Sep 022014
 

23Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Adi-lila 4.

“Krishna is saying here that He left the gopis to increase their love for Him. But, the gopis did not accept His statement because the love of the gopis for Krishna is without limit. There is no question of Krishna increasing the gopis‘ love or eagerness because it is already in the highest position. And it is automatically increasing. It is true in the case of others. Say if  someone is in the stage of asakti and he wants to come to the stage of bhava but, he is not quite able to. So, Krishna may give him darshan—as Krishna gave darshan to Narada Muni—and then disappear. Then the devotee being so much in the mood of separation, always crying and lamenting that. ‘I had Krishna and I lost Him, Krishna is not coming back.’ And then feeling completely heartbroken, free from all lust and pride and full of humility, the devotee can cry for Krishna. With such longing and separation the devotee who is in asakti can come to bhava.”

Radhastami 1993, Auckland NZ

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Sep 022014
 

Radharani in VrndavanaToday is Radhastami, the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, Lord Krishna’s pleasure-giving potency and eternal consort. Srila Prabhupada explains,

“We pray to Radharani because She is the pleasure potency of Krsna. Krsna means ‘all-attractive.’ But Radharani is so great that She attracts Krsna. So today we should try to understand the position of Srimati Radharani and offer our obeisances to Her.

tapta-kancana-gaurangi
radhe vrndavanesvari
vrsabhanu-sute devi
pranamami hari-priye

‘I offer my respects to Radharani, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the queen of Vrndavana. You are the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krsna.’

“Radharani is hari-priya, ‘very dear to Krsna.’ Approaching Krsna becomes very easy when done through Radharani, through the mercy of Radharani. If Radharani recommends, ‘This devotee is very nice,’ then Krsna immediately accepts us, however great a fool we may be. Because we have been recommended by Radharani, Krsna accepts us. Therefore in Vrndavana you’ll find all the devotees chanting Radharani’s name more than Krsna’s. Wherever you’ll go, you’ll find the devotees are addressing one another with, ‘Jaya Radhe!’ They are glorifying Radharani. They’re more interested in worshiping Radharani than in worshiping Krsna, because however fallen I may be, if some way or other I can please Radharani, then it will be very easy for me to understand Krsna.

“Otherwise, if you try to understand Krsna by the speculative process, it will take many, many lives. But if you take devotional service and just try to please Radharani, Krsna will be gotten very easily, because Radharani can deliver Krsna. She is such a great devotee—the emblem of the greatest devotee.” (Lecture on Radhastami, August 29, 1971, London, adapted from BTG, Sep/Oct 2014)

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays,

bhajami radham aravindam netram
smarami radham madhura smitasyam
vadami radham karuna bharardram
tato mama nyasti gatir na kapi

“I worship Sri Radha, who has eyes like lotus flowers. I remember Sri Radha, who smiles so sweetly. I glorify Sri Radha, who is full of mercy. I have no destination but Her.” (Stavavali, Sri Visakhanandabhidha-stotra 131)

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami

Aug 262014
 

SP_VP_LA_GRS_in_Prabhupada's_roomDevotees met in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters in the evening for an intimate sharing of Srila Prabhupada memories.

“My parents invited a family friend who was a psychologist. She came in my room and began to inquire, ‘Tell me, Glenn, did you feel that your parents didn’t love you?’ ‘Which parents?’ I asked. ‘I have passed so many lifetimes, and in every lifetime I have had different parents.’ It went on like this for some time, and she left the room. Then I overheard her speaking with my parents. ‘I am sorry, I but I don’t think there is anything I can do.’ Then I realized that she had come to ‘cure’ me. When I related this incident to Srila Prabhupada here, he responded, ‘Yes, you have been permanently infected; you can never be cured.’ ”

Sril Prabhupada Vyasa-puja Evening

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Aug 232014
 

SP_AbhisekLAse“Srila Prabhupada said that even if the disciple cannot follow all the regulations strictly, simply by the spiritual master glancing favorably on him, the disciple can make spiritual advancement. The best offering we can give to Srila Prabhupada and the predecessor authorities is that we actually become advanced in Krishna consciousness, and become empowered to do the impossible—because to spread Krishna consciousness around the world is virtually materially impossible for people with our backgrounds. But by the unlimited mercy of such a close associate of Krishna as Srila Prabhupada, it becomes very possible.”

—Banabhatta dasa

The following Devotees shared their heartfelt remembrances and realizations during Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa-puja (birthday) celebrations.

  1. Naikatma dasa
  2. Balai dasi
  3. Drutakarma dasa
  4. Kriyashakti dasi
  5. Satyanarayana dasa
  6. Devadahiti dasi
  7. Mriganatha dasa
  8. Jagajannani dasi
  9. Bhargava dasa
  10. Mukunda Datta dasa
  11. Banabhatta dasa
  12. Gopal Ananda dasa
  13. Punyattama dasa
  14. Narahari dasa
  15. Bhojadeva dasa
  16. Arcita dasa

Vyasa-puja Homages

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Aug 212014
 


PrabhupadaPreachingInIndia
Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagvatam 10.2.31 for the morning class on Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa-puja day.

“In Srila Prabhupada’s initiation letter to me he wrote, ‘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.’

“The pure devotee prays to Krishna to give mercy to the fortunate conditioned soul. And because Krishna is bhakta-vatsala—affectionate and favorably inclined to His devotees—He fulfills their desires. Within the heart He encourages the candidate—the object of the devotee’s mercy—to appreciate the value of Krishna consciousness and accept the process of devotional service.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.2.31

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Aug 202014
 

Srila-Prabhupada-With-Giriraj-Maharaj-After Srila Prabhupada left us on November 14, 1977, I came across a section in Srimad-Bhagavatam—Canto 4, Chapter 28—in which he explicitly discusses the disappearance of the spiritual master and how the disciple is to serve him—even in separation. The following paragraph summarizes the essence of his instructions:

“The disciple and spiritual master are never separated, because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vani (words). Physical presence is called vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.47, purport)

This instruction—“As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master”—seems simple enough, but like almost all of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, to follow it properly requires deep faith, surrender, and realization.

For example, we may want to render personal service to the spiritual master, but we may also be afraid—that we might disappoint him, that we might fail, that he might chastise us, even that he might reject us or banish us. Thus disciples may shy away from direct, personal service. We must have faith that whatever the spiritual master does will be beneficial for us, purifying and edifying for us, whether or not it is pleasing to our mind and senses. Continue reading »

Aug 192014
 

08.17.14_01.LA08.17.14_02.LA———————————
“That is the specific reason why Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears. Any incarnation of Vishnu could kill the demons, deliver the devotees, and re-establish the principles of dharma, but only Krishna can show us the beautiful life that awaits us if we join Him in intimate love in Vrindavan. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.36) says:

anugrahaya bhaktanam
manusam deham asthitah
bhajate tadrsih krida
yah srutva tat-paro bhavet

‘Krishna manifests His eternal humanlike form and performs His pastimes to show mercy to the devotees. Having heard such pastimes, one should engage in service to Him.’ ”

 

Janmastami Evening Talk

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Aug 172014
 

Lord Krishna's divine appearance

Today we are coming together to celebrate Sri Krishna Janmastami, the appearance of Lord Krishna in the material world. On special occasions such as this—we’ll soon be celebrating the pastime of Mother Yasoda binding Krishna with ropes, and then Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill—unless we know who Krishna is, we won’t know what to make of these seemingly fantastic stories.

The scriptures give different explanations of why Krishna, the all-loving, ever-blissful, Supreme Person appears. The Bhagavad-gita (4.8) states, paritranaya sadhunam, vinasaya ca duskrtam/ dharma-samsthapanarthaya, that He appears to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the miscreants and to reestablish the principles of religion. Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.36) explains further, anugrahaya bhaktanam, manusam deham asthitah/ bhajate tadrsih kridah, yah srutva tat-parobhavet: “When the Lord assumes a humanlike body to show mercy to His devotees, He engages in such pastimes as will attract those who hear about them to become dedicated to Him.”

So, who is this Krishna? Is Krishna just a concept or, as some people think, is it that the impersonal One assumes the form of Krishna, or Rama or Shiva or Ganesh or Durga, and you can worship any form and in the end merge into the oneness? To avoid such misunderstandings, we have to know who Krishna is, and that begins with the Bhagavad-gita and then the first cantos of the Bhagavatam. Ultimately, Srimad-Bhagavatam gives us a picture of the spiritual world, what life with God in the spiritual world is like. We read about Krishna, how He comes home from tending the cows, and we read that we can live with Him forever in a loving relationship in the most splendorous land of Vrndavana. And we become attracted and think, “Oh, I want to go there; I want to experience that life.”

That is why Krishna comes, specifically in His humanlike form—to show mercy to His devotees so that by hearing about life with Krishna, we become attracted to Him and inspired to dedicate our lives to Him.

But we should not think that Krishna is there only in the spiritual world; Krishna is everywhere, and if we surrender to Him, we can get the same benefit here in the material world that the pure devotees get in the spiritual world.

If you read the Krsna book or otherwise hear about the pastimes of Krishna, you’ll find that almost every day some demon was coming to Vrndavana to cause trouble. But did the residents of Vrndavana come rushing out with their ploughs and sticks to attack the demons? No. What did they do? They took shelter of Krishna. And what did Krishna do? He protected them. So when we hear these stories, we should think, “Wow—Krishna is so kind to His devotees. Even in the midst of the worst calamity, if we just take shelter of Him, He will protect us. All I need to do is surrender to Krishna.”

So Krishna appears for that reason, and we can make the purpose of His appearance successful by hearing about His pastimes and dedicating ourselves to Him.

Hare Krishna.

Your servant,

Giriraj Swami

Aug 102014
 
Madhudvisa prabhu

Madhudvisa Dasa

“My father was always very loving to all of us. He was always our well-wisher. Whatever we did, he was there to support us. Whenever we came he would want to have a kirtan. It didn’t matter if it was just for five minutes. He would just do it real quick. It didn’t matter what was going on in our lives. Even if we were broken down on the side of the road, he would say, ‘Let’s have a kirtan. It’s alright, let’s have a kirtan right now.’ I think I will hold that the strongest in my heart—because of him I will never stop chanting.”

—Chay Gosai das-(M(———————————————————————————————————————— 08.09.14_02.Madhudvisa_Mem08.09.14_03.Madhudvisa_Mem08.09.14_01.Madhudvisa_Mem08.09.14_04.Madhudvisa_Mem————————————————————————-
Badrinarayana Swami
Svavasa dasa
Kurma das
Amala Bhakta das
Bhakti Charu Swami
Siddhanta das
Hridayananda Das Goswami
Yasonandana das
Abhay Charan das
Nikilananda das
Chay Gosai das
Ramai Swami
Madhudvisa das
Kriyashakti dasi
Sukla dasi
Malati dasi
Drutakarma das
Divyadristi dasi
Naikatma das
Ksudhi das
Tamal Krishna Goswami
Giriraj Swami

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Aug 062014
 

Madhudvisa-Prabhu-at-LA-Ratha-yatra-cropMy dear Madhudvisa Prabhu,

I am feeling your separation so much right now. My mind is flooded with memories of our service to Srila Prabhupada together, not the least of which was our meeting in the last months and remembering his glorious qualities and activities.

All the circumstances surrounding your departure were auspicious. As was your desire, you lived through Ratha-yatra in Los Angeles and sang before all three carts. Then, just two days later, while your caregiver chanted Hare Krishna by your side, you departed—with a smile on your face. You were a great pioneer and champion of Ratha-yatra. During last year’s procession we discussed the importance of following Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in regard to Ratha-yatras, and in our last meeting in your room at New Dvaraka, six weeks ago, you told me how Srila Prabhupada sent you from Juhu to Australia and you introduced Ratha-yatra there:

“I thought, ‘Australia sounds like a pretty good place.’ So I went down there, and it was great. Immediately I decided that we had to have a Ratha-yatra. One leader said, ‘No, no. We’ve got all these books. We have to sell these books. We have a whole warehouse of books here.’ But I said, ‘Yes, we will sell all those books—don’t worry. We’ll hold a Ratha-yatra and we’ll make devotees and all these devotees will sell all the books we can get.’

“Then I said, ‘We are going to make the whole country into one temple. The whole country is going to cooperate, and we’re going to have this Ratha-yatra, and then we are going to sell books.’

“So we started organizing a Ratha-yatra. ‘You need money for Ratha-yatra,’ I told the devotees, ‘a lot of money. We’ll collect a lot of money and use it for building the Ratha-yatra cart and for publicity and for everything like that.’ So we started collecting money like crazy. Continue reading »