Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada

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Sep 172013

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Beside BooksToday marks the 175th anniversary of the birth—the appearance—of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “the pioneer of the program for benedicting the entire world with Krishna consciousness.” To honor the occasion, I have written a short piece about “Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada.” We pray for their continued guidance and mercy.

“Dedicated to the sacred service of Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who initiated the teachings of Lord Chaitanya in the Western world (McGill University, Canada) in 1896, the year of my birth.” These words are Srila Prabhupada’s dedication to Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, the first book he published after coming to America. They also apply to Srila Prabhupada’s life, which was dedicated to the sacred service of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and his own spiritual master—Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s son—Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

Srila Prabhupada furthered many of Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s projects: engaging householders in local preaching initiatives (nama-hatta); establishing the principle that Vaishnavas, even not born brahmans, are greater than brahmans (and are brahmans too); translating, explaining, and publishing important Vaishnava scriptures for the understanding of the contemporary audience; implementing the vision of a wonderful temple and spiritual city in Mayapur; and, perhaps most significant, fulfilling the desire and prediction that the holy names and teachings of Sri Krishna Chaitanya—Krishna consciousness—be propagated all over the world.

In 1885, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote,

“Lord Chaitanya did not advent Himself to liberate only a few men in India. Rather, His main objective was to emancipate all living entities of all countries throughout the entire universe and preach the eternal dharma. Lord Chaitanya states in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, ‘In every town, country, and village My name will be sung.’ There is no doubt that this unquestionable order will come to pass. . . . Although there is still no pure society of Vaishnavas, Lord Chaitanya’s prophetic words will in a few days come true . . .

“Very soon the unparalleled path of hari-nama-sankirtana will be propagated all over the world. . . . Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mridangas, and karatalas and raise kirtana through their streets and towns. When will that day come? Oh, for the day when the Western fair-skinned men, from one side, while chanting ‘Jaya Sacinandana ki jaya!’ will extend their arms and, embracing the devotees of our country coming from another side, treat us with brotherly feelings. When will that day be?” Continue reading »

May 282011

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.”

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Appearance Day

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Sep 102009



On September 1, Giriraj Swami paid tribute to one of the great spiritual masters in our line, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, known as the “Seventh Goswami,” during a moving ceremony at New Dwaraka, Los Angeles.