Mar 112017

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in SankirtanaFrom Amrit Vani, “Nectarean Instructions for Immortality,” gleaned from the instructions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and presented in the form of questions and answers.


Is the favor given by Mahaprabhu the highest favor?

There has never been nor will there ever be better benefactors than Mahaprabhu and His devotees. No other type of human welfare work can compare; all those others simply perform a great disservice to humanity. The favor offered by Mahaprabhu and His devotees is the supreme favor. This favor is eternal, not a temporary five- or ten-day promise. Mundane benefits tend to ultimately do harm, but Mahaprabhu’s favor will never harm others.

For example, what is good for our country will certainly be harmful to another country. It is the nature of temporary happiness to cause distress to others. If I am happy to ride in a horse-pulled cart, the horse will be inconvenienced by my pleasure. Mahaprabhu and His devotees never deceive people by preaching about temporary favors. Their favor and charities are suitable for all people at all times and under all circumstances. Their gifts are good for the entire universe. Mahaprabhu and His devotees never offer gifts related to narrow or sectarian views.

Mahaprabhu’s compassion is considered harmless compassion. Thus we say that He and His devotees are the most magnanimous. I am not speaking flowery language or myth but topmost truth when I say these things.

Mahaprabhu’s compassion is complete, while all other forms of compassion are limited and deceptive. Matsya, Kurma, Varahadeva, Ramachandra, and even Krishna distributed mercy only to Their devotees and annihilated those who opposed Them. Mahaprabhu displayed compassion to everyone. He did not even hesitate to show His harmless mercy to the Kazi and the Buddhists, and He converted the worshipers of Ramachandra, known as the Ramanandis, into pure Vaishnavas. Continue reading »

Mar 092017

Again listening to Srila Srila Prabhupada and Dr Patel on Juhu Beach in BombayPrabhupada’s talks in Juhu, I was struck by his frank and realistic assessment: “What do they know about nation? Everyone is interested in his own pocket, that’s all. ‘What money is coming in my pocket.’ Where is the nationalism? If there was nationalism, how such havoc could have happened? There is no feeling of nationalism, because they are not thinking of the nation; they are thinking of their own pocket. Where is the nationalism? These are simply bogus slogans. Actual unity, nationality, universality, is in Krishna consciousness. It is a fact. Let them see. Men, women—we do not hate anyone. ‘Come on. Take to Krishna consciousness.’ ”

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Mar 052017

Prabhupada in queue at airportToday, listening to Srila Prabhupada’s talks in Juhu, I heard something that struck me as especially timely and relevant. “Krishna says advesta sarva-bhutanam: You should not be envious to any living entity. But the present civilization means to become envious. I do not wish to criticize anyone, but this enviousness is the basis . . . Nationalism is also enviousness. ‘Why foreigners will come here?’ This is enviousness. Why should they not come? Who is foreigner and who is national? Everyone is son of God. Why should you distinguish? But because there is no Krishna consciousness, this discrimination between man and man, man and animal—so many discriminations. Even from the national point of view, national means anyone who is born in that country. But because one happens to be an animal, although he is a national, still, he is sent to the slaughterhouse—because there is no Krishna consciousness.”

The philosophy of Krishna consciousness is timeless—always timely and relevant. And, now perhaps more than ever, much needed.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Mar 032017

In an exuberant moodPrabhupada reading Bhagavatam in Juhu, Syamsundara Prabhu, the temple president in Houston, wrote me, “Thank you, Maharaja, for your divine presence in our lives. How fortunate we are to have you among us. Please live forever.”

Reflecting on Syamsundara’s words, I thought of Srila Prabhupada’s statement “I will never die. I will live forever in my books, and you will utilize.” And I took what Syamsundara Prabhu wrote as a confirmation that I should continue focusing on writing the history of Srila Prabhupada and Juhu—a book which Prabhupada himself requested.

Please bless me.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Feb 272017

Today is SrJagannatha dasa Babajiila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja’s disappearance day. He comes in the Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession after Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He was a renounced ascetic, fully engaged in chanting the holy names of Krishna and meditating on His pastimes. For some time, he made his residence at Surya-kunda in Vraja-dhama, near the temple of Suryadeva, where Srimati Radharani used to come and worship the sun-god—or, I should say, where She used to come to meet Krishna on the pretext of coming to worship the sun-god.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who comes in the disciplic succession after Jagannatha dasa Babaji, accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja as his main guru, his siksa-guru. Once, some of Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disciples in Vraja approached the Thakura. They complained that although they had come to Vraja to live like Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, fully absorbed in chanting the holy names and meditating on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s astakaliya-lila, Babaji Maharaja had refused to instruct them in such esoteric topics and had instead engaged them in cultivating tulasi plants, flowers, and vegetables to offer to the Lord. So these disciples requested Bhaktivinoda Thakura to appeal to their guru maharaja to instruct them in the esoteric practices of Krishna consciousness.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told them, “Actually, your Gurudeva’s instructions are right for you. Because you still have anarthas, for you to try to sit and do nirjana-bhajana [solitary worship] and practice asta-kaliya-lila-smarana [meditation on the Lord’s eightfold daily pastimes] would be artificial, and you would just become degraded. So you should follow your Gurudeva’s instructions with full faith and work hard in Krishna’s service. Then, in time, you may be able to chant the holy names purely.” Continue reading »

Feb 272017

Praying on Maha-Sivaratri

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Feb 252017

Today, Sivaratri Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva Sivaratri 2017here, we did special worship of our deity of Gopisvara Mahadeva, gifted to us by His Holiness Indradyumna Swami. We prayed to Gopisvara,

vrndavanavani-pate jaya soma soma-maule
gopisvara vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namaste

“O gatekeeper of Vrindavan! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon (soma), and who is worshipable to the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, and Narada! O Gopisvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me pure love for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer my obeisances unto you again and again.” (Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Sankalpa-kalpadruma 103)

Lord Siva is in charge of false ego, so I prayed to him to free me from mine and to establish me in my constitutional position of eternal service to Sri Sri Gandhavika-Giridhari and Their divine servants. And I wish the same for all of you.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Celebrating Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s Appearance Day

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Feb 162017

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati ThakuraYesterday at our ashram in Carpinteria we celebrated the appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master, whose divine instruction led to Prabhupada’s coming to America and spreading Krishna consciousness—the teachings of Lord Chaitanya—all over the world. And we were happy that Balarama das, Sripada Tamal Krishna Goswami’s former servant, secretary, and pujari, also joined us.

Balarama shared with us many of his wonderful experiences with Tamal Krishna Goswami—and one instruction of Goswami Maharaja’s really struck me: “If you get a chance for advanced association, drop everything—whatever you are doing—because such association is very rare.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

GRS offering ghee lampBalarama playing mrdangaGRS offering obeisancesSrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura before guru-puja


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Feb 072017

Nityananda AGiriraj Swami gave this talk on February 12, 2014, in New Dvaraka, Los Angeles.

“We think of Srila Prabhupada staying in the Bowery with that young man, David Allen, who was taking the New York version of strong liquor—LSD. David went mad. He could have done anything to Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada went running down the stairs onto the street, not knowing where he would go. It was like Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura running for their life from the drunken brothers Jagai and Madhai. I cannot imagine anyone since Nityananda Prabhu and His associates who has taken up that mission of approaching anyone and everyone without discrimination and giving them the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as Srila Prabhupada did. And he is doing that through all of you; you are also doing the same thing. You are approaching people without discrimination and giving them the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s books, or through or the hari-nama sankirtana party, which also carries books and magazines. By that activity we will get the mercy of Lord Nityanada and Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”


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Varahadeva’s Appearance Day

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Feb 072017

Today is Varaha-dvadasi, Lord Varaha’s appearance day. Srila Prabhupada spoke on this occasion in Los Angeles on February 18, 1970:

Lord Varaha delivers the earth“Today is the incarnation day of Lord Krishna’s appearing as the Boar. He lifted the world when it was submerged within the water of Garbhodaka Ocean. The universe which we are seeing, it is only half. The other half is filled with water, and in that water Garbhodakasayi Visnu is lying.

“So, one demon, Hiranyaksa, pushed this earthly planet within that water, and Lord Krishna delivered this earthly planet from water in the shape of a boar. So, that auspicious day is today, Varaha-dvadasi. On this day [we] sing,

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare
jaya jagadisa hare, jaya jagadisa hare

‘O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of a boar! All glories to You! The earth, which had become immersed in the Garbhodaka Ocean at the bottom of the universe, sits fixed upon the tip of Your tusk like a spot upon the moon.’ (Dasavatara-stotra, 3)

“This Varaha, boar, or hog, delivered this earthly planet by the tusk, and He kept the whole world on His tusk. We can just imagine how big He appeared. And the world at that time appeared just like the moon disc with some marks on it. So kesava dhrta-varaha-sarira. The poet says, ‘My dear Lord, You have appeared as the great boar. So let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.’ ”

May Lord Varaha bless us and uplift us.

Hare Krishna.

—Giriraj Swami