Analyzing Govardhan Lila (2)
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Analyzing Brahma’s bewilderment 2 – How Brahma rose from testing Krishna to tasting Krishna
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Analyzing Brahma’s bewilderment 1 – How and why Brahma tested Krishna
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Jhulan-yatra galleries from Los Angeles, Juhu Mumbai, Mayapur, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
→ Dandavats

Dive in the nectar of the swing festival of Lord Krishna and His devotees!

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Balaram Purnima Celebrations!

On the auspicious appearance day of Lord Balarama, we had celebrations both at Mayapur and Rajapur with Abhishek, arti , pushpanjali. In the morning, HH Jayapataka Swami gave Balaram Purnima lecture on pastimes of Balaram. Being the last day of Jhulan Yatra, Sri Radha-Madhava Swing festival took place both in morning in the temple and […]

The post Balaram Purnima Celebrations! appeared first on

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Balaram Punima festival @ ISKCON Salem, Tamilnadu, India
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We had wonderful celebration of Balaram Punima festival @ ISKCON Salem, Tamilnadu, India.

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Srila Prabhupada’s Departure for America
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Srila Prabhupada’s Departure for America.
According to the lunar calendar, today is the most auspicious 54th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s departure for the United States of America.

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Can we see the inner seat of consciousness beyond the raw sensation of awareness?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Lord Balarama Jayanti
→ Ramai Swami

“Sri Baladeva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is equal in supremacy to the Supreme Godhead, yet wherever Krsna appears, Sri Baladeva appears as Krsna’s brother, sometimes elder, sometimes younger” (SB 10.1.24p). 

“In His vaibhava-prakasa feature, Lord Krsna manifests Himself as Balarama. And the Balarama feature is as good as Krsna Himself, the only difference being that the bodily hue of Krsna is dark and that of Balarama is fair” (TLC chapter 7). 

“These two Lords, Krsna and Balarama, are each the seed and womb of the universe, the creator and His creative potency. They enter the hearts of living beings and control their conditioned awareness. They are the primeval Supreme” (SB 10.46.31v). 

“Sri Balarama is the servitor Godhead who serves Lord Krsna in all affairs of existence and knowledge. The transcendental abode exists by the energy of Lord Balarama. Krsna’s first expansion in a form for pastimes is Balarama. Balarama Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krsna and he does the work of creation in four other forms. In all forms Balarama tastes the transcendental bliss of serving Krsna” (cc adi 4.8-11v). 

I attended Lord Balarama Jayanti at Brisbane Temple and the special guest was my old friend and God-brother, HH Bhakti Vidya Purana Maharaja

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Monday, August 12th, 2019
→ The Walking Monk

Tottenham, Ontario

Medicine Comes From Great Sources

It was something I had never seen before.  One calf was peeing.  It was a bull calf.  A second calf came right to his underside and began drinking with great relish the pure liquid coming out.  Perhaps to calf Number Two it must have been like a smoothie.  Incidentally, a third calf was looking on.  All three were nestled together.

Vishal and Yasomati, a dynamic husband and wife team, had both been telling Gaura and I—their visitors to the farm—that the cows and bulls have a different way of urinating.  I believe they were saying that not just their breed of Indian girs but all bovine show this characteristic.  "When cows pee it comes out like a shower.  When bulls do it, it works like a tap or faucet.  It takes its time," said Vishal.

We found this extremely interesting and saw first-hand that the young bull was spontaneously demonstrating his approach.

In case we humans find the drinking of cows / bull urine to be weird, we might do a quick online look at the subject.  "Cow urine is a Divine medicine and is used for treatment of diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, heart attack, blockage in arteries, fits, cancer, AIDS, piles, prostate, arthritis, migraine, thyroid, ulcer, acidity, constipation and gynaecological problems.  It is also a bio enhancer.  Astounding!” (

For vegans, who will not touch cow's milk with a ten-foot pole, consider this Ayurvedic alternative, and  maybe cup your hands for the next bull or cow gush coming your way.

May the Source be with you!
1 km

Editor’s Note:
The information contained in this blog post comes from Ancient Indian Ayurvedic and modern Indian sources. We do not make any warranties about the accuracy of this information. Any action you may take upon the information on this website is strictly done at your own risk. We will not be liable for any health or other issues which may occur. 

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Sunday, August 11th, 2019
→ The Walking Monk

Hamilton, Ontario

I Awoke

I awoke to the sound of young coyotes howling in the morning.  To me it was a good sign that wildlife was comfortable in the suburbs of such a sprawling place as Mississauga.  David, Vivasvan, and Adisvar from Michigan, and I spent the night at the home of an outstanding couple, Dharma and Manasi.  From there we went to meet Fernando and Victor for an additional stretch on the Bruce Trail.  We anticipated a mere eight kilometres, which under normal circumstances, could take three hours on a usual and serious up and down trail.

We, however, were surprised to find flat terrain within the escarpment when we trailed through.  After a steep climb on metal stairs at Kimberly Lane, and then the usual rough stuff, the trail levelled off to be what we imagined was a former rail line.  It was a nice change.  With weather perfect at 20° C, many nature lovers were out.

At intervals, we found some nice stops overlooking Hamilton Harbour, the city below and even the Toronto skyline in the distance.  Our walking team was wrapped-up in conversation, with periods of absorption in the green around us, and with natural walls of limestone at our sides.  They were the breaks that we hoped for, whether we were from Detroit or Toronto.

Wildlife was limited within our view but signs of its presence provided the notion that we were not alone in the bush.  A skunk had done its usual territorial thing, leaving an aroma not far off from the scent of a fresh open bottle of mustard seed oil.

May the Source be with you!
8 km

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Saturday, August 10th, 2019
→ The Walking Monk

Toronto, Ontario

A Fun Fest

I introduced our guests, an extraordinary couple from Silicon Valley, California—Vaiseshika and Nirakula—as "The Unsinkables."  This dynamic duo are stalwarts of bhakti yoga, who come to visit Toronto every six months to enliven the community.  The emphasis of this four-day blessing was on chanting, billed as "Make Japa Great Again."

Vaiseshika had the interested recruits sit in a circle and, with chanting beads in hand, fuelled the group to a fresh approach.  Every so often he would cease the chanting and make a remark which would be instructive and in enthusing.

There was also an arrangement made, during the couple’s stay, for a sankirtan festival on the street.  This entailed greeting people, tourists and locals, and giving out literature on bhakti.  Lollipops were disbursed for youngsters, and the special place for me in all of this was the chanting party in front of the Old City Hall on Queen Street.  It's an impressive building used as a courthouse.  Anyway, justice be done.  It's amazing we have this spot.  I admit to this being a festival, a party.

Nicolas came for the first time.  An art student and model, he's finding devotional endeavours to be quite special, whether it be the singing on the street, reading, eating prasadam, hearing some philosophy and/or schmoozing with devotees.  He's young and eager to learn.

"Shall we walk it back to the ashram?"  I asked him, seeing an opportunity to get more acquainted.

“Sure!" he said, and so we made the journey home, on foot.  The way it should be.

May the Source be with you!
3.2 km

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Friday, August 9th, 2019
→ The Walking Monk

Toronto, Ontario

At Queen's Park

There was a major birthday party for Ashu at our temple, with kirtan entertainment in Govinda's.  Special guest musicians were Amal Krishna and Hari Bhakti who were belting it out with voice and harmonium.

Ashu asked me to say a few things using the microphone, and so I had the chance to see face-on who had attended.  "I can see that the people we have here are of the ’80s and ’90s crowd."  They agreed with me.  It seems that congregations go in waves not all at once, but transitionally.  Part of that reality holds true because since the millennial change, other branches of Krishna Consciousness have opened up in the greater Toronto area (GTA), making way for a new generation.

It was after Ashu's party that I had a chance to go for a promenade.  On my route was Queens Park, and it looked like this green space, with renovations underway, is facilitating tourists and students from the area.  I always thought this park behind the provincial government buildings was a little scruffy, but now I see a whole beautiful layout of interlocking brickwork to walk on.  New benches, the most comfortable I've ever experienced in a public venue, are so welcome.  They appear to be greater in number than before.  Of course, there is an anticipation of a growing population in the city.  Nothing is slowing down this place.

So there I sat for a while, perhaps one of the first persons to make use of a fresh new asana bench, enjoying evening breezes, and softly projecting the Maha Mantra from my mouth.

May the Source be with you!
3 km

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Thursday, August 8th, 2019
→ The Walking Monk

Toronto, Ontario

Fighting A Cold

Fighting a cold, I decided to sleep in through the morning program.  I just had to.  I didn’t want to disappoint the other members of the ashram with my absence, but sometimes it is necessary for recuperation.

Fred came in—as he often does—to Govinda's, our restaurant.  "It's my day off," he said, with relief.  He loves the food at Govinda's.  He also likes to chat about the latest.  He said it's an anniversary of Charles Manson.  "During the summer of Love (1967), people kept their doors wide open in the San Fran area, but after Manson, everything changed.  Doors were locked."

My conclusion, and his as well, is that this material world can be a dangerous place.

There were many interactions with people throughout the day, including sitting down with a young couple and jotting down their marital arrangements for September.  By 9:00 p.m., it was time to hit the street.  Who can bear the heat of a summer day?  I find it tough.  Night strolling is for me.

I made it to Bloor.  All was fine until the garbage truck came around to empty the bins along the street.  You know what it's like—the stench—especially on a hot, sultry day.  I would rather get sprayed by a skunk.

A homeless fellow, somewhat unkempt but with a certain sex appeal, accepted a woman's five-dollar bill, and as she was about to start off with her male friend, the beggar asked her, "Will you marry me?  He may be your boyfriend but that's beside the point."  The woman was all giggles.

Thus ended my day.

May the Source be with you!
6 km

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Baladeva, the Original Spiritual Master, Who Bestows Spiritual Strength
Giriraj Swami

“Because He is as powerful as Lord Krsna and can bestow spiritual power to the devotees, He is therefore known as Baladeva. In the Vedas also it is enjoined that no one can know the Supreme Lord without being favored by Baladeva. Bala means spiritual strength, not physical. Some less intelligent persons interpret bala as the strength of the body. But no one can have spiritual realization by physical strength. Physical strength ends with the end of the physical body, but spiritual strength follows the spirit soul to the next transmigration, and therefore the strength obtained by Baladeva is never wasted. The strength is eternal, and thus Baladeva is the original spiritual master of all devotees.” —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.11.16–17 purport

Jaya Baladeva!

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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Sun Love Feast – Aug 18th 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

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


 Annada Ekadasi
Fasting.....................on Mon Aug 26th,2019
Breakfast................  on Mon Aug 27th, 2019 b/w 6:36am – 11:05am

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.


Vedic Education & Learning For Grownups
Next Seminar will be announced shortly.

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 @

Adult Education At The Temple
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 @

Sunday School

To register,contact us

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- 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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H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami 75th Vyasa Puja TOVP Seva Opportunity

As early as 1969 Srila Prabhupada was already thinking of building a temple at Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birthplace in Sridhama Mayapur. At that time ISKCON did not even have any property in Mayapur, what to speak of building a temple. Yet, the instruction to a young grhastha disciple of his, Gopal Krishna das, was clear and explicit:

“When you go to India, as you have asked me for something to do, and also you have an inclination to construct a temple somewhere in India, I would request you to consider if you can construct a temple at the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

Srila Prabhupada July 11, 1969

Fifty years later, following the instruction of his Gurudeva, His Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami is one of the major forces behind the completion of the TOVP by 2022, and along with his disciples and temples in his charge they have contributed significantly to the project.

The TOVP would like to honor the service of Gopal Krishna Goswami on the most auspicious celebration of his 75th Vyasa Puja Anniversary with yet another opportunity to support the TOVP and help Maharaja build the temple for Srila Prabhupada. Announcing: the Gopal Krishna Goswami Brick Seva Opportunity. Disciples of Maharaja can sponsor a custom made brick inscribed with both his name and theirs to be placed under the Guru Parampara altar for all time. Additionally, as an exclusive bonus gift donors will receive a specially minted, limited edition 75th Anniversary coin. The sponsorship cost is $1600/₹100,000.

Only 1008 bricks and coins will be available for this ecstatic seva opportunity to serve Srila Prabhupada. Initiated and aspiring disciples can immediately make their donation using the TOVP website link below and either pay in full or in installments up to one year until August 2020. Maharaja will receive a list of all his disciples who donated for this campaign to recognize their service.

Don’t wait, these bricks and coins will go fast. Make your pledge today and take advantage of this 75th Vyasa Puja Anniversary seva offer while the bricks and coins last.


Ambarisa prabhu has personally selected 7 Kirtanam or Smaranam and 5 Atma Nivedanam Pillars of Devotion (to represent Maharaja’s 75th Vyasa Puja celebration) for devotees who would like to sponsor a pillar in Maharaja’s and their name. These names will be inscribed onto the pillars for all visitors to see for as long as the TOVP stands. For more information contact Braja Vilasa directly at:

Make Your Pledge Today!




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The post H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami 75th Vyasa Puja TOVP Seva Opportunity appeared first on Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

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Harinama in Budapest (3 min. video)
→ Dandavats

Harinama in Budapest (3 min. video)
Srila Prabhupada: Because you have given your life to Krishna, you are already perfect. Bu...

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Preaching at Mt. Rushmore
→ Dandavats

Preaching at Mt. Rushmore.
BIKERS, A BISHOP & A BOY APPRECIATE SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS. Danakeli Dasi: We secured another permit to do a book table at Mt. Rushmore & managed to distribute in twelve days over 1,900 books & 600 pamphlets. Many nice & interesting people received Srila Prabhupada’s mercy.

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Balaram Jayanti
→ Dandavats

Then, in Vraja, after five days, in the month of Bhādra (August-September), on the sixth day of the bright fortnight, when Mercury, five exalted planets, and the constellation Libra were on the horizon, at midday, as the demigods showered a beautiful rain of flowers and the clouds sprinkled drops of water, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, illuminating Nanda’s home with His splendor, was born from Vasudeva’s wife

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A Thousand Names of Lord Balarama.
→ Dandavats

A Thousand Names of Lord Balarama.
The Balarama Pranams >From Garga-samhita Canto 8: Chapter Thirteen. Duryodhana said: O great sage Pradvipaka, please tell me the thousand names of Lord Balarama, names kept secret from even the demigods.Sri Pradvipaka said: Well done! Well done! Well done! O king, your fame is spotless. Your question has been answered by Garga Muni in words rarely heard by even the demigods.

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A Sure Sign Of Success
→ Dandavats

By Indradyumna Swami

“I bow down to the beautiful lotus feet of my spiritual master, by whose causeless mercy I have obtained the supreme holy name, the divine mantra, the service of the son of Sacimata, the association of Srila Svarupa Damodara, Rupa Goswami and his older brother Sanatan Goswami, the supreme abode of Mathura, the blissful abode of Vrindavan, the divine Radha Kunda and Govardhan Hill and the desire within my heart for the loving service of Sri Radhika and Madhava in Vrindavan.” Read the rest of this entry »

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How does quantum entanglement happen – is it because of the Supersoul?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

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Balarama-purnima Talk, August 14, Carpinteria
Giriraj Swami

Giriraj Swami read and spoke from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 2, and from Sri Caitanya-bhagavata.

“The son of Rohini will also be celebrated as Sankarsana because of being sent from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini. He will be called Rama because of His ability to please all the inhabitants of Gokula, and He will be known as Balabhadra because of His extensive physical strength.”

Purport: “These are some of the reasons why Balarama is known as Sankarsana, Balarama or sometimes Rama. In the maha-mantra — Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare — people sometimes object when Rama is accepted as Balarama. But although devotees of Lord Rama may object, they should know that there is no difference between Balarama and Lord Rama. Here Srimad-Bhagavatam clearly states that Balarama is also known as Rama (rameti). Therefore, it is not artificial for us to speak of Lord Balarama as Lord Rama. Jayadeva Gosvami also speaks of three Ramas: Parasurama, Raghupati Rama and Balarama. All of them are Ramas.” — SB 2.10.13 verse and purport.

Balarama-purnima talk

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Balabhadra Stotra Kavaca
→ Dandavats

Nandini Radha dd: Please know that this kavaca of Lord Balarama is the best of armors. It destroys the fears of the demigods and demons. It is a blazing fire that burns up the fuel of a host of sins. It is the death of a host of obstacles. It is the abode of spiritual perfection.

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The supreme servant
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 August 2016, Zadar, Croatia, Balarama Jayanti Lecture)

Balarama is the elder brother of Krsna and also the direct expansion of Krsna. He is non-different from Krsna. In fact, the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, Balarama and Krsna, appear in two forms but in these two forms they have different moods.

Krsna is the supreme enjoyer; He is the one to whom all sacrifices are being offered to. Krsna is the controller of all the planetary systems and everything else, making him the supreme controller. In this way, Krsna is always the Supreme Lord.

Balarama on the other hand is the Lord, but in the mood of a servant. He is the supreme servant. He is always serving Krsna and it is said that Balarama experiences the greatest pleasure, even greater than Krsna. This is because there is no greater pleasure than the pleasure received in service.

The article " The supreme servant " was published on KKSBlog.

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Jhulan-yatra in Moscow, Russia (Album of photos)
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Jhulan-yatra in Moscow, Russia (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: Krishna is not poor. Krishna has not come here, He is very ...

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Ratha yatra Zagreb, Croatia, 2019 (Album of photos)
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Ratha yatra Zagreb, Croatia, 2019 (Album of photos)
Srila Prabhupada: If we simply place ourselves at the lotus feet of Krishn...

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ISKCON youth from this year’s European bus tour giving a hand at La Nouvelle Mayapur, our farm in France
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ISKCON youth from this year’s European bus tour giving a hand at La Nouvelle Mayapur, our farm in France (Album of photos)

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Paramahamster: Outsourced Japa

Our "Paramahamster" comic strip follows an enthusiastic devotee as he navigates a 9 - 5 work day in the corporate world. Please check back weekly for new episodes!

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Uniting Devotees: A Talk on Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the Personality of Godhead who is the first expansion of Lord Krishna, the original Personality of Godhead. As Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita (4.7):

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
  tadatmanam srjamy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.”

Krishna says, srjamy aham: “I manifest Myself.” He doesn’t take birth like an ordinary human being but manifests Himself in His original spiritual form. For what purpose?

paritranaya sadhunam
  vinasaya ca duskrtam
  sambhavami yuge yuge

“To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.” (Gita 4.8) He manifests Himself to protect the devotees, annihilate the demons, and reestablish the principles of religion.

In every sphere of activity in the material world there is deterioration; everything in the material world declines. A new house, for example, is very nice, but it gradually deteriorates, and eventually, when too old, it has to be rebuilt. In the same way, our performance of spiritual duties deteriorates, whether we are individuals, families, communities, or a society. And so the Lord comes repeatedly to reestablish religious practice. He appears in order to establish religious principles (dharma), but over time religious practice declines, and so He manifests Himself again and again. We all know how prone we are to allow our practice to deteriorate. Thus, on auspicious occasions like today, Lord Balarama’s appearance day, we can pray to the Lord to manifest Himself and help us to become reestablished in our religious principles and practice.

What Lord Krishna said in the two verses quoted from the Bhagavad-gita is explained elaborately in Srimad-Bhagavatam: When the earth was overburdened by demonic rulers, who had amassed large military forces armed with deadly weapons to wage war for personal gain, Lord Brahma, the chief of the demigods in this universe, approached the shore of the ocean of milk. There, accompanied by Lord Shiva and other celestial beings, he worshipped Lord Vishnu, the supreme God of all gods. In response, Lord Vishnu imparted instructions, which Lord Brahma in turn conveyed to the demigods. He told them that very soon the Lord would appear on earth to diminish the burden of the world and that the demigods, to assist Him, should take birth in the Yadu dynasty. Lord Brahma further stated that Lord Balarama, who is also known as Sankarsana, would precede the Lord and serve Him in every respect:

  sahasra-vadanah svarat
agrato bhavita devo
  hareh priya-cikirsaya

“The foremost manifestation of Krsna is Sankarsana, who is known as Ananta. He is the origin of all incarnations within this material world. Previous to the appearance of Lord Krsna, this original Sankarsana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krsna in His transcendental pastimes.” (SB 10.1.24)

Lord Brahma told them as well that Yogamaya, the personal potency of the Lord, would also appear and assist the Lord in His mission.

Immediately preceding the appearance of Krishna and Balarama, Vasudeva, a great devotee in the Yadu dynasty, wedded Devaki, another pure devotee. After their marriage, Vasudeva mounted his chariot with his bride to return home, and Devaki’s brother Kamsa, to please his sister, took the reins of the horses to drive the chariot. Along the way, Kamsa heard a voice from an invisible source, which told him, “You fool, the eighth child of the woman you are carrying will kill you!” Kamsa, a great demon, became enraged and was ready to kill his own sister on the day of her marriage. But Vasudeva intervened and appealed to him to desist. He said, “How could a qualified person like you kill a woman—your own sister—on the occasion of her marriage? In any case, one day you will die, and in your next life you will have to suffer the reactions to your present activities.” Still, Kamsa was so shameless and cruel that he persisted, and Vasudeva, to save his wife from imminent death, told him, “You have nothing to fear from Devaki. According to the omen, it is her son who will kill you. So I promise to deliver all her sons, who are the cause of your fear, into your hands.” Kamsa, having faith in Vasudeva’s word, was pacified. Still, he imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki. And year after year, as their children were born, Vasudeva dutifully delivered them to Kamsa, who mercilessly killed them.

Now we shall read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, Chapter Two: “Prayers by the Demigods.”


gaccha devi vrajam bhadre
  gopa-gobhir alankrtam
rohini vasudevasya
  bharyaste nanda-gokule
anyas ca kamsa-samvigna
  vivaresu vasanti hi


The Lord ordered Yogamaya: O My potency, who are worshipable for the entire world and whose nature is to bestow good fortune upon all living entities, go to Vraja, where there live many cowherd men and their wives. In that very beautiful land, where many cows reside, Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, is living at the home of Nanda Maharaja. Other wives of Vasudeva are also living there incognito because of fear of Kamsa. Please go there.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Nanda-gokula, the residence of King Nanda, was itself very beautiful, but when Yogamaya was ordered to go there and encourage the devotees with fearlessness, it became even more beautiful and safe. Because Yogamaya had the ability to create such an atmosphere, the Lord ordered her to go to Nanda-gokula.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

King Kamsa was such a demon that he was performing all sorts of atrocities, and Vasudeva was afraid for the safety of his wives. In Vedic culture, the kshatriyas were allowed to marry more than one wife. Now that idea seems a bit foreign or odd, but it had its purpose in Vedic civilization. The kshatriyas then were powerful; they could maintain many wives. But, as predicted in Srimad-Bhagavatam, as the present age of Kali progresses, or deteriorates, a husband will have to struggle just to maintain one wife, one family, and if he is somehow able to do so nicely, he is considered a great success in life.

Previously, people were more qualified. They were more opulent. The kshatriyas could have more than one wife, though Lord Ramachandra took eka-patni-vrata, a vow to accept only one wife—Sitadevi. Vasudeva had more than one wife, but he was responsible. He didn’t want any harm to befall any of them, and he arranged for their protection. Vasudeva and Devaki had relatives, who were also family friends, in Gokula—Nanda and Yasoda. And so Vasudeva placed one of his wives, Rohini, under the care of Nanda and Yasoda. And after Balarama had entered the womb of Devaki, Lord Krishna ordered Yogamaya to transfer Him from the womb of Devaki into the womb of Rohini.


devakya jathare garbham
  sesakhyam dhama mamakam
tat sannikrsya rohinya
  udare sannivesaya


Within the womb of Devaki is My partial plenary expansion known as Sankarsana or Sesa. Without difficulty, transfer Him into the womb of Rohini.


The first plenary expansion of Krsna is Baladeva, also known as Sesa. The Sesa incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead supports the entire universe, and the eternal mother of this incarnation is Mother Rohini. “Because I am going into the womb of Devaki,” the Lord told Yogamaya, “the Sesa incarnation has already gone there and made suitable arrangements so that I may live there. Now He should enter the womb of Rohini, His eternal mother.”

In this connection, one may ask how the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always situated transcendentally, could enter the womb of Devaki, which had previously been entered by the six asuras, the sad-garbhas. Does this mean that the sad-garbhasuras were equal to the transcendental body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The following answer is given by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.


As promised, Vasudeva delivered Devaki’s first six sons to Kamsa, who killed them one after the other. They were actually the six asuras who, because of events from their past life, had taken birth in Devaki’s womb to be killed by Kamsa. So, the question is, Krishna is going to enter the womb of Devaki—does that mean He is on the same level as these asuras who took birth from her womb and were killed by Kamsa? Visvanatha Cakravarti explains:

PURPORT (continued)

The entire creation, as well as its individual parts, is an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, even though the Lord enters the material world, He does not do so. This is explained by the Lord Himself in the Bhagavad-gita (9.4–5):

maya tatam idam sarva
 jagad avyakta-murtina
mat-sthani sarva-bhutani
  na caham tesv avasthitah

 na ca mat-sthani bhutani
  pasya me yogam aisvaram
bhuta-bhrn na ca bhuta-stho
  mamatma bhuta-bhavanah


The idea is that the Lord is everywhere within His creation but at the same time is not there. This appears to be contradictory. The contradiction is resolved, however, when we understand that the Lord in His original form as Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan is not in the material creation; He remains aloof, in His divine abode, enjoying sublime pastimes with His loving devotees. Still, by His expansion as the Supersoul, the Paramatma, He pervades His creation.

PURPORT (continued)

A pure devotee is always transcendentally situated because of executing nine different processes of bhakti-yoga. Thus situated in devotional service, a devotee, although in the material world, is not in the material world. Yet a devotee always fears, “Because I am associated with the material world, so many contaminations affect me.” Therefore he is always alert in fear, which gradually diminishes his material association.


As stated earlier, Yogamaya appeared in Gokula to create fearlessness—freedom from fear of the attacks of demons. Yet a pure devotee is always afraid of material contamination. Once, Srila Prabhupada gave a class at Bhaktivedanta Manor in which he told the audience, “The difference between you and me is that you can fall down but I cannot fall down.” After the class, Srila Prabhupada was praying in front of the Deities, and one disciple asked him, “What were you praying?” And Prabhupada replied, “I was praying that I may never fall down.” The disciple responded, “But in your talk you said that you can never fall down.” And Prabhupada replied, “Yes, because I am always praying never to fall down, therefore I can never fall down.” So, we should always be afraid of the material energy (maya), of being deluded by maya and being diverted from the true path of Krishna consciousness.

PURPORT (continued)

Symbolically, Mother Devaki’s constant fear of Kamsa was purifying her. A pure devotee should always fear material association, and in this way all the asuras of material association will be killed, as the sad-garbhasuras were killed by Kamsa.


Especially devotees in the grihastha ashrama may have to associate with the material energy, to earn money to maintain their families. Like it or not, they may have to associate with materialistic people. And there is always a danger that by their associating with materialistic people, their consciousness will be affected. So they should be afraid of material association. Of course, circumstantially we have to interact with such people, and we may do so as people normally interact in the workplace. But internally we should be conscious that if we associate with them too much, in the wrong way, it can affect us, and we can become weakened in our determination to progress in Krishna consciousness. We may start to compromise in different ways, which will weaken us even more.

PURPORT (concluded)

It is said that from the mind, Marici appears. In other words, Marici is an incarnation of the mind. Marici has six sons: Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, and Matsarya (lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness, and envy). The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in pure devotional service. This is confirmed in the Vedas: bhaktir evainam darsayati. Only bhakti can bring one in contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared from the womb of Devaki, and therefore Devaki symbolically represents bhakti, and Kamsa symbolically represents material fear. When a pure devotee always fears material association, his real position of bhakti is manifested, and he naturally becomes uninterested in material enjoyment. When the six sons of Marici are killed by such fear and one is freed from material contamination, within the womb of bhakti the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears. Thus the seventh pregnancy of Devaki signifies the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After the six sons Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, and Matsarya are killed, the Sesa incarnation creates a suitable situation for the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, when one awakens his natural Krsna consciousness, Lord Krsna appears. This is the explanation given by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.


There are different stages of advancement in devotional service, and when one is completely purified, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is revealed within the heart. That purified stage is called vasudeva, or suddha-sattva. It is the same name as that of Krishna’s father, Vasudeva, because Krishna first appeared in the purified mind of Vasudeva and then from the mind of Vasudeva He was transferred into the purified mind—and womb—of Devaki.

So, it is possible that the Lord will manifest Himself to a devotee who is sincere in the practice of devotional service. And before He manifests Himself fully, as He did for Vasudeva and Devaki, and for Nanda and Yasoda, He manifests Himself as the holy name (as we all experience when we try to chant offenselessly); as holy scripture—Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad-gita, or Sri Caitanya-caritamrta; as the holy dhama—Sri Vrindavan, Mayapur, or Puri; as the Deity; and in the hearts, and words, of His pure devotees.


athaham amsa-bhagena
  devakyah putratam subhe
prapsyami tvam yasodayam
  nanda-patnyam bhavisyasi


O all-auspicious Yogamaya, I shall then appear with My full six opulences as the son of Devaki, and you will appear as the daughter of Mother Yasoda, the queen of Maharaja Nanda.


This is the history. Balarama, or Sesa, first entered the womb of Devaki as her seventh son, but by the arrangement of Krishna, through the agency of Yogamaya, He was transferred to the womb of Rohini in Gokula. And thus it appeared that Devaki had a miscarriage. But it is Sesa’s service to arrange for Krishna’s comfort, and so He entered her womb first and created a favorable situation in which Lord Krishna could reside. We always see pictures of Lord Vishnu with Sesa, who acts as the Lord’s umbrella and throne. Sesa expands Himself in so many ways to facilitate the pleasure and comfort of the Lord.

After being transferred to the womb of Rohini, His eternal mother, Balarama took birth in Gokula. His stay within the womb of Devaki was just a temporary arrangement to create a favorable situation for Krishna. Then Krishna Himself entered the womb of Devaki through the mind of Vasudeva and took birth.

For the duration of Their infancy, childhood, and youth, Krishna and Balarama enjoyed together in Gokula, in Vraja. Then, when They were about the age of sixteen, They went to Mathura to participate in a wrestling match arranged by Kamsa. Ultimately Krishna killed Kamsa. Krishna and Balarama did not return to Vrindavan then. They had many pastimes in Mathura and Dvaraka.

Because Krishna and Balarama had not yet received a proper, formal education, Vasudeva and Devaki arranged for Them to study under a guru, Sandipani Muni, from whom They learned sixty-four different arts and sciences. And then They went on to rule Mathura and, finally, Dvaraka.

It is, one could say, a peculiar situation that Krishna was actually the son of Vasudeva and Devaki but was raised by Nanda and Yasoda and never really spent time with His original parents until many years later. And then He was separated from the parents who had raised Him, and He didn’t see them again for many, many years.

After Krishna and Balarama left Vrindavan, the Vraja-vasis were plunged into an ocean of separation. Their only business was crying for Krishna and Balarama. Of course, their crying was not like our material crying. Theirs was transcendental ecstasy. And in that separation, they were experiencing association. Still, they were separated, and many years later, when Krishna was living in royal opulence in Dvaraka, He went to Kurukshetra for a solar eclipse, to perform sacrifices and give in charity, as advised in shastra.

At Kurukshetra there was a great reunion, not only between Krishna and Balarama and Their friends from Vrindavan, but also between Vasudeva and Devaki and Nanda and Yasoda, and between Krishna’s various wives and Draupadi. Their meetings and interactions with each other are very instructive for us—how devotees relate to each other, how they think, and how they feel.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, Chapter Eighty-Two: “Krsna Meets the Inhabitants of Vrindavan.”

TEXTS 31–32

When Nanda Maharaja learned that the Yadus had arrived, led by Krsna, he immediately went to see them. The cowherds accompanied him, their various possessions loaded on their wagons.

Seeing Nanda, the Vrsnis were delighted and stood up like dead bodies coming back to life. Having felt much distress at not seeing him for so long, they held him in a tight embrace.


The Vrsnis from Dvaraka returned to life when they saw Nanda, and they embraced him affectionately.

TEXTS 33–38

Vasudeva embraced Nanda Maharaja with great joy. Beside himself with ecstatic love, Vasudeva remembered the troubles Kamsa had caused him, forcing him to leave his sons in Gokula for Their safety.

O hero of the Kurus, Krsna and Balarama embraced Their foster parents and bowed down to them, but Their throats were so choked up with tears of love that the two Lords could say nothing.

Raising their two sons onto their laps and holding Them in their arms, Nanda and saintly Mother Yasoda forgot their sorrows.

Then Rohini and Devaki both embraced the Queen of Vraja, remembering the faithful friendship she had shown them. Their throats choking with tears, they addressed her as follows.

[Rohini and Devaki said:] What woman could forget the unceasing friendship you and Nanda have shown us, dear Queen of Vraja? There is no way to repay you in this world, even with the wealth of Indra.

Before these two boys had ever seen Their real parents, you acted as Their parents and gave Them all affectionate care, training, nourishment, and protection. They were never afraid, good lady, because you protected Them just as eyelids protect the eyes. Indeed, saintly persons like you never discriminate between outsiders and their own kin.


As Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti explains, Krsna and Balarama had not seen Their parents for two reasons: because of Their exile in Vraja, and also because They are never actually born and therefore have no parents.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti also describes what Devaki thought before speaking this verse: “Alas, because for so long these two sons of mine had you, Yasoda, as Their guardian and mother, and because They were immersed in such a vast ocean of ecstatic loving dealings with you, now that you are once more before Them They are too distracted to even notice me. Also, you are behaving as if insane and blind with love for Them, showing millions of times more maternal affection than I possess. Thus you simply keep staring at us, your friends, without recognizing us. So let me bring you back to reality on the pretext of some affectionate words.”


There are many points here. First is how much Devaki appreciated Mother Yasoda for taking care of her son Krishna. Before He had even seen His real parents, Yasoda and Nanda had acted as His and Balarama’s parents and cared for Them, taught Them, nourished Them, and protected Them. And thus Devaki’s sons never had any fear. She praised Yasoda for being a saintly person who never discriminated between outsiders and her own kin. Of course, on another level Krishna is the Supersoul; He is the most intimate friend and the supreme lovable object for everyone. But in terms of the pastimes, Yasoda did not discriminate that Krishna was not her own son; she and Nanda raised Him as if He were their own.

Also, Devaki was completely free from envy. She saw that Krishna (with Balarama) was so overwhelmed with love that He forgot everything. He just rushed into the arms of Mother Yasoda. And Devaki not only admitted but actually appreciated that Yasoda had more love for Krishna than even she did.

These are some of the qualities that devotees develop in Krishna consciousness. They appreciate the service of others, and they are not envious. They are happy to acknowledge when others have more love for Krishna than they do, or render better service to Krishna than they do. And they are full of love. It is described here that when the Vrsnis saw Nanda and Yasoda—even though they had the association of Krishna in Dvaraka and were with Him in Kurukshetra—they felt as if their lives had come back to them. They had so much love and affection for them, and they were most grateful to them for their service to Krishna.

PURPORT (concluded)

Then, when Devaki failed to get any response from Yasoda even after addressing her, Rohini said, “My dear Devaki, it’s impossible just now to rouse her out of this ecstatic trance. We are crying in the wilderness, and her two sons are no less bound up in the ropes of affection for her than she is for Them.”


Yasoda had lost consciousness of everything other than her sons, Krishna and Balarama. And again, Yasoda did not discriminate, that “Krishna is my son, but Balarama is Rohini’s.” Nor did Rohini discriminate that “Balarama is my son, but Krishna is Yasoda’s.” Both mothers were mothers to both sons, and both sons saw both as Their mothers.

This type of love develops with Krishna consciousness, but it is also something that we are meant to cultivate. In Srila Prabhupada’s last days, in Vrindavan, His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami exclaimed, “Srila Prabhupada, your disciples love you so much.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Your love for me will be shown by how much you cooperate with each other.” Many authorities, both spiritual and mundane, have commented that love is not just a sentiment but is also a process. Srila Prabhupada said that if we really loved him—if we wanted to show our love for him—we would cooperate with each other for his pleasure, which ultimately means Krishna’s pleasure (yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado).

By cooperating for the service of Lord Balarama, the family of Vasudeva and Devaki and the family of Nanda and Yasoda were brought together. And that was one of Lord Balarama’s purposes, as foretold by Gargamuni:

  garga uvaca
ayam hi rohini-putro
  ramayan suhrdo gunaih
akhyasyate rama iti
  baladhikyad balam viduh
yadunam aprthag-bhavat
  sankarsanam usanty api

“Gargamuni said: This child, the son of Rohini, will give all happiness to His relatives and friends by His transcendental qualities. Therefore He will be known as Rama. And because He will manifest extraordinary bodily strength, He will also be known as Bala. Moreover, because He unites two families—Vasudeva’s family and the family of Nanda Maharaja—He will be known as Sankarsana.” (SB 10.8.12)

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada explains: “Baladeva was actually the son of Devaki, but He was transferred from Devaki’s womb to that of Rohini. This fact was not disclosed. According to a statement in the Hari-vamsa:

pratyuvaca tato ramah
  sarvams tan abhitah sthitan
yadavesv api sarvesu
  bhavanto mama vallabhah

Gargamuni did disclose to Nanda Maharaja that Balarama would be known as Sankarsana because of uniting two families—the yadu-vamsa and the vamsa of Nanda Maharaja—one of which was known as ksatriya and the other as vaisya. Both families had the same original forefather, the only difference being that Nanda Maharaja was born of a vaisya wife whereas Vasudeva was born of a ksatriya wife. Later, Nanda Maharaja married a vaisya wife, and Vasudeva married a ksatriya wife. So although the families of Nanda Maharaja and Vasudeva both came from the same father, they were divided as ksatriya and vaisya. Now Baladeva united them, and therefore He was known as Sankarsana.”

By Krishna consciousness, by cooperating to serve the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, different individuals, families, castes, and communities can all be united.

Even Balarama considers Himself to be a servant of Lord Krishna. Balarama is the first expansion of Krishna and is the original spiritual master, and He too has the sentiment that He is a servant of Krishna. In fact, every conscious being is imbued with the sentiment of being a servant of Krishna. Balarama, and all of Krishna’s expansions—Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, Ksirodakasayi Vishnu—all have the sentiment of being servants of Krishna.

ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya
yare yaiche nacaya, se taiche kare nrtya

“Lord Krsna alone is the supreme controller, and all others are His servants. They dance as He makes them do so.” (Cc Adi 5.142)

apanake bhrtya kari’ krsne prabhu jane
krsnera kalara kala apanake mane

“[Balarama] considers Himself a servant and knows Krsna to be His master. Thus He regards Himself as a fragment of His plenary portion.” (Cc Adi 5.137)

It was stated in the beginning that Balarama, or Sankarsana, would appear prior to Krishna in order to serve Krishna and please Him in every respect.

  sahasra-vadanah svarat
agrato bhavita devo
  hareh priya-cikirsaya

“The foremost manifestation of Krsna is Sankarsana, who is known as Ananta. He is the origin of all incarnations within this material world. Previous to the appearance of Lord Krsna, this original Sankarsana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krsna in His transcendental pastimes.” (SB 10.1.24)

And that is the duty of the spiritual master—to serve and please the Supreme Lord. Once, Srila Prabhupada asked some disciples, “What is the duty of the spiritual master?” And then he gave the answer: “The duty of the spiritual master is to serve Krishna. And the duty of the disciples is to assist the spiritual master.” Balarama is the original spiritual master because, as Krishna’s first expansion, He is the first servant of Krishna, and He is the first instructor about Krishna. The spiritual master is considered to be the representative of Lord Balarama, or Nityananda Prabhu.

Srila Prabhupada said, “Your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate.” In other words, love is not just a sentiment but is expressed through practical activity. Further, it is evoked by practical activity; loving sentiment is increased by devotional service. The word cooperate consists of co-, which means “together,” “jointly”; and operate, which means to “perform a function,” to “exert power or influence.” Cooperate means that together we perform some function. And we see the perfect example of cooperation in Vrindavan. Nanda and Yasoda and Rohini cooperated to raise Krishna and Balarama. In a broader sense, they cooperated with Vasudeva and Devaki to raise Them. And there was no envy.

Srila Prabhupada gave the example of the different parts of the body, which cooperate for the sake of the whole, to serve the stomach. If the different parts try to enjoy independent of the stomach, they won’t be able to. They will fail—and suffer. If there is a nice rasagulla and the hand thinks, “Why should I give all the food to the stomach? I will enjoy myself,” and then tries to enjoy directly, it won’t be able to. The food is meant to be given to the stomach, and when it goes to the stomach, all the different parts of the body benefit.

Srila Prabhupada elaborated on this analogy by saying that once, the different parts of the body went on strike, thinking, “We do all the work, and the stomach gets all the food. Why should we work for the sake of the stomach?” So they decided to go on strike. As a result, all the parts of the body suffered. They became weak. Then they had another meeting and decided, “We were better off when we were serving the stomach.” So they went back to serving the stomach.

Krishna is the focus of all devotional service. That is the meaning of bhakti—to serve and please Krishna. And the medium for that service is the spiritual master, who represents Lord Balarama, or Lord Nityananda. Srila Prabhupada said, “Your love for me will be shown by how you cooperate.” That means we work together, co-operate. We perform the same function, but together, for the pleasure of guru and Krishna. And in that service there is no envy; there is only appreciation and gratitude. Each devotee thinks, “You’ve helped me so much by doing this.” That consciousness develops naturally from bhakti, but at the same time we have to practice; we are in the stage of sadhana-bhakti, devotional service in practice. When we practice cooperation, serving the other devotees and appreciating their service, bhakti develops, and ultimately Krishna manifests Himself. Krishna and all of His associates are revealed to us in that state of pure devotion.

Hare Krishna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Bhakta Adam: What does it mean when you say that Krishna and Balarama took birth from the womb? What is the childbirth process of Krishna? Does He simply appear and His mother thinks that she has gone through childbirth? Because I remember that Mother Yasoda—it says in Krsna book—Mother Yasoda was so tired from the labor of childbirth that she fell asleep and could not remember whether she had given birth to a male or a female child.

Giriraj Swami: Krishna is always everywhere, so He is already in the womb. He is in the heart of every living entity, in every atom, in the space between the atoms. He is everywhere. So He is already in the womb in His Paramatma feature, which is not different from His original feature as Krishna. The Paramatma is an expansion of His original feature. And when the time came, the original Krishna entered the purified mind, or heart, of Vasudeva, and from there He was transferred to the purified heart of Devaki. He was transferred to her womb—took up residence in her womb—where Sankarsana had already made all the arrangements. Then, after a facsimile of labor and childbirth, Krishna emerged.

But there is a difference between Mathura and Vraja. In Mathura, Krishna appeared with four hands, holding the symbols of Vishnu, fully decorated with ornaments. And He explained His divine identity to His parents, who praised and worshipped Him with awe and reverence. And then He transformed Himself into the form of a natural human child—into His original form as Krishna.

In the loving service of Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha, the devotees are always aware of His supreme opulence as God. In Mathura, the mood is mixed. Vasudeva and Devaki had some awareness that Krishna was God—He manifested Himself in His four-armed form to show them that He was God—but they also had a mood of parental affection. Devaki’s motherly affection overtook her awareness of the Lord’s opulence, and she thought, “Oh, if Kamsa finds Krishna, he will kill Him.” So she requested the Lord to withdraw His four-handed form, to become invisible to Kamsa. Then Vasudeva carried the baby Krishna out of Kamsa’s prison, crossed the Yamuna, and came to Gokula, where Yasoda had given birth. She gave birth not only to a baby girl, Yogamaya, but also to a son, who was the original Krishna. But as you said, because she was so exhausted by the labor of childbirth, she was unable to understand what kind of child had been born to her—a boy or a girl or twins. Also, because of her pure affection for Krishna, she did not understand that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, when Vasudeva came with Krishna from Mathura, that Krishna was absorbed into the original Krishna who had been born to Yasoda. And in place of Krishna, Vasudeva took Yogamaya back to Mathura.

In Vrindavan, the pastimes are all humanlike, nara-lila. And the Bhagavatam says that Nanda Maharaja performed the birth (jata-karma) ceremony for Krishna. Srila Prabhupada explains, “The jata-karma ceremony can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut. . . . In this regard, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura desires to prove with evidence from many sastras that Krsna actually took birth as the son of Yasoda before the birth of Yogamaya, who is therefore described as the Lord’s younger sister. Even though there may be doubts about the cutting of the umbilical cord, and even though it is possible that this was not done, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, such events are regarded as factual.” (SB 10.5.1–2 purport) The manifestation of nara-lila is so perfect and complete that even to that detail Krishna appeared to have taken birth like an ordinary child. But He never was an ordinary child, and He never had a material body.

In relation to Krishna’s birth in Mathura, the Bhagavatam describes that when Vasudeva transferred the Supreme Lord to the heart of Devaki, she became beautiful, “just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.” Later, the Bhagavatam states that “the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon.”

The moon, or the sun, always exists. The sun comes above the horizon at a certain point, which we call sunrise, but the sun always exists. It just comes into our vision at a certain time. Similarly, Krishna always exists, but He appeared from the heart, or the womb, of Devaki like the moon appears on the eastern horizon. But Krishna is always there. He always exists.

Urvasi dasi: Maharaja, a devotee should always be aware and careful of maya and contact with the material world, but then again it is said that a devotee is fearless. How do you get to that point where you can count on Krishna’s mercy and be fearless? It is so dangerous in this material world, and maya is so strong. So, how can we actually feel that we have Krishna’s mercy, so we can be fearless?

Giriraj Swami: The only thing a devotee really fears is forgetfulness of Krishna —maya. If we are always conscious of Krishna and our relationship with Him, we will not be afraid of anything else, because we know that we are not this body, that we are part and parcel of Krishna, that our real relationship is with Him, and that we are under His personal care and protection. If Krishna wants us to stay longer in this body, we will, and if Krishna wants us to leave this body, we will. We are not afraid, because we know we are under Krishna’s shelter.

Once, during the war between India and Pakistan in 1971, a reporter asked Srila Prabhupada, “Suppose a hundred pure, saintly, Krishna conscious people are meditating or discussing together, and someone comes and drops a bomb . . .” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Those who are Krishna conscious are not afraid of a bomb. When they see a bomb coming, they think that Krishna desired the bomb to come. A Krishna conscious person is never afraid of anything. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syat. [SB 11.2.37] One who has the conception that something can exist outside of Krishna is afraid. But one who knows that everything is coming from Krishna has no reason to be afraid. The bomb is coming, and the devotee says, ‘Ah, Krishna is coming.’ That is the vision of the devotee. He thinks, ‘Krishna wants to kill me with a bomb. That’s all right. I will be killed.’ That is Krishna consciousness.”

Still, another time, in a different situation, someone asked Srila Prabhupada, “What if some evil person came to attack you, to kill you. Would you protect yourself?” And Prabhupada replied, “Yes. Why should I let some rascal harm Krishna’s devotee?” But that is different. That is not out of fear. That is in the mood of service, to protect Krishna’s devotee. Srila Prabhupada was not identifying with the body but was seeing himself as Krishna’s devotee who had service to do for Krishna, so he wanted to protect Krishna’s devotee from harm—for Krishna’s service. But personally, he was not afraid. The only thing a devotee fears is forgetting Krishna.

And a devotee is always satisfied; he does not want anything but devotional service. He is satisfied with devotional service but never complacent—“Now I have done enough service.” He always wants to do more and better service. But he is satisfied in the sense that he wants nothing but devotional service, and he always has service. No one can take devotional service from him, because it is ahaituky apratihata. It has no cause, and it has no impediment. It cannot be interrupted.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
  yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
  yayatma suprasidati

“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.” (SB 1.2.6)

A devotee is not afraid of anything material, because he has Krishna—but he is afraid of losing Krishna due to his own weakness. He always feels himself to be weak and dependent on the strength that comes from superior authorities such as Balarama. The Upanishads state, nayam atma bala-hinena labhyah. One cannot attain the platform of self-realization without spiritual strength, which comes from Balarama. Bala means “strength”—spiritual strength, which comes from Lord Balarama, Lord Nityananda, who is represented by the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada and the parampara. So, we feel dependent on superior authorities, but we are not afraid of anything material, because we know that the only thing that really matters to us is devotional service and that nothing material can take devotional service away from us. We have nothing to lose, because we can’t lose devotional service, and we have nothing to gain, because we don’t want anything but devotional service. So why should we be afraid? We have nothing to lose or to gain from anyone.

The Bhagavad-gita (6.20–23) says that upon achieving Krishna consciousness one thinks that there is no greater gain and even in the midst of the greatest calamity one is not shaken.

yatroparamate cittam
  niruddham yoga-sevaya
yatra caivatmanatmanam
  pasyann atmani tusyati

 sukham atyantikam yat tad
  buddhi-grahyam atindriyam
vetti yatra na caivayam
  sthitas calati tattvatah

 yam labdhva caparam labham
  manyate nadhikam tatah
yasmin sthito na duhkhena
  gurunapi vicalyate

 tam vidyad duhkha-samyoga-
   viyogam yoga-samjnitam

“In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact.”

The pure devotee is fixed in consciousness because he has what he wants—Krishna—and no matter what happens externally, no one can take Krishna from him. Queen Kunti prayed to Lord Krishna for calamities, because in the midst of all her difficulties Krishna was with her and her sons. In terms of lila, Krishna was with them in Hastinapura, but when the calamities were over and Maharaja Yudhisthira was installed on the throne, Krishna was ready to leave. So Kunti prayed, “When we were in difficulty, You were with us, but now that we are happily situated in our kingdom, You are leaving us.” She prayed, “Let the calamities come again and again. I would rather have all the calamities and have You with us than be situated in material opulence and comfort and lose You.” She concluded:

vipadah santu tah sasvat
  tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darsanam yat syad
  apunar bhava-darsanam

“I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.” (SB 1.8.25)

Sometimes being in material difficulty can serve as an impetus to Krishna consciousness. And a devotee may fear being in too comfortable a position lest he or she forget Krishna, lose his or her Krishna consciousness. That is the only fear.

Urvasi dasi: It is an interesting thing, because in my own life, when I examine it, I feel like I am in constant fear of being distracted from Krishna. It is always check and balance, check and balance. I am afraid of my mind going away and being distracted. And yet then when I think about it, I am really not afraid of anything in the material world, because I know that everything that comes into my life is Krishna. For some reason it is being brought into my life. So it is an interesting thing, being full of fear and having no fear.

Giriraj Swami: Indeed. There is a nice verse by King Rahugana of the Sindh province. He was puffed up because he was the king, and he had forced a great devotee, a paramahamsa who had hidden his exalted position, Jada Bharata, to carry his palanquin. And when he felt that Jada Bharata was not carrying it properly, he abused, reviled, him like anything. But Jada Bharata was unaffected. Jada Bharata didn’t want to step on any insects on the way, and because he was always trying to sidestep the ants, the king was jostled inside the palanquin. So he sarcastically criticized Jada Bharata, who was actually young and strong, by saying, “You seem to be very old and weak. You can’t carry the palanquin properly.” Yet however the king tried to insult him, Jada Bharata, being completely free from bodily identification, remained undisturbed.

Eventually Jada Bharata enlightened the king with transcendental knowledge. He told him, “I am not the body; I am the soul. I am not fat or thin or weak or strong or any of the things that you said about the body, because I am the soul and have nothing to do with the body. And so I remain peaceful.” After receiving sublime spiritual instructions from his carrier, the king realized that Jada Bharata was a great paramahamsa. He descended from his palanquin and fell at Jada Bharata’s feet, desiring to be freed from his offenses against the great saint. And King Rahugana said,

naham visanke sura-raja-vajran
  na tryaksa-sulan na yamasya dandat
  chanke bhrsam brahma-kulavamanat

“My dear sir, I am not at all afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing trident of Lord Siva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, nor am I afraid of fire, scorching sun, moon, wind, or the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brahmana. I am very much afraid of this.” (SB 5.10.17)

So, we are not afraid of any external, material force, but we are afraid of losing our Krishna consciousness. And the quickest way to lose it is to offend a devotee. It is that same idea. We are not afraid of any material danger, but we are afraid of maya—afraid of committing offenses, especially vaisnava-aparadha, that will take us away from Krishna, from loving service to Krishna and His devotees.

Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama ki jaya!
Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Lord Balarama’s appearance day, August 22, 2008, Ventura, California]

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Lord Balarama Appearance
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By Lakshman das

Lord Balarama was incarnations of Lord Krishna glorified in the Vedic Puranas and Itihasas. Krishna is the spiritually manifest Supreme Person, whose internal spiritual energy is the all-pervading Brahman. He is glorified as Narayana, Vasudeva, Mahavishnu, Hari, Vishnu, and many other names. Shiva and Brahma are said to be His qualitative expansions. He is the Supreme Lord, the Lord of all universes. Everything emanates from Him and dissolves back in Him. He is the cause of creation, maintenance, and dissolution of everything and every living entity. His chatur-vyuha (four-handed) expansions are Vasudeva, Sankarshana; Pradyumna; and Aniruddha. Read the rest of this entry »

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ISKCON-London Jhulan Yatra 2019 photos
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Please find below photos from Jhulan Yatra 2019 at the ISKCON-London Radha-Krishna Temple

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Analyzing Govardhan Lila 2 – How Indra is thwarted and reformed
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What is the hard problem of consciousness?
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Analyzing Govardhan Lila 1 – How Krishna is the best provoker
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How to not be disturbed by disturbances – Brahmachari class with QA
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Does bhakti make devotees just pray and not work?
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50,000 people were in Sri Mayapur on the first day of Jhulan Yatra 2019 (Album of photos)
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Jhulan Yatra 2019 in Mayapur (Album of photos)
Sri Sri Radha Madhava Jhulan Yatra Festival 2019

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The Second Wave (Album of photos)
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The Second Wave (Album of photos)
Indradyumna Swami: We’re back from Woodstock, holding our festivals in towns and villages along the Baltic Sea coast here in Poland. The weather is better, there are more tourists on the coast and our festivals are as popular as ever. We’re a bit tired, but that’s to be expected after a blistering pace the first half of the summer and Woodstock on top of that. But nothing can deter us as we share the wonders of Krsna conscious with everyone we meet!

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