Sep 102019
 

Today is Vamana-dvadasi, the appearance day of Vamanadeva. “Urukrama is a name for Lord Vamanadeva, who performed the wonderful act of occupying the three worlds with three footsteps. Lord Vamanadeva requested three paces of land from Maharaja Bali, and when Maharaja Bali agreed to grant them, the Lord immediately covered the entire world with two footsteps, and for His third step He placed His foot upon Bali Maharaja’s head. Sri Jayadeva Gosvami says:

chalayasi vikramane balim adbhuta-vamana
pada-nakha-nira-janita-jana-pavana
kesava dhrta-vamana-rupa jaya jagadisa hare

‘All glories to Lord Kesava, who assumed the form of a dwarf. O Lord of the universe, who take away everything inauspicious for the devotees! O wonderful Vamanadeva! You tricked the great demon Bali Maharaja by Your steps. The water that touched the nails of Your lotus feet when You pierced through the covering of the universe purifies all living entities in the form of the river Ganges.’

“Since the Supreme Lord is all-powerful, He can do things that seem wonderful for a common man. Similarly, a devotee who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord can also do wonderful things unimaginable to a common man, by the grace of the dust of those lotus feet.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.1.35 purport)

We pray to serve the Lord in such a way that He will be pleased to give Himself to us.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Sep 072019
 

Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23:

“O King Rahugana, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahamsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya [austerity], the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water or before the blazing fire.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23 purport

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

“Now, what exactly does it mean to be blessed by the dust of the feet of pure devotees? In  a broad sense it means to be blessed by the mercy of pure devotees. One gets the mercy by following their instructions. So, we are blessed by receiving instructions from pure devotees, and we are further blessed by following their instructions.

“In Bombay, a disciple asked Srila Prabhupada for his mercy to follow his instructions. Srila Prabhupada curled his lips in disgust and  said, ‘My mercy is that I have given my instructions. Now it is up to you to follow them.’ He gave the example of a person who had fallen into a well. When his savior, or deliverer, hands down a rope to pull him, out he prays, ‘Please make my fingers curl around the rope.’ Your deliverer has sent down the rope and is ready to pull you out of the well, but you have to hold on to the rope. In other words, he has given you his mercy in the form of his instructions, but now you have to follow the instructions.”

Radhastami talk from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23

Sep 062019
 

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Bhagavad-gita 9.13:

“Here it is mentioned, bhajanty ananya-manaso, ‘without deviation of the mind.’ As we know from Bhagavad-gita and personal experience, the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. When the mind is engaged in Krishna consciousness, it is our best friend, and when it strays into maya, it becomes our worst enemy. By constitution, it is not a friend or an enemy—in fact, no one is—but by behavior it acts as a friend or an enemy. The mind has to be controlled by engaging it in Krishna consciousness. There are nine processes for engaging in Krishna consciousness, of which the primary three are hearing about Krishna, chanting about Krishna, and remembering Krishna. So, ananya manaso—we don’t want the mind to wander into any field other than Krishna consciousness.”

Radhastami morning talk (Right click to download)

Sep 062019
 

Giriraj Swami read and spoke on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23:

jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ’bhilabheta yas tu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasañ 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.”

Radhastami talk, San Diego, 2009 (Right click to download)

Sep 052019
 

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23.

“In the Brahma-samhita it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee. In Vrndavana all the pure devotees pray for the mercy of Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Lord Krsna. Srimati Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krsna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance into His association. The conclusion is, therefore, that one should be more serious about seeking the mercy of the devotee than that of the Lord directly, and by one’s doing so (by the good will of the devotee) the natural attraction for the service of the Lord will be revived. Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.23 purport.

Darshan Room program (Right click to download)

Sep 052019
 

For the most auspicious celebration of Sri Radhastami, we read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Three: “Pure Devotional Service.”

TEXT 23

jivan chavo bhagavatanghri-renum
na jatu martyo ’bhilabheta yas tu
sri-visnu-padya manujas tulasyah
svasan chavo yas tu na veda gandham

TRANSLATION

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.

Maharaja Rahugana inquired from the great saint Jada Bharata as to how he had attained such a liberated stage of a paramahamsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.12.12):

rahuganaitat tapasa na yati
na cejyaya nirvapanad grhad va
na cchandasa naiva jalagni-suryair
vina mahat-pada-rajo-’bhisekam

“O King Rahugana, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahamsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya (austerity), the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water, or before the blazing fire.”

In other words, Lord Sri Krsna is the property of His pure unconditional devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Krsna to another devotee; Krsna is never obtainable directly. Lord Chaitanya therefore designated Himself as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah (Cc Madhya 13.80), or “the most obedient servant of the servants of the Lord, who maintains the gopi damsels at Vrndavana.” A pure devotee therefore never approaches the Lord directly, but tries to please the servant of the Lord’s servants, and thus the Lord becomes pleased, and only then can the devotee relish the taste of the tulasi leaves stuck to His lotus feet. In the Brahma-samhita it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee. In Vrndavana all the pure devotees pray for the mercy of Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Lord Krsna. Srimati Radharani is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Radharani is available very readily to the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Krsna, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance into His association. The conclusion is, therefore, that one should be more serious about seeking the mercy of the devotee than that of the Lord directly, and by one’s doing so (by the good will of the devotee) the natural attraction for the service of the Lord will be revived.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

This verse and purport are so deep. Practically the whole philosophy of Krishna consciousness is contained in this purport, and one could discuss it for many hours and days. Still, we shall try to say something within the time available to us.

The first point—the most basic point—is that the living entity is not the body. The living entity is the soul within the body. The living entity in the material body has material desires for sense gratification and more subtle material desires that express themselves in mental speculation. After leaving the body, some unfortunate living entities end up as ghosts, in subtle, ghostly bodies, but they still have gross desires.

How does someone become a ghost? A typical way is that a living entity full of material desires becomes so frustrated and disappointed (which everyone is, to some extent), he commits suicide. The result is that he gets a ghost body, a subtle body without a gross body. Krishna, the Supersoul, fulfills all desires. The person who commits suicide wants to be free from his gross body, so Krishna fulfills his desire and gives him a ghost body, a subtle body. But the frustration and disappointment that gave rise to the impulse to commit suicide came from strong material desires, and he still has the material desires but not a gross body through which to fulfill them. So he is even more frustrated. And so the ghost will try to inhabit, or possess, someone else’s gross body in order to fulfill its desires through that person’s senses. Thus ghosts are disturbing elements. They create fearful situations.

Another way a person can get the body of a ghost is if he is very attached to a thing or place—to his house, for example—and at the time of death thinks of that object of attachment. Yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajaty ante kalevaram/ tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad-bhava-bhavitah: “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Gita 8.6) Whatever you think at the time of death will determine your next body. Now, if you think of your house at the time of death, you can’t get the body of a house, because that is not one of the species of life, but you can take birth as a ghost in that house. Therefore many houses, especially big, opulent ones—mansions and castles—are reputed to be haunted by ghosts.

How can one be freed from ghosts? The chanting of the holy name is the best remedy for practically any ill in the world, and it is the remedy for being troubled by ghosts. Sometimes devotees take advantage of this fact. A large estate will be haunted and so people won’t want to buy it, but the devotees will see, “Oh, here is a good opportunity. We can get a major property to use in Krishna’s service for only a small sum of money, and as for the ghosts, we’ll just do hari-nama–sankirtana and the ghosts will go away and we will have a nice place for Krishna.”

Continue reading »

Sep 042019
 

Today is Lalita-sasti, Srimati Lalita-devi’s appearance day. She is Srimati Radharani’s direct expansion and dearest friend. She is also very merciful and canvasses for devotees to come to serve Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. We can pray to her, following Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami:

 sandra-prema-rasaih pluta priyataya pragalbhyam apta tayoh
prana-prestha-vayasyayor anudinam lilabhisaram kramaih
vaidagdhyena tatha sakhim prati sada manasya siksam rasair
  yeyam karayatiha hanta lalita grhnatu sa mam ganaih

 “Floodedwith the nectar of intense love for her two friends (Sri Sri Radha-Krishna), who are more dear to her than her own life, affectionately arrogant in Their presence, and daily arranging for Their rendezvous, Lalita-devi expertly teaches her friend Radha the art of jealous anger. May Srimati Lalita-devi one day accept me as one of her associates in her personal group.” (Sri Vraja-vilasa-stava 29)

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Sep 032019
 

Yesterday eight of us—Kuntidevi, Lavanga Manjari, Nanda Kishore, Kandarpa Manjari (his wife), Gopal (their son), Srimati (their daughter), Jivan Mukta, and I—visited Rajani Priya Dasi (Rose Forkash) at Mission Terrace Convalescent Hospital, where she is staying temporarily. She was as Krishna conscious as ever and told us how she is getting staff, patients, and visitors to chant Hare Krishna. She explains the philosophy behind it and gives them a piece of paper with the maha-mantra written on it—and she takes great pleasure in seeing them chant.

Before I left, she blessed me, saying, “May you live a long life—as long as or longer than me—in good health, so you can chant Hare Krishna and deliver your important message to many more people.”

On September 15 Rajani Priya will turn 99.

I will be leaving for Texas tomorrow and retuning in two months, and I look forward to meeting her again in Carpinteria when I return.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Sep 032019
 

“Everyone should be friendly for the service of the Lord. Everyone should praise another’s service to the Lord and not be proud of his own service. This is the way of Vaisnava thinking, Vaikuntha thinking. There may be rivalries and apparent competition between servants in performing service, but in the Vaikuntha planets the service of another servant is appreciated, not condemned. This is Vaikuntha competition. There is no question of enmity between servants. Everyone should be allowed to render service to the Lord to the best of his ability, and everyone should appreciate the service of others. Such are the activities of Vaikuntha. Since everyone is a servant, everyone is on the same platform and is allowed to serve the Lord according to his ability.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.12 purport
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Vyasa-puja Celebration via Skype (Right click to download)