Damodar das

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 »

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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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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If You Have Time, Chant Hare Krishna, July 6, Brooklyn, New York

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Jun 282015
 

07.06.15_BrooklynGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17.

“This verse indirectly confirms the greater importance of utilizing the human form of life to realize our lost relationship with the Supreme Lord by acceleration of devotional service. Time and tide wait for no man. So the time indicated by the sunrise and the sunset will be uselessly wasted if such time is not properly utilized for realizing identification of spiritual values. Even a fraction of the duration of life wasted cannot be compensated by any amount of gold.”

—SB 2.3.17 purport

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17

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Glorifying Krishna’s Devotee Can Please Krishna More than Glorifying Him Directly, June 7, The Bhakti Center, Manhattan, New York

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Jun 242015
 

BhaktiCenterGiriraj Swami read from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.20 and spoke about His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami, in honor of his birthday.

“One evening on the balcony of the Calcutta temple, Tamal Krishna Goswami opened up to me about many confidential things—especially for a new devotee like me. And he said that the secret of success in spiritual life is to serve and please the spiritual master. Up until then I had been hearing and chanting and  reading and doing service and performing so many other items of bhakti-yoga. But they were like items on a list, with no particular focus. But what Tamal Krishna Goswami said gave a focus for all the different items of devotional service—to please the spiritual master, which became the organizing principle for my life.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.20

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Real Service Gives Permanent Satisfaction, June 6, Towaco, New Jersey

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Jun 222015
 

Srila-Prabhupada-Chants-on-Devotees-Beads-at-Initiation-620x350We were out on the street when suddenly I had a clear and vivid perception and realization that I was not the body— that I was something completely different. It was a very joyful and blissful experience:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Bhagavad-gita 18.54)

I started to weep, it was such a wonderful experience. I mentioned it to some devotees, and they suggested that Srila Prabhupada might have been chanting on my initiation beads at that moment. And it is possible, because a couple of days later Srila Prabhupada’s letter came with my beads, and it was dated that day. It stated, “I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 2, 1969, sent along with your beads. I have chanted on them, and your initiated name is Giriraj. Giriraj is the name of Govardhan Hill, on which Krishna used to tend His cows. In Vrindavan Govardhan Hill is worshiped as a representation of Krishna. . . . So, I marked it in your person when I was in Boston, and I prayed to Krishna that this good soul may be aware of the importance of Krishna consciousness.”

Towaco Talk
Towaco Kirtan

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His Grace Brahmananda Prabhu’s Memorial Program, June 13, New Dvaraka, Los Angeles

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Jun 152015
 

_DSC2288 _DSC2233——————————–
“The first time Srila Prabhupada came to the Boston temple in Brighton, Brahmananda Prabhu met Srila Prabhupada near the front door, and he started to cry like a baby. It was so touching. He had such a large body but such a soft heart and so much affection for Srila Prabhupada — throughout. And especially in the last years, any contact or interaction I had with him caused a tremendous boost in my loving feelings for Srila Prabhupada. It was amazing. I would e-mail him questions about the history, and he would e-mail back, and it would give me such a boost in Prabhupada consciousness which would last for days.”

Brahmananda Prabhu’s Memorial Program, New Dvaraka

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Srila Prabhupada Comes to America, June 3, Stuyvesant Falls, New York

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Jun 122015
 

SPinCarGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.8.5-6.

“Peter ran up to the car. Srila Prabhupada rolled down the window, looked at him, and said, ‘Yes?’ Peter put his hand in his pocket to take out the $300, but it turned out that in the rush he had forgotten the money and there was nothing in his pocket. He dug deep in his pockets, but all he came up with was 37 cents. Srila Prabhupada was looking out the window, waiting, so Peter gave him the 37 cents. And Srila Prabhupada made such a big thing of it. ‘Thank you very much,’ he smiled. ‘This is so nice.’ All the other times Peter had given money, there was some false ego, or pride, but this time there was no false ego and no pride—he was just in a panic to do some service, and Srila Prabhupada could feel his sincere desire, free from pride and ego. Srila Prabhupada knew what was in your heart and what you needed. He wasn’t bewildered or impressed by material opulence, but he wanted to see your devotion.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.8.5-6

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Srila Prabhupada’s Brahmananda Prabhu

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Jun 112015
 

SJI-Swamiji-Book-01Upon awaking this morning, my heart was flooded with emotion in appreciation of Srila Prabhupada and his divine gifts to us, and I knew it was Brahmananda Prabhu’s mercy. Any association with Brahmananda Prabhu—whether by vani or vapuh—had that effect: it enhanced my loving feelings for Srila Prabhupada.

While hearing Sri Caitanya-bhagavata this morning, I was struck by a verse that seemed to describe Brahmananda Prabhu perfectly. “Visnu and the Vaisnavas are equal, but atheists and blasphemers think otherwise. One who worships the lotus feet of Krsna without discriminating . . . is delivered.” Brahmananda Prabhu had the firm conviction that the worship and service of Srila Prabhupada was equal to—if not more pleasing than—that of the Supreme Lord. And he was surely delivered by Srila Prabhupada’s grace.

Then I heard a prayer, offered to Lord Caitanya, that seemed to reflect Brahmananda Prabhu’s mood in relation to Srila Prabhupada—and the mood for which I aspire: “Birth after birth, You are our father, mother, son, and master. May we never forget Your lotus feet. O Lord, it does not matter where we take birth, but may we always have loving devotion for Your lotus feet.”

To mitigate my feelings of separation from Brahmananda Prabhu and to share remembrances and realizations about him, I will join the memorial program for him in New Dvaraka, Los Angeles, the day after tomorrow, Saturday, June 13, from 3 to 7:30 p.m.—and then honor the feast in his memory.

Brahmananda Prabhu, please think kindly upon us and keep us close to your lotus feet, that we may engage in everlasting service to our eternal lord and master in the association of all his beloved servants.

Srila Madhavendra Puri’s Instructive Departure: Failure and Success in Krishna Consciousness, May 31, Gita Nagari, Port Royal, Pennsylvania

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Jun 102015
 

05.31.15_GitaNagariGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter 8.

“This is an example of how we can serve each other as devotees. We can serve each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually—especially as the devotee approaches the time of death, when everything is more critical. Of course, we never know when we will die, and therefore every moment is important. But when we know that death is approaching, everything is critical, and we can render very special service to devotees at that time. And they can bless us: Every Vaisnava is in a position to give blessings, and certainly, if we serve them in this way, we will get their blessings.”

Srila Madhavendra Puri’s Instructive Departure, Gita Nagari

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