Jan 262015
 

01.23.15_Rathayatra_05.MumbaiGopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. My only true identity is that I am the servant of the servant  of the servant  of the servant of the Lord of the gopis — Sri Krishna. After offering this Prayer, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu invited everyone to bring Jagannatha together to Sri Vrindavan Dham . In this way he taught us what our sense of identity should be. We are not these bodies, we are not the proprietors, we are the  servants of the servants  of the servants of Krishna.”

— Radhanatha Swami

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Jayadvaita Swami
Radhanatha Swami
Jagjivan Dasa
Giriraj Swami

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Jan 232015
 

01.23.15_01.Juhu01.23.15_02.Juhu———————–
Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 1, during the morning program on Ratha-yatra day.

Translation: Having shown the verse to Svarupa Damodara with great wonder, Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked him how Rupa Gosvami could understand the intentions of His mind.

Purport: We had the opportunity to receive a similar blessing from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami when we presented an essay at his birthday ceremony. He was so pleased with that essay that he used to call some of his confidential devotees and show it to them. How could we have understood the intentions of Srila Prabhupada?

Cc Madhya 1.171

Giriraj Swami: So, this is a very good question that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Svarupa Damodara Gosvami—”How could Rupa Gosvami have understood My mind?”And Srila Prabhupada asks the same question: “How could I have understood the mind of Srila Prabhupada [his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura]?” The basic answer comes in a verse quoted in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.234):

atah sri-krsna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah

Everything about Krishna—His names, forms, qualities, and pastimes—is transcendental. So, how can we understand Him? When we engage in service, beginning with the tongue, Krishna reveals Himself. When we render selfless service, Krishna and His devotees reveal themselves.

Ratha-yatra morning class, Juhu, Mumbai

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Jan 212015
 

01.21.15_02.PuneGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17 at Gopal Acharya Prabhu’s homae.

“We heard the wonderful descriptions of Mukhara Mataji, how she had awakened to her eternal identity and her eternal service to Radha and Krishna. We all can experience the same result if we follow the same method in the same spirit. Even though our forms will be different in the spiritual world, Srila Prabhupada said that we will recognize the devotees we knew in the material world. This is also very encouraging: We will be reunited in kirtana and seva. And that is achieved primarily through the offenseless chanting of the holy names — Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

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Home Program in Nigdi, Pune

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Jan 212015
 

01.20.15_05.Nigdi.Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 12.6-7, and other devotees shared memories and realizations, at Gopal Acharya Prabhu and Mukhara Mataji’s home.

ye tu sarvani karmani
mayi sannyasya mat-parah
ananyenaiva yogena
mam dhyayanta upasate

tesam aham samuddharta
mrityu-samsara-sagarat
bhavami na cirat partha
mayy avesita-cetasam

“But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pritha—for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” —Bg 12.6-7

“One point that seemed especially relevant in the purport was Srila Prabhupada’s statement that it doesn’t matter what service you perform; what matters is that you devote yourself fully to Lord Krishna. Mukhara Mataji was such an unassuming devotee that one could have missed how devoted she was—because we tend to see things in an external way. But Krishna doesn’t see things in an external way. He sees things in every way, and He especially appreciates the intention, or consciousness, of the devotee. Mother Mukhara showed that spirit of selfless service, working only to please Sri Krishna.” —Giriraj Swami

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Remembering Mukhara Devi Dasi

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Jan 192015
 

01.18.15_06.Nigdi“Srila Prabhupada did unprecedented service to make Krishna consciousness available for everyone. He did it first, of course, by bringing it to America and Europe and Australia and Africa. And then, especially in India, by defending the rights of his devotees to be accepted fully as brahmans and Vaishnavas, who are even more that brahmans. This combination of his traveling and preaching and at the same time fighting for the rights of his disciples to perform all the services that brahmans and sannyasis can do is why we are where we are now and doing what we are doing now. So we should always remember what Srila Prabhupada has done for us, and our great debt to him. And we should try to repay the debt by serving him and following his instructions—following the process of Krishna consciousness and spreading Krishna consciousness, like he did. This is how we can try to repay him.”

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Kirtan at Nigdi
Talk at Nigdi

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Jan 192015
 

01.17.15_01.Pune 01.17.15_02.Pune——————————————–
“Krishna came again five hundred years ago as Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This incarnation of Krishna is called a channa-avatara, which means a concealed, or hidden, avatara. Other avataras, like most of the dasa-avataras, assert themselves as the Supreme Lord. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is considered a channa-avatara because He did not assert Himself as the Supreme Lord but played the part of a devotee. The significance of His coming as a devotee is that He can show us how to be devotees. In practically any subject the teacher gives not only a theoretical explanation but also a practical demonstration.”

Talk at ISKCON’s Balaji Temple

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Jan 182015
 

01.18.15_01.Pune 01.18.15_02.Pune—————————–
Giriraj Swami read and spoke from the “Concluding Words” to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta at the Sri Sri Radha- Vrindavanchandra temple.

“To get the strength to spread Krishna consciousness we should follow the regulative principles, as stated again and again by Srila Prabhupada. To have the spiritual strength to preach you must rise early, attend the morning program, follow the regulative principles, chant your rounds, and read the books. So that also counts. Once, a disciple asked, ‘Srila Prabhupada, how can I please you?’ And Srila Prabhupada replied, ‘Just your desire to please me, pleases me.’ And that is a very deep statement — having that sincere desire.

iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate

‘A person acting in the service of Krsna with his body, mind, intelligence, and words is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may be engaged in many so-called material activities.’ (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.187)

“Our acaryas explain that even if one does not act but simply has the desire, he is also liberated. So it is the desire, even if you are unable to execute it fully. Of course, Krishna will help to fulfill your desire. But you are liberated just by your desire. And generally if you have the desire, it will be manifested in the activities of your body, mind, and words. But under certain circumstances, such as at the time of death, we may not have the capacity to do so many things, but just that desire can take us to Krishna.”

Cc “Concluding Words”, NVCC, Pune

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Jan 182015
 

01.17.15_01.Youth 01.17.15_02.Youth———————————–
“The essence is to surrender to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and dedicate your lives to their service. There will be details, and there will be difficulties — there are always difficulties — yet as Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Spiritual life is difficult, but material life is impossible.’ Although spiritual life is difficult in some ways, the alternative — material life — is impossible. So persevere and work together — that was very important to Srila Prabhupada. And that spirit came from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, that we should work together to relish and spread Krishna consciousness.”

ISKCON Youth Program,
Youth Program Q and A

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Jan 172015
 

01.17.15_03.Pune01.17.15_02.Pune——————————————————————————-
Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavtam 10.14.8.

“The idea is that just as a legitimate son has to do nothing but stay alive in order to inherit his father’s property, all a devotee has to do is remain alive in Krishna consciousness and he will inherit the kingdom of God. What does it mean to ‘remain alive’ in Krishna consciousness? It means to continue to follow the process of bhakti-yoga in the association of devotees. And if we just stay alive in Krishna consciousness we will inherit the kingdom of God. In the relationship between the father and the son, or the parent and the child, the parent will do whatever is best for the child. One of our acharyas, Srila Visvanatha Thakura, has given the example that sometimes a parent will give a child milk to drink and sometimes the parent will give the child bitter neem juice, but in both cases the parent is acting for the child’s benefit.”

Meeting with Pune Counsellors

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Jan 162015
 

Special_Demolition_Issue_Cover————————–
It was a strange sight: In the middle of a vacant lot strewn with rubble and the metal bars that had once supported the temple structure were the beautiful Radha-Krsna Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari, dressed in Their green and silver outfits and garlanded with flowers. They stood on Their carved teakwood altar amid the fragrant scent of burning incense and the warm glow of ghee lamps. Only two or three small pieces of the roof over Them had been removed; otherwise, They and Their Deity room remained intact. And the picture of Lord Nrsimhadeva over the altar doors, though slightly tilted to the side, was still there too, as if He was looking down upon us and assuring us that He had been there to protect the Deities.

The year was 1973, and that field—a piece of what had been jungle in Juhu—was supposed to be in the process of being transferred to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON. The seller, Mr. Nair, had taken a sizable deposit and was delaying the transfer under some pretext—as he had done twice before with the same land. Meanwhile, Srila Prabhupada had brought Deities of Radha and Krsna onto the property, which he named Hare Krishna Land, and built a temporary shed as a temple to house them. Srila Prabhupada told Nair, “If you want to keep the land, then return our money. Otherwise, keep the money and give us the land.” But the landlord wanted to keep both the money and the land—against all principles of law and justice.

One morning, on May 18, 1973, two large trucks from the Bombay Municipal Corporation drove onto Hare Krishna Land and fifty municipal workers carrying crowbars, chisels, and sledgehammers descended on the temple. Following close behind was a truck from the police department, from which numerous constables emerged. I rushed forward to meet the municipal officer in charge and asked him what was happening. He said that the structure was unauthorized and that they had come to demolish it. I replied that the temple was authorized and that I had a letter from the municipal commissioner to prove it. He seemed uninterested, however, and even after I showed him the letter and other documents in my file, he ordered the demolition to begin. So I approached the policemen. “We are here only to see that there is no trouble,” they said nonchalantly.

Some workers put a ladder up against the temple, and one of them started climbing up with a sledgehammer to break the roof. I threw the ladder down. Immediately three policemen grabbed me by the arms and neck and put me into the truck. Other devotees too rushed forward to stop the demolition squad, and one by one each was apprehended. Finally, the last one left was Maithili dasi, the head pujari. Having locked the doors to the Deity chamber, she stood there, ready to knock down anyone who came near. A policeman seized her, and she punched him. Several policemen ganged up on her and hit her with their clubs, grabbed her hair, and dragged her into the truck, where we all sat helplessly, witnessing the brutality and singing prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva. Neighbors, tenants, passersby—no one lifted a finger to help us. Continue reading »