May 042016
 

03.05.15_04.initiation_Tuscon_AZ“One of the attributes of the spirit soul which makes one unique and beautiful to Krishna is free will and the way you choose to use it. It is always yours and shows your relationship with Krishna. Free will gives meaning to love. Without free will you are a prisoner. Love means: I choose you—you are special to me. Free will also means I have the right to refuse you. If I choose you, that makes the choosing more meaningful. So it’s not that we are giving up our free will, but we approach a spiritual master and say, ‘I am confused; please instruct me.'”

—Jivananda Dasa

03.05.15_01.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_02.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_03.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_05.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_06.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_07.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_08.initiation_Tuscon_AZ03.05.15_09.initiation_Tuscon_AZ———————
Intiation Introduction by Giriraj Swami
Intiation Talk by Jivananda Dasa
Intiation Talk by Sandamani Dasi
Intiation Talk by Giriraj Swami
Name-Giving Ceremony

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May 032016
 

05.01.16_02_Tuscon05.01.16_01_Tuscon———————————–

ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
uttama-sloka-vartaya

Translation: Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.

Purport: 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. Human life is simply awarded to a living entity (jiva) so that he can realize his spiritual identity and his permanent source of happiness. A living being, especially the human being, is seeking happiness because happiness is the natural situation of the living entity. But he is vainly seeking happiness in the material atmosphere. A living being is constitutionally a spiritual spark of the complete whole, and his happiness can be perfectly perceived in spiritual activities. The Lord is the complete spirit whole, and His name, form, quality, pastimes, entourage, and personality are all identical with Him. Once a person comes into contact with any one of the above-mentioned energies of the Lord through the proper channel of devotional service, the door to perfection is immediately opened. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17)

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17, Sunday, Tucson, AZ

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May 022016
 

05.01.16_Phoenix_AZGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23.

“In order to make our theoretical knowledge realized we should repeat the knowledge. It’s a very simple process, but when you repeat something you get realization of what you are saying. One of Srila Prabhupada’s early disciples had read that the moon was created by the churning of the ocean of milk—which seemed fantastic. She asked Srila Prabhupada, ‘What does that mean?’ Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Just repeat: “The moon was churned from the ocean of milk.”And she did. Again he told her, ‘Repeat.’ And again, ‘Repeat.’ So she repeated it several times. Then he asked, ‘Now do you understand?’ And she replied, ‘Yes. The moon was churned from the ocean of milk.’ So by repeating what we have learned—by repeating what we have heard—we get realization.”

Sunday Kirtan, Phoenix, AZ
Sunday Talk, Phoenix, AZ

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May 012016
 

04.30.16_AZGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23.

“In other words, Lord Krishna is the property of His pure, unconditional devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Krishna to another devotee; Krishna is never obtainable directly. Lord Chaitanya therefore designated Himself as gopi-bharatuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah, or ‘the most obedient servant of the servants of the Lord, who maintains the gopi damsels at Vrindavan.’ A pure devotee therefore never approaches the Lord directly, but tries to please the servant of the Lord’s servants, and thus the Lord becomes pleased, and only then can the devotee relish the taste of the tulasi leaves stuck to His lotus feet. In the Brahma-samhita it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee. In Vrindavan all the pure devotees pray for the mercy of Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Lord Krishna. Srimati Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krishna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance into His association. The conclusion is, therefore, that one should be more serious about seeking the mercy of the devotee than that of the Lord directly, and by one’s doing so (by the good will of the devotee) the natural attraction for the service of the Lord will be revived.” (SB 2.3 23 purport.)

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23, Scottsdale, AZ

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Apr 302016
 

04.29.16_PhoenixGiriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23.

“We are not the saviors, but we can give people the process by which they can save themselves. The process is to surrender to Krishna and engage in His devotional service. That will relieve people from the suffering caused by their—or our—falsely trying to be God. It is subtle, but trying to help others can be also manifestation of that misconception. We are not the best friend—but we can act as the best friend if we tell others that Krishna is their best friend. And then we can be peaceful.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23, Phoenix AZ

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Apr 252016
 

04.17.16_JPS_VP_LA“I had not seen Jayapataka Swami in a preaching situation and did not know what to expect. He entered the packed Laguna Beach temple, with the beautiful Panca-tattva deities, and it felt as if the whole room was being flooded with sublime spiritual energy. The consciousness of everyone was being uplifted. There is a saying that when the tide comes in, all the boats rise. It was as if a tide of love for Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was coming out of Maharaja’s heart, filling the temple room and elevating the consciousness of everyone there.”

04.17.16, JPS Vyasa-puja, LA

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Apr 212016
 

Today many devotees are celebrating the appearance of Sri Hanuman, the eternal servant of Lord Ramachandra. On this occasion, I remember a beautiful explanation Srila Prabhupada gave on the significance of Hanuman being on the flag of Arjuna’s chariot—and the mood of the Vaishnava:

Arjuna with Hanuman on Flag“Just as nowadays every nation has different types of flags, so Arjuna also had his flag on the chariot . . . The flag was on the top of his chariot, and it was marked with Hanuman, Vajrangaji, who fought for Lord Ramachandra. Arjuna is fighting for Krishna. So, he is following the footsteps of Vajrangaji. Vaishnavism is like that. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. The Vaishnava should follow his previous mahajana, authority. That is Vaishnavism. We don’t manufacture ideas. We simply accept the behavior or the activities of previous acharyas. There is no difficulty.

“In the fighting principle, Arjuna is fighting for Krishna, and he is following the previous fighting acharya, Hanumanji. Therefore he has depicted his flag with Hanuman, that ‘Hanumanji, Vajrangaji, kindly help me.’ This is Vaishnavism. ‘I have come here to fight for Lord Krishna. You also fought for the Lord. Kindly help me.’ This is the idea, kapi-dhvajah. So in any activities of the Vaishnava, they should always pray to the previous acharya, ‘Kindly help me.’ Vaishnava is always thinking himself helpless, and begging help from the previous acharya.

“Just like in Caitanya-caritamrta, you will find the author, at the end of every chapter:

sri rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa

In every line he is thinking of Rupa-Raghunatha, previous acharyas. ‘Let me surrender to the Gosvamis and they will help me how to write.’ You cannot write. That is not possible.

“So this is Vaisnava’s policy. Vaisnava thakura, tomara kukkura, baliya janaha more. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, ‘My dear Vaishnava Thakura, just accept me as your dog. As the dog works by the indication of the master . . .’ He will give his life. Dog has a good qualification. However strong a dog may be, when the master orders, he will give his life. This is dog—faithful, so faithful to the master. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura is praying, Vaisnava thakura, tomara kukkura, baliya janaha more: ‘My dear Vaisnava Thakura.’ Vaisnava thakura means guru. ‘Kindly accept me as your dog.’ And he describes—I forget the exact language—that ‘I will always try to protect you. As a dog keeps watch, so I will watch so nobody will come to disturb you. And whatever little prasada you’ll give me, I’ll be satisfied.’ That is dog’s qualification. The master is eating, but the dog will never come unless the master gives a little morsel. He is satisfied. He is satisfied.

“So this is Vaishnavism, to follow the previous acarya. This is Vaishnavism.”

(Talk by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Bhagavad-gita 1.20, July 17, 1973, London)

Apr 162016
 

04.15.16_01.LA 04.15.16_02.LA———————————-

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.10.20.

“Ravana is the personification of lust. All of us conditioned souls are afflicted by lust, anger, greed—the six enemies. So, externally we have enemies that we must contend with, and internally we also have enemies, such as these six. And the method for fighting both the internal and the external enemies is the same: We fight according to our ability, and we think of the Lord and depend on His mercy. Without the Lord’s mercy we cannot be successful in any endeavor, including fighting the internal and external enemies. This principle was not only espoused by our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, but it was also practiced by him.”

Rama-navami, Los Angeles

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Apr 152016
 

Sri HanumanLord Rama with Monkeys, a great devotee in the form of a monkey, prays, “Since Lord Sri Ramacandra is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, He is not attached to anything in this material world. He is the most beloved Supersoul of all self-realized souls, and He is their very intimate friend. He is full of all opulences. . . .

“One cannot establish a friendship with the Supreme Lord Ramacandra on the basis of material qualities such as one’s birth in an aristocratic family, one’s personal beauty, one’s eloquence, one’s sharp intelligence or one’s superior race or nation. None of these qualifications is actually a prerequisite for friendship with Lord Sri Ramacandra. Otherwise how is it possible that although we uncivilized inhabitants of the forest have not taken noble births, although we have no physical beauty and although we cannot speak like gentlemen, Lord Ramacandra has nevertheless accepted us as friends?

“Therefore, whether one is a demigod or a demon, a man or a creature other than man, such as a beast or bird, everyone should worship Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears on this earth just like a human being. There is no need of great austerities or penances to worship the Lord, for He accepts even a small service offered by His devotee. Thus He is satisfied, and as soon as He is satisfied, the devotee is successful. Indeed, Lord Sri Ramacandra brought all the devotees of Ayodhya back home, back to Godhead [Vaikuntha].” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.19.6–8)

In his purport, Srila Prabhupada explains, “Lord Sri Ramacandra is so kind and merciful to His devotees that He is very easily satisfied by a little service rendered by anyone, human or not. This is the special advantage of worshiping Lord Ramacandra, and there is the same advantage in worshiping Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Krsna and Lord Ramacandra, in the manner of ksatriyas, sometimes showed Their mercy by killing asuras, but Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu awarded love of God without difficulty even to the asuras. All the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead—but especially Lord Ramacandra, Lord Krsna and, later, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu—delivered many of the living entities present before Them, indeed almost all of them.”

And what of those who were not present before Them, not present before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? The answer is revealed in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 2.13–14):

“To deliver people in regions throughout the universe who could not meet Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally entered the bodies of pure devotees. Thus He empowered living beings [His pure devotees] by manifesting in them so much of His own devotion that people in all other countries became devotees by seeing them.”

Srila Prabhupada elaborates in his purport, “As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11):

kali-kalera dharma—krsna-nama-sankirtana
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana

Unless one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one cannot spread the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra throughout the world. Persons who do so are empowered. Therefore they are sometimes called avesa-avataras, or empowered incarnations, for they are endowed with the power of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

It is only by the causeless mercy of Lord Ramacandra, Lord Krsna, and especially Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu—and His empowered representative Srila Prabhupada—that creatures like us could be delivered and engaged in devotional service (bhakti-yoga), in relishing and distributing their divine, sublime mercy.

Hare Krsna, Hare Rama.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami