Jun 032020
 

In difficult times like these, I feel the urgent need for Srila Prabhupada’s books to be distributed in large numbers, for only such literature can enlighten people how to proceed in the right way.

Srila Prabhupada’s preface to Srimad-Bhagavatam is profoundly relevant:

“We must know the present need of human society. And what is that need? Human society is no longer bounded by geographical limits to particular countries or communities . . ., and the world tendency is toward one state or one human society. The ideals of . . . Srimad-Bhagavatam are based more or less on the oneness of the entire human society, nay, of the entire energy of living beings. The need is felt by great thinkers to make this a successful ideology. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need in human society. It begins, therefore, with an aphorism of Vedanta philosophy, janmady asya yatah, to establish the ideal of a common cause.

“Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the fields of material comforts, education, and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship, and prosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society. . . .

“There is God, or the almighty one, from whom everything emanates, by whom everything is maintained, and in whom everything is merged to rest. Material science has tried to find the ultimate source of creation very insufficiently, but it is a fact that there is one ultimate source of everything that be. This ultimate source is explained rationally and authoritatively in the beautiful Bhagavatam, or Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Srimad-Bhagavatam is the transcendental science not only for knowing the ultimate source of everything but also for knowing our relation with Him and our duty toward perfection of the human society on the basis of this perfect knowledge. . . .

“I am hopeful of its good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society . . .”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jun 022020
 

We have gathered at the lotus feet of the Pancha-tattva on this most auspicious occasion of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s cida-dadhi festival. The background to this incident can be found in the early life of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. His uncle and father, Hiranya and Govardhana Majumadara, were wealthy landlords in Bengal—almost like kings—and had a huge, opulent riverside palace, with boats that plied the river. Hiranya and Govardhana were generous and devoted to brahminical culture, and they practically maintained the entire brahman community of Nadia with their charity. Raghunatha dasa was their only son, so naturally they put all their hopes in him to carry on the family dynasty. But from a young age, Raghunatha was attracted to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Majumadaras’ spiritual master was Yadunandana Acharya, a disciple of Advaita Acharya (of the Pancha-tattva) and an intimate student of Vasudeva Datta, and the family’s priest was Balarama Acharya, a dear associate of Haridasa Thakura and close friend of Yadunandana Acharya. Balarama Acharya and Yadunandana Acharya used to host Haridasa Thakura, and when Haridasa stayed in their village, Raghunatha visited him daily and received his mercy. Balarama Acharya also invited Haridasa Thakura to speak in the Majumadaras’ assembly about the glories of the holy name. Thus Raghunatha dasa had the association of these great souls, followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who would tell him about Mahaprabhu and encourage him to chant.

Once, when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after taking sannyasa, visited Shantipur, Raghunatha dasa went to meet Him. In pure love, he fell at Lord Chaitanya’s lotus feet, and the Lord, out of His mercy, blessed him with the touch of His feet. Raghunatha served the Lord for a week, and after he returned home he was mad with ecstatic love. He wanted to join Mahaprabhu in Puri, but his family would not allow him. Time and again he would run away from home to go to Puri, and every time, his father would catch him and bring him back. His father even kept five watchmen to guard him day and night, four servants to see to his comforts, and two brahmans to cook for him, so eleven people were engaged to make sure he did not go to Puri. Later, when Mahaprabhu again visited Shantipur, Raghunatha begged his father, “Please allow me to see the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Otherwise, my life will not remain in my body.” So, his father allowed him to go to Shantipur, sending many servants to accompany him. For seven days Raghunatha stayed in the Lord’s association, constantly thinking, “How will I get free from the watchmen? How will I be able to go with Mahaprabhu to Puri?” The Lord, being omniscient, could understand Raghunatha’s mind, and He reassured him with some important statements. These instructions form the background of the Panihati festival, and we shall read them as they are recorded in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Sixteen: “The Lord’s Attempt to go to Vrndavana.”

TEXT 237

“sthira hana ghare yao, na hao vatula
krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula

TRANSLATION

[Lord Chaitanya told Raghunatha dasa:] “Be patient and return home. Don’t be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence.

TEXT 238

“markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana
yatha-yogya visaya bhunja’ anasakta hana

TRANSLATION

“You should not make yourself a showbottle devotee and become a false renunciant. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it.”

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The word markata-vairagya, indicating false renunciation, is very important in this verse. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in commenting on this word, points out that monkeys make an external show of renunciation by not accepting clothing and by living naked in the forest. In this way they consider themselves renunciants, but actually they are very busy enjoying sense gratification with dozens of female monkeys. Such renunciation is called markata-vairagya—the renunciation of a monkey. One cannot become really renounced until one actually becomes disgusted with material activity and sees it as a stumbling block to spiritual advancement. Renunciation should not be phalgu, temporary, but should exist throughout one’s life. Temporary renunciation, or monkey renunciation, is like the renunciation one feels at a cremation ground. When a man takes a dead body to the crematorium, he sometimes thinks, “This is the final end of the body. Why am I working so hard day and night?” Such sentiments naturally arise in the mind of any man who goes to a crematorial ghata. However, as soon as he returns from the cremation grounds, he again engages in material activity for sense enjoyment. This is called smasana-vairagya, or markata-vairagya.

In order to render service to the Lord, one may accept necessary things. If one lives in this way, he may actually become renounced. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.108), it is said:

yavata syat sva-nirvahah
  svi-kuryat tavad artha-vit
adhikye nyunatayam ca
  cyavate paramarthatah

“The bare necessities of life must be accepted, but one should not superfluously increase his necessities. Nor should they be unnecessarily decreased. One should simply accept what is necessary to help one advance spiritually.”

In his Durgama-sangamani, Sri Jiva Gosvami comments that the word sva-nirvahah actually means sva-sva-bhakti-nirvahah. The experienced devotee will accept only those material things that will help him render service to the Lord. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256), markata-vairagya, or phalgu-vairagya, is explained as follows:

prapancikataya buddhya
  hari-sambandhi-vastunah
mumuksubhih parityago
  vairagyam phalgu kathyate

“When persons eager to achieve liberation renounce things related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking them to be material, their renunciation is called incomplete.” Whatever is favorable for the rendering of service to the Lord should be accepted and should not be rejected as a material thing. Yukta-vairagya, or befitting renunciation, is thus explained:

anasaktasya visayan
  yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe
  yuktam vairagyam ucyate

“Things should be accepted for the Lord’s service and not for one’s personal sense gratification. If one accepts something without attachment and accepts it because it is related to Krsna, one’s renunciation is called yukta-vairagya.” Since Krsna is the Absolute Truth, whatever is accepted for His service is also the Absolute Truth. . . .

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami enumerates sixty-four items of devotional service, beginning with guru-padasraya, taking shelter of a spiritual master; krsna-diksadi-siksanam, taking initiation and instruction from him; visrambhena guroh seva, serving him with respect; and sad-dharma-prccha, inquiring about one’s eternal duties. And at the end of the list he discusses certain items that he has not included but which one might think could or should have been included. One such item is the cultivation of vairagya (detachment), and Rupa Gosvami explains why he has not included it. He says that bhakti by nature makes the heart soft. The primary activities of bhakti, hearing and chanting about Krishna and remembering Him, make the heart soft, whereas the cultivation of speculative knowledge and performance of artificial austerities tend to make the heart hard—the exact opposite of bhakti. Continue reading »

May 312020
 

Today I heard Srila Prabhupada’s talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.34–35 (September 28, 1976, Vrindavan), and in the wake of George Floyd’s recent death, caused by the police, and the subsequent riots, the following excerpt seemed especially relevant and poignant:

“Kshatriya . . . Kshat means injury. And trayate, to deliver. Kshatriya’s duty is to save the citizens from being injured by others. That is kshatriya. Even an animal. Just like Kali was trying to kill a cow. Maharaja Pariksit was on his tour, and he saw that a man was trying to kill a cow. So immediately he took his sword: ‘Who are you, rascal? You are trying to kill a cow in my kingdom?’ That is kshatriya’s duty. Kshatriya’s duty is to give protection from injury for the safety of the citizens. The citizens must feel safe, that ‘We have got such a nice king. There is no fear of anything.’ It is said in the Bhagavatam there was no anxiety even. The citizens should feel so much safe that ‘We have such a nice king that we have no danger at all: not being injured, not our property being stolen, nor injustice given.’ That is real government—when the citizens feel completely safe. That requires kshatriya. Not these chamars, bhangis, and sudras voted to become the president or minister. That will not be successful. That is not possible. There must be trained-up kshatriyas, then there will be good government. Trained. Trained means they should be advised by the brahmans.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

May 312020
 

Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (13.9) that the real sufferings of the material world are four—janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi (birth, death, old age and disease). In the history of the world, no one has been successful in conquering these miseries imposed by material nature. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. Nature (prakrti) is so strong that no one can overcome her stringent laws. So-called scientists, philosophers, religionists and politicians should therefore conclude that they cannot offer facilities to the people in general. They should make vigorous propaganda to awaken the populace and raise them to the platform of Krishna consciousness. Our humble attempt to propagate the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world is the only remedy that can bring about a peaceful and happy life.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.19 purport.

Reading, Pennsylvania, Nama Hatta (Right click to download)

May 302020
 

Amrtera Tarangini – Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 2 Chapter 6

H.H. Giriraj Swami and ISKCON devotees all over world

Posted by Balimardana Das on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Amrtera Tarangini Canto 2 ch 6

H.H. Giriraj Swami and ISKCON devotees all over world

Posted by Balimardana Das on Saturday, May 30, 2020

 

The Lord Reveals Himself in Proportion to Our Devotional Service (Right click to download)

May 282020
 

While teaching Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija: one can achieve the seed of devotional service by the mercy of the guru, the spiritual master, and then by the mercy of Krsna. This is the secret of success. First one should try to please the spiritual master, and then one should attempt to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also says, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado. One should not attempt to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by concoction. One must first be prepared to serve the spiritual master, and when one is qualified he is automatically offered the platform of direct service to the Lord.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.28 purport

The Secret of Success in Spiritual Life (Right click to download)

May 252020
 

“This material world is certified by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita as a dangerous place full of calamities. Less intelligent persons prepare plans to adjust to those calamities without knowing that the nature of this place is itself full of calamities. They have no information of the abode of the Lord, which is full of bliss and without trace of calamity. The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.25 purport.

The Spirit Soul Is Transcendental to All Material Calamities (Right click to download)

May 252020
 

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.12.

“Everyone should be friendly for the service of the Lord. Everyone should praise another’s service to the Lord and not be proud of his own service. This is the way of Vaisnava thinking, Vaikuntha thinking. There may be rivalries and apparent competition between servants in performing service, but in the Vaikuntha planets the service of another servant is appreciated, not condemned. This is Vaikuntha competition. There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to the best of his ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. Such are the activities of Vaikuntha . Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.12 purport.

As Servants of the Lord, We Are One (Right click to download)

May 242020
 

“This material world is certified by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita as a dangerous place full of calamities. Less intelligent persons prepare plans to adjust to those calamities without knowing that the nature of this place is itself full of calamities. They have no information of the abode of the Lord, which is full of bliss and without trace of calamity. The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false.” —Srimad-Bhagavtam 1.8.25 purport.

Crossing the Ocean of Nescience (Right click to download)

May 242020
 

My beloved, exalted disciple Kamala devi dasi left her body in Mauritius two days ago. Everything about her departure was auspicious, and her consciousness was fixed on Goloka Vrindavan. She was ably assisted in her final journey by HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavata Swami; Karunika dasi; Vrajesvari dasi; Manasi Ganga dasi; Arcana Siddhi dasi; and her devoted daughter, Dhira Prasanta dasi, and son, Lesh, in Mauritius; and by Krsnagi dasi and others from afar.

I have attached a photo of Kamala devi when she came to California to serve me, after which she returned to Mauritius and learned that she had cancer.

Please pray for her.

Thank you very much.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami