Damodar das

Apr 262015
 

Arca_initiation Giriraj Swami spoke with devotees in Mumbai over Skype.

“Mother Arca-vigraha loved Vrindavan. She just loved being in Vrindavan, and she wished that other devotees could have the same opportunity that she had to spend their last days there. She asked me to take up that project, and I said I would. From that desire of hers came the Vrindavan hospice; it was her direct request. And now so many devotees are being served by the hospice, including disciples and other followers of Srila Prabhupada from various countries. So, she is a glorious servant of Krishna and the Vaishnavas, and it is very good that every year you come together to remember and glorify her. We should endeavor to follow in her footsteps by completely dedicating ourselves to Krishna’s service. We may not have the same specific qualities and abilities that she had, but whatever abilities we do have we should engage fully in the service of the Lord and the devotees. In this way we can also achieve a very exalted position in devotional service and in the end attain the supreme destination.”

Mother Arca-vigraha’s Disappearance Anniversary, Carpinteria, California

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Apr 252015
 

Arca-vigraha_Dasi_VrindavanToday, April 25, Jhanu Saptami, is the disappearance anniversary of Arca-vigraha dasi, a renowned artist from South Africa who left her cancer-ridden body in Vrindavan twenty-one years ago. Her desire that other devotees also have a proper facility to spend their last days in the beautiful spiritual atmosphere of the dhama inspired the creation of Bhaktivedanta Hospice, which is serving both local devotees and disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada from throughout the world. To honor the occasion—and the service of the devotees connected with the hospice—I quote from a talk by Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     —Giriraj Swami

 The work of the hospice is really such an important thing, and such a valuable gift to ISKCON.

I had the good fortune of assisting Mother Arca-vigraha in Vrindavan, and it was such a rewarding experience. Her previous name was Angel Lipkin, and her name, Angel, indicated her nature. She was actually an angel. She had breast cancer, and it got into the lymph nodes, and the lymph nodes were strangling her esophagus and nerves, and it was quite painful. Arca was a bit of a hardhead. She was one of those natural-type people who would never want to take pain medication; she would take only some homeopathic tablets that were less strong than even aspirin. Sometimes I would see her in the depths of pain, but people would come to her door and say, “Arca, I have a problem.” They would come in, and she would speak to them with such nice Krishna consciousness.

We were neighbors, so I would also pop in—morning, noon, and night. One night I came into her place and she was alone, sitting on her bed crying. I went over and said, “I have to give you some medicine.” She said, “No, I don’t take medicine.” I said, “No, I have to give you some medicine.” I opened the Krsna-bhavanamrta and sat and read to her about Krishna, and hearing about Krishna, even in that painful condition, she became totally transformed. By nature she was an energetic person. And after hearing for some time, she would become animated and exclaim, “Ooh! Ooh!”

Arca attracted so many nice devotees to come and be with her. Devotees would come just to speak to her about Krishna and read to her about Krishna and have kirtana with her. Tamal Krishna Maharaja used to visit her. Sometimes we would sit around her bed and read Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Vidagdha-madhava. We would play different roles, each of us—Sivarama Swami, Kesava Bharati Maharaja, Giriraj Maharaja, Tamal Krishna Goswami, and me—reading the parts of different characters. It was so nice. And she was always so sweet and so humble; she was wonderful.

Over time, Arca-vigraha’s condition became worse. And she made a specific request to her spiritual master, Giriraj Swami Maharaja, and me that we should think of establishing a hospice. In the course of time, I have been pulled in another direction, to the other side of the Himalayas. But it is wonderful that Giriraj Maharaja has taken up this project and that you all have formed a committed and dedicated team to see that it actually takes shape. It is the fulfillment of a wish, the wish of a Vaishnavi.

It is so wonderful that people actually create facilities like this for terminal patients—what to speak of doing it for Vaishnavas, what to speak of doing it in Vrindavan. So it is a very important service, and I am sure that by this service you will all be blessed by Srila Prabhupada—and certainly by Vaishnavas everywhere—for taking the burden and carrying the activity of helping Vaishnavas peacefully depart this world. And I am sure that you will receive an abundance of mercy from the angel Arca-vigraha as well, because she was really an angel. She really was an angel.

Apr 242015
 

03.21.15_HoustonGiriraj Swami spoke at Nilamadhava dasa and Madhuri Radha dasi’s wedding.

“I will quote one authority on marriage who said, ‘Marriage is not supposed to make you happy. It’s supposed to  to make you married, and once you are safely and totally married, you have a structure of security and support from which you can find your own happiness.’ Our only real and enduring happiness comes in our relationship with God, or Krishna. However nice another person may be, no matter how compatible we may be, ultimately our desires can be satisfied only in relationship with Krishna. And so family and friends are all meant to encourage each other in their relationships with Krishna.”

03.21.15, Marriage Ceremony, Houston

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Apr 132015
 

04.11.15_05.LagunaTRUST THE SIMPLE PROCESS

“People don’t get to have any fun in this world. If you go to LAX airport with a flower garland like this on, everyone will look at you like, ‘You can’t do that! Where did you get that anyway, Buddy? Why do we have to wear these polyester things and you get to wear flowers?’ That’s Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You get to wear flowers, you get to sing, you get to dance, and all you have to do is follow this simple order. Because if you just trust Lord Chaitanya’s process—that’s all it is, just trust the process—and do the simple things strictly, with full faith, then all success will be there.”

—Vaisesika Dasa

GRS_and_VDA_at_MGP_2015_-_1GRS_and_VDA_at_MGP_2015_-_204.11.15_01.Laguna04.11.15_02.Laguna04.11.15_03.Laguna04.11.15_04.LagunaGRS_Serving_Prasada_at_MGP_2015

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Vaisesika Dasa
Giriraj Swami

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Apr 102015
 

WTS_coverCoverMany devotees have requested that Giriraj Swami’s books be made available in e-book editions. We are pleased to announce that Watering the Seed (Revised and Expanded) and Life’s Final Exam: Death and Dying from the Vedic Perspective are now available as e-books on Amazon. And we hope to have them available soon in other formats, from other vendors. Please click below:

Watering the Seed: Revised and Expanded
Life’s Final Exam: Death and Dying from the Vedic Perspective

Apr 062015
 

Prabhupada-in-MelbourneGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23.

“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. Lord Caitanya therefore designated Himself as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah, or ‘the most obedient servant of the servants of the Lord, who maintains the gopi damsels at Vrndavana.’ A pure devotee therefore never approaches the Lord directly, but tries to please the servant of the Lord’s servants, and thus the Lord becomes pleased, and only then can the devotee relish the taste of the tulasi leaves stuck to His lotus feet. In the Brahma-samhita it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee.” — SB 2.3.23 purport.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23

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Apr 052015
 

ABYogaGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavat-gita 15.7 at the Atma Bhakti Yoga Center in Dallas.

“Our origin is Krishna, and so our natural love is for Him—and He has natural love for us. In fact, a great sage said that the two most basic necessities for the living entity are to love and be loved. But that desire to love and be loved can be perfectly fulfilled only in relationship to our origin—Krishna. Bhakti-yoga is the process by which our dormant love for Him can be awakened.”

Bhagavad-gita 15.7

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Apr 032015
 

gopakumar_krishna.l-1Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 8.90.

“In pure vaidhi-bhakti you can only worship Laxmi-Narayana. But, it is not always so absolute that we do not have spontaneous feelings for Radha and Krishna. Although we worship in vaidhi-bhakti according to the rules and regulations and with awe and reverence, there can still be some mood of worshiping Radha and Krishna — but not at the cost of the rules and regulations. In the Nectar of Devotion it states that even if one is advanced internally one will still follow the rules and regulations externally just like a neophyte. But there is a difference in that if you keep worshiping Radha and Krishna with awe and reverence, eventually as you progress, you will develop spontaneous attraction for Radha and Krishna.  Whereas if you worship Laxmi-Narayana and make spiritual advancement, you are still worshiping Laxmi-Narayana. So the general rule is that we continue what we are doing and as we progress we will get the mood of worshipping in spontaneous devotional service. But, we have to be patient and await that opportune moment.”

Cc Madhya 8.90

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Mar 312015
 

Lord_Rama_Crossing_the_OceanGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.7.23.

“If we try to enjoy the property of God without God, we will be vanquished, sooner or later. Once, Srila Prabhupada compared the Western countries to Ravana, who was in possession of Sita, or Laksmi, the goddess of fortune. He said that just as Lord Ramachandra crossed the ocean to get back Sita, similarly, he also crossed the ocean—to reclaim Laksmi. And just as Lord Ramachandra was assisted by so many monkeys, he was assisted by us. The idea was to get back Sita, or Laxmi, from Ravana and reunite her with Rama. In other words, he wanted to get the wealth that was being kept captive by the people in the Western world and engage it in the service of Lord Rama, or Krishna consciousness.”

SB 2.7.23, Rama-navami Evening

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Mar 302015
 

Rama-Kills-RavanaGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.20.

There are two kinds of strength — daiva and purusakara. Daiva refers to the strength achieved from the Transcendence, and purusakara refers to the strength organized by one’s own intelligence and power. Transcendental power is always superior to the power of the materialist. Depending on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, one must fight one’s enemies even though one may not be equipped with modern weapons. Therefore Krsna instructed Arjuna, mam anusmara yudhya ca: “Think of Me and fight.” We should fight our enemy to the best of our ability, but for victory we must depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. — SB 9.10.20 purport

Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.20

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