Damodar das

Aug 312015
 

08.29.15_01.Ventura“In whatever way we want to serve, we can pray to Lord Balarama to facilitate that service, because He serves in every possible way. And apart from the external features of the service, there is the mood of the service, which is most important. We should pray to serve without any false ego or ulterior motive, but with a pure heart, simply to please Lord Krishna and His devotees.” —Giriraj Swami——————————————————————————————————

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Balarama Jayanti, Abhay
Balarama Jayanti, Radhika
Balarama Jayanti, Various Devotees
Balarama Jayanti, Giriraj Swami

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Aug 262015
 

Srila_Rupa_Gosvami_writingToday is the disappearance day of Srila Rupa Gosvami, one of the most confidential servants of Lord Caitanya. Their intimate relationship is beautifully described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 19.120-121):

yah prag eva priya-guna-ganair gadha-baddho ‘pi mukto
  gehadhyasad rasa iva paro murta evapy amurtah
premalapair drdhatara-parisvanga-rangaih prayage
  tam sri-rupam samam anupamenanujagraha devah

“From the very beginning, Srila Rupa Gosvami was deeply attracted by the transcendental qualities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus he was permanently relieved from family life. Srila Rupa Gosvami and his younger brother, Vallabha, were blessed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although the Lord was transcendentally situated in His transcendental eternal form, at Prayaga He told Rupa Gosvami about transcendental ecstatic love of Krsna. The Lord then embraced him very fondly and bestowed all His mercy upon him.”

priya-svarupe dayita-svarupe
  prema-svarupe sahajabhirupe
nijanurupe prabhur eka-rupe
  tatana rupe sva-vilasa-rupe

“Indeed, Srila Rupa Gosvami, whose dear friend was Svarupa Damodara, was the exact replica of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he was very, very dear to the Lord. Being the embodiment of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic love, Rupa Gosvami was naturally very beautiful. He very carefully followed the principles enunciated by the Lord, and he was a competent person to explain properly the pastimes of Lord Krsna. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu expanded His mercy to Srila Rupa Gosvami just so he could render service by writing transcendental literatures.”

We pray to follow in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s footsteps.

Hare Krsna.

Yours in service to Srila Prabhupada,
Giriraj Swami

Aug 202015
 

08.19.15_03.Rose_init_CarpRose Forkash was initiated by Giriraj Swami and given the name Rajani-priya dasi at 94 years of age.

“I was looking at you and Sam looking at each other so lovingly, and I asked, ‘You have been together for sixty-five years and you are so full of love. What is the secret to that kind of marriage?’ You and Sam looked each other in the eyes and almost simultaneously replied, ‘Respect.’ You respected each other so much. And you respect every one of us. You respect everyone you come in contact with—like those homeless people you inspired to take up chanting. Unconsciously or consciously you see the spirit soul within all of us, and you don’t judge people by the outside. You find that love in our hearts and you connect with us.”

—Urvasi dasi

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Kirtan by Giriraj Swami
Initiation talks

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Aug 152015
 

Srila-Prabhupada-speaks-to-Brahmananda-on-Juhu-Beach-BombayBrahmananda Prabhu said that his only qualification was that whatever Srila Prabhupada asked him to do, he would say yes. Even if he couldn’t do it, he would say yes. So, Prabhupada wanted him to leave Africa and take up the project at Juhu Beach. A month later Brahmananda Prabhu finished up his work in Africa and went to India, to join the first international Mayapur festival. When they met there, Prabhupada asked him, “What are you doing here?” Brahmananda Prabhu replied, “I have come for the festival, to chant and dance and take prasada.” Prabhupada said, “No festival for you! You are supposed to be in Juhu.”

Skype Talk with Durban, South Africa

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Aug 102015
 

First_Shipment_of_Hebrew_LFE_webYesterday the first printed copies of the Hebrew edition of my book Life’s Final Exam: Death and Dying from the Vedic Perspective were received from the printer in Israel.

Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the Global Jewish Advocacy and International President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace—a renowned figure in Judaism and peace initiatives on many continents—wrote a review:

“Giriraja Swami’s impressive book deals with the challenges that arise from the finality of life in this material word, and offers a deep understanding of eternal existence beyond death. The universal wisdom in this book is inspired by the tradition and insights of Bhakti Yoga, and, as emphasizes by Maimonides in his introduction to Masechet Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), we must aspire to accept wisdom from any source in the world. Within the Vedic knowledge that this book presents, basic values which are known to us from the Semitic religions and particularly Judaism, are highlighted. Indeed, this book illustrates that which is common to all religions and is beyond what separates. Without a doubt, the insights in this book can be of great aid to any person who is dealing with death directly or indirectly, and can Hebrew_LFE_Cover_webstrengthen one’s understanding, as stated by our sages, that death is but ‘a night between two days.’ ”

Special thanks go to Rohini-nandana dasa and Tulasi-devi dasi for translating the book and overseeing all aspects of the production.

May Srila Prabhupada and the Supreme Personality of Godhead bless all who are involved with this work—those who distribute the knowledge, those who receive the knowledge, and those who apply the knowledge in preparation for life’s final exam.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Ratha-yatra Questions and Answers, August 2, Venice Beach, Los Angeles

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Aug 042015
 

08.02.15_01.LA“A thunderbird will drink water only from the cloud. This bird flies near the cloud in expectation of water and is not afraid of thunder. In India the bird is called chatak. In the beginning of every cloud there is thunder, but still the chatak will not take water from the land. This example means that a devotee will take mercy only from Krishna, not from the material world. Even there is thunder—Krishna does not give mercy but puts him in difficulty—still he will not take mercy from the material world. He will patiently wait for Krishna’s mercy. He will not seek relief through intoxication or any other from of material sense gratification.”
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Q&A, Ratha-yatra, LA

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Ratha-yatra Talk, March 15, 2008, Dallas

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Jul 302015
 

Ratha_puriToday we will travel with Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra in procession, and we will chant the holy names of the Lord and dance for His pleasure. So we shall read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Thirteen: “The Ecstatic Dancing of the Lord at Ratha-yatra.”

TEXT 1

sa jiyat krsna-caitanyah
sri-rathagre nanarta yah
yenasij jagatam citram
jagannatho ‘pi vismitah

TRANSLATION

May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who danced in front of the car of Sri Jagannatha, be all glorified! By seeing His dancing, not only was the whole universe held in wonder, but Lord Jagannatha Himself became very much astonished.

TEXT 2

jaya jaya sri-krsna-caitanya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda

TRANSLATION

All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to the devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

TEXT 3

jaya srota-gana, suna, kari’ eka mana
ratha-yatraya nrtya prabhura parama mohana

TRANSLATION

All glories to the listeners of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta! Please hear the description of the dancing of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the Ratha-yatra festival. His dancing is very enchanting. Please hear of it with great attention.

TEXT 23

panca-dasa dina isvara maha-laksmi lana
tanra sange krida kaila nibhrte vasiya

TRANSLATION

For fifteen days the Lord [Jagannatha] had remained in a secluded place with the supreme goddess of fortune and had performed His pastimes with her.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The fifteen-day period of anavasara is also called nibhrta, in honor of the solitary place where the supreme goddess of fortune lives. After living there a fortnight, Lord Jagannatha took permission from the goddess of fortune to leave.

TEXT 24

tanhara sammati lana bhakte sukha dite
rathe cadi’ bahira haila vihara karate

TRANSLATION

Having taken permission from the goddess of fortune, the Lord came out to ride on the Ratha car and perform His pastimes for the pleasure of the devotees.

PURPORT

In this connection, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that as an ideal husband, Lord Jagannatha remained fifteen days in a secluded place with His wife, the supreme goddess of fortune. Nonetheless, the Lord wanted to come out of seclusion to give happiness to His devotees. The Lord enjoys Himself in two ways, known as svakiya and parakiya. The Lord’s conjugal love in the svakiya-rasa relates to the regulative principles observed in Dvaraka, where the Lord has many married queens. But in Vrndavana the conjugal love of the Lord is not with His married wives but with His girlfriends, the gopis. Conjugal love with thegopis is called parakiya-rasa. Lord Jagannatha leaves the secluded place where He enjoys the company of the supreme goddess of fortune in svakiya-rasa, and He goes to Vrndavana, where He enjoys the parakiya-rasa. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore reminds us that the Lord’s pleasure in parakiya-rasa is superior to His pleasure in svakiya-rasa.

In the material world, parakiya-rasa, or loving affairs with unmarried girlfriends, is the most degraded relationship, but in the spiritual world this type of loving affair is considered the supreme enjoyment. In the material world everything is but a reflection of the spiritual world, and that reflection is perverted. We cannot understand the affairs of the spiritual world on the basis of our experience in the material world. The Lord’s pastimes with the gopis are therefore misunderstood by mundane scholars and word-wranglers. The parakiya-rasa of the spiritual world should not be discussed except by one who is very advanced in pure devotional service. The parakiya-rasa in the spiritual world and that in the material world are not comparable. The former is like gold, and the latter is like iron. Because the difference of the two is so great, they cannot actually be compared. However, just as a knowledgeable person can easily distinguish gold from iron, one who has the proper realization can easily distinguish the transcendental activities of the spiritual world from material activities.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Fifteen days before the Ratha-yatra festival in Puri, Lord Jagannatha is brought from inside His temple onto a rooftop of the complex and is bathed, in public view, in the ceremony called Snana-yatra. After the bathing ceremony the Lord retires to a secluded place in an area inside the temple reserved for the supreme goddess of fortune. For fifteen days she serves Him with great love and devotion, and after that period, called anavasara, the Lord wants to come out of seclusion to give pleasure to His devotees, and with the permission of the goddess of fortune He goes out in the procession called Ratha-yatra. Continue reading »

Purusottama-masa, Purusottama-ksetra

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Jul 162015
 

Jagannatha_in_PuriAs the most sacred month of Purusottama draws to a close, our minds turn toward Purusottama-ksetra, Jagannatha Puri, and the celebration of the Ratha-yatra and other related festivals there.

Jaya Jagannatha!

—Giriraj Swami

Ratha-yatra Address 4.13.13 Dallas

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From the Archives: Remain Eternally Dependent on the Mercy of the Spiritual Master, January 29, 2003

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Jul 112015
 

SPandGRSGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.14.

“Even after liberation the disciple depends on the instructions of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who said to His spiritual master, Srila Isvara Puri. ‘I have been following your instruction to chant the holy names but I have become overwhelmed by different emotional transformations. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I dance like a madman without any care for others opinions. I fear that I have become mad from this chanting. What is my position?’ Srila Prabhupada comments in the purport that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was liberated but still he consulted with His spiritual master.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.14

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