Giriraj Swami

Oct 172019

The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 1, “Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service,” states, “Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.” And Srila Prabhupada, in a talk in Vrindavan on November 3, 1972, explained, “ ‘Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.’ There is a song of Bhaktivinoda Thakura: manasa deha geha yo kichu mora, arpilun tuya pade nanda-kisora [Saranagati]. The purport of this song is that when we surrender to Krishna, pranair arthair dhiya vaca [SB 10.22.35], we get relief from all kinds of anxieties.

“This is very simple to understand. Everyone here, in the material world, is full of anxiety. That is the nature of material existence. One after another, problems. So if somebody assures you that ‘You just depend on me; I will take charge of all your problems,’ how much relief you will feel—just imagine. If some ordinary human being says to a friend, ‘Don’t worry. I shall take charge of all your affairs. Don’t worry,’ we may doubt an ordinary man, because we know the capacity of an ordinary man. But when Krishna says, ‘I will take charge of you,’ then how much relief you should feel. Krishna is not an ordinary man. He is all-powerful, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is Yogesvara. He is the Absolute Truth. So when He assures, “I will take charge of you—aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami [Gita 18.66], assurance that ‘I shall get you liberated, delivered, from the reactions of all sinful activities . . .’ ”

Srila Prabhupada, coming to the second characteristic—“Pure devotional service is the beginning of all auspiciousness”—continued, “Actually, as long as there is material existence, the so-called suffering and enjoying are on the same level. There is no difference. But if we take to Krishna consciousness, as Krishna assures, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami, ‘I shall get you relieved, released from all kinds of sinful activities,’ that is real auspiciousness. When Krishna takes charge, He gradually educates the devotee in devotion service, buddhi-yogam, so that he may go back home, back to Godhead, Krishna. That is real auspiciousness. . . .

“So, pure devotional service is the beginning of all auspiciousness. All-auspiciousness means go back to home, back to Godhead. If we stick to pure devotional service, follow the rules and regulations, chant sixteen rounds, engage always in the service of the Lord, then the ultimate gain is tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ’rjuna [Gita 4.9]”—“Upon leaving the body, he does not take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”

By giving us the scientific process of pure devotional service, Srila Prabhupada has brought us complete relief and auspiciousness.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service to Srila Prabhupada,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 152019

Tomorrow I will drive to Houston, where I will stay for two weeks, including Rama-ekadasi, Thursday, October 24; Dipavali, Sunday, October 27; and Govardhana-puja, Monday, October 28. On Tuesday, October 29, I will return to Dallas, for Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day on Thursday, October 31—and to catch my return flight to Santa Barbara on Tuesday, November 5.

I hope to serve you along the way.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 132019

Today is Sri Murari Gupta’s disappearance day. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 10.49–51, describes him:


sri-murari gupta sakha—premera bhandara
prabhura hrdaya drave suni’ dainya yanra


Murari Gupta, the twenty-first branch of the tree of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was a storehouse of love of Godhead. His great humility and meekness melted the heart of Lord Caitanya.


Sri Murari Gupta wrote a book called Sri Caitanya-carita. He belonged to a vaidya physician family of Srihatta, the paternal home of Lord Caitanya, and later became a resident of Navadvipa. He was among the elders of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya exhibited His Varaha form in the house of Murari Gupta, as described in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-khanda, Third Chapter. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His maha-prakasa form, He appeared before Murari Gupta as Lord Ramacandra. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu were sitting together in the house of Srivasa Thakura, Murari Gupta first offered his respects to Lord Caitanya and then to Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda Prabhu, however, was older than Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and therefore Lord Caitanya remarked that Murari Gupta had violated social etiquette, for he should have first shown respect to Nityananda Prabhu and then to Him. In this way, by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Murari Gupta was informed about the position of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and the next day he offered obeisances first to Lord Nityananda and then to Lord Caitanya. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave chewed pan, or betel nut, to Murari Gupta. Once Sivananda Sena offered food to Lord Caitanya that had been cooked with excessive ghee, and the next day the Lord became sick and went to Murari Gupta for treatment. Lord Caitanya accepted some water from the waterpot of Murari Gupta, and thus He was cured. The natural remedy for indigestion is to drink a little water, and since Murari Gupta was a physician, he gave the Lord some drinking water and cured Him.

When Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the house of Srivasa Thakura in His Caturbhuja murti, Murari Gupta became His carrier in the form of Garuda, and in these pastimes of ecstasy the Lord then got up on his back. It was the desire of Murari Gupta to leave his body before the disappearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but the Lord forbade him to do so. This is described in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-khanda, Chapter Twenty. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu one day appeared in ecstasy as the Varaha murti, Murari Gupta offered Him prayers. He was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra, and his staunch devotion is vividly described in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Fifteenth Chapter, verses 137 through 157.


pratigraha nahi kare, na laya kara dhana
atma-vrtti kari’ kare kutumba bharana


Srila Murari Gupta never accepted charity from friends, nor did he accept money from anyone. He practiced as a physician and maintained his family with his earnings.


It should be noted that a grhastha (householder) must not make his livelihood by begging from anyone. Every householder of the higher castes should engage himself in his own occupational duty as a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya, but he should not engage in the service of others, for this is the duty of a sudra. One should simply accept whatever he earns by his own profession. The engagements of a brahmana are yajana, yajana, pathana, pathana, dana and pratigraha. A brahmana should be a worshiper of Visnu, and he should also instruct others how to worship Him. A ksatriya can become a landholder and earn his livelihood by levying taxes or collecting rent from tenants. A vaisya can accept agriculture or general trade as an occupational duty. Since Murari Gupta was born in a physician’s family (vaidya-vamsa), he practiced as a physician, and with whatever income he earned he maintained his family. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, everyone should try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the execution of his occupational duty. That is the perfection of life. This system is called daiva-varnasrama. Murari Gupta was an ideal grhastha, for he was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By practicing as a physician he maintained his family and at the same time satisfied Lord Caitanya to the best of his ability. This is the ideal of householder life.


cikitsa karena yare ha-iya sadaya
deha-roga bhava-roga,—dui tara ksaya


As Murari Gupta treated his patients, by his mercy both their bodily and spiritual diseases subsided.


Murari Gupta could treat both bodily and spiritual disease because he was a physician by profession and a great devotee of the Lord in terms of spiritual advancement. This is an example of service to humanity. Everyone should know that there are two kinds of diseases in human society. One disease, which is called adhyatmika, or material disease, pertains to the body, but the main disease is spiritual. The living entity is eternal, but somehow or other, when in contact with the material energy, he is subjected to the repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. The physicians of the modern day should learn from Murari Gupta. Although modern philanthropic physicians open gigantic hospitals, there are no hospitals to cure the spiritual disease of the spirit soul. The Krsna consciousness movement has taken up the mission of curing this disease, but people are not very appreciative because they do not know what this disease is. A diseased person needs both proper medicine and a proper diet, and therefore the Krsna consciousness movement supplies spiritually stricken people with the medicine of the chanting of the holy name, or the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and the diet of prasadam. There are many hospitals and medical clinics to cure bodily diseases, but there are no such hospitals to cure the spiritual disease of the spirit soul. The centers of the Krsna consciousness movement are the only established hospitals that can cure man of birth, death, old age and disease.

*   *   *

Also, as stated in the Foreword to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, “The chief historical sources for the life of Sri Krsna Caitanya are the kadacas (diaries) kept by Murari Gupta and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Murari Gupta, a physician and close associate of Sri Krsna Caitanya’s, recorded extensive notes on the first twenty-four years of His life, culminating in His initiation into the renounced order, sannyasa. The events of the rest of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s forty-eight years were recorded in the diary of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, another of His intimate associates.”

Sri Murari Gupta ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 132019

We welcome you to this most auspicious place, the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Radhanath, on the most auspicious occasion of the beginning of Kartik, in the most auspicious association of Lord Krishna’s devotees. Kartik is also known as the month of Damodara (dama means “ropes,” and udara means “abdomen”), or Krishna who allowed Himself to be bound about the waist by the ropes of His devotee’s love.

Srila Rupa Gosvami compiled the law book of Krishna consciousness, the science of devotion, as the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, translated by Srila Prabhupada in a summary study as The Nectar of Devotion. There the observance of Kartik is mentioned as one of the sixty-four items of devotional service. Rupa Gosvami quotes from the Padma Purana that just as Lord Damodara is favorably inclined toward His devotees, so the month of Kartik, which is also dear to Him, bestows great favor upon His devotees, even for a little service or a little practice. It is even said that the benefit gained for service performed in the last five days of Kartik is equal to that gained from service performed for the entire month. In other words, for a very small performance of devotional service in the month of Damodara, one gets a very big result—especially in Vrindavan. Also, Srila Prabhupada has explained that wherever the Deities of Radha and Krishna are installed, that is also Vrindavan. So even here our devotional service will be magnified “one thousand times.”

Srila Prabhupada gave the example of a store that has a sale. Often when a new store opens they will have a sale, and a customer can get a valuable item by paying a small amount. So, the month of Kartik is like a sale, a transcendental sale. By a little investment in terms of spiritual practice and service, you can get a great benefit. Of course, the management of the store hopes that you will come to appreciate its goods and patronize the store even after the sale is over. And we too hope that you will continue with your spiritual practices, or increased practices, even after the month of Kartik.

There is a special potency to the month itself. Just as certain times of the day, such as the brahma-muhurta, which begins one hour and thirty-two minutes before sunrise and continues until the sun rises, are more auspicious for spiritual progress and enhance the value of one’s practices, so too, within the year, the month of Kartik is most auspicious. Devotees try to take advantage of the facility offered by Kartik by on the one side increasing their spiritual practices and doing extra service—they chant more rounds, read more scripture, recite more prayers, distribute more books, and make special offerings—and on the other side decreasing their material involvement, their sense gratification. As it is, we are in the four-month period of Chaturmasya, so every month we forgo a certain type of food, but in Kartik devotees may do extra austerities. They may eat only once a day, or give up sweet or fried foods, or rise earlier than usual, or whatever—work on some area of their spiritual life that they want to improve—and they get special mercy in the month of Kartik to fulfill their vows and improve their spiritual practices.

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Oct 092019

Today I heard a beautiful talk by Srila Prabhupada, Los Angeles, January 5, 1974, on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.8, which says, “Living beings who are under [Yamaraja’s] grip should take advantage by hearing the deathless nectar in the form of this narration of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord.” And Srila Prabhupada glorified Srimad-Bhagavatam and the importance of book distribution:

“This is the Bhagavata. There is no comparison. There is no literature throughout the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is no comparison. There is no competition. Every word is for the good of the human society—each and every word. Therefore we stress so much on book distribution. Somehow or other, if the book goes in one’s hand, he will be benefited. At least he will think, ‘Oh, they have taken so much price; let me see what is there.’ If he reads one sloka, his life will be successful—if he reads one sloka, one word. It is such a nice thing. Therefore we are stressing so much, ‘Please distribute book, distribute book, distribute book.’ A greater mridanga. We are chanting, playing our mridanga. It is heard within this room or a little more. But this mridanga will go home to home, country to country, community to community—this mridanga.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 092019

Today is the auspicious disappearance day of three great acharyas in the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. We shall read about Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami from Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter Thirteen: “Pastimes with Jagadananda Pandita and Raghunatha Bhatta.”


etha tapana-misra-putra raghunatha-bhattacarya
prabhure dekhite calila chadi’ sarva karya


During this time, Raghunatha Bhattacarya, the son of Tapana Misra, gave up all his duties and left home, intending to meet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


kasi haite calila tenho gauda-patha diya
sange sevaka cale tanra jhali vahiya


Accompanied by a servant carrying his baggage, Raghunatha Bhatta started from Varanasi and traveled along the path leading through Bengal.


pathe tare milila visvasa-ramadasa
visvasa-khanara kayastha tenho rajara visvasa


In Bengal he met Ramadasa Visvasa, who belonged to the kayastha caste. He was one of the king’s secretaries.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The words visvasa-khanara kayastha indicate a secretary or clerk belonging to the kayastha caste. Kayasthas were usually secretaries to kings, governors, or other important persons. It is said that anyone working in the government secretariat at this time was a kayastha.


sarva-sastre pravina, kavya-prakasa-adhyapaka
parama-vaisnava, raghunatha-upasaka


Ramadasa Visvasa was very learned in all the revealed scriptures. He was a teacher of the famous book Kavya-prakasa and was known as an advanced devotee and worshiper of Raghunatha [Lord Ramacandra].


Commenting on the word parama-vaisnava, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that anyone who desires to merge into the existence of the Lord cannot be a pure Vaisnava, but because Ramadasa Visvasa was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra, he was almost a Vaisnava. In those days, no one could distinguish between a pure Vaisnava and a pseudo Vaisnava. Therefore Ramadasa Visvasa was known as a Vaisnava because he worshiped Lord Ramacandra.


asta-prahara rama-namajapena ratri-dine
sarva tyaji’ calila jagannatha-darasane


Ramadasa had renounced everything and was going to see Lord Jagannatha. While traveling, he chanted the holy name of Lord Rama twenty-four hours a day.

TEXTS 94–102

When he met Raghunatha Bhatta on the way, he took Raghunatha’s baggage on his head and carried it.

Ramadasa served Raghunatha Bhatta in various ways, even massaging his legs. Raghunatha Bhatta felt some hesitation in accepting all this service.

“You are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar, and a great devotee,” Raghunatha Bhatta said. “Please do not try to serve me. Just come with me in a happy mood.”

Ramadasa replied, “I am a sudra, a fallen soul. To serve a brahmana is my duty and religious principle.

“Therefore please do not be hesitant. I am your servant, and when I serve you my heart becomes jubilant.”

Thus Ramadasa carried the baggage of Raghunatha Bhatta and served him sincerely. He constantly chanted the holy name of Lord Ramacandra day and night.

Traveling in this way, Raghunatha Bhatta soon arrived at Jagannatha Puri. There he met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with great delight and fell at His lotus feet.

Raghunatha Bhatta fell straight as a rod at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then the Lord embraced him, knowing well who he was.

Raghunatha offered respectful obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on behalf of Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara, and the Lord also inquired about them.

TEXT 103

“bhala ha-ila aila, dekha ‘kamala-locana’
aji amara etha kariba prasada bhojana”


“It is very good that you have come here,” the Lord said. “Now go see the lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha. Today you will accept prasada here at My place.”

TEXTS 104–111

The Lord asked Govinda to arrange for Raghunatha Bhatta’s accommodations and then introduced him to all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.

Thus Raghunatha Bhatta lived with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continuously for eight months, and by the Lord’s mercy he felt increased transcendental happiness every day.

He would periodically cook rice with various vegetables and invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home.

Raghunatha Bhatta was an expert cook. Whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would accept with great satisfaction all the food he prepared. After the Lord was satisfied, Raghunatha Bhatta would eat His remnants.

When Ramadasa Visvasa met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord did not show him any special mercy, although this was their first meeting.

Within his heart, Ramadasa Visvasa was an impersonalist who desired to merge into the existence of the Lord, and he was very proud of his learning. Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, He can understand the heart of everyone, and thus He knew all these things.

Ramadasa Visvasa then took up residence in Jagannatha Puri and taught the Kavya-prakasa to the Pattanayaka family [the descendants of Bhavananda Raya].

TEXT 112

asta-masa rahi’ prabhu bhatte vidaya dila
“vivaha na kariha” bali’ nisedha karila


After eight months, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Raghunatha Bhatta, the Lord flatly forbade him to marry. “Do not marry,” the Lord said.


Raghunatha Bhattacarya had become a greatly advanced devotee while still unmarried. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could see this, and therefore He advised him not to begin the process of material sense gratification. Marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. Raghunatha, however, being an advanced devotee of Krsna, naturally had no desire for sense gratification. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised him not to enter the bondage of marriage. Generally a person cannot make much advancement in spiritual consciousness if he is married. He becomes attached to his family and is prone to sense gratification. Thus his spiritual advancement is very slow or almost nil.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

I once had the good fortune to receive a similar instruction from Srila Prabhupada. We were in Gorakhpur, and Prabhupada had received the latest issue of Back to Godhead, with an article I had written in Boston before I went to India—“The Genuine Spiritual Master.” He was pleased with the article and asked to see me. I was still quite young in Krishna consciousness, and Srila Prabhupada didn’t generally call for me. He said, “I have read your article, and it was very nice. You should write.” And he invited me to travel with him so he could train me how to write. Then he asked, “Do you ever think of getting married?” I said no. “Better to remain brahmachari,” he said, “and after some time I will give you sannyasa.” He said that the demands of the senses are like itches and that if you scratch the itches, the itching will get worse. It is better to tolerate the itches, and if you tolerate, gradually the itching will subside. The demands for eating and sleeping too—all of them—if we indulge them they become aggravated. But if we tolerate them, they gradually subside.

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Oct 062019

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Nine, Chapter Ten: “The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Ramacandra.”


te ’nikapa raghupater abhipatya sarve
dvandvam varutham ibha-patti-rathasva-yodhaih
jaghnur drumair giri-gadesubhir angadadyah


Angada and the other commanders of the soldiers of Ramacandra faced the elephants, infantry, horses, and chariots of the enemy and hurled against them big trees, mountain peaks, clubs, and arrows. Thus the soldiers of Lord Ramacandra killed Ravana’s soldiers, who had lost all good fortune because Ravana had been condemned by the anger of Mother Sita.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The soldiers Lord Ramacandra recruited in the jungle were all monkeys and did not have proper equipment with which to fight the soldiers of Ravana, for Ravana’s soldiers were equipped with weapons of modern warfare whereas the monkeys could only throw stones, mountain peaks, and trees. It was only Lord Ramacandra and Laksmana who shot some arrows. But because the soldiers of Ravana were condemned by the curse of Mother Sita, the monkeys were able to kill them simply by throwing stones and trees. There are two kinds of strength–daiva and purusakara. Daiva refers to the strength achieved from the Transcendence, and purusakara refers to the strength organized by one’s own intelligence and power. Transcendental power is always superior to the power of the materialist. Depending on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, one must fight one’s enemies even though one may not be equipped with modern weapons. Therefore Krsna instructed Arjuna, mam anusmara yudhya ca: “Think of Me and fight.” We should fight our enemy to the best of our ability, but for victory we must depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Coming to Bhaktivedanta Manor, I was reminded of the struggle that we faced here to keep the temple open to the public and to preach Krishna consciousness. Although in such battles the enemies sometimes appear to have the upper hand, in the end, as long as we remain faithful to and dependent on the Lord and at the same time make our best effort with all sincerity and intelligence, we will be successful according to His will.

We had a similar struggle in Juhu, Bombay. In fact, in Juhu we were even less equipped than were the devotees here, who had already established the mission quite solidly and had many friends—a large congregation, and friends in influential positions. Still, it was a great struggle here.

In Juhu we were comparable to the band of monkeys that joined Lord Ramachandra. Srila Prabhupada himself drew parallels between himself and Lord Ramachandra, and between us and the monkeys. He compared the Western countries to Ravana, because they had so much wealth, just like Ravana in his opulent kingdom of Lanka. And wealth is Lakshmi—a manifestation of Lakshmi, or Sita. So, Srila Prabhupada said that just as Ravana had kidnapped Sita, the Western countries had kidnapped, or taken possession of, so much wealth. And just as Lord Ramachandra had crossed the ocean to redeem Sita, so Srila Prabhupada had also crossed the ocean. And just as Lord Ramachandra was assisted by so many monkeys, he was assisted by us.

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Oct 052019

Today I heard a wonderful talk by Srila Prabhupada in which he spoke of love and service, that love must be accompanied by, or expressed through, service. He said, “Real love, engaged in the service of the Lord—then our life is successful. If you sacrifice your life for serving Krishna, you will always remember Krishna. You are taking so much trouble, going place to place to give one book to somebody. Why? Because you love Krishna, and you are thinking, ‘If this gentleman takes one book, never mind small or big, he’ll read at least one page about Krishna.” So you are thinking of Krishna. That is meditation. Real meditation is how to think of Krishna. Krishna—Krishna’s form, Krishna’s pastimes, Krishna’s activities, Krishna’s desire, how to fulfill it, that is wanted. That is Krishna consciousness.”

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.101, July 6, 1976, Washington, DC

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 042019

In my recent travels an Orthodox priest came to meet me and attend my program. He wrote, “I have an interest in Vaishnava theology. I wanted to share with you how I am trying to work Vaishnava pneumatology into my sermons. I hope it is pleasing to Prabhupada. I truly look forward to meeting you and getting to spend time with you and ask questions.” The priest is a wonderful, compassionate soul, deeply influenced by Srila Prabhupada’s life and teachings, and I relished conversing with him and seeing him develop his spiritual—Krishna—consciousness.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Oct 032019

Today I heard a beautiful talk by Srila Prabhupada in which he spoke of the order of the guru and his own achievement:

“[Sanatana Gosvami] therefore said, krpa kari’ yadi more kariyacha uddhara: ‘I know that it is due to Your mercy that I have been able to give up my material position, as Your man. Now order me what is my duty.’ This is devotee, you see? Not that ‘Now I am free from family life, I have no responsibility. Now I shall take prasadam and sleep.’ No. You must be hundred times more active than in your family life. That is devotional service. Of course, it is not pride, but take the example of my life. I was retired in Vrindavan, and at seventy years old I thought that it was to be done: ‘Nobody did it. Let me try.’ So I came to your country. Today is the tenth anniversary. So at least from material calculation, if I would not have taken that risk . . . When I was coming, my friends and others said, ‘This man is going to die.’ ‘Never mind,’ I thought. ‘Death will come. Let me try.’ So this activity must be there. That is the begging of Sanatana Gosvami. He said, apana-krpate kaha ‘kartavya’ amara: ‘What shall I do?’ It doesn’t matter what is your age, young man or old man. You must execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, through parampara, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and your guru. That is the real life of devotional service, to take some responsibility for working and execute it to your best capacity.

“In this connection, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has explained in connection with the verse

vyavasayatmika buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca
buddhayo ’vyavasayinam
       [Gita 2.41]

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura said that ‘My only duty is to execute the order of my spiritual master. I do not mind whether I am going to hell or going back to home. No. My only life and soul is to execute the order of my spiritual master.’ He has explained like that. So devotional service is a great responsibility, to execute the order of the superior. Then our life is successful.

“Thank you very much.”

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.101, July 6, 1976, Washington, DC

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami