Damodar das

Sep 262016

krishna-and-gopisGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 14, in Dallas.

“Although superficially Vrindavan is just a cowherd village, the opulence of Vrindavan far exceeds that of Vaikuntha. But because the mood of sweetness (madhurya) prevails in Vrindavan, it covers the mood of opulence (aisvarya)—even though Vrindavan’s opulence is greater than that of Dvaraka or Vaikuntha. Say, for example, there is a mixture of 100 gallons of lime juice and 100 pounds of sugar, and there is another container with 10 gallons of lime juice and 1 pound of sugar. The lime is like the opulence, and the sugar is like the sweetness. Vrindavan is like the 100 gallons of lime juice which has more opulence than Vaikuntha and yet is sweeter to the taste, with its 100 pounds of sugar, than the 10 gallons of lime juice with 1 pound of sugar.”

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Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 14.228

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Sep 222016

Giriraj Swami and Anutama Prabhu spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, 7.92.

adi-2-05-938x1377“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains in his Anubhasya, ‘A person who has attracted the attention of the spiritual master by his sincere service likes to dance and chant with similarly developed Krsna conscious devotees. The spiritual master authorizes such a devotee to deliver fallen souls in all parts of the world. Those who are not advanced prefer to chant the Hare Krsna mantra in a solitary place.’ Such activities constitute, in the language of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a type of cheating process in the sense that they imitate the activities of exalted personalities like Haridasa Thakura. One should not attempt to imitate such exalted devotees. Rather, everyone should endeavor to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in all parts of the world and thus become successful in spiritual life. One who is not very expert in preaching may chant in a secluded place, avoiding bad association, but for one who is actually advanced, preaching and meeting people who are not engaged in devotional service are not disadvantages. A devotee gives the nondevotees his association but is not affected by their misbehavior. Thus by the activities of a pure devotee even those who are bereft of love of Godhead get a chance to become devotees of the Lord one day.” (Cc Adi 7.92 purport)

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Sunday-Program Talk by Giriraj Swami and Anutama Dasa

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Sep 192016

spsanyass1On this date, Sri Visvarupa, the elder brother of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, took sannyasa. It is also the date on which Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa.

“If Srila Prabhupada hadn’t taken sannyasa and come to us, where would we be? We wouldn’t be anywhere—I shudder to think where we would be. So that renunciation is necessary. Sat-nyasa. Nyasa means to give up, and sat means the Supreme. One takes sannyasa to give up everything for the service of the Supreme, Krishna. Many of our acharyas have taken sannaysa. They gave up the limited families of their homes or their towns and embraced the larger family of all humanity and all living beings.”

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Srila Prabhupada’s Sannyasa

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Sep 172016

Lord Chaitanya Carrying Haridasa ThakuraGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter 11.

Haridasa Thakura said, “I have had one desire for a very long time. I think that quite soon, my Lord, You will bring to a close Your pastimes within this material world. I wish that You not show me this closing chapter of Your pastimes. Before that time comes, kindly let my body fall down in Your presence. I wish to catch Your lotuslike feet upon my heart and see Your moonlike face. With my tongue I shall chant Your holy name, ‘Sri Krsna Caitanya!’ That is my desire. Kindly let me give up my body in this way. O most merciful Lord, if by Your mercy it is possible, kindly grant my desire. Let this lowborn body fall down before You. You can make possible this perfection of all my desires.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krsna is so merciful that He must execute whatever you want. But whatever happiness is Mine is all due to your association. It is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.”
Catching the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Haridasa Thakura said, “My Lord, do not create an illusion! Although I am so fallen, You must certainly show me this mercy! My Lord, there are many respectable personalities, millions of devotees, who are fit to sit on my head. They are all helpful in Your pastimes. My Lord, if an insignificant insect like me dies, what is the loss? If an ant dies, where is the loss to the material world? My Lord, You are always affectionate to Your devotees. I am just an imitation devotee, but nevertheless I wish that You fulfill my desire. That is my expectation.” (Cc Antya 11.31-42)

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Disappearance of Haridasa Thakura

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Sep 152016

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 9.13 on the morning after Radhasthami.

“In this verse the description of the mahatma is clearly given. The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivi prakrti, divine nature. So when one is promoted in that way – by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead – one attains to the stage of great soul, mahatma.” (Bg 9.13 purport)

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Bhagavad-gita 9.13.

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Sep 092016

radhacaran2010For the most auspicious celebration of Sri Radhastami, we read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Three: “Pure Devotional Service.”


jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ’bhilabheta yas tu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasan chavo yas tu na veda gandham


The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of the Lord’s pure devotee upon his head is certainly a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the aroma of the tulasi leaves from the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, although breathing.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Visnu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offerings by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement “reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee.” That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional parampara.

Maharaja Rahugana inquired from the great saint Jada Bharata as to how he had attained such a liberated stage of a paramahamsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.12):

rahuganaitat tapasa na yati
na cejyaya nirvapanad grhad va
na cchandasa naiva jalagni-suryair
vina mahat-pada-rajo-’bhisekam

“O King Rahugana, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahamsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya (austerity), the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water, or before the blazing fire.”

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. Continue reading »

Vyasa-puja Offering — Full Faith: Our Greatest Treasure

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Aug 272016

Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON after Fifty Years

Giriraj with Srila Prabhupada on Juhu BeachSrila Prabhupada’s disciple Dhananjaya Dasa told me that at his initiation Srila Prabhupada said, “Dhananjaya means ‘winner of wealth,’” and added, moving his arms all around, “Money is flying in all directions—you simply have to learn the art of catching it.”

The next morning, Dhananjaya raised a question related to a purport he had read in Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.12.33):

Maharaja Marutta: . . . [He] conducted one sacrifice called Sankara-yajna by which the Lord was so satisfied that He was pleased to hand over to him the charge of a mountain peak of gold. This peak of gold is somewhere in the Himalaya Mountains, and modern adventurers may try to find it there.”

“Srila Prabhupada,” Dhananjaya asked, “Is it true that there is mountain peak in the Himalayas made of solid gold?”

“Yes, there is such a peak.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“Why do you want to know?” Prabhupada asked.

Dhananjaya perceived that ISKCON was not doing well financially, and so he said, “Well, if you tell me where it is, I’ll get a rucksack [back pack] and a special hammer and chisel and go to the top of that mountain, hack away at the gold, fill up the rucksack, and come down, and then we can use that gold in Krsna’s service. So would you let me know where that mountain peak is?”

“No,” Prabhupada replied.

“Why not?” Dhananjaya asked.

“That would become too controversial,” Prabhupada said. Then he added, “Actually, more valuable than gold are devotees. You should make devotees.”

Dhananjaya took that instruction to heart and has always tried to make devotees—and along with making devotees, keeping devotees. Naturally, if we gain some wealth, we don’t want to lose it—we want to preserve it and increase it.

As Srila Prabhupada wrote, “It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees. It is the duty of the GBC to maintain the devotees, keep them in the highest standard of Krishna consciousness, and give them all good instruction, and let them go out and preach for making more devotees. Your first job should be to make sure that every one of the devotees in your zone of management is reading regularly our literatures and discussing the subject matter seriously from different angles of seeing, and that they are somehow or other absorbing the knowledge of Krishna consciousness philosophy. If they are fully educated in our philosophy and if they can get all of the knowledge and study it from every viewpoint, then very easily they will perform tapasya, or renunciation, and that will be their advancement in Krishna consciousness. So first thing is to instruct all of your temple presidents and the other devotees to read daily, just as we have done in our morning class in Los Angeles . . . reading one sloka each morning in Sanskrit and reciting it all together and then discussing it thoroughly by seeing different new things. So you introduce this system and train the devotees first. Don’t be too much concerned for the time being with nondevotees. Now we must fix up what devotees we have got in the knowledge of Krishna consciousness; then we will succeed. What good are many, many devotees if none of them are knowledgeable?” (Letter to Satsvarupa, June 16, 1972) Continue reading »