ISKCON Derire Tree's Posts (14458)

Jagannatha Ratha Yatra Writing Competition

Ratha Yatra season arrives with the beginning of summer. It’s a time when ISKCON introduces Srila Prabhupada, prasada, the holy name, and especially Lord Jagannatha to thousands of people worldwide! The Bhakti Writers Community is hosting a writing competition sponsored by the Philadelphia Ratha Yatra Committee. We’re looking for fiction and nonfiction pieces that present Ratha Yatra, kirtan, or Srila Prabhupada.

The winning submission will be published in Philadelphia’s Annual Ratha Yatra souvenir magazine, and there will be other prizes.

Want to build your confidence in your writing? The Bhakti Writers Community offers writers help and support from idea to polished piece.
For submission guidelines and information on prizes: Bhaktiwriters.com/competition.
Deadline: June 15
Writing Prompt :  Write a 500-word creative nonfiction piece on the meaning, importance, and/or your experience of kirtan, Ratha Yatra or Srila Prabhupada. Your piece should be engaging, thought-provoking, and resonate with devotees and nondevotees alike. Creative nonfiction communicates factual information through the literary techniques common to fiction. Biography, personal essay, memoir, and travel writing are examples of creative nonfiction.

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Seminar on Grihasta Ashrama

Seminar on Grihasta Ashrama by His Holiness Bhakti Vidyapurna Swami

(His Holiness Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami comes from a Jewish American background. He is a person of high integrity who had traveled a long way to find a spiritual framework in which he could live happily.)

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Bhakti Shashtri Course by His Grace Bhurijana Prabhu

(H.G.Bhurijana Prabhu first meet Srila Prabhupada at 26 Second Ave, and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1968. After preaching in Japan for about a year, in 1970 he opened ISKCON's first Hong Kong center.)

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Urgency of Krishna Consciousness

Urgency of Krishna Consciousness by HG Sesa Prabhu at ISKCON Gainesville on 01 July 2011

(Sesa Dasa was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1974 while he was traveling as a member of the initial Bhaktivedanta Book Trust library party. Sesa Dasa has a portfolio of two ministries: Minister of Educational Development and Minister of Justice, under which ISKCON Resolve works.)

To Listen and Download - click here

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These are the rooms used by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada whilst staying at the Krishna -Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan. Fondly known as Srila Prabhupada he founded ISKCON, the Hare Krishna Movement way back in 1966. By his unique potency he managed the movement as if single handed. Within 11 years of his personal presence he oversaw phenomenal success and growth which by 1977 had translated into over 108 temples and centres worldwide.


He was a prolific writer who unselfishly would work hours that normal mortals could not sustain. His greatest works were Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Chaitanya Charitamrita which anyone who reads will quickly attain love of God. His books are the law books for the next 10,000 years. His legacy will never fade and his rooms are places of pilgrimage. This Krishna Balaram Temple in Vrindavan will become so famous that eventually the whole world will know who Srila Prabhupada is and how he saved the world from its headlong rush into the depths of hellish existence. It will be seen and recognised that he, and he alone brought a truth so powerful that all other personal luminaries will appear to be eclipsed in his presence.

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http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/photo/albums/srila-prabhupada-quarters-at-iskcon-vrindavan-on-13-april-2013

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On 16th April, Monday, Sri Jagannath Rath yatra was organised By ISKCON Ahmedabad. Rathayatra started 5pm till 10pm. 

Thousands of devotees joined the rath yatra. A 35-feet tall chariot, with the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Baldev and Devi Subhadra, Radha-Govinda and Ram-Lakshman Sita Devi on board, was pulled on the road. Music bands and floats depicting scenes from Gita were part of the rath yatra. 

HH BB Madhav Swami, HG Deena Bandhu Prabhu, HG Yasomatinandan Prabhu, HG Sarvabhauma Prabhu and 20 foreign devotees present at Rathayatra.

The length of the route selected was about 8 km, which concluded at our ISKCON temple. Our Ratha is 30 feet high and huge all around. We adopt traditional style of Ratha pulling by using ropes on two sides of the Ratha. One side is for matajis and the other for prabhus. In-between the Kirtan parties chant Hare Krishna mahaa-mantra and dance in ecstasy in the mood as that of Mahaaprabhu. There are two tractors in the front with artifacts on subjects like Bhaagavatam and cycle of birth & death. After these tractors is a royal chariot driven by a white horse with Srila Prabhupada in it. Professional music band party follows Srila Prabhupada’s chariot singing the mahaa-mantra.

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http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/photo/albums/jagannath-ratha-yatra-festival-at-iskcon-ahmedabad-on-15-april

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Seminar on Relationaships

Seminar on Relationships by HH Bhakti Vidyapurna Swami at ISKCON New Vraja Dham on 10 August 2007

(HH Bhakti Vidyapurna Swami is Principal of Sri Rupanuga Paramarthika Vidyapitha, ISKCON Mayapur. He trains gurukul kids to be perfect vaishnavas)

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Exploring The Roots Of Spiritual Culture

A few days after our Holy Name Retreat at Ekachakra Dham we embarked on our three-weeks' course "Exploring The Roots Of Spiritual Culture" for ladies.


Quite a few matajis who had been participating in the retreat decided to attend the course. They had received some nourishment and inspiration and were open and eager for more......

We had turned my place at the Mayapur Goshala into a class room - I had bought six chairs to be placed along the sides of the room, we had purchased sitting mats for the floor and had even arranged to get a flip chart made, so we could write things down visibly for all.

We were around twenty eager ladies of various levels of seniority: some were rather new to Krsna consciousness, and some had been practicing for more than 25 years. We also had one disciple of Srila Prabhupada participating. It was a nice group, and we valued each other's association.

We were meeting every morning for three hours going systematically through the topics, and the concise hand-out's were helpful for us all. Every morning we started the day with skits summorizing the topics of the previous day. Role plays are an excellent tool to deepen our learning experience, and they bring the participants together and stimulate their intelligence and creativity.

Every single devotee who participated in this course experienced a rather deep transformation on her world view and outlook on life and it's goals. On the last day we shared realizations, and some ladies were revealing very personal experiences and shedding tears - tears of remorse of past misunderstandings and mistakes, and tears of relief and happiness of having gained valuable insights into the eternal principles and wisdom underlying spiritual culture. It was as if a curtain of ignorance was finally lifted.


Sadhana mataji had ordered the Mahaprasadam of Sri Sri Pancha Tattva, and we accepted prasadam together as a final loving exchange. Syamala mataji from Sydney felt so inspired by this course that she proposed to transcribe the entire course material and make a book out of it.


Books are certainly a very powerful tool to affect people's consciousness, as Srila Prabhupada has been demonstrating.....

Vrindadevi mataji from Swizzerland shared the following reflections which very nicely summarize the mood of the entire course and give powerful food for thought....:

"What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled, and the time of awakening for all beings is night to the introspective sage"(BG.2.69).

The day of the ordinary materialist has to become night to me, if I truly want to progress in my spiritual life. The worldview and culture of the materialist and that of the transcendentalist are as opposite as day and night. In the ultimate sense they are incompatible. Understanding this fact more deeply, I can consciously choose how much uplifting spiritual culture I want to integrate into my daily life.

Krsna has endowed the female form with a very powerful energy. I have the choice to use it as an instrument of maha-maya which bewilders and exploits, or I can use it to become an auspicious source of energy to men and thus uplift others around me (SB 4.21.4.). In this way I can greatly influence the atmosphere of my surroundings and have a tremendous responsibility within society. I can choose to either use everything and everyone for my enjoyment in a gross or sublte way, or to nourish all with my service and care.

"Actually, a woman is supposed to be the energy of the man. Historically, in the background of every great man there is either a mother or a wife." (SB.4.26.15.)
The spine gives the main support to the entire body and keeps it upright. But the spine is in the back - not visible from the front. Women who know the art of being the auspicious source of energy to men are like the backbone of society: they keep things together and upright. Men could be compared to the face of society. Just imagine what would happen when the spine wants to be in the front....!
It seems to be a forgotten dignity and honour to serve in the background.

In spiritual culture women are considered to be mothers. They are the care givers and nurturers within society. They balance the forces and harmonize the relationships.
Mother's mood is 'I am last - everybody else comes first.'

ISKCON needs more true mothers and grand-mothers.....

In the name of progress, freedom and independence I lost respectability and real shelter - and I wasted so much time and energy by constantly competing with men and women for the highest position of control and influence. But "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." Our children need good mothers who can empower them to become emotionally strong adults one day.

Men need my uplifting energy rather than the bewildering one, and thus they will be inspired to make the sacrifice of protecting and sustaining a family or a community. And in order to take charge of things they need my encouragement, rather than one more competitor. This is an eternal principle which I can observe within family life, but also within society at large.

Hierarchy means "divine order" with Krsna being on the top. But if Krsna is removed, the divine order turns into exploitation. Rather than rejecting the idea of hierarchy and throwing out the 'baby with the bath water' I want to put Krsna back on the top. Being protected as a wife and mother will be a blessing for me, not a curse.

I want to deeply understand the eternal and universal underlying principles of spriritual culture. Spiritual culture is Krsna's culture, which He has made available to me to derive tremendous support on my path back to Godhead. I am not so interested in the details of application of the remnants of Indian or even Vedic culture. I need to understand the eternal underlying principles. Then the application will follow.
I need to be convinced of the beauty and joy of serving and preaching in the mood of a mother, rather than an agent of the prison keeper Durgadevi.

I sincerely pray to Srimati Radharani that She may help Devaki Mataji and others to dive deeply into the subject of spiritual culture. I feel it can indeed give the root and foundation to a more caring and happy International Society for Krsna Consciousness. This course clarified many of my misunderstandings I had grown up with in the sometimes confused family of ISKCON.

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Oh My God

The Bollywood Movie Oh My God! fittingly exposed the arrogance and hypocrisy of godmen. It also made several important points about specific religious practices as well as the generic role of religion in society. Oh My God! Re-answering the Questions responds to those points through thirty-two question-answers like:
 
• Do we need middlemen to approach God?
• Does God help atheists and oppose godmen?
• Is religion made by man or by God?
• When we don't chant "Papa, Papa", why should we chant "Krishna, Krishna"?
• Does religion make people violent or helpless?
• When God is present everywhere, why should we worship him in temple stone images?
 
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Lecture on Address to Brahmacharies

Hindi  Lecture on Address to Brahmacharies by His Holiness Prabodhananda Sarasvati Swami at ISKCON Vrindavan on 11th April 2013

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Gautam Gambhir at ISKCON KolkataFamed cricketer Gautam Gambhir who is presently the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) visited Iskcon Kolkata temple today (12th April 2013) with his teammates. They enjoyed vegetarian food at the famous Govindas restaurant. Gautam Gambhir also met with Iskcon monks, took darshan of the deities of Radha – Govinda and also received “Krishna” book (book about Lord Krishna). He experienced spiritual bliss and inner peace.

"Plz visit www.iskconbookdistribution.com for book distribution stories, quotes, videos, audio, images, etc. In short, you will learn of the importance Srila Prabhupada placed on book distribution for our ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada's books have changed hundreds of thousands of lives in a very positive way. The mission of this website is to increase the number of people who have been blessed by reading Srila Prabhupada's transcendental words of wisdom."  Vijaya Das, Minister of ISKCON Book Distribution

View more photos : www.iskcondesiretree.net/photo/albums/international-indian-cricket-player-gautam-gambhir-receive

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Lavangalatika Devi Dasi

In pre-glasnost days a veteran book distributor 
finds a way to get Bhagavad-gita As It Is to the Russians.


After going through immigration at the Agosto de Sandino Aeropuerto at Managua. I stood in line to purchase $60 worth of cordovas (the local currency), which is required for anyone entering the city. Having been told, inaccurately, that everything is inexpensive in Nicaragua, I had brought only $200 in cash with me.


More important, I had two hundred copies of the Russian translation ofBhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I had come to give them to Russian officials and professionals stationed in Managua. At that time, the winter of 1985, it was easier and safer to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books to Russians outside the Soviet Union. The book had been newly published. I felt it was important to distribute as many copies as possible, because whenever Bhagavad-gita As It Is is translated into a new language, many new devotees j of Krsna are made.


In customs, a uniformed young lady confiscated my books. She said that customs would deliver them to the Russian embassy, but I insisted I would have to do it myself. Unfortunately, the administrator of customs had already gone home for the night, so she said I should come back the next day, as it would take that long for the books to go through the clearing house.


I took a cab and asked for the Hotel Central, the largest hotel near the airport and the only one I'd heard of. I had also been told that the rates were reasonable there. It was a very dark, humid night. The short ride on the bumpy, unlit road cost five hundred cordovas, more than $20. The hotel seemed to be empty, but they said they had no available rooms. It was just as well since the rooms cost $75 a night Obviously, I had come to the wrong place, so I took another taxi back down the dark, bumpy road that led to the city.

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Bhupinder Singh HoodaHaryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday announced to provide a six-acre land for the construction of ISKCON temple at Kurukshetra. 

Hooda made this announcement on the request of President, ISKCON Temple, Kurukshetra, Sakshi Gopal Das, who called on him here today, in this regard. 

The Chief Minister, according to an official release, said the proposed temple would be the replica of ISKCON temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. 

Hooda said Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple, a replica of Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh, is already under construction at Kurukshetra. 

Recently, the Chief Minister had also announced to give land for the construction of Akshardham Temple there. 


With the construction of ISKCON temple, the "Triveni" of temples would be completed and religious importance of Kurukshetra would be further enhanced at the national and international level, he said. 

The Chief Minister said he has always desired to develop Kurukshetra as a tourist destination of international level.

Source : http://zeenews.india.com/news/haryana/hooda-announces-to-provide-land-for-iskcon-temple_841406.html

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The Great Saint Tukarama


The great Vaisnava saint, Tukarama, was born in Deha, Maharashtra in 1608. Srila Prabhupada writes: “It is said that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiated Tukarama when he visited Pandarapura, and thus Tukarama became his disciple. Tukarama Acaraya became very famous in the Maharashtra province, and he spread the sankirtan movement all over the provence.” [ CC Madhya 9.282 purport ] Tukarama appeared much after Lord Caitanya, but in his writings states that one day Mahaprabhu appeared to him in a dream ( a vision ) and gave him diksa, or initiation. As Srila Prabhupada writes, Tukarama spread the Bhakti cult far and wide, often against fierce opposition. On the day he departed from this world a huge crowd gathered near a large tree that he was lying under. Suddenly Garuda appeared with a flower airplane and in front of everyone picked up Tukaram and flew him back to the spiritual world in his self-same body. Even common people witnessed this miracle. Each year on that day the same tree shakes violently in separation from the great saint. Pilgrims gather from all over India to watch the event.

During my short stay in Pune we drove to Deha and visited the original home of Tukaram. We also visited the temple where his deities, Sri Vittal Rukmini, are being worshipped and the place of his bhajan on a small mountain. We took bath in a nearby sacred river where a number of his pastimes took place. Here is just one of the many thousands of beautiful slokas that Tukarama wrote: “Having collected tremendous merits by chanting the holy names, now I’ve opened a market place to distribute these unparalleled treasures. In this market place of bliss the only commodity is the holy name of Lord Rama. Free of cost, it bestows easy deliverance from ocean of suffering. Many fortunate stalwarts have in the past stocked this great treasure. In this market there is no question of falsehood, cheating or danger in making transactions. Rather it will purify the consciousness with the slightest effort.”

View Photo Gallery

http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/photo/albums/indradyumna-swami-visited-holy-place-dehu

 - By Indradyumna Swami

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By Basu Ghosh prabhu, Baroda, India

Yesterday evening around 6:30 PM IST, at Chennai (Madras), Sriman Mahamani Krishna Das aka Mani aka N. Subramanian, left his material body and departed this material world for Lord Krishna's own abode, Krishnaloka.

He was 75 (or 76).

He had never recovered after suffering a massive stroke approximately two years ago.

Mahamani Krishna Das was key in establishing regular ISKCON "satsangh" programs in Damodar Desh (Dubai). He was the civil engineer who served as site engineer overseeing the renovation of the Srinathji (Pushtimargi/Vallabh Sampradaya) "Haveli" (palace) temple at Dubai. He lectured on Gita and Bhagavatam, organized classes, and taught and compiled shlokas from both. He had a large circle of students - Indian expats - who became his ardent followers. He organized festivals at Dubai like Krishna Janmastami, etc., in a grand way. He inspired both of his sons and their families to become devotees and pracharaks like himself! He was initiated by Jayapataka Swami, and facilitated Maharaj initiating hundreds of expats in the Gulf region. He established his own charitable trust, Sri Krishnam Vande Jagatgurum Charitable and Educational trust that distributed books and clothing to the needy at Chennai. He ran a large goshalla at Tirunelveli, his ancestral place, in Southern Tamil Nadu where there is a population of almost 100 animals. After retiring from the Gulf, he used to go up and down to the goshalla from Chennai, despite suffering from heart trouble in his later years. In all of his activities he was accompanied by his devoted wife, Paripurna Radha Devi Dasi (JPS), who served him always during his struggles post stroke. Following him she inspired many expat ladies in Krishna bhakti.

One of the minor things he did - along with Amma - was attend the opening of the Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar Mandir at Baroda on Sri Krishna Janmastami, 1999.

He is survived by his wife, Paripurna Radha Devi Dasi, sons, Srivallabh Das and Nandakumar Das, and daughter, Harini and their families.

Much more could be written about Mahamani Krishna Prabhu, but I'll keep this brief. His last rites will be performed today at Chennai.

He has now gone to join Lord Krishna's eternal pastimes at Goloka.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote:

“He reasons ill who tells that Vaishnavas die, When thou art living still in sound! The Vaishnavas die to live, and living try. To spread the holy name around".

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Dhama Seva Goloka Seva


The sastras proclaim three avenues of relation and purification for the jiva; guru seva, gau(cow) seva and dhama seva. Of course the yuga-dharma, the harinama, is the foundation activity for all, supporting the other three that have unique characteristics and varying spiritual potencies.

The guru seva is the first prescription given in the Vedas and every devotional work is obviously done as a credit to guru, and sometimes sadly in this field there is possibility of offense. Gau seva, cow protection, caring for Mother cow, as shown by Lord Rama and Lord Krsna, is even more forgiving in providing spiritual merits. The history is there for those who dedicate themselves to Gau seva, the Lord can most kindly appear before that person.

However, what is even more merciful and easily practiced is the dhama seva, caring, cleaning, and protection of the holy dhama. It wonderfully includes all the services above, just maintaining and protecting the places of Lord Krsna’s pastimes. Also there is the added relation of blessings that come from the sadhus and visiting pilgrims as one follows the footsteps, up keeping the holy places, an insurance policy in spiritual progression.

maharani sri radhika astasakhi ky junda dagar buhavat savaro jaya jaya sri radha kunda

Whenever Radharani comes to Radha-kunda or Govardhana, Sri Krsna sweeps the pathway before Her and Her eight sakhis.

From the example of Lord Sri Krsna Himself, sweeping the path before His beloved gopis, to Sri Syamanada Prabhu, the Six Goswamis, and Bhaktivinode Thakur, all engaged in the dhama seva.

Srila Prabhupada, on behalf of our parampara, emphasized the ghostyanandi networking, making Krsna Consciousness available to the world and he also gave an allocation for some as bhajananadis, to reside in the holy places where we bring people.

What a great opportunity of linking two worlds, getting added momentum in the communication field, for anyone who visits the holy dhama, not just as a tourist on parikrama, but as an actual ‘heartfelt contributor’ through added sweeping and cleaning within the sacred land. Real Braja is beyond the camera, but a captured heart in service to the dhama; what a way to ‘be seen’ by the Supreme.

One cannot boldly claim that one is going to Godhead after this life, however seva to the dhama is direct Goloka seva, for They are non different from each other. This is a direct event of service in the spiritual world.


Yearly 1000’s of Vaisnavas in their visit to Braja, take advantage if this Goloka seva. Recently in honor of Sridhar’s passing(a follower of Shyamadas in Jetipura) his supporters and Indradumnya Swami’s crew, a total of 30 devotees collected 6 massive bags of plastic near Govinda Kunda towards Punchari.
http://www.iskcondesiretree.net/photo/albums/indradyumna-swami-cleaning- sri-giriraj-hill

Who will be next in such a heart connection?

Plans are also being developed for sponsoring Brajavasis to daily clean throughout the year.

Please contact Devaki Prana das at Prabhupada vani ashram, Radha-kunda, for any desired opportunity in seva at dasdevakipran@gmail.com or mobile 91 9359329301.

Jaya Sri Radhe,
Your Servant,
Devaki Prana das

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