Jun 202020
 

Srila Prabhupada expressed his appreciation for his father in his dedication to his book Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “To My Father, Gour Mohan De (1849-1930)”—“A pure devotee of Krsna, who raised me as a Krsna conscious child from the beginning of my life. In my boyhood ages he instructed me how to play the mrdanga. He gave me Radha-Krsna vigraha to worship, and he gave me Jagannatha ratha to duly observe the festival as my childhood play. He was kind to me, and I imbibed from him the ideas later on solidified by my spiritual master, the eternal father.”

As devotees, we try to encourage and facilitate our children’s Krishna consciousness, as Prabhupada’s father did with him—an effort that is solidified when our children find their eternal spiritual masters.

Later, Srila Prabhupada wrote one of his disciples, “You have accepted me as father, so I have also accepted you as my dear and real son. Relationship of father and son on spiritual platform is real and eternal; on the material platform such relationship is ephemeral and temporary. Although I cannot give you anything as father, still I can pray to Krishna for your more and more advancement in Krishna consciousness. Your sincerity and service mood will always help you in advancing your genuine cause.”

We are indebted to all our fathers, biological and preceptorial. To those still with us, we wish you Happy Father’s Day. To those who have left us, we love you and miss you, and we shall try to act in such a way as will please you—and Krishna, the Supreme Father.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jun 202020
 

Today we are observing the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Sri Gadadhara Pandita. I first learned of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura when I visited the Boston temple. At that time there were only two published books in ISKCON: the abridged edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, published by Macmillan, and Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, published by ISKCON. And at the front of Teachings of Lord Chaitanya was a series of very dignified black-and-white photographsof Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Under the photograph of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a caption: “The pioneer of the program for benedicting the entire world with Krishna consciousness by the instructions of Lord Chaitanya.” I understood from the caption that Srila Prabhupada was continuing the work of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and that we were able to come in touch with Krishna consciousness in part because of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

As the years passed and I came to learn more about Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, I began to see more and more how the Krishna consciousness movement brought by Srila Prabhupada to the West and expanded throughout the world was a continuation of the work of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the result of his desire. So we are all indebted to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and we are intimately connected with him through parampara.

Lord Chaitanya predicted, prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: “In every town and village of every country of the world, My name [Krishna’s name] will be preached.” Although Lord Chaitanya made this prediction more than five hundred years ago, even His followers have sometimes been bewildered about how it would be fulfilled. Some of them even thought the prediction was metaphorical or abstract. But Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had faith in the order and the desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and through his books he began the work of spreading Krishna consciousness and the holy name of Krishna throughout the world. In particular, in 1896, the year of Srila Prabhupada’s birth, he wrote a book called Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts and distributed it to libraries worldwide.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura passed on his desire, which was Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire, to his son Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, though he never left India, passed on the same desire to his disciples. In particular, he gave the order to Srila Prabhupada to preach Krishna consciousness in the English language, which even then was the universal language in the Western world, and in the whole world.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted, “Very soon the unparalleled path of hari-nama-sankirtana will be propagated all over the world.” He foresaw the day when Vaishnavas from all over the world would come to Mayapur and chant Jaya Sacinandana together with the Bengali Vaishnavas, Gaudiya Vaishnavas. And Srila Prabhupada was the one who acted to fulfill the desire and prediction of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

“Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mridangas, and karatalas and raise kirtan through their streets and towns. When will that day come? Oh, for the day when the fair-skinned men from their side, chanting, ‘Jaya Sacinandana ki jaya,’ will extend their arms and, embracing devotees of our country coming from our side, treat us with brotherly feelings. When will that day be?” (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in Sajjana-tosani)

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a house in Godrumadvipa, across the Jalangi River from Mayapur, and he used to chant on his balcony there. One day he looked across the river and had a vision of an effulgent city with a wonderful temple, an adbhuta mandira, at its center. He desired that this wonderful temple and splendorous city should come into existence, and here too Srila Prabhupada has engaged his followers to fulfill the prediction and desire of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Sri Nityananda Prabhu:

eka adbhuta mandira ei haibe prakasa
gaurangera nitya-seva haibe vikasa

“An astounding temple will appear and will engage the entire world in the eternal service of Lord Chaitanya.” (Sri Navadvipa-Mahatmya, Parikrama Khanda, Ch. 4)

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is also the one who discovered the actual birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur. Over centuries of the Ganges flooding and changing course, the location of Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was lost. Bhaktivinoda Thakura studied old maps and consulted different local people, and ultimately he determined the actual location.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura carried forward the idea of the Vedic city in Mayapur, and he had some of his householder disciples build small houses there. But again, it was really Srila Prabhupada who carried the desire of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura forward to the point where there is now a budding metropolis in Mayapur. He was very enthusiastic about the project, and now his disciples are working to make this magnificent vision a physical reality. Continue reading »

Jun 162020
 

“In order to encourage the King, who had only seven remaining days of life, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami asserted that there is no use in living hundreds of years without any knowledge of the problems of life—better to live for a moment with full consciousness of the supreme interest to be fulfilled. The supreme interest of life is eternal, with full knowledge and bliss. Those who are bewildered by the external features of the material world and are engaged in the animal propensities of the eat-drink-and-be-merry type of life are simply wasting their lives by the unseen passing away of valuable years. We should know in perfect consciousness that human life is bestowed upon the conditioned soul to achieve spiritual success, and the easiest possible procedure to attain this end is to chant the holy name of the Lord.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.12 purport

Bhakti Sanga Japa Conference (Right click to download)

Jun 162020
 

This Krishna consciousness movement is spreading quickly all over the world—within four, five years. Is it my credit? No. It is Krishna’s credit. But because I have tried to do this business, people are automatically giving me the credit. They say, “Swamiji, you have done wonderful.” I have done nothing wonderful. It is Krishna’s business. Krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana. (Cc Antya-lila 7.11) Without Krishna’s strength, nobody can spread. That is stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta.

Krishna is always ready to help us, provided we are also ready to cooperate with Him. If we cooperate with Him, what Krishna desires, if we want to do a little, immediately Krishna will help you. If you work one percent, Krishna will help you ten percent. Again if you work one percent, Krishna will help you another ten percent. But the cent percent credit you get, by the help of Krishna. Krishna gives you intelligence. Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam, dadami buddhi-yogam tam. (Gita 10.10) [“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”] If you are engaged satatam, twenty-four hours, without any other engagement—sarva-dharman parityajya (Gita 18.66), giving up all other, nonsense business, sarva-dharman. Simply if you are engaged in Krishna’s business, priti-purvakam, with love. Not as hackneyed: “Ah, here is a duty, chanting of Hare Krishna. All right, “harekrishnaharekrishnaharekrishna” [chants very quickly and indistinctly]. Not like that. With priti, with love. Chant every name, “Hare Krishna,” and hear. Here is Krishna; here is Radharani. That kind of chanting, quality. Not “Harekrishnaharekrishnakrishnakrsinhaharehare.” Not like that. Priti. Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti. That priti is required. That is the essential quality.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.2, June 17, 1973, Mayapur