Dec 052016
 

Srimad-Bhagavakrishna-embracing-calftam contains a discussion between Dharma, in the form of a bull, and the Earth, in the form of a cow. Eventually he asks her, “The so-called administrators are now bewildered by the influence of this age of Kali, and thus they have put all state affairs into disorder. Are you now lamenting this disorder? Now the general populace does not follow the rules and regulations for eating, sleeping, drinking, mating, etc., and they are inclined to perform such anywhere and everywhere. Are you unhappy because of this?” (SB 1.16.22)

In his purport, Srila Prabhupada writes, “The so-called administrators are all untrained in the affairs of a ksatriya. The ksatriyas are meant for administration, as the brahmanas are meant for knowledge and guidance. The word ksatra-bandhu refers to the so-called administrators or persons promoted to the post of the administrator without proper training by culture and tradition. Nowadays they are promoted to such exalted posts by the votes of the people who are themselves fallen in the rules and regulations of life. How can such people select a proper man when they are themselves fallen in the standard of life? Therefore, by the influence of the age of Kali, everywhere, politically, socially or religiously, everything is topsy-turvy, and therefore for the sane man it is all regrettable.”

What Srila Prabhupada wrote more than fifty years ago is relevant today. And the antidote would appear to be to educate people in Vedic knowledge as presented in Srila Prabhupada’s translations of Srimad-Bhagavatam and other books—delivered to them by people such as me and you.

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami

Nov 242016
 

krishna-sharing-food-with-his-associatesIf we are at all aware of how dependent we are on God—for the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and our very ability to eat and drink and breathe, to think and feel and do everything else we do—we will feel grateful and want to reciprocate God’s kindness. We will want to do something for He (or She or They) who has done, and continues to do, so much for us.

We often take things for granted until we lose them. I use my right hand to chant on meditation beads, and one morning I found that I had severe arthritic pain in my hand and could no longer use it for chanting. I had taken the use of my hand for granted, but when I lost its use, I resolved to never take my hand for granted and to always use it in the best way in God’s service.

How can we attempt to return some of God’s favor, some of God’s care—and love—for us? My spiritual master, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, gave one answer:

“Whatever you have got by pious or impious activities, you cannot change. But you can change your position, by Krishna consciousness. That you can change. Other things you cannot change. If you are white, you cannot become black, or if you are black, you cannot become white. That is not possible. But you can become a first-class Krishna conscious person. Whether you are black or white, it doesn’t matter. This is Krishna consciousness. Therefore our endeavor should be how to become Krishna conscious. Other things we cannot change. This is not possible.

tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah
tal labhyate duhkhavad anyatah sukham
kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa
      [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.18]

Kalena, by time, you will get whatever you are destined. Don’t bother about so-called economic development. So far as food is concerned, Krishna is supplying. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. He is supplying even cats and dogs and ants. Why not you? There is no need of bothering Krishna, ‘God, give us our daily bread.’ He will give you. Don’t bother. Try to become very faithful servant of God. ‘Oh, God has given me so many things. So let me give my energy to serve Krishna.’ This is required. This is Krishna consciousness. ‘I have taken so much, life after life, from Krishna. Now let me dedicate this life to Krishna.’ This is Krishna consciousness. ‘I will not let this life go uselessly like cats and dogs. Let me utilize it for Krishna consciousness.’ ”

I pray that I will dedicate this life and everything I have—everything that God has given me—fully in God’s service, following His pure devotees.

manasa, deho, geho, yo kichu mora
arpilun tuya pade, nanda-kisora

“Mind, body, and home, whatever may be mine, I surrender at Your lotus feet, O youthful son of Nanda [Krishna]!” (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Saranagati)

—Giriraj Swami

Nov 222016
 

Reading Srila Prabhupada’s Light of the Bhagavata, I was struck by text 12 and his commentary on it:

storm-with-lightning-from-light-of-the-bhagavata“The mountains, although being struck by torrents of rain during the rainy season, are not shaken, just as those whose hearts are dedicated to the transcendental Personality of Godhead are never disturbed, even when harassed by great misfortune.” (LOB 12)

“Because a person who is spiritually advanced accepts any adverse condition of life as the mercy of the Lord, he is completely eligible to enter into the spiritual kingdom. Even though a person takes to the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, he may sometimes become diseased, impoverished, or disappointed by life’s events. A true devotee of the Lord always considers these sufferings to be due to past sinful activities, and thus without becoming disturbed he patiently awaits the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Such devotees are compared to high mountains, which are never agitated in any way, even when struck by powerful torrents of rain in the rainy season. Rather, such devotees remain humble in spiritual enlightenment. Free from pride and envy, they easily gain the mercy of the Lord and go back home, back to Godhead.” (LOB 12 purport)

—Giriraj Swami

Govardhan-puja: The Glories of Govardhan Hill, October 24, 2014, Houston

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Oct 302016
 

Sri_Giridhari_Holding_Sri_Giri-Govardhana“We may approach the Lord for something material and he may fulfill our desire, but in such a way that we don’t approach him again for that desire. So, it is better if we approach the Lord and great souls like Giri Govardhan with spiritual desires like the gopi’s—just to serve and please Krishna—without any desire for themselves. By serving and pleasing Krishna we become pramodah—we become exceedingly happy. That is how we become happy. Not by trying in our own independent way to enjoy but by serving and pleasing Krishna and His devotees. That was the benediction the gopis wanted from Govardhan Hill and he fulfilled their desires.”
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Govardhan-puja Talk

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Sarad Purnima and Karttika, October 18, 2013

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Oct 172016
 

Damodar-Lila-2006forwebGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.32, verses 16 to 22.

” ‘But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopis, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else’ (SB 10.32.20). It happens: We get something with great difficulty and then we lose it and become obsessed with the loss. Or we may take something for granted, and when we lose it we appreciate what we had.

“Then Krishna says, ‘My dear girls, understanding that simply for My sake you had rejected the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas, and of your relatives, I acted as I did only to increase your attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you. Therefore, My beloved gopis, please do not harbor any bad feelings toward Me, your beloved’ (SB 10.32.21). Here Krishna is saying that it is not true that He did not reciprocate their love. He did, in such a way as to increase their attachment for Him. He was reciprocating—because the gopis‘, or any pure devotee’s, only desire is to love and serve Krishna and to increase their love for Him and their service to Him. And so by removing Himself from them He was reciprocating with their hearts’ deepest, innermost desire—to increase their love for Him.”

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Sarat Purnima and the First Night of Karttika

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Becoming Godly, October 2, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 102016
 

original-delhi-bhagavatam-coverGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28.

“The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to seventy-eight percent in full. The living being can never possess attributes like Siva, Visnu, or Lord Krsna. A living being can become godly by developing the seventy-eight-percent transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Siva, Visnu, or Krsna. He can become a Brahma in due course. The godly living beings who are all residents of the planets in the spiritual sky are eternal associates of God in different spiritual planets called Hari-dhama and Mahesa-dhama. The abode of Lord Krsna above all spiritual planets is called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana, and the perfected living being, by developing seventy-eight percent of the above attributes in fullness, can enter the planet of Krsnaloka after leaving the present material body.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28 purport

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28

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Sri Vyasa-puja, October 1, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 062016
 

10-01-16_grs_vp_12_dallasGiriraj Swami’s Vyasa-puja was a festive opportunity for participants to chant, dance, feast, and glorify Lord Krishna and His devotees.

“My experience with His Holiness Giriraj Swami is that he is a clear representative, or, as Srila Prabhupada said, ‘a transparent via medium.’ So, through Giriraj Swami we see our founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. This quality of Giriraj Swami is very important to me because ISKCON is a growing society that must prevail for a long time. That will depend on the clarity with which we see Srila Prabhupada’s vision for what ISKCON should be, which in turn will depends on the clarity of vision the senior devotees have. From my daily exchanges with Giriraj Swami I find he has a strong desire to understand exactly what is being said and meant by Srila Prabhupada.” — Rtadhvaja Swami

10-01-16_grs_vp_01_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_02_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_03_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_04_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_05_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_06_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_07_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_08_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_09_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_10_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_11_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_13_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_14_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_15_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_16_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_17_dallas——————————
Thanks to Bhismadeva dasa for the beautiful photos.

Part 1 – speakers:
Nityananda dasa, Rtadhvaja Swami, Cakri dasa, Sucharya dasi, Visvambara dasa, Radhanatha dasa, Shyamasundara dasa, Apurva dasa, Guru Bhakti dasi, Mahahari dasa, Syamavali dasi, Radha Krishna dasa, Children from TKG Academy, Guru Priya dasi, Rasikendra dasa, Dhruva dasa, Devaprastha dasa, Arjuna Krishna dasa, Visakha Priya dasi, Vinod Bihari dasa, Nila Madhava dasa and Madhuri Radha dasi, Svapna Vilasa dasi, Ananda Lila dasi, Visnupriya dasi

Part 2:
Gandharvika, Abhay Charan, Hemangi dasi, Jaya Sri Radhe dasi, Lily and Art Garcia, Arduan, Ananda Lila dasi, Vrnda Priya dasi, Indulekha dasi, Patita Pavana dasa, Varshana Rani dasi, Vijaya Bhattaru, Himanshu Tambe, Snigdha Tambe, Aashish Pandya, Dehuti Pandya, Ashesha, Gaura Hari dasa, Maria Caldwell, Gopi Gita dasi

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Vyasa-puja offerings part 1
Vyasa-puja offerings part 2
Vyasa-puja talk by Giriraj Swami

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The Illuminating Knowledge of a Pure Devotee, October 1, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 042016
 

ct16-114Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.51.

“These are very important principles. We may have heard them before, but, as Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Repetition is important for understanding’—because we are in the material atmosphere, which is full of fog and clouds. Therefore even though something may be clear at a certain time and in the right association, the same thing may become clouded over again and we may lapse into habitual ways of thinking which are not spiritual, or Krishna conscious. Thus we must pray that the truth of Krishna consciousness always remain illuminated within our hearts, so we don’t slide back into the fog and clouds of material consciousness.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.51, Dallas

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Progressing Spiritually, September 25, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Sep 282016
 

sp japa 3Giriraj Swami and Rtadhvaja Swami spoke at the Sunday Krishna Fest, referring to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6.

“It is a great transcendental science and begins with the process of hearing and chanting the name, fame, glory, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Revival of the dormant affection or love of Godhead does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is fully satisfied with the sincere efforts of the devotee, He may endow him with His loving transcendental service. But even with the prescribed forms of hearing and chanting, there is at once mitigation of the superfluous and unwanted miseries of material existence. Such mitigation of material affection does not wait for development of transcendental knowledge. Rather, knowledge is dependent on devotional service for the ultimate realization of the Supreme Truth.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6 purport

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Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6

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The Supreme Opulence of Vrindavan, September 25, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Sep 262016
 

krishna-and-gopisGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 14, in Dallas.

“Although superficially Vrindavan is just a cowherd village, the opulence of Vrindavan far exceeds that of Vaikuntha. But because the mood of sweetness (madhurya) prevails in Vrindavan, it covers the mood of opulence (aisvarya)—even though Vrindavan’s opulence is greater than that of Dvaraka or Vaikuntha. Say, for example, there is a mixture of 100 gallons of lime juice and 100 pounds of sugar, and there is another container with 10 gallons of lime juice and 1 pound of sugar. The lime is like the opulence, and the sugar is like the sweetness. Vrindavan is like the 100 gallons of lime juice which has more opulence than Vaikuntha and yet is sweeter to the taste, with its 100 pounds of sugar, than the 10 gallons of lime juice with 1 pound of sugar.”

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Kirtan
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 14.228

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