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Today is the appearance day of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and many other acharyas and associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was born in a very aristocratic family in Bengal. His father and uncle, Govardhana and Hiranya Mazumdar, were wealthy landlords, or zamindars; they were almost like kings in opulence. But although Raghunatha dasa was their only heir, he had no attraction for material opulence and enjoyment.

The Mazumdars’ family priest was Yadunandana Acharya, a disciple of Advaita Acharya. From the time Raghunatha dasa was a small boy, Yadunandana Acharya and Balarama Acharya, another friend of the Mazumdar family, would call him to sit on their laps. They would instruct him to chant Hare Krishna and tell him about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So from a very young age Raghunatha dasa developed the desire to join Sri Chaitanya. Namacharya Haridasa Thakura also visited Raghunatha dasa’s family, and he too was merciful to Raghunatha dasa.

One day Raghunatha dasa left home and went to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. “I want to join You,” he told the Lord. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “No. Don’t act like a crazy fellow. You should return home and be a good son, an expert businessman, and a proper husband, and then, when the time comes, the Lord Himself will arrange for you to become free from the bondage of family life.”

Lord Chaitanya used the term markata-vairagya. Markata means “monkey,” and vairagya means “renunciation.” Monkeys appear to be very renounced, because they live in the jungle, have no clothes or possessions, and eat only fruits and berries. But each monkey has two dozen girlfriends. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was instructing Raghunatha dasa, “Don’t be a monkey renunciant, making a show of renunciation when you still have material desires. Return home and act outwardly as an ordinary young man. And inwardly, develop your Krishna consciousness. Be detached internally and perform your external duties.”

So, on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order Raghunatha dasa returned home. But within his heart he wanted to join Mahaprabhu. Raghunatha dasa’s parents were very worried that Raghunatha dasa, their only son, might leave home. So they kept guards at the gate to make sure he did not run away. One day Raghunatha dasa got the idea to meet Nityananda Prabhu at Panihati. Once there, being extremely humble, he offered his obeisances from a distance. Lord Nityananda, being very merciful and humorous, said to Raghunatha, “You are just like a thief, staying at a distance. But now that I have captured you, I will punish you. You must make a festival for My associates and Me and feed us all chipped rice, yogurt, bananas, and milk.”

Raghunatha dasa bought all the cida (chipped rice), dadhi (yogurt), dugdha (milk), and fruits and sweets that were available in the market. Preparations were made using chipped rice, yogurt, milk, sugar, and bananas, and there were mangoes, sweets, and other items. Nityananda Prabhu and all the other devotees were very pleased.

When merchants heard about the festival, they came to Panihati to sell their goods. Raghunatha dasa would buy all their dadhi, dugdha, bananas, and other items, make them sit down, and feed them the same items he had just purchased. Soon there were so many people that there was no place to sit. People began to sit on the bank of the Ganges, and when all of the space by the Ganges was occupied, they stood in the water of the Ganges and ate their cida-dadhi. At the end of the festival, Nityananda Prabhu was so pleased with Raghunatha dasa that He gave him a blessing.

We shall now read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter Six: “The Meeting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.”

TEXT 1

 krpa-gunair yah kugrhandha-kupad
   uddhrtya bhangya raghunatha-dasam
nyasya svarupe vidadhe ’ntar-angam
   sri-krsna-caitanyam amum prapadye

TRANSLATION

With the ropes of His causeless mercy, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu employed a trick to deliver Raghunatha dasa Gosvami from the blind well of contemptible family life. He made Raghunatha dasa Gosvami one of His personal associates, placing him under the charge of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. I offer my obeisances unto Him.

TEXT 138

tabe raghunathe prabhu nikate bolaila
tanra mathe pada dhari’ kahite lagila

TRANSLATION

Then, after the conclusion of the festival, Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunatha dasa near Him, placed His lotus feet upon Raghunatha dasa’s head, and began to speak.

TEXT 139

“tumi ye karaila ei pulina-bhojana
tomaya krpa kari’ gaura kaila agamana

TRANSLATION

“My dear Raghunatha dasa,” He said, “since you arranged the feast on the bank of the Ganges, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came here just to show you His mercy.

TEXT 140

“krpa kari’ kaila cida-dugdha bhojana
nrtya dekhi’ ratrye kaila prasada bhaksana

TRANSLATION

“By His causeless mercy He ate the chipped rice and milk. Then, after seeing the dancing of the devotees at night, He took His supper.

TEXT 141

“toma uddharite gaura aila apane
chutila tomara yata vighnadi-bandhane

TRANSLATION

“Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaurahari, came here personally to deliver you. Now rest assured that all the impediments meant for your bondage are gone.

TEXT 142

“svarupera sthane toma karibe samarpane
‘antaranga’ bhrtya bali’ rakhibe carane

TRANSLATION

“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will accept you and place you under the charge of His secretary, Svarupa Damodara. You will thus become one of the most confidential internal servants and will attain shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 143

“niscinta hana yaha apana-bhavana
acire nirvighne pabe caitanya-carana”

TRANSLATION

“Being assured of all this, return to your own home. Very soon, without impediments, you will attain the shelter of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

COMMENT

As directed by Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha dasa returned home. Having lost all interest in family affairs, however, he no longer stayed in the inner section of the house, but moved to the outer courtyard. Late one night the Mazumdars’ family priest and Raghunatha’s spiritual master, Yadunandana Acharya, came to Raghunatha and told him that a disciple who was supposed to worship the Deity had left his service, and he asked Raghunatha to induce that disciple to return. So Raghunatha dasa left the house with Yadunandana Acharya. The watchmen were asleep, and nobody had any fear, because they thought that Raghunatha had gone with Yadunandana Acharya to do some work and would soon return. On their way, Raghunatha dasa told his spiritual master, “I will go to that disciple and induce him to return to his service, so do not be in anxiety. You may return to your place.”

Yadunandana Acharya went home, and Raghunatha dasa thought that now he had the opportunity to escape. After he went to that disciple and sent him to do his service, Raghunatha proceeded toward Jagannatha Puri—not on the public road, because he knew that as soon as his family realized that he was gone, they would send people to catch him and bring him back—but along the interior paths. For twelve days he walked from Bengal to Puri, and on only three of them was he able to eat anything. But he did not mind, because he was absorbed in thoughts of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—that finally he would be able to join Him in Puri. Raghunatha dasa’s parents sent ten men to find him and bring him back, but they could not trace him.

TEXT 186

bhaksana apeksa nahi, samasta divasa gamana
ksudha nahi badhe, caitanya-carana-praptye mana

TRANSLATION

Not caring about eating, he traveled all day. Hunger was not an impediment, for his mind was concentrated upon obtaining the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 189

svarupadi-saha gosani achena vasiya
hena-kale raghunatha milila asiya

TRANSLATION

When Raghunatha dasa met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord was sitting with His companions, headed by Svarupa Damodara.

TEXT 190

anganete dure rahi’ karena pranipata
mukunda-datta kahe,—“ei aila raghunatha”

TRANSLATION

Staying at a distant place in the courtyard, he fell down to offer obeisances. Then Mukunda Datta said, “Here is Raghunatha.”

COMMENT

Mukunda Datta had been present when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had sent Raghunatha dasa back home, so he was surprised: “Oh, the same boy has come again. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised him to remain at home, so how has he come?”

TEXT 191

prabhu kahena,—“aisa,” tenho dharila carana
uthi’ prabhu krpaya tanre kaila alingana

TRANSLATION

As soon as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard these words [“Here is Raghunatha”], He immediately welcomed Raghunatha dasa. “Come here,” He said. Raghunatha dasa then clasped the lotus feet of the Lord, but the Lord stood up and embraced him out of His causeless mercy.

COMMENT

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting with His most confidential associates, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, and they were discussing topics of Krishna. But as soon as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard “Raghunatha has come,” His mind was drawn to him. He left everything and stood up and embraced him.

TEXT 192

svarupadi saba bhaktera carana vandila
prabhu-krpa dekhi’ sabe alingana kaila

TRANSLATION

Raghunatha dasa offered prayers at the lotus feet of all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Seeing the special mercy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had bestowed upon Raghunatha dasa, they also embraced him.

COMMENT

Raghunatha dasa saw not only Chaitanya Mahaprabhu but also all of Mahaprabhu’s confidential associates. And he offered obeisances at their lotus feet. And they, seeing how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was merciful to Raghunatha dasa and had embraced him, all did the same.

TEXT 193

prabhu kahe,—“krsna-krpa balistha saba haite
tomare kadila visaya-vistha-garta haite”

TRANSLATION

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The mercy of Lord Krsna is stronger than anything else. Therefore the Lord has delivered you from the ditch of materialistic life, which is like a hole into which people pass stool.”

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

According to the law of karma, everyone is destined to suffer or enjoy according to a certain material standard, but the mercy of Lord Krsna is so powerful that the Lord can change all the reactions of one’s past karma, or fruitive activities.

COMMENT

According to our karma, we have to enjoy or suffer. But the Lord’s mercy is so strong that He can free us from any amount of suffering or material enjoyment. He can free us from all karma, whether punya (pious) or papa (sinful). He can lift us out of our material condition and place us on the spiritual platform, where there is no material enjoyment or suffering—only service.

PURPORT (continued)

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically drew attention to the mercy of Lord Krsna. That mercy is more powerful than anything else, for it had saved Raghunatha dasa from the strong bondage of materialistic life, which the Lord compared to a hole where people pass stool.

COMMENT

The bondage of material life is very strong. And usually, the more one is surrounded by material opulence, the harder it is for one to become free. Therefore, persons who are interested in spiritual life or liberation from material existence do not try to increase their material opulence, because their opulence may keep them bound to material existence. Srila Prabhupada himself told the story of how his father had helped him. When Prabhupada was of the age to be married, there were two proposals: one for him to marry a very beautiful girl and one for him to marry a not-so-pretty girl. Srila Prabhupada’s father advised him, “You should rather marry the plain girl, because later, when the time comes for you to leave family life, it will be easier if your wife is not so beautiful.” Srila Prabhupada took the advice, and in the end—as we know—he left everything to serve the order of his guru maharaja and preach Krishna consciousness. In the West there may be even more problems if the wife is beautiful. There used to be a popular song: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life/ Get an ugly woman to be your wife.” Generally, the more one is surrounded by material opulence, the more one has trouble becoming free. But the mercy of Krishna is so powerful that even though Raghunatha dasa was surrounded by so much opulence (Nityananda Prabhu said that his opulence was like the king of heaven’s), such loving parents and such a beautiful wife, that he had no attachment for any of it. And he left it all to join Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So Sri Chaitanya told him, “The mercy of Krishna is so strong that you could leave your material opulence and come here.” And He compared family life to a hole in which people pass stool.

PURPORT (continued)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave His verdict that those addicted to the materialistic way of life are like worms that are living in stool but cannot give it up. A grha-vrata, one who has decided to live in a comfortable home although it is actually miserable, is in a condemned position. Only the mercy of Krsna can save one from such misery. Without Krsna’s mercy, one cannot get out of the filthy entanglement of materialistic life.

COMMENT

The worm lives in stool, eats the stool, and enjoys life. According to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, materialistic persons who want to enjoy the happiness of family life are like worms who want to enjoy the taste of stool. Of course, pure devotees can also be grihasthas, but here Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is talking about materialistic enjoyment.

PURPORT (concluded)

The poor living entity cannot give up his materialistic position on his own; only when granted the special mercy of Krsna can he give it up. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu knew very well that Raghunatha dasa was already liberated. Nevertheless He emphasized that Raghunatha dasa’s life of material comfort as a very rich man’s son with a very beautiful wife and many servants to attend him was like a ditch of stool. The Lord thus specifically indicated that ordinary men who are very happy with material comforts and family life are in no better position than worms in stool.

COMMENT

Just see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s language. But He did not use the same language with everyone. He spoke as He did to Raghunatha dasa because of some special reason, as we shall now read.

TEXT 194

raghunatha mane kahe,—“krsna nahi jani
tava krpa kadila ama,—ei ami mani”

TRANSLATION

[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had said, “By the mercy of Krsna you have been free from the bondage of household life, which is like a ditch where people pass stool.”] Raghunatha dasa answered within his mind, “I do not know who Krsna is. I simply know that Your mercy, O my Lord, has saved me from my family life.”

TEXT 195

prabhu kahena,—“tomara pita-jyetha dui jane
cakravarti-sambandhe hama ‘aja’ kari’ mane

TRANSLATION

The Lord continued, “Your father and his elder brother [Govardhana and Hiranya Majumadara] are both related as brothers to My grandfather [they were of almost the same age and had friendly relations with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s grandfather], Nilambara Cakravarti. Therefore I consider them My grandfathers.

PURPORT

Nilambara Cakravarti, the grandfather of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was very intimately related to Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle. Nilambara Cakravarti used to call them his younger brothers because both of them were very devoted to the brahmanas and were very respectable gentlemen. Similarly, they used to call him Dada Cakravarti, addressing him as an elder brother brahmana. Raghunatha dasa, however, was almost the same age as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Generally a grandchild may joke about his grandfather. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took advantage of the relationship between His grandfather and Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle to speak in a joking way.

TEXT 196

“cakravartira duhe haya bhratr-rupa dasa
ataeva tare ami kari parihasa

TRANSLATION

“Since your father and his elder brother are younger brothers of Nilambara Cakravarti, I may joke about them in this way.

COMMENT

Sometimes we may want to give an instruction to someone but not want him or her to take offense. So after we give the instruction, which may involve harsh words, we may say that we were just joking. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was saying, “Don’t mind, because your father and uncle were friends of My grandfather, so they are like My grandfathers. I am only joking by comparing them to worms in stool.” But although He was joking, He was also not joking.

TEXT 197

“tomara bapa-jyetha—visaya-vistha-gartera kida
sukha kari’ mane visaya-visera maha-pida

TRANSLATION

“My dear Raghunatha dasa, your father and his elder brother are just like worms in stool in the ditch of material enjoyment, for the great disease of the poison of material enjoyment is what they consider happiness.

COMMENT

In other words, they are in such a diseased condition that the thing that is actually poison—sense gratification—they take as nectar.

PURPORT

When a man is attached to material enjoyment, he is attached to many miserable conditions, but nevertheless he accepts his condemned position as one of happiness.

COMMENT

This is maya, illusion. He is suffering, but he thinks he is enjoying.

PURPORT (concluded)

Sense enjoyment is so strong for such a person that he cannot give it up, exactly as a worm in stool cannot give up the stool. From the spiritual point of view, when a person is too absorbed in material enjoyment, he is exactly like a worm in stool. Although such a position is utterly miserable to the eyes of liberated souls, the materialistic enjoyer is greatly attached to it.

COMMENT

Liberated souls can see that the poor man is in a miserable condition, but the materialistic person is attached to his condition and cannot leave it. Srila Prabhupada had a disciple named Sudama Vipra, who was a rough character, a former member of Hell’s Angels. Once, when Srila Prabhupada arrived at a train station, maybe in Delhi, many people gathered around. The devotees performed kirtan, and Sudama Vipra began to preach. He said that before he came to India he had thought that India was a very holy, spiritual place where everyone was inclined to spiritual life, and that he had expected to see beautiful mountains, forests, and rivers, and people engaged in spiritual consciousness. But when he actually came to India, to the cities, he saw that people were wretched, living in filth, poverty, and misery; he also saw many lame people, deformed people, and lepers, all suffering. Then he said, “To the eyes of a pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada, all of us look just like those wretched people—poor, filthy, diseased, and miserable in so many ways. A pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada sees all of us like them, and naturally he feels compassion.” And at the end of the talk, Srila Prabhupada remarked, “He has spoken very nicely.” Here Srila Prabhupada says something similar in relation to how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle, who lived in great material opulence—how such a position is utterly miserable to the eyes of liberated souls but the materialistic enjoyer is greatly attached to it.

TEXT 198

“yadyadi brahmanya kare brahmanera sahaya
‘suddha-vaisnava’ nahe, haye ‘vaisnavera praya’

TRANSLATION

“Although your father and uncle are charitable to brahmanas and greatly help them, they are nevertheless not pure Vaisnavas. However, they are almost like Vaisnavas.

COMMENT

Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle were kind to devotees and brahmans. They used to practically maintain the whole brahman community of Bengal, and they were friendly with such exalted devotees as Balarama Acharya, Yadunandana Acharya, and Haridasa Thakura. But because they still desired to enjoy material life, they are not considered pure devotees, suddha-vaisnavas. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu calls them vaisnavera praya, which means they are “like Vaishnavas,” or “almost Vaishnavas.” Pure devotional service is without any desire other than to serve Krishna (anyabhilasita-sunyam). It is not covered by fruitive work, impersonal speculation, or anything else (jnana-karmady-anavrtam). So they were not pure devotees. They performed pious deeds and religious activities, but their aim was to enjoy material life.

As devotees, we also may be surrounded by material things, and because of habit we may not be able to serve enthusiastically without them. Srila Prabhupada gave the example of a famous barrister, C. R. Das, who gave up everything to join India’s freedom movement. But he was so used to a high standard of living that he could not do without it—and within one year he died. He could not live as a mendicant. So, if one prematurely tries to renounce his material situation, he may become disturbed—or even die. Thus Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu generally advised, sthane sthitah sruti-gatam: Remain in your position and hear the messages of Krishna from the mouths of pure devotees; then you can gradually advance.

Here, because Raghunatha dasa was a liberated soul, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was speaking to him in a way befitting an advanced Vaishnava—although earlier He had advised him to return home.

PURPORT

As stated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya [his commentary on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta], some people, usually very rich men, dress like Vaisnavas and give charity to brahmanas. They are also attached to Deity worship, but because of their attachment to material enjoyment, they cannot be pure Vaisnavas. Anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam. The pure Vaisnava has no desire for material enjoyment. That is the basic qualification of a pure Vaisnava. There are men, especially rich men, who regularly worship the Deity, give charity to brahmanas, and are pious in every respect, but they cannot be pure Vaisnavas. Despite their outward show of Vaisnavism and charity, their inner desire is to enjoy a higher standard of material life.

COMMENT

In the West we have little experience of persons who actually follow the principles of Vaishnavism but desire to enjoy material facilities. When I first came to India and met such persons, I became quite confused. There was one man who owned a textile mill—a follower of Vallabhacharya. He was very pious, very charitable, and he invited me to his house. So I went to visit him, on Carmichael Road. He had a very nice temple room, and as a follower of Vallabhacharya he worshiped Bala Krishna—there was so much paraphernalia for the worship. He was also one of the trustees of the Vallabhacharya temple in Bombay, so he wanted me to visit the temple, and I accompanied him there. Many grihastha bhaktas were singing bhajanas in the temple, and it was very opulent. I was confused, because they seemed to be following everything—they were vegetarian, followed all the rules and regulations for worshiping the Deity, and gave money in charity—but still there was something different about them. So I was a bit confused. But now we can understand: although they were religious and charitable, they still had the desire to enjoy material opulence; they were not pure devotees.

PURPORT (concluded)

Raghunatha dasa’s father, Govardhana, and uncle, Hiranya dasa, were both very charitable to brahmanas. Indeed, the brahmanas from the Gaudiya district were practically dependent on them. Thus they were accepted as very pious gentlemen. However, they presented themselves as Vaisnavas to the eyes of people in general, although from a purely spiritual point of view they were ordinary human beings, not pure Vaisnavas. In other words, they were kanistha-adhikaris, for they were ignorant of higher Vaisnava regulative principles. Nevertheless, they could not be called visayis, or blind materialistic enjoyers.

COMMENT

They were not pure devotees, but at the same time they were not blind materialistic enjoyers. They were in-between. So they are called vaisnava-praya, bhakta-praya, or kanistha-adhikari. They were on the material platform, because they wanted material enjoyment, but at the same time they had faith in Krishna and Vaishnavas, and they worshiped Krishna and served Vaishnavas. So they were vaisnava-praya.

TEXT 199

“tathapi visayera svabhava—kare maha-andha
sei karma karaya, yate haya bhava-bandha

TRANSLATION

“Those who are attached to materialistic life and are blind to spiritual life must act in such a way that they are bound to repeated birth and death by the actions and reactions of their activities.

PURPORT

As clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah: if one does not act as a pure devotee, whatever acts he performs will produce reactions of fruitive bondage (karma-bandhanah). In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said:

nunam pramattah kurute vikarma
   yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti
na sadhu manye yata atmano ’yam
   asann api klesada asa dehah

“A materialistic person, madly engaged in activities for sense enjoyment, does not know that he is entangling himself in repeated birth and death and that his body, although temporary, is full of miseries.” (SB 5.5.4)

A visayi, a person blindly caught in a web of materialistic life, remains in the cycle of birth and death perpetually. Such a person cannot understand how to execute pure devotional service, and therefore he acts as a karmi, jnani, yogi, or something else, according to his desire, but he does not know that the activities of karma, jnana, and yoga simply bind one to the cycle of birth and death.

COMMENT

In other words, without bhakti no one can be liberated. Not even a yogi or a jnani, what to speak of a karmi, can be liberated without the mercy of a devotee, without the touch of devotional service.

TEXT 200

“hena ‘visaya’ haite krsna uddharila toma’
kahana na yaya krsna-krpara mahima”

TRANSLATION

“By His own free will, Lord Krsna has delivered you from such a condemned materialistic life. Therefore the glories of Lord Krsna’s causeless mercy cannot be expressed.”

PURPORT

In the Brahma-samhita (5.54) it is said, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. Lord Krsna is so merciful that He can stop the reactions of karma for His devotee. Everyone—from the small insect called indra-gopa up to Indra, the king of heaven—is bound by the reactions of fruitive activities.

yas tv indra-gopam atha vendram aho sva-karma-
   bandhanurupa-phala-bhajanam atanoti
karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam
   govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

Everyone, whether an insect or the king of heaven, Indra, is entangled and bound by the actions and reactions of his karma. However, when one becomes a pure devotee, free from material desires and from bondage to karma, jnana, and yoga, one is freed from material actions and reactions by the causeless mercy of Krsna. One cannot express sufficient gratitude to Krsna for being freed from the materialistic way of life.

COMMENT

Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is the ideal example for us to follow. When he was a householder he showed the ideal example of how to live in household life, how to execute one’s duty perfectly and at the same time be detached from material enjoyment and attached to Krishna. Later, after he joined Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he showed the ideal example of renounced life. He hardly ate or slept, and he was always engaged in chanting the holy names, offering obeisances, and other such activities. So he is a rare example of a devotee who set the ideal standard for both grihasthas and sannyasis.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s appearance day, February 4, 1996, Juhu, Bombay]

Source: http://www.girirajswami.com/?p=15394

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Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami

8558744692?profile=RESIZE_584xRaghunatha dasa Gosvami used to reside on the bank of Sri Radha-kunda. At the time Radha-kunda was just a small pond of water, and therefore sometimes Raghunatha would meditate on enlarging the kund. Then he would chastise himself for desiring something which would require a large amount of money.

Around this time one very wealthy Seth underwent great austerity by walking to Badarikasrama in the Himalayas. Arriving there he very reverently worshiped Sri Badrinarayana and offered much wealth at His lotus feet. That night as he slept there, he had a dream in which Sri Badarinarayana instructed him to proceed to Vraja, where he should present all his wealth to Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, who was residing at Aritgram. “If he declines to accept it, then you can mention My name and remind him about renovating Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda.”

That Seth was very happy to have seen such a wonderful dream and after returning to his home he very joyfully set out for Vraja. There he met Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and related all of these events to him. Dasa Gosvami was somewhat taken aback to hear this news, but then immediately gave his consent. Thus Sethji began to work of re-digging the two kunds.

On the banks of Radha-kunda, the five Pandavas were residing in the form of trees. As the work was proceeding it was decided that on the following day these trees would have to be cut down, but that night the five Pandavas appeared in a dream of Raghunatha dasa and forbade the cutting of those dreams. Today they are still residing there. When the work of beautifying the kundas was complete, the devotees bliss knew no bounds.Nearby the kundas, the kunjas of the eight gopies were also constructed. Seeing all this, Raghunatha dasa forgot himself in ecstasy.

Raghunatha dasa Gosvami lived on the banks of Radha-kunda without any fixed residence, staying under a different tree every night. Sometimes he would stay on the banks of the Manasa Ganga. At that time these areas were jungles filled with ferocious animals. One day Sanatana Gosvami came to the banks of Manasa Ganga to meet Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Before accepting his noon meal at Gopal Bhatta’s bhajan kutir, he went to take bath at the Pavan ghat of Manasa Ganga. From there he saw two tigers come to the kund and after drinking some water saunter off. Just near that spot Raghunatha das Gosvami was sitting under a tree absorbed in his bhajana. Sanatana Gosvami was startled to see this but even more so when he saw Sri Krsna standing at some distance observing everything. He then requested Raghunatha to do his bhajana within a hut.

On another occasion, Raghunatha dasa, who still hadn’t bothered to have a kutir constructed, was sitting in the noon day sun absorbed in his bhajana. Srimati Radharani happened to pass that way at this time and, seeing that the sun was beating down on Raghunatha’s head, she stood behind him and held the end of her sari to shield him from the suns rays. Then one of the Gosvamis came along and saw this heart rending scene, while profuse perspiration continued to flow from Srimati Radharani’s transcendental body. This time when he was again requested to do his bhajan in a kutir, he immediately agreed to comply.

In Vraja, Krsna is served by Radharani and Candravali, who each have unlimited maid servants. According to the mellows of paramour love, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami counted himself as a maidservant of the friends of Srimati Radharani. As Candravali is the chief comperitor of Radharani, Sri dasa Gosvami would never go to her kunja or talk with any of the sakhis. Thus he served the servants of Radharani within his mind in this way.

One Brajabasi known as Sri dasa Brijabasi used to bring Sri das Gosvami a leafcup of buttermilk every day. Drinking this much only Raghunath dasa would engage in bhajana throughout the day. One day Sri Das Brijabasi went to Candravali’s kunda, known as Sakhi-sthali, to herd his cows. There he saw a palash tree with very large leaves, so he collected some leaves to make leafcups. The next day, in one of the new leafcups he brought some buttermilk to das Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa accepted the leafcup of buttermilk and inquired, “Sri dasji, where did you get these nice palash leaves?” Sri dasji replied, “While I was pasturing the cows I came to Sakhi-sthali and found them there.”

Simply hearing the word ‘Sakhi-sthali’ Raghunatha dasa flew into a rage and threw the leafcup of buttermilk away saying, “The followers of Srimati Radharani never accept anything from that place.” Seeing the loyal devotion of Raghunatha dasa for Srimati Radharani Sridasji was amazed.

Raghunatha dasa Gosvami used to always serve Sri Sri Radha-Govinda in his mind. One day in his meditation he cooked sweet rice and offered it to Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. In great pleasure they accepted the offering and the other sakhis also relished this prasadam. Then Raghunatha himself honored the remnants of their prasadam and in great ecstasy, due to the pleasure of having been able to satisfy Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and Their loving attendants, he ate a little more than was his custom.

In the afternoon Raghunatha dasa used to speak about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. However, this day when the devotees came in the afternoon to hear him speak, they found that the door to his kutir was closed. They waited for some time but when it appeared that there was no movement inside they became a little anxious and called out, “Gosvamiji, are you all right?” Sri dasa Gosvami answered, “My body is not well.”

The devotees became concerned and immediately sent word to Sanatana Gosvami in Mathura. At that time Sri Sanatana Gosvami was staying with Sri Vallabhacarya’s son Sri Vithalnathji, who immediately sent two physicians to Radha-kunda to examine Sr Raghunath dasa Gosvami. After checking his pulse, the doctors concluded that, “due to eating a combination of rice and milk his body is feeling very heavy.”

Hearing this diagnosis everyone was struck eith wonder. That Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who subsisted on only a little buttermilk each day, should fall ill from eating too much sweet rice was astonsihing, especially because it was eaten only in meditation.

There are various opinions on Sri Raghunath das Gosvami’s identity in Krsna-lila. Some have ascertained that he was Rasa Manjari, some that he was Rati Manjari, while still others that he was Bhanumoti.

The Govardhana-sila given by Sriman Mahaprabhu to Raghunatha dasa to worship is still worshiped at Sri Gokulananda Mandira, in Vrindavana.

—–

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Antya lila 6:294. purport.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhashya that in the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the govardhana-sila, the stone from Govardhana Hill, was directly the form of Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda. The Lord used the stone for three years, and then in the heart of Raghunatha dasa the Lord awakened devotional service to the stone. The Lord then gave the stone to Raghunatha dasa, accepting him as one of His most confidential servants. However, some envious people conclude that because Raghunatha dasa had not taken birth in the family of a brahmana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not give him the right to worship the Deity directly, but instead gave him a stone from Govardhana. This kind of thought is naraki, or hellish. As stated in the Padma Purana, arcye vishnau siladhir gurushu nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhih. ..yasya va naraki sah: “One who considers the arca-murti (the worshipable Deity of Lord Vishnu) to be stone, the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, or a Vaishnava to belong to a particular creed is possessed of hellish intelligence.” If one thinks that the worshipable salagrama-sila is a mere stone, that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being or that a pure Vaishnava preaching the bhakti cult all over the world is a member of a particular caste or material division of society, he is considered a naraki, a candidate for hellish life. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed that the govardhana-sila, the stone taken from Govardhana, is nondifferent from the body of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He indirectly advised such foolish persons that one should not be envious of a Vaishnava who belongs to a different caste or sect. One should accept a Vaishnava as transcendental. in this way one can be saved; otherwise, one is surely awaiting a hellish life. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Antya lila 6:294. purport.)

ei silare kara tumi sattvika pujana
acirat pabe tumi krishna-prema-dhana

TRANSLATION
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “Worship this stone in the mode of goodness like a perfect brahmana, for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love of Krishna without delay. (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Antya-lila 6:295.)

Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami compiled following books: Stavavali, Dana carita, and Mukta carita, among others.

Birth: 1428 (Sakabda) Disappearence: 1504 on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Asvin

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=93325

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3655085803?profile=RESIZE_710x
 
mahaprabhura priya bhrtya — raghunatha-dasa
sarva tyaji’ kaila prabhura pada-tale vasa
 
Synonyms: 
mahaprabhura — of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; priya — very dear; bhrtya — servant; raghunatha–dasa — Raghunatha dasa Gosvami; sarva tyaji’ — renouncing everything; kaila — did; prabhura — of the Lord; pada–tale — under the shelter of the lotus feet; vasa — habitation.
 
Translation: 
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, the forty-sixth branch of the tree, was one of the most dear servants of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He left all his material possessions to surrender completely unto the Lord and live at His lotus feet.
 
Purport:
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, “Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvam i was most probably born in the year 1416 Sakabda (A.D. 1494) in a kayastha family as the son of Govardhana Majumadara, who was the younger brother of the then zamindar, Hiranya Majumadara. The village where he took birth is known as Sri-krs napura. On the railway line between Calcutta and Burdwan is a station named Trisabagha [now known as Adi-saptagrama], and about one and a half miles away is the village of Sr i-krsnapura, where the parental home of Sr i Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was situated. A temple of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda is still there. In front of the temple is a large open area but no large hall for devotees to assemble. A rich Calcutta gentleman named Haricarana Ghosa, who resided in the Simla quarter, recently repaired the temple. The entire temple compound is surrounded by walls, and in a small room just to the side of the temple is a small platform on which Raghunatha dasa Gosvami used to worship the Deity. By the side of the temple is the dying river Sarasvati.”

The forefathers of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were all Vaisnavas and were very rich men. His spiritual master at home was Yadunandana Acarya. Although Raghunatha dasa was a family man, he had no attachment for his estate and wife. Seeing his tendency to leave home, his father and uncle engaged special bodyguards to watch over him, but nevertheless he managed to escape their vigilance and went away to Jagannatha Puri to meet Sr i Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This incident took place in the year 1439 Sakabda (A.D. 1517). Raghunatha dasa Gosvami compiled three books, named Stava-mala (or Stavavali), Dana-carita and Mukta-carita. He lived a long time, residing for most of his life at Radha-ku nda. The place where Raghunatha dasa Gosvam i performed his devotional service still exists by Radha-kunda. He almost completely gave up eating, and therefore he was very skinny and of weak health. His only concern was to chant the holy name of the Lord. He gradually reduced his sleeping until he was almost not sleeping at all. It is said that his eyes were always full of tears. When Srinivasa Acarya went to see Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, the Gosvami blessed him by embracing him. Srinivasa Ac arya requested his blessings for preaching in Bengal, and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami granted them. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (186) it is stated that Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was formerly the gopi named Rasa-mañjari. Sometimes it is said that he was Rati-mañjari.

By Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami

“After the killing of Aristasura, Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis exchanged many joking words with Sri Krsna concerning the necessary atonement for one who has committed the offence of killing a bull. As a result, the Queen of Vrndavana, Srimati Radhika, and Her sakhis joyfully excavated and filled Sri Radha-kunda with their own hands. May that immensely fragrant Radha-kunda be my shelter.

“In the land of the hearts of those who bathe in Radha-kunda, a desire tree of the superlative prema, which is not attainable even for Krsna’s principal queens in Dvaraka, will arise. May that supremely charming Radha-kunda be my shelter.

“For the pleasure of Srimati Radhika, even Sri Krsna Himself, yearning to attain Her merciful sidelong glance, regularly bathes in Radha-kunda, carefully observing all the appropriate rituals. May that supremely enchanting Radha-kunda be my shelter.

“May that supremely enchanting Radha-kunda, which the moon of Vraja, Sri Krsna, loves as much as He loves the crown-jewel amongst the sweet girls of Vraja, Srimati Radhika, and which He has made known by the name of Radhika Herself, be my shelter.

“The mercy obtained by serving Radha-kunda makes the desire-creeper of prema for the prince of Vraja sprout and is celebrated for bearing the flower of service to my svamini Srimati Radhika. May that supremely charming Radha-kunda be my shelter.

“Gloriously manifest on the banks of Radha-kunda are eight kunjas named after Radhika’s principal sakhis. Acting as stimuli for the amorous pastimes of the Divine Couple, these kunjas are filled with the sweet humming of bumblebees and are desired by everyone. May that supremely enchanting Radha-kunda be the shelter of my life.

“Situated on an exquisite dais on the bank of Radha-kunda and accompanied by Her beloved sakhis, our svamini Srimati Radhika charmingly engages in sweet, joking words with Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja. These playful verbal exchanges are enhanced by the suggestion of so many innuendoes. May that Radha-kunda be the shelter of my life.

“May that very charming and especially fragrant Radha-kunda, where intoxicated with love the Divine Couple and the sakhis daily sport with great joy in the water so fragrant with exquisite lotus flowers, be the sole shelter of my life.

“To that devotee who, in a resolute mood of aspiring to serve Srimati Radhika, reads this charming prayer describing Sri Radha-kunda, even in their present body Sri Krsna will quickly grant them darsana of not only His beloved Radhika, but also of Their many variegated amorous pastimes. Witnessing these pastimes and envisioning himself serving Yugala-kisora in various ways, such a devotee will feel immense jubilation. This astaka is recited in the poetic meter known as ‘Malini’.”

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=1788

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Sri Raghunandan Thakura

8555676279?profile=RESIZE_400xShri Mukunda Dasa, Shri Madhava Dasa and Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura were three brothers who lived in Shri Khanda. Shri Mukunda Dasa Thakura’s son was Shri Raghunandan Thakura.

Shri Raghunandana Thakura made his appearance within this world in Shri Khanda. In his home, he became acquainted with the worship of Shri Gopinatha from an early age. One day his father, Mukunda Dasa, who was a doctor, had to go away on medical business.

He called Raghunandana to his side. He told Raghunandana to see to it that their deity was served with great care and attention. He told him to be sure and feed the deity.

At the appointed hour, taking the order of his father on his head, Raghunandan went to perform the service. He took the offering of food into the deity. Raghunandan was just a little boy. He told the deity: “Eat! Eat!” When he saw that the offering appeared untouched, he began to cry. Not being able to resist the child’s intense devotion, Krishna ate everything on the plate, leaving no remnants.

When Mukunda Dasa returned, he asked the boy, “Bring me the prasada remnants of the offering you made earlier.” The boy said, “Father, listen. I made the deity eat as you told me to. He left no remnants. He ate everything on his plate.”

Mukunda was amazed at what the child was saying. Ordering the boy to offer food as before, Mukunda hid himself outside the house and watched through the window. Raghunandana, then, with great delight, offered Gopinatha a laddu. “Eat! Eat!” he said. The Lord ate half the laddu.

Meanwhile, Mukunda, who was watching from outside, beheld all this in great amazement. He could understand that since the deity had already eaten once, and had not left any remnants, his hunger was satisfied. As a result, he could only finish half the laddu.

According to certain authorities, Shri Raghunandana Thakura was Kandarpa Manjari. According to others, he was one of Krishna’s sons in Dvaraka whose name was Kandarpa. This is on the basis of Kavi Karnapura’s Gaura-Ganodesa-dipika.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=87687

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Vasanta Panchami by Bhurijana dasa

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Today is auspicious Vasanta Pancami, the first day of spring. It is also the appearance day of Srimati Visnupriya Devi, Sarasvati Puja, the disappearance day of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and the appearance day of Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Sri Raghunandana Thakura, and Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.

Even ducks and other birds of Vrindaban participate in Krsna’s wonderful pastimes. In Bhag. 10.12.08 Sukadeva Gosvami describes the following to Maharaja Parkshit: “Some boys imitated flying birds by running after the bird’s shadows on the ground, some imitated the beautiful movements and attractive postures of the swans, some sat down with the ducks, sitting silently, and others imitated the dancing of the peacocks.”

But when hearing the sound of Krsna’s flute, the fish, ducks, and other birds ceased swimming and flying and became silent: “Krishna would play His flute, and together the sounds became so sweet to hear that together the aquatics, the cranes, swans, and ducks, and other birds were charmed. Instead of swimming or flying, they became stunned. They closed their eyes and entered a trance of meditation in worship of Krishna.”
(Bhag. 10.35.11)

Hare Krsna!

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8555849692?profile=RESIZE_584xCelebrating Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita with the GBC Strategic Planning Team 
 

As part of our efforts to serve devotees worldwide the GBC Strategic Planning Team (SPT) is extending an invitation to every ISKCON devotee to participate in our 5-week online festival “Celebrating Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta”

We wish to stimulate great enthusiasm for Srila Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami’s masterpiece, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta , and Srila Prabhupada’s wonderful commentary on the same. Towards that goal, we have organized 35 days of virtual association with many of ISKCON’s most experienced and engaging speakers. 

The series will be broadcast on our Facebook page, Youtube Channel and Mayapur TV from the 18th of February to the 29th of March.

Beginning from Sri Advaita Acarya’s Appearance concluding with the Jagannath Misra Festival, our 5-week portrayal is centered on the following topics with an overarching theme of focusing on Srila Prabhupada’s Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta :-

1.    Historical Context-Understanding the context for the appearance of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and its central role in the establishment and growth of the Gaudiya sampradaya

2.    Srila Prabhupada-Hearing about Srila Prabhupada’s extraordinary efforts to bring the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta to people everywhere.

3.    Roots-Examining how today’s Hare Krishna Movement is rooted in the teachings and practices found in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta

4.    Theology-Diving deep into the core elements of our philosophy as expounded in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta  

5.    Relationships-Deepening our understanding of Vaishnava relationships as portrayed by the devotees of Sri Chaitanya

6.    Gauranga’s Inner mood and mission– Discussions amongst senior devotees about the inner purpose of Sri Gauranga Lila as revealed in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta

7.   Approaching Sri Sri Radha Krishna through Śrī Caitanya – Exploring the path to the Divine Couple through the grace of Śrī Caitanya.

Plus:

Tirtha yatra – In the mood of visiting the dham when you can’t physically go to the dham, fire up your phone or computer and join us on a 10-day tour following Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s itinerary around India.

Gaura lila – We will also have special weekly series with highly esteemed speakers known for their mesmerizing Gaura lila narrations. 

 

Not the least, to deepen your love for this foundational shastra, we will provide support by sharing resources for reading and studying Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta .

We are honored to have the participation of many  senior Vaishnavas, including Jayapataka Swami, Giriraja Swami, Radhanath Swami, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Jayadvaita Swami, Krsna Ksetra Swami, Candramauli Swami, Devamrta Swami, Bhakti Purushottama Swami, Vaisesika Das, Lokanath Swami, Malati Devi, Visakha Devi, Narayani Devi, Jagattarini Devi, Nitaisevini Devi, Tapan Misra Das, Amarendra Das, Hari Parshad Das, Gauranga Das and many more. Their profound realizations will enlighten us during this 5-week celebration.

Throughout these five weeks, you’re assured to get a daily dose of spiritual inspiration and nourishment during the festival season. You’re invited to join us on a journey to usher Lord Caitanya’s love into our hearts and the hearts of everyone around us beginning on the 18th of February. 

To make sure you are not missing the nectar, please join one or more of these lists to get all the details on each event:
 

Subscribe:

Emailing list: http://gbcspt.com/subscribe

Whatsapp: https://bit.ly/3tWhDDV

Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/SBybrtgIKOmWLN32

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gbcspt

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/gbcspt

 

Stay tuned for more details, COMING SOON!

On behalf of all the members of the GBC SPT

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=93298

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Creating Meaningful Connections

8555796474?profile=RESIZE_584xVideo: Click here
By Grihastha Vision Team

Our Mission
The mission of The Grihastha Vision Team is to support, strengthen, educate and enliven the individuals, couples and families who are or will be involved with the grihastha ashram.

Our Goals
We want to help you spiritualize your marriage and make it an act of seva. Remember, Vaisnava etiquette begins at home.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=93303

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Preaching in the Age of Misinformation

8555423278?profile=RESIZE_584xA true preacher is a true disciple. I believe all of us can agree that a thorough study of Srila Prabhupada’s books is so badly needed in our society in the age of Kali, the age of quarrel, hypocrisy and misinformation.

All of us come across devotees (or sometimes ourselves) answering other people’s questions without proper reference.

Without commiting offenses or looking down upon anyone, these following examples are illustrating pure, innocent ignorance. So these are one of the most bizarre statements I’ve heard from most respected and loved devotees, somehow all vaisnavis though:

“Taking evening showers washes away our energy, best not to do that, even if you are used to taking showers twice a day.”

“In the language of varnashrama, vaishyas can’t make much money, but kshatriyas are the ones who are arranging people, building strategies and making good money, so you have to be a kshatriya to make good money with the network marketing.”

“In your past life you, as a house cat, could just observe your owner opening the door and you started to desire to open the door yourself and thus by meditation ‘I want!! I want!!’, you could have received a human body.”

Once again, these few quotes are not the reason to laugh or smirk or roll the eyes or lift the eyebrows and scroll away from the article, it’s a reason to worry and become a little concerned, I mean to say, to understand the seriousness of the presented issue.

I believe all of us are encouraged to preach and it is something even a child can do, as Srila Prabhupada pointed out in the famous example of the little vaisnavi girl: “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead!”

But many times we find that if we are not extremely fluent in the language of Srila Prabhupada’s books – and I’m not saying fluent as just a regular reader, but as a diligent student – and if we are not questioning whether we can actually back everything up with reference, then our presentation will lack actual substance. Truth. Foundation. Philosophical essence. The focus will be shifted in a wrong direction. Deep down inside it will leave us wondering how close did we get to the Absolute Truth, to guru-sadhu-shastra and to the actual message, mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada.

So what can we do?

If you’re on the listener’s side – be aware and conscious what and whom you are listening and make sure you get all references right. It is important to approach previous acaryas through our founder-acarya Srila Prabhupada. And, at the same time, we also don’t just skip Srila Prabhupada to focus on contemporary preachers. Srila Prabhupada’s position is forever foundational.

Srila Prabhupada’s books will train your ears to feel hurt when you come across apasiddhanta. Just like when you learn English, when somebody says “This devotee say me we to go temple, yes?” – it hurts the ear to hear that. It is similar when you are very fluent and thoroughly study Srila Prabhupada’s books, when something is not according to siddhanta – it hurts the ears. The more you study – the more you will be able to discriminate.

Don’t be naive that everyone who is a devotee is speaking pure, Absolute Truth. They may be incredibly sincere, but not entirely informed. Even in Hari Bhakti Vilasa it is stated that the disciple is testing the spiritual master to see that he is bona-fide. Nectar of Instruction points out you can’t progress if you don’t discriminate your association. Healthy discrimination is welcomed in spiritual life.

However, if you hear something bogus, it doesn’t mean you have to stop being a cultured, gentle vaisnava by publicly attacking and destroying the devotee who made a mistake. There are ways to point a mistake in a human, vaisnava way, at an appropriate time, manner, perhaps even through seniors.

And as an aspiring preacher I am meditating on Sri Ishopanishad Mantra 12. It reveals that the position of a preacher without proper knowledge, honesty and integrity leads one to the darkest region of the universe, with only cheap name and fame. Certainly this would not be much pleasing to Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada & previous acaryas.

It is a healthy fear to be afraid of Maya, what to speak of becoming Maya’s instruments, even if completely ignorantly. “Involuntarily”. Innocently. Unconsciously.

Sometimes we get into the mood of “we are invincible”. We have tilaka as Narayana-kavacha on our bodies, we have Tulsi-kanthimalas on our necks, we chant Hare Krishna Maha-manta 16 rounds every day, so what sinful reactions can there be for us? We have surrendered!

However, we do have a long way to go towards the desired and cherished goal of pure Krishna-prema, which is defined by “What pleases Krishna?” and “What doesn’t please Him?” So misinforming or misguiding Krishna’s aspiring servants is definitely something not very pleasing to Sri Guru and Gouranga.

At the same time it is our responsibility to develop strong faith, deep understanding and knowledge so that somebody else would not be able to accidentally trip us down, misguide and misinform.

With folded hands, dandavats, I am praying that this article sparks and fuels in us this wonderful desire to thoroughly study and dive deeper and deeper into the treasure house of first and foremost Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam & Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, as well as Sri Upadeshamrita & Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu and Sri Ishopanishad as the foundational law books of our society, the main content of all our preaching eloquence.

May we become worthy vaisnava disciples of His Divine Grace, as practitioners, preachers and devotee society at large. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and His books!

Your insignificant servant,

Sulalita Devi Dasi

(Sravanam Diaries Podcast)

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=93272

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8555328895?profile=RESIZE_584x2021 marks the 125th Appearance Anniversary Year of ISKCON Founder/Acharya His Divine A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Ambarisa Das and the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) management in Mayapur, India, have decided to officially begin celebrating this occasion on Nityananda Trayodasi, February 25th (24th in the U.S.), and simultaneously launch major promotion for the PRABHUPADA IS COMING! Campaign announcing the installation of the new Prabhupada murti in the TOVP in October this year. 

In the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition Lord Nityananda Prabhu is considered to be the original spiritual master, being Lord Balaram Himself. The spiritual master is the representative of Lord Nityananda, and thus it follows that to glorify ISKCON Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada and commence the observance of his 125th Appearance Anniversary Year on Nityananda Rama’s appearance day is most appropriate for the occasion.

The celebration will begin with the raising of a Victory Flag onto the TOVP and glorification of Srila Prabhupada by Jayapataka Swami, followed by other speeches and kirtan. Other festivities will continue throughout the day on the ISKCON Mayapur campus.

In conjunction with this event is the official launch of the PRABHUPADA IS COMING! Campaign promoting the grand installation of the new Prabhupada murti in October, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sponsor one of five abhishekas. Lokanath Swam is arranging to collect water from 125 sacred rivers for the abhisheka to honor the 125th Appearance Anniversary Year.

Every devotee in ISKCON is requested to participate in this most historic occasion and TOVP milestone by sponsoring at least one abhisheka according to their means. Even children can participate in this seva opportunity. The TOVP’s worldwide goal is to raise a combined Guru Dakshina of $1 million for Srila Prabhupada. Every devotee who participates will also have their name read to Srila Prabhupada.

Additionally, the magnificent gold-leafed, 500 page TOVP Book of Devotion, from the makers of the largest Bhagavad Gita in the world and inscribed with the names of over 6,000 TOVP donors, will be offered to Srila Prabhupada on this occasion.

Source: https://iskconnews.org/nityananda-trayodasi-the-official-commencement-of-srila-prabhupadas-125th-appearance-anniversary-year-celebration,7690/

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8555274085?profile=RESIZE_584xTemperamental weather today. The gods are at work. All was melting. Rains came. Wet snow. Then a blast of arctic freeze hit the land. Ice predominated and walking was unfavourable. Walking Monk out of work.

I did receive a vintage pic from my friend Krishnadasa today reminding me that I’m not just The Walking Monk. I’m also referred to as Drama Swami. The content of the photo is of Krishnadasa and myself in the 1980 drama called, “The Pandavas Retire Timely,” titled after a chapter in the book Bhagavatam.

I portrayed Vidura, the sage, who had just returned from a long walk and was revisiting the palace of king Yudisthira. Vidura’s visit was driven with purpose — to encourage his blind brother to fully retire and take to the ways of a renunciate (refer to link below for a modern-day version, “Rolling the Dice.”). Now in this story Yudisthira was left alone and was making observations of so many ill omens.

Our production of this touching story was staged on Centre Island for the Festival of India. It was outdoors. There was some synchronicity of mother nature, the gods and us actors on the mortal stage. It was uncanny. When King Yudisthira announced that rain appears at irregular times, at that moment, as if on cue, rain did fall from the sky, for only about 15 seconds and then it stopped. The audience was astounded. How could this be?

The pic has some historical significance to us apart from the nostalgic make up that we wore. I was a graying hairy brahman as Vidura and Krishnadasa was a youthful Maharaja in the production.

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2021/02/friday-february-5th-2021.html

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Tolerate and Transcend by Giriraj Swami

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Speaking on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.47 on January 22, 1975, in Juhu, Bombay, Srila Prabhupada appealed to us not to be preoccupied with the temporary miserable and happy conditions of life but to put a permanent end to the real problems of life and make our lives successful:

“Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says personally, ‘These are your miseries.’ What? Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi: [birth, death, old age, and disease (Gita 13.9)] ‘Repetition of birth and death.’ This is your real misery of life. What you are thinking as this misery or that misery are all temporary. They are all under the laws of material nature. You cannot get out of it. . . . So long as you are under this material nature, you have to accept this birth, death, old age, and disease. This is your real misery. We are thinking of temporary miserable conditions. Shastra says, ‘You don’t require to adjust temporary material misery or happiness, because they will come and go. You are destined to a certain type of miserable condition of life, a certain type of so-called happy life. They will automatically come and go, just like seasonal changes.’ Agamapayino ’nityas tams titiksasva bharata (Gita 2.14). We are very much happy when we are in a very good condition of life. But that will also not stay. That will also go away. Then miserable condition. Cakravat parivartante sukhani ca duhkhani ca. Sometimes happy, sometimes miserable. So, if you are actually interested to get out of miserable conditions, then try to get out of these four miserable conditions of life: janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi. That is intelligence. Don’t be bothered with the temporary miserable or happy conditions. They will come and go. Tams titiksasva bharata. If you cannot bear, then try to tolerate. That is the qualification of a brahman. Satyam samo damas titiksa, tolerance. We should not be disturbed—‘Now I am in miserable condition.’ Tolerate. The miserable conditions will come in this material world. Don’t be very much happy when you are in happy condition of life; neither become mad in miserable condition of life. Chant Hare Krishna and make your life successful. That is required. This is the propaganda of this Hare Krishna movement, or Krishna consciousness.”

Source: http://www.girirajswami.com/?p=15126

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Everyone is trying to be happy in the material world. Real happiness however is found on a deeper level. Now, the art is to develop a bigger vision. The Bhagavad-gita, in the beginning, talks about Arjuna, who is a member of a royal family, and has found himself in a difficult situation, a war situation which made him depressed. But then Krsna explained to Arjuna na jayate mriyate va kadacin nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah (Bhagavad-gita 2.20). He explained that the soul never takes birth, the soul never dies, and so on.

He also explained that the goal of life cannot be something temporary because by nature, we are eternal and by nature, we are looking for things that last eternally. Nobody likes it when the thing they really like is broken or stolen. It hurts. We are all attached. We want things to continue. We want love forever. All these things we want, but do we get them? Not really in the material world. It changes over time. So material enjoyment is by nature different from our nature. We are looking for things that last and they never do and it is painful because we are meant to actually find our enjoyment in eternal things. 

That is the message of the Bhagavad-gita: that one should look a little deeper in life, a little more long-term and only then can one find true happiness. It is a change. It takes some time to change our outlook but many people feel that there has to be more. So the real goal of life is spiritual and that is what we somehow or other have to keep in mind. We may sort of feel that way ourselves, but it will never become very solid unless we hear from self-realized persons. Therefore, one must hear from a teacher – from a guru – because such a teacher will not only tell us that spiritual life is the goal, but he can also instill a desire in our hearts. That is our aim.

Source: https://www.kksblog.com/2019/09/look-a-little-deeper/

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The Crush of Love By Jagabandhu das


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My Father-in-law was at first alarmed by the framed photo of Srila Saraswati Thakur adorning our living room wall captioned with His Divine Grace’s bold declaration that “…Western civilization must be crushed.” I explained that the whole world was contaminated by the ideology of extreme exploitation which has it’s heart inextricably intertwined with the roots of what History portrays as Western “civilization.” This idea of exploitation ruins any realm in which it exists like a malignant cancer or lethal virus. It is this ruinous mood which must be crushed and not the spiritually hollow edifices populated by the despairing, spiritually bankrupt masses. It is this spiritually cancerous mood which must be crushed. For the ultimate, intrinsic mutual benefit of all the denizens of Earth. Crushed by Love. Whose Love? Mahaprabhu’s Love for Krishna, which was His Ardent Desire to dispense to all souls. Unconditionally. Regardless. Forever. Srila Saraswati Thakur Himself flawlessly exemplified this Divine Love to an unfathomable extent. Indeed, He was the ripened fruit of Srila Bhaktivinode’s Divine Love and so perfectly represented such Supreme Affection to an unbelievable degree. Srila Saraswati Thakur was Himself the very Personification of Krishna-Prema, which is the ultimate goal, primary purpose and final function of all souls.

If only the Real sambandha-jnana/ Krishna Consciousness of Srila Saraswati Thakur could finally, at long last, Really get out there to it’s intended audience of the fallen forgetful souls, the world would then be transformed by the wave of Real Devotion. We have heard that Mahaprabhu and the Sri Pancha-tattva broke open the Storehouse of Love Divine as if breaking a dam and unleashing a flood of Krishna-prema upon the fortunate masses. And yet there is scant apparent contempoaray evidence of This in the world. As if the Wave of Love has been held in check by a dam of hate.

No doubt, ecclesiastical inconsistencies and consequential ideological incongruities must be adequately addressed. But as should be the case with all problems, in the right mood. The right idea conveyed in the wrong mood helps no one. Genuine reform of ideological improprieties and subsequent impieties is indeed a a worthy and honourable cause. Nonetheless, it is not the Original Cause.

Souls do wrong not because they are inherently evil, but rather because they have misunderstood or misconceived Original Ideology. Therefore, misunderstanding and misconception are the real problems and not those who have misconceived.

If, as an ostensible reformer/healer of the many woes of any society, civilization or culture I am apparently unable to accurately perceive and correctly diagnose the actual collective malaise, how can I hope to achieve real reform? Of anything. Contrary considerations festering with spiteful malevolence have about as much truly universal relevance, validity and utility as a wet paper bag filled with fetid, hot air. Very little real reform will be accomplished from such a myopically, distorted perspective. And a hodge-podge of malcontentment will eventually effectively incinerate all hopes of genuine, mutually beneficial reformation as the few lingering remnants of the original organization eventually smolder away into nothing but the Ultimate Essence of the Original ideal. Same as it ever was.

Working on rooftops fifty feet in the air makes many workers have what they call a “Hari” experience. I explain that what they think of as “hairy,” is really “Hari,” an original Name of God known to souls since time out of mind. That just as when fearful people throughout the world instinctively, as souls call out “Oh God!” In India, many souls call out “Hari!”, which is a Name of God which refers to His Innate Supreme Ability to remove all inauspicious or evil things.

The dreams and screams, of course continue, without any apparent end in sight. Dreams of Sri Guru. And Mahaprabhu Himself. Screams of my Daughter, my Teacher. And the suffering jivas. Who will hear their cries? And Why?

Humbly,

the insignificant pretender
Jagabandhu das

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=6944

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Time to Wake Up by Achyut Gopal Das

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"jīv jāgo, jīv jāgo, gauracānda bole

kota nidrā jāo māyā-piśācīra kole"

"Lord Gauranga is calling, "Wake up, sleeping souls! Wake up, sleeping souls! How long will you sleep in the lap of the witch called Maya?" - from a song by Bhaktivinode Thakur.
 
When someone is fast asleep and he needs to woken up, there are two ways to do it. One is "a soft way" and the other, is "the hard way". The soft way is by making a sound or by ringing an alarm and the hard way is by shaking the person up till he wakes up. If the soft way doesn't work then one has to incorporate the hard way. Similarly, there are two ways in which we, the sleeping souls are woken up from our slumber of ignorance and illusion. The first and the soft way is when we wake up from illusion by hearing the sound of the truth, the sound of God, either in the form of His message or in the form of His Holynames. This sound vibration is called "shabda-brahman" or "God in the form of sound". Spiritual sound vibrations have the power to penetrate our thick blanket of illusion and wake us up.
 
But if we fail to voluntarily wake up from our deep and cozy sleep of illusion then, Maya who is the energy of God wakes us up the hard way - by shaking us and jolting us with the realities of life. When the reality hits, we realize that it was a wake-up call, prodding us to wake up to a life of reality and give up our dream life. So in one sense, God and His energy, Maya do the exact same job in all our lives i.e. wake us up. Just that, God does it the soft way but Maya does it the hard way. Most of us need a sample of both these experiences to wake up. But, if we are slowly, day by day waking up to a life of reality, to a life of the soul then we are faring well in life. We may be slow wakers, that's okay but let us not be adamant sleepers.
 
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Haribol! Haribol! Haribol! (chorus)…Hare Krishna. I’m Sacinandana Swami and am every excited to be here with all of you. Hare Krishna… yes now since Malika Mala has arrived, we all feel complete. Before Malika Mala arrived it felt as if one kidney was missing. Ha ha.. But now we are complete. Hare Krishna.

I wanted to ask you before I start:

Were you successful in practicing what you were discussing at the end of this morning program?

Yes? Was it working? 50 -50?

Please keep on trying. Some times when we try to practice the total or proper form of sadhu sanga, there are several questions that come up. Is it sure that every devotee we meet will reveal their minds to us, for instance? I encourage you to ask these questions to the senior leaders of our Psychology 3000 team. There’s also a nice book which I have read, which is out on the market, which believe, that Keshava Maharaja was also mentioned in the book. Sadhu Maharaj has written about colleague-al relationships especially in management. So, if you wish we can deal with some of the questions at the end of this session, but I want to… ha ha… I want to get started in the second powerful process which is able to bring out a transformation in our personality.

That is the naam kirtan.

Kirtan comes from the root — kirt, which means to glorify.

Who is to be glorified in kirtan and for what?

The Bhagavatam answers the first question:

Kaler dosha nidhe rajan, astihi eka mahan guna. Kirtanad eva krishnasya…

That this age is full of so many faults, but there’s simply one good quality left, that is simply by chanting you can become free from material bondage and attain the highest goal in life.

Sometimes there are Ganesh kirtans or Shiva kirtans… but the Bhagavatam says that certainly… eva… Krishna must be glorified.

For what should we glorify Krishna?

Jiva Goswami says because he is so beautiful that by His beauty He has set up a trap by which He has captured the whole world. One poet describes the beauty of Krishna, O Chowkidar of my eye, o Guard of my eye. Why were you not careful? I’m giving you first class but you are not doing your job. You have allowed the beautiful form of Krishna to enter into my heart. Now He has stolen everything including my very heart from me. O Guard of my eyes, you have allowed the greatest thief, the beautiful Krishna to enter into my heart and He has stolen everything

Krishna is also to be glorified because of His courage. I was thinking of this today. I went very far on the beach. Away from human civilization. Then I saw them. A gang of ten heavily guarded people coming towards me. They came very close. They showed me their weapons, their sharp teeth. And they did their war screams… attack screams… yes in front of me. These were ten powerful village dogs which their teeth and their barking. I’m not extremely courageous, so I sang very loudly the Narsingha mantra… and all of a sudden the dogs went away… they ran away. Krishna is very courageous. Yes, alone by His presence in the battle of Kurukshetra, the battle was won by the Pandavas. He is always asked to give courage to those who surrender to Him. Krishna is glorified because of His beauty, His courage, His Knowledge and because He is capable of the super most form of action. There’s no one as beautiful as Krishna, no one as courageous, no one as knowledgeable and no one can do such wonderful actions as He does.

At the end of this presentation I want to tell you a wonderful leela, pastime of Krishna.

How do you do kirtan?

There’s instruments, with your hands, with your singing, you dancing. At some point you should raise your hands… and when everything is done you should offer your obeisance. It’s said… Jiva Goswami says by doing such kirtan, this will magnify the deity. We all know a magnifying glass? Something small can become big in the magnifying glass. So maybe you think very little of Krishna, your memory of Krishna is very small. But by doing kirtan, you magnify the Lord, until you have the feeling you come directly in the presence of the Lord. The movement of sankirtan was started in all seriousness by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Nawadwip 500 years ago. He started his kirtan, the ecstatic glorification of Krishna in the house of Srivasa pandit. And from there it extended in concentric circles, first to the doorsteps of His devotees. Despite a lot of political resistance, it spread to the streets of Nawadwip. Then Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan spread all over India.

You find some villages in India, there’s no television, so every evening they sing kirtan. Then everything came together… and when millions of people did their pilgrimage in the annual rathayatra at Puri, there were millions. The kirtan of Tauranga Mahaprabhu developed such a force, that the singing of God’s names flooded over into other religions. Either directly or indirectly Christianity started singing the names of the Lord. The Sufis started singing the song Allah Ho, Allah Ho… Allah Ho. All religions developed some elements of kirtan which God came personally to bring to this world. In Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan there was an inner dimension and also an outer dimension.

The inner dimension which you need to adopt when you want to do proper kirtan, is expressed in a mood which facilitates kirtan. The devotee considers himself to be very insignificant despite all his achievements in this world. And he feels separated from the Lord. He feels so separated that he wants to overcome this separation and wants to again find his place at the lotus feet of the lord.

These two moods:

the mood of humility

and the mood of separation

were expressed by Mahaprabhu in his own words. Trnad api sunicena.. And the other is ‘Ayi Nanda Tanuja’. Two moods form the inner dimension of the kirtan of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. But there’s also an outer dimension, something which was visible. Ecstasy, tears, hairs standing on end, a broken voice. These were symptoms of the kirtan bhava, which were expressed in the kirtan of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As you know that when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did his kirtans, millions of people came together, almost like flies who come when a glass of honey is opened. Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did a kirtan near the capital of the Muslim king. And it was strictly forbidden at that time to display public activities of Hinduism on the streets. Even now when you go into Dubai, you find a sign in the Arabic language that says, any Muslim who converts to another religion will receive capital punishment. But people who came together with Mahaprabhu ignored this. For instance, the Muslim tailor of Srivas Thakur started to dance and shout, while loudly calling out “I have seen, I have seen. Allah has come as Gauranga Mahaprabhu” And when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did his kirtan right before the capital of the kings, millions of people joined his kirtan. The king sent out spies to find out what this was. And the spies came back chanting! It’s very good… Hare Krishna! Ha ha-ha… The king could understand….. He must be God! Because whatever I wish to have done in my kingdom, I have to pay them, but here Mahaprabhu is inciting them to do the most dangerous thing and he doesn’t even give them one chapatti for it. I’m a king, I have to pay all my servants otherwise they won’t do anything for me. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu makes people do the most dangerous things, to sing the holy names in public! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s kirtan had an electrifying effect.

Have you ever been electrified?

It just takes you over, you can’t think of anything else but the electric shock which you have. Mahaprabhu described kirtan as the most effective means in order to reach Krishna. The Bengali word for ‘means’ is ‘upaya’. It means something by which something else which is usually thought to be unobtainable is obtained. To reach the lotus feet of Krishna is… so difficult even to be imagined. Great saints and sadhus have meditated for many years, sometimes for lifetimes and have not been successful. But by chanting kirtan, Mahaprabhu maintained that you can reach param gati, the highest goal of your spiritual life. To give you an example, of upaya, the Vedic scriptures give the example of archery. By the help of a bow, a piece of wood & iron can fly up to 500 meters. Usually iron and wood does not fly. But by an upaya powerful means, it can fly and reach a target. The Vedas mantras describe this. They say that the Vedic mantra is the bow, the pure living entity is the arrow and the target is from the Supreme Being. This is from Bhagavatam 7 Canto 15 Chapter verse 42. In my first holy name retreat in Russia, I talked about the kirtan arrow. And some of our devotees from Psychology 3000 were there, I remember… and we discussed at that time the power of the holy name to bring the living entity in the presence of the Lord. But, this will only work if you do samyak kirtan or proper kirtan. If you do not know the art of kirtan you will not reach the lotus feet of Krishna, but just become bored by so much singing. I want to go back to my archery example. Have some of you ever tried to shoot an arrow? Oh…It’s not so easy…Na? To hit a target? I tried when I was a child and later I tried again with a bow, the same type of bow which Robin Hood had used and I had to take archery lessons, but I was too lazy and I didn’t do it. But I remember it… I took 2 hours lessons… and oof, I was told that you need to use your body properly. The person who did it before me almost lost his ear, when the bow string went poof. Yes, you need to know how to work with these powerful bows. You need to know how to fix your mind. Somehow, I remember that the teacher always told me, ‘Bring your mind to the target.’ Then when you practice a little bit and you become stronger, your body will move in the right direction. And you have to use your will power. I remember, I did it… I couldn’t do it any longer… It was tiring. I remember it was not so easy to use the bow. In the same way, kirtan is not… it’s an art. You need to do it properly.

You need to use your body, sit properly or dance.

Then you need to pronounce the mahamantra.

You need to focus your mind.

No inattention.

Prabhupada said just try to listen to yourself chant sincerely. And you need to think of Krishna, whose name your chant. Yes, you need to bind, it’s called sambandha to Krishna. And you need to bring the mood of longing, O Krishna, I miss you! If you chant without thinking of Krishna, like most people do, you’ll only have shadow chanting. Shadow Kirtan! It does not nourish you. I always give this analogy to wake up my sleeping audience. I know this retreat you take heavy food and so you are heavily tired. (Laughter). Now let us imagine. Govardhan Gopal, Sudha and Mala have a secret meeting with Keshava Maharaj. And they decide to save some money on the food. And what they would do is. .they would request the cook to cook an excellent pizza with tomatoes and cheese and olive oil from Italy. And on top of it some herbs from Siberia. But there would be only ONE pizza. When you would come you would see that one pizza and a spotlight on that pizza. And Keshava Swami with an ascetic smile on his lips would say “Help yourself from the shadow! There is enough shadow from everyone. You can never finish the shadow. We have decided to save some money. Eat the shadow of the pizza.” I can guarantee you, you would not sleep any longer during the classes. (Laughter) It’s a very kharoshi? Idea! (Laughter) My point here… Listen listen. When you take the shadow of something which is a look alike but it will not serve the function of the original. You cannot talk to the shadow of a friend, you cannot enjoy the shadow of Krishna Consciousness. Just like you cannot enjoy the shadow of the Hare Krishna mantra. You have to learn to go to the substance. This means you must bring body, mind and also your heart to the chanting. You must long for Krishna. The Bhagavatam says just like the baby bird sits in the nest and longs for the mother, in the same way, we long for you my Lord, when we sing Your names.

Just like the calf longs for the mother cow to drink from her udder to become totally satisfied, in all regards we long for you, My Krishna.

In this way so many nice instructions are given when we sing the Hare Krishna mantra. When you want to end shadow kirtan, I always like to point out one verse from Chaitanya Charitamrita.

(Maharaj starts the tanpura machine and sings this verse)

‘krsna, tomara hana’ yadi bale eka–bara

maya–bandha haite krsna tare kare para

CC Madhya Lila 22 chapter verse 33

“One is immediately freed from the clutches of Maya if he seriously and sincerely says, ‘My dear Lord Krsna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.’

When I was surrounded by the barking dogs and there was no Braja Renu and Viprakit around, I thought let me surrender to Krishna now. And I chanted with this mood: Krishna, if these dogs are biting me now, most probably I will not be able to continue with the lectures. I have just taken prasadam, so most probably they will eat the prasadam from my stomach. Please protect me. I’m your serious and sincere servant. I have forgotten you for so many years in the material world, but today I’m surrendering to you. Please engage me in your service.

I chanted like this. The dogs stopped barking. The leader became afraid. He ran and I continued to chant until I was tired because I have taken a wonderful massage from Keshava Maharajs servant Govinda Kunda. After 15 mins I hear a voice… moo moo moo… I woke and saw a little dog before me. Moo moo moo. I said to him that I don’t understand Russian and I’m a stranger here. I can’t understand you. (Laughter)… Maybe I should not say like this, but I meant to say I can’t understand. I can’t even understand human beings, what to speak of you. But he continued. Then I understood he was looking for the other dogs. I said, this way, this way, they went this way. And the dog was very happy with me and followed my directions. Yes, I showed him the way. He followed and I think he found them out. What I want to express is…we have to come and look for shelter from Krishna when we chant. When we continue our shadow chanting, it’s not very effective. I want to tell a little little pastime and then I want to engage in chanting with you. It’s a pastime in which we can learn how to look for Krishna. Last year, I went with some devotees through Brindavan, You know we always take some instruments with us, portable harmonium, mrdanga and then we sing the holy names and just walk through the forests of Vrindavan. We came to a beautiful area. There was a little lake and around it many many palm trees. And our guard, Gaura Hari explained to us that this is the area of Looki Luk Kunda. Now the lake is dried up, but there was once a beautiful lake. And he explained that Krishna and the Gopis once went into the lake to play a game. They wanted to find out who can stay the longest under water and the winner would get some prize. So Krishna went into the middle of the beautiful gopis and counted one, two, and three! And the swish, He went under the water. But the gopis had done some earlier communication. And they did not go under the water. Instead they waited… But Krishna’s peacock feather started to come out of the water. At this moment, the beautiful smiling gopis went under the water. When Krishna was up, no gopis were there. How is it possible? Then after sometime… with a splash, the first gopi came out. Krishna said, how have they defeated me? And all of them have defeated me. I don’t think it’s possible. They must have cheated me. Krishna said, first round you have won, but now comes the second round. One two three! And Krishna went inside the water but this time He kept his eyes open under the water. And He saw the gopis were standing above the water and He saw that some of them were covering their mouth in order to prevent themselves from laughing. So Krishna decided to teach them a lesson. Very swiftly, he went out from the circle of the gopis and under the water he swam to the bank of the Luki Luk kund. And went out of the lake! And was hiding behind some bush or tree to watch what would happen. First the gopis were very joyful. But then they noticed that Krishna has not come out for a long time. And then they waited for some more. Then they began to lament. Oh what have we done! This boy Krishna is so attached to winning that He’s prepared to kill Himself. Because of our trick, most probably He will drown. So the gopis started to say… let’s save Him. So they took their hands and they closed in the circle. But they couldn’t find Krishna. Maybe He’s gone directly to the kingdom of Yamaraja. They looked all over. Some even left the Luki Luk kund and started to look. Some fainted. For them Krishna was all and everything. He was more dear to them than their very lives. Finally, when almost of all the gopis were on the verge of death, Krishna… wrooopf, came out of the water smiling. In some ways, Krishna can… He always wants to increase our love for Him. He always draws our love out. When you chant, my dear devotees, you have to also look for Krishna. Krishna will only come to you, when you do kirtan, when you really chant in the mood of a humble servant. Trnada api sunicena…

And when you chant in the mood of longing… and the longing of someone who is in a strange element… the material world and wants to be saved and put to the lotus feet of the Lord.

One great devotee of Krishna, Jagadannanda Pandit, he was an associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He once gave something like a loizonk… something you say for the devotees of Krishna who have faith in the chanting the holy names. He said, if you wish to advance of pure bhakti, not many rules in spiritual practice are necessary. You must simply beg the complete shelter in Krishna’s holy name. And thus you must purify your heart and consciousness.

Haridas Thakur had similarly said, if you want to advance only two things are necessary. The blessings of devotees… Remember! You cannot become Krishna conscious by your own efforts. You cannot always become Krishna conscious by combined efforts with other people. You can only become Krishna conscious by the blessings of a great devotee and by taking shelter in the holy name.

I was a little while ago in Mauritius. We had a kirtan mela. And in the kirtan mela, one devotee… no no… I saw one Muslim man was coming. I only saw when he entered the circle of 5000 devotees. Then I did not see him any longer because I concentrated on the kirtan. But next morning I heard his story, from a devotee with whom this man had talked. He said to the devotee, I was on the way to the beach to kill myself. But when I passed your tent, I was hearing people singing joyfully and when I looked I saw them dancing. So I thought let this be my last party (laughter). Often, those who commit suicide have some romantic motive. Many friends of my father have killed themselves after fighting the Nazi wars under Hitler. After the war. One went for instance, to Spain and looked at a flamingo dance… and shot himself. So this man had also a similar motive. Let this be my last party. Then I will go to the beach and shoot myself in the mouth. But while he was here, he started to sing the kirtan. And he told one of the devotees, when I singing kirtan, I saw a door that was open and I saw through the open door, the light of Allah. Yes, and I saw a solution to my complicated situation.

My dear devotees… I want to request you that we should do a kirtan now. A kirtan where I guide you in some kirtan meditation which Bhakti Vinod Thakur has given to us.

(Harmonium plays)

Somehow the harmonium is too loud, can we make it a bit softer?

I request you to sit tall.

Please do a few deep breaths.

You have heard that you must end the shadow chanting. You can only get the shadow of the holy name, when you do not think of Krishna while you chant.

I request you to think now… Let the day with all the many things pass, let it go… Just breathe. (1.01.39). When you breathe in, you should say to yourself, I’m breathing in and I know I’m breathing in. When you breathe out, say to yourself I’m breathing out and I know I’m breathing out. Let us do a few deep breaths, where we let go everything that is around us. Please think, by nature I’m Krishna’s servant, but by the influence of Maya, I seem to have forgotten it and as a result my life has become very complicated. But today I’m turning again to Krishna. I’m his sincere and serious servant and He is my very very kind master. If I call out to Him, He will certainly hear. If I address Him through my singing, He will certainly acknowledge

Do you that Lord Jagannath is offered three big clay pots of lassi at the end of His parade? He is offered 3 clay pts. At the end of the procession, at the end of the parade, after He has accepted them they are broken on the street. Then the lassi which is the prasadam lassi is on the streets so that even the flies get some prasadam. And then even the spirits and ghosts who cannot move on to the next body get the Lords Prasad. So if you turn to the Lord, it’ll be very good for you. Turn to Him through kirtan. Glorify Krishna. He will hear you. He will take your case seriously. You may have given up on your spiritual advancement, but Krishna never lets you go. He’s infinitely merciful.

(Maharaj starts singing)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

(Audience repeats in chorus)

(Continues for 10 mins… In between the kirtan Maharaj says) 
 please meditate that proper kirtan means to glorify Krishna

To glorify Him because He’s the most beautiful

The most courageous

The most knowledgeable

And He always does such wonderful activities

So when you do kirtan, step in front of Krishna and glorify Him. Please sing now.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

………………………………… (Kirtan continues for another 10 mins)

Everybody please!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

One more time!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

One last time!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

Jaya Prabhupada, jaya Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada

Jaya Gaura Nitai Gaura Nitai Gaura Nitai Jaya Gaura Nitai

Jaya Giriraj Jaya Giriraj Jaya Giriraj

Jaya Radha Madan Mohan Radha Madan Mohan Sri Radhe!

Jaya Radha Madan Mohan Radha Madan Mohan Sri Radhe!

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Gaur Premanandi ! (audience chants Haribol in chorus)

Hare Krishna!

Thank you very much for participating in this program of Naam Kirtan. We have a little time for Questions and Answers.

(one devotee from the audience asks)

Maharaj, you mentioned that the kirtan is beneficial only when chanted properly but sometimes we have some physical faculties or mental faculties who just like to sing….. so sometimes devotees are so much in love with kirtan that they just sing it without any engaging deeper into this mood.. So is such kind of kirtan still beneficial or should we change this?

Ans: Wherever you enter in Kirtan that’s good! I would like to tell you about a big big discussion in India. There’s always a conflict between — should we only do kirtan when we can properly please the Lord by playing proper instruments, doing everything properly. There’s a verse that says that when you sing for the Lord, you have to sing in the proper raga and tala, only then you should sing for the Lord. It’s in the Hari bhakti vilasa, our scripture. And some kirtan singers say that only if you know it right, then you should sing. Whereas other say, No Krishna is satisfied just like a father is satisfied just like the incoherent words of his child, who just learns to speak. So, what does Krishna think about this? Only experts should sing? On the one side. And those who have the feeling, even if they are imperfect should also sing. Sometime ago, there was a wonderful temple on the Govardhan hill where the Lord was worshipped as Gopal. And because at that time, there was some constant danger of intolerant Muslims and soldiers, they had a lance man, a soldier to guard the temple. This lance man was very strongly built. His face was very groovy and his voice was terrible. But in the night in order to keep himself awake, he sometimes moved left and right and then he sang songs for Gopal. Gopaaal (Maharaj sings purposely discordant) (laughter in the audience). So one evening, the famous Govinda Swami came with his musicians to the temple. He performed a beautiful kirtan concert with all the right ragas and all the right rhythms. People were appreciating so much. The deities stayed 10 mins longer open and only then went to bed. It was an unforgettable concert. When it was finished, Govinda Swami left the temple with his musicians and on his way out, he passed, the lance man, the guard, Pytha, who was singing. Govinda Swami went by… and Pytha was singing in his discordant voice Goppaaaall. Govinda Swami stopped and he looked at Pytha… and said “Stop immediately, you are braying like a donkey! You will disturb the Lord. He’s supposed to go to bed now. Look at these musicians. We have just finished a good night concert for the Lord. Don’t disturb the Lord with your sounds. Never sing again! It is stated in the scriptures that when you sing for the Lord, you must use the best melody, the best rhythms. If you would come before an ordinary king of this world and sang, he would behead you! So how can you sing like this for God?”

Pytha said “Ok, I understood” and he did not sing the whole night.

In the morning, he was very sad. He went home and put his lance in his house and be broke down in his bed crying. His wife asked what’s wrong, but he was so disturbed, he couldn’t even answer her. In the morning, the priest came to wake up the Deity. He was a very exalted priest. He could talk to the Lord, like Kanchipoorna. He looked at the Deity and he asked, “My Lord, why are your eyes so red?” “Oh” said Gopal, “I couldn’t sleep the whole night”

“Why not?”

“It’s alright”

“No… I can see in Your eyes, You were really disturbed, why couldn’t You sleep? There was no night music.”

“I’m so accustomed to Pytha’s singing. I know he sings out of tune, but he sings with love. I couldn’t sleep to his good night songs. But Govinda Swami, this idiot, he forbade him to sing. Now no music. I want that Pytha sings in the evening. He can sing Gopaaal. .I don’t mind. He sings with love”

So if you are a new devotee, or if you an eternally new devotee (laughter) just sing kirtan. If it is too complicated for you, try to at least sing for Krishna. Don’t put yourself in the center, put Krishna in the center. And you will please Him. The lord proved that… it’s a very well-known narration told in the Vallabha sampradaya.

I’m so sorry, I would love to take more questions and answers, but the subject is so wonderful that I can’t make it shorter. In Psychology 3000, we have to interact with the audience, but I’m only doing a duo-logue…Monologue…is a one person speaking… and duo-logue is two people speaking. It’s not dialogue.

(Interpreter asks “What is duologue?)

It’s a new word! Everyone invents, why can I not invent? (Laughter)

Very good translator. But sometimes he needs to sleep more.

Good… so what should we do now?

(Audience requests for one more story)

I’m just thinking…gimme a few seconds.

I want to tell you something personal. I know that much what I say is known to you. But, I feel there is one contribution where I speak about something which is not known to you.

In my lectures I always speak about one point which is not known to you. It is how to do things properly. Without this….. getting it right, your spiritual practice will not give you the result. Spiritual practice is something very deep. I sometimes feel that devotees go to lectures and want to be entertained. Or they want some information. But see the knowledge which we have is not for information and not for entertainment, it’s for transformation. Yes, in previous times there were alchemists who used to experiment and turn some ordinary metals into gold by some alchemistic process. Youtza in Russia had a few alchemist trying to produce gold. The powerful Swedish king Gustaff had another alchemist at his palace. But the alchemists were not after turning iron into Gold. That was not their purpose. They wanted to know the principles of transformation, so they could transform the ordinary character of a conditioned soul and make him in a wonderful devotee of Krishna… er… I mean, into an enlightened person. They didn’t speak of devotee of Krishna.

See, everyone can take a pair of kartals in their hands and do kirtan. Everyone can move in the society of devotees. But you need to know how to do this. Go to the devotees and make it work in such a way that you get love of God. You need to know how to do kirtan so that your heart will be transformed by Krishna Conscious power. You cannot remain a guest or a spectator of Krishna Consciousness. You need to be an alchemist. Sanatana Goswami uses this example of alchemistry how by proper process of initiation, an ordinary man can become a first-class Vaishnava Brahmana.

But you want to hear a story.

It’s easy after a whole day of non-digested food in the stomach to hear a story!

Hare Krishna.

But ok… I will tell you a story. Ha ha…

It’s a story which enlivens my spiritual life very much. And it’s a story which brings to life our spiritual practice. In Vrindavan, there’s a place called Shesha Van. It’s a forest of hope. There’s a beautiful lake in the forest and a wonderful temple with the deity of Lord Shiva. Last year, I went there with a few devotees. We had finished our big retreats in Varshana and we were one day in Ter Kadamba… and just next to Ter Kadamba is this temple. Govardhan Gopal was also in Ter kadamba… and he chanted more than 64 rounds. And next to this, where we go every year to have our japa workshop… is this beautiful forest of hope, with the deity of Lord Shiva. Please listen how this forest go this name.

It is very important for your spiritual life.

When Krishna appeared in this world, He performed the pastime of an ordinary child which was growing up. He was very very sweet and beautiful. Oh, his curly locks, and his soft feet with the different marks! And his laughter… Mother Yashoda, his mother was absolutely absorbed in His beauty. She could not think of anything else and anybody apart from her little Krishna.

One morning there was somebody at the door. He said he wanted to see Krishna. Mother Yashoda told the maidservant, Ask him who he is. And the maidservant came back totally excited, “It’s Lord Shiva!”

Wow, said Yashoda and she personally went to the palace gate. When she opened the gate, she was shocked to see Lord Shiva. There were two snakes around his neck.

He had very high tied topknots. His body was white from the ashes from the crematorium and he had a garland of skulls. Imagine one of the teachers of Psychology 3000 starts the lecture by wearing a garland of skulls. We would be afraid. We would think, maybe he needs some Psychology treatment. So mother Yashoda was shocked. “What do you want?”

“I want to see Krishna. I came from Mount Kailash. Please grant me Krishna’s darshan”

“NEVER! My little boy will be so shocked when he sees you. Look at those snakes! Shshh shhh… and your garlands… skulls!!! He will die from shock. Go somewhere else. Take this chapatti. Good bye!”

Shiva became extremely desperate.

Imagine the mother of God says, you can’t see Him. What’s your chance? There’s no chance.

So he went down the hill where the palace of Nanda Maharaj stood. He went into the forest and began to cry

“Oh Krishna, you have appeared to save the conditioned souls. But you don’t seem to show me any mercy”

He cried so much that a lake formed from his tears.

Meanwhile, Krishna began to scream in the palace. Before that He had only cried very softly. But on this day, He screamed ‘Aargh aargh”

Mother Yashoda was shocked. She tried everything to pacify, but it didn’t work. Finally, she gave her breast to Krishna, but Krishna say… no… And He didn’t drink. Do you know the future of the infant who doesn’t not drink and cannot drink the milk of his mother? He’s doomed to die. Finally Yashoda went to her husband, Nanda Maharaj. She said, in our old age, Lord Narayan has finally given us a child. But today something inauspicious has happened. A wild crazy man came and from that day on our house, our palace and our son are cursed!

O, said Nanda Maharaj, who was it?

It was Shiva with a garland of skulls and snakes. He wanted to see Krishna, but I know that Krishna is so sensitive, so tender. He would not be able to look at Shiva. It would be very bad for his mental stability. Nanda Maharaj said, we have to get Shiva. You can just show Krishna a little bit from the other opposite side. If it is still ok, you can come a little closer, and a little bit closer. But you must must fulfil Shiva’s desire otherwise Krishna will be dissatisfied. So Mother Yashoda sent her gopis out. They went all over Vrindavan to find Shiva. In the meantime the lake of tears was beginning to fill up. Shiva cried so much… and as he cried for Krishna, something strange happened. He felt how his desperation turned into hope. The hope to meet Krishna. That’s one of the mysteries of Krishna consciousness: when you feel separated from Krishna, you somehow feel that you may meet Him. When you stop forgetting Krishna, but feel separated and feel I need you Krishna, your life becomes excellent. So as Shiva began to long more and more for Krishna, his hope became more and more. Finally, it was already night time, he heard some gopis, “Mahadev, Mahadev, Shiva, where are you?”

“Here”

“Come along, Mother Yashoda has allowed you”

And they brought Shiva to the door of the palace. Mother Yashoda took little Krishna. He had been screaming all day long and as the door opened. From the opposite side the door was open… and she came from the other side. Krishna immediately looked at Shiva. And He laughed. She came a little closer. Everything was still alright. She came even more closer and Krishna threw His arms. And the Mother Yashoda gave Him in the arms of Shiva.

Shiva looked in the eyes of Krishna and cried. Krishna looked in the eyes of Krishna and laughed. And in this way their eyes locked. Sambandha! Deep connection.

Mother Yashoda immediately said, you are good for our house. You please stay here… and they build a little house next to their palace. Everyday Krishna had the darshan of Shiva and Shiva had the darshan of Krishna. And to this day Shiva stays there in the palace, it’s called Nanda Bhavan. I have seen last year and every offering is brought right after the offering to Shiva. He only gets mahaprasad and then it’s distributed to the devotees.

I liked this… because it’s the story of hope. Never give up hope. Hope will energize and enliven your kirtan. Without the hope, that Krishna is so merciful that He can show mercy to us…everything is so hopeless. I heard today from our devotee, this story about Lord Jagannath who breaks his lassi pots so that the flies of Puri can also have mahaprasad and be delivered. They have such big pots, Braja Renu… made of clay… Pfffffff… Everyone please get the mercy! Never give up hope. When you give up hope….Ahh… a man or a woman without hope is doomed. In kirtan, we can sing with the hope that Krishna will hear us.

Time is going so fast!

I thank you very much

Please excuse me if I sometimes….I mess up, but it’s with good intention.

See you all tomorrow

Hare Krishna

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai

Sri Sri Gaura nitai ki Jai

Gaur Premamandi -  Haribol

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=67343

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2515063308?profile=original

The Beatles taught us the mantra: “All You Need Is Love” and sang “Love me Do!” However, for the most part they didn’t tell us where to find lasting love. George Harrison was the exception. He gave us songs reminding us that the Lord is Sweet and that the Lord loves the one who loves the Lord! Let one of the most disturbing things currently being promoted as the pinnacle of spiritual wisdom is the concept of “Oneness.” While there is an aspect of similarity we all share, everyone merging together in one big ball of indistinct conscious energy doesn’t sound very fun and it certainly is not the pinnacle of enlightenment. You know you are in the presence of those who teach this sophistry when the shaman says things like: “We are all one,” or they talk of God as “Energy” or “Light”. Certainly God radiates light, but that is just one of His energies. It does not acknowledge Him personally.

February 14th is Valentines day and it celebrates the love that is shared between TWO individuals. While there is a lot of talk about loving oneself, that is NOT the type of Love celebrated on Valentines day. Those who only have themselves to love are often very lonely people. The experience of Love requires at least TWO. So those who are striving to merge into the oneness of everything should plan on being very dissatisfied and lonely because there must be the lover and the beloved to taste the exchange of Love.

We get a taste of what it means to love when we love our dog, our children or our spouse. But because of the temporary nature of everything in this world, those relationships don’t completely satisfy the soul which is eternal. It is also quite common that these forms of love can lead to tremendous suffering. Our children may rebel, our spouse may leave us and our pets may die causing severe pain, unless of course you have already shut down your emotions, which is a common characteristic with those who have had a traumatic childhood.

In this regard His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a world renowned scholar, saint and authority on the Vedic Scriptures said:
“We are seeking love of God beginning with our own body. We love this body because we live within it, and as long as the living soul is there, the body has value. The living soul is valuable because he is part and parcel of God. We also understand from Bhagavad-gita that within the body God is also living. So within there are two ksetra-jnas (Knower of the Fields) one who knows the individual body, and the other who knows all bodies. The ultimate conclusion is that because the Supreme Living Entity, God, is within the body and within the universe, we are attracted by love, society, friendship, communalism, and nationalism. When all this culminates in love for God, we attain perfection. We are searching for love of God, but we are moving by degrees from one platform to another…

We can understand the presence of God in nature, and we can certainly see His presence there. We can understand that there is a proprietor of the land, sea, and air. Someone is maintaining everything. We may not be able to see the proprietor of the universe, but from our present experience with proprietorship, it is not difficult to understand that there must be an ultimate proprietor. God is the proprietor of the sun, moon, and the sky itself. Vedic literatures describe the moon as the mind of God, the sun as the eyes of God, the land as the food of God, and the rivers as the veins of God. This is the beginning of impersonal realization, but we should understand that there is a person in the background (behind everything). Although we have not seen the Governor of Hawaii, we can understand that he is present by seeing the different branches of government. Similarly, as long as we are not qualified to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we can understand that this is God’s hand, this is God’s heart, His mind, His eyes, and so on. When we are qualified, we can personally see God, face to face.” – Dialectic Spiritualism , VII Evolutionary Naturalism, Samuel Alexander [1859-1938]

In the Gita Krishna reminds us that He is the goal of our life, our refuge and dear friend.

“I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.” – Bg 9.18
So when we invest in loving Krishna we experience divine love which is not tinged with the difficulties we encounter seeking love on the material plane. Krishna is the origin of all love and He has been with us all along. Therefore He can be thought of as our Primordial Valintine! Our exchange with Him has no bottom. It is only limited by our own hesitations or doubts. As those impediments are removed we fall hopelessly in love with our dear-most friend and nothing else is sweeter then that!

The Impersonal, Non-Dual, Advaita, oneness sophistry was originally propagated by Sankaracarya in the 8th century Now it is virtually everywhere and is particularly evident in the rhetoric of the new age shamans. So many are fooled into believing that the oneness sophistry is the highest stage of enlightenment, but according to Lord Siva the Mayavadi teachings are the “Root Cause of the Worlds Destruction.”

“The theory of Mayavadism, though given a facade of great importance and claiming itself to be derived from the Vedas, is in truth a non-Vedic theory. O goddess Parvati! It is I, who propagated this concocted theory which is the root cause of the world’s destruction.” – Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 25.7)

For those who are still unclear about the difference between the Advaita Path and the Bhakti Path I will defer to the  greatest  poet  in  the  Marathi  language; Saint Tukaram.
“I want to taste sugar; I don’t want to be sugar.”
Can water quaff itself?
Can trees taste of the fruit they bear?

He who worships God must stand distinct from Him,
So only shall he know the joyful love of God;
For if he say that God and he are one,
That joy, that love, shall vanish instantly away.
Pray no more for utter oneness with God:
Where were the beauty if jewel and setting were one?

The heat and the shade are two,
If not, where were the comfort of shade?
Mother and child are two,
If not, where were the love?

When after being sundered, they meet,
What joy do they feel, the mother and child!
Where were joy, if the two were one?
Pray, then, no more for utter oneness with God.

Poem by Tukaram

Thank You!
Mayesvara dasa ACBSP

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8549472055?profile=RESIZE_710xBy Madhava Smullen

The Grihastha Vision Team is offering an online Q & A on “Creating Meaningful Relationships” from 5:00 to 7:00pm on Saturday February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. The session will be broadcast live on the Grihasta Vision Team Facebook and Youtube, and via Zoom.

The GVT, established in 2004, is a group of Vaishnava couples who have all been in healthy marriages for over twenty-five years. The team members, who work professionally as premarital educators, psychotherapists, youth counselors and mediators, focus on helping devotees in ISKCON to have healthy marriages and happy families.

Pre-COVID, the team facilitated a Couple’s Retreat at Gita Nagari farm in Pennsylvania every year. During the pandemic, they have switched to offering bi-monthly question and answer panels on Zoom, Facebook Live and Youtube. The variety of topics they’ve covered have included preparing for marriage; harmonizing conflict; how to help men access emotions; dealing with in-laws; becoming exemplary parents; and the evolution of expectations in marriage.

This Friday’s panel will featureGrihastha Vision Team members and couples Uttama Devi Dasi and Partha Das; Vrajalila Devi Dasi and Ekavira Das; and Chintamani Devi Dasi and Jagannatha Pandit Das. It will be facilitated by Yadunath Das and Ekanta Bhakti Dasi.

The late Krsnanandini Devi Dasi, who passed away in November and was the driving force in starting the Grihastha Vision Team, and her husband Tariq Saleem Ziyad, are honored as GVT Members Emeriti on the event poster.

Sadly, longtime Grihastha Vision Team members Arcana Siddhi and her husband Karnamrita will also not be attending on Saturday.

“On February 9th, Karnamrita Prabhu left this world,” says Partha Das. “Karnamrita was someone who cared about connecting with others in deep meaningful ways. He was also lighthearted and jovial. He understood the nature of love, how it must be received as blessings and shared abundantly. He made everyone feel relaxed, valued, and accepted. He and his wife Arcana Siddhi mentored so many couples, sharing their mature realizations. This session will be dedicated in his honor and a date for a memorial service will be announced shortly.”

Saturday’s panel, which will center on the theme of “Creating Meaningful Relationships,” will first cover how to ensure you’re ready for marriage, and what qualities to develop before getting married.

Next, the panel will discuss maintaining connections, and simple skills and attitudes couples can adopt to ensure the ongoing health of their marriage.

They will also talk about how couples can repair a disconnect in their marriage, and bring it back into harmony.

“Often couples start to veer apart, and just don’t bother trying to realign themselves, so they can end up getting more and more distant,” Partha says. “We’re going to try and reinforce the importance of keeping the couple on a parallel track together to maintain their relationship in a healthy way.”

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When I was young, no one called it Valentines Day, everyone called it Saint Valentines day. You remember? Now they just call it Valentines Day because they don’t want to think about saints (laughter). Because it’s actually totally contradictory to the whole conception of what valentine’s day is all about. Who was saint valentine?
There were 2 saint valentines. And they were both celibate monks how were preachers of God consciousness. One of them was a catholic priest who lived in Rome and who preached the message of love of God with such enthusiasm and there was so much opposition against him, he lived in the second half of the 3rd century; that means just two and a half hundred years after Jesus Christ. And even though preaching of Christianity was against the law, it was a criminal activity, he was preaching, he was risking his life and he was brahmachari. He was a priest, he sacrificed family life, any relationship with sex, for the sake of preaching the instructions of love for God and he was captured, he was tortured and he was killed. He’s one of the great martyrs of the Catholic Church.
And then the second saint Valentine, he was a bishop in the catholic church. He was also a celibate monk, who dedicated his whole life to God consciousness, and he was a preacher, and he was also captured tortured and killed because he wouldn’t give up preaching devotion to God. Saint valentine, these 2 great personalities, the sacrificed all the pleasures of this world, life itself to serve God.
So you may be wondering, what that has to do with Valentines day in Bombay today. I don’t see any celibate is giving valentines, at least they are not supposed to. But saint valentine was celibate. He respected every woman as his mother. But a little later because the day, both these saint Valentines were killed, were murdered, was February 14th. So in England and France February 14th is the middle of the second month of the year. It’s like the beginning of spring. Yes?
Tomorrow we’re celebrating basant panchami, beginning of spring. Now what people saw is just in this spring is begging, Feb 14th they saw male and female birds meeting in the trees and mating. It’s the mating season. The inauguration of the mating season for the birds and the beasts. So devotees see it for what it is. But romantic materialists they are very attracted to this when theys see a male bird and a female bird biting each other with their beaks and having sex life. This is considered something very nice. So since the middle of Feb. is the day when the birds mate, they were thinking that we should consecrate this day as the day of showing your passionate love to others because that’s what the birds do on this day, And it happened to be the day on which saint valentine was murdered, so it came to be known as saint valentines day. Hare Krishna. So really what saint valentines day is all about for a religious person is giving up everything, being willing to undergo torture and killing in the service of the lord. That’s what Valentines day means to a vaisnava, or to a devotee. But to a materialistic person Saint Valentine’s Day means following in the footsteps of the lusty birds. Hare Krishna

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=24406

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God Walks and Does Not by Bhaktimarga Swami

8549423258?profile=RESIZE_400x“The supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.”

The above quote is referenced from mantra five of the text Sri Isopanisad. How may we analyze this mantra?

There are three aspects of God (the Absolute) — brahman, paramatma, and bhagavan. The first aspect or feature a God is a depersonalize feature of the Absolute. It would be hard to explain this feature which is defined as an all-pervasive presence of eternal light. There is no concept here of God having limbs such as arms and legs, what to speak of eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, anus and genitals. Devoid of senses all together this feature of the Absolute merely exists as an all-encompassing power. There is nothing human-like about this first feature of all-mightiness.

The second feature of Absoluteness is more personally predominant as paramatma, situated locally in all individual hearts, at the core of all living beings and ever present in each and every atom. If you see depictions of this param (Supreme) atma (entity) there are clearly human-like features of face, body, arms, legs and so on. This image of ultimate beauty is set mystically in the core of our being. He is stationary, does not move and functions as a sensitive witness of all our actions.

The final feature of God, known as Bhagavan, demonstrates all qualities of personal divinity. It is here that we appreciate Krishna as a remote powerhouse of personality who can eat, sleep, talk, walk and love and can be observed while in his remoteness. Although bearing legs, He, Krishna, possesses not one iota of physicality so we know it. He is DIVYAM, Divine.

Source: http://thewalkingmonk.blogspot.com/2021/02/wednesday-february-3rd-2021.html

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