Devotees of the Turkish Yatra (Album of photos)
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Devotees of the Turkish Yatra (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: Everywhere is Vrndavana. Wherever there is Krsna’s temple, Krsna’s sankirtana, that is Vrndavana. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that “My mind is always Vrndavana.” Because He’s always thinking of Krsna. Krsna is there -He’s Krsna Himself – just to teach us. So similarly, anywhere you live, if you are actually follower of the instruction of Krsna, as Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], then that is Vrndavana. Wherever you live. Do not think that “Because in Melbourne we have got a temple, the Melbourne Deities are here, so that is not Vrndavana.” That is also Vrndavana. If you worship the Deity very rigidly, follow the rules and regulation, so wherever you do, that is Vrndavana. Especially this Vrndavana dhama, where Krsna actually appeared. So this is Vrndavana, Goloka Vrndavana. Here, those who will manage this institution, they must be first-class gosvami. This is my proposition. Not grhamedhi. -From Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.2 [Significance of Sad-gosvamy-astaka] – March 17, 1974, Vrndavana

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TOVP: Beautiful relief panel work of Krishna and Balarama almost ready (Album of photos)
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Sadbhuja Das: Here is some relief panel work of Krishna and Balarama, along with all his cowherd boy friends who are jubilantly herding all the cows of Vrindavan. This is only one of the four relief panel works, which will be placed in the main dome around the altar area, two of which will be dedicated to Gaura Lila and the other two to Krishna Lila. The measurements of these pieces are 5m by 2m. With the work on some of these panels done, in a few days the fiberglass casting will begin

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Rajani Priya’s 99th
Giriraj Swami

Today Rajani Priya dasi (Rose Forkash) turned 99, and devotees and friends from the Santa Barbara area gathered at Mission Terrace to celebrate the occasion with her. She looked around the room and expressed her affection and appreciation for each devotee, one by one. And she expressed her gratitude for having received the “magic formula”—the Hare Krishna maha-manra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. She was as convinced and enthusiastic about Krishna consciousness as ever.

I joined the event from Dallas for some time on FaceTime video, and HH Rtadhvaja Swami, who is also in Dallas, did too. Afterward, he texted me, “She’s a great soul!!!” Indeed!

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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Comparing exiles in Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam – How to face distress
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How Jiva Goswami and Bhaktivinoda Thakura expertly expanded the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition
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3 Metaphors for Effective Parenting
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Vamana pastime analysis (2)
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Gita 6.37-45 – How our spirituality continues beyond our present life
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Vamana pastime analysis 2 – When the branch under us break, seek Krishna’s help to spread your wings
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The Bhagavatam’s glory revealed in its concluding verse – PURE acronym
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ISKCON Naperville distributed 57 sets of Srimad Bhagavatam on the auspicious occasion of Bhadra Purnima (Album of photos)
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ISKCON Naperville distributed 57 sets of Srimad Bhagavatam on the auspicious occasion of Bhadra Purnima (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: Srimad-Bhagavatam is the philosophy of devotional service and the scientific presentation of man’s relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Prior to the age of Kali there was no need for such a book of knowledge to know the Lord and His potential energies, but with the beginning of the age of Kali human society gradually became influenced by four sinful principles, namely illegitimate connection with women, intoxication, gambling and unnecessary killing of animals. Find them here: http://bit.ly/2O3D9US

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TOVP Architecture Department Report – A Visit to Pune, July 2019 – Edition #2
- TOVP.org

Recently, we had very productive meetings with Sadbhuja Prabhu during his visit to the TOVP Architecture Pune Office. Each Architect gave a presentation of the works which fall under their purview. Directing individual accomplishments towards an organizational goal is the fuel to attain uncommon results.

Anupama – Site & Consultant Co-ordinating Architect
Devendra – Vendor Research & Statutory Architect
Vrushali – GRC Specialization Architect
Hrishikesh – Fenestration Detailing and Cost Estimate Architect
Dipti – Assistant Architect / Office Manager
Anuja – Design Ornamentation Architect
Sandarbh – Construction Drawing Architect
Shashank – 3d Artist
Vilasini – Head Architect

Click here to see it in your browser or download a copy to your desktop for offline reading.

The post TOVP Architecture Department Report – A Visit to Pune, July 2019 – Edition #2 appeared first on Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

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ISKCON UK’s 50th anniversary at Bhaktivedanta Manor (Album of photos)
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ISKCON UK’s 50th anniversary at Bhaktivedanta Manor (Album of photos)
A wonderful celebration of ISKCON UK’s 50th anniversary at Bhaktivedanta Manor this morning, with a class by UK GBC HG Praghosa Dasa, video presentation, cake cutting and pushpanjali to Srila Prabhupada.

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ISKCON UK 50 – Monks celebrate at Abbey Road! (1 min. video)
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ISKCON UK 50 - Monks celebrate at Abbey Road! (1 min. video)
Srila Prabhupada: Happiness is meant for the devotees, not for the karmis, the jnanis or the yogis. It is the property of the devotees. Just like these devotees are chanting very happily. They are not expecting anything. They are happy by chanting. That’s all. Srila Prabhupada – June 22, 1975, Los Angeles

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Team Iskcon Silicon Valley distributed a total of 284 Bhagavatam sets on Bhadra Purnima! (Album of photos)
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Team Iskcon Silicon Valley distributed a total of 284 Bhagavatam sets on Bhadra Purnima! (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: The bhaktivedantas are impartial in distributing the transcendental knowledge of devotional service. To them no one is enemy or friend; no one is educated or uneducated. No one is especially favorable, and no one is unfavorable. The bhakti-vedantas see that the people in general are wasting time in false sensuous things. Their business is to get the ignorant mass of people to reestablish their lost relationship with the Personality of Godhead. By such endeavor, even the most forgetful soul is roused up to the sense of spiritual life, and thus being initiated by the bhakti-vedantas, the people in general gradually progress on the path of transcendental realization. From Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.5.24

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DC Temple distributed 151 Bhagavatam sets on Bhadra Purnima…
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DC Temple distributed 151 Bhagavatam sets on Bhadra Purnima (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: This is the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that you go and preach and make propaganda about krsna-upadesa. This is Krsna consciousness movement. We are teaching all our men how to spread krsna-upadesa, how to spread Krsna consciousness. Then anartha upasamam saksat. Then all the unwanted things he has contaminated will be finished. Then pure consciousness… Pure consciousness is Krsna consciousness. Pure consciousness means to understand that “I am very much intimately connected with Krsna as part and parcel.” Just like my finger is very intimately connected with my body. Intimate… If there is little pain in the finger, I become so much disturbed because I have got intimate connection with this finger. Similarly, we have got intimate connection with Krsna, and we are fallen. Therefore Krsna also feels little pain, and therefore He comes down: paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge [Bg. 4.8] Krsna is feeling pain. So you become Krsna conscious, then Krsna will feel pleasure. That is Krsna consciousness movement.
From Srila Prabhupada’s lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.7 – Vrndavana, April 24, 1975
Find them here: http://bit.ly/2O4TcBJ

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Uttrakhand Mountains reverberate with cheers of Jai Jagannath!!!
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A spectacular event organized in a picturesque valley in the Kumaon Himalayas, attracted a gathering of above 2500 people. It was Indeed a beautiful and serene place to organise Lord Jagannath's chariot festival, that too with a typical 'pahari' flavour. 'Pahari' are the people living in the Himalayas.The place being talked about is a quite and a remote valley, with tiny villages atop mountains covered with jungles, situated in the lap of nature.

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The discovery of a pristine area of Vrindavana! (Album of…
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The discovery of a pristine area of Vrindavana! (Album of photos)
Deena Bandhu Das: The Vrindavan of our dreams!!
One day me and Arjun were roaming around in Vraj and we found a place that made us feel that we went back hundreds of years in time. If Vrindavan were left untouched from modern urban development, the place would be just like that. We both explored with so much excitement and disbelief that such a place still exists. The Vrindavan of our dream. The place had so many Tamal trees it looked like a Tamal forest. Then there were huge Kadamba Trees, Bakul trees, parrots singing and flying around, dusty lanes and sadhus chanting. Arjun had his camera to capture this experience for you. Next time if you’re in Vrindavan, I’ll take you all there. Radhe Shyam!

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Four SB installations by Charlotte Sankirtan Team during Bhadra Purnima (Album of photos)
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Four SB installations by Charlotte Sankirtan Team during Bhadra Purnima (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: Here we have got attraction, material, so we have to withdraw this attraction. How it will be possible? If we become more attracted to Krsna, then this attraction will go away. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat [SB 11.2.42]. Bhakti means the more you realize Krsna, the more you will become detestful: “Ah, nonsense.” This is test. One side increasing taste, the other side decreasing. This is the test. If we think that “I have got attraction on Krsna and also the sense gratification,” that means bogus. The test is how far I am detached to sense gratification. Then it means that you have increased your spiritual life.

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Alachua Temple distributed 55 Bhagavatam sets on the occasion of Bhadra Purnima! (Album of photos)
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Alachua Temple distributed 55 Bhagavatam sets on the occasion of Bhadra Purnima! (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: If the su...

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First yoga/kirtan program ever held in Lebanon! At the first…
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First yoga/kirtan program ever held in Lebanon!
At the first yoga/kirtan program ever held in Lebanon, the Arabic-speaking attendees all seemed to be reaching out for Srila Prabhupada’s Arabic books with an intense hunger. One woman could be seen hugging our translator mataji with tears in her eyes. Our Arabic translation coordinator, Premadhan Prabhu, stood with the books resting in his open palms as everyone grabbed for them while giving nice donations. He said that the happiness he felt from this experience was unlike anything he encountered before.
It seems that book distributors worldwide have been relishing this same kind of happiness now in their own Western countries, distributing increasing amounts of Arabic books to sincerely interested tourists and university students visiting from the Middle East (who ultimately wind up taking the books back home with them to share with friends and family). All Glories to Lord Sri Krishna’s inconceivable mercy and plan…!

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His Holiness Giriraj Swami’s Vyasa-puja, September 14, Dallas
Giriraj Swami

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Not Feeling the Bliss of Spiritual Life? Here’s the Cure, by Stephen Knapp
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        Sometimes I hear devotees say that they have been chanting Hare Krishna for thirty or forty years or more, and are still waiting to feel the taste for it, or the ecstasy from chanting, or from doing devotional service. I even heard where some devotee workshops were saying that it is not uncommon that devotees do not feel this bliss even after years of chanting, and that sometimes people leave the movement because they don’t feel the higher taste. They did not get what they expected. But the cure for that is clearly explained.
So, let’s look at exactly how we can feel the bliss of our chanting Hare Krishna and in engaging in the devotional service of Lord Krishna. This is clearly described in the Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila Chapter 6, in the descriptions of the glories of Sri Advaita Acharya. Therein it first explains how Sri Advaita Acharya is the expansion of Maha-Vishnu, the creator of the cosmic manifestation. So, it would seem that He is one of the centers or sources of all the bliss that could ever be available. But that is not exactly how it works. In Adi-Lila 6, verses 4-13, it explains the potency of Lord Advaita Acharya:
“Lord Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of maya.
“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acharya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.
“Sri Advaita Acharya is indeed directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His glory is beyond the conception of ordinary living beings.
“Maha-Vishnu performs all the functions for the creation of the universes. Sri Advaita Acharya is His direct incarnation.
“That purusha [form of the Supreme] creates and maintains with His external energy. He creates innumerable universes in His pastimes.
“By His will He manifests Himself in unlimited forms, in which He enters each and every universe.
“Sri Advaita Acharya is a plenary part of that purusha and so is not different from Him. Indeed, Sri Advaita Acharya is not separate but is another form of that purusha.
“He [Advaita Acharya] helps in the pastimes of the purusha, with whose material energy and by whose will He creates innumerable universes.
“Being a reservoir of all auspicious attributes, Sri Advaita Acarya is all-auspicious for the world. His characteristics, activities and name are always auspicious.
“Maha-Vishnu creates the entire material world with millions of His parts, energies and incarnations.”
So, herein, we can begin to understand that Sri Advaita Acharya and Maha-Vishnu are completely spiritual. Being so, They are in constant contact with the supreme bliss that comes from the spiritual abode, and They must also be one of the sources of such ecstasy. Right? But let us read on to further understand Sri Advaita Acharya’s power, in texts 18-27:
“The Lord infuses the material ingredients with His own creative potency. Then, by the power of the Lord, creation takes place.
“In the form of Advaita, He infuses the material ingredients with creative energy. Therefore, Advaita is the original cause of creation.
“Sri Advaita Acharya is the creator of millions and millions of universes, and by His expansions [as Garbhodakashaya Vishnu] He maintains each and every universe.
“Sri Advaita is the principal limb [anga] of Narayana. Srimad-Bhagavatam speaks of ‘limb’ as ‘a plenary portion’ of the Lord.
“O Lord of lords, You are the seer of all creation. You are indeed everyone’s dearest life. Are You not, therefore, my father, Narayana? ‘Narayana’ refers to one whose abode is in the water born from Nara [Garbhodakashaya Vishnu], and that Narayana is Your plenary portion. All Your plenary portions are transcendental. They are absolute and are not creations of maya.” (From Srimad-Bhagavatam: 10.14.14)
“This verse describes that the limbs and plenary portions of the Lord are all spiritual; They have no relationship with the material energy.
“Why has Sri Advaita been called a limb and not a part? The reason is that ‘limb’ implies greater intimacy.
“Sri Advaita, who is a reservoir of virtues, is the main limb of Maha-Vishnu. His full name is Advaita, for He is identical in all respects with that Lord.
“As He had formerly created all the universes, now He descended to introduce the path of bhakti-yoga.”

So, how did He do this? How did He call Lord Krishna to appear? It is explained in text 28 and in Srila Prabhupada’s purport that although He described the process of bhakti-yoga, what is more revealing is that, in spite of all of His potencies, He manifested Himself as a servant of the Supreme Lord, specifically as a servant of Lord Caitanya, which gives us the first indication as to how anyone can feel the bliss in our devotional service:
“He delivered all living beings by offering the gift of Krishna-bhakti. He explained the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam in the light of devotional service.”
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada: “Although Sri Advaita Prabhu is an incarnation of Vishnu, for the welfare of the conditioned souls He manifested Himself as a servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and throughout all His activities He showed Himself to be an eternal servitor. Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda also manifested the same principle, although They also belong to the category of Vishnu. If Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu had exhibited Their all-powerful Vishnu potencies within this material world, people would have become greater impersonalists, monists and self-worshipers than they had already become under the spell of this age. Therefore the Personality of Godhead and His different incarnations and forms played the parts of devotees to instruct the conditioned souls how to approach the transcendental stage of devotional service. Advaita Acharya especially intended to teach the conditioned souls about devotional service. The word acharya means ‘teacher.’ The special function of such a teacher is to make people Krishna conscious. A bona fide teacher following in the footsteps of Advaita Acharya has no other business than to spread the principles of Krishna consciousness all over the world. The real qualification of an acharya is that he presents himself as a servant of the Supreme. Such a bona fide acharya can never support the demoniac activities of atheistic men who present themselves as God. It is the main business of an acharya to defy such imposters posing as God before the innocent public.”

In spite of all the powers of Sri Advaita Acharya, He still felt it was best to call Lord Caitanya to descend into this material world to do what no other form of the Lord can do. However, the means by which He called Lord Caitanya will give us the techniques which we should also use to call the Lord into our own lives, as described in text 34:
“He worshiped Krishna with tulasi leaves and water of the Ganges and called for Him in a loud voice. Thus Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on earth, accompanied by His personal associates.”
In this way, Sri Advaita Acharya called Lord Caitanya in a Loud Voice. In other words, there was no other focus for Sri Advaita Acharya. All other thoughts were vacant because of this intense clarity, intention, and singleness of purpose. This is what we should have, singleness of purpose to the point wherein all other intentions and desires are expelled from our minds. We need to call on Lord Krishna with full focus on Him, and this is how He will respond.
Of course, in our present condition it does not mean we give up all of our other responsibilities, but our understanding should be that out of everything else we may need to do, this is our ultimate goal, to attain love of Krishna. If that is our focus, then Lord Krishna will arrange that as we develop, all our other responsibilities will fade, until our main goal stands fully revealed, which is to attain singleness of purpose toward our full service to Lord Krishna. Until then, we should always be calling for Krishna in a loud voice, either verbally or mentally.

However, as the following verses (texts 35-43) explain, Sri Caitanya accepted Sri Advaita as His master and descended into this material world. But Sri Advaita Acharya accepted the position of a servant to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But why would He do this? This is explained:
“It is through Him [Advaita Acharya] that Lord Caitanya spread the sankirtana movement and through Him that He delivered the world.
“The glory and attributes of Advaita Acharya are unlimited. How can the insignificant living entities fathom them?
“Sri Advaita Acharya is a principal limb of Lord Caitanya. Another limb of the Lord is Nityananda Prabhu.
“The devotees headed by Srivasa are His smaller limbs. They are like His hands, face and eyes and His disc and other weapons.
“With all of them Lord Caitanya performed His pastimes, and with them He spread His mission.
“Thinking ‘He [Sri Advaita Acharya] is a disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri,’ Lord Caitanya obeys Him, respecting Him as His spiritual master.
“To maintain the proper etiquette for the principles of religion, Lord Caitanya bows down at the lotus feet of Sri Advaita Acharya with reverential prayers and devotion.
“Sri Advaita Acharya, however, considers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu His master, and He thinks of Himself as a servant of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
“He forgets Himself in the joy of that conception and teaches all living entities, ‘You are servants of Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu.’”

Here is the key that opens the door to the bliss for which we are always hankering. This is what is taught by Sri Advaita Acharya more than anything else, that we are the servants of Sri Caitanya, we are the servants of Lord Krishna. This concept allows us to enter into the blissful exchange, the ecstatic reciprocation between ourselves and the Lord. This opens our heart and our consciousness to supreme revelation of who we are and our eternal connection with the Lord. This bliss is so powerful that once a person experiences it, he or she will never forget it. Such bliss may not always be constant in our developing stages of bhakti-yoga, but it becomes stronger and more constant as we practice and become increasingly purified, and more Krishna conscious.
The prime key to opening the experience of this bliss, which is deeper than the mental, intellectual or emotional stages of consciousness, is the mood of servitude. It is this mood of servitude that opens the natural joy of the soul. This is clearly explained in the following verses:
Texts 44-46:
“The conception of servitude to Sri Krishna generates such an ocean of joy in the soul that even the joy of oneness with the Absolute, if multiplied ten million times, could not compare to a drop of it.
“He [Sri Advaita Acharya] says, ‘Nityananda and I are servants of Lord Caitanya.’ Nowhere else is there such joy as that which is tasted in this emotion of servitude.
“The most beloved goddess of fortune resides on the chest of Sri Krishna, yet she too, earnestly praying, begs for the joy of service at His feet.”

If I can take a moment to tell my own personal story of feeling this bliss, it was right after I was initiated by Srila Prabhupada, which itself is a great boost to one’s spiritual development, I felt an overwhelming ecstasy in my service to Lord Krishna. It did not matter what I was doing, whether polishing the Deity silver, transferring the prasadam from the Deity plates, mopping the temple floor, chanting Hare Krishna, or even taking a shower, it was all engaged in the mood of simply trying to serve to increase the happiness in the pastimes that were going on between Radha and Krishna in the form of the Deities in the temple. All I wanted to do was to stay in touch with this ecstasy by staying in this mood, which is what maintained my connection with Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, through Srila Prabhupada. Even today when I become absorbed in this mood, no matter whether I’m preaching to others, writing and publishing, or helping manage the local Krishna temple in various ways, if I am in this mood of servitude to the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Kunjabihari here in Detroit, or to Srila Prabhupada, the service takes on a whole new level of feeling the bliss of spiritual life. This is certainly enough to prove that this process of bhakti-yoga works, and that the Lord will reciprocate with His devotees in various ways, which itself continues to instill the confidence to keep working at one’s spiritual development. And do not let any negativity, faultfinding, or offenses get in the way of that, all of which will decrease or prevent you from feeling the ecstasy. And if you lose your bliss, you will know why. It is simply a matter of staying in the right mood.
Not only does Sri Advaita Acharya and Lord Nityananda long to remain in this mood of servitude, but all of the demigods and other great sages and associates of Lord Caitanya also wish to feel this ecstasy by remaining in this mood. In fact, it makes them mad in ecstasy, as described:
Texts 47-53:
“All the associates of Lord Krishna, such as Brahma, Shiva, Narada, Suta and Sanatana Kumara, are very pleased in the sentiment of servitude.
“Sri Nityananda, the wandering mendicant, is the foremost of all the associates of Lord Caitanya. He became mad in the ecstasy of service to Lord Caitanya.
“Srivasa, Haridasa, Ramadäsa, Gadadhara, Murari, Mukunda, Candrashekhara and Vakreshvara are all glorious and are all learned scholars, but the sentiment of servitude to Lord Caitanya makes them mad in ecstasy.
“Thus they dance, sing and laugh like madmen, and they instruct everyone, ‘Just be loving servants of Lord Caitanya..’
“Sri Advaita Acharya thinks, ‘Lord Caitanya considers Me His spiritual master, yet I feel Myself to be only His servant.’
“Love for Krishna has this one unique effect: it imbues superiors, equals and inferiors with the spirit of service to Lord Krishna.”

Herein is another symptom of this bliss, the attainment of indifference to one’s position after attaining this ecstasy in the mood of servitude. In other words, the ecstasy is so powerful that everyone feels united in this mood of serving Krishna. It takes away all differences of position, status, age, sex, ethnicity, or other egoistic forms of identity, and makes way for the ultimate of mutual respect, cooperation, assistance, etc., with other devotees, all for the attainment of the mood of servitude to Lord Krishna. Anyone who experiences this only wants to share it with others, knowing that Lord Krishna also feels great joy when His pastimes expand and His devotees increase by the introduction of other beings into His service. In this way, our own attitude of servitude increases, and the feeling of ecstasy goes deeper.
This is also why Krishna consciousness is a prime system that can pave the way for genuine peace in the world between everyone. If people can begin experiencing this bliss through devotional love for Lord Krishna, so many differences, quarrels, disagreements, wrong perceptions, the influence of the bodily conception of life, etc., will become insignificant. Then we can all move forward together to enter more deeply into our real spiritual identity as servants of the Supreme Lord.
Texts 54-59:
“For evidence, please listen to the examples described in the revealed scriptures, which are corroborated by the realization of great souls.
“Although no one is a more respected elder for Krishna than Nanda Maharaja in Vraja, who in transcendental paternal love has no knowledge that his son is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, still ecstatic love makes him, what to speak of others, feel himself to be a servant of Lord Krishna.
“He too prays for attachment and devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, as the words from his own mouth give evidence.
“My dear Uddhava, please hear me. In truth Krishna is my son, but even if you think that He is God, I would still bear toward Him my own feelings for my son. May my mind be attached to your Lord Krishna.
“May our minds be attached to the lotus feet of your Lord Krishna, may our tongues chant His holy names, and may our bodies lie prostrate before Him.
“Wherever we wander in the material universe under the influence of karma by the will of the Lord, may our auspicious activities cause our attraction to Lord Krishna to increase.”
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada: “These verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.66–67) were spoken by the denizens of Vrindavana, headed by Maharaja Nanda [Krishna’s father] and his associates, to Uddhava, who had come from Mathura.”

Even in Krishna’s topmost spiritual domain of Goloka Vrindavana, where the residents do not even understand that Krishna is God, they experience the highest bliss by engaging in loving service to Him. How this happens is explained in texts 62-66, as follows:
“Lord Krishna’s friends in Vrindävana, headed by Sridämä, have pure fraternal affection for Lord Krishna and have no idea of His opulences.
“Although they fight with Him and climb upon His shoulders, they worship His lotus feet in a spirit of servitude.
“Some of the friends of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, massaged His feet, and others whose sinful reactions had been destroyed fanned Him with hand-held fans.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.15.17)
“Even the beloved girlfriends of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana, the gopis, the dust of whose feet was desired by Sri Uddhava and who are more dear to Krishna than anyone else, regard themselves as Krishna’s maidservants.”

This is the great good fortune that we all share, as has been given to us by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, as handed down through the parampara from Sri Advaita Acharya and Lord Caitanya, which gives us the key to open the door to the highest experience of bliss in whatever service we do to Lord Krishna, simply by cultivating the mood of servitude. Therefore, if we are not experiencing this bliss, then we only need to analyze our own attitude, our own mood, and discern where we are going wrong, or what we need to do to make the proper adjustments in our mood and consciousness. When we do that, we may also become mad in the ecstasy of serving the Supreme Object of affection, the God of Love, Lord Sri Krishna. Whether we are jumping in kirtan, or simply absorbed in the bliss of service within ourselves while sitting calmly meditating on the pastimes of Lord Krishna, the bliss can become a constant companion that compels us to bring ourselves ever closer to wanting to perfect our devotion to Lord Krishna, as described next:
Texts 86-87:
“I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, a servant of Lord Caitanya. I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, and a servant of His servants.
“Saying this, Advaita Prabhu dances and loudly sings. Then at the next moment He quietly sits down.”

Not only are all of Lord Krishna’s servants hankering to enter deep into the mood of servitude which enables us to experience the highest ecstasy, but also all of the avatars that expand from Lord Krishna feel the same way.
Texts 88-97:
“The source of the sentiment of servitude is indeed Lord Balarama. The plenary expansions who follow Him are all influenced by that ecstasy.
“Lord Sankarshana, who is one of His incarnations, always considers Himself a devotee.
“Another of His incarnations, Lakshmana, who is very beautiful and opulent, always serves Lord Rama.
“The Vishnu who lies on the Causal Ocean is an incarnation of Lord Sankarshana, and, accordingly, the emotion of being a devotee is always present in His heart.
“Advaita Acharya is a separate expansion of Him. He always engages in devotional service with His thoughts, words and actions.
“By His words He declares, ‘I am a servant of Lord Caitanya.’ Thus with His mind He always thinks, ‘I am His devotee.’
“With His body He worshiped the Lord by offering Ganges water and tulasi leaves, and by preaching devotional service He delivered the entire universe.
“Sesa Sankarsana, who holds all the planets on His heads, expands Himself in different bodies to render service to Lord Krishna.
“These are all incarnations of Lord Krishna, yet we always find that they act as devotees.
“The scriptures call them incarnations as devotees [bhakta-avataras]. The position of being such an incarnation is above all others.”
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in different incarnations, but His appearance in the role of a devotee is more beneficial to the conditioned souls than the other incarnations, with all their opulences. Sometimes a conditioned soul is bewildered when he tries to understand the incarnation of Godhead with full opulence. Lord Krishna appeared and performed many uncommon activities, and some materialists misunderstood Him, but in His appearance as Lord Caitanya He did not show much of His opulences, and therefore fewer conditioned souls were bewildered. Misunderstanding the Lord, many fools consider themselves incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the result is that after leaving the material body they enter the lower species.”

In this way, we should not take for granted the great treasure we have been given in understanding how to engage in bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Lord Krishna, but should strive to overcome our impurities, and discern how we can enter ever more deeply into that mood of servitude. Thus, we can reach the highest level of ecstatic love and share the means for others to reach the same. Nothing is more pleasing to Guru and Gauranga, or to our own soul. There is nothing greater to attain in this world than this.

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Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK, Announces New President
→ ISKCON News

During the interview process, leaders were asked to express what it is that they look for in a temple president. Consistently, their responses were, ‘Someone to care personally for the devotees ... a spiritual presence ... a person who keeps us aligned to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’.

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The new, shining Kalash of Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpa Samadhi in Mayapur is finished, installed and looks beautiful (2 min. video)
→ Dandavats



Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpa Samadhi in Mayapur Kalash Abhishek (2 min. video)
The new, shining Kalash is finished, installed and looks beautiful!

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Prasadam preparation for the Russian Sadhu Sanga Festival (Album of photos)
→ Dandavats



Prasadam preparation for the Russian Sadhu Sanga Festival (Album of photos)
Bhakti Chaitanya Swami: About 5500 devotees assem...

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Bhadra Purnima 2019 (Album of photos)
→ Dandavats



Bhadra Purnima 2019 (Album of photos)
ISKCON of Connecticut: Multiple Bhagavatam sets were welcomed by devotees from all over ...

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PM Narendra Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Mathura MP Hema Malini join forces for Lord Krishna’s Vrindavana and its residents
→ Dandavats

On Wednesday, September 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the holy town of Mathura to inaugurate and announce various projects related to animal/cattle healthcare, dairy development, cleanliness and tourism. The program was organized at Mathura’s Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Veterinary Science University and Cattle Research Institute. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Mathura MP Hema Malini were also present.

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Participate in Bhadra Purnima Campaign!
→ Mayapur.com

In the Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.13 it is stated: prausthapadyam paurnamasyam hema-simha-samanvitam dadati yo bhagavatam sa yati paramam gatim “If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.” In the Varaha Purana it is […]

The post Participate in Bhadra Purnima Campaign! appeared first on Mayapur.com.

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A tortoise joins the Harinama party! (Album of photos)
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A tortoise joins the Harinama party! (Album of photos)
We chanted totally for 120 hours on the streets of the 20 cities of Rus...

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A fantastic Bhadra Purnima day distribution (Album of…
→ Dandavats



A fantastic Bhadra Purnima day distribution (Album of photos)
Shastrakrit Das: Many Bhagavatam sets went out, but those who refused the full set, we left them with First Canto & 10th canto ( Krishna book) of The Bhagavatam.

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Haridas Thakur Disappearance
→ Ramai Swami

As Prahlada Maharaja appeared in a family of demons and Hanuman appeared as a monkey, Shri Haridasa Thakura appeared amongst the lower caste. Haridasa had a handsome form with all aristocratic features.

Highly intellectual, he won all debates in Sanskrit and philosophy. Yet, he never lost his temper. In his youth, he became famous for his extreme devotion and ascetism. Though born in a Muslim family, when he became a Vaishnava, even brahmanas would eagerly smear their bodies with the dust of his feet.

 While seeing Lord Chaitanya’s lotus face, holding His feet upon his chest, and chanting Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Haridasa left the world. Lord Chaitanya personally carried the body of Haridasa to the sea. And with His own hands buried him in the sand. Then Mahaprabhu begged alms for a festival to honor Haridasa Thakura’s departure. Lord Chaitanya paid tribute to His pure Devotee:

   “Let us all sing the glories of Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa was the crest-jewel of the world. By his death the earth has lost its treasure. Out of His great mercy Krishna had given Me his association. And now He has taken him away. When Haridasa himself wished to leave the world I could not hold him back. Just like Bhismadeva, Haridasa gave up his life at his own will.” (Chaitanya-charitamrta Antya 11.93-98.)
 
   The samadhi of Haridasa Thakura is located by the sea in Jagannatha Puri.


 

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Bhaktivedanta Manor Announces New President
→ Dandavats

By Gauri das

The appointment will begin in January 2020, which is a great conclusion to the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON UK celebrations. Chairman of the temple trustees, Navina Krishna Das, said, “The initial proposal of Visakha Dasi actually came as a result of her engagement with the youth. They had found her both inspiring and deeply grounded in the teachings of Krishna consciousness. Even though she was invited to apply for the temple president position, her interview process was rigorous. On each level we found what we were looking for: a depth of spiritual understanding and a sobering maturity in Krishna consciousness. We look forward to working with Visakha Dasi.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sri Bhadra Purnima
→ ISKCON News

“If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.” 

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Dr Sahadeva Dasa: Peace Mantra
→ ISKCON News

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Mystery of Mind, Intelligence and Ego
→ ISKCON News

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Sun Love Feast – Sep 15th, 2019 – Vedic discourse by His Grace Aindra Prabhu
→ ISKCON Brampton



Chant: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare 

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare 

And Be Happy!!

ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
uttama-sloka-vartaya

Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one
who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.
 ~ Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.17




11.00 - 11.15      Tulsi Puja
11.15  - 11.30     Guru Puja
11:30 - 11:55     Aarti & Kirtan
11.55  - 12.00    Sri Nrsingadeva Prayers
12.00 - 1:00     Vedic discourse
  1.00 - 1.30      Closing Kirtan
  1.30 - 2.00     Sanctified Free Vegetarian Feast

COMING UP AHEAD

 Indira Ekadasi
Fasting.....................on Wed Sep 25th,2019
Breakfast................  on Thu Sep 26th, 2019 b/w 7:09am – 11:09am


Every fortnight, we observe Ekadasi, a day of prayer and meditation. On this day we follow a complete fast from eating and drinking. We spend extra time reading the scriptures and chanting the auspicious Hare Krishna mantra. By constantly ‘exercising’ our minds through regular japa we can train our senses to push the threshold of contentment.

ONGOING PROGRAMS


Vedic Education & Learning For Grownups
 Nectar of Instruction course - every Sat 9:30am to 12:30pm (Sep 7 to Oct 19)

ISKCON Brampton offers various courses and Seminars for adults. The courses take a personal approach to learning. It encourages the student not only to study thoroughly the contents of Srila Prabhupada’s books but also to clearly understand the philosophy and practically apply it. The course focuses on behaviour and character, nurturing students in appropriate Vaishnava values. Professionally designed and presented, it draws on the principles of Krishna consciousness and the best of progressive education. In this way, it is true to ISKCON’s heritage and at the same time relevant to its mission in contemporary society.

For further information, please contact HG Prema Gaurangi Devi Dasi @ premagaurangi.jps@hotmail.com



Sunday School

To register,contact us
Email:sundayschool108@gmail.com
Call:647.893.9363

The Sunday School provides fun filled strategies through the medium of music, drama, debates,
quizzes and games that present Vedic Culture to children. However the syllabus is also designed
to simultaneously teach them to always remember Krishna and never forget Him.
The Sunday School follows the curriculum provided by the Bhaktivedanta College of Education and Culture (BCEC).


Monthly sankirtan Festival(MSF)
“One who has life can preach, and one who preaches gets life.”(Previous Acaryas)
Every member of ISKCON should have the opportunity to make advancement in Krishna
consciousness by preaching.We encourage everyone to come out and participate and make
Srila Prabhupada happy.

Please contact:
Dharma Dasa- dharandev58@gmail.com-647.892.0739(Mississauga and Brampton regions)


The Mentorship Program

Please note that registration in the Mentorship System is now a mandatory requirement for all initiation requests at ISKCON Brampton.It

1.Facilitates  and nurtures devotees aspiring for first and second Initiation.
2.One-on-One personal follow up on a regular basis.
3.Systematic training to devotees in matters of Philosophy, Sadhna, Vaishnava behavior, etiquette, Lifestyle and attitudes.

To find details please click here


Gift Shop

Are you looking for some amazing gift items which are less expensive and more beautiful for your
loved ones for festivals or many other occasions??
Our boutique is stocked with an excellent range of products, perfect for gifts or as souvenirs of your
visit. It offers textiles, jewelry, incense, devotional articles, musical instruments, books, and CDs
inspired by Indian culture.We're open on all Sundays and celebrations marked in our annual calendar.

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Sri Visvarupa-mahotsava
Giriraj Swami

Visvarupa-mahotsava is the date on which Lord Chaitanya’s older brother, Visvarupa, took sannyasa, the renounced order of life. And on the same date some four hundred and fifty years later, our own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, also accepted sannyasa.

According to Vedic literatures, Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, come in the present age in the role of a devotee. In the previous age, Lord Krishna came in His original feature and spoke the Bhagavad-gita, and at the conclusion He instructed, sarva-dharman parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja: give up all other duties and surrender unto Me. But people could not understand or appreciate Lord Krishna’s instruction. So later, about five hundred years ago, Krishna came again, not in His original form but in His devotional form as Lord Chaitanya. And Lord Chaitanya taught us how to serve Krishna, how to worship God in the present age.

Lord Chaitanya taught various methods of worship, but He especially emphasized the chanting of the holy names of God, or Krishna. In particular, He quoted a verse from the Brhan-Naradiya Purana (38.126):

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

“One should chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of Hari, Krishna. In this age of Kali, there is no other way, no other way, no other way for spiritual realization.”

He acted like a teacher who shows students how to write the alphabet. The teacher stands in front of the class and writes on the board, “A, B, C, D.” The teacher has no need to practice writing, but he shows by his own example how to form the letters properly. In the same way, God, Krishna, had no need to worship, but to set the example for us, so that we could learn how to worship God in the best way in the present age, He came as Lord Chaitanya and taught and demonstrated the chanting of the holy names of Krishna.

When Lord Chaitanya appeared, the social and spiritual system called varnashrama-dharma was still prevalent in India. In this system there are four social and four spiritual divisions, all necessary for society to function properly. Although we may not refer to them by the same terms, and although the system has not been developed as systematically and scientifically as in Vedic culture, still, by the arrangement of nature, the divisions still exist. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: “According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me.” (Gita 4.13) So, the four social orders, or broad divisions of occupational duties, are created by Krishna.

The four divisions include, first, the intelligent class, who are teachers and priests, but mainly teachers. Then there is the martial, or administrative, class, who are rulers and warriors; they govern and protect the citizens. There is the vaishya, or productive class, who engage in agriculture—farming and cow protection—and, with any surplus, in trade. And there is the service class, or workers, who perform services to support the other three classes.

When a person hears the description of the different social orders and duties, he or she may be alerted to the possibilities for exploitation and domination of the “lower” classes by the “higher.” But in Vedic society the different members work cooperatively for the common good, ultimately for the pleasure of God. In the physical body there are natural divisions—the head, the arms, the stomach, the legs—and they all have different functions. But they all cooperate for the benefit of the whole. In the social body, the brahmans are compared to the head—they give guidance. The kshatriyas are compared to the arms—they protect the body. The vaishyas are compared to the stomach—they provide food for the body. And the sudras, or workers, are compared to the legs—they carry the rest of the body where it wants to go. There is no question of competition among the different parts of the body—or of exploitation. They all work for the good of the whole.

Apart from the social divisions, there are four spiritual divisions. These are also natural, especially in a culture meant for self-realization and God realization, which Vedic culture is. The first order is the brahmacharis, celibate students. In the traditional system, the brahmachari would study in the ashram of the guru, in the gurukula. He would be trained mainly in principles of good character. And because the main emphasis was on good character and spiritual development, the teachers had to be spiritually qualified.

Here we can see the defect in modern education, where emphasis is given to material knowledge without much consideration of personal character. Now practically no spiritual or moral qualification is required of teachers. They may drink, they may smoke, they may gamble, they may do all sorts of nonsense in their “private” lives, but if they know the subject in a material way, they are considered qualified to teach. But in the Vedic system, because the emphasis was on moral character and spiritual development, the teachers, the brahmans, had to be exemplary. And in addition, they had to know the content of the subjects they taught. The exemplar in the Vedic system was called acharya. Acharya means “one who teaches by example”— not that in the classroom the teacher says, “You should not smoke” but then outside the classroom he or she smokes, or that the teacher says, “You shouldn’t drink” but then outside he or she drinks.

A friend of ours in Bombay was attending an international conference on drug abuse in Delhi. She is a devotee, and she works with a lot of underprivileged people in the slum areas of Bombay. And in her own way, she tries to introduce Krishna consciousness, seeing how, by God’s grace, it can transform people’s lives, how people who were addicted to drugs can give them up with the spiritual strength gained by chanting and other practices. So, she went to the conference, and during the evenings her colleagues would get together and have parties and drink and smoke and take drugs. Then, during the day, they would meet to discuss what to do about the problem of substance abuse. Socially, she would be with them. After all, they were her friends and colleagues, but when she would attend their parties, they would insist, “Why don’t you have a drink? Have a smoke. Have this, have that.” And she would always refuse.

One night, their party was busted by the police. The only one of them of good character, of spotless character, was our friend, the devotee. They knew that her word would be accepted, because she was strict in her habits. So her colleagues appealed to her to make up some story that they were conducting an experiment, doing research, on taking drugs. Whatever happened in the end, the point I am making is that in Vedic culture the teachers were supposed to be exemplary. Their character was considered one of their main qualifications as teachers.

So, the first order is brahmachari—celibate students living in the ashram of the guru, the spiritual preceptor. The second order is grihastha—married, or household, life. At the age of twenty or twenty-five, the young man could choose to enter the grihastha-ashrama. At such a time he would take permission from the guru to leave the gurukula, and there would be a ceremony comparable to today’s graduation. The young man would leave and go out into the world, bringing with him all the principles of moral character and spiritual development that he had learned in the ashram of the guru.

Then, after living in the grihastha-ashrama, having children and providing for their future, the husband and wife would enter the vanaprastha-ashrama, retired life. They would retire, not to while away their time in idle pursuits and reminiscences, but to realize God. Of course, there is no harm in reminiscing sometimes, but they had a positive engagement, and their positive engagement was spiritual perfection.

The first instruction of the Bhagavad-gita is:

dehino ’smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” (Gita 2.13) In other words, the soul is distinct from the body.

Later in the Gita Krishna says that He has two energies: the superior energy, or para-prakrti, which is spiritual, and the inferior energy, or apara-prakrti, which is material.

bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.” (Gita 7.4–5) The spiritual energy is conscious and eternal, whereas the material energy is unconscious and temporary. This physical body is made of the eight material elements, inferior energy, but the soul within the body is made of the superior, spiritual energy.

The soul continues to live after the death of the body. In one sense there is no death of the body, because the body is always dead. It is just a machine, and the soul is the driver of the machine who makes the machine work. When the soul is in the body, the body appears to be alive. When the soul leaves the body, we declare that the body is dead, because the soul has left. Now, someone might argue that the soul, or life, is created by a particular chemical combination, that when the chemicals or atoms and molecules combine in a certain way, life is produced. But if that were the case, death would merely be a breakdown in the chemical combination. If life were created by a certain combination of chemicals, then death would mean that the combination had broken down, and the implication would be that if we restored the combination, the person would come back to life. A car is a combination of material elements. The car may break down, but if you keep replacing the material elements, the car will work again. Even if the car is from 1900, if you replace the engine, replace the carburetor, replace the steering—whatever the parts are—if you keep replacing them, it will work again. Yet although people have tried to become immortal since the beginning of time, they have never succeeded in bringing a dead person back to life, because life is not a combination of material elements. Life is the quality of the spiritual soul, the superior energy of the Lord. Once the spiritual soul leaves the body, we can do nothing to bring the body back to life, because the living force has left.

So the question is, “What happens to the living force when it leaves the body? What happens to the soul?” According to the Bhagavad-gita, the soul, depending on its activities, or karma, will enter a particular type of body. If the car breaks down and is not worth fixing, the driver will get another car. What kind of car he gets will depend on how much he can afford. If the person has been earning and saving, he can get a luxury car. If the person has been working but not earning so much, or has not been saving, or not that much, he might get an ordinary car. If the person has been irresponsible or is unemployed, he might not be able to afford a car at all. He might have to get a motorcycle or a scooter or a bicycle, or he may just have to walk. In the same way, the body we get in the next life will depend on how we conduct ourselves in the present life. If we are responsible and follow a disciplined, moral, spiritual life, we will get a better body. In fact, if we are fully self-realized, or God-realized, fully surrendered to God, we can get a spiritual body and go to the spiritual world and live with God in the spiritual kingdom. Otherwise, if we are not perfect but are good, we will get a good material body in the material world; we will take birth on a higher planet—on a heavenly planet—or on earth in a better situation, with better opportunities for education; we may be born with more intelligence, with more opulence, with better looks, and so on. And if we have been negligent in our duties toward God, if we have been immoral or irreligious, we will be born in an unfortunate situation on earth in a human body or even in a lower species of life. Or we may have to take birth on a hellish planet and suffer there for some time.

In the Vedic system, by the time a person reaches the age of fifty or so, he or she should have fulfilled his or her family responsibilities and be free to leave the work and assets to the next generation, to concentrate on spiritual development. Old age is a warning, or a reminder, that one will have to leave the body, and so one will consider, “How can I use my time to reach the best destination?” It is as if you are living in a house and you get notice that you have to vacate. Of course, you will continue to take care of the house to some degree, but you will not put all your energy into taking care of a house that you must soon vacate. Rather, you will consider, “Where am I going to move?” That is the guiding principle in Vedic civilization: “Where am I going to go after I leave the present body, this present habitat?”

The best destination one can achieve is the spiritual kingdom of God, and for that one must engage in spiritual practices, especially chanting the holy names of God, by which one will develop love for God. Such practices are common to different religious traditions. Although here we speak on the basis of the Bhagavad-gita, the basis of Vedic knowledge, the principle of chanting God’s name is in practically every tradition; the principle of praying to God, glorifying God, learning about God from scriptures and teachers, and serving God and His creatures—ultimately to develop love for God—is part of every bona fide religious tradition. As the Bible says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shalt be in thine heart. Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. . . . Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him.” This passage from Deuteronomy (6.5–9, 7.9) pretty well describes the life of devotees. While standing up, sitting in house, walking on a path—wherever they are and in whatever they do—they are conscious of God, and they teach their children the same principle: to be God conscious.

Again, the ideal of singing the name of the Lord or praising the name of the Lord is common to every tradition. The Bible, for instance, enjoins us, “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk yet of all His wondrous works. Glory ye in His holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” (I Chronicles 16.7–11) But the actual process of chanting, especially the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, is elaborated most scientifically in the Vedic literatures. Srimad-Bhagavatam in particular gives precise and detailed information about God and the process to reach Him. Otherwise, one could question, “If the principles are the same, why did you have to take to Krishna consciousness? Why could you not have just been a good Christian or Jew or whatever?” The answer is that this method, which is called bhakti-yoga, is scientific and practical, and that the knowledge of God given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam is most detailed. To love someone, you must know the person: “To know him is to love him.” To know God is to love Him. Otherwise, we may talk theoretically about loving God, but if we don’t know Him, how can we really love Him?

God in the most complete conception is both male and female: Radha and Krishna. Still, for simplicity’s sake, we often use the masculine pronoun. In any case, we learn about God in detail from the Vedic literatures, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam. As our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, used to say, “Every religion will teach that you should love God, but who is God? The Vedic scriptures tell you His name, His address, His telephone number—all the details—about His family, His friends, His habits, His hobbies, His pastimes.” That is why we have taken to Krishna consciousness: to learn about God and how to reach Him—in detail. Even then, as Srila Prabhupada said, “You don’t have to give up being a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim or whatever; you can add Krishna consciousness and become a better Hindu or a better Christian or a better Jew.” It is not a religion in the sense that you have to convert, like one gives up one faith and accepts another. You can remain whatever you are and add bhakti-yoga. With the physical practices of yoga, hatha-yoga, people don’t mind—they may be Christian or Jewish or Muslim and still practice yoga. So too you can practice bhakti-yoga whatever your faith may be. But this yoga will help you to come closer to God and have direct realization of God.

In varnashrama-dharma, the last stage, after retired life, is called sannyasa, renounced life. Although in retired life the husband and wife may stay together, their aim is God consciousness. They often retire to a holy place to worship and serve God, associating with learned scholars and saintly persons, so that they can come closer to God and be with God in their next life. But in the fourth stage, which is not meant for everyone and is not generally recommended in the present age, the husband and wife do not remain together. Also, although the brahmachari will usually marry and have children, in exceptional cases he may not; he may remain in the brahmachari-ashrama for his entire life, or at some point proceed directly from the brahmachari- to the sannyasa-ashrama. In the renounced order too there are different stages, four stages, but in the present age the recommended process for the renounced order is to spread the message of Godhead—to travel and preach the message of Godhead, and to write articles and books on the science of God.

So, these are the four social and spiritual orders, and from that background we come to today’s occasion: Visvarupa-mahotsava. As mentioned earlier, Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, and He appeared on earth, as did Krishna, like an ordinary person. Yet although He seemed to take birth like an ordinary person, His birth was not ordinary; it was divine. Just as a dramatic actor might play the part of a family member on stage, so Lord Chaitanya appeared in a particular family on earth. And in the family in which He chose to appear, He had an older brother named Visvarupa (who Himself was an incarnation of Lord Balarama, Krishna’s first expansion).

From the very beginning, Visvarupa was attracted to devotional service to Lord Krishna. As soon as He was old enough, He would go daily to bathe in the Ganges and then proceed to the home of Advaita Acharya to engage in topics of Krishna. He had no interest whatsoever in material life. And so, when He heard that arrangements were being made for His marriage, Visvarupa left home and took sannyasa. At that time, Lord Chaitanya tried to console His aggrieved parents: “My dear mother and father, it is very good that Visvarupa has accepted the sannyasa order, for thus He has delivered both His father’s and His mother’s family.”

As a sannyasi, Visvarupa’s name was Sankararanya Svami. He traveled from one place of pilgrimage to another, throughout the country. Finally, He attained perfection—entered the spiritual world after giving up His mortal body—in Pandarapura, a holy place in Maharashtra. As cited by Srila Prabhupada, the Gaura-candrodaya states that after His departure, Visvarupa remained mixed within Sri Nityananda Prabhu. The date on which Visvarupa took sannyasa is celebrated today as Visvarupa-mahotsava.

Now we come to our spiritual teacher and founder-acharya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He was born in Calcutta in 1896 in a very pious family. He was well educated and attended Scottish Churches’ College, one of the most prestigious colleges in Calcutta. As a young man, he married and had a child, but soon he met a very saintly person, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and was impressed by him. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta requested that Srila Prabhupada take up the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and spread His message all over the world, specifically in English. From their very first meeting in 1922, Srila Prabhupada accepted Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in his heart as his spiritual master, and eleven years later, in Allahabad, he was formally initiated as Abhay Caranaravinda dasa. Abhay means “fearless” and caranaravinda means “the lotus feet” of Krishna. By taking shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna, one becomes fearless—even of death, the most fearful situation in the material world.

Srila Prabhupada always remembered the order of his guru maharaja, and in his household life he began the fortnightly magazine Back to Godhead. He personally wrote all the articles, got the issues printed, and distributed them. He would go on foot to the teashops in Delhi and approach the customers with his magazine. Later, a friend suggested that magazines might be thrown away but that books would remain forever. And so Srila Prabhupada turned his attention to translating the Bhagavad-gita, and later Srimad-Bhagavatam.

In 1950 Srila Prabhupada retired from family life as a vanaprastha. He traveled to Jhansi and tried to start his guru maharaja’s mission there. He was on the verge of acquiring an ideal property to use as a center, but in the end there was some politics with the governor’s wife and the deal fell through. So he left Jhansi and came to Mathura, a holy place associated with Lord Krishna’s pastimes, to the Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, where he served in cooperation with one of his godbrothers, His Holiness Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Maharaja.

Even in his household life, Srila Prabhupada had dreams in which his guru maharaja was calling him to leave his family and follow him. Srila Prabhupada would wake up and feel horrified: “How can I take sannyasa?” He continued to have the dream, and in Mathura, Kesava Maharaja advised him, “To really preach the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and fulfill Guru Maharaja’s order, you must take sannyasa.” So, on September 17, 1959, on Visvarupa-mahotsava, the same date that Visvarupa, the older brother of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, took sannyasa, Srila Prabhupada accepted the renounced order of life at the Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura. At the end of the ceremony Kesava Maharaja asked him to speak. Although the common language was Hindi, Srila Prabhupada thought of his mission and the order of his guru maharaja, and he spoke in English. Now he was Bhaktivedanta Swami and “completely ready to discharge the order of his spiritual master.”

It is most fortunate for all of us today that Srila Prabhupada did take sannyasa. After he translated Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, in three volumes, he felt ready to travel. Later he would remark, “When I decided to go to foreign countries, I thought of New York. Generally they go to London, but I thought, ‘No, I will go to New York.’” He managed to procure free passage in the passenger cabin of a cargo carrier of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, and so he crossed the Atlantic on board the Jaladuta, suffering two heart attacks on the way. Then, in New York, for almost one year, he struggled alone. No one took up his message seriously. He would stay at different people’s places, but he had no place of his own—and almost no money. He felt so discouraged that from time to time he would go to the Scindia office to see when the next boat was departing for India. But—again fortunately for us—he never left.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Visvarupa-mahotsava, September 17, 2005, Carpinteria, California]

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Sri Bhadra-purnima
→ Dandavats

Giriraj Swami: Today is Bhadra-purnima. Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.13) states, “If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.”

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Sri Bhadra-purnima
Giriraj Swami

Today is Bhadra-purnima. Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.13) states, “If on the full moon day of the month of Bhadra one places Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne and gives it as a gift, he will attain the supreme transcendental destination.” As explained in the purport, “One should place Srimad-Bhagavatam on a golden throne because it is the king of all literature. On the full-moon day of the month of Bhadra, the sun, which is compared to this king of literatures, is present in the constellation Leo and looks as if raised up on a royal throne. (According to astrology, the sun is said to be exalted in the sign of Leo). Thus one may unreservedly worship Srimad-Bhagavatam, the supreme divine scripture.”

In Krsna-lila-stava (412–416), Srila Sanatana Gosvami prays, “O Srimad-Bhagavatam, O nectar churned form the ocean of all the Vedic scriptures, O most prominent transcendental fruit of all the Vedas, O You who are enriched with the jewels of all spiritual philosophical conclusions, O you who grant spiritual vision to all the people of the world, O life-breath of the Vaisnava devotees, O Lord, You are the sun which has arisen to dispel the darkness of the Kali-yuga. You are actually Lord Krsna, who has returned among us.

“O Srimad-Bhagavatam, I offer respectful obeisances unto You. By reading You one attains transcendental bliss, for Your syllables rain pure love of God upon the reader. You are always to be served by everyone, for You are an incarnation of Lord Krsna.

“O Srimad-Bhagavatam, O my only friend, O my companion, O my teacher, O my great wealth, O my deliverer, O my good fortune, O my bliss, I offer respectful obeisances unto you.

“O Srimad-Bhagavatam, O giver of saintliness to the unsaintly, O uplifter of the very fallen, please do not ever leave me. Please become manifested upon my heart and my throat, accompanied by pure love of Krsna.”

Bhadra-purnima is also the date on which Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa. When asked, “Are you going to America?” he replied, “No, Srimad-Bhagavatam is going to America—I am going with it.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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