Oct 192017
 

“The Diwali ceremony can be observed in the temple by illuminating hundreds of candles, in different parts of the temple, and offering special prasada to the Deity. This ceremony was observed by the inhabitants of Ayodhya, the kingdom of Lord Ramachandra, after Lord Ramachandra was out of His kingdom due to His fourteen years banishment by the order of His father. His younger stepbrother Bharata took charge of the kingdom, and the day on which Lord Ramachandra took back the charge from His brother and was seated on the throne is observed as Diwali. This is the original idea of Diwali, or Dipavali. Dipavali means the same thing—Dipa means candles, and vali means numerous. When numerous candles are lighted it is called Dipavali. In India, this Dipavali function is celebrated as a special auspicious occasion. This Dipavali function can be observed on 21st October, and prasada can be distributed on the 22nd October, during daytime, which is known as the Govardhana Puja and Annakuta ceremony. In India, in all Vaishnava temples, this ceremony is observed, and hundreds of people are given prasada according to the capacity of the temple.”

—Srila Prabhupada letter, October 10, 1968

 

Oct 152017
 

Today is Rama-ekadasi, the date on which Srila Prabhupada completed his translation of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. The event is described in the following excerpt from my forthcoming book I’ll Build You a Temple, about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu.

Every morning just before six I would walk up the stairs to Prabhupada’s room to accompany him on his morning walk. But when another devotee and I went on the day after Rama-ekadasi, on November 11, we were surprised to find the doors—both to his quarters, on one side, and to his staff’s quarters, on the other—locked. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I gently knocked on both doors. After a minute or two, Prabhupada’s secretary, Harikesa, opened the assistants’ door just a little and said that Prabhupada had stayed up all night and completed his translation of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, that at the end he had written the most beautiful glorification of his guru maharaja, and that he was in an ecstatic mood and had said that we should celebrate by having a feast.

In his Concluding Words, Prabhupada had written, “Today, Sunday, November 10, 1974—corresponding to the 10th of Kartika, Caitanya Era 488, the eleventh day of the dark fortnight, the Rama-ekadasi—we have now finished the English translation of Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in accordance with the authorized order of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Gosvami Maharaja, my beloved eternal spiritual master, guide and friend.”

Prabhupada recounted his first meeting with his guru maharaja and receiving his instruction “to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in English in the Western countries.” At first he had resisted the order. “Because at that time I was a complete nationalist, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi’s, I submitted to His Divine Grace that unless our country were freed from foreign subjugation, no one would hear the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu seriously. . . . but at last I was defeated and convinced that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would spread all over the world. I could not, however, immediately take up his instructions to preach, but I took his words very seriously and was always thinking of how to execute his order, although I was quite unfit to do so.”

When in 1950 Prabhupada had retired from family life and then taken sannyasa, he had finally been “completely ready to discharge the order of my spiritual master. . . . By the mercy of His Divine Grace, I was able to come to New York on September 17, 1965. Since then, I have translated many books, including Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Teachings of Lord Caitanya (a summary), and many others.

“In the meantime, I was induced to translate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta,” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s favorite book. “I think that [he] is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam, tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye [SB 1.1.1]. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramatma feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. . . .

“It is my wish that devotees of Lord Caitanya all over the world enjoy this translation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to the learned men in the Western countries who are so pleased with my work that they are ordering in advance all my books that will be published in the future. On this occasion, therefore, I request my disciples who are determined to help me in this work to continue their cooperation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

 

 

Oct 052017
 

Today we begin the beautiful month of Damodara. The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 4, says, “There is a statement in Padma Purana describing the ritualistic function during the month of Karttika (October–November). During this month, in Vrndavana it is the regulative principle to pray daily to Lord Krsna in His Damodara form. The Damodara form refers to Krsna in His childhood when He was tied up with rope by His mother, Yasoda. Dama means ‘ropes,’ and udara means ‘the abdomen.’ So Mother Yasoda, being very disturbed by naughty Krsna, bound Him round the abdomen with a rope, and thus Krsna is named Damodara. During the month of Karttika, Damodara is prayed to as follows: ‘My dear Lord, You are the Lord of all, the giver of all benedictions.’ There are many demigods, like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, who sometimes offer benedictions to their respective devotees. For example, Ravana was blessed with many benedictions by Lord Siva, and Hiranyakasipu was blessed by Lord Brahma. But even Lord Siva and Lord Brahma depend upon the benedictions of Lord Krsna, and therefore Krsna is addressed as the Lord of all benefactors. As such, Lord Krsna can offer His devotees anything they want, but still, the devotee’s prayer continues, ‘I do not ask You for liberation or any material facility up to the point of liberation. What I want as Your favor is that I may always think of Your form in which I see You now, as Damodara. You are so beautiful and attractive that my mind does not want anything besides this wonderful form.’ In this same prayer, there is another passage, in which it is said, ‘My dear Lord Damodara, once when You were playing as a naughty boy in the house of Nanda Maharaja, You broke the box containing yogurt, and because of that, Mother Yasoda considered You an offender and tied You with rope to the household grinding mortar. At that time You delivered two sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvara and Manigriva, who were staying there as two arjuna trees in the yard of Nanda Maharaja. My only request is that by Your merciful pastimes You may similarly deliver me.’ ”

May Lord Damodara attract and deliver us all.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

 

Oct 052017
 

“It is important that devotees take care of each other. Like other people, devotees have different aspects to their lives—physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. So we want to support each other in all these ways. Of course, with devotees, everything is for Krishna. We help each other in all respects to better serve guru and Krishna. That is really our goal: gopi-bhartu pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasa—we want to be the servant of the servant of Krishna, the maintainer of the gopi damsels of Vrindavan. In our conditioned life, each of us wants to be the center—that is material life. But in spiritual life, Krishna is the center. We have to work on keeping Krishna in the center and ourselves as the servants, the servants of the servants of Krishna.”

Mitrotsava talk

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Sep 302017
 

Today marks Sri Rama-vijaya-dasami (Dasara, or Dussehra), the day on which Lord Ramachandra vanquished the powerful tyrant Ravana. As described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.7.25):

“When Ravana was engaged in the battle, the trunk of the elephant which carried the king of heaven, Indra, broke in pieces, having collided with the chest of Ravana, and the scattered broken parts illuminated all directions. Ravana therefore felt proud of his prowess and began to loiter in the midst of the fighting soldiers, thinking himself the conqueror of all directions. But his laughter, overtaken by joy, along with his very air of life, suddenly ceased with the tingling sound of the bow of Ramacandra, the Personality of Godhead.”

Srila Prabhupada comments, “However powerful a living being may be, when he is condemned by God no one can save him, and, similarly, however weak one may be, if he is protected by the Lord no one can annihilate him.”

Ravana is the personification of lust and envy, which can disturb the execution of pure devotional service.

May Lord Sri Ramachandra and His devotees protect us all.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Sep 282017
 

“Srila Prabhupada wrote to one disciple, ‘You cannot survive without my mercy, and I cannot survive without your mercy. It is reciprocal. This mutual dependance is based on love—Krishna consciousness.'”

——————
Special thanks to Gaudacandra Prabhu for the beautiful photographs.

Devotees’ appreciations (right-click, save as to download)

1.Balaram Chandra das
2. Sarvatma das
3. Yudhisthira das
4. Radha Priya dasi
5. Sri Murti dasi
6. Balarama das
7. Krsangi dasi
8. Gaudacandra das
9. Sri Vallabha das
10. Rajani Priya dasi
11. Siddhi-lalasa dasi
12. Varsabhanavi dasi
13. Syamananda das
14. Apsara Kund
15. Abhay Charan
16. Purusottama Ksetra das
17. Revati dasi
18. Bhakta Rob
19. Vrajesvari dasi
20. Shyam Gopal das
21. Gandharvika Haulkhory
22. Tulsi Manjari dasi
23. Parvata Muni das
24. Sita dasi
25. Giridhari Priya das
26. Lavanga Manjari dasi
27. Aditi dasi
28. Visnupriya dasi
29. Hari Bhakta das
30. Adilakshmi Nanduri
31. Shyama Chandra das
32. Bhaktin Vivian
33. Radhika Bhuckory

Kirtan by Giriraj Swami
Vyasa-puja Address by Giriraj Swami

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Sep 242017
 

IMG_0877Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad Bhagavatam 3.15.25.

“When one is free from all ten of these offenses in chanting the holy name of God, he develops the ecstatic bodily features called pulakasru. Pulaka means “symptoms of happiness,” and asru means “tears in the eyes.” The symptoms of happiness and tears in the eyes must appear in a person who has chanted the holy name offenselessly. Here in this verse it is stated that those who have actually developed the symptoms of happiness and tears in the eyes by chanting the glories of the Lord are eligible to enter the kingdom of God. In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is said that if one does not develop these symptoms while chanting Hare Krsna, it is to be understood that he is still offensive. Caitanya-caritamrta suggests a nice remedy in this connection. There it is said in verse 31, Chapter Eight, of Adi-lila, that if anyone takes shelter of Lord Caitanya and just chants the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krsna, he becomes freed from all offenses.” SB 3.15.25 purport.

Vyasa-puja, London

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Srila Prabhupada Is Right Here

 Lectures  Comments Off on Srila Prabhupada Is Right Here
Sep 212017
 

Prabhupada deity in Juhu quartersA twenty-two-year-old devotee in Mumbai, Radhika Jajodia, sent me a beautiful letter about her realizations of Srila Prabhupada’s merciful presence in his quarters in Juhu, which she entitled “Srila Prabhupada Is Right Here”:

One day during your last stay in Juhu, in 2014–15, you were chanting in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters. I really wanted to take some association, so I came running from home to join you. But as soon as I got there, you completed a round and left for your room one floor below.

I felt so unfortunate. But then I decided to chant a few rounds sitting in front of Srila Prabhupada. As I was chanting, I was looking at His Divine Grace and praying, “O Prabhupada, please let me have some personal association with my guru maharaja. Please let me have some exchange, some interaction. I really need it. Just a few minutes will be enough to encourage me to carry on my practices for the months when he will no longer be present in Bombay. Please, please be merciful on me, O Prabhupada.”

I was repeating the same prayer again and again, using different words.

And then a miracle happened. The very moment I completed my second round of japa and was saying the Pancha-tattva mantra, my cellphone rang. It was my brother, Narottam, who was serving you. I instantly got goosebumps. I picked up the call, and he said, “Guru Maharaja wants to see you. Come down to his room immediately.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I just looked at Srila Prabhupada sitting there with his divine effulgence. At that very moment I could feel—I just knew—that he was right there, present with me, listening to me. I couldn’t help but burst into tears of love and gratitude.

Once I regained control of my emotions, I wiped off the tears and rushed downstairs to see you. Your caring and loving words during that five-to-ten-minute meeting gave me so much spiritual strength for the many months that followed.

Since that day, my bond with Srila Prabhupada has grown deeper. And whenever I visit his quarters in Juhu, I can feel it: He is right here.

Your fallen servant,
Radhika Jajodia