Apr 282017

Prabhupada smiling on Juhu terraceIn Juhu Srila Prabhupada would go on the roof in the evening and give darshan. One evening there were five or ten devotees around him, and a few Indian guests, including a famous movie star and his wife. Somebody had brought mangoes for Prabhupada, and at one point he called for a knife and told a devotee to cut a mango and distribute it as prasada. So a brahmacari got a knife and sliced the mango, but it was dripping juice all over—it was a mess.

“You cannot cut it?” Prabhupada asked.

“The knife is not very sharp,” the brahmacari replied.

“That is not the way to cut it,” the movie star’s wife interjected. “Give it to me.”

“Yes,” Prabhupada agreed. “You do not know how to cut. One who knows, let him cut.”

So, the woman took the mango, cut it into two neat halves and scored the flesh into crisscrossed cubes. Then she popped the insides out, and it was a simple matter to pick the cubes off the peel.

Prabhupada laughed at how expertly and neatly she had done it. “Just see,” he said, “even for cutting a mango, one requires a guru. ” Then he quoted from the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12): “Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet”—“To learn the science one must certainly approach a spiritual master.” The guests and devotees all laughed, and Prabhupada told the brahmacari to distribute the prasada, one piece to everyone.

“Everything requires a guru,” Prabhupada repeated. “Otherwise one remains a fool, rascal—that’s all. In every item you require a guru. And to understand Krishna, or God, everyone thinks they are independent. Just see the foolishness. Yata mata tata patha. ‘Ah, you consider about God in your own way. It doesn’t require any guru.’ This foolishness is going on. For cutting a mango one requires a guru, and to understand Krishna, he doesn’t require a guru. This foolishness is going on. And Krishna says,

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti tad jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsina
           [Bg 4.34]

[“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”] Krishna says you have to understand like this. But everyone is thinking, ‘Why shall I go to guru?’ ”

Prabhupada saw everything in the light of Krishna consciousness, and he shared his vision with others—to their great delight.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Apr 132017

We have added another 200 lectures by Giriraj Swami to his radio station bringing the total to over 400 talks! Listen on girirajswami.com or tunein.com or install the TuneIn app on your mobile device. You can listen to lectures 24/7 and find other Krishna conscious radio stations too.

Download this playlist file and open Giriraj Swami’s radio station in your favorite media player (iTunes, Windows Media Player, VLC etc.).

If you have a website, copy and paste the following HTML code to embed a small player on your page:

<iframe src=”http://tunein.com/embed/player/s243096/” style=”width:100%;height:100px;” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no”></iframe>

Hare Krishna!

Apr 032017

1559260_10152122338719615_3260227624458222997_o“The Lord, Sri Krishna, says,

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

‘This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.’  (Bg 7.14)

“One who surrenders to Krishna can easily overcome Maya—not directly, but by Krishna’s mercy. We do not have the strength to fight Maya independently. Maya is a very powerful energy of Krishna’s. When we surrender to Krishna He will arrange for our release from the clutches of Maya. So, Ravana is lust personified. He could be killed only by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ravana had ten heads, and as soon as one head was cut off another head would grow. In our own practice of Krishna consciousness, we can recognize this phenomenon. Material desires come one after another. And lust does not mean only sexual desire but any desire to enjoy independent of Krishna, any desire to enjoy anything in forgetfulness of Krishna which will take us further away from Krishna.” —Giriraj Swami

Rama-navami Morning Talk

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Apr 032017

Rama, Sita, and Laksmana


[This verse is quoted in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Padyavali (151):]

ramo nama babhuva hum tad-abala siteti hum tam pitur
vaca pancavati-vane viharatas tasyharad ravanah
nidrartham janaki-katham iti harer hum-karatah srnvatah
saumitre kva dhanur dhanur dhanur iti vyagra girah pantu nah 

[Mother Yasoda is telling Sri Krishna a story:]

“There was once a king named Rama.”


“His wife was Sita.”


“On the order of His father, Rama lived in the Pancavati Forest. There Ravana kidnapped Sita.”

Hearing His mother narrate His own activities performed in ancient times, Sri Krishna suddenly called out, “Laksmana! Where is My bow? Where is My bow? Where is My bow?”

May these alarmed words of Lord Krishna protect us all.


Mar 312017

Ramanujacarya with his beloved LordTomorrow is the 1,000th anniversary of the appearance of Sripada Ramanujacarya, the principal acarya in the Sri, or Lakshmi, sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada wrote that “We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacarya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” (letter 22.11.1974) And in the early days of ISKCON in India, before we had Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is translated into Hindi, he would refer people to read the Hindi edition of the Gita with Sri Ramanujacarya’s commentary.

Prabhupada often told a story about Sri Ramanujacarya’s merciful, compassionate nature. As he related it in Ahmedabad in 1972, “The servants of Krishna take all risk for Krishna’s sake. Just like Ramanujacarya. Sri Ramanujacarya’s spiritual master said, ‘My dear son, the mantra which I am giving, you chant silently and you will be delivered. It is so powerful. Don’t chant this mantra loudly so others can hear.’

“Ramanujacarya thought, ‘If this mantra is so powerful that if others hear it they’ll also be delivered, then why not?’ He immediately went to the market and began to chant the mantra. So his spiritual master became very angry, that ‘I told you not to chant loudly, so others may not hear.’ And Ramanujacarya replied, ‘My Lordship, I have done offense unto you. That’s all right. For this I am prepared to go to hell. But if this mantra is so powerful, I must speak it to everyone.’ ”

In this mood, following in the footsteps of Sripada Ramanujacarya, Srila Prabhupada broadcast the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita everywhere, to everyone.

We pray and aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami

God is Great, and God is Good

 Lectures  Comments Off on God is Great, and God is Good
Mar 282017

Today God is great, good, and beautifulI had a simple but profound realization: God is great, and God is good. If he were good but not great, He could not help us fully. And if He were great but not good, He could harm us. But He is great, and He is good, and He is always mindful of all the infinite living entities. These thoughts brought to mind a verse Srila Prabhupada often quoted from the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13):

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman

“He is the prime eternal among all eternals. He is the supreme conscious being among all conscious beings. And He alone is supplying all the desired necessities of life for the many other living beings.”

I had heard these words before, but today they came to life. Now I pray to always remember the good, great Supreme Godhead and serve Him with gratitude and appreciation. As the same verse in the Katha Upanishad continues,

tam pitha-gam ye ’nupasyanti dhiras
tesam santih sasvati netaresam

“The wise souls who worship Him in His abode attain everlasting peace. Others cannot.”

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami

Maha Gaura-purnima, March 18, Laguna Beach, California

 Lectures  Comments Off on Maha Gaura-purnima, March 18, Laguna Beach, California
Mar 272017

Presentation by Vaisesika Dasa (Right click – Save as)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

An Ekadasi Memory

 Lectures  Comments Off on An Ekadasi Memory
Mar 232017

TodaPrabhupada speaking and smilingy being Ekadasi, I was considering whether or not to go out on an errand, and I recalled an incident that took place on Ekadasi in Madras in 1971. Achyutananda, Bhavananda, and I were based in a supporter’s house, and Bhavananda and I were in the mood to go out and preach. Achyutananda, however, said, “No, it’s Ekadasi. We shouldn’t go out. It’s inauspicious. And besides, it looks like rain.” But we thought, “Oh boy, he is so attached to external rules and regulations. We have the real spirit of preaching. We are not going to worry about Ekadasi or some rain.”

When we went out, there was only a light drizzle, but within minutes the sky poured down rain. And the rain didn’t stop; it came down heavier and heavier. In Madras then, at least where we were walking, there was not much of a drainage system—just an open ditch two or three feet deep, lined with concrete. And as the storm continued, the channel filled with water, and soon we couldn’t distinguish between the water on the street, the water in the ditch, and the water in the fields beyond.

So, we were walking along blissfully, drenched in water but inspired in our mission, in our service to our guru maharaja, and then Bhavananda fell into the ditch. He was in water up to his waist. So, I gave him a hand, and he climbed out of the ditch, soaked with sewage water.

Later, I related the incident to Srila Prabhupada, declaring that Bhavananda Prabhu had equal vision: he didn’t distinguish between high and low. And I quoted the verse from the Bhagavad-gita (5.18),

brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panditah sama-darsinah

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste].”

“Yes,” Prabhupada replied. “You have theoretical knowledge. But Bhavananda has realized knowledge, practical realization, so he is more advanced.”

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami

Talk on Sridhar Swami, March 18, Laguna Beach, California

 Lectures  Comments Off on Talk on Sridhar Swami, March 18, Laguna Beach, California
Mar 212017

03.18.17_02.LagunaGRS_SDS“One day Sridhar Swami and I decided to do Govardhana parikrama together. I was feeling pretty sick, but I didn’t want to disappoint him by stopping. He was also feeling sick, and he was thinking, ‘I don’t want to disappoint Giriraj Maharaja by stopping,’ so he also kept pushing on. Pretty soon thereafter we were both in the hospital—he for his liver problem, and I for a heart condition. While he was in the hospital in Bombay, Tamal Krishna Goswami, Kesava Bharati Maharaja, and Giridhari Swami came from Vrindavan to visit him. Having cirrhosis of the liver and cancer, he was considered a terminal patient. They advised him that he should just go to Vrindavan and chant and hear about Krishna. Much as he appreciated their visit and respected them as senior godbrothers, he thought about it and concluded, ‘That’s not me. I want to live the way I am.’ So he kept traveling and preaching, practically to the very end.”

Sridhar Swami

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.