “ei dui kamadeva-rati (Cb adi 15.207). Some said, “In my opinion it’s Cupid and his wife Ratidevi.” Keha bale, — “indra-saci laya mora mati”(Cb adi 15.207), someone else said, “I think it’s Indra and Saci.” Keha bale, — “hena bujhi ramacandra-sita”(Cb adi 15.208), some said, “I think it’s Ramacandra and Sita.” Ei-mata bale yata sukrti-vanita (Cb adi 15.208), all the women were talking like that, among themselves.

At an auspicious moment, Gaurasundara arrived with His newly wedded wife Vishnupriya at the house. Sacimata with many sarvanari brahmanis, wedded women, went outside and welcomed putra-vadhu, the son and daughter-in-law. Nava dhanapati, the newly wedded couple alighted from the palanquin. They first paid Their obeisances to Sacimata and then to all Their superiors, gurujanas.

grhe asi’ vasilena laknmi-narayana
jaya-dhvani-maya haila sakala bhuvana
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.214

“Lakshmi-Narayana entered into the house and sat together. All said, ‘Jaya! Jaya! Jaya!’ and glorified them.”

ki ananda haila, se akathya-kathana
se mahima kon jane karibe varnana?
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.215

“There was such ananda, such tumultuous pleasure and such joyful sounds! No one can describe it.”

Fortunate to See the Marriage of Bhagavan

yanhara murtira vibha dekhile nayane
papa-mukta hai’ yaya vaikuntha-bhuvane
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.216
“If someone is so fortunate to see the marriage of Bhagavan, Lakshmi-Narayana, he will immediately be free from all sinful reactions and directly go to Vaikuntha.”

se prabhura vibha loka dekhaye saknat
teni ta’na nama—’dayamaya’ ‘dinanatha’
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 15.217

The people of Nadia all saw it. They were so fortunate. One of the names of the Lord is Dinanatha. He is the Lord of the dinas, akincana. Even yogis, undergoing very strict severe penance, cannot have the fortune to see this marriage festival of Bhagavan, Lakshmi-Narayana, but the navadvipa-vasis, the inhabitants of Navadvipa, including the pamaras and patitas, the fallen and wretched persons, all saw it. They were very fortunate. Doya-moya bhagavan, He is so merciful! He manifests such lilas and He gives darsana. Therefore one of His names is Dinanatha. These descriptions are all according to Caitanya-bhagavata. Vrndavana dasa Thakura has not given more than these descriptions.
What Has Happened to Nimai?

Then Mahaprabhu went to Gaya-dhama to offer oblations for His deceased father, Jagannath Misra. When Mahaprabhu came back from Gaya, He was completely changed. He was always thinking of Krnna, crying for Krnna, ecstatic, and forgetting His own existence. He was like a mad man. When Sacimata saw Him, she thought, “What has happened to Nimai? Has He been affected by some fatal disease? What has happened to Him?” Desiring for all auspiciousness, Sacimata offered puja, worship, to Ganga Mata, Mother Ganges, and Vishnu. Sacimata brought Vishnupriya and made her sit beside Gaura-Narayana, “Sit here, sit here.” but Mahaprabhu was not looking at Her. Gaura-Narayana was looking the other way, He was not looking at Her. He was always saying, “OKrnna,Krnna, he krnna!” Mahaprabhu was shedding tears, crying, crying and crying. He was always in this ecstatic mood.
Then Sacimata offered bhoga to their deities, Rama and Krnna, Narayana. Bringing that bhoga-tali, plate, she would place it before Gaura-Narayana, and when Sacimata sat down He would eat. Gharera bhitare dekhe laksmi pati-vrata (Cb M 1.191) Vishnupriya was inside the house, just observing everything. She saw how Mahaprabhu was always in such an ecstatic mood, saying “Krnna, Krnna, Krnna!” and crying, crying, shedding tears. Sometimes some of His followers would come and report, “So many pasandis are there in Nadia. They are trying to obstruct your sankirtana.” Hearing this, sometimes Mahaprabhu, Caitanya-simha, would roar like a lion, “I will kill them! I will kill them! I will kill them!” He roared like a lion, and threatened to kill them. Hunkara, roaring like Caitanya-simha. Sacimata could not understand anything, “What is that? What has happened to Nimai?” She would tell Vishnupriya, “Go and sit with Him! Go, sit with Him!” Lakshmire dekhiya knane maribare yaya (Cb M 2.87). When Vishnupriya was coming to sit, Mahaprabhu was going to beat Her, “Get out!” Yes, Mahaprabhu was going to beat her, drive Her out, “Get out!” He was completely forgetful of His existence, therefore He was going to beat Her. When He came to His senses, He felt ashamed and begged for excuse, “Please excuse Me, please excuse Me.”
Sacimata’s Dream

One-day Sacimata and Gaurasundara were sitting in the room and talking among themselves. Vishnupriya was standing just behind the door and could hear everything. Sacimata said, “I had a dream last night. I saw You and Nityananda playing with the Deities, Rama and Krnna, in our house. You were also eating, and Nityananda was snatching a morsel of food from Your mouth, and You were snatching a morsel of food from his mouth. You two were doing this. Sometimes you were also fighting among yourselves. You were engaged in so many varieties of play. I saw this in my dream.”
Gaurasundara said, “Mother, this is a very, very nice and auspicious dream. Don’t tell anyone about it, be silent.” Mahaprabhu continued, “Don’t tell it to anyone, keep it to yourself. Yes, that Rama and Krnna have appeared in our house.” Gaurasundara said, “Yes, for many days I was observing and wondering who was eating all the offered bhoga. I couldn’t understand who was eating it. I had the doubt that your daughter-in-law was eating it. I had that doubt that She would be eating everything, but that doubt is cleared today: that Rama and Krnna were eating everything.” This is fun.

Sacimata said, “O My dear boy, don’t say that. Why are you saying that my daughter-in-law was eating everything? Don’t talk like that, no!” Vishnupriya heard everything and was laughing.
Matri-Vatsala Prabhu
eka-dina nija-grhe prabhu visvambhara
vasi’ ache laknmi-sange parama-sundara

yogaya tambula laknmi parama harine
prabhura anande na janaye ratri-dise
Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya–khanda 11.65-66

One day, both Gaura-Narayana and Vishnupriya were sitting together in the room. Lakshmi was sitting with Narayana, so nice, transcendental and beautiful. Lakshmi was offering some betel nuts, tambula, with much pleasure and Prabhu was very happy. They were completely forgetful of day and night: such transcendental happiness!

yakhana thakaye laknmi-sange visvambhara
sacira cittete haya ananda vistara
Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya–khanda 11.67

When Vishnupriya was with Visvambhara, Sacimata was very happy. Vrndavana dasa Thakura gives all these descriptions in Caitanya-bhagavata. This is nitya-vilasa, the eternal pastimes of Lakshmi-Narayana, Gaura-Narayana in Navadvipa. In Navadvipa dhama, this eternal pastime of Lakshmi-Narayana is going on. Matri-vatsala Prabhu is very affectionate to His mother. He is matri-bhakta, devoted to His mother and always prepared to give happiness to His mother. Sometimes He allows Vishnupriya to sit with Him, to give happiness to His mother.

mayera cittera sukha thakura janiya
laknmira sangete prabhu thakena vasiya
Caitanya-bhagavata Adi–khanda 11.68

“Sometimes He allowed Vishnupriya to sit with Him for this purpose: because then His mother would be happy.”

There was a dramatic performance in Candrasekhara bhavan, and Mahaprabhu played the role of Lakshmi. Sacimata and Vishnupriya both went there to see that drama, ai calilena nija vadhura sahite (Cb M 18.29). After that Mahaprabhu thought about taking sannyasa. Up to this point Vrndavana dasa Thakura mentions the name of Lakshmi and Vishnupriya in his description, but there after he never mentions Vishnupriya any more. In Caitanya-caritamrta, Kaviraja Gosvami has not given such elaborate descriptions because Vrndavana dasa Thakura had already given it very precisely, sanketa, therefore he did not repeat it.

Mahaprabhu Instructs Vishnupriya

The night before Mahaprabhu left home to take sannyasa, He gave some instruction, tattva–upadesa, to Vishnupriya. Locana dasa Thakura has described this in Caitanya-mangala.

jagate yateka dekhe, micha kari’ saba dekha,
satya eka sabe bhagavan
Mahaprabhu said to Vishnupriya, “In this material world everything is mithya, false. The only truth is Bhagavan.

satya ara vainnava, ta-vine yateka saba,
micha kari, karaha geyana

“Bhagavan is satya, He is truth, and another truth is the Vainnava. Except this, everything else is mithya, false.” The instruction was that husband, wife, son, daughter, kith and kin, friends and family members, are all material, they are mithya, false. Ultimately, there is no one. Without the lotus feet of Krnna, there is nothing. The lotus feet of Krnna are the only destination; they are everything for us. Krnna is the husband of everyone, sah vai patih. No one understands this in this material world. Your name is Vishnupriya, which means very dear to Lord Vishnu, therefore engage yourself in vinnu–bhajan and justify your name. Don’t lament, don’t cry and don’t be aggrieved. I tell You this truth; completely absorb your mind at the lotus feet of Krnna.”

Then Vishnupriya said, “You are isvara, You are the Lord. Please remove Your maya from Me, then I will be glad.” Her heart filled with all joyfulness. Mahaprabhu showed Vishnupriya His four handed form. Vishnupriya became amazed to see this, but she was always thinking, “Oh, He is my Husband.” Then Vishnupriya paid obeisances at the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu, and said, “I have one prayer at your lotus feet. I am most degraded, most fallen, and most unfortunate. I have taken birth in this samsara, material world, but You are My only and very dear Husband. I am your maidservant. I was engaged in service at Your lotus feet. What bad fortune has come to Me that you are leaving Me? I am losing this invaluable asset now.”

Then Gaurasundara said to Vishnupriya,
suna devi vinnupriya, e tore kahila hiya,
yakhane je tumi mane kara
ami yatha tatha jai, achiye tomara thani,
satya satya kahilama drda
Caitanya-mangala 38

Mahaprabhu consoled her, “Vishnupriya, I am telling you this from the core of My heart; whenever you think of Me, wherever I may be, I am with You. This is the truth. Three times I am telling You that, ‘What I told You is the truth. What I told You is the truth. What I told You is the truth’.”

Hearing this Vishnupriya said,
krnna-ajnavani suni, vinnupriya mane, guni
svatantra isvara tumi prabhu
nija sukhe kara kaja, ke dibe tahate badha,
pratyuttara na dileka tabhu
“You are svatantra isvara, You are the supremely independent isvara. You act according to Your own happiness and pleasure. Who can create any obstruction to it?”
He acts according to His own pleasure, baba. Completely surrender unto Him! Let Him act for His own pleasure!
After saying this, she said nothing. She was quiet.

Mahaprabhu Leaves Home

Then, in the dead of the night, when Vishnupriya was sound asleep, Mahaprabhu very quietly left the room. He went to the door of Sacimata. Sacimata was sleeping. He paid obeisances at the doorstep to Sacimata and manifested some transcendental opulence as if talking to Sacimata. Although Sacimata was sleeping, He was talking to Sacimata. Sacimata became enchanted. Then He left the house. He swam across the Ganga, and went to the other side of the river to Kesava Bharati.

Vishnupriya Cried Piteously

Vasu Ghosh Thakura has mentioned what happened thereafter. When Vishnupriya awoke at dawn, early in the morning, she stretched her hand just to feel if Mahaprabhu was there, but she found His bed empty; Mahaprabhu was not there.

sunya kate nila hata bhadra kahila mata
vidhi more hoile nila mana

She felt as if a thunderbolt struck her head, “Vidhi! I am so ill-fated! Bad fortune has come to me.”
Karunya koriya kande e saba vande
saci ramanda kase

Then She cried piteously. She was crying, crying, and crying. Her hair was scattered, She was not taking care of it. She went to the doorstep of Sacimata’s house. The pangs of separation were intolerable, Vishnupriya cried and cried piteously.

Locana dasa Thakura has given a description in Caitanya-mangala,

vinnupriya kanda-nate prtivi bidare
pasu-pakni-lata taru e panana jhure
Caitanya-mangala 15

papintha sarira mora prana nahi yaya
bhumite lotana devi kare haya haya
Caitanya-mangala 26

Upon hearing the piteous crying of Vishnupriya, Mother Earth cracked. Pasu pakhi, the birds, beasts, creepers and trees were crying, and blocks of stone were melting. Vishnupriya said, “I am most sinful, papintha. Prana nahi yaya, I am not giving up this body. I am most sinful.” Crying and talking like this, She was rolling on the ground, “Aho, alas, alas, alas, what happened, what happened?”

viraha-anala-svasa bahe anibara
adhara sukhaya-kampa haya kalevara

Viraha-anala, this separation is like intense heat, fire. While breathing heavily, hot breath was coming out Her mouth. Her mouth was drying up and Her whole body was shivering. That is the description in Caitanya-mangala.

How Vishnupriya Lived After That

How did Vishnupriya spend her days after that? Narahari Cakravarti has given a description in Bhakti-ratnakara,

prabhura vicare soina bhumite
krsna …….. sarira
These acute pangs of separation were intolerable. She gave up sleeping: She did not sleep at all. She was lying and rolling on the ground. If by chance, some little sleep would come, She was bhumite sayana, sleeping on the ground. Her body had a golden hue, but because of her rolling on the ground it had become dirty, muddy. It was like when the moon declines during the dark fortnight, day by day. Similarly the hue declined and declined from Her body.
hari-nama sankhya purna……
kori prabhure orpoy
icin matra kore ei vakhyan
keha na …jivan
Bhakti-ratnakara gives the description that She was always chanting:
hare krnna hare krnna krnna krnna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
We are counting harinama with our chanting beads, but She was counting harinama with grains of rice. She had one earthen pot filled with rice, and one empty pot. After each mala: hare krnna hare krnna krnna krnna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare, She would put one grain of rice in the empty pot. Then again She would chant hare krnna hare krnna krnna krnna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare and put another grain of rice in that pot. She was chanting in this way from early in the morning, dawn, to dusk. Whatever rice She accumulated, She would cook. After cooking such small amount of rice, She would offer it to Mahaprabhu, and She would only accept very little, one or two grains, out of that. No one knew how She was surviving.
Vishnupriya Made a Murti
Murari Gupta has written in his Karca, journal,
prakasa-rupena nija-priyayah
samipam asadya nijam hi murtim |
vidhaya tasyam sthita ena krnnah
sa laknmi-rupa ca ninevate prabhum ||8|| (4.14)
Vishnupriya made a murti of Gaura-Narayana, looking how She wanted to see Him, samipam asadya nijam hi murtim. Mahaprabhu had told Her when He was still with Her, sthita ena krnnah, “He is Krnna”. Pointing out His own murti, He said, “He is Krnna, sthita ena krnnah, Krnna is there.”
Sa laknmi-rupa ca ninevate prabhum, according to these words from Mahaprabhu, Vishnupriya is Lakshmi and Mahaprabhu is Krnna. Vishnupriya was offering worship every day.
When Mahaprabhu left home, His servant Isana Thakura took care of Sacimata and Vishnupriya. Vamsivadana Thakura who was very dear to Mahaprabhu also always stayed with Vishnupriya and Sacimata. He received so much krpa, mercy, from Sacimata and Vishnupriya, especially from Vishnupriya Thakurani. Vamsivadana Thakura has written one song, which is Viraha Sangita, a song of separation. The beginning line is ara na heriba sonara kamale nayana khanjana naca.
When Srinivasa Acarya came to Mayapura, Isana Thakura was an old man at that time. He took Srinivasa Acarya to Vishnupriya and introduced him to Her. Vamsivadana Thakura had also showered his mercy on Srinivasa Acarya.

So Vishnupriya Thakurani, as I mentioned already, is Bhu-sakti. Therefore, on this auspicious day of Her holy appearance day, we offer prayers at the lotus feet of Vishnupriya Thakurani. Let her shower Her mercy on us so that we will develop gaura-bhakti and krnna-bhakti and make our life successful.
Vishnupriya Thakurani ki jaya!!!
Gaura-Narayana ki jaya!!!
Gaura-Vishnupriya ki jaya!!!
Samaveta Gaura bhakta vrinda ki jaya
Gaura Premananda!
Devotee 1: … in yoga-pitha one is worshipped as Gaura-Narayana?
Gour Govinda Swami: He is worshiped as Gaura-Vishnupriya.
Devotee 1: even there they put no peacock feather?
Gour Govinda Swami: no, there is no peacock feather.
Devotee 2: He said at Gauranga Nagara
Gour Govinda Swami: Gauranga Nagara use peacock.
Devotee 1: So we have become gauranga-nagaris? (laughter)
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8558817484?profile=RESIZE_584xVasanta Panchami

The festival of Vasant Panchami is celebrated on fifth day of Shukla Paksha of Magh Mas. This is the first day of spring in India (Northern Hemisphere). On this day one should celebrate the coming of spring to Vrndavana by offering Krishna many types of leaves and flowers, and fresh shoots of sprouting grasses. Things that symbolize life and new growth.

On this day Sri Mayapur community devotees decorates the altar of Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Pancha Tattva and Prahlad Narasimhadeva very beautifully with dozens sparkling yellow flowers of different variants ranging from Yellow Roses to Yellow Chandramalika flowers, and Yellow Orchids, to beautiful Yellow Marigold.

Yellow is also the colour of Spring, we can grasp the meaning as soon as the picture of the LORD comes to our mind. HE HIMSELF is the embodiment of Spring, from HIM everything (beauty, fertility, and happiness) springs … so yellow is the most suitable color of the LORD.


As the Spring season is known to be King of all the seasons, we can very nicely see the radiating beauty from Sri Radha Madhava and Their Asta Sakhi as They steal the hearts of many, glowing effulgently on Their magnificent yellow dress specially made for this day. Every year a new clothing is made for this occasion, the opulence of Their new clothing comes not from elaborate embroidery and shining stones but from the delicate beauty of fresh flowers. And are expertly fashioned into different matching jewelry. Their altar, completely covered with arrangements of flowers and creepers, appears as if it is the personification of the spring season. Even the gopis take on the hue of this season: Their white forms are colored with saffron until They glow golden. Amidst this array of vibrant yellow, Madhava’s dark form stands out like a jewel in a golden necklace.

This day is a very special day for Gaudiya Vaisnavas. It is the day of appearance of Vishnupriya devi, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Sri Raghunandan Thakura, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and disappearance day of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. In the morning, HH Bhakti Vighna Vinasa Narasimha swami gave a very beautiful Bhagavatam class, He spoke on the different activities of the today.

While speaking about Raghunandan, Maharaj mentioned a sweet Lila about Raghunandan thakur on how he Fed the Lord just by following the instruction given by his father Mukunda. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called Mukunda after this incident and asked Mukunda “now tell me, are you the father of Raghunanda or his son?” Mukunda replied saying I am the son of Raghunanda… Hearing this Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear this. “One who gives or brings Krishna into ones Life is considered to be a father”.

At Koladvip, Dhameswara Mahaprabhu temple, traditionally, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu is dressed in Sari, in the mood of Vishnupriya devi and it is one of the special darshan at Koladvipa.

Watch Class on:

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