Jul 162018

While I was chanting japa at Butterfly Beach, about forty crows converged on the sand nearby, and I told Jivan-mukta, “Look: a place of pilgrimage for crows (vayasam tirtham),” referring Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.1:

na yad vacas citra-padam harer yaso
  jagat-pavitram pragrnita karhicit
tad vayasam tirtham usanti manasa
  na yatra hamsa niramanty usik-ksayah

“Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there.”

The next verse of the Bhagavatam describes a different creation:

tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo
  yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso ’nkitani yat
  srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah

“On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport to the first verse, “The crows take pleasure in a place where garbage is thrown out, just as the passionate fruitive workers take pleasure in wine and woman and places for gross sense pleasure. The swans do not take pleasure in the places where crows are assembled for conferences and meetings. They are instead seen in the atmosphere of natural scenic beauty where there are transparent reservoirs of water nicely decorated with stems of lotus flowers in variegated colors of natural beauty. That is the difference between the two classes of birds. . . . Similarly, there are different kinds of literature for different types of men of different mentality. Mostly the market literatures which attract men of the crow’s categories are literatures containing refused remnants of sensuous topics. They are generally known as mundane talks in relation with the gross body and subtle mind. They are full of subject matter described in decorative language full of mundane similes and metaphorical arrangements. Yet with all that, they do not glorify the Lord. Such poetry and prose, on any subject matter, is considered decoration of a dead body. Spiritually advanced men who are compared to the swans do not take pleasure in such dead literatures, which are sources of pleasure for men who are spiritually dead. These literatures in the modes of passion and ignorance are distributed under different labels, but they can hardly help the spiritual urge of the human being, and thus the swanlike spiritually advanced men have nothing to do with them. Such spiritually advanced men are also called manasa because they always keep up the standard of transcendental voluntary service to the Lord on the spiritual plane. . . . [L]iteratures which describe the glories of the Lord are enjoyed by the paramahamsas who have grasped the essence of human activities.”

I pray to increase my taste for transcendental literature, for Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jul 132018

We shall continue our discussion of the cleansing of the heart, “The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple,” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve. I will read the verse again and then the entire purport. We have already discussed the beginning of the purport, which explains the general process of cleansing the heart. Now we shall discuss the specific types of dirt that can lodge in the heart, and how to deal with them.

 We read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve, “The Cleansing of the Gundica Temple”:

TEXT 135

ei-mata puradvara-age patha yata
sakala sodhila, taha ke varnibe kata


ei-mata—in this way; pura-dvara—of the gateway of the temple; age—in front; patha yata—as many avenues; sakala—all; sodhila—were cleansed; taha—that; ke varnibe—who can describe; kata—how much.


Outside the gateway of the temple, all the roads were also cleansed, and no one could tell exactly how this was done.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

In commenting on the cleansing of the Gundica temple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as the world leader, was personally giving instructions on how one should receive Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, within one’s cleansed and pacified heart. If one wants to see Krsna seated in his heart, he must first cleanse the heart, as prescribed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka: ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc Antya 20.12]. In this age, everyone’s heart is especially unclean, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam: hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani. To wash away all dirty things accumulated within the heart, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised everyone to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. The first result will be that the heart is cleansed (ceto-darpana-marjanam). Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17) confirms this statement:

srnvatam sva-kathah krsna
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
  vidhunoti suhrt satam

“Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.”

If a devotee at all wants to cleanse his heart, he must chant and hear the glories of the Lord, Sri Krsna (srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah). This is a simple process. Krsna Himself will help cleanse the heart because He is already seated there. Krsna wants to continue living within the heart, and the Lord wants to give directions, but one has to keep his heart as clean as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu kept the Gundica temple. The devotee therefore has to cleanse his heart just as the Lord cleansed the Gundica temple. In this way one can be pacified and enriched in devotional service. If the heart is filled with straw, grains of sand, weeds, or dust (in other words, anyabhilasa-purna), one cannot enthrone the Supreme Personality of Godhead there. The heart must be cleansed of all material motives brought about through fruitive work, speculative knowledge, the mystic yoga system, and so many other forms of so-called meditation. The heart must be cleansed without ulterior motive. As Srila Rupa Gosvami says, anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11]. In other words, there should not be any external motive. One should not attempt material upliftment, understanding the Supreme by speculative knowledge, fruitive activity, severe austerity and penance, and so on. All these activities are against the natural growth of spontaneous love of Godhead. As soon as these are present within the heart, the heart should be understood to be unclean and therefore unfit to serve as Krsna’s sitting place. We cannot perceive the Lord’s presence in our hearts unless our hearts are cleansed.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Srila Rupa Gosvami describes pure devotional service as being anyabhilasita-sunyam: without other desires. Other desires constitute the dirt in the heart, and cleaning the heart means cleaning out the material desires, or purifying them so they are no longer material but spiritual—to serve and please Krishna. If the heart is full of other desires, it is called anyabhilasa-purna. What Rupa Gosvami advises is anyabhilasita-sunyam; he has added the suffix ita to anyabhilasa. Anyabhilasa means “no other desire”; anyabhilasita means “no other intent”—we should have no other intent in devotional service than to please Krishna. For the sake of serving Krishna, we want to keep the body and soul together, and so taking care of the body is not outside of the definition of pure devotional service. It may so happen that under certain circumstances a devotee may pray to Krishna for the protection of the body. For example, someone may come to attack us—our life may be in danger—so we may pray to Krishna to save us. But our general motivation in devotional service is not to get protection or any other benefit for the body; it is to please Krishna. Yet in some dangerous situation, we may pray to the Lord for protection—although that is not our basic motive in engaging in devotional service. That impulse for survival does not place us outside of uttama-bhakti; it is not against the principles of uttama-bhakti.

Then Sri Rupa says, jnana-karmady-anavrtam. Our bhakti should not be covered by jnana, karma, or any other process. The suffix adi, “beginning with,” in effect means “et cetera, and others.” Jnana and karma are the main processes, but there are others that also are not part of bhakti and that may cause disturbance in the heart.

 After listing sixty-four items of devotional service in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami discusses other items that one might think could have been included in the list but which he omitted, and he explains why. Two of the items are the cultivation of knowledge and the cultivation of renunciation. He explains that the actual process of bhakti—hearing and chanting about Krishna—makes the heart soft, whereas the cultivation of knowledge or renunciation, although they may be somewhat helpful in the beginning (as the Bhagavatam says), are not really part of the process of devotional service because the cultivation of knowledge or renunciation as separate items can make the heart hard, which goes against the nature of bhakti.

Of course, true knowledge and renunciation follow as a natural consequence of genuine advancement in Krishna consciousness:

vasudeve bhagavati
  bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam
  jnanam ca yad ahaitukam

When we engage in bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Vasudeva (Krishna), the son of Vasudeva, causeless knowledge and detachment follow. But to make a separate endeavor to pursue knowledge or detachment, in an impersonal way, can make the heart hard. Still, the effort can be somewhat helpful in the beginning, because if someone is addicted to sinful activities—smoking, drinking, eating flesh, or whatever—he might have to make a special effort to give them up. But once he is able to follow the basic regulations of bhakti-yoga, then his natural progress in bhakti-yoga itself will take care of everything else, without any independent endeavor.

Someone may ask, “Well, if bhakti doesn’t take support from karma, jnana, yoga, or anything else, then how will bhakti progress?” The answer is that one’s present stage of bhakti becomes the cause of one’s advancement to subsequent stages in bhakti. Bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya: bhakti comes from bhakti. Bhava-bhakti comes from sadhana-bhakti; prema-bhakti comes from bhava-bhakti. We don’t need to add anything to bhakti to make it stronger. To the contrary, adding karma or jnana to bhakti makes it weaker. So we want unalloyed devotional service, unmixed with any other process or any desire other than to serve and please Krishna.

Now we shall proceed to some of the more specific discussions.

Continue reading »

Jul 132018

The observance of Gundica-marjana, the washing and cleansing of the Gundica temple, takes place on the day before Ratha-yatra, in preparation for the arrival of the Lord.

The history of Ratha-yatra goes back thousands of years, to a previous age, but for us the specific significance of the Ratha-yatra and the cleaning of the Gundica temple was shown by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when He was residing in Jagannatha Puri five hundred years ago. In the transcendental mind of Sri Chaitanya, the temple of Lord Jagannatha in Nilacala represented Dvaraka, or sometimes Kurukshetra, and the Gundica temple in Sundaracala represented Vrindavan. And for Him, the Ratha-yatra was the process of the residents of Vrindavan meeting Krishna at Kurukshetra and bringing Him back to Vrindavan after a long separation.

Gundica is the name of the wife of King Indradyumna, the great devotee who wanted to have darshan of Nila-Madhava and who, in separation from Nila-Madhava, arranged to have a deity carved—ultimately resulting in the appearance of Lord Jagannatha, along with Baladeva and Subhadra. Marjana means “cleaning,” as we sing daily in the Gurvastakam: mandira-marjanadau. The spiritual master engages the disciples in cleaning the Lord’s temple (tan-mandira-marjanadau yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato ’pi).

In Jagannatha Puri, eight days after the Ratha-yatra is the return Ratha-yatra. Thus, for eight days Lord Jagannatha (Krishna), along with His brother, Baladeva, and sister, Subhadra, stay in the Gundica temple.

Four days after the first journey (yatra), Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, the eternal consort of Lord Jagannatha, comes to see the Lord. Srila Prabhupada explains, “Lord Jagannatha has left His wife, the goddess of fortune, and gone to Vrndavana, which is the Gundica temple. Due to separation from the Lord, the goddess of fortune decides to come to see the Lord at Gundica. The coming of the goddess of fortune to Gundica is celebrated as Hera-pancami.” (Cc Madhya 14.107 purport) Hera means “to see” and refers to the goddess of fortune going to see Lord Jagannatha. Pancami means “the fifth day,” referring to this pastime taking place on the fifth day of the lunar cycle.

The goddess of fortune, jealous and angry because her husband has been away for so long and thus has neglected her, comes with her maidservants to the Gundica temple to force the servants of Lord Jagannatha to bring Him back to Nilacala. “When Lord Jagannatha starts His car festival, He gives assurance to the goddess of fortune that He will return the next day. When He does not return, the goddess of fortune, after waiting two or three days, begins to feel that her husband has neglected her. She naturally becomes quite angry. Gorgeously decorating herself and her associates, she comes out of the temple and stands before the main gate. All the principal servants of Lord Jagannatha are then arrested by her maidservants, brought before her, and forced to fall down at her lotus feet.” (Cc Madhya 14.133 purport) Finally, they promise to bring their master, Lord Jagannatha, back to Nilacala.

Once, on the day of the Hera-pancami festival, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, and Srivasa Thakura had a deep and intricate discussion about different types of mana—transcendental egoistic pride and jealous anger manifested in different consorts of the Lord—because the mana exhibited by the goddess of fortune in bringing her maidservants to subjugate her husband’s servants and oblige them to bring Him back was unprecedented.

Other than the eight days between the first procession and the return procession, the Gundica temple remains empty, and as you can imagine, during the rest of the year it accumulates all sorts of dust and dirt. Especially with the open style of architecture in India, in which the temples are exposed to the outdoors, they can become very dusty and dirty. So, in preparation for the Lord’s arrival at the Gundica temple, Lord Chaitanya asked permission from the authorities for Him and His devotees to clean the temple. The authorities were most respectful to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers, most obedient, and they replied, “Yes, whatever You like we will arrange. Cleaning the temple is not a fit service for You, but if it is Your desire, we shall supply whatever You require—waterpots and brooms.”

The superintendent of the temple delivered a hundred waterpots and a hundred brooms, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu engaged hundreds of devotees in cleaning, and He personally took part Himself. He swept straw, dust, and sand into one place, gathered it all in His cloth, and threw it outside the temple. Following His example, all the devotees also gathered piles of dust and straw and sand and threw them outside. Thus He and His associates removed all the debris that had accumulated in the temple complex over the past year.

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Jul 102018

On May 12 Mohini Madaan, now Madana-mohana-mohini dasi, who suffers from severe muscular dystrophy and has been told she does not have long to live, shared with me her thoughts on her eighteenth birthday:

My dearest Maharaja,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. All glories to your divine lotus feet.

Yesterday was the second birthday of our Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Madana-mohana, and also (as you know) my 18th birthday. I never liked growing old, but time just doesn’t stop!

The last eighteen years have been a wonderful journey. Almost every day was a struggle, but now, looking back, I really grew in my Krishna consciousness. The years now look like a systematic, beautiful pattern embroidered on a cloth, but all I could see was the part underneath, where all the threads were messy. Now I am able to glimpse the real design; Krishna is allowing me to see that. And this vision is helping me accept all that’s coming my way now and all that will come in the future. Before, I would just hear that everything was happening for a reason, but now I am experiencing it, and it’s the best.

The last eighteen years have been like a roller-coaster ride, but with guru and Krishna holding onto me tightly, I have always been safe. Every day is becoming more and more intense; Krishna is testing me more and more. I guess He wants to check how much I love His devotees. I have taken births in so many bodies, and though I don’t remember even one of them, I am getting the feeling that this has been the best life ever. It hasn’t been so nice materially, but spiritually, I couldn’t have asked for better. I could not even imagine how wonderful Krishna consciousness could be. I could not imagine getting this close to Krishna and His dear devotees!

Devotees look up to me as an inspiration for their bhakti. I am far from being what they see me as. I want to become the inspiration they think I am. Otherwise, this is cheating. I want to surrender completely, right at this very moment. But it seems that, unfortunately, my desire is not strong enough. I have so many faults in me. No gratitude, no respect, no devotion, no submissiveness, no selfless love. I don’t want to waste the opportunity I have. I don’t want to take even a single moment in Krishna consciousness for granted. I want to stop being impure. Whatever little time I have, I want it to be filled with pure, selfless love for Madana-mohana (and His devotees)—unmotivated, uninterrupted pure devotional service. I really want to become trnad api sunicena, taror api sahisnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniyah sada harih. I really, really want to apply aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam, adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va, yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato, mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah. I really want to surrender right now. I really want to please my spiritual masters. I want to taste the bliss that resides in the holy name.

But where will these transcendental emotions come from? You, being an unalloyed devotee of Krishna, have the power to bless me with Krishna prema, which, from this moment, is the only goal of my life, my existence.

According to the Vedic system, on one’s birthday, one should give gifts. So please tell me what you would like me to do for you. I really want to give you something, and I will try my best to gift you that.

Thank you so much for being part of my life. You are one of Krishna’s greatest mercies for me. I look forward to getting your association for eternity.

According to the Western calendar, today is the 78th appearance day of Mother Kirtida. It is also my mother’s birthday. Please bless her, that she may get all the strength required to deal with the events taking place in her life, that she may be successful in all aspects of her Krishna consciousness, and that she may be able to please her spiritual master.

Also, please find attached a picture of our deities from yesterday.

I hope this meets you well!

With lots and lots of love,

Wanting to be yours,

Jul 102018

Madana-mohana-mohini Dasi (Mohini Madaan) received her first and second initiation, and Hema Gauranga Das, Hemangi Dasi, and Sri-gopika Dasi received their second initiations, in a ceremony on Sunday evening.

Kirtan by Giriraj Swami (Right click to download)
Initiation talk (Right click to download)

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Jul 082018

Srivasa Pandita is one of the members of the Panca-tattva: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasa. Vedic authorities state that in the current Age of Kali, Krishna came as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Balarama came as Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Similarly, Maha-vishnu appeared as Advaita Acharya, Srimati Radharani as Gadadhara Pandita, and Narada Muni as Srivasa Pandita.

panca-tattvatmakam krsnam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam
namami bhakta-saktikam

“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee, and devotional energy.” (Cc Adi 1.14)

Panca-tattvatmakam: The Panca-tattva comprise one truth on the absolute platform. Lord Chaitanya is bhakta-rupa, Krishna in the form of a devotee. Lord Nityananda is svarupakam, the expansion of a devotee. Advaita Acharya is bhaktavataram, the avatara of a devotee. Srivasa Thakura is bhakta, a devotee. And Gadadhara Pandita is bhakta-saktikam, the energy of the Supreme Lord who supplies energy to the devotees—the devotional energy, Srimati Radharani.

In the Adi-lila of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes the tree of Lord Chaitanya. The tree itself is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and at the same time Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the gardener who tends to the tree. This tree, like any tree, has a trunk, limbs, and branches. The limbs and branches and leaves are devotees—the devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says that he is listing such devotees for his own purification, just to glorify them, and that he cannot distinguish between who is higher and who is lower. He wants to glorify them all. And Srila Prabhupada remarks that this is the attitude of a pure devotee. A pure devotee respects all devotees. He does not distinguish that some should be respected and some not. He respects all of them.

Srila Prabhupada also mentions that ISKCON too is a branch of the Chaitanya tree. In reality, Prabhupada himself is a most important branch of the Chaitanya tree, but in his humility he says that ISKCON is a branch. So all the devotees in ISKCON, who are attached to ISKCON, are leaves on the Chaitanya tree. And we should respect and honor them all.

After giving us this introduction to the Chaitanya tree, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami begins to describe specific devotees, and the first he describes is Srivasa Thakura. For our purification, we shall read now the first verses of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Ten, “The Trunk, Branches, and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree.” And then we shall discuss more about Srivasa Thakura.


madhupebhyo namo namah
kathancid asrayad yesam
svapi tad-gandha-bhag bhavet


Let me repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto the beelike devotees who always taste the honey of the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If even a doggish nondevotee somehow takes shelter of such devotees, he enjoys the aroma of the lotus flower.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The example of a dog is very significant in this connection. A dog naturally does not become a devotee at any time, but still it is sometimes found that a dog of a devotee gradually becomes a devotee also. We have actually seen that a dog has no respect even for the tulasi plant. Indeed, a dog is especially inclined to pass urine on the tulasi plant. Therefore the dog is the number one nondevotee. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana movement is so strong that even a doglike nondevotee can gradually become a devotee by the association of a devotee of Lord Caitanya. Srila Sivananda Sena, a great householder devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, attracted a dog on the street while going to Jagannatha Puri. The dog began to follow him and ultimately went to see Caitanya Mahaprabhu and was liberated. Similarly, cats and dogs in the household of Srivasa Thakura were also liberated. Cats and dogs and other animals are not expected to become devotees, but in the association of a pure devotee they are also delivered.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

This is an important verse to begin the description of the Chaitanya tree. The tree describes the devotees, and here Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami glorifies the power of the devotees: by their power, even a doglike nondevotee can become a devotee and taste the nectar at the lotus feet of the Lord.

In six days we shall observe Jagannatha Ratha-yatra, and that date is also the disappearance day of Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Srila Sivananda Sena. Every year, Sivananda Sena would take a party of devotees from Bengal to Orissa for the Ratha-yatra, and one year a dog joined them. Sivananda Sena was so merciful that he accepted the dog as part of his party, so much so that when they had to cross a river by boat, he paid the boatman extra to take the dog.

Continue reading »

Jul 062018

Today the Supreme Court of India recommended that no one be barred from the Jagannatha temple in Puri because of his faith or nationality, providing legal support to Srila Prabhupada’s long-standing desire that his disciples be allowed to enter, as described in the following excerpt from my forthcoming book about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu:

Srila Prabhupada was concerned that his foreign disciples were not allowed entry into some Hindu temples, notably the Jagannatha temple in Puri. In April 1974, Syamasundara Brahmachari invited Prabhupada to visit the Jagannatha temple, but Prabhupada replied, “I have not visited Jagannatha Puri because my men are not allowed to see the deity. When you arrange that we can visit the temple with my disciples then I can come immediately. . . .

“It is very regrettable that these European and American boys who are purely Vaishnava and who follow all principles are not allowed by the rascals to enter the temple. As stated in the Padma Purana, arcye visnau siladhir gurusu naramatir vaisnave jati buddhir.

“I do not know what makes the management take this attitude. If you can remove this restriction you will do a great service to the Gaudiya Vaishnava community. According to shastra, anyone who wears tilak and sikha and kunti over and above the Vaishnava dress or Vaishnava sannyasi must be accepted, especially while chanting Hare Krishna mantra with bead bags. Kindly convince them and induce them to allow these Vaishnavas to enter the Jagannatha Temple.”

Jaya Jagannatha!

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami


Jul 052018


In-DepeIn-Dependence Event at The Darshan Room (Right click to download)

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Jul 052018

While I was leaving the Dallas Fort Worth airport on July 4, a large American flag flying in the wind caught my eye, and I was surprised by how happy I felt. I reflected on how fortunate we were to live in a country where we have freedom of religion, and how Srila Prabhupada said, “America has been so good to me to give me money, men—everything. I have no designation that ‘this is my country,’ but because they have given me so much facility, I cannot forget my obligation to them. I want to make them happy and through them the whole world.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jul 032018

On July 5 we celebrate the divine disappearance day of Sri Srimad Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja, who left our world on this date on the Vedic calendar in 2005.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Four, Chapter Twenty-eight: “Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life,” discusses the disappearance of the spiritual master:


uttisthottistha rajarse
  imam udadhi-mekhalam
dasyubhyah ksatra-bandhubhyo
  bibhyatim patum arhasi


O best of kings, please get up! Get up! Just see this world surrounded by water and infested with rogues and so-called kings. This world is very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect her.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Whenever an acarya comes, following the superior orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative, he establishes the principles of religion, as enunciated in the Bhagavad-gita. Religion means abiding by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Religious principles begin from the time one surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the acarya’s duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord. One executes the religious principles by rendering devotional service, specifically the nine items like hearing, chanting, and remembering. Unfortunately, when the acarya disappears, rogues and nondevotees take advantage and immediately begin to introduce unauthorized principles in the name of so-called svamis, yogis, philanthropists, welfare workers, and so on. Actually, human life is meant for executing the orders of the Supreme Lord, and this is stated in the Bhagavad-gita (9.34):

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
  mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
  atmanam mat-parayanah

“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me and become My devotee. Offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”

The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord, and to bow down before Him. The acarya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the acarya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master. At the present moment practically the entire world is afraid of rogues and nondevotees; therefore this Krsna consciousness movement is started to save the world from irreligious principles. Everyone should cooperate with this movement in order to bring about actual peace and happiness in the world.

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This section of Srimad-Bhagavatam describes a king and his devoted wife, who have entered the forest as vanaprasthas to perform austerities and realize God. At a certain stage, the king leaves his body, and feeling great anxiety in his absence, his widow begins to cry piteously. Srila Prabhupada, following the previous acharyas, explains in his purports that figuratively, the queen is the disciple of the king, or spiritual master.

So, here the widow is praying for her husband to get up and protect the world from rogues and so-called kings. Of course, because he actually has left his body, he will not return, at least not in the same form in which she had known him. But still, the principle of being protected by the instructions of the acharya continues even after his disappearance, and the essence of those instructions is that one should surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and become His devotee, always think of Him (man-mana), worship Him (mad-yaji), and bow down to Him (mam namaskuru).

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada states, “It is the acarya’s duty to spread a bona fide religious system and induce everyone to bow down before the Supreme Lord.” Not only does the acharya present the system, but it is also his duty to induce people to actually follow. Thus the acharya thinks of ways and means by which he can induce people to surrender unto the Supreme Lord.

One example that is prominent in our line is that of Lord Caitanya. He was a teacher in Navadvipa, but His own students misunderstood Him and criticized Him. So He thought, “As long as they disrespect Me, as long as they criticize Me, they will not be able to be delivered.” And, as described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the Lord, after full consideration, accepted the sannyasa order of life, because followers of Vedic culture in every varna and ashrama respect a sannyasi.

Srila Prabhupada explains that an acharya must think of the ways and means by which he can spread Krishna consciousness, that preaching methods are not stereotyped. His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Swami, following in the same line, also considered how to induce people to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Like every acharya, in doing so he preserved the basic principles of Krishna consciousness, but he adjusted the presentation to attract people and induce people to actually take up the process of bhakti-yoga. Continue reading »