May 272016
 

rrOn Sri Ramananda Raya’s disappearance day, Giriraj read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 8.

” ‘Although SrCaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya were embracing in ecstasy, the Lord restrained His transcendental emotions upon seeing the outsider brahmanas.’ (Cc Madhya 8.28 purport)

“In this verse the word vijatiya, which means ‘outsider,’ appears. And opposed to that is sajatiya. Because the brahmanas were vijatiya, or outsiders—in other words, they were not pure devotees who could understand the loving exchanges between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya—Lord Caitanya restrained His emotions so that they would not be bewildered and commit offenses.

“One of Srila Prabhupada’s early disciples, Gargamuni, told Srila Prabhupada that sometimes he felt like crying in kirtan. Srila Prabhupada replied, ‘It is all right when you are with devotees, because they will understand. Otherwise, you should not.’ ”

Cc Madhya 8, Houston

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May 262016
 

GirirajSwamiTalkGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 8.28.

” ‘One who has a little faith in Bhagavad-gita should learn Bhagavad-gita from a devotee, because in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter it is stated clearly that Bhagavad-gita can be understood only by devotees; no one else can perfectly understand the purpose of Bhagavad-gita. One should therefore learn Bhagavad-gita from a devotee of Krsna, not from mental speculators. This is a sign of faith.’ (Bg 8.28 purport)

Adau sraddha—The first stage in devotional service is sraddha, or faith. Without sraddha one cannot make any progress in devotional service. Or, one cannot even begin in devotional service. Here Srila Prabhupada emphasizes that faith means faith in the devotional scriptures and in the devotees who explain them and apply them in their lives. And that faith is described in the verse we just read—just by engaging in devotional service one need not engage in other activities separately but one gets the result of  all the other processes just by engaging in devotional service. That is faith, and that is the beginning of Krishna consciousness. Advancement in Krishna consciousness really means development of faith.”

Bhagavad-gita 8.28, Houston

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May 252016
 
Prahlad

Prahlada Maharaja instructs his classmates.

Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1, as part of the ISKCON-Houston Sunday School graduation program.

” ‘Prahlada Maharaja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1)

“In this verse and purport Prahlada Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada give a complete program for human life and a complete program for human society. Unfortunately, at the present moment, most people are under the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance with hardly a touch of the mode of goodness. In other words, people are living almost like animals. Dharmena hina pasubhih samanah—without dharma, without spiritual life, humans are on the level of animals (Hitopadesa). This has created a very serious situation, and consequently people are suffering terribly. They themselves are suffering, and they cause others to suffer.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1, Houston

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May 222016
 

Nrsimhadeva_HoustonRadhanath Swami and Giriraj Swami spoke during the evening program.

“Prahlada Maharaja said, ‘My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position. Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. How could I leave his service?’ Prahlada said this to Lord Nrismhadeva. He was speaking to the Lord face-to-face, but still he was remembering his spiritual master, who had saved him. Srila Prabhupada quoted this verse in the mood of service to his spiritual master. And we who follow in the line of Srila Prabhupada have the same mood—How could we give up his service?

“Other verses that Prahlada spoke to Lord Nrismhadeva also exemplify Srila Prabhupada’s mood. Prahlada prayed,

naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
tvad-virya-gayana-mahamrta-magna-cittah
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan

‘O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies, and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.43) And,

prayena deva munayah sva-vimukti-kama 
maunam caranti vijane na parartha-nisthah
naitan vihaya krpanan vimumuksa eko nanyam
tvad asya saranam bhramato ‘nupasye

‘My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the mountains or forest to meditate with vows of silence. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krishna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.44)  This was very much Srila Prabhupada’s mood.”

—Giriraj Swami

Nrsimha-caturdasi, Radhanath Swami
Nrsimha-caturdasi, Giriraj Swami

 

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May 202016
 

Nrsimha_PrahladGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.7.14

“When Krishna comes home from the pasturing grounds in the late afternoon, his body is sprinkled with the dust raised by the hooves of the cows and calves as they walk before him. The residents of Vrindavan see that Krishna’s beauty is enhanced by the dust and beads of perspiration that decorate His body. Every element accentuates Krishna’s beauty. Similarly, when devotees see Lord Nrsimhadeva splattered with the blood from Hiranyakasipu, they think that the drops of blood enhance Lord Nrsimahadeva’s beauty. The relationship between the devotees and the Lord is very beautiful. We can see from this incident how seriously the Lord takes an offense against His devotee.”

Nrsimha-caturdasi, Kirtan, Houston
Nrsimha-caturdasi, Talk, Houston

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May 202016
 

nrsimhadev2“Prahlada Maharaja prayed to Lord Nrsimhadeva that he forgive his father for his heinous activities and liberate him. This shows the saintly nature of a pure devotee—he is a friend to everyone. He doesn’t become his enemy’s enemy, but he is a friend even to his enemy. And Nrsimhadeva replied, ‘Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified. Your father and twenty-one generations have all been liberated.’ Devotees are naturally kind-hearted. But often when they take up the path of devotional service their parents don’t like it. The devotee, being soft-hearted, does not want to cause pain to his relatives and loved ones. But at the same time he cannot deny his calling, as a soul, to the service of the Supreme Soul. So, this is an assurance to the devotee that even if one’s family members are not happy that one has become a devotee, just by virtue of one’s becoming a surrendered soul, the family members will all benefit. There are many instances of parents of devotees having a very auspicious death. As Srila Prabhupada said, ‘The parents of my disciples will realize their good fortune at the time of their passing away’—even if they don’t realize it during their lifetime.”

Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Appearance, Dallas

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May 182016
 

Arca_Vigraha_in_Joha#CB561AGiriraj Swami joined the devotees in Durban via Skype from Dallas.

“Mother Archa Vigraha had about her a very urgent sense to serve Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada, her spiritual master, and all the Vaishnavas. And because she was so urgent and eager, Krishna’s mercy flowed to her, especially at the final stage of her life.”

—Swarup Damodar Dasa

Kirtan, Dallas
Mother Archa Vigraha’s Disappearance Celebration in Durban

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May 182016
 

Arca-vigraha_Dasi_VrindavanGiriraj Swami joined the devotees in Mumbai via Skype from Dallas.

“It is so wonderful that Mother Archa Vigraha had it in her heart to give her house in Vrindavan to Guru Maharaja. She knew that she was not going to live for too long, so when she built that house, in her heart she built it for Guru Maharaja. It is such a lovely service that she did for him. It should inspire all of us to serve Guru Maharaja in whatever way we can—be it big service or small service. It is not that we all have to give a house to serve our guru, but whatever is our capacity. It is the love in our heart, the feeling in our heart, that actually matters—the eagerness and laulyam, or greed, to do service.”

—Haripriya Dasi

Talk by Giriraj Swami, Dallas
Talk by Haripriya dasi, Mumbai
Talk by Vraja Sundari dasi, Mumbai

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May 172016
 

sp japa 3Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 9.3 during the Sunday Krishna Fest in Dallas.

“I was at an airport in America with Srila Prabhupada when a reporter asked him, ‘What does this chanting achieve?’ Srila Prabhupada smiled broadly—this oceanic, effulgent smile—looked at the reporter and replied, ‘Chanting accomplishes chanting.’ There is nothing higher than chanting. And chanting accomplishes more chanting. In the beginning, one may chant a certain number of rounds as a regulative principle, which is good. But later, when we develop taste, we don’t want to stop chanting; it’s as if twenty-four hours is not enough. A devotee at a retreat commented that earlier he felt that chanting was something that got in the way of his life but now he feels that his life is something that gets in the way of his chanting. Srila Rupa Gosvami prayed, ‘With one mouth and two ears, what can I chant? If I had millions of mouths and billions of ears then I could begin to chant.’ Because there is so much relish. One mouth and two ears is not enough. That taste follows from associating with devotees who have taste.”

Bhagavad-gita 9.3, Dallas

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May 162016
 

HHGRS_Dallas_Pic2Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 12.200-222.

” ‘There are two ideas. One is that if you serve Krishna, the guru will be pleased. And the other is that if you serve the guru, Krishna will be pleased. But if you serve the Vaishnavas, both Krishna and guru will be pleased.’ When I first joined, I heard that Srila Prabhupada said that if a devotee ever asks you to do service, you should agree, and if a devotee offers to do service for you, you should decline. So, it is a practice which can become a habit—second nature.”

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 12.200-222

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