Sep 232016

grs-with-chitraleka-and-kosha-rupa-after-classIt is said that wherever Lord Rama’s glories are chanted, Hanuman goes to that place. Yesterday after Deity greeting I was chanting in my quarters in Dallas when I received a text message saying, “Chitralekha is speaking about Srila Prabhupada now.” I immediately left for the temple room, remembering Hanuman: Even though I am like a monkey—or my mind is like a monkey—I wanted to hear her speak about Prabhupada. And what I experienced was an unprecedented flow of divine nectar. I heard things about Srila Prabhupada that I had never heard before and had new deep thoughts and realizations about him. The talk was an elixir for my body, mind, and soul. It is now available on the ISKCON Dallas SoundCloud: Chitraleka’s talk follows a short class on Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Sep 222016

Giriraj Swami and Anutama Prabhu spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 7.92.

adi-2-05-938x1377“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains in his Anubhasya, ‘A person who has attracted the attention of the spiritual master by his sincere service likes to dance and chant with similarly developed Krsna conscious devotees. The spiritual master authorizes such a devotee to deliver fallen souls in all parts of the world. Those who are not advanced prefer to chant the Hare Krsna mantra in a solitary place.’ Such activities constitute, in the language of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a type of cheating process in the sense that they imitate the activities of exalted personalities like Haridasa Thakura. One should not attempt to imitate such exalted devotees. Rather, everyone should endeavor to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in all parts of the world and thus become successful in spiritual life. One who is not very expert in preaching may chant in a secluded place, avoiding bad association, but for one who is actually advanced, preaching and meeting people who are not engaged in devotional service are not disadvantages. A devotee gives the nondevotees his association but is not affected by their misbehavior. Thus by the activities of a pure devotee even those who are bereft of love of Godhead get a chance to become devotees of the Lord one day.” (Cc Adi 7.92 purport)

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Sunday-Program Talk by Giriraj Swami and Anutama Dasa

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Sep 192016

spsanyass1On this date, Sri Visvarupa, the elder brother of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, took sannyasa. It is also the date on which Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa.

“If Srila Prabhupada hadn’t taken sannyasa and come to us, where would we be? We wouldn’t be anywhere—I shudder to think where we would be. So that renunciation is necessary. Sat-nyasa. Nyasa means to give up, and sat means the Supreme. One takes sannyasa to give up everything for the service of the Supreme, Krishna. Many of our acharyas have taken sannaysa. They gave up the limited families of their homes or their towns and embraced the larger family of all humanity and all living beings.”

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Srila Prabhupada’s Sannyasa

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Sep 172016

Lord Chaitanya Carrying Haridasa ThakuraGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter 11.

Haridasa Thakura said, “I have had one desire for a very long time. I think that quite soon, my Lord, You will bring to a close Your pastimes within this material world. I wish that You not show me this closing chapter of Your pastimes. Before that time comes, kindly let my body fall down in Your presence. I wish to catch Your lotuslike feet upon my heart and see Your moonlike face. With my tongue I shall chant Your holy name, ‘Sri Krsna Caitanya!’ That is my desire. Kindly let me give up my body in this way. O most merciful Lord, if by Your mercy it is possible, kindly grant my desire. Let this lowborn body fall down before You. You can make possible this perfection of all my desires.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krsna is so merciful that He must execute whatever you want. But whatever happiness is Mine is all due to your association. It is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.”
Catching the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Haridasa Thakura said, “My Lord, do not create an illusion! Although I am so fallen, You must certainly show me this mercy! My Lord, there are many respectable personalities, millions of devotees, who are fit to sit on my head. They are all helpful in Your pastimes. My Lord, if an insignificant insect like me dies, what is the loss? If an ant dies, where is the loss to the material world? My Lord, You are always affectionate to Your devotees. I am just an imitation devotee, but nevertheless I wish that You fulfill my desire. That is my expectation.” (Cc Antya 11.31-42)

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Disappearance of Haridasa Thakura

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Sep 152016

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 9.13 on the morning after Radhasthami.

“In this verse the description of the mahatma is clearly given. The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivi prakrti, divine nature. So when one is promoted in that way – by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead – one attains to the stage of great soul, mahatma.” (Bg 9.13 purport)

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Bhagavad-gita 9.13.

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Sep 092016

radhacaran2010For the most auspicious celebration of Sri Radhastami, we read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Three: “Pure Devotional Service.”


jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ’bhilabheta yas tu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasan chavo yas tu na veda gandham


The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of the Lord’s pure devotee upon his head is certainly a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the aroma of the tulasi leaves from the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, although breathing.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Visnu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offerings by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement “reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee.” That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional parampara.

Maharaja Rahugana inquired from the great saint Jada Bharata as to how he had attained such a liberated stage of a paramahamsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.12):

rahuganaitat tapasa na yati
na cejyaya nirvapanad grhad va
na cchandasa naiva jalagni-suryair
vina mahat-pada-rajo-’bhisekam

“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 water, or before the blazing fire.”

In other words, Lord Sri Krsna is the property of His pure unconditional devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Krsna to another devotee; Krsna is never obtainable directly. Continue reading »

Aug 302016

GRS-KBDG-RTS-VD-Menlo-Park-cropFor three days, many wonderful devotees and friends celebrated Sri Krishna Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa-puja at ISKCON of Silicon Valley, in Mountain View, California, and after the festivities on the last day Kesava Bharati Dasa Goswami, Rtadhvaja Swami, Vaisesika Prabhu, and I met at my hosts’ house in Menlo Park. For several hours we shared thoughts and realizations in Krishna consciousness, as advised by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita (10.9):

mac-citta mad-gata-prana
bodhayantah parasparam
kathayantas ca mam nityam
tusyanti ca ramanti ca

“The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.”

In terms of my personal service, they all implored, or instructed, me to immerse myself in the Juhu book, even at the cost (temporarily) of other worthy endeavors, and to arrange my life to facilitate that process and that project, which, they said, was of paramount importance.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami