Giriraj Swami offering arati to Srila Prabhupada.
Giriraj Swami offering arati to Srila Prabhupada.
“Srimad-Bhagavatam mentions two words: parisrama, which means hard labor, or great endeavor, and krsna-krpa, Krishna’s mercy. Our acharyas explain that the two-finger gap preventing Mother Yasoda from tying the rope around Krishna can be bridged by a combination of parisrama — our hard labor — and krsna-krpa, Krishna’s mercy. Whatever we do in our spiritual endeavors requires these two ingredients: our sincere efforts and Krishna’s mercy. By that combination we can bind Krishna, or Krishna allows himself to be captured and bound by us.” —Giriraj Swami
Kirtan by Radhika
Talk by Dhananjaya Dasa
Talk by Giriraj Swami
First Gandhavika Haulkhory and Radhika Bhuckory led kirtan, then Jacob Duran, and then Sarvatma. At the end, Giriraj Swami sang the Nrsimha prayers, told the story of how the conch that Srila Narottama dasa Thakura sent to Vrindavan came to Carpinteria, and read from The Glorious Life of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, by Sitala Dasi, about the Deity installation by Narottama dasa Thakura and Srinivasa Acharya at the first Gaura-purnima festival, in Kheturi.
The program ended with a feast offered to the Deities.
Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Bhagavad-gita 9.14 during the Sunday Krishna Fest.
“This verse is the summary of the previous verses. The Lord tells Arjuna that those who are purely in Krsna consciousness and do not know anything other than Krsna are called mahatma; yet there are other persons who are not exactly in the position of mahatma but who worship Krsna also, in different ways. Some of them have already been described as the distressed, the financially destitute, the inquisitive, and those who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.15 purport)
Today is Visvarupa-mahotsava, the date on which Lord Chaitanya’s older brother, Visvarupa, took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. And on the same date some four hundred and fifty years later, our own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, also accepted sannyasa.
According to Vedic scripture, Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, come in the present age in the role of a devotee. In the previous age, Lord Krishna came in His original feature and spoke the Bhagavad-gita, and at the conclusion He instructed, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: give up all other duties and surrender unto Me. But people could not understand or appreciate Lord Krishna’s instruction. So later, about five hundred years ago, the same Krishna came again, not in His original form but in His devotional form as Lord Chaitanya. And Lord Chaitanya taught us how to serve Krishna, how to worship God in the present age.
Lord Chaitanya taught various methods of worship, but He especially emphasized the chanting of the holy names of God, or Krishna. In particular, He quoted a verse from the Brhan-Naradiya Purana (38.126):
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
“One should chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of Hari, Krishna. In this age of Kali, there is no other way, no other way, no other way for spiritual realization.”
He acted like a teacher who shows students how to write the alphabet. The teacher stands in front of the class and writes on the board, “A, B, C, D.” She has no need to practice writing, but she shows by her own example how to form the letters properly. In the same way, God, Krishna, had no need to worship, but to set the example for us, so that we could learn how to worship God in the best way in the present age, He came as Lord Chaitanya and taught and demonstrated the chanting of the holy names.
When Lord Chaitanya appeared, the social and spiritual system called varnasrama-dharma was still prevalent in India. In this system there are four social and four spiritual divisions, all necessary for society to function properly. Although we may not refer to them by the same terms, and although the system has not been developed as systematically and scientifically as in Vedic culture, still, by the arrangement of nature, the divisions still exist. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: “According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me.” (Gita 4.13) So, the four social orders, or broad divisions of occupational duties, are created by Krishna.
Giriraj Swami read and discussed Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter 11, “The Passing of Srila Haridasa Thakura,” during the Sunday morning class.
“If one cannot complete the fixed number of rounds he is assigned, he should be considered to be in a diseased condition of spiritual life. Srila Haridasa Thakura is called namacarya. Of course, we cannot imitate Haridasa Thakura, but everyone must chant a prescribed number of rounds. In our Krsna consciousness movement we have fixed sixteen rounds as the minimum so that the Westerners will not feel burdened. These sixteen rounds must be chanted, and chanted loudly, so that one can hear himself and others.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, 11.23)
The Passing of Srila Haridasa Thakura (Right click to download)
“Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura retired to Godrumadvipa, Mayapur, and standing on his veranda there he had a vision of a spiritual city where devotees from all over the world would come together and chant the holy names and worship Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When I visited there I stood on that veranda and looked across the river and saw Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi dome very prominently. Some devotees were a little critical of the architecture of the samadhi, saying it was not in the traditional Bengali style. But looking across from the balcony, imagining Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura standing there, I thought that he would be very pleased, because his mood and desire was that devotees from all over the world should come to chant Hare Krishna and worship the Supreme Lord Krishna Chaitanya. And that unique style of architecture was the result of devotees coming from all over the world in pursuance of the vision of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Appearance Day (Right click to download)