Damodar das

Feb 272017
 
Feb 072017
 

Nityananda AGiriraj Swami gave this talk on February 12, 2014, in New Dvaraka, Los Angeles.

“We think of Srila Prabhupada staying in the Bowery with that young man, David Allen, who was taking the New York version of strong liquor—LSD. David went mad. He could have done anything to Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada went running down the stairs onto the street, not knowing where he would go. It was like Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura running for their life from the drunken brothers Jagai and Madhai. I cannot imagine anyone since Nityananda Prabhu and His associates who has taken up that mission of approaching anyone and everyone without discrimination and giving them the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as Srila Prabhupada did. And he is doing that through all of you; you are also doing the same thing. You are approaching people without discrimination and giving them the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s books, or through or the hari-nama sankirtana party, which also carries books and magazines. By that activity we will get the mercy of Lord Nityanada and Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”

Nityananda-trayodasi

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Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Disappearance Day — A Discussion by Giriraj Swami

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Dec 172016
 

srila_bhaktisiddhanta_sitting_cross-leggedSrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master, is my grand spiritual master, but I feel that I never really knew him that well until I read his biography Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava by my godbrother Bhakti Vikasa Swami. Many of the quotes and references below come from that work, which has helped bring me closer to my spiritual grandfather.

We are all here by the mercy of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There’s a line through which the mercy descends upon us, beginning with Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and passing, one teacher after the other, through parampara, or disciplic succession. Five thousand years ago Krsna came in His original form and in the Bhagavad-gita (9.34, 18.65) He instructed, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto: “Always think of Me and become My devotee.” Five hundred years ago the same Lord Krsna came again, in the devotional form of Sri Krsna Caitanya, to explain and personally show how to be a devotee and always think of Krsna. Lord Caitanya 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, Krsna. There is no other way, no other way, no other way for success in the present age of Kali.” He also desired and predicted:

prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

“In as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the earth, My holy name will be propagated.” (Cb 3.4.126) He expressed this desire and prediction at a time when it was almost impossible to imagine or believe that it could happen.

In the 1800s Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura began the effort to spread the holy name of Krsna to countries outside India. He wrote a small book in English called Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts and dispatched copies to libraries around the world. In recent years Srila Prabhupada’s disciples have discovered copies in libraries from Canada (McGill University) to Australia. Bhaktivinoda Thakura yearned for the day when devotees from all over the world would unite in harinama-sankirtana and wrote, “Very soon the unparalleled path of harinama-sankirtana will be propagated all over the planet. . . . Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mrdangas, and karatalas and perform kirtana through their streets and towns. When will that day come? Oh, for the day when the fair-skinned men from their side will raise up the chanting of ‘Jaya Sacinandana, jaya Sacinandana ki jaya!’ and join with the Bengali devotees. When will that day be?” (Sajjana-tosani) Continue reading »

The Advent of the Bhagavad-gita—Some Practical Guidance

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Dec 092016
 

Krishna_Speaking_the_Bhagavad-gita_to_ArjunaToday is the auspicious occasion of Gita Jayanti, the day Lord Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, the day of Moksada Ekadasi. To begin, we shall read from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter Nine, “The Most Confidential Knowledge,” two verses that can provide us with guidance for our lives:

TEXT 30

api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah

SYNONYMS

api—even; cet—if; su-duracarah—one committing the most abominable actions; bhajate—is engaged in devotional service; mam—unto Me; ananya-bhak—without deviation; sadhuh—a saint; eva—certainly; sah—he; mantavyah—is to be considered; samyak—completely; vyavasitah—situated in determination; hi—certainly; sah—he.

TRANSLATION

Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The word su-duracarah used in this verse is very significant, and we should understand it properly. When a living entity is conditioned, he has two kinds of activities: one is conditional, and the other is constitutional. As for protecting the body or abiding by the rules of society and state, certainly there are different activities, even for the devotees, in connection with the conditional life, and such activities are called conditional. Besides these, the living entity who is fully conscious of his spiritual nature and is engaged in Krsna consciousness, or the devotional service of the Lord, has activities which are called transcendental. Such activities are performed in his constitutional position, and they are technically called devotional service.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Following Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada is explaining that because devotees are living in the material world, they also have activities that they must perform in relation to material existence, in relation to society, state, and so on. Such activities cannot be avoided, because we are in the material world. We have to live in society. We have to live in a country. In the grhastha-asrama, one has to earn a living and pay taxes. We have to do so many things, and those activities are performed in the material world. When we go to the spiritual world, we won’t have to go to the office, pay taxes, or perform social functions, but for now we must.

There are, of course, constitutional activities that one performs both here and in the spiritual world. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam. We hear about Krsna. We chant about Krsna. We remember Krsna. And when we go to the spiritual world, we will engage in these same activities.

PURPORT (continued)

Now, in the conditioned state, sometimes devotional service and the conditional service in relation to the body will parallel one another. But then again, sometimes these activities become opposed to one another. As far as possible, a devotee is very cautious so that he does not do anything that could disrupt his wholesome condition.

COMMENT

To give an example, a person may be engaged in some work, some business, and to do his business he has to associate with nondevotees. In sastra, associating with nondevotees is discouraged and associating intimately with them is forbidden. But because the person has to earn his livelihood, he has to mix with all sorts of people, and their association is contaminating. This is an example of when conditional activities run opposite to one’s constitution.

If one is fortunate, one’s work can be done in the association of devotees. Srila Prabhupada encouraged the devotees to have businesses that would engage other devotees, so they wouldn’t have to associate extensively with nondevotees. And even better is to live in a self-sufficient community of devotees. Then you don’t have to go to the office or the shop at all. You don’t have to interact so much with the material world. You grow food, keep cows and get milk, and depend on nature and the cows. You don’t have to be involved with materialistic civilization.

So, sometimes the conditional activities run parallel to devotional service and sometimes they run opposite, and a devotee is very careful not to do anything that will disrupt his wholesome condition. He is aware that to some extent he has to interact with materialistic people in the course of his work, but he is careful not to interact with them beyond a certain point, because if he does, their association will affect his Krsna consciousness and disrupt his wholesome condition. Continue reading »

Govardhan-puja: The Glories of Govardhan Hill, October 24, 2014, Houston

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Oct 302016
 

Sri_Giridhari_Holding_Sri_Giri-Govardhana“We may approach the Lord for something material and he may fulfill our desire, but in such a way that we don’t approach him again for that desire. So, it is better if we approach the Lord and great souls like Giri Govardhan with spiritual desires like the gopi’s—just to serve and please Krishna—without any desire for themselves. By serving and pleasing Krishna we become pramodah—we become exceedingly happy. That is how we become happy. Not by trying in our own independent way to enjoy but by serving and pleasing Krishna and His devotees. That was the benediction the gopis wanted from Govardhan Hill and he fulfilled their desires.”
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Govardhan-puja Talk

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Sarad Purnima and Karttika, October 18, 2013

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Oct 172016
 

Damodar-Lila-2006forwebGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.32, verses 16 to 22.

” ‘But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopis, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else’ (SB 10.32.20). It happens: We get something with great difficulty and then we lose it and become obsessed with the loss. Or we may take something for granted, and when we lose it we appreciate what we had.

“Then Krishna says, ‘My dear girls, understanding that simply for My sake you had rejected the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas, and of your relatives, I acted as I did only to increase your attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you. Therefore, My beloved gopis, please do not harbor any bad feelings toward Me, your beloved’ (SB 10.32.21). Here Krishna is saying that it is not true that He did not reciprocate their love. He did, in such a way as to increase their attachment for Him. He was reciprocating—because the gopis‘, or any pure devotee’s, only desire is to love and serve Krishna and to increase their love for Him and their service to Him. And so by removing Himself from them He was reciprocating with their hearts’ deepest, innermost desire—to increase their love for Him.”

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Sarat Purnima and the First Night of Karttika

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Becoming Godly, October 2, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 102016
 

original-delhi-bhagavatam-coverGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28.

“The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to seventy-eight percent in full. The living being can never possess attributes like Siva, Visnu, or Lord Krsna. A living being can become godly by developing the seventy-eight-percent transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Siva, Visnu, or Krsna. He can become a Brahma in due course. The godly living beings who are all residents of the planets in the spiritual sky are eternal associates of God in different spiritual planets called Hari-dhama and Mahesa-dhama. The abode of Lord Krsna above all spiritual planets is called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana, and the perfected living being, by developing seventy-eight percent of the above attributes in fullness, can enter the planet of Krsnaloka after leaving the present material body.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28 purport

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28

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Sri Vyasa-puja, October 1, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 062016
 

10-01-16_grs_vp_12_dallasGiriraj Swami’s Vyasa-puja was a festive opportunity for participants to chant, dance, feast, and glorify Lord Krishna and His devotees.

“My experience with His Holiness Giriraj Swami is that he is a clear representative, or, as Srila Prabhupada said, ‘a transparent via medium.’ So, through Giriraj Swami we see our founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. This quality of Giriraj Swami is very important to me because ISKCON is a growing society that must prevail for a long time. That will depend on the clarity with which we see Srila Prabhupada’s vision for what ISKCON should be, which in turn will depends on the clarity of vision the senior devotees have. From my daily exchanges with Giriraj Swami I find he has a strong desire to understand exactly what is being said and meant by Srila Prabhupada.” — Rtadhvaja Swami

10-01-16_grs_vp_01_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_02_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_03_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_04_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_05_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_06_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_07_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_08_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_09_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_10_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_11_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_13_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_14_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_15_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_16_dallas10-01-16_grs_vp_17_dallas——————————
Thanks to Bhismadeva dasa for the beautiful photos.

Part 1 – speakers:
Nityananda dasa, Rtadhvaja Swami, Cakri dasa, Sucharya dasi, Visvambara dasa, Radhanatha dasa, Shyamasundara dasa, Apurva dasa, Guru Bhakti dasi, Mahahari dasa, Syamavali dasi, Radha Krishna dasa, Children from TKG Academy, Guru Priya dasi, Rasikendra dasa, Dhruva dasa, Devaprastha dasa, Arjuna Krishna dasa, Visakha Priya dasi, Vinod Bihari dasa, Nila Madhava dasa and Madhuri Radha dasi, Svapna Vilasa dasi, Ananda Lila dasi, Visnupriya dasi

Part 2:
Gandharvika, Abhay Charan, Hemangi dasi, Jaya Sri Radhe dasi, Lily and Art Garcia, Arduan, Ananda Lila dasi, Vrnda Priya dasi, Indulekha dasi, Patita Pavana dasa, Varshana Rani dasi, Vijaya Bhattaru, Himanshu Tambe, Snigdha Tambe, Aashish Pandya, Dehuti Pandya, Ashesha, Gaura Hari dasa, Maria Caldwell, Gopi Gita dasi

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Vyasa-puja offerings part 1
Vyasa-puja offerings part 2
Vyasa-puja talk by Giriraj Swami

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The Illuminating Knowledge of a Pure Devotee, October 1, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Oct 042016
 

ct16-114Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.51.

“These are very important principles. We may have heard them before, but, as Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Repetition is important for understanding’—because we are in the material atmosphere, which is full of fog and clouds. Therefore even though something may be clear at a certain time and in the right association, the same thing may become clouded over again and we may lapse into habitual ways of thinking which are not spiritual, or Krishna conscious. Thus we must pray that the truth of Krishna consciousness always remain illuminated within our hearts, so we don’t slide back into the fog and clouds of material consciousness.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.51, Dallas

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Progressing Spiritually, September 25, Radha-Kalachandji Temple, Dallas

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Sep 282016
 

sp japa 3Giriraj Swami and Rtadhvaja Swami spoke at the Sunday Krishna Fest, referring to Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6.

“It is a great transcendental science and begins with the process of hearing and chanting the name, fame, glory, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Revival of the dormant affection or love of Godhead does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is fully satisfied with the sincere efforts of the devotee, He may endow him with His loving transcendental service. But even with the prescribed forms of hearing and chanting, there is at once mitigation of the superfluous and unwanted miseries of material existence. Such mitigation of material affection does not wait for development of transcendental knowledge. Rather, knowledge is dependent on devotional service for the ultimate realization of the Supreme Truth.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6 purport

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Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.6

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