ISKCON Camp at Kumbha Mela Distributes Thousands of Books and Prasadam Meals
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Kumbha Mela is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith in the world, and drew about 120 million pilgrims – nearly double the population of the UK or France – this year. 

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GARBHAVASA” or “SOOTIKA MANDIR” (Album of photos)
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In Janmasthan Mandir there is a Deity of Nitai (Nityananda). Hadai Pandita Bhavan is the site of the original house of Nityananda’s father. There are two banyan trees by this temple that are said to have existed since the time of Nityananda. In the centre of the main altar of the temple is a deity of Lord Nityananda. To His left, with His hands raised, is Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. On Nityananda’s right is Sri Advaita Acarya.

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Wounded Hearts
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A poem written by Gaurangi Dasi in New Mayapur, France in 2005.

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More Merciful than the Most Merciful
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Lord Caitanya is the most merciful incarnation of the Lord – yet there is someone who is even more merciful than Him.

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Devotee Care Course in Mayapur from 5th – 8th March 2019
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Global Devotee Care Directorate (GDCD) is organizing a Devotee Care Course in Mayapur this Gaura Purnima. The dates are 5th - 8th March 2019. The course invites caring leaders, direct care-givers and all devotees interested in the systematic implementation of Devotee Care throughout ISKCON.

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ISKCON Croatia’s Communication Success
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Communication achievements within ISKCON Croatia -  such us meeting the country presidents, government officials, city majors and other VIPs - significantly exceed the expectations, which initially were put on such a small team of communication devotees ISKCON has in the Zagreb temple (Nova Jaladuta) in Croatia.

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Sankirtan Fields Bloom Brightly in Ahmedabad This Vasanta Panchami
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On Saturday, 9th February, Vaisesika Das gave a presentation on the philosophical significance as well as practical techniques of book distribution to the entire team at ISKCON Ahmedabad, then the entire team got onto buses heading out to Bhadrakali – a busy shopping spot in the city for the practical session!

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Gainesville Krishna House Devotees Share With Other Faiths at “Progressive Dinner”
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Participating were about seventy congregation members – many of them young students – as well as pastors from the Catholic, Quaker, LDS and Wesley United Methodist churches, the Jewish campus organization Hillel, and of course Krishna House. 

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Polish Festival – Chanting and Dancing with Krishna Devotees
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For many people summertime means vacation time, but for Krsna’s devotees it’s an opportunity to go out and share with the public the wonderful world of Krsna consciousness through chanting the holy names, dancing in ecstasy and holding festivals. A video by Ananta Vrindavan.

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More Merciful than the Most Merciful
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Iskcon Mayapur: “When our Lord Caitanya disappears, by His desire, the Ganges will swell. The Ganges water will almost cover Mayapur for a hundred years, and then the water will again recede. For some time only the place will remain, devoid of houses. Then again, by the Lord’s desire, this place will again be manifest, and the devotees will build temples of the Lord. One exceedingly wonderful temple (adbhuta-mandira) will appear from which Gauranga’s eternal service will be preached everywhere.”

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Sri Nityananda-trayodasi
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By Giriraj Swami

Pure devotees have no selfish desires. They have no desire even for liberation. Their only desire is to serve the Lord. Still, sometimes the Lord will give liberation to a pure devotee—though never the impersonal liberation of merging into the brahmajyoti—as a facility for the devotee to serve the Lord. He may award the devotee sarupya (equal bodily features, to serve the Lord), salokya (facility to live on the same planet as the Lord), sarsti (possession of opulence like the Lord), and samipya (close association with the Lord). Such personal liberations may be offered by the Lord to the devotee as facilities for further devotional service, but the devotee neither desires nor asks for them. They come simply by the grace of the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sri Nityananda-trayodasi
Giriraj Swami

We welcome you to the most auspicious observance of Sri Nityananda-trayodasi, the appearance day of Lord Nityananda Balarama. We shall read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the authorized biography of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates, Adi-lila, Chapter 5: “The Glories of Lord Nityananda Balarama.”

TEXT 1

vande ’nantadbhutaisvaryam
  sri-nityanandam isvaram
yasyecchaya tat-svarupam
  ajnenapi nirupyate

TRANSLATION

Let me offer my obeisances to Lord Sri Nityananda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose opulence is wonderful and unlimited. By His will, even a fool can understand His identity.

TEXT 2

jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda

TRANSLATION

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda! All glories to Advaita Acarya! And all glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

TEXT 3

ei sat-sloke kahila krsna-caitanya-mahima
panca-sloke kahi nityananda-tattva-sima

TRANSLATION

I have described the glory of Sri Krsna Caitanya in six verses. Now, in five verses I shall describe the glory of Lord Nityananda.

TEXT 4

sarva-avatari krsna svayam bhagavan
tanhara dvitiya deha sri-balarama

TRANSLATION

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Lord Sri Krsna, the absolute Personality of Godhead, is the primeval Lord, the original form of Godhead, and His first expansion is Sri Balarama. The Personality of Godhead can expand Himself in innumerable forms. The forms that have unlimited potency are called svamsa, and forms that have limited potencies (the living entities) are called vibhinnamsa.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

To properly understand Lord Nityananda and Lord Chaitanya, we must first understand Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama. As stated throughout the Vedic literature, Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam) and His first expansion is Balarama. Sri Brahma-samhita gives the example that from one candle you can light a second, from the second candle you can light a third, from the third you can light a fourth, and so on. In essence, they are the same—they all have the same candlepower. But still, there is one original candle, one original Personality of Godhead (Krishna), and there is one first expansion (Balarama). From Balarama the other expansions follow.

TEXT 5

eka-i svarupa donhe, bhinna-matra kaya
adya kaya-vyuha, krsna-lilara sahaya

TRANSLATION

These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Lord Balarama is the first bodily expansion of Krsna, and He assists in Lord Krsna’s transcendental pastimes.

PURPORT

Balarama is a svamsa expansion of the Lord, and therefore there is no difference in potency between Krsna and Balarama. The only difference is in Their bodily structure. As the first expansion of Godhead, Balarama is the chief Deity among the first quadruple forms, and He is the foremost assistant of Sri Krsna in His transcendental activities.

COMMENT

The subject of the Godhead and His expansions is deep and mysterious. We can talk about it, but to actually realize the truth of the subject is possible only by Lord Nityananda’s mercy. As stated in Dalalera-gita (8), den suddha krsna-siksa—Lord Nityananda gives us the pure teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Our proc

ess is to repeat what we have heard from authorities. We are conditioned souls. We have defects. We commit mistakes. We have imperfect senses. We are subject to illusion. We are prone to cheat. In so many ways, we are faulty. Further, the subject of Godhead is altogether beyond the range of the senses and mind and even intelligence, which are material and limited, because God and His expansions are spiritual and unlimited. So we cannot approach the transcendental subject, the transcendental realm, through our imperfect senses and our limited minds and intelligence. We can receive perfect knowledge only through aural reception—from higher authorities who are beyond the pale of material existence, who are free from the defects of conditioned souls. Therefore we always read from scripture and cite references from scripture, because the Vedic literature is beyond the defects of conditioned souls. It is apauruseya; it is not made by man but emanates directly from God, and we receive that knowledge by submissive aural reception from the parampara.

Lord Balarama is the original spiritual master because He fulfills the two functions of a spiritual master: He gives knowledge of God and He serves God. Because He is the first expansion of Godhead, He is the first (apart from Krishna Himself) to give us knowledge of God. And He is the first to engage in service to God. The spiritual master is the leader of the servants of God. He teaches the science of devotional service and engages his followers in service.

Once, in Calcutta, Srila Prabhupada asked the devotees, “What is the duty of the spiritual master, and what is the duty of the disciple?” Different devotees gave different answers. Finally, Srila Prabhupada himself gave the answer: “The duty of the spiritual master is to serve Krishna, and the duty of the disciple is to assist him.” For example, the spiritual master installs the Deity. He is responsible for the worship. He is responsible for the cleanliness of the temple (sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana- srngara-tan-mandira-marjanadau).

sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-
  srngara-tan-mandira-marjanadau
yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato ’pi
  vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

“The spiritual master is always engaged in the temple worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He also engages his disciples in such worship. They dress the Deities in beautiful clothes and ornaments, clean Their temple, and perform other similar worship of the Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.” (Sri Gurvastakam, Verse 3)

In principle, the spiritual master is responsible for all the services, but the disciples assist him. So Srila Prabhupada said, “When the disciples are cleaning the floor, they should think, ‘Actually, this is my spiritual master’s service, and I am assisting him.’ ”

Lord Balarama, or Nityananda Prabhu, is the original spiritual master, and to understand the knowledge of Godhead, we have to receive it through the line of spiritual masters, because in our present status we have no capacity to approach Lord Balarama or Lord Nityananda directly. So we receive the knowledge through Their representatives, and we offer service to Them through Their representatives. That is the principle of disciplic succession (evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh). In the Bhagavad-gita (4.1–2) Krishna says that He originally spoke the science of yoga many millions of years ago and that it was handed down through disciplic succession. That is how to receive transcendental knowledge. And when we receive it, we absorb it through our ears and into our hearts, and then we repeat what we have heard. That is the principle of preaching, or teaching: sravanam kirtanam. First we hear, and then we repeat what we have heard. And because we are repeating perfect knowledge received from perfect authorities, what we say is perfect. We are not perfect, but what we say is perfect, because we are repeating knowledge that is perfect, which has been received through disciple succession from a perfect authority, and ultimately, from the supreme authority.

That is our duty. When we receive knowledge, we must repeat it. When one receives knowledge from a spiritual master, one incurs a debt to him. It is an immeasurable debt that cannot be repaid, but the method by which one makes the effort to repay it is to repeat what one has heard from the spiritual master—in other words, to share the knowledge that one has received from the disciplic succession. So that is what we are doing here tonight. In fact, we do it every morning and every evening, and as far as possible, we do it all day and night: we hear and we chant (sravanam kirtanam). That is our life.

One day, after preaching in downtown Bombay, I came back to Juhu and met Srila Prabhupada. In an enthusiastic mood, I exclaimed, “Srila Prabhupada, I like this preaching.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Not ‘I like this preaching.’—‘This preaching is my life.’” So that is our life: hearing and repeating (sravanam kirtanam).

We just read about Krishna and Balarama, “These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form.” One year, at the Ardha-kumbha-mela, a discussion arose between two of Prabhupada’s disciples. One of them said practically what the verse here says, that “Krishna and Balarama are the same. The only difference is that Krishna is blackish and Balarama is whitish.”

Now, when we talk about the form of the Lord, we are not referring to a material body like we have, made of flesh and blood and bones and stool and urine and other fluids. We are talking about sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. We are talking about the personification of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. We are talking about something completely beyond the three modes of material nature. So when we say that Krishna is black or Balarama is white, we are not referring to material skin, like we have.

Once, a black person, an African, was very enlivened to hear that Krishna was black, and he intimated to Srila Prabhupada how pleased he was. And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Yes, He is black, but not that black”—a different black. So we are talking about a spiritual existence. Krishna’s hue is compared to a lustrous, blue-black monsoon cloud.

Anyway, the one disciple was saying, “Krishna and Balarama are the same. The only difference is that Krishna is black and Balarama is white.” And the other was saying, “There is a difference, because Krishna is the only enjoyer of Radharani.” So they were arguing. And Tamal Krishna Prabhu, later Tamal Krishna Goswami, who was then Srila Prabhupada’s GBC secretary in India, referred the dispute to His Divine Grace. He said, “Srila Prabhupada, Madhudvisa is saying that there is no difference between Krishna and Balarama, that the only difference is that Krishna is black and Balarama is white.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “He is right.” Then Tamal Krishna said, “But Yamuna is saying that there is actually a difference, because Krishna is the only enjoyer of Radharani.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “She is right.” So Tamal Krishna said, “But Srila Prabhupada, they are saying different things. They both can’t be right.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “You are right.” So Tamal Krishna asked, “Well, which is right?” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “You decide.” So, I won’t comment. We will just hear and repeat and accept it as it is.

TEXT 6

sei krsna—navadvipe sri-caitanya-candra
sei balarama—sange sri-nityananda

TRANSLATION

That original Lord Krsna appeared in Navadvipa as Lord Caitanya, and Balarama appeared with Him as Lord Nityananda.

COMMENT

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 1.2) describes that They rose like the sun and the moon simultaneously over the horizon of Gauda-desa.

vande sri-krsna-caitanya-
  nityanandau sahoditau
gaudodaye puspavantau
  citrau san-dau tamo-nudau

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.”

The example of the sun rising over the horizon is significant because the sun always exists. It doesn’t take birth. It just appears before our vision at a certain time, which we call sunrise, and it disappears from our vision at a certain time, which we call sunset, but it always exists. In the same way, Krishna and Balarama always exist. They are eternal; They have no beginning and no end. Similarly, Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda have no beginning or end; They appear like the sun and the moon simultaneously, to bestow benediction upon us all.

TEXT 7

ankarsanah karana-toya-sayi
  garbhoda-sayi ca payobdhi-sayi
sesas ca yasyamsa-kalah sa nitya-
  nandakhya-ramah saranam mamastu

TRANSLATION

May Sri Nityananda Rama be the object of my constant remembrance. Sankarsana, Sesa Naga, and the Visnus who lie on the Karana Ocean, Garbha Ocean, and ocean of milk are His plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions.

PURPORT

Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami has recorded this verse in his diary to offer his respectful obeisances to Lord Nityananda Prabhu. This verse also appears as the seventh of the first fourteen verses of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.

COMMENT

Nitya-nandakhya-ramah saranam mamastu: May Sri Nityananda Rama be the object of my constant remembrance. That is our goal: to always remember Krishna and never forget Him. In our case, being as fallen as we are and as in need of mercy as we are, our constant remembrance should be Sri Nityananda Balarama. And actually, to remember Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu means to remember Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, because They are always thinking of Krishna and His associates in Vrindavan and They are always chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And our authorities, such as Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, have explained that all of krsna-lila, radha-krsna-lila, is contained in the sixteen words of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. They have even explained how the first “Hare Krishna” means something, then the next “Hare Krishna” means something else, then “Krishna Krishna,” “Hare Hare,”—how all the pastimes are there in the maha-mantra and how by chanting the maha-mantra purely, we can realize the entire spiritual world. That is a great gift.

That is the great gift of Nityananda Mahajana, that He has made the holy name available to everyone just for the price of one’s faith (sraddha-matra). That is all we have to pay—just have faith. Nityananda does not consider one’s birth, one’s caste, one’s wealth, one’s physical ability or beauty. He wants to see only one thing: that you have a drop of faith. If you have a drop of faith—if He sees just a drop of a tear in your eye from chanting the holy name of Gaura or hearing the pastimes of Gaura—He feels so ecstatic. He feels so indebted to you that He immediately wants to give you everything (sakala sambala): the holy name, the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam—in effect, the entire spiritual kingdom of God. He is ready to give you the highest bliss (parama-ananda) just for a little faith.

It begins with a little faith, and it is a little faith, because God is unlimited. As Prabhupada used to say, “God is infinite and we are infinitesimal.” So what are we compared to God? There is no comparison at all. And what can we offer to God? What do we have to offer? Just a little faith, a drop of faith. We have to aspire for that faith, cry for that faith. Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays to the Vaishnava, tumi krpa kori’, sraddha-bindu diya, deho’ krsna-nama-dhane: “Please give me just one drop of faith with which to obtain the great treasure of the holy name of Krishna.” He asks for just a drop of faith—just a particle—because from that, everything else follows. Just a drop of faith.

TEXT 8

sri-balarama gosani mula-sankarsana
panca-rupa dhari’ karena krsnera sevana

TRANSLATION

Lord Balarama is the original Sankarsana. He assumes five other forms to serve Lord Krsna.

TEXT 9

apane karena krsna-lilara sahaya
srsti-lila-karya kare dhari’ cari kaya

TRANSLATION

He Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krsna, and He does the work of creation in four other forms.

COMMENT

The author, Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, distinguishes the expansions that engage in the creation and maintenance of the cosmic manifestation from the forms that are engaged in pastimes in the spiritual world. This is another mystery of Krishna consciousness, of Vedic knowledge—that God has two existences. He is the same Godhead, but in one feature He enjoys pastimes in the spiritual world (Goloka Vrindavan) as Krishna, or Balarama, and in other, expanded forms, He creates the material universes and maintains them. But in His original form, na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate: He has no work to perform.

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
  na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
  svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca

“The Supreme Lord has no duty to perform, and no one is seen to be equal to or greater than Him. He has various potencies that act so perfectly in natural sequence that all knowledge, strength, and activity are enacted solely by His will.” (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8)

God has nothing to do. He has no work to perform. Everything is done by His agents. Even an ordinary rich man has secretaries and servants to do his work for him. Srila Prabhupada often gave the example of Mr. Birla in India. If Mr. Birla wanted to start a factory, he would just call his secretary and say, “I want to start such-and-such factory in such-and-such place.” And his agents would go to work. They would do everything for him.

So, Krishna and Balarama enjoy pastimes in the spiritual world, in Goloka Vrindavan. And even though Balarama is the Personality of Godhead Himself, He still takes pleasure in the service of Krishna. The author of Caitanya-caritamrta says that everyone, even the direct expansions of Krishna, the svamsas, takes pleasure in serving Krishna. Lord Balarama too takes pleasure in serving Krishna. As the older brother, He sometimes serves in a parental mood. Yet, as a brother, He serves in a friendly mood, with an aspect of equality. And He also likes to serve Krishna in a subordinate mood, with an aspect of servitude. Sometimes when Krishna becomes tired in the forest, He lies down to rest and Balarama massages His feet—and takes great pleasure in doing so. (In madhurya-rasa, although Balarama cannot serve in a male form, He expands as Ananga-manjari, the younger sister of Radharani.)

And Lord Nityananda serves Lord Chaitanya in the same three moods:

kabhu guru, kabhu sakha, kabhu bhrtya-lila
purve yena tina-bhave vraje kaila khela

“Sometimes He serves Lord Caitanya as His guru, sometimes as His friend, and sometimes as His servant, just as Lord Balarama played with Lord Krsna in these three different moods in Vraja.” (Cc Adi 5.135)

The incarnation Sesa Naga, mentioned above, also engages in personal service. With his body he serves as the throne of the Lord, and with his hoods he forms an umbrella over the Lord. And the expansions Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and Ksirodakasayi Visnu create and maintain the material cosmic manifestation. Lord Visnu also expands within the universe: antantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham— He is situated within the atoms and in the spaces between the atoms. He is everywhere (sarva-gatam)—all-pervading. Meanwhile, Krishna and Balarama, in Their original forms, are enjoying pastimes in Vrindavan.

Our acharyas have explained that just as there is a section in the spiritual sky where Krishna and Balarama enjoy Their pastimes with Their associates, there is another section where Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda eternally relish Their pastimes. It’s not that Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda appear on earth and manifest Their pastimes and that’s the end of it. They exist eternally in the spiritual world, just like Krishna and Balarama. And we, as devotees, when we become perfect in Krishna consciousness, can join Them. Just as we can join Krishna and Balarama—or Radha and Krishna—in the spiritual world and serve Them eternally, we can also join Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu and serve Them eternally.

Some souls, when they are liberated, can actually serve in both pastimes eternally— Krishna’s and Gaura’s. The liberated soul has such inconceivable power. When Krishna and Balarama appear as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, They descend with Their eternal associates. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for example, is assisted by the same devotees who play Krishna’s parents Nanda and Yasoda in krsna-lila; in gaura-lila they appear as Jagannatha Misra and Sacimata. In the same way, Lord Balarama’s associates descend and serve Nityananda Prabhu. And if we have such strong attachment to Gaura-Nitai, we too can serve Them in Their pastimes eternally.

Pure devotees have no selfish desires. They have no desire even for liberation. Their only desire is to serve the Lord. Still, sometimes the Lord will give liberation to a pure devotee—though never the impersonal liberation of merging into the brahmajyoti—as a facility for the devotee to serve the Lord. He may award the devotee sarupya (equal bodily features, to serve the Lord), salokya (facility to live on the same planet as the Lord), sarsti (possession of opulence like the Lord), and samipya (close association with the Lord). Such personal liberations may be offered by the Lord to the devotee as facilities for further devotional service, but the devotee neither desires nor asks for them. They come simply by the grace of the Lord.

Pure devotees have no desire for liberation, because they are already liberated, being situated in pure Krishna consciousness. And they are satisfied in any position of life—whether in heaven or hell or anywhere—as long as they can engage in devotional service. Lord Shiva thus glorifies the Vaishnavas:

narayana-parah sarve
  na kutascana bibhyati
svargapavarga-narakesv
  api tulyartha-darsinah

“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation, and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.” (SB 6.17.28)

For the Vaishnava, heaven and hell and liberation are all the same. He always remains equipoised, because he doesn’t live in heaven or hell or anywhere else. He lives in the service of the Lord. And that is our goal: to live in the service of the Lord. And that position can be realized by the mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Their associates.

We consider our acharyas, who follow in the line of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as Their associates and representatives, through disciplic succession. We receive knowledge of the two Lords through disciplic succession, and we serve Them through disciplic succession. By the mercy of the disciplic succession, They pull us out of the material world and place us at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari.

So, today is a most important day, a most auspicious day—the appearance day of Sri Nityananda Balarama—because by His mercy we can get everything. In one lecture Srila Prabhupada explained that our goal is to approach the service of Radha and Krishna. But to approach Radha and Krishna, we need the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. And to get the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, we need the mercy of Lord Nityananda. And to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda, we have to approach people like Jagai and Madhai. Now, Jagai and Madhai were the most sinful people in Navadvipa at the time of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. They were drunkards, meat-eaters, womanizers, and worse—they were criminals. Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, keeps track of the activities of the living entities, because he has to enforce their karma, so he has to keep track of all their pious and sinful activities. But again, he doesn’t do it directly. He has a scribe, a secretary, named Citragupta. It is described that Jagai and Madhai were so sinful that Yamaraja’s secretary, Yamaraja’s accountant, couldn’t keep track of all their sins. As soon as he made one entry in the book, they committed another sin. And it is described that he actually had a nervous breakdown. That is how sinful Jagai and Madhai were. But even they were delivered by the mercy of Lord Nityananda.

The whole story is related in Caitanya-bhagavata. Not only were Jagai and Madhai blasphemous of Lord Nityananda; they actually hurled an object at Him. When He approached them to request them to chant the holy name, they became so angry that one of them took a clay pot and threw it at Him and hit Him on the forehead. But even then Lord Nityananda persevered in His mission to deliver them.

There is so much love between Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu that when Lord Chaitanya heard about the incident He rushed to the spot, ready to severely chastise Jagai and Madhai, to kill them with His Sudarsana chakra—out of His love for Nityananda Prabhu. But Nityananda Prabhu said, “This is Kali-yuga.” Now, the Lord appears in different millennia—in different ages—which repeat in cycles like the four seasons. Krishna and Balarama had appeared in the previous age, Dvapara-yuga, and They had appeared in other forms in earlier ages, when people were more pious. So, Lord Nityananda said to Lord Chaitanya, “We are in Kali-yuga now. If You kill Jagai and Madhai, You will have to kill everyone.” Of course, not everyone is as sinful as Jagai and Madhai, but pretty much everyone is sinful: They take intoxicants. They eat meat and fish and eggs. They gamble. They engage in illicit sex. So Lord Nityananda said, “Everyone in Kali-yuga is sinful, so if You kill them because they are sinful, You will have to kill everyone. Then what will happen to Your mission? Your mission is not to kill them physically, as in previous ages.” In previous ages the Lord appeared in kshatriya families and killed the miscreants. Lord Rama killed Ravana and other demons physically. Lord Krishna killed Kamsa and other demons physically. But in Kali-yuga Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appears in a brahman family, and He doesn’t take up weapons like a kshatriya to kill the miscreants. Rather, He preaches and kills their demonic mentalities, elevating them to Krishna consciousness. And the special manifestation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy is Nityananda Prabhu. Through His mercy such fallen souls in Kali-yuga are delivered.

So, to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda we have to approach the sinful, fallen souls of Kali-yuga—the people on the street; the people on the beach; the people in the universities, in the office buildings, in the White House. Everyone is sinful, practically. We have to approach them all. We have to give them Lord Nityananda’s mercy, which means ultimately to give them the holy names—if they will accept. And Srila Prabhupada’s books are there to convince them to accept the mercy and to chant the holy names. By that service of approaching the fallen souls, we get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. By His mercy we get the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And by the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we can approach the service of Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari.

And all of this is possible by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Sri Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jaya!
Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari ki jaya!
Nitai-gaura-premanande hari-haribol!

[A Talk by Giriraj Swami on Nityananda-trayodasi, January 30, 2007, San Diego]

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The all-powerful Personality of Godhead in His boar incarnation
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By Bhakti Sundar Goswami

He saw there the all-powerful Personality of Godhead in His boar incarnation, bearing the earth upward on the ends of His tusks and robbing him of his splendor with His reddish eyes. The demon laughed: Oh, an amphibious beast! Read the rest of this entry »

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Duties [dharma] executed by men, regardless of occupation, are…
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Duties [dharma] executed by men, regardless of occupation, are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.8)
Srimad Bhagavatam class by H.H. Hanumat Presaka Swami at ISKCON Vrindavan, Feb 14, 2019.
Watch it here: https://goo.gl/nq1V8Q

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Why is aggressive nationalism rising across the world nowadays?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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1970 letters shed new light on how “Gita As It Is” Came to Be
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BBT press release

The BBT is releasing a trove of more than a dozen letters exchanged between Hayagriva Dasa and Jayadvaita Dasa about Bhagavad- gita As It Is while the book was in production.

The letters show that the translations especially, far from being Srila Prabhupada’s words lightly edited for grammar, spelling, and punctuation,were the outcome of a multifaceted editorial process. The letters give us some insight into what that process was. The letters, which are preserved at the Bhaktivedanta Archives, thus help document the history of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Hayagriva had done most of his editing for the book in 1967. But while going through Hayagriva’s manuscript, Jayadvaita saw that many of the translations differed greatly from what Srila Prabhupada had written, and so he raised questions about them.

Hayagriva at one point replied, “You understand that I was trying to ‘help’ Srila Prabhupada by correcting His errors in ’67 (He did, however, approve this), but now in the revised complete edition there is obviously need for correction of the ‘corrections.’ ” He added: “The nectar flowing from the Sukadeva lips of the Pure Devotee has been interrupted by the halitosis of grammatical pedagogism. Let us then rectify.”

So as not to overburden the reader, the letters are being published in installments. You can download the first installment here: http://bbtedit.com/history/Jaya-Haya-letters.

The first installment includes a letter from Jayadvaita raising questions about the verses of chapter 11, the latest chapter for which “annotated scans” have been published by the BBT. Together, the scans and the letter tell us much about the editorial history for the chapter. You can download the scans for chapter eleven here.

After seeing the letters, Brahma-muhurta Dasa, the BBT trustee for Northern Europe, wrote to Jayadvaita Swami, “I was not at all aware that you’d had so much and such detailed correspondence with Hayagriva Prabhu.” He added, “Quite amazing.”

The post 1970 letters shed new light on how “Gita As It Is” Came to Be appeared first on Jayadvaita Swami.

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The open Vyasa-puja book. Deadline: April 15
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Every disciple of Srila Prabhupada is welcome to write an offering. Whoever sends an offering gets a free copy of the book. Please spread the word.

The post The open Vyasa-puja book. Deadline: April 15 appeared first on Jayadvaita Swami.

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Sri Varaha-dvadasi
Giriraj Swami

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

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

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

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

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

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

May Lord Varaha bless us and uplift us.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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Gaura Purnima Festival 2019: The Festival of Loving Exchanges
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Gaura Purnima Festival 2019: The Festival of Loving Exchanges (4 min. video)
“The best time and place is Mayapur on Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day. That is not only the best for me but for everyone. Mayapur is meant for that. If possible all devotees from all our centers should go….” – Srila Prabhupada, Letter to Tamala Krishna, 20 July 1973
Srila Prabhupada especially desired that all ISKCON devotees from all over the world visit Sridhama Mayapur for the annual Sri Gaura Purnima festival. Since 1972, this annual ISKCON Mayapur Gaura Purnima festival has been taking place every year between the months of February and March. Devotees and visitors from all over the globe come to take part in the festivities and become spiritually enlivened, enthused and uplifted.
The mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has reached the far corners of the world, but it is especially available and tangible in His eternal home of Sridhama Mayapur. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come to the Mayapur Gaura Purnima Festival 2019!

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Prayers in Praise of Nitai
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Dasi: Gaurasundara gently said with a smile, “We are all very fortunate to have a great devotee like You among us. We consider that today our lives have become successful for we have seen Your flowing tears of prema.”

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Iskcon and Kumbha-mela (Album of photos)
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"We have not come for liberation. We have come to preach. Being in Krsna's unalloyed devotional service, we are all ready liberated. We have come to preach devotional service." Srila Prabhupada, Kumbha-mela 1971

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Is always speaking the truth practical?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Krishna Holi and Food Festival Attract 16,000 to Auckland Farm
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The Food Festival, a brand new event capitalizing on people’s love for Hare Krishna Food, came on Saturday February 9th. A beautiful blue summer’s day in New Zealand, it saw blue and white tents, a stage and colorful flags dotted around the farm. 

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Bhakti Yoga Is Growing in Longdenville, Trinidad
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Bhakti Yoga Is Growing in Longdenville, Trinidad
Bhaktimarga Swami: Sometimes you just have to stay inside. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to sweat early in the morning, dodging pot holes and puddles, what to speak of canines.
I was determined to stick it out mostly indoors with the AC on while doing some pacing in the sizeable-enough temple. Much chanting had to be done. An initiation for fifteen new candidates was to take place, and in preparation for this, the guru (me) chants on their newly acquired beads. I grouped these folks together and talked about commitment to vegetarianism and other regulations promised. Just minutes before the ceremony, I raised the question to them, giving them another opportunity: “Are you ready for this? You are in a position where you can change your mind.”

But no one responded. For months these candidates gave serious thought to the self-discipline coupled with the joy of singing mantras. Personally, I was impressed with their resolution. May they spiritually prosper. Their new names are Narayana, Visvakarma, Satva-guna, Hari Kirtan, Rasamrta, Sadhavi, Prsni, Tulasi Priya, Mahatma, Madhavi, Ranchor, Devamrta, Mantra Murti, Urvasi and Hansarupa. A seasoned bhakti-yogi, Lilaraj, accepted her second initiation.

The ceremony was actually a fire sacrifice. People are awed by fire. Always have been. Kirtan followed. Carnival is about to begin. It attracts thousands from around the world with its costumes, music and such. I consider our party superior.

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The Mayapur Goshala
→ ISKCON News

The ISKCON Mayapur Goshala is located in the south-east corner of the Mayapur campus, and is a beautiful 8-12 minute walk from the Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir and Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. The Mayapur Goshala is a very peaceful and serene place, allowing anyone who comes to have a wonderful experience of offering service and worship.

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Gaura Purnima Festival 2019 Mayapur
→ ISKCON News

“The best time and place is Mayapur on Lord Caitanya's Appearance Day. That is not only the best for me but for everyone. Mayapur is meant for that. If possible all devotees from all our centers should go….” – Srila Prabhupada, Letter to Tamala Krishna, 20 July 1973

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Mayapur Devotees Hold Special Kirtan for the Victims of the Jammu & Kashmir Terrorist Attack
→ ISKCON News

On 14 February 2019, a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-bound suicide bomber in Jammu and Kashmir, India. The attack resulted in the death of 49 people.

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Harinam Sankirtan for Martyrs at Mayapur
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The devotees of ISKCON Mayapur performed special Harinam Sankirtan today evening at the Bhajan Kutir of Srila Prabhupad, for the 44 soldiers who laid their lives in a gruesome terrorist attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, yesterday.

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The meaning of respect
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Materialistic society teaches us to be aggressive and calculating so we can push our way through. In Vaisnava culture it is opposite – we offer respect. The reason: when you give respect without expecting something in return, you open yourself up to the power of divine blessings

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A terrible fight won by Dharma (2 min. video)
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A terrible fight won by Dharma (2 min. video)
Radhadesh Cow Sanctuary: Dharma loves to play with his favorite toy, wheelbarrow...

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Harinama, book distribution, prasadam distribution in Auckland,…
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Harinama, book distribution, prasadam distribution in Auckland, New Zealand (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: The holy name ...

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The great personality of Bhismadeva (video)
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The great personality of Bhismadeva (video)
Srimad Bhagavatam class by H.H. Krishna Kshetra Swami in Iskcon Vrindavan, Feb 12,...

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Bhakti Vriksh training program at ISKCON Gaya
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Bhakti Vriksh training program at ISKCON Gaya.
ISKCON Gaya organised a training program on Bhakti Vriksh for 3 days from 11th February to 13th February. Hg Ashray Gauranga Prabhu (Director, Bhakti Vriksh, ISKCON Kolkatta) trained ISKCON Gaya devotees about how to start the program in a organised way in the local area, how to conduct classes etc. He also taught about qualities of a Bhakti Vriksh leader.

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ISKCON Croatia – Continuity of Communication Success
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By Govindananda das

Communication achievements within ISKCON Croatia - such us meeting the country presidents, government officials, city majors and other VIPs - significantly exceed the expectations which initially were put on such a small team of communication devotees we have around the Zagreb temple (Nova Jaladuta) in Croatia. The most recent communication activities were connected to the continuity of keeping good and mutually supporting relations with the Indian embassy after a new ambassador to Croatia was appointed. During last 3 years the relations evolved to such a degree that we have been present not only at all official events of the Embassy, but also had much of personal unofficial dealings. For the Zagreb Ratha Yatra which started for the first time 3 years ago, the Embassy turned to be our major and crucial support. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five most Potent forms of Devotional Service
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By Jaya Gaursundar Dasa

There are two forms of bhakti: cestā-rūpa and bhāva-rūpa bhakti, as distinguished by Rūpa Gosvāmī. Cestā-rūpa -bhakti is the external form of bhakti, the activity you perform with your body and senses. These are the 64 practices of devotional service described in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. The second kind of bhakti – bhāva-rūpa bhakti – is what is going on in your heart, the feelings. Bhakti remains incomplete without these two manifestations: the efforts of the senses and a devotional feeling which arises in the heart and mind. Cestā-rūpa, external activities, is the body of bhakti, but bhāva-rūpa, the devotional sentiments, is the heart of bhakti. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sankirtan fields bloom brightly in Ahmedabad this Vasanta Panchami
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By ISKCON Ahmedabad

The sankirtan fields bloomed brightly in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on Vasanta Panchami, the first day of spring! Why? More than 100 devotees from ISKCON Ahmedabad joined our temple’s 4th Monthly Sankirtan Festival. What did they do? Read on to find out. On Saturday, 9th February, HG Vaisesika Prabhu presented the philosophical significance as well as practical techniques of book distribution to the entire team at ISKCON Ahmedabad. Then, late morning on Sunday, Vasanta Panchami, the entire team got onto buses heading out to Bhadrakali – a busy shopping spot in the city for the practical session! Reaching the venue, all the attending devotees grouped up and took a photo together touching the pavement; their goal is just to show up for book distribution together. A small kirtan party stayed back in the centre of the marketplace, whipping up an energetic melody and inviting onlookers to dance to the Holy Names. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Love That Satisfies
Giriraj Swami

Today, February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, I was struck when Srila Prabhupada, at the conclusion of his class on Sri Isopanisad, spoke about love—the love that Krishna wants and the love that will satisfy us:

“Any religion, it doesn’t matter whether Hindu religion, Muslim religion, Christian religion—if you are developing love of God, then you are perfect in your religion. . . .

And what kind of love? Ahaituki: without any cause. ‘O Lord, I love You, God, because You supply me so many nice things. You are order-supplier.’ No, not that sort of love. Without any exchange. That is taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that ‘Whatever You do . . .’ Aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam. ‘Either You trample me under Your feet or You embrace me—what You like. You make me brokenhearted by not seeing You—that doesn’t matter. Still You are my worshipable Lord.’ That is love. . . . That sort of love Krishna wants. Therefore He was so much fond of the gopis. In the gopis’ love there was no question of business propaganda: ‘Give me this, then I love You.’ No. That is pure love. . . . If you want to love God, there is nothing throughout the whole world which can check you. Simply you have to develop your eagerness: ‘Krishna, I want You.’ That’s all. Then there is no question of checking. In any condition you’ll increase your love, increase your love. . . . If you can develop your love for God, or Krishna, without being checked, without any cause, then you will feel fully satisfied.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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How do we see the enormous expenditure on frivolous things that happens in today’s society?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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One Path, Many Paths
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One Path, Many Paths.
HG Caitanya Caran das: When we start exploring life’s spiritual side, we may hesitate to commit ourselves to any particular spiritual path: “Won’t that make me close-minded and incapable of appreciating other paths?”

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How to stay spiritually strong amidst material difficulties
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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