Feb 242020

Appreciating Tamal Krishna Goswami—In Service and Separation

Srila Prabhupada said that when a Vaishnava departs we feel simultaneously happy and sad. We feel happy because we know the Vaishnava has gone to Krishna, but we feel sad because we will miss the Vaishnava’s association. I have no doubt that Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja has gone both to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Kalachandji. By such service as he offered to Srila Prabhupada for so many years, one is naturally promoted to Their service.

The last time I spoke here, Goswami Maharaja was in his quarters, and as I recall, he sort of tricked me into giving the class. I think he said he had to do some service in his quarters, so I gave the class. And remembering that incident, it is easy for me now to imagine that I am giving class and he is in his quarters and that we are all together. Before that class, I’d had a very significant talk with Goswami Maharaja in which he gave me some important instructions.

The discussion had actually begun the night before, when I first arrived. We had both been sitting on the floor, and he had been saying how people thought that he was such a senior devotee, that he had been practicing Krishna consciousness for so many years, that he was a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, and that he’d had so much of Srila Prabhupada’s association. But, he had said, in spite of his hari-nama, Gayatri, and sannyasa initiations from Srila Prabhupada, and all his association with Srila Prabhupada and his practice of Krishna consciousness, he still felt he needed guidance from other devotees. He had said that he took their guidance and that he considered some of these guides to be siksa-gurus. And then he had listed the names of godbrothers whom he considered to be his siksa-gurus.

At the time, I was being prevented from returning to India, where I had served for many years—the first several with Goswami Maharaja—and I based myself first in Mauritius and then gradually divided most of my time between Mauritius and South Africa. So, I was pretty isolated from my godbrothers. At that time in the movement some of the biggest leaders had fallen down, and I was in such a state of shock that I had resolved within my heart that I would never take shelter of anyone else again—except Srila Prabhupada. So when Goswami Maharaja spoke to me as he did, I had to consider what he said. I always took what he said seriously, but at the same time I had vowed never again to place my faith in anyone except Srila Prabhupada.

The next morning while we were chanting our rounds in the temple, somehow the feeling, or realization, came in my heart that actually what Goswami Maharaja had said was true: we do need guidance; we do need a siksa-guru or siksa-gurus. And it became equally clear that the person who should be my siksa-guru, or who was meant to be my siksa-guru, was Goswami Maharaja himself. It was such a clear realization, such a strong realization, that I became very excited and approached him. In general, I wouldn’t have wanted to disturb him while he was chanting his rounds, but I couldn’t help myself. I told him that I had just had the realization that what he had said was true: despite all our association with Srila Prabhupada, we still need the guidance of other devotees. He nodded his head knowingly, in agreement and approval. Finally I had realized what he already knew.

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Feb 232020

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja comes in the Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession after Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He was a renounced ascetic, fully engaged in chanting the holy names of Krishna and meditating on the pastimes of Krishna. For some time, he made his residence at Surya-kunda in Vraja-dhama, near the temple of Suryadeva, where Srimati Radharani used to come and worship the sun-god—or, I should say, where She used to come to meet Krishna on the pretext of coming to worship the sun-god.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who comes in the disciplic succession after Jagannatha dasa Babaji, accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja as his main guru, his siksa-guru. Once, some of Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disciples in Vraja approached the Thakura and complained that although they had come to Vraja to live like Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, fully absorbed in chanting the holy names and meditating on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s astakaliya-lila, Babaji Maharaja had refused to instruct them in such topics and had instead engaged them in cultivating tulasi plants, flowers, and vegetables to offer to the Lord. And they requested Bhaktivinoda Thakura to appeal to their guru maharaja to instruct them in the esoteric practices of Krishna consciousness.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told the disciples, “Actually, your Gurudeva’s instructions are right for you. Because you still have anarthas, for you to try to sit and try to do nirjana-bhajana [solitary worship] and practice asta-kaliya-lila-smarana [meditation on the Lord’s eightfold daily pastimes] would be artificial, and you would just become degraded. So you should follow his instructions with full faith and work hard in Krishna’s service. Then, in time, you may be able to chant the holy names purely.”

Eventually, Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja moved to Mayapur, where he lived by the banks of the Ganges, fully absorbed in chanting the holy names. He had the greatest reverence for the holy land of Navadvipa. Although he was so renounced and so absorbed in Krishna consciousness, as his reputation spread, gentlemen would come to him and give him donations. Once, Babaji Maharaja asked one of his servants to take the donations he had received, which he kept in an old burlap bag, and purchase a large pot of rasagullas. All the devotees were surprised, because Jagannatha dasa Babaji was so renounced and lived so simply; he would eat only the simplest rice and dal. Anyway, the servant brought the sweets, and Jagannatha dasa Babaji offered them to his Deities and then distributed them to the cows and dogs in the dhama. He said that the creatures of the dhama were elevated souls and worthy of service.

Later, Babaji Maharaja would not honor prasada until he had shared it with ten newborn puppies. He would wait until they came, and because in his old age his eyelids drooped over his eyes and prevented him from seeing, he would count them with his hands. And only after they had begun to eat would he also partake. He would say, “They are puppies of the dhama. They are not ordinary living entities.” He had so much faith in and affection for the dhama.

He had less affection for Mayavadi impersonalists. He used to say, “Let the dogs come in for darshan, but the impersonalists—kick them out!”

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji lived to a very old age. Some Vaishnavas say he was just waiting for Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to come—someone to whom he could impart his special knowledge and realization, for the benefit of humanity. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura requested to be transferred from his post in Orissa to Bengal so he could be near Navadvipa-dhama. And eventually, he was posted at Krishnanagar, near Navadvipa.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura did extensive research to determine the actual birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He studied old maps, consulted the local people, and visited the different places. Eventually he found a mound where many tulasi trees were growing. He got the intuition that this was the actual birthplace of Lord Chaitanya, but he wanted his intuition to be confirmed. At the time, Jagannatha dasa Babaji was the most renowned Vaishnava, and he was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s siksa-guru. So, Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disciples brought him to the place with the mound and tulasi plants. He was so old—over a hundred and forty years old, some say—that his disciples had to carry him in a basket. The disciples brought him, but they didn’t tell him when they came to the site that Bhaktivinoda Thakura had determined was the birthplace. Still, when Babaji Maharaja arrived there, he spontaneously jumped out of his basket and began to dance in ecstasy, singing the holy names. Thus he confirmed the location of Mahaprabhu’s birthplace.

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s bhajana-kutira and samadhi are there in Navadvipa-dhama, in Koladvipa. Devotees who perform Navadvipa-parikrama visit there and get his mercy. We also pray to him for his mercy, that we may be instrumental in fulfilling the desires of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and the other acharyas in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu coming to us through Srila Prabhupada and his disciples.

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja ki jaya!
Srila Prabhpada ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disappearance day, February 20, 2004, Carpinteria, California]

Feb 212020

Today we shall read a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Four, Chapter Twenty-four: “Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Siva.”

As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Shiva is the greatest Vaishnava, and why he is so is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is considered the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic scriptures. The glories of Lord Shiva are described in many Bhagavatam chapters, and if we were to discuss all of them, it would take many days. So we are just going to focus on one verse from one chapter of one series of chapters about the glories of Lord Shiva as the greatest Vaishnava. Leading up to where we are in today’s verse, the Pracetas, who were all royal princes, had been doing severe austerities when Lord Shiva came to them to offer them some benediction. And the benediction they requested was to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. So Lord Shiva was very pleased with their request. They did not ask him for some material boon; they asked for the highest purpose of life, which is eternal service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which takes one beyond the material world of birth, death, disease, and old age.

In this verse, 30, Lord Shiva expresses his appreciation for the Pracetas as Vaishnavas, devotees of Lord Vishnu, and he also explains why Vaishnavas appreciate him.


atha bhagavata yuyam
priyah stha bhagavan yatha
na mad bhagavatanam ca
preyan anyo ’sti karhicit


You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

It is said, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Siva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Krishna are also devotees of Lord Siva.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

In the Padma Purana, Lord Shiva tells his wife, aradhananam sarvesam visnor aradhanam param: Of all types of worship, the worship of Vishnu is the highest. Tasmat parataram devi tadiyanam samarcanam: but even higher than the worship of Vishnu is the worship of Vishnu’s devotees. So, in that context we worship devotees, we worship the spiritual master, and we worship Vaishnavas, including Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva has another aspect, which is of a demigod, a deva, whom people approach for material boons, like they approach Ganesh, Durga, and others. But we are not discussing Shiva in that inferior aspect—it is the same Shiva, but he plays the part of a demigod for those whose intelligence is a little bewildered or small.

PURPORT (continued)

In Vrndavana there is Lord Siva’s temple called Gopisvara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Siva but Katyayani, or Durga, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Krsna. A devotee of Lord Krsna does not disrespect Lord Siva, but worships Lord Siva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krsna. Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Siva, he prays to Lord Siva to achieve the favor of Krsna, and he does not request material profit. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.20) it is said that generally people worship demigods for some material profit. Kamais tais tair hrta jnanah. Driven by material lust, they worship demigods, but a devotee never does so, for he is never driven by material lust. That is the difference between a devotee’s respect for Lord Siva and an asura’s respect for him.


Asura means “demon.”

PURPORT (continued)

The asura worships Lord Siva, takes some benediction from him, misuses the benediction, and ultimately is killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards him liberation.


One example is Ravana. Ravana was a devotee of Shiva, and by the blessings of Lord Shiva he attained immense wealth and power, but he became so maddened with material desires and so intoxicated by his material opulence that he dared to kidnap Mother Sita, and in the end he was killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Lord Ramachandra.

So, we should be very careful not to approach Lord Shiva for material benefit, which is actually demonic. It is demonic because it means that we want to take God’s property—everything is God’s property—and enjoy it for ourselves, in competition with God. Sita is Lakshmi, and Lakshmi is meant to be engaged in the service of Narayana. Demons like Ravana want to take Lakshmi from Narayana and exploit her for their own sense gratification. So, we don’t want to be like Ravana, but rather, we want to be like Hanuman, who rescued Lakshmi (Sita) from the clutches of Ravana and returned her to Rama.

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Feb 192020

Today is the disappearance day of Sri Isvara Puri. He was such a perfect disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna Himself, was pleased to accept him as his spiritual master. Later, Lord Chaitanya visited Isvara Puri’s birthplace at Kumara-hatta and collected some earth from the birth site, which He kept very carefully and ate a small portion of daily. Thus He showed us how a faithful disciple worships a spiritual master who has faithfully served his spiritual master perfectly.

On this auspicious occasion, we pray that Sri Isvara Puri and his disciple Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will bless us with devotion to the spiritual master.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Feb 182020

Those who are intelligent know that everything is supplied by Krishna. So why not depend on Krishna only? Why so many other attempts? Therefore Krishna says,

vyavasayatmika buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca
buddhayo ’vyavasayinam
        [Gita 2.41]

Vyavasayi means one who knows business particularly. Vyavasaya. Or one who knows confidently, “This is the cause; this is the effect.” Those who know that Krishna is the origin of everything are fixed up in Krishna. Vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha. One. Just depend on Krishna. They who do not know this depend on so many things. Buddhi avyavasayina.

So, if we want to be Krishna conscious, we shall fix up our mind on Krishna. And how to become fixed up—that art will be given to you by the spiritual master. Therefore Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in connection with the explanation of this verse, vyavasayatmika buddhih means to take the words of the spiritual master as one’s life and soul. That is vyavasaya . . . That is called vyavasayatmika buddhih. Visvanatha Cakravarti says that “Whatever I am ordered by the spiritual master, that is my life and soul. I don’t care for liberation. My only business is to serve my spiritual master.” And in the song we sing, Ye prasade pure sarva asa. Ye prasade means, “By his mercy, all our desires are fulfilled.” Ye prasade pure sarva asa.

So, this is our process, to depend on Krishna. “Depend” does not mean I shall remain idle. Depend means to work according to the direction of the shastra. Sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, tinete kariya aikya [Srila Narottam dasa Thakura].

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.24, July 14, 1974, Los Angeles

Feb 152020

In a talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.51, on December 28, 1973, in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada spoke about bhagavat-priyanam, those who are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Bhagavat-priyanam. There is a common saying in English, ‘If you love me, love my dog.’ That is very important. If you love such person who is very dear to Krishna (bhagavat-priyanam), then Krishna is more pleased.

“There is a version in the Padma Purana. Parvati was asking questions to Lord Shiva, and he was replying. This is the process at home. The wife is supposed to inquire from the husband about spiritual advancement of life, and the husband must be competent to answer all the wife’s questions. That will keep the relation very nice. Sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting. (SB 7.5.23) That is bhakti. So, Parvati was asking . . . Because according to the Vedas, there are so many demigods. Vishnu is sometimes taken as one, but He is not. Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh are the principal deities. So, her inquiry was, ‘Which worship is the best—Vishnu or Lord Shiva or Brahma or Chandra?’ There are so many demigods. Sometimes they are misunderstood, that all of them are Gods. No. They are called demigods. God is one. Originally, God is Krishna. Isvarah paramah krsnah (Bs 5.1). [“Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes.”]

“So, her inquiry was, ‘There are so many gods—which worship is the best?’ And Lord Shiva replied,

aradhananam sarvesam
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
tadiyanam samarcanam
(Padma Purana, Laghu-bhagavatamrta 2.4)

The meaning is, ‘My dear wife, Devi.’ The wife is addressed ‘Devi,’ not by name. The husband should address the wife, ‘Devi.’ They must be like devis. ‘Devi’ means goddess. And the wife must address the husband as ‘lord.’ This is the system. So, Lord Shiva replied, ‘Devi, aradhananam sarvesam.’ There are many kinds of recommendations. ‘If you want this, you worship this god. If you want this, if you worship . . .’ These are described in the Bhagavatam. So, Lord Shiva said, ‘Of all different types of worship, the worship of Lord Vishnu is the best (aradhananam sarvesam visnor aradhanam param). And further he said, tasmat parataram devi: ‘There is still better worship.’ What is that? Tadiyanam samarcanam: ‘To worship the devotee of Vishnu, the Vaishnava.’ That is the best. First he said, visnor aradhanam param—’That is the supreme.’ But then he said, tasmat, ‘above that,’ tasmat parataram, ‘still better,’ tadiyanam samarcanam, ‘to worship the devotee of God.’

“This is very simple method. You cannot approach God. It is not a very easy thing. But God’s representatives, God’s devotee, who is canvassing on behalf of God, tadiyanam—that worship is better. Tadiyanam samarcanam.

“So, to worship God is very good, but to worship the devotee of God is still better. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita (18.69), na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah. Krishna says, ‘Anyone who is preaching this Bhagavad-gita,’ na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah. Bhagavat-priyanam. Priya-krt. Priya means dear, very dear. Krishna says, ‘Anyone who is preaching the message of Bhagavad-gita to the suffering people of the world,’ na ca tasmat priya-krt, ‘nobody is dearer to Me than he.’ ”

I aspire to serve and worship those who are bhagavat-priya, dear to God—first and foremost, Srila Prabhupada—and by doing so, by their mercy, I may also become dear, to them and to God.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Feb 142020

Twice last week, accompanied by various devotees, including Vrindavan Chandra das from London; Ugrasena das, Nitya Manjari dasi, and Kaviraj from Durban; and Visnupriya dasi from Dallas, I visited Rajani Priya dasi (Rose Forkash) at her home in Carpinteria, California. She is seven months away from her one hundredth birthday, but she is mentally and spiritually strong, and we all felt uplifted by her association. In addition to speaking with us about her life in Krishna consciousness, in appreciation of Srila Prabhupada, she also played Hare Krishna on the piano beautifully, and we all joined in chanting. One of her greatest pleasures in life is chanting and getting others to chant, which she has done with many, many people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Feb 142020

Today, February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, I was struck when Srila Prabhupada, at the conclusion of his class on Sri Isopanisad, spoke about love—the love that Krishna wants and the love that will satisfy us:

“Any religion, it doesn’t matter whether Hindu religion, Muslim religion, Christian religion—if you are developing love of God, then you are perfect in your religion. . . .

And what kind of love? Ahaituki: without any cause. ‘O Lord, I love You, God, because You supply me so many nice things. You are order-supplier.’ No, not that sort of love. Without any exchange. That is taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that ‘Whatever You do . . .’ Aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam. ‘Either You trample me under Your feet or You embrace me—what You like. You make me brokenhearted by not seeing You—that doesn’t matter. Still You are my worshipable Lord.’ That is love. . . . That sort of love Krishna wants. Therefore He was so much fond of the gopis. In the gopis’ love there was no question of business propaganda: ‘Give me this, then I love You.’ No. That is pure love. . . . If you want to love God, there is nothing throughout the whole world which can check you. Simply you have to develop your eagerness: ‘Krishna, I want You.’ That’s all. Then there is no question of checking. In any condition you’ll increase your love, increase your love. . . . If you can develop your love for God, or Krishna, without being checked, without any cause, then you will feel fully satisfied.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Feb 122020

Today is the auspicious appearance day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. When our Srila Prabhupada first came to America, we had no idea of Vaishnava etiquette or culture; we had no idea how to honor the appearance day of the spiritual master. In 1970, soon after I joined the Boston temple, Srila Prabhupada explained that the appearance day of the spiritual master is honored as Vyasa-puja, the worship of Vyasa. Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Vedic scriptures, and according to shastra, one cannot understand transcendental knowledge by independent study of books; one must study the Vedic literature under the guidance of a spiritual master. The Mundaka Upanishad (1.2.12) instructs, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: in order to understand the transcendental science, one must—it is emphatic (eva)—one must approach a spiritual master. And Lord Krishna Himself, in the Bhagavad-gita (4.34), states,

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

“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.” First is pranipat: surrender. Then pariprasna: submissive inquiry. And then seva: service.

Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Vedic literature to give knowledge to the conditioned souls so they can be liberated from the miseries of material existence, and the spiritual master repeats the same message. He speaks from the Vedic scriptures; he explains them so the disciples can understand them; and he engages the disciples in service to Krishna. Just like we sing—saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair—the disciples worship the spiritual master on the same level as God; they honor him as much as the Supreme Lord. But the spiritual master never thinks that he is God. Rather, he considers himself to be the most humble servant of the servants of the servants of the servants of the servants of God, Krishna. He doesn’t ask his disciples to engage in his service; he asks them to engage in Krishna’s service. But out of respect for the spiritual master, out of appreciation and gratitude for what he has taught them and done for them, the disciples honor him, especially on his appearance day.

When I was in Boston, in 1970, Srila Prabhupada explained to the devotees that his spiritual master’s appearance day was about to take place and that the disciples should write homages, or offerings, to him. I was a new devotee and didn’t know much about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, but I considered the subject as seriously as I could, and my first thought was how great Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura must have been for such a great personality as His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to have surrendered to him. How great he must have been that Srila Prabhupada found him worthy of his own surrender. And then I thought of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s instruction to Srila Prabhupada to come to the West and preach the message of Krishna consciousness in English, and I thought it was really by the mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja that Srila Prabhupada had come to us and given us the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita, given us the holy name of Krishna, given us the beautiful life of Krishna consciousness, and engaged us in loving service to Krishna. I felt that it was really due to his mercy that Srila Prabhupada had come and that we were being delivered by Srila Prabhupada.

So, we all wrote offerings to Srila Prabhupada’s guru maharaja. They were collected, and then Srila Prabhupada explained how to observe Vyasa-puja. We fast in the morning and come together and glorify the spiritual master, perhaps read the homages that we have written in his honor, offer puspanjali, offer bhoga, offer arati, and then honor prasada.

Some years later, after having served in India for about three years, I became very sick with jaundice and Srila Prabhupada said that as long as I remained in Bombay I would not be able to recover. So I happened to be present for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s appearance day in Los Angeles, celebrated in Srila Prabhupada’s presence. Srila Prabhupada had a very high seat made for his guru maharaja. He had his own vyasasana in the temple room, but he arranged for a bigger and higher seat for his guru maharaja, for a picture of his guru maharaja. He led the disciples through puspanjali and arati, and he had all the food preparations that his disciples had made offered to the picture. He said that this was the one day when we offer food directly to his guru maharaja. And so we observed Srila Prabhupada’s guru maharaja’s Vyasa-puja in his personal presence in Los Angeles.

We are indebted to His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura for sending Srila Prabhupada to us, for it is by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada that we have been elevated from the material condition and engaged in the loving service of the Lord.

Jaya om visnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata sri srimad bhaktisiddhanta saravati thakura prabhupada ki jaya!
Jaya om visnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata sri srimad bhaktivedanta swami prabhupada ki jaya!

Hare Krishna.

[From a talk by Giriraj Swami by telephone to Mauritius, February 14, 2009]

Feb 102020

Prahlada Maharaja says, bharam udvahato vimudhan. Prahlada Maharaja, a great devotee, was offered a benediction by Nrsimhadeva: “My dear Prahlada, you have suffered so much for Me from your father’s side. He has chastised you in so many ways because you are My devotee. Now your father is killed. That is finished. Now you take whatever benediction you want from Me.” Prahlada Maharaja said, “My Lord, I have no problem, so why shall I ask You for anything? I have no problem.” Naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyah: “Everyone has got problem in this material world. They’re trying to overcome the problem. But I have no problem.” Naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas tvad-virya-gayana-mahamrta-magna-cittah [SB 7.9.43]. “I have no problem because my mind is always absorbed in glorifying Your Lordship. Therefore, I have no problem.” Kirtan. You’ll feel immediately refreshed. However much burden you may feel, as soon as you perform krsna-kirtana, you’ll find yourself immediately refreshed. So one who has got taste for this kirtan, he has no problem. Prahlada Maharaja says, Tvad-virya-gayana-mahamrta-magna-cittah: “Because my heart is always merged into the ocean of Your glorification, I have no problem.” This is the devotee. Everyone goes to God to mitigate some problem, that “God, give us our daily bread.” That means bread is a problem. That is the general tendency. They go to temple, church, to mitigate some problem. And as soon as the problem is finished, they forget God—no more church, no more temple. You see? That is not devotion. Devotion is, “No problem. I am ready to serve You, my Lord.” That is life. No problem. We should not take to Krishna consciousness or sankirtana to solve some problem. No. That is not pure devotion. When you will feel that “There is no problem. I am chanting, glorifying. So I am becoming merged into the ocean of bliss,” that is perfect life. That is the symptom.

So, Prahlada Maharaja said, “I have no problem.” That is pure devotee. “But you seem to be very unhappy. Why?” “Yes, still, I am unhappy.” What is that? Soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan [SB 7.9.43]: “I am unhappy for these rascals. They have created a huge mode of civilization for temporary happiness.” Temporary happiness. That is not happiness. Maya-sukhaya. Maya, illusion.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.23, January 19, 1974, Honolulu