“One evening on the balcony of the Calcutta temple, Tamal Krishna Goswami opened up to me about many confidential things—especially for a new devotee like me. And he said that the secret of success in spiritual life is to serve and please the spiritual master. Up until then I had been hearing and chanting and reading and doing service and performing so many other items of bhakti-yoga. But they were like items on a list, with no particular focus. But what Tamal Krishna Goswami said gave a focus for all the different items of devotional service—to please the spiritual master, which became the organizing principle for my life.”
” ‘A devotee is fortunate in any condition of life.’ We shouldn’t be bewildered or confused or distracted by the body. Bodies have different natures, and sometimes one acts in a certain way because of his nature, or his body. But what is really important is the consciousness — bhava-grahi janardana — the mood of service. Once, in Juhu a group of five or six devotee children came into my office. There were two main spokespersons, and they complained that the older devotees in the temple were treating them like children and not as devotees. These children were so intelligent and mature; they said. ‘We have children’s bodies, so sometimes we act like children, but we are also devotees and should be treated like devotees.’ They were so wise. So we should also be like that — see the devotion. It is not that we are unaware of people’s natures based on their bodies, but we see the devotion and we don’t discount anyone because they have a certain body, or conditioning, this lifetime.”
This is the audio from the teleconference class on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.18.
“In a way, one could say that Srila Prabhupada was predicted by Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11:
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso ‘nkitani yat
srinvanti gayanti grinanti sadhavah
‘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.’
“The reason I say this verse anticipates, or predicts, Srila Prabhupada’s contribution, is that when Srimad-Bhagavatam was composed, practically the entire world was under the Vedic kings. At least up until the time of Maharaja Pariksit, the whole world was governed by Vedic principles. So, this ‘misdirected civilization’ developed subsequently. And now it is horrible, everywhere — godlessness. Srila Prabhupada was the first to translate the Vedic literature into English, and from English his disciples and followers have translated it into other languages, and so the world’s misdirected civilization now has access to this literature, which is meant to — and to some extent is — bringing about a revolution in people’s impious lives. Srila Prabhupada is such an extraordinary person. We cannot fathom how great he is or how significant his contribution is.”
[audio:http://www.girirajswami.com/media/2013/01.20.13_SB2.4.18_phone_conf_Carp.mp3 | titles=Srila Prabhupada’s Sublime Mercy]
“Srila Prabhupada was able to make his message suitable to the understanding of his audience because of his realization. If you don’t have realization, you can’t reformulate the presentation of the concepts. You are bound to repeat more or less parrot-like. So we must have realization; it is part of our duty as preachers. Then we can adjust the presentation to suit the understanding or level of appreciation of the audience. But that can also sometimes be controversial.
“Once, perhaps the most successful book distributor during Srila Prabhupada’s time was approaching people and telling them that the books tell you how to live in harmony with nature, how to realize your full potential as a human being, and how to be happy in life. Some other disciples thought the book distributor was compromising Srila Prabhupada’s message. And there was some controversy. Eventually, one devotee asked Srila Prabhupada directly, and Prabhupada replied, ‘He is saying exactly what I say, but he is saying it sweeter — just like when a suka, a parrot, bites into a fruit, it becomes even sweeter.’ So Srila Prabhupada was happy when his disciples presented the message in a suitable way for the audience. And he was exceedingly happy when his books were distributed, because he knew that however the book distributor introduced the book, the reader of the book would get the whole absolute truth.” — Giriraj Swami
Giriraj Swami read and commented from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.30.
“Sometimes, due to circumstances, a devotee may be living away from a temple and the association of a community of devotees. That is a difficult situation to be in. In that case, one should try to make the association with one’s family members as spiritual as possible.
We need to engage all our resources, and the way to do that is by preaching. So if by chance we live far from a temple, we should make our home like a temple. That means more than just having an altar with Deities or pictures; it means that the activities in our home should be the same as the activities in the temple. And we should preach — invite people to our homes and go out and have programs. We can start our own temple and make our own community of devotees.”
“O Maharaja Parikshit, this entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet the Supreme Lord has one transcendental attribute: He comes under the control of His devotees. This was now exhibited by Krishna in this pastime.” — Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.9.19
“Krishna is controlled by spontaneous, pure love, devoid of awe and reverence, which inhibit intimacy. . . . In the conditioned state, awe and reverence are necessary because if neophytes are not afraid of committing offenses, if they do not fear transgressing the rules and regulations, they can get into trouble. One of the ten offenses against the holy name is guror avajna — to disobey the orders of the spiritual master. So if we are going to question the expressed instructions of the spiritual master, we must be very pure and sure that we are taking liberties only on the basis of love, on the basis of selfless service and pure affection, not out of laziness, for our own convenience, or for personal gratification.” — Giriraj Swami
jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ‘bhilabheta yastu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasan chavo yas tu na veda gandham
The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of the Lord’s pure devotee upon his head is certainly a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the aroma of the tulasi leaves from the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, although breathing.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Visnu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offerings by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement “reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee.” That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional parampara.
svayam samuttirya sudustaram dyuman
bhavarnavam bhimam adabhra-sauhridah
bhavat-padambhoruha-navam atra te
nidhaya yatah sad-anugraho bhavan
“O Lord, who resemble the shining sun, You are always ready to fulfill the desire of Your devotee, and therefore You are known as a desire tree [vancha-kalpataru]. When acaryas completely take shelter under Your lotus feet in order to cross the fierce ocean of nescience, they leave behind on earth the method by which they cross, and because You are very merciful to Your other devotees, You accept this method to help them.”
“I was there in the 1970’s when a man who had small brass deities wanted to give them to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada replied, “I can accept them, but you have to give me two lakhs of rupees.” That was a large amount of money, more then than it is now. Srila Prabhupada continued, “It is not a cheap thing to maintain deities.”
In the morning class in Dallas on Saturday, March 6, Giriraj Swami spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.4.29:
yuktah samvatsaram viro
To worship Lord Krsna, Maharaja Ambarisa, along with his queen, who was equally qualified, observed the vow of Ekadasi and Dvadasi for one year.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
To observe Ekadasi-vrata and Dvadasi-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those interested in advancing in Krsna consciousness must observe Ekadasi-vrata regularly. Maharaja Ambarisa’s queen was equally as qualified as the King. Therefore it was possible for Maharaja Ambarisa to engage his life in household affairs. In this regard, the word tulya-silaya is very significant. Unless a wife is equally as qualified as her husband, household affairs are very difficult . . .
“To be properly situated in varna and asrama so that one can peacefully engage in the practices of devotional service, beginning with hearing, chanting, and remembering, is an important factor. It is true that devotional service in and of itself is transcendental, but because we are still conditioned, we want to place ourselves in a situation where we can peacefully prosecute Krsna consciousness. And for most people, for a good part of their lives, that means grhastha- asrama.”