Damodar das

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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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Jun 092015
 

05.30.15_GitaNagariGiriraj Swami spoke on the second day of this year’s annual Gita Nagari retreat with Radhanath Swami. He read and spoke from Sri Bhaktya-loka by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

“Because a householder is engaged in earning, saving, and protecting the family, he cannot completely give up talking about others. It is best for the householder to live in a Krishna conscious family. When all one’s material activities are related with Krishna, then even his unavoidable talk about others becomes sinless and a part of devotional practice to Krishna. He should not talk about others in a way that is detrimental to them. He should talk about others only what little is necessary in his Krishna conscious family. He should not talk about others without reason.”

— Sri Bhaktya-loka

Secrets of Success and Failure for Individuals and Communities

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Jun 072015
 

05.29.15_GitaNagariGiriraj Swami spoke on the first day of this year’s annual Gita Nagari retreat with Radhanath Swami.

“To be authentic means to distinguish between the devotional creeper and the materialistic weeds. Because the weeds can resemble the creeper, we may not be able to distinguish between them easily, and so we can benefit from the help of an expert gardener. To learn more about the weeds, we will read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta 19.158:

” ‘Translation: Some unnecessary creepers growing with the bhakti creeper are the creepers of behavior unacceptable for those trying to attain perfection, diplomatic behavior, animal-killing, mundane profiteering, mundane adoration, and mundane importance. All these are unwanted creepers.

” ‘Purport: There is a certain pattern of behavior prescribed for those actually trying to become perfect. In our Krsna consciousness movement we advise our students not to eat meat, not to gamble, not to engage in illicit sex, and not to indulge in intoxication. People who indulge in these activities can never become perfect; therefore these regulative principles are for those interested in becoming perfect and going back to Godhead.’

“If the devotional creeper is watered and protected, it will grow and grow and penetrate the coverings of the universe and ultimately take shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan. It will then produce the fruit of love of God, and the devotee will relish that fruit. That perfection can be attained even while in this body. Lord Caitanya explains that even after the devotional creeper takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna in the spiritual world, the devotee on earth continues to water the creeper by chanting and hearing. In other, words chanting and hearing about Krishna never stops.”

Kirtan, Gita Nagari
Authenticity and Harmony in Krishna consciousness, Gita Nagari

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Jun 062015
 

Tamal_Krishna_Goswami_with_Srila_Prabhupada_in_NYCToday we remember Sripada Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja on his birth anniversary–in New York City, his birthplace. I plan to speak about him at The Bhakti Center in Manhattan tomorrow morning, and the next day to visit the place where he grew up. His life was completely devoted to service to Srila Prabhupada–and through Srila Prabhupada, to all of us.

Hare Krishna.

His eternal servant,

Giriraj Swami