giriraj swami (35)

Gaura Purnima


By Giriraj Swami

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on the full-moon day of the month of Phalguna in Sri Navadvipa-dhama in western Bengal. He manifested His pastimes on earth for forty-eight years. For the first twenty-four years, in Navadvipa, He played the role of a child, then of a youth, and then of a married man; for the next six years He traveled throughout India and preached; and for the final eighteen years He resided in Jagannatha Puri. Every year at the time of caturmasya, the four mon

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Hearing His Holiness Niranjana Swami’s wonderful talk, I felt we were being elevated to the spiritual world. He quoted from Visnujana Maharaja. Visnujana had a program in which he went by boat along the Ganges River, in Bengal, and chanted the holy names all day, stopping at villages along the way and chanting and speaking and distributing books about Krsna. Once, when I was in Los Angeles recovering from being sick in India, Srila Prabhupada received an issue of Back to Godhead with an artic

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Fifty years ago, on December 26, 1969, in Boston, Srila Prabhupada awarded me second initiation. He said, “Sucih means purified. And another meaning of sucih is brahman. A brahman means purified. Those who are going to be sacred-threaded today should remember that they are being accepted as sucih, as brahman. After chanting for six months or one year, it is supposed that he has already become purified. Now he should be recognized that he is purified. So this sacred thread means recognition. Sac

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On 11 Dec, Badrinarayan Swami and two other devotees from San Diego spent the afternoon with us in Carpinteria, and I had a wonderful time with him. Associating with him outside a temple setting, I became aware of many wonderful qualities and abilities in him for the first time. He is brilliant and truly a great asset to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, to which he is completely committed and devoted. And he has a real taste for Krishna consciousness.


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A Transcendental Visit by Giriraj Swami


Hridayananda das Goswami stayed with me in Carpinteria over the weekend, and we had many enlivening and enlightening conversations. I could really appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s statement that Maharaja has a “transcendental brain.” He is intent on serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission, especially in America, and our common interest is to please Srila Prabhupada and become Krishna conscious by his divine grace.

I pray for the association of Srila Prabhupada’s sincere, committed, and affectionate fol

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Last night I finished hearing Radhika Ramana dasa’s wonderful seminar on “The Glories of Srimad-Bhagavatam,” delivered at ISV in September 2015. I highly recommend it to all devotees.

dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam
vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam
srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah
sadyo hrdy avarudhyate ’tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat

“Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhaga

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Chastened and Humbled by Giriraj Swami


Listening to Srila Prabhupada’s talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.35, given in Bombay on December 4, 1974, I felt chastened and humbled by his description of surrender and pure devotion, as exemplified by Sri Prahlada:

“Krishna says (Gita 18.66),

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

[Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.] The qualification is: unless one is s

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On Sunday, September 15, in Dallas, in the presence of Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandji, Srila Prabhupada, and their followers, I was pleased to officially connect eight devotees to Srila Prabhupada and the guru-parampara through hari-nama initiation. Rajesh Sharma became Radha-vallabha dasa, Seema Sharma became Srimati dasi, Deo Pun became Divya Nama dasa, Manju Pun became Manjari dasi, Syamasundara Dasshort became Syama-vallabha dasa, Maria (Maggie) Caldwell became Madhuri Gopika dasi, Vanitha Sukum

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Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23:

“O King Rahugana, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahamsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya [austerity], the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold wa

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Visiting Rajani Priya Dasi by Giriraj Swami


Yesterday eight of us Kuntidevi, Lavanga Manjari, Nanda Kishore, Kandarpa Manjari (his wife), Gopal (their son), Srimati (their daughter), Jivan Mukta, and I visited Rajani Priya Dasi (Rose Forkash) at Mission Terrace Convalescent Hospital, where she is staying temporarily. She was as Krishna conscious as ever and told us how she is getting staff, patients, and visitors to chant Hare Krishna. She explains the philosophy behind it and gives them pieces of paper with the maha-mantra written on it

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I heard a lively argument between Srila Prabhupada and Dr. Patel on a morning walk on Juhu Beach, February 23, 1974. Srila Prabhupada was criticizing so called gurus who are actually Mayavadis and say, “I am God. Let me now have rasa dance. Send your children. Send your wife, send your daughter. We’ll dance.” “These are all rascals,” Prabhupada said. “Mayavadis. Mayavadi-bhasya sunile haya sarva-nasa. This is the statement of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As soon as one hears the statements of Mayavadi

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Gurudeva! by Giriraj Swami

While I was chanting japa this morning, my mind was flooded with a verse from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s song Gurudeva!:

jogyata-vicare, kichu nahi pai, tomara karuna sara
karuna na hoile, kandiya kandiya, prana na rakhibo ara

“Upon examining my value, I find that I have none; your mercy is essential to me. Therefore, if you are not merciful I will constantly weep and I will not maintain my life any longer.”

Later, I saw just how appropriate and relevant the rest of the song was to my effort

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Sri Balarama Rasayatra

By Giriraj Swami

For Balarama Rasa-yatra, we shall read from Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, called Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead—about Lord Balarama’s visit to Vrindavan after He and Krishna had been away from Vrindavan for many years.

In our meditation on the deity of the Lord, we begin from His lotus feet and then gradually progress upward to His ankles, knees, thighs, waist, navel, chest, neck, and face. Srimad-Bhagavatam is also a form

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Yamuna-devi — Serving Vani and Vapuh


By Giriraj Swami

As we approach the anniversary of Yamuna-devi’s departure—and the immersion of her ashes in the Yamuna and the dedication of her samadhi in Vrindavan—I thought to share some recollections and reflections on her glorious service, based on my talk at her memorial program in Vrindavan on December 23, 2011.

There is so much to be said about Srimati Yamuna-devi dasi.

In October of 1970 I was one of a group of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples from America going to join him in India. On t

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Reflections on the Forest Fires


By Giriraj Swami

Terrible forest fires have been raging around Ventura and Ojai, California, devastating homes and everything else on their way. I recalled Srila Prabhupada’s discussion of the first verse of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s Sri Gurv-astaka:

tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam
praptasya kalyana-gunarnavasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

“The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire

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