May 232020

Hearing Srila Prabhupada speak about why danger is required, I thought of the coronavirus pandemic. In a talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.33, April 25, 1973, Los Angeles, Prabhupada said:

“We have got natural devotion. Just like father and son, there is natural affection. The son has got natural devotion to the father, mother. Similarly, we have got our natural devotion. And when we are in danger, even the scientists pray to God—though when they are not in danger, they defy God.

“Therefore danger is required in order to teach these rascals that there is God. So, that is natural. Jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa. (Cc Madhya 20.108) [“The living entity’s constitutional position is to be an eternal servant of Krishna.”] That is our natural . . . Artificially we are trying to banish God: ‘God is dead,’ ‘There is no God,’ ‘I am God,’ ‘This God,’ ‘That God.’ This rascaldom we must give up. Then we shall be given all protection by Krishna.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

May 202020

My dear Indradyumna Swami Maharaja,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances at your lotus feet. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. And all glories to your service.

I could speak for many days about your service to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and for many hours about how you have helped me personally. But today I wish to focus on one area in particular in which you have helped me—my writing, which Srila Prabhupada said I should take up as my “first business” and which thus is my most important service.

Some years ago, you told me that I should bring out a book every year, and for three consecutive years I faithfully did that, publishing Watering the Seed (revised and expanded), Many Moons: Reflections on Departed Vaishnavas, and Life’s Final Exam: Death and Dying from the Vedic Perspective. Then one year at the Sadhu Sanga Kirtan Retreat, in my talk I mentioned some things related to the Juhu saga. Afterward, when I came down and sat next to you, you took my hand in yours and said, “I never heard many of these details before—you must bring out your book about Srila Prabhupada and Juhu as soon as possible.”

I took your instruction to heart, and for the last several years I have focused on that project. When the book was almost ready, you wanted to know what the title would be, and you gave some advice to make it shorter, and in the end I accepted one of your suggestions for the title: I’ll Build You a Temple: The Juhu Story. Now, with your encouragement, the book is almost ready to be sent to the BBT for printing.

Related to my writing is my base in Carpinteria, and here too you have given me valuable advice. You said that I should not burden myself and my small staff by having many programs there; rather, I should go out for preaching programs.

My writing is also inspired by my Deities. You were instrumental in my getting Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari, you gave me Gopisvara Mahadeva, and you were involved in the establishment of the worship of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaura-nataraja and Sri Sri Radhika-Radhika-ramana.

There is no end to my debt to you, which will take me many lifetimes to even begin to repay—but that makes me very happy, because I want to serve Srila Prabhupada with you life after life. As Srila Prabhupada wrote to a disciple who asked about our relationships in ISKCON, “As to your question concerning whether relationships between devotees are eternal, the answer is ‘yes.’ This is confirmed by Sri Narottama dasa Thakura: cakhu-dana dilo yei, janme janme prabhu sei: ‘he is my Lord birth after birth.’ ” We are eternally connected in Srila Prabhupada’s service.

Hare Krishna.

Your eternal, grateful servant,
Giriraj Swami

May 192020

Even when there is duty, we have to see what will be the effect of the duty. Not everything should be done very blindly. This is devotee. Devotee means he’s not blind. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. (SB 5.18.12) [“All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge, and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva.”] Bhagavad-bhakta means he will act in such a way that all is qualified; nobody can criticize him. That is bhagavad-bhakta. Sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah.

We have many instances. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was a very rich zamindar’s son, and there was trouble between the minister of the state and his father and uncle. They were zamindars, raising revenues to the extent of twelve lakhs, and only four lakhs was going to the Nawab. So, this was the business. The minister came to arrest Raghunatha’s father and uncle, and they fled away from home. So the minister arrested Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. At that time he was not Gosvami; he was a grihastha, young man, Raghunatha. So, he handled the matter in such a nice way that the matter was settled between the minister and his father. The idea is although he was Vaishnava, he was not a fool in how to manage an estate. It does not mean that a Vaishnava will be fool because he’s Vaishnava. No. Vaishnava has twenty-six qualifications. One of the qualifications is daksa: he must be very expert in doing things very nicely. Not that because one is Vaishnava he’ll be callous in worldly things. No. Therefore I repeatedly request the management that you must be very expert in managing these temple affairs. Everything should be to the right point. Not a single farthing should be wasted. A Vaishnava must be daksa, expert in everything. This is no excuse, that “I have become a devotee; therefore I am callous to all material things.” What material things? Nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate. (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255) [“When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krishna is not as complete in his renunciation.”] Anything in relationship with Krishna is not material; it is spiritual. Don’t think this temple is an ordinary building. It is Vaikuntha. Cintamani-prakara-sadmasu. Krishna has His house, prakara-sadmasu. Sadma means house. So we should take very, very careful attention that this temple is kept very nicely, managed very nicely. Not that “I have become Vaishnava. Let everything be stolen or spoiled or broken. I have become Vaishnava. I cannot take care. That is not my consideration.”

Everything in relationship with Krishna is Krishna. Krishna is the advaya-jnana, Absolute Truth. Krishna and His name, His house, His devotees, His everything—nama rupa guna lila parikara vaisistya, everything.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.40, October 1, 1976, Vrindavan

May 182020

“Want to Chant – Special Sunday Feast with HH Giriraja Swami (Part 1 of Blissing our Bhakti series)

“Want to Chant – Special Sunday Feast with HH Giriraja Swami (Part 1 of Blossoming our Bhakti series) – SB 2.1.11

Posted by AVCC – Iskcon of Round Rock on Sunday, May 17, 2020

Want to Chant? (Right click to download)

May 152020

Burning to ask my question, I raised my hand. ‘There are so many swamis and yogis,’ I began, ‘and each recommends a different process of self-realization, and each says that his is the best. So, how do I know which is actually best?’ Prabhupada responded, ‘What is your goal? Do you want to serve God, or do you want to become God? If you want to become God, that means you are not God now. And how can not-God become God? God is God. He is always God. He doesn’t have to become God by meditation. Krishna is always God. He is God when He is playing on the lap of Mother Yasoda; He is God when He is fighting at Kurukshetra. That is God. So, if you want to serve God and you sow the seed of devotional service and water it by chanting, God will provide the sunlight and all other favorable conditions to make it grow. But if you want to become God, then why should God help the competition?’ Then he said, ‘God is in your heart. He is ready to help you. You can become godly—but you cannot become God. If you want to become God, you are only cheating yourself.’ ”

Finding a Perfect Master (Right click to download)

May 122020

Giriraj Swami read from and spoke on the teachings of Queen Kunti—Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.25.

“The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false. A man may see a tiger swallowing him in a dream, and he may cry for this calamity. Actually there is no tiger and there is no suffering; it is simply a case of dreams. In the same way, all calamities of life are said to be dreams. If someone is lucky enough to get in contact with the Lord by devotional service, it is all gain. Contact with the Lord by any one of the nine devotional services is always a forward step on the path going back to Godhead.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.25 purport.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.25 (Right click to download)