Monday, October 18, 2021
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Toronto, Ontario

Points to Consider on Bangladesh Attacks

 

With the recent tragedy in Bangladesh, members of ISKCON are action-planning for events of peaceful protest. Here are some points:

1) Devotees and temple communities should offer special prayers to their Deities in the morning to please protect our devotees in Bangladesh.

2) Special events and kirtans are arranged and dedicated to the Bangladesh devotees’ well-being.

3) Some communities have already held, or are planning to hold protests and public harinama chanting sessions to draw attention to the plight of Bangladesh minorities. Signs and public comments must be carefully monitored.

4) Attacks are not representation of a general conflict between faithful Muslims and Hindus. Many Muslim leaders in Bangladesh have spoken out strongly in support of the Hindu minority. The root of these attacks are extremists.

5) Government officials and influencers are being contacted.

Additional note: this matter of attacks on Bangladesh’s indigenous people and its culture is highly offensive and will incur negative consequences overall. There should be no place for such aggression.

May the Source be with you!

3 km


 

 

Sunday, October 17, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Milton, Ontario

Pleasant Swami

We have a pleasant swami visiting us in the Toronto and surrounding area. His name is Bhakti Prabhava Swami and he’s from Europe, speaks Flemish, French, English, etc. He actually came physically and not virtually; our first significant guest since the inception of covid 19. Lined up for the sannyasi (monk) were a number of sanghas(gatherings) for speaking engagements, in homes and the temple. I had the pleasure to hear from him for two Bhagavatam classes, and it was enriching.

From the class on Sunday and its subsequent discussion, I extracted a few fun phrases that he expressed, one of them being, “the SUPERsoul SUPERvises.” And, one conclusion we came up with, “We are doers, but Krishna is THE doer.” Interesting!

While Bhakti Prabhava Swami was busy over the weekend, with delivering the message of Bhagavat philosophy, I also had my share of commitments. For instance, in the morning I led a japaworskshop, virtually, for some of our leaders of Bhakti yoga clubs at various universities across the country. When asked to do this, I felt a little reluctant, feeling somewhat unqualified to speak about a subject I’m not expert in. Apparently, whatever I did say was appreciated.

I also conducted another one of those classes on the topic, “Just Do It!” for our Milton group. It was their first coming-together in 19 months. It was precious.

May the Source be with you!


 

Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Niagara Falls, Ontario

Connecting

In dedication to those great souls who’ve suffered under the duress of violent attacks in Bangladesh, we held a kirtanat High Park at our usual location. A young man by the name of Partha was killed in the process of senseless aggressions.

Our chanting was not as well attended as in past spring and summer months. Rain and overcast conditions cause some unwelcomeness but the stalwarts turned up. And we made friends. Under the shelter of an old rustic 40’s or 50’s lodge we chanted with heart and volume. It drew some strolling pedestrians. Paul, a downtowner, came all smiles and joined in. “I come regularly to the park. A lot goes on but I’ve never seen guys drumming and singing.”

Another person, a Russian woman, chanced upon us and she indulged in listening. There were other eavesdropping folks that came to listen to the song and message.

Quickly, from High Park, Roman, Ajamila, and I rushed to the city of the famous falls, Niagara. A sudden call came from Sukavak, the son of our dear Vaishnava who started our Brampton branch and now more recently Niagara Falls. His cardio condition flared up so we did as duty and heart commands – stop in to visit him at the St. Catherine’s Hospital. He was weak in body, but not spirit.

Finally, we made it to the Shiv Mandir at Niagara and met a sweet congregation, eager to hear our take on what actually is meant by the term “Sanatana Dharma.” It was a pleasure to meet Bob Gala, candidate for Canada’s Member of Provincial Parliament. He stayed for the whole program. We hit it on well.

May the Source be with you! 


 

Friday, October 15, 2021
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243 Ave. Rd., Toronto

Good and Bad News

Madhavacharya was born in 1293, near Udupi, in South India. Today is his birthday. He was an influential teacher of his time and accepted as his teacher, the great Vyasadev. He became a monk in his teens and by practice as well as words, his teaching of Vasistadwaita took hold. Of all deities of God, “Vishnu reigned Supreme,” was his position, based on the Vedas. Furthermore, he taught that God Presence and Soul Presence are two different levels of reality.

I was happy to announce Madhavacharya’s appearance to our small group of attendees in the temple this morning. To the admirers of Madhavacharya, one of the outstanding teachers in our Brahma disciplic succession, we are so indebted to his strength of character and word. I was personally flying high in thought of his spiritual heroism.

By noon my joy was interrupted, however, when the news came out that a zealot Muslim group in Bangladesh attacked one of our temples, set to fire, injured some residents and left one dead. Hindu temples across the country were also harassed. It appears that anti-Hindu (and any other faith) is not tolerated in certain countries.

Where the Goddess Durga is honoured in Hindu communities it is considered idol worship and since it is Durga Puja time, the intolerant sentiment has grown. Some Hindus question what is it that goes on in Mecca when the Kaaba is honoured? Christian can also be unaccepting of idol worship yet statues or images of the Crucifix and Jesus are adored in their churches. Faith groups should analyze their values of peace and tolerance which are boasted about.

May the Source be with you!

2 km


 

 

Thursday, October 14, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Yorkville, Toronto

The Opulence of Remembering

 

After my evening walk I made my way to the ashram and Prabhupada’s quarters and there was Krishna Chandra “at your service.” Often he will give that needed massage from foot to knee. At such times I usually read to him. I opened Chapter 10 of the Gita which reveals the opulence of the Absolute, hence its title. Verses twenty through forty outline these special reflections of the Absolute.

For the sake of both of us remembering as many of the names or items as possible, I read once, then twice, and on the third read, I asked Krishna Chandra questions, more or less with a fill-in-the-blank approach. He answered them quite well.

A sample: “I am the __________ in the hearts of all living entities.”

 

Another example: “Of the senses I am the __________.”

 

See if you could answer this one: “Of bodies of water I am the __________.”

 

Again, try: “Of immovable things I am the __________.”

 

More: “Of weapons I am the __________.” “Of secrets I am __________.” “To those who seek victory I am __________.”

Anyways, I believe it is a good way of learning. We were both engaged in doing something – he, the massage, and me, receiving it while repeating the words of Sri Krishna. From this chapter we can perceive God more and feel or see His presence in the things around us.

May the Source be with you!

3 km




 

 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Yorkville, Toronto

Whistling is Okay?

 

When I made my way back to the temple/ashram last night on Hazleton, a young fellow in front of me was whistling away like crazy. It was a happy tone, like the ones you here guys do on an outside job in a joyful spirit. This whistler was truly in his own bubble and went at it for the duration of a block and a half while walking.

I was reminded of an incident in the Toronto temple back in the early 80’s, when a group of us were practicing some manner of whistling as part of a theatrical exercise. In the middle of our ordeal a Hindu couple burst into our room with the most alarmed look. They tried to stop us. “No! No! No! You can’t do this. This will attract the bhutas(ghosts).”

Okay, so we stopped making our noise and over the years I got to know that many cultures have this thing about whistling, especially in the night, as it attracts evil spirits. I suppose Hindus believe it. I learned some Slavic countries believe that whistling invites poverty. In the older British ways, perhaps derivatives from Celtic ways, ghosts would be aroused. Also in Turkey, there is a similar superstition.

On my walking through the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, I heard one man whistling to “When the saints go marching in…” while he was loading a vehicle. He seemed so upbeat and chipper. It didn’t look like he was fearful of evil coming. It was in the day time.

For myself, I never was a good whistler. I don’t have the wind perhaps. I can’t even blow the ceremonial conch properly. Woe is me! Anyways, I guess I won’t be guilty but I am lousy at whistling. I hope one day I’ll hear Krishna’s flute at some state, the ultimate source.

May the Source be with you!

3 km




 

Best of Both Worlds
→ Dandavats

By Madhumati Pushkarini Devi Dasi

Looking for greener pastures, many Indians left their homes and migrated to other countries. Even young men and women from traditional conservative families ventured out of their insulated nests with an aim to acquire more knowledge and skills yet with a firm belief that their roots will hold them tight and not give any scope for aberrations. They went with the idea of having the best of both worlds. The best of the material world with its promise of more wealth, fame and fortune; and the ‘other’ world that was already deeply embedded in themselves in the form of traditions, practices and faith in the divine. Apparently the balance was not so easy. Getting the best of both worlds mostly meant compromising on many aspects of this ‘other’ world since it was invisible to others. What practices we followed at home, what religious rituals we identified ourselves with, what food we ate at home and what prayers we chanted, everything was a private affair. What we did or what we did not, did not really matter outside. Continue reading "Best of Both Worlds
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Know what you can do this Kartik (12 min. video)
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By Vraj Vihari Das

The first time we observed Karttika was in the late fall of 1966. We would go to his apartment in the evening. It was exciting to light a birthday candle, let the wax drop onto the coffee table, and then stick the candle into the hot wax. "Swamiji, why are we doing this? "'To increase your devotion," he said. That explained it perfectly. Continue reading "Know what you can do this Kartik (12 min. video)
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PRABHUPADA IS HERE! The Grand Prabhupada Welcome Ceremony a Grand Success
- TOVP.org

On October 14 and 15, ISKCON worldwide celebrated the Grand Welcome Ceremony of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP). Through Mayapur TV, the two-day event was broadcast live on YouTube and multiple ISKCON related Facebook Pages, and viewed by hundreds of thousands of devotees, and attended by thousands of local Mayapur devotees.

This is a historic event for ISKCON, the earth and the entire universe, to witness the jagat guru Founder-Acharya of ISKCON and Senapati Bhakta of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu welcomed to his greatest preaching project to date, and the new home of his beloved Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Pancha Tattva and Sri Nrsimhadeva. It is also another milestone in the progress towards completing the TOVP, now scheduled for its Grand Opening in 2024.

Srila Prabhupada now resides in his quarters at the TOVP. The significance of this cannot be overlooked or overstated, as expressed by various speakers at the event. He will now personally oversee the remainder of the construction, as he did for the Bombay, Vrindavan, Hyderabad and Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir temples, and hold us all accountable for the completion of this unique and magnificent temple/planetarium which will be his personal offering to our acharyas and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

The first-of-its-kind Vaishnava Sampradaya Samelan organized by HG Gauranga das on ZOOM on October 14 was also a great success. It was appreciated by all the participants and hundreds of devotees who watched on ZOOM or on the live broadcast.

Additionally, we are happy to announce that we reached our $1 million Guru Dakshina goal to offer Srila Prabhupada. We thank all the abhisheka and general sponsors who made this possible.

If you missed the live event, below are links to watch on the Mayapur TV YouTube Channel.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 2 cont.

Here are some wonderful photos from this Grand Event. If you would like to see all photos please go to this Photo Gallery page.

[See image gallery at tovp.org]

 

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Murari Gupta Disappearance
→ Ramai Swami

murāri-gupto hanumān 
aṅgadaḥ śrī-purandaraḥ / 
yaḥ śrī-sugrīva-nāmāsīd 
govindānanda eva saḥ

Murari Gupta was Hanuman in Ramachandra’s lila; Purandara was Angada and Govindananda Sugriva. — Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā 91

The word gupta means “hidden”, so the name Murari Gupta indicates that Murari (Sri Chaitanya Deva) had secretly taken up permanent residence in his heart. — Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.10.31

Murari Gupta took birth in a family of Ayurvedic physicians in the district of Sylhet.

Murari Gupta is a physician for the material disease. He was amongst the many associates of Mahaprabhu who appeared in Sylhet. — Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.2.35

The names of his parents are unknown. He was somewhat older than Mahaprabhu. When his family moved from Sylhet to take up residence in Nabadwip, they lived in the same neighborhood as Sri Chaitanya, so Murari was Nimai’s companion in many of his childhood pastimes. It is also written in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that Murari observed Mahaprabhu’s childhood pastimes. His name is included in the Chaitanya Bhagavat’s list of associates who appeared prior to Mahaprabhu’s incarnation.

Murari Gupta analyzed the multiple incarnations of the Lord and came to the conclusion that in each one of the Lord’s appearances, before himself leaving, he arranged for his associates to leave also. Thus, Ramachandra destroyed Ravaṇa to save Sita, but then he abandoned her. Krishna arranged for the destruction of the Yadus. Thus, Mahaprabhu too would inevitably be disappearing at a certain moment.

He thought that it would be better for him to depart before that day arrived, for it would be too painful for him. For this reason, Murari purchased a sharp knife and kept it hidden in his home. The Lord knew of his intention and immediately came to his house and asked Murari to hand over the knife. Both the abovementioned lilas are found described in the Bhakti-ratnākara’s twelfth wave.

Murari Gupta disappeared on the same full-moon day as the autumn rāsa-līlā festival

Kartika the Month Full of All Auspiciousness!
→ Mayapur.com

🪔🪔 𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗮𝗽𝘂𝗿 𝗞𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗸 𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗮 🪔🪔 💫🌹𝟮𝟭𝘀𝘁 𝗢𝗰𝘁 -𝟭𝟵𝘁𝗵 𝗡𝗼𝘃 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭🌹💫 All glories to the most divine of all the twelve months, all glories to that beautiful little cowherd boy who has specially given us fallen souls the opportunity to render such insignificant service to His Divine form as Damodar! “It is said Just as there […]

The post Kartika the Month Full of All Auspiciousness! appeared first on Mayapur.com.

SRI MURARI GUPTA – A Very Intimate Associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
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Hare KrishnaBy Chandan Yatra Das

Sri Murari Gupta was a very intimate associate whose pastimes with Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were steeped in the loving bond of their eternal relationship. As an incarnation of Hanuman, Murari Gupta is as dear to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as Hanuman is to Lord Ramacandra. Continue reading "SRI MURARI GUPTA – A Very Intimate Associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
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Message of the GBC Executive Committee about Bangladesh
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By the GBC EC

We offer heartfelt prayers that Lord Nrsimhadeva, the protector of the devotees, may offer his divine protection to the Vaisnava community in Bangladesh, and particularly offer his mercy to the two devotees who were brutally murdered in these attacks, Pranta Chandra das and Jatan Chandra Saha. We also pray for the Lord's loving grace upon Nimai Chandra Das, who remains hospitalized in critical condition Continue reading "Message of the GBC Executive Committee about Bangladesh
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Kartik and Sarat-purnima: Special Mercy and the Dance of Divine Love
Giriraj Swami

We welcome you to this most auspicious place, the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Radhanath, on the most auspicious occasion of the beginning of Kartik, in the most auspicious association of Lord Krishna’s devotees. Kartik is also known as the month of Damodara (dama means “ropes,” and udara means “abdomen”), or Krishna who allowed Himself to be bound about the waist by the ropes of His devotee’s love.

Srila Rupa Gosvami compiled the law book of Krishna consciousness, the science of devotion, as the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, translated by Srila Prabhupada in a summary study as The Nectar of Devotion. There the observance of Kartik is mentioned as one of the sixty-four items of devotional service. Rupa Gosvami quotes from the Padma Purana that just as Lord Damodara is favorably inclined toward His devotees, so the month of Kartik, which is also dear to Him, bestows great favor upon His devotees, even for a little service or a little practice. It is even said that the benefit gained for service performed in the last five days of Kartik is equal to that gained from service performed for the entire month. In other words, for a very small performance of devotional service in the month of Damodara, one gets a very big result—especially in Vrindavan. Also, Srila Prabhupada has explained that wherever the Deities of Radha and Krishna are installed, that is also Vrindavan. So even here our devotional service will be magnified “one thousand times.”

Srila Prabhupada gave the example of a store holding a sale, when a customer can get a valuable item by paying a small amount. So, the month of Kartik is like a sale, a transcendental sale. By a little investment in terms of spiritual practice and service, you can get a great benefit. Of course, the management of the store hopes that you will come to appreciate its goods and patronize the store even after the sale is over. And we too hope that you will continue with your spiritual practices, or increased practices, even after the month of Kartik.

There is a special potency to the month itself. Just as certain times of the day, such as the brahma-muhurta, which begins one hour and thirty-two minutes before sunrise and continues until the sun rises, are more auspicious for spiritual progress and enhance the value of one’s practices, so too, within the year, the month of Kartik is most auspicious. Devotees try to take advantage of the facility offered by Kartik by on the one side increasing their spiritual practices and doing extra service—they chant more rounds, read more scripture, recite more prayers, distribute more books, and make special offerings—and on the other side decreasing their material involvement, their sense gratification. As it is, we are in the four-month period of Chaturmasya, so every month we forgo a certain type of food, but in Kartik devotees may do extra austerities. They may eat only once a day, or give up sweet or fried foods, or rise earlier than usual, or whatever—work on some area of their spiritual life that they want to improve—and they get special mercy in the month of Kartik to fulfill their vows and improve their spiritual practices.

Today also is sarat-purnima, the full-moon night of the sarat season, the night on which Krishna played upon His transcendental flute at Vamsivata by the Yamuna River in Vrindavan and called the gopis to dance with Him. Now, we may take it that He played on His flute and in a figurative way called the gopis to dance with Him, but actually Krishna’s flute is one of His messengers, and so the gopis not only heard the beautiful, melodious sound of the flute, but they actually received the message that Krishna wanted to meet them. And because their only desire was to please Krishna, to fulfill His desires and make Him happy, they all went to Him—not with the aim of fulfilling any selfish desire of their own, but with the sole aim of fulfilling Krishna’s transcendental desire to dance with them.

Because the rasa dance superficially resembles the dancing of men and women in the material world, it can easily be misunderstood, and there are critics of Lord Krishna and Srimad-Bhagavatam and Krishna consciousness itself that find fault with the rasa-lila. I know religious groups outside of the Vedic tradition that criticize and challenge: “Oh, Krishna is a womanizer. How can you worship a god that enjoys with women?” They do not understand the pure love exchanged by Krishna and the gopis. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains the difference between love, or prema, and lust, or kama. In lust, the person wants to gratify his or her own senses, whereas in pure love, the devotee wishes to satisfy Krishna’s transcendental senses. The two may resemble each other, but actually they are completely different.

kama, prema,—donhakara vibhinna laksana
lauha ara hema yaiche svarupe vilaksana

atmendriya-priti-vancha—tare bali ‘kama’
krsnendriya-priti-iccha dhare ‘prema’ nama

“Lust and love have different characteristics, just as iron and gold have different natures. The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kama, but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krsna is prema.” (Cc Adi 4. 164–165) Iron and gold are both metals, but there is a great difference between them, between their values. The pure love of the devotees for Krishna is like gold, and the lust of people in the material world who want to gratify their senses is like iron.

Another point of contention related to the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam is that the name of Radha is not mentioned. Some people challenge, “You are worshipping Radha and Krishna, Radha-Radhanath, but on what authority? We don’t find the name of Radha in the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam.” But in the five chapters that describe the rasa-lila, we find that after Krishna called the gopis and began to reciprocate with them, He disappeared. The gopis then plunged into feelings of separation from Krishna, and they began to search all over the Vrindavan forest for Him. In time they found two pairs of footprints: Krishna’s and a gopi’s. Then the other gopis, in their separation, exclaimed:

anayaradhito nunam
  bhagavan harir isvarah
yan no vihaya govindah
  prito yam anayad rahah

“Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead. Therefore Govinda was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place.” (SB 10.30.28) “Because She worshiped Lord Hari better than all of us, She has gotten to be with Krishna now.” The word aradhito, which means “worshipped” or “perfectly worshipped,” refers to Radha, as confirmed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and other acharyas. They explain that Her name does appear in the Vedas, Upanishads, and other Puranas, and that in this verse, although Her name is not mentioned explicitly, the superexcellent glories of Sri Radha are nonetheless proclaimed.

Ultimately Krishna also left Srimati Radharani, and when the other gopis came upon Her, they found Her in such a state of intense lamentation in separation that they felt, “Actually, She loves Krishna more.” There is a technical discussion of what actually took place in the rasa-lila, why Krishna left with Radharani and why eventually He left Her too. But His ultimate purpose was to reunite all the gopis, and when the other gopis saw Srimati Radharani in such a state of ecstasy in separation, they felt sympathetic toward Her. They did not feel any envy at all.

Thereafter, they all searched for Krishna together. But they could not find Him anywhere. Finally they decided, “We cannot find Krishna unless He wishes to be found. We cannot force Him to come before us.” So, they considered, “How can we attract Krishna’s attention? How can we move Krishna to come back to us?” And they concluded that the best method was sankirtana, chanting the glories of Krishna together, along with crying.

They returned to the banks of the Yamuna where they had originally met Krishna, and they began to sing His glories—very beautiful songs in separation, known as the Gopi-gita. And when Krishna heard the loving prayers of the gopis, sankirtana, His heart was moved and He could no longer stay away from them. He came to them, reappeared before them in His most attractive feature:

tasam avirabhuc chaurih
  smayamana-mukhambujah
pitambara-dharah sragvi
  saksan manmatha-manmathah

“Then Lord Krsna, a smile on His lotus face, appeared before the gopis. Wearing a garland and a yellow garment, He directly appeared as one who can bewilder the mind of Cupid, who himself bewilders the minds of ordinary people.” (SB 10.32.2)

Then followed an interesting dialogue between Krishna and the gopis. The gopis felt some transcendental anger, because Krishna had abandoned them. After all, He had called them to Him, they had risked everything to go to Him in the dead of night, and then He had left them. So they wanted Him to explain why.

In a most tactful and intelligent way, they began, “There are three kinds of lovers.” They presented three categories of lovers, three different ways that lovers deal with others, and asked Krishna to explain them. Indirectly, they were asking Krishna, “In which category do you fit?”

In one category are people who reciprocate exactly with the other party. In other words, “If you are kind to me, I will be kind to you; if you ignore me, I will ignore you.” Krishna said, “They are like merchants. They give only with the expectation of return, and they give only as much as they expect in return. Actually, they are selfish.”

In the next category are those who love the other even though the other does not love them. For example, at least in principle, parents love their children no matter what the children do. The children may not even appreciate the parents’ service, but the parents go on loving and serving them. And even better than parents are devotees, because although parents serve their own children, devotees love and serve everyone. Whether others appreciate them or not, they try to help everyone. Krishna said, “Those who love others even if others don’t love them in return are following the true path of dharma and are the true friends of humanity.”

In the third category are those who don’t reciprocate even when others love them. The first category is “I reciprocate only if you love me.” The second category is “Even if you don’t love me, I love you.” And the third category is “Even if you love me, I don’t reciprocate.” So, the gopis wanted Krishna to admit that He was in the third category. They did not want to say it themselves, but they wanted to hear it from Krishna’s own mouth. They wanted to trap Him with their subtle network of wise and clever words.

Now, within the third category there are four divisions. There is the atmarama: he is completely self-satisfied. Even if you love him, he won’t reciprocate, because he is self-satisfied; he is situated in transcendental bliss. Then there is the apta-kama: he has desires, but they are already satisfied, so he doesn’t need you. Even if you love him, he won’t reciprocate. Then there is the third division, akrta-jna: he is ungrateful. And then there is the last division, guru-druhah. In the first three, “You love me, but I don’t reciprocate; I remain indifferent,” but in this last category, guru-druhah, “You love me, and I am not just indifferent to you; I am inimical.” Actually, the gopis wanted Krishna to admit that He had been ungrateful.

Ultimately Krishna had to respond to the gopis’ question, and His answer was, “I did not neglect you, nor was I indifferent to you. I was always thinking of you. But in order to increase your love for Me, I hid Myself from you.” Krishna gave the example of a poor man who gains wealth and then loses it. He will be so anxious that he can think of nothing except his lost treasure: “What happened to my money? How can I get it back?” Krishna said, “So I was reciprocating with you, because your desire was to increase your love for Me, and by hiding Myself from you I created a situation by which your attachment for Me would increase. So I was reciprocating with you.” Although Krishna’s argument sounded good, it did, however, contain one defect: the gopis’ love was already unlimited, and even so, by its very nature it was always increasing. So that could not have been the real reason.

Again, there is an intricate and elaborate discussion by the acharyas about the dialogue between Krishna and the gopis, but at the very end Krishna admits defeat. He says,

na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujam
  sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjara-geha-srnkhalah
  samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna

“Actually, I am unable to repay My debt for your service to Me even with the prolonged life of Brahma, because you have given up everything for Me. You have given up family ties, which are so difficult to break. You have given up the dictates of the world, of the Vedas, and of your relatives. You have forsaken everything for My sake—which I could not do for you. You have given up all other relationships for Me, but I could not do that for you. I still have My father and mother and friends. You came running out of your houses in the middle of the night, but I sneak out and return in the morning so that no one catches Me. But you, with complete abandon, have come to meet Me without any consideration of the consequences. And I have so many devotees with whom I reciprocate: devotees in madhurya-rasa, in vatsalya-rasa, in sakhya-rasa, in dasya-rasa, and in santa-rasa. I also reciprocate with the sadhakas in the material world who are struggling and trying to become devotees. I reciprocate with everyone who approaches Me. But you love only Me. So I cannot equal your love. I admit it: I can never repay My debt to you.” He concluded, “I am defeated by your love.”

The gopis were so touched by Krishna’s words that they thought, “Now He has defeated us! We could not admit to Him that He defeated us, but He has admitted to us that we defeated Him. So He has defeated us.” Of course, this is all on the platform of transcendental love. And it is said that later, when Krishna left Vrindavan to go to Mathura and Dvaraka and the gopis were left in separation from Him, they would think of His words to them—na paraye ’ham—and that would give them solace to bear the separation. Here we come to another subtle and intricate discussion, because even in separation from Krishna they experienced His presence.

After hearing Krishna’s reply, the gopis were appeased, and so He began the pastime of the rasa dance. All of the gopis were dancing in a circle, and Krishna expanded Himself to be next to each one. Each gopi felt, “Krishna is with me alone,” and each was completely satisfied by Him.

One of our devotees has envisioned the image of the rasa dance as a symbol for interfaith harmony. It is a symbol that is most appropriate, especially for a diverse country such as South Africa.

The idea is that there were so many gopis, and each was individual, but that Krishna was by the side of each one, reciprocating with each perfectly. He accepted all of them, and all of them accepted each other, and there was complete harmony—not only between Krishna and the gopis, but also among the gopis themselves—in this dance of divine love. Different worshippers serve God in different ways. They have different practices and rituals, and different scriptures and languages. But God reciprocates with all of them. And if they can come into harmony, not only with God but also with each other, in the dance of divine love, there can be complete harmony in the world.

So, today is a most sacred occasion: the beginning of kartik-vrata, and sarat-purnima, the night Krishna enjoyed His rasa-lila with the gopis—after removing Himself from their presence in order to demonstrate to the world, in their separation from Him, their supreme love.

Thank you very much.

Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on sarat-purnima, October 17, 2005, Sri Sri Radha-Radhanath Temple, Durban, South Africa]

ISKCON Scarborough – Temple open for 4 Sundays starting 24th Oct 2021 – 3 pm tp 5 pm
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Hare Krishna!

Please accept our humble obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!


The Auspicious month of Kartika begins on 21st Oct (Thus) and ends on Nov 18th (Thus) 2021.

ISKCON Scarborough will be open during the 4 Sunday's in the month of Kartika - On Sunday - 24th Oct, 31st Oct, 7th Nov and 14th Nov from 3 pm to 5 pm

​To ensure the safety of all devotees during these COVID times, we request you to bring your proof of vaccination (2 doses) or proof of negative COVID test taken within 48 hurs of you visiting the temple. Either the hard copy or soft copy records are accpetable and it will be checked before one enters the temple.

Each devotee will be able to have darshan of the Deities and be able to offer a ghee lamp to Lord Damodar during the maximum of 10 minute stay within the temple.

There is no need to pre-register to visit the temple. Devotees will be able to enter and exit the temple through the front door.

We warmly welcome you to visit the temple during the glorious month of Kartika and get immesurable spiritual blessing by offering the ghee lamp to Lord Damodar.

Prasadam in take out containers will be handed out to the devotees.




Hari Bhakti Vilasa 16.99

atha tatra dipa-dana-mahatmyam

skande tatraiva

kalpa-koti-sahasrani

patakani bahuny api

nimesardhena dipasya

vilayam yanti karttike


The Glories of Offering a Lamp During Kärttika

In the Skanda Purana it is said:

"When one offers a lamp during the month of Karttika, his sins in many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eyeblink."



ISKCON Scarborough

3500 McNicoll Avenue, Unit #3,

Scarborough, Ontario,

Canada, M1V4C7

Website: www.iskconscarborough.org

Email:

iskconscarborough@hotmail.com

scarboroughiskcon@gmail.com


Mercy multiplies
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(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 8 October 2021 New York City, United States of America, Zoom Disciple Meeting)

When we give away mercy, mercy multiplies.

Watch the full lecture below or on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dktwz–hCdw

The article " Mercy multiplies " was published on KKSBlog.

Setting a Standard for Ethical Behavior in ISKCON
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By Kamala Radha Devi Dasi

After two years of research, writing, and debate, the GBC recently ratified and voted into ISKCON law a Code of Ethical Behavior. We spoke with the Code’s author, Yogesvara dasa, about the background to the Code and what changes he hopes to see in Srila Prabhupada’s movement thanks to its passage. The full official Code can be found Continue reading "Setting a Standard for Ethical Behavior in ISKCON
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Internal guidelines for ISKCON Communities for proposed responses to the crisis
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By Minister of Communications

Internal guidelines for ISKCON Communities for proposed responses to the crisis, including holding prayer/kirtan vigils and a coordinated global harinam/ public protest event on Saturday October 23. ISKCON communities are requested to organize local participation in these efforts in support of our fellow Vaishnavas in Bangladesh. Continue reading "Internal guidelines for ISKCON Communities for proposed responses to the crisis
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Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami Disappearance
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“Raghunatha Bhatta fell straight as a rod at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then the Lord embraced him, knowing full well who he was.” (Caitanya Caritamrta Antya 13.101)

Sri Raghunatha Bhatta’s father’s name was Sri Tapana Misra.  In his grhastha-lila, the Lord once went to East Bengal, to the Padma River, where he was a visiting professor of grammar. There he met with Tapana Misra and made his acquaintance. 

Tapana Misra was an Eastern Bengali and was a pandit in the sastra. Still, although He had given great consideration to both the practice of perfection and the perfection of life, he was unable to ascertain their inner meaning.

One night he had a dream, and in his dream a god came before him and said, “Misra!  Don’t worry.  Sri Nimai Pandita has just arrived near here. He will teach you both the practice of perfection and the goal of life. He is not a man (nara)—he is the Supreme Lord, Nara-Narayana. Although He is the creator of the universe, he has accepted the form of a man in order to deliver the world.” Saying this, the god disappeared. 

The following morning, after finishing his morning duties, Tapana Misra set out to find Sriman Mahaprabhu.  Just then he saw Sri Nimai Pandita sitting on the bench before his home, His brilliant effulgence illuminating his courtyard as if the sun had descended before him.

Tapana Misra offered his obeisances to the Lord, falling at his holy feet, and said, “O most merciful one! I am most fallen. Please be merciful to me.” The Lord smiled affectionately, and offering him a seat, asked Tapana Misra to introduce himself. Having introduced himself, Tapana Misra inquired from the Lord about all the truths regarding the practice of perfection and the goal of life.

When the Lord was about to leave for Nabadwipa, he wanted to accompany the Lord on His return journey to Nabadwipa.  The Lord, however, ordered him, “Soon you will go to Kasi. There we shall again meet.  At that time, I shall instruct you further in all these truths.”  Saying this, the Lord set out for Nabadwipa.”  Soon thereafter, Tapana Misra and his wife left for Kasi dhama, which is also called Varanasi or Benares. 

When Lord Chaitanya went to Varanasi He went to the home of Tapana Misra who placed his little son Raghunatha at the lotus feet of the Lord and made him offer obeisances.  The Lord took the boy upon his lap and cradled him there with great affection. 

Meanwhile, Tapana Misra quickly made arrangements for cooking, and Balabhadra Bhattacarya cooked.  He made arrangements for the Lord’s bath, and when the Lord had finished bathing and performing his noon duties, the Lord ate.  Tapana Misra’s little son Raghunatha massaged the Lord’s feet, and the Lord took rest.  

At last, the time came for the Lord to bid farewell to the devotees so that he might once again set out for Jagannatha Puri.  All the devotees were heartbroken in agony at the prospect of separation from the Lord.  Raghunatha Bhatta, the son of Tapana Misra, fell before the Lord, begging him not to go and held his lotus feet, weeping again and again. The Lord took the boy upon his lap and gave him many reassurances, trying to console him. He said, “You must serve your father and mother here, and by and by, you may come to Puri-dhama and see me again.” 

Within a short time, Sri Raghunatha became expert in Sanskrit grammar, rhetoric, and poetry. Gradually, he became highly learned in the revealed scriptures. He continued to serve his mother and father into their old age, as the years passed. When he came of age, Raghunatha was ordered by his father to go to Puri-dhama to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. 

After returning to Varanasi he looked after his ageing parents until they passed from this world after which he left for Vrndavan. The Lord explained to him that in Vrndavan he would meet Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis and was to study the Srimad-Bhagavatam and related revealed scriptures under their guidance.

Raghunatha Bhatta was exceptionally blessed with humility and meekness. It is recorded in Caitanya-Caritamrta that Raghunatha Bhatta would recite Srimad-Bhagavatam before Rupa and Sanatana Goswami, and when doing so, he would be overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna. 

Regarding the spiritual position of Raghunatha Bhatta, the Gaura-ganodesa-dipika states, “In the Vrndavana lila of Krsna Raghunatha Bhatta was Sri Raga Manjari.” Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami was born in 1505 A.D. He passed away from this earth and entered into the transcendental world in 1579 A.D.

local Iskcon protests for the Bangladesh events
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We called PM residence and requested his secretary to inform PM that he should speak with Bangladesh PM to end this cycle of violence. Yesterday, around 500 strong mob entered our temple premises and broke deities, brutally injured devotees, 2 of them died: This is very unfortunate. We've also written a letter to United Nations and appealed them to condemn this and send a delegation to Bangladesh: Radharaman Das, Vice-President ISKCON Kolkata

Read More...

(This post has been viewed 380 times so far)

Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami’s Disappearance Day
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By Giriraj Swami

Once, Guru-Gauranga Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple who was based in Switzerland, arranged for His Divine Grace to meet the head of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) in Geneva. Srila Prabhupada was so intelligent and perceptive that when he agreed to meet the person he said that no photos should be allowed. And he explained to us that the W.H.O. was trying to introduce birth control in Third World countries and considered India to be difficult because people in India understood contraceptive methods and abortion to be sinful. “So they will want to take my photo and use it to make propaganda that I approve of the World Health Organization’s program.” Continue reading "Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami’s Disappearance Day
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Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the auspicious disappearance day of three great acharyas in the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. We shall read about Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami from Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter Thirteen: “Pastimes with Jagadananda Pandita and Raghunatha Bhatta.”

TEXT 89

etha tapana-misra-putra raghunatha-bhattacarya
prabhure dekhite calila chadi’ sarva karya

TRANSLATION

During this time, Raghunatha Bhattacarya, the son of Tapana Misra, gave up all his duties and left home, intending to meet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 90

kasi haite calila tenho gauda-patha diya
sange sevaka cale tanra jhali vahiya

TRANSLATION

Accompanied by a servant carrying his baggage, Raghunatha Bhatta started from Varanasi and traveled along the path leading through Bengal.

TEXT 91

pathe tare milila visvasa-ramadasa
visvasa-khanara kayastha tenho rajara visvasa

TRANSLATION

In Bengal he met Ramadasa Visvasa, who belonged to the kayastha caste. He was one of the king’s secretaries.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The words visvasa-khanara kayastha indicate a secretary or clerk belonging to the kayastha caste. Kayasthas were usually secretaries to kings, governors, or other important persons. It is said that anyone working in the government secretariat at this time was a kayastha.

TEXT 92

sarva-sastre pravina, kavya-prakasa-adhyapaka
parama-vaisnava, raghunatha-upasaka

TRANSLATION

Ramadasa Visvasa was very learned in all the revealed scriptures. He was a teacher of the famous book Kavya-prakasa and was known as an advanced devotee and worshiper of Raghunatha [Lord Ramacandra].

PURPORT

Commenting on the word parama-vaisnava, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that anyone who desires to merge into the existence of the Lord cannot be a pure Vaisnava, but because Ramadasa Visvasa was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra, he was almost a Vaisnava. In those days, no one could distinguish between a pure Vaisnava and a pseudo Vaisnava. Therefore Ramadasa Visvasa was known as a Vaisnava because he worshiped Lord Ramacandra.

TEXT 93

asta-prahara rama-namajapena ratri-dine
sarva tyaji’ calila jagannatha-darasane

TRANSLATION

Ramadasa had renounced everything and was going to see Lord Jagannatha. While traveling, he chanted the holy name of Lord Rama twenty-four hours a day.

TEXTS 94–102

When he met Raghunatha Bhatta on the way, he took Raghunatha’s baggage on his head and carried it.

Ramadasa served Raghunatha Bhatta in various ways, even massaging his legs. Raghunatha Bhatta felt some hesitation in accepting all this service.

“You are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar, and a great devotee,” Raghunatha Bhatta said. “Please do not try to serve me. Just come with me in a happy mood.”

Ramadasa replied, “I am a sudra, a fallen soul. To serve a brahmana is my duty and religious principle.

“Therefore please do not be hesitant. I am your servant, and when I serve you my heart becomes jubilant.”

Thus Ramadasa carried the baggage of Raghunatha Bhatta and served him sincerely. He constantly chanted the holy name of Lord Ramacandra day and night.

Traveling in this way, Raghunatha Bhatta soon arrived at Jagannatha Puri. There he met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with great delight and fell at His lotus feet.

Raghunatha Bhatta fell straight as a rod at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then the Lord embraced him, knowing well who he was.

Raghunatha offered respectful obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on behalf of Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara, and the Lord also inquired about them.

TEXT 103

“bhala ha-ila aila, dekha ‘kamala-locana’
aji amara etha kariba prasada bhojana”

TRANSLATION

“It is very good that you have come here,” the Lord said. “Now go see the lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha. Today you will accept prasada here at My place.”

TEXTS 104–111

The Lord asked Govinda to arrange for Raghunatha Bhatta’s accommodations and then introduced him to all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.

Thus Raghunatha Bhatta lived with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continuously for eight months, and by the Lord’s mercy he felt increased transcendental happiness every day.

He would periodically cook rice with various vegetables and invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home.

Raghunatha Bhatta was an expert cook. Whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would accept with great satisfaction all the food he prepared. After the Lord was satisfied, Raghunatha Bhatta would eat His remnants.

When Ramadasa Visvasa met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord did not show him any special mercy, although this was their first meeting.

Within his heart, Ramadasa Visvasa was an impersonalist who desired to merge into the existence of the Lord, and he was very proud of his learning. Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, He can understand the heart of everyone, and thus He knew all these things.

Ramadasa Visvasa then took up residence in Jagannatha Puri and taught the Kavya-prakasa to the Pattanayaka family [the descendants of Bhavananda Raya].

TEXT 112

asta-masa rahi’ prabhu bhatte vidaya dila
“vivaha na kariha” bali’ nisedha karila

TRANSLATION

After eight months, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Raghunatha Bhatta, the Lord flatly forbade him to marry. “Do not marry,” the Lord said.

PURPORT

Raghunatha Bhattacarya had become a greatly advanced devotee while still unmarried. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could see this, and therefore He advised him not to begin the process of material sense gratification. Marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. Raghunatha, however, being an advanced devotee of Krsna, naturally had no desire for sense gratification. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised him not to enter the bondage of marriage. Generally a person cannot make much advancement in spiritual consciousness if he is married. He becomes attached to his family and is prone to sense gratification. Thus his spiritual advancement is very slow or almost nil.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

I once had the good fortune to receive a similar instruction from Srila Prabhupada. We were in Gorakhpur, and Prabhupada had received the latest issue of Back to Godhead, with an article I had written in Boston before I went to India—“The Genuine Spiritual Master.” He was pleased with the article and asked to see me. I was still quite young in Krishna consciousness, and Srila Prabhupada didn’t generally call for me. He said, “I have read your article, and it was very nice. You should write.” And he invited me to travel with him so he could train me how to write. Then he asked, “Do you ever think of getting married?” I said no. “Better to remain brahmachari,” he said, “and after some time I will give you sannyasa.” He said that the demands of the senses are like itches and that if you scratch the itches, the itching will get worse. It is better to tolerate the itches, and if you tolerate, gradually the itching will subside. The demands for eating and sleeping too—all of them—if we indulge them, they become aggravated. But if we tolerate them, they gradually subside.

TEXT 113

“vrddha mata-pitara yai’ karaha sevana
vaisnava-pasa bhagavata kara adhyayana”

TRANSLATION

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Raghunatha Bhatta, “When you return home, serve your aged father and mother, who are devotees, and try to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaisnava who has realized God.”

PURPORT

One should note how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, advised Raghunatha Bhattacarya to learn Srimad-Bhagavatam. He advised him to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam not from professional men but from a real bhagavata, a devotee. He also advised Raghunatha Bhatta to serve his mother and father because they were both Lord Caitanya’s devotees. Anyone who wishes to advance in Krsna consciousness must try to serve the devotees of Krsna. As Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara peyeche keba: “Without serving a self-realized Vaisnava, no one has ever been released from the materialistic way of life.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would have never advised Raghunatha Bhatta to serve ordinary parents, but since his parents were Vaisnavas, the Lord advised him to serve them.

One might ask, “Why shouldn’t ordinary parents be served?” As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.18):

gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat
  pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syat na patis ca sa syan
  na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum

“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a relative, a father or mother, or a worshipable demigod, nor should such a person become a husband.” Everyone naturally gets a father and mother at the time of birth, but the real father and mother are those who can release their offspring from the clutches of imminent death. This is possible only for parents advanced in Krsna consciousness. Therefore any parents who cannot enlighten their offspring in Krsna consciousness cannot be accepted as a real father and mother. The following verse from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.200) confirms the uselessness of serving ordinary parents:

laukiki vaidiki vapi ya kriya kriyate mune
hari-sevanukulaiva sakarya bhaktim icchata

“One should perform only those activities—either worldly or prescribed by Vedic rules and regulations—which are favorable for the cultivation of Krsna consciousness.”

Concerning the study of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clearly advises that one avoid hearing from a non-Vaisnava professional reciter. In this connection Sanatana Gosvami quotes a verse from the Padma Purana:

avaisnava-mukhodgirnam
  putam hari-kathamrtam
sravanam naiva kartavyam
  sarpocchistam yatha payah

“No one should hear or take lessons from a person who is not a Vaisnava. Even if he speaks about Krsna, such a lesson should not be accepted, for it is like milk touched by the lips of a serpent.” Nowadays it is fashionable to observe Bhagavata-saptaha and hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from persons who are anything but advanced devotees or self-realized souls. There are even many Mayavadis who read Srimad-Bhagavatam to throngs of people. Many Mayavadis have recently begun reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam in Vrndavana, and because they can present the Bhagavatam with word jugglery, twisting the meaning by grammatical tricks, materialistic persons who go to Vrndavana as a matter of spiritual fashion like to hear them. All this is clearly forbidden by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should note carefully that since these Mayavadis cannot personally know the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, they can never deliver others by reciting it. On the other hand, an advanced devotee of the Lord is free from material bondage. He personifies Srimad-Bhagavatam in life and action. Therefore we advise that anyone who wants to learn Srimad-Bhagavatam must approach such a realized soul.

COMMENT

Here Lord Chaitanya gave two instructions to Raghunatha Bhattacarya. First He instructed him to go back and serve his parents, because they were Vaishnavas. Serving Vaishnavas is most important for spiritual advancement. Srila Prabhupada remarks that Lord Chaitanya would have never advised Raghunatha Bhatta to return home to serve ordinary parents, and thus Srila Prabhupada quoted the verse gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat.

One time, in Bombay, after he had finally acquired Hare Krishna Land in Juhu, Srila Prabhupada, sitting in his room in a thatched hut nearby with Mahamsa Prabhu and me, quoted the same Bhagavatam verse: “No one should become a spiritual master, no one should become a relative, no one should become a father, no one should become a mother, and no one should become a husband unless he can deliver his or her dependents from repeated birth and death.” And he gave some examples. He said that if the father is attacked, the duty of the son is to defend him, but that when Lord Nrsimhadeva attacked Hiranyakasipu, Prahlada made no effort to defend him. Rather, he glorified the attacker. But Prahlada was not at fault, because his father was not a real father—he was not helping him become liberated from the repetition of birth and death. Similarly, it is the duty of the son to obey the mother, but when Kaikeyi told Bharata to sit on the throne, he disobeyed. And he was not at fault, because Kaikeyi was not a real mother, because she was not helping him to become liberated from birth and death and to engage in devotional service. Similarly, it is the duty of the wife to obey the husband, but when the Vedic brahmans told their wives not to go to Krishna and Balarama in the forest, their wives disobeyed. And they were not at fault, because their husbands were not real husbands, because they were not helping them become Krishna conscious. Similarly, it is the duty of the disciple to obey the spiritual master, but when Sukracarya ordered Bali Maharaja not to surrender everything to Lord Vishnu and not to keep his promise to Vishnu, Bali Maharaja disobeyed him. And Bali Maharaja was not at fault, because his spiritual master was not a real spiritual master. Then Srila Prabhupada told us, “You have left your mothers and fathers, but they are not real mothers and fathers. So you have done the right thing.”

Still, we offer respect to relatives. And, of course, for the service of guru and Krishna, a devotee may also serve relatives. In any case, the presence of a pure devotee in a family liberates the entire family.

Regarding the second instruction, Lord Chaitanya told Raghunatha Bhatta to hear and learn Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee. Svarupa Damodara Gosvami gave a similar instruction, that one should learn the book Bhagavata from the person Bhagavata.

In 1970, when the first groups of Western devotees went to India, Srila Prabhupada instructed Gurudas Prabhu to go to Prabhupada’s quarters at Radha-Damodar and go through all his old papers and keep only the ones that were appropriate. The ones that were not appropriate—those that pertained to his householder life—should be destroyed. Gurudas invited me to accompany him, and when we went through Srila Prabhupada’s old papers, we found so many letters that he had written. One was to a man who had organized Bhagavata Week in Bombay and had invited Srila Prabhupada to attend. Prabhupada had written back that the Bhagavata should be heard from liberated souls who are free from pretentious religiosity, and not from Mayavadis, who have no access to the “great scripture” and who mislead the innocent public. He had informed the organizer, “Therefore I have not only refrained from attending the function myself but have advised many others not to attend as well.” Srila Prabhupada was so bold and forthright and fearless: abhaya.

TEXT 114

“punarapi eka-bara asiha nilacale”
eta bali’ kantha-mala dila tanra gale

TRANSLATION

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu concluded, “Come again to Nilacala [Jagannatha Puri].” After saying this, the Lord put His own neck beads on Raghunatha Bhatta’s neck.

TEXTS 115–119

Then the Lord embraced him and bade him farewell. Overwhelmed with ecstatic love, Raghunatha Bhatta began to cry due to imminent separation from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

After taking permission from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha Bhatta returned to Varanasi.

In accordance with the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he continuously rendered service to his mother and father for four years. He also regularly studied Srimad-Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaisnava.

Then his parents died at Kasi [Varanasi], and he became detached. He therefore returned to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, giving up all relationships with his home.

As previously, Raghunatha remained continuously with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for eight months. Then the Lord gave him the following order.

TEXT 120 

“amara ajnaya, raghunatha, yaha vrndavane
tahan yanaraha rupa-sanatana-sthane

TRANSLATION

“My dear Raghunatha, on My order go to Vrndavana and live there under the care of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis.

TEXT 121

“bhagavata pada, sada laha krsna-nama
acire karibena krpa krsna bhagavan”

TRANSLATION

“In Vrndavana you should chant the Hare Krsna mantra twenty-four hours a day and read Srimad-Bhagavatam continuously. Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will very soon bestow His mercy upon you.”

TEXT 122

eta bali’ prabhu tanre alingana kaila
prabhura krpate krsna-preme matta haila

TRANSLATION

After saying this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Raghunatha Bhatta, and by the Lord’s mercy Raghunatha was enlivened with ecstatic love for Krsna.

TEXTS 123–125

At a festival Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had been given some unspiced betel and a garland of tulasi leaves fourteen cubits long. The garland had been worn by Lord Jagannatha.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave the garland and betel to Raghunatha Bhatta, who accepted them as a worshipable Deity and preserved them very carefully.

Taking permission from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha Bhatta then departed for Vrndavana. When he arrived there, he put himself under the care of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis.

TEXT 126

rupa-gosanira sabha ya karena bhagavata-pathana
bhagavata padite preme aulaya tanra mana

TRANSLATION

When reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam in the company of Rupa and Sanatana, Raghunatha Bhatta would be overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna.

TEXT 127

asru, kampa, gadgada prabhura krpate
netra kantha rodhe baspa, na pare padite

TRANSLATION

By the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he experienced symptoms of ecstatic love—tears, trembling, and faltering of the voice. His eyes filled with tears, his throat became choked, and thus he could not recite Srimad-Bhagavatam.

TEXTS 128–130

His voice was as sweet as a cuckoo’s, and he would recite each verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam in three or four tunes. Thus his recitations were very sweet to hear.

When he recited or heard about the beauty and sweetness of Krsna, he would be overwhelmed with ecstatic love and become oblivious to everything.

Thus Raghunatha Bhatta surrendered fully at the lotus feet of Lord Govinda, and those lotus feet became his life and soul.

COMMENT

Actually, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami arranged for the construction of the Radha-Govinda temple in Vrindavan, which was the most beautiful and famous of all the temples in Vrindavan. So he may also give us some mercy to build a temple here.

TEXT 131

nija sisye kahi’ govindera mandira karaila
vamsi, makara kundaladi ‘bhusana’ kari’ dila

TRANSLATION

Subsequently Raghunatha Bhatta ordered his disciples to construct a temple for Govinda. He prepared various ornaments for Govinda, including a flute and shark-shaped earrings.

TEXT 132

gramya-varta na sune, na kahe jihvaya
krsna-katha-pujadite asta-prahara yaya

TRANSLATION

Raghunatha Bhatta would neither hear nor speak about anything of the material world. He would simply discuss Krsna and worship the Lord day and night.

TEXT 133

vaisnavera nindya-karma nahi pade kane
sabe krsna bhajana kare,—ei-matra jane

TRANSLATION

He would not listen to blasphemy of a Vaisnava, nor would he listen to talk of a Vaisnava’s misbehavior. He knew only that everyone was engaged in Krsna’s service; he did not understand anything else.

PURPORT

Raghunatha Bhatta never did anything harmful to a Vaisnava. In other words, he was never inattentive in the service of the Lord, nor did he ever violate the rules and regulations of a pure Vaisnava. It is the duty of a Vaisnava acarya to prevent his disciples and followers from violating the principles of Vaisnava behavior. He should always advise them to strictly follow the regulative principles, which will protect them from falling down. Although a Vaisnava preacher may sometimes criticize others, Raghunatha Bhatta avoided this. Even if another Vaisnava was actually at fault, Raghunatha Bhatta would not criticize him; he saw only that everyone was engaged in Krsna’s service. That is the position of a maha-bhagavata. Actually, even if one is serving maya, in a higher sense he is also a servant of Krsna. Because maya is the servant of Krsna, anyone serving maya serves Krsna indirectly. Therefore it is said:

keha mane, kehana mane, sabatanra dasa
ye na mane, tarahaya sei papenasa

“Some accept Him, whereas others do not, yet everyone is His servant. One who does not accept Him, however, will be ruined by his sinful activities.” (Cc Adi 6.85)

COMMENT

Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami “would not listen to blasphemy of a Vaisnava, nor would he listen to talk of a Vaisnava’s misbehavior. He knew only that everyone was engaged in Krsna’s service.” Yet in the purport, Srila Prabhupada comments that the Vaishnava acharya has to train his disciples according to the regulative principles and that if he sees that they are violating principles of Vaishnava behavior, he has to correct them. Even if the spiritual master is a maha-bhagavata, when he acts as spiritual master and takes the responsibility to train disciples, he must discriminate between proper and improper behavior. And if the disciples are behaving improperly, he must point out the defects and correct them.

When Srila Prabhupada first met his guru maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he thought that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was simply criticizing—criticizing the fruitive workers, criticizing the mental speculators, criticizing the impersonalists. But Prabhupada remarked that later he realized that what his guru maharaja had been saying was actually correct. Sadhu also means “to cut.” The sadhu must cut people’s false attachments, and therefore he may have to criticize—not out of envy or malice, as we may criticize, but only for the sake of cutting people’s false attachments and bringing them to the proper standards of devotional service.

Once, in Indore, Srila Prabhupada was strongly criticizing some popular religious figures. One of the gentlemen in the room became very upset and said, “You should not criticize. You should see everyone equally, as atma, and you should not criticize.” Srila Prabhupada replied, “That is a very high stage, sama-darsinah.” A maha-bhagavata doesn’t criticize anyone, because he sees everyone is already serving Krishna. Then Prabhupada discussed the verse (Gita 5.18) panditah sama-darsinah:

vidya-vinaya-sampanne
  brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
  panditah sama-darsinah

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater.”

Prabhupada said that a learned brahman is supposed to be virtuous and that a dog is supposed to be sinful. So to see a brahman and a dog equally means that one doesn’t distinguish between pious and sinful activities; one sees that everyone is serving Krishna. “But,” Srila Prabhupada said, “I am not on that stage. I say that because you don’t surrender to Krishna, you are sinful.”

So even the uttama Vaishnava, when he preaches, has to act as a madhyama Vaishnava and point out faults and correct them. But if one is not in a position to actually instruct others for their benefit, he should act like Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami. He should avoid material talks in general and blasphemy of Vaishnavas in particular, and he should remain absorbed in his service to Krishna.

The Bhagavad-gita (17.15) confirms,

anudvega-karam vakyam
  satyam priya-hitam ca yat
svadhyayabhyasanam caiva
  van-mayam tapa ucyate

“Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.”

And Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport, “One should not speak in such a way as to agitate the minds of others. Of course, when a teacher speaks, he can speak the truth for the instruction of his students, but such a teacher should not speak to those who are not his students if he will agitate their minds. This is penance as far as talking is concerned. Besides that, one should not talk nonsense. The process of speaking in spiritual circles is to say something upheld by the scriptures. One should at once quote from scriptural authority to back up what he is saying. At the same time, such talk should be very pleasurable to the ear. By such discussions, one may derive the highest benefit and elevate human society. There is a limitless stock of Vedic literature, and one should study this. This is called penance of speech.”

One of the divine qualities mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita (16.1–3) is apaisunam, “aversion to faultfinding.” There Srila Prabhupada comments, “Apaisunam means that one should not find fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life.”

TEXT 134

mahaprabhura datta mala mananera kale
prasada-kadara saha bandhi lena gale

TRANSLATION

When Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami was absorbed in remembrance of Lord Krsna, he would take the tulasi garland and the prasada of Lord Jagannatha given to him by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, bind them together, and wear them on his neck.

TEXT 135

mahaprabhura krpaya krsna-prema anargala
eita’ kahilun tate caitanya-krpa-phala

TRANSLATION

Thus I have described the powerful mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by which Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami remained constantly overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna.

TEXTS 136–137

TRANSLATION

In this chapter I have spoken about . . . how Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami achieved ecstatic love of Krsna by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 138

ye ei-sakala katha sune sraddha kari’
tanre krsna-prema-dhana dena gaurahari

TRANSLATION

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu [Gaurahari] bestows ecstatic love for Krsna upon anyone who hears these topics with faith and love.

TEXT 139

sri-rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa

TRANSLATION

Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Thirteenth Chapter, describing . . . Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami’s achieving love of Krsna.

Giriraj Swami: Are there any questions or comments?

Devotee: In this country there are Bhagavata kathas, and sometimes people invite us to do a katha also. Should we accept the invitation to go and chant or speak?

Giriraj Swami: We should be careful, because we are quite well established in Mauritius now. We should rather hold our own programs and invite people to our programs. When Srila Prabhupada first returned to India, he accepted invitations to the Vedanta Sammelan in Amritsar and the Gita Jayanti Mahotsava in Indore because people did not know us. And by his attending such programs, people came to know us. But as soon as we became established, Prabhupada stopped accepting such invitations. In fact, when I went to Madras, one man, Mr. Ratnam Iyer, had his own organization, called Astika Samaj, and he offered to take full responsibility to arrange Srila Prabhupada’s program in Madras, but in the end he didn’t really help, because ultimately he was a Mayavadi. He didn’t actually like us. When I informed Srila Prabhupada in a letter, Prabhupada wrote back that it is never good to have to depend on others for our preaching: “I am not surprised that Mr. Ratnam Iyer has decided to cancel the program you were planning. I was not eager to accept his proposal in the beginning, because it has been our experience that it is never good to have to depend upon others for our preaching.” We should make our own arrangements.

People sometimes invite us just to decorate their program, to attract people, and to get our stamp of approval—they try to use us for their own purposes. But we may not actually approve of their program, so we must be careful. Once, Guru-Gauranga Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s disciple who was based in Switzerland, arranged for His Divine Grace to meet the head of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) in Geneva. Srila Prabhupada was so intelligent and perceptive that when he agreed to meet the person, he said that no photos should be allowed. And he explained to us that the W.H.O. was trying to introduce birth control in Third World countries and considered India to be difficult because people in India understood contraceptive methods and abortion to be sinful. “So they will want to take my photo and use it to make propaganda that I approve of the World Health Organization’s program.” And that is actually what happened: at the end of the meeting, they wanted to have their photos taken with Srila Prabhupada. Because we are authorized, people want to use us to gain credibility for their programs. But we may not actually approve of their programs. So we should be careful how we associate with them and how we are perceived to be associated with them.

Krsna-candra dasa: Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave different instructions to Raghunatha Bhatta at different times. First He instructed him to serve his devotee parents and to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a realized devotee, and then He told him to go to Vrindavan and chant Hare Krishna and take shelter of Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. The spiritual master gives instructions to his disciples according to time, place, and circumstances, and so the spiritual master may change his instruction.

Giriraj Swami: Yes, that is true. Once, on a morning walk on Juhu Beach, Srila Prabhupada was discussing surrender, and he was pointing out various defects in supposed surrender. One defect is that the disciple will receive an instruction from the spiritual master, and later, when the spiritual master gives a different instruction, the disciple will object: “But previously you told me such-and-such.” Srila Prabhupada said that surrender means you accept the latest instruction, the immediate instruction. Once, when he gave an instruction to a disciple and then later gave him a different instruction, the disciple said, “Srila Prabhupada, previously you told me that, and now you are telling me this.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “If you accepted my authority then, why don’t you accept it now?” So, we have to be careful not to pick and choose what instruction we like and what instruction we don’t like.

Mukta-purusa dasa: Lord Chaitanya advised that one hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a realized soul. But how can ordinary people know who is a realized soul? Sometimes professional reciters speak very ornamentally, and they are attractive to ordinary people.

Giriraj Swami: First we must know the constitutional position of the living entity. Jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’: the living entity’s constitutional position is to be an eternal servant of Krishna. One who is acting as an eternal servant of Krishna—in other words, one who is a devotee—is self-realized. He has realized that he is the eternal servant of Krishna.

How can ordinary people know who is self-realized? They have to be educated. Either in person or from books, they have to hear from devotees to be educated in the science of self-realization. Someone who is choosing where to study, in which university, will make inquiries, and only after careful consideration will he or she decide which university to attend. He or she will inquire: What is the reputation of the school? Who are the professors? What are the results of the graduates? And that’s just for a few years of academic education. So, if we take so much care to decide where to go for a few years of academic education, how much more care we should take to decide where we go for spiritual education, which will guide us in our eternal spiritual life. We have to inquire and learn.

But many people are not actually serious or sincere; they just want to make a show that they are very pious, very religious. And they may want to be entertained. If someone is sincere and serious, he or she will try to understand the science of spiritual life from devotees. And ultimately one will come to the conclusion that one must learn from devotees.

We take knowledge from Krishna and Krishna’s representatives, and because we take knowledge from Krishna, we know that the knowledge is perfect and we don’t need to go to anyone else for knowledge. In one talk, Srila Prabhupada related how his disciple Achyutananda Prabhu had gone to distribute books at the ashram of a well-known Mayavadi sannyasi who gave Bhagavata-saptahas, and when one of the sannyasi’s disciples had canvassed him, “Why don’t you ask some question to Swamiji?” Achyutananda had replied, “I have nothing to question from your Swamiji.” Prabhupada continued, “So, actually bring any so-called yogi, swami, or incarnation and our student will challenge him: he does not know anything. We have got such a nice book of knowledge, Bhagavad-gita.” Srila Prabhupada was very happy, very proud. Because we are getting knowledge from Krishna and Krishna’s representatives in disciplic succession, we don’t have anything to learn from anyone else.

Devotee: What happens to the relationship between spiritual master and disciple after death?

Giriraj Swami: In principle, the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple is eternal. If the disciple is not completely successful in his or her attempt to go back to Godhead at the end of this life, he or she gets the chance to continue the process of devotional service in the next life and to follow the same instructions that he or she received from the spiritual master in this life. So service to the spiritual master is eternal. And the spiritual master will arrange to guide the sincere disciple until he or she is completely successful and goes back home, back to Godhead.

Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki jaya!
Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami ki jaya!
Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Lord Chaitanya’s instructions to Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami’s disappearance day, October 23, 1996, Hare Krishna Land, Phoenix, Mauritius]

ISKCON Scarborough – Online class – Dr Keshav Anand das- Sunday 17th Oct 2021 – 11 am to 12 noon – ‘Importance of hearing’
→ ISKCON Scarborough

Hare Krishna!

Please accept our humble obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!


Date: 17th Oct 2021

Day: Sunday

Time: 11 am to 12 noon

Topic:  'Importance of hearing'.

Speaker: Dr Keshav Anand das from Punjab, India


Link to join the class from your desktop or laptop:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9150790510?pwd=Wk5GYXVRMkJmdk84MzZJRXBKYUgwUT09



Dr. Keshav Anand

Dr. Keshav Anand is a professional doctor and a monk. Since the last twenty years he has conducted extensive research and authored books in the field of science and spirituality. He feels the rift between science and spirituality must disappear to bring peace in the world. If spirituality is a superstition and a myth, science is materialistic and atheistic. A new approach to life is needed today that can bring the best of both. Science must re-embrace spirituality and be humble to admit its defects, flaws, and ignorance, and spirituality must base itself on sound, scientific, and rational ideas. Dr. Keshav Anand found this new approach in the Sanskrit sutras of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita. For decoding the Sanskrit sutras of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita, he studied Sanskrit and Western and Indian philosophy. Besides Sanskrit, he also learned Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, and Kannada to known about other traditions. His persistent endeavor in the field of science and spirituality has enabled him to come up with seminars on diverse topics like Science and the Vedas, Mind and Machines, Science fails to Explain life, Consciousness and Beyond etc. that he has presented in various colleges in India, Europe, and America. Under the guidance of his spiritual master H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami, He has also started a Gurukula, a traditional system of Vedic Education, in Punjab, India, where children learn the ancient Vedic culture and values. Besides, he has started a farm community. The community has a traditional way of living with mud huts and thatch roofs. With Cows. And of course, farming. The communities will set a model for the world to show how to live a life based on the principle of ‘Simple living High thinking



ISKCON Scarborough

3500 McNicoll Avenue, Unit #3,

Scarborough, Ontario,

Canada, M1V4C7

Website: www.iskconscarborough.org

Email:

iskconscarborough@hotmail.com

scarboroughiskcon@gmail.com


ISKCON Scarborough – Online class – Dr Keshav Anand das- Sunday 17th Oct 2021 – 11 am to 12 noon – ‘Importance of hearing’
→ ISKCON Scarborough

Hare Krishna!

Please accept our humble obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!


Date: 17th Oct 2021

Day: Sunday

Time: 11 am to 12 noon

Topic:  'Importance of hearing'.

Speaker: Dr Keshav Anand das from Punjab, India


Link to join the class from your desktop or laptop:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9150790510?pwd=Wk5GYXVRMkJmdk84MzZJRXBKYUgwUT09



Dr. Keshav Anand

Dr. Keshav Anand is a professional doctor and a monk. Since the last twenty years he has conducted extensive research and authored books in the field of science and spirituality. He feels the rift between science and spirituality must disappear to bring peace in the world. If spirituality is a superstition and a myth, science is materialistic and atheistic. A new approach to life is needed today that can bring the best of both. Science must re-embrace spirituality and be humble to admit its defects, flaws, and ignorance, and spirituality must base itself on sound, scientific, and rational ideas. Dr. Keshav Anand found this new approach in the Sanskrit sutras of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita. For decoding the Sanskrit sutras of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita, he studied Sanskrit and Western and Indian philosophy. Besides Sanskrit, he also learned Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, and Kannada to known about other traditions. His persistent endeavor in the field of science and spirituality has enabled him to come up with seminars on diverse topics like Science and the Vedas, Mind and Machines, Science fails to Explain life, Consciousness and Beyond etc. that he has presented in various colleges in India, Europe, and America. Under the guidance of his spiritual master H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami, He has also started a Gurukula, a traditional system of Vedic Education, in Punjab, India, where children learn the ancient Vedic culture and values. Besides, he has started a farm community. The community has a traditional way of living with mud huts and thatch roofs. With Cows. And of course, farming. The communities will set a model for the world to show how to live a life based on the principle of ‘Simple living High thinking



ISKCON Scarborough

3500 McNicoll Avenue, Unit #3,

Scarborough, Ontario,

Canada, M1V4C7

Website: www.iskconscarborough.org

Email:

iskconscarborough@hotmail.com

scarboroughiskcon@gmail.com


When Mick Jagger helped the devotees
→ Dandavats



They had to be fifty or sixty feet long, in one single throw. I-beams of very heavy steel. And somehow we had to get them into the ceiling. And we had no money. So I went to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and asked him, and he said, "Oh, yes, just have my secretary give you the check." So he bought them.

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Ancient History Of Humanity And Consciousness
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By Drutakarma Das

I was recently interviewed about forbidden archeology and related topics by Joe Rupe on his Lighting the Void show. Michael Cremo is on the cutting edge of science and culture issues. In the course of a few month's time he might be found on pilgrimage to sacred sites in India, appearing on a national television show, lecturing at a mainstream science conference, or speaking to an alternative science gathering. As he crosses disciplinary and cultural boundaries, he presents to his various audiences a compelling case for negotiating a new consensus on the nature of reality, Continue reading "Ancient History Of Humanity And Consciousness
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Truth in a Nutshell
→ Dandavats

Hare KrishnaBy Satyaraja Dasa

Four special verses in the Bhagavad-gita and four in the Srimad-Bhagavatam lay out the fundamental teachings of Krishna consciousness. My mom always keeps peanuts around the house. Crack the shells open, and you find two peanuts inside. So much goodness in one little package: beneficial nutrients, plant proteins, fats, fiber, and plenty of vitamins, minerals, and bioactives. As I looked at the broken shells in front of me one day, my mind was drawn to four special verses of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and four of the Bhagavad-gita, each set often referred to simply as chatuh-shloki: "the four verses." Srila Prabhupada was the first to refer to them as "nutshell verses." Continue reading "Truth in a Nutshell
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Sri Madhvacharya Appearance
→ Ramai Swami

Madhva was born around 1239 in a village called Pajaka, situated near the coast on the southerm part of the sate now called Karnataka. He was originally called Vasudeva. There are many references to his being an incarnation of Vayu the wind god, and he himself claimed that he was Hanuman during the Ramayana period and Bhima during the Mahabharata era – both were known to be sons of Vayu and thus possessed incredible physical strength. Madhva is reputed to have saved one of his disciples form the attack of a tiger simply by using his bare hands.

According to historical treatises, Madhva travelled to the Himalayas and personally took darshan of Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedic literature. More than Ramanuja, Madhva opposed the monistic theories of Shankara. He is usually depicted with the two fingers of his right hand held upward, emphasising duality – i.e. the difference between the soul and God. In this Madhva took an uncompromising position, and strictly speaking the term ‘dualist’ refers only to the Madhvas (the followers of Madhva). His sampradaya still flourishes in South India, and the headquarters is in Udupi.

Once a ship while approaching the shore near Udupi, faced a great storm and was in imminent danger. Madhva was standing on the seashore, and directed the ship by waving his cloth. The ship was saved, and the captain prostrated himself before the Acharya, thanking him for what he believed was a miracle. He requested Madhva to take something as gift. Madhva, by his inner vision, saw lying in the ship as ballast a heavy lump of gopi-candana (a type of white clay used for tilak). He asked for that as a gift.

Surprised at this seemingly trivial request the captain obliged. The Acharya drove his hand inside the lump of clay and brought forth a murti of Balakrishna, Krishna in his childhood. The idol was so heavy that the very fact that the Acharya could carry it all by himself was astounding. But more amazing was the information he revealed on the deity. It was apparently made by the divine architect Vishvakarma and was kept by Krishna’s leading Queen, Rukmini, in Dvaraka in the Dvarapa yuga. When Dvaraka was submerged in the sea at the end of Krishna’s time, the deity was lost. The same deity is still worshipped in Udupi today.

Madhva wrote three important treatises, on the Vedanta Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. His theology is called shuddha-dvaita, pure dualism. more than anyone, he stressed the differences between God and the individual soul. Madhva also goes by the names Purna-prajna and Ananda-Tirtha.

Sri Rama-vijaya-dasami
Giriraj Swami

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Nine, Chapter Ten: “The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Ramacandra.

TEXT 20

te ’nikapa raghupater abhipatya sarve
  dvandvam varutham ibha-patti-rathasva-yodhaih
jaghnur drumair giri-gadesubhir angadadyah
  sitabhimarsa-hata-mangala-ravanesan

TRANSLATION

Angada and the other commanders of the soldiers of Ramacandra faced the elephants, infantry, horses, and chariots of the enemy and hurled against them big trees, mountain peaks, clubs, and arrows. Thus the soldiers of Lord Ramacandra killed Ravana’s soldiers, who had lost all good fortune because Ravana had been condemned by the anger of Mother Sita.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The soldiers Lord Ramacandra recruited in the jungle were all monkeys and did not have proper equipment with which to fight the soldiers of Ravana, for Ravana’s soldiers were equipped with weapons of modern warfare whereas the monkeys could only throw stones, mountain peaks, and trees. It was only Lord Ramacandra and Laksmana who shot some arrows. But because the soldiers of Ravana were condemned by the curse of Mother Sita, the monkeys were able to kill them simply by throwing stones and trees. There are two kinds of strength—daiva and purusakara. Daiva refers to the strength achieved from the Transcendence, and purusakara refers to the strength organized by one’s own intelligence and power. Transcendental power is always superior to the power of the materialist. Depending on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, one must fight one’s enemies even though one may not be equipped with modern weapons. Therefore Krsna instructed Arjuna, mam anusmara yudhya ca: “Think of Me and fight.” We should fight our enemy to the best of our ability, but for victory we must depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Coming to Bhaktivedanta Manor, I was reminded of the struggle we faced here to keep the temple open to the public and to preach Krishna consciousness. Although in such battles the enemies sometimes appear to have the upper hand, in the end, as long as we remain faithful to and dependent on the Lord and at the same time make our best effort with all sincerity and intelligence, we will be successful according to His will.

We had a similar struggle in Juhu, Bombay. In fact, in Juhu we were even less equipped than were the devotees here, who had already established the mission quite solidly and had many friends—a large congregation and friends in influential positions. Still, it was a great struggle here.

In Juhu we were comparable to the band of monkeys that joined Lord Ramachandra. Srila Prabhupada himself drew parallels between himself and Lord Ramachandra, and between us and the monkeys. He compared the Western countries to Ravana, because they had so much wealth, just like Ravana in his opulent kingdom of Lanka. And wealth is Lakshmi—a manifestation of Lakshmi, or Sita. So, Srila Prabhupada said that just as Ravana had kidnapped Sita, the Western countries had kidnapped, or taken possession of, so much wealth. And just as Lord Ramachandra had crossed the ocean to redeem Sita, so Srila Prabhupada had also crossed the ocean. And just as Lord Ramachandra was assisted by so many monkeys, Srila Prabhupada was assisted by us.

The Juhu struggle is a great story, which has been told to some extent in Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta. One incident took place after we had been successful in getting the land from the previous owner, Mr. Nair. Srila Prabhupada used to refer to him as “the demon Nair.” Probably some of you have been to Juhu. When we first got possession of the land, the front of the property was vacant, and in the back were some old tenement buildings. So we built a temporary temple in the front for the Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari. At first, we were living on the roofs on the terraces of the buildings, but eventually we were able to get at least one of the apartments from a tenant—for Srila Prabhupada.

So, Srila Prabhupada was living there, and he would go up to the roof in the late afternoon and meet people. One evening he was sitting on the terrace and his disciple Haridas was fanning him. Srila Prabhupada said to Haridas, “Do you hear that?” And Haridas said, “Hear what?” Prabhupada said, “Do you hear the sound of the kirtan in the temple?” Haridas said, “No.” Srila Prabhupada said, “That’s the point! There’s no kirtan going on in the temple!” Then he said, “Where are all the devotees? They should be in the temple doing kirtan; it’s the time of arati.” Haridas speculated and said, “They are probably out collecting. They haven’t gotten back from the city yet.” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “That was not my idea that devotees should go out all day and collect and neglect the temple programs.”

Then he said, “Why do you think we were successful here? Mr. Nair was so much more powerful than we were. He was a wealthy man; we had very little money. He had been the sheriff of Bombay and knew so many influential people; we hardly knew anyone. And he owned one of the three English daily newspapers in Bombay. So he was very powerful. And we had very little money or influence, yet we were successful. Why? Because we were working for Krishna, for the pleasure of Krishna, we were successful.” Regarding the temple program, he said, “We will be successful not because we go out all day to collect money and then come back late—we’ll be successful if Krishna is pleased. So, we should go out, but we should come back in time. The devotees should leave the city by five o’clock and come back, otherwise they will become like karmis. They should come and chant in front of the Deities and please the Deities, and when the Deities are pleased, we will be successful by Their mercy.”

This is always our position, that we make our best effort but depend on the mercy of the Lord. And making our best effort means according to the desire of the Lord—in our case, according to the order of the spiritual master. In the case of the monkeys of Lord Rama, they were directly under the Lord. Arjuna was directly under the Lord. We are also under the Lord, but under sadhu, shastra, and guru. They tell us what will please the Lord, and if we act to please the Lord, if the Lord is pleased, we will be successful.

Although the monkeys were successful in killing the army of Ravana, ultimately it was Lord Ramachandra who killed the great demon Ravana, and Rama-vijaya-dasami celebrates the victory of Ramachandra and specifically His killing of Ravana.

Now, in one sense this was an easier battle, because it is easier to battle forces that are outside of one’s self. But there are also enemies inside us with which we have to contend, and that struggle can be more difficult and more painful than the battle against enemies outside. Prahlada Maharaja survived so many attacks on his life organized by his father, Hiranyakasipu, but in his prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva, he said that his biggest enemy was his own mind and senses. The Bhagavad-gita says that the mind can be one’s best friend or one’s worst enemy. So that’s a constant battle that we all face—how to keep the mind focused on Krishna, especially when we gather together to hear and chant the holy name, to hear and chant the transcendental topics. We should fix the mind on Krishna. Mayy asakta-manah partha. In the seventh chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says that the mind should be attached to Him. For us, aspiring devotees, or practicing devotees, the best way to fix our mind on Krishna is to hear the holy names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—and to hear, to actually hear, each word, each syllable. But it is difficult, because the mind is flickering and unsteady (cancalam hi manah krsna). Arjuna tells Krishna that it seems more difficult to control the mind than to control the wind, and who can control the wind? Nobody. That means it is practically impossible to control the mind. But Krishna says that it is possible by suitable practice and detachment. Abhyasa is the word for “practice.” We have to practice chanting and hearing. It is a struggle—it’s an effort—but we have to practice. As Srila Prabhupada said, “Practice makes perfect—even in spiritual life.”

Still, we will not be successful by our own efforts alone. I think we all have that experience—it applies not only to chanting japa, but to any of our activities. It applies to book distribution: Sometimes devotees go out thinking, “Oh, I am really fit today. I am going to have a great day.” And then they hardly have any results. And other times they go out feeling miserable—they don’t even know how they are going to get through the day—and they are very successful. They experience the lesson that they are not the doers, not the controllers. Whatever they do is by the mercy of the Lord, the mercy of the spiritual master, the mercy of the disciplic succession.

So, we make our effort, but ultimately we have to depend on the mercy of the Lord. Srila Prabhupada showed this all the time. After the success of the first Bombay pandal, he sent Tamal Krishna Goswami and me to Calcutta to organize a pandal program there. There were many Naxalites—communist youth—in Calcutta at the time. They used to kidnap people from rich families, and they would kill for their cause. When Srila Prabhupada first came to Calcutta, the Naxalites shot a wealthy person dead right on the street, just a few blocks from where Prabhupada was staying. They were envious. They may have had their reasons, but still, they were envious.

When Prabhupada came for the pandal program, the Naxalites were very disturbed and even sent Prabhupada a note: “Fly or die,” composed of letters cut out of a newspaper and pasted on the paper so that no one could trace the typewriter. The mood in the city was very tense.

Before the pandal program began, we had a small press conference with Srila Prabhupada behind the tent, and one of the reporters challenged, “What is the use of spending all this money on this pandal? You could use the money to help poor people.” And Srila Prabhupada said, “What is the use? The use is to give people a chance to hear. Actually, the whole pandal has come from hearing. I went to America and spoke and some young people heard me, and because they heard me, now they have made all the effort to organize the program. So, the use is to give people a chance to hear, and everything comes from that.” In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna tells Arjuna, tac chrnu: “Just hear from Me.” So, first comes hearing (sravanam), and then kirtanam and the other items of devotional service. Srila Prabhupada said, “They heard from me, and now they are repeating what they heard.”

Thousands of people attended the first night of the pandal program; they were just streaming in. We had dhurries, simple Indian carpets, on the ground, and most people sat on them, cross-legged. To the side, we had folding chairs, and we charged one rupee for a seat. So, some Naxalites came, and they were agitated that some people got to sit on the seats while other people had to sit on the ground. They made a huge disturbance. Prabhupada was trying to speak, and they were banging chairs together to make noise so that Prabhupada wouldn’t be able to speak. It was really tense. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Suddenly Prabhupada leaned forward, toward the microphone, and his voice boomed through the speaker system: “govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami . . .”—he was singing the Govindam prayers. Suddenly the commotion stopped, and the Naxalites just walked away. I thought, “He just has so much of faith in Krishna. He completely depends on Krishna.” (Years later, I read Gurudas Prabhu’s account of that incident, and it seems that along with singing the Govindam prayers, Prabhupada was sending notes to Gurudas telling him what to do with the Naxalites. And that’s good, too. We make our best effort and depend on Krishna. That is our process.)

We are about to begin the special month of Damodara, Kartik, and during this month we celebrate this binding of Krishna with ropes. Dama means “ropes” and udara means “belly.” Many of you know the story: Mother Yasoda was breastfeeding baby Krishna, and while doing so she realized that some milk that was on the fire was boiling over. So she set baby Krishna aside before He was satisfied, to tend to the milk on the fire. Baby Krishna became angry, and eventually He broke a pot of makhana (freshly churned butter) and began to eat it and share it with His friends.

When Mother Yasoda returned to where she had left Krishna, He wasn’t there. She saw His little footprints—His feet had been smeared with butter—and saw the broken pot. She was concerned and considered that she would have to discipline Krishna so that He would grow up properly. All responsible parents are concerned that they have to raise their children properly—that if they don’t discipline them, the children will not learn how to behave. As it was, Krishna was going to the neighbors’ homes and doing mischief, and they were complaining to Yasoda, “You better take care of your son. He is not behaving properly.”

Ultimately Mother Yasoda found Krishna, and when He saw her approaching—He was sitting, eating the makhana—He immediately got up and began to flee, and she started to pursue Him, but because He was smaller and more agile, He was able to get away. But eventually He allowed her to catch Him, and once she caught Him, she wanted to bind Him with ropes. Every morning she would tie His belt before He went to the pasturing grounds, so she didn’t think it would be difficult. But when she attempted to tie the rope, it was two inches too short, or, as the Bhagavatam says, the width of two fingers too short. So she added some more rope, but it was still two fingers too short. She added some more. It was still two fingers too short. She gathered all the ropes in the household—and being in a cowherd community, they had a lot of ropes for tying the cows and calves. And the neighbors were bringing their ropes. It was miles and miles of ropes, but she still couldn’t bind Krishna. But she didn’t give up. Her friends were telling her, “You are not going to be able to do it. This is not working. Just give up.” But she was so sincere, feeling that, as Krishna’s mother, she had a duty, that she endeavored to tie Him up so that He wouldn’t create further mischief—and to teach Him a lesson. So, she didn’t give up, and when Krishna saw her sincere effort, His heart melted and He allowed her to bind Him.

Our acharyas have commented on the significance of the two fingers by which the rope was too short. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that there was a competition between Krishna’s desire and Yasoda’s desire. Krishna’s desire was to be free and play with His friends, and Yasoda’s desire was to bind Krishna, so their desires were opposed to each other. Krishna has two saktis. One potency is called satya-sankalpa-sakti, which means that whatever He desires is fulfilled. So, that came into play. Another potency is called vibhuti-sakti, which allows Him to manifest His opulences, although He usually doesn’t—only when necessary. Say there is a forest fire. He can be defeated by His friends in their sports, but when there is a forest fire or some other threat to the residents of Vrindavan, the vibhuti-sakti comes into play and allows Him to manifest His opulences and swallow the forest fire.

In this case the two shaktis—satya-sankalpa and vibhuti—joined together to fulfill His desire to play, and Mother Yasoda couldn’t bind Him. But when He saw her tireless efforts, He felt compassionate toward her, and He allowed her to bind Him. The acharyas say that one finger represents parisrama, personal endeavor, and that the other represents krsna-krpa, Krishna’s mercy. When these two combine, Krishna agrees to be bound.

So, we make our effort. We never give up, no matter what. We make our effort, and when Krishna sees that we are so sincere in our effort to serve Him and please Him, His heart melts and He allows Himself to be bound. In any effort it is the same combination: our hard labor (parisrama) and Krishna’s mercy (krsna-krpa). It applies to our efforts to preach and to distribute books. It applies to our efforts to hear and to chant, to chant japa. We make our effort, and at the same time we pray for Krishna’s mercy. We depend on Krishna and pray for His mercy.

Here the mood of humility is essential. As long as we think we can do it on our own, we won’t get Krishna’s mercy, at least not to the same extent. That was Ravana’s mentality. He thought he didn’t need anyone. He thought he could do everything by his own strength and powers. So, we all have that little Ravana tendency. You may not—I do. I shouldn’t include you with me. So, we have to be conscious of that tendency and pray to Lord Rama to subdue that Ravana-like tendency within us.

There’s a beautiful prayer by Prahlada Maharaja in the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, in which he prays to Lord Nrsimhadeva, “Please vanquish the demonlike desires in my heart, just like You vanquished the demon Hiranyakasipu.” Hiranya means “gold,” and kasipu means “soft bedding.” Those are the main interests of materialistic people—money and sense indulgence. So, “Just as You killed the great demon Hiranyakasipu, please vanquish the demonlike desires within my heart.” After Nrsimhadeva subdued Hiranyakasipu, He sat on Hiranyakasipu’s throne, lifted the demon onto His lap, and tore his heart out, so we want Lord Nrsimhadeva to sit on the throne of our hearts and kill these demonlike desires for gold and sense gratification.

Srila Prabhupada has given us everything. I am sure people have said the same thing before, but he really has. He has given us the knowledge, he has given us the process, and he has given us the way to invoke Krishna’s mercy. The best way to invoke Krishna’s mercy is to practice and preach. That combination will invoke Krishna’s mercy and make us successful.

In previous ages, the Lord would kill the demons—Nrsimhadeva killed Hiranyakasipu, Ramachandra killed Ravana, and Krishna killed so many demons—but in Kali-yuga, because we all have demonic tendencies within us and pretty much everyone has bad habits, the Lord doesn’t physically kill the person; He kills their demonic mentalities by His mercy, by giving them the holy name. We find that exemplified in the story of Jagai and Madhai. They were violent toward Lord Nityananda, and when Lord Chaitanya heard, He came rushing to the spot, ready to kill them with His Sudarshan chakra. But Nityananda Prabhu appealed to the Lord, “This is Kali-yuga, My Lord. In Kali-yuga You can’t just kill the people like that. In Kali-yuga everyone will be like Jagai and Madhai, so are You going to kill everyone? In Kali-yuga Your mission is to deliver them by Your mercy.” When Lord Nityananda intervened on behalf of the two sinful brothers, Lord Chaitanya hesitated, and the two surrendered to Lord Chaitanya, and He forgave them for their sins, with the condition that they would not commit sins again. They took up the chanting of the holy name. That means they developed faith in Nityananda Prabhu and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and because they developed faith, they took up the chanting and were eligible to receive the Lord’s mercy, and they were forgiven.

That’s our position in Kali-yuga. We need the mercy of Lord Nityananda and through Him the mercy of Lord Chaitanya. Srila Prabhupada said in LA, “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.” In other words, the people on the street, the people in the subways, the people at the airport, the people in the offices, the people in the neighborhood, and sometimes even closer.

So, that is Prabhupada’s special mood, coming from the Panca-tattva. It is his special mood to get the Lord’s mercy by preaching, by approaching anyone and everyone to give them Krishna consciousness, give them the holy name of Krishna. So, our effort (parisrama) has two sides: one is our own practices, hearing and chanting attentively and following the whole system that Prabhupada gave us (sadhana-bhakti), and the other is at the same time making the effort to give Krishna consciousness to others, to induce others to accept the great gift of the holy name.

Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Rama-vijaya-dasami, October 19, 2007, Bhaktivedanta Manor, near London, England]

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
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Yorkville, Toronto

Reflection in Favorable Conditions

 

I believe Prabhupada would really like the weather we are going through. It will be a mild twenty-one degrees Celsius (seventy degrees Fahrenheit) today, and that’s pleasant. He didn’t mind the heat though and the sun. I was blessed to be on a walk with him (and others) at a park in Atlanta. It was February and cold, even for residents there, but he was all bundled up. If I’m not mistaken, he wore the long coat custom made for him in Hawaii by Jaya Sri, an outstanding devotee from the states. She resides in New Vrindavan, West Virginia.

When I do these strolls in Toronto, I do think, from time to time, of our guru’s walking. He walked on the boardwalk at Kew Gardens. The sun was just coming up and there was also the fresh air to inhale, coming off the bay. There was quite the entourage.

One location that he was driving to was Taylor Creek Park, off the Don Valley Parkway. No big lake there but lots of green on both sides of the dirt trail. Although he did not roam most of the city and was not taken to posh Yorkville (which then, ’67, was transitioning out of a hippie haven), the place that I took to today, I still imagine him walking with cane in hand, observing what’s around him.

There were other cities where I had seen him walking or being driven. Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, apart from Toronto and Atlanta. Guru is important in one’s life. It’s important to follow guru with his words and, if lucky, follow him on foot, even if you have to imagine it!

May the Source be with you!

2 km


 

 

Monday, October 11, 2021
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Cleveland, Ohio

Heart Full Weekend

 

There are some really good walking trails in this Ohio city, some of which I’ve explored in the past, especially along Rocky River and the Metro Parks system ravines. The city actually has a lot of green cover. This can be seen from the air as you take off or land.

For me it was my last day and, as I ambled in the area of Olmsted, I was feeling a bit sad. It was a good stay. Even the music oozed out of one person’s garage where a guy was doing some carpentry work and it was that iconic classic piece by Andrea Borelli and Sarah Brightman, “Time to Say Good-bye.” It is a heart tugger.

The last three mornings I’ve spent time with Michael, A.K.A. Madhavananda, and Paurnamasi, my hosts, going over a sadhanasession and, particularly, going over Sanskrit and Bengali adaptation pronunciation of the words. They found it helpful going over what we call kirtan-standards. We even came to an agreement that next summer a group of families will ferry our way to Pelee Island, for a weekend retreat, to go over “Kirtan Standards,” capturing traditional melodies, pronunciation of words, devotional dance steps and also the mood to apply to chanting.

In the heart of Cleveland’s downtown there is a world class “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” which I’ve not as yet ventured to. I guess I’m hooked on chanting more than the music I grew up with. I can do with less heart-break songs and more with heart-whole songs of devotion to Krishna.

May the Source be with you!

2km



 

 

Sunday, October 10, 2021
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Cleveland, Ohio

Walking is Observing

 

I walked in at least two residential areas of Cleveland. I saw more blue jays and squirrels than people. People! Where do they hide? Cars, homes, gyms and restaurants, I suppose. I thought everyone was missing each other because of a long covid threat? The yards to homes here are huge. They are green but empty. I don’t get it. How about children playing in the outdoors?

With Brae we put in an hour and twenty minutes, before and after our indoor event of kirtan, Gita (8.24) and prasadam. We spoke about death in our discussion, based on Chapter 8, which has some powerful verses to remember, regarding taking on a new body linked to your most intense thoughts. We also discussed about life in other spheres, where duration stretches to an astronomical length. The bottom line on life itself is subsequent death and then life thereafter.

Life! What is it really? A person can be active yet show little sign of a living force. We could see living force in the blue jays, squirrels, and also in the pumpkins. Their colour seems to exude a kind of life; an intense orange. We stopped at one of those produce stands off the highway with Madhavananda and Paurnamasi. Indeed, their colour exceeds my robes in that intensity.

Finally, after discussion and walks it is concluded that death is inevitable and a destination becomes determined by our current actions. We are all playing out a role. Lights! Camera! Action!

May the Source be with you!

5 km


 

Saturday, October 9, 2021
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Olmsted, Ohio

First Full Day in Cleveland

 

Brae and I walked for a japa session in this American-dream neighbourhood of expansive yards, fine homes and swimming pools. We came to a juncture and there met a middle-aged couple who stopped their vehicle with a rolled down window in such unusually warm weather for October.

“Buddhist monks?” asked the driver. At least he didn’t ask, “Hallowe’en characters?” Brae wore a white dhotiand chaddar and actually looked like he was wearing a Greek toga. I, myself, was in saffron.

“We are Hare Krishnas,” I replied.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of them.”

“Come to our event at 5 p.m.,” I invited. He made prior arrangements.

Our arrangement was actually a massive tent set up like a banquet hall. The ambiance was like that of a temple. Michael and Paurnamasi had it all so well designed in their yard. The occasion was an initiation ceremony, so nicely attended by friends and relatives. Michael, my host, received the Sanskrit name Madhavananda. Hare, who’s from India, received the name Haripada. His wife, Saumya, is now Sandamini. Shyama, raised in America, is Shyama Kund, named after the sacred pond at Govardhan, India. And Andy now has the name Adi Karta. Andy is an ordained Minister with the United Church.

The priest presiding over the fire arena was Dayal Nitai, A.K.A. Don Foose, a straight-edge vocalist. We sat together and he told me he was a boxer for twenty years. “I would wake up in the morning sore all over my head and have these head aches.”

“I’m glad you’re over this. Congratulations on your brahminical task for this evening.”

I also want to congratulate the five initiates.

May the Source be with you!

2 km



 

 

Friday, October 8, 2021
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Cleveland, Ohio

Went to the U.S.

 

Well, I did it. I left Canada for a visit to the U.S. for the first time since Covid restrictions were implemented. It has been tight at the border since early spring of 2020. My experience at Toronto’s airport, and through U.S. Customs, was relatively smooth. I didn’t even have to produce my Covid passport or the document showing my recent covid test, which reads negative. So, easy sailing.

Bhakta Michael, who’s getting initiated this weekend, picked me up at Cleveland’s Airport with perfect weather conditions. That weather was to later transform into an exciting storm. We paid a visit to Meena’s place, where an interesting warm and cold front collided in the air. I don’t recall hearing thunder claps ever. It was night time and a group of about 20 of us were just sinking our teeth into perogies when a heart cracking tumult from nature occurred.

No one was worried. If some explosion or fire started by lightning, we felt we were in good hands because we were eating blessed food and just about to delve into a Gita discussion, from Chapter 18. We were looking at the three modes of nature and how these energies impact us in so many ways. Our reading led us to the forty-second verse and the qualities of an advanced brahmana, or spiritualist; the qualities of peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, tolerance, honesty, wisdom and their application, as well as being dharmic or pious.

We were in the living room, sheltered from the storm, while Zoomed-in with the Oakville team.

May the Source be with you!


 

Sri Rama-vijaya-dasami
→ Dandavats

By Giriraj Swami

The soldiers Lord Ramacandra recruited in the jungle were all monkeys and did not have proper equipment with which to fight the soldiers of Ravana, for Ravana’s soldiers were equipped with weapons of modern warfare whereas the monkeys could only throw stones, mountain peaks, and trees. It was only Lord Ramacandra and Laksmana who shot some arrows. But because the soldiers of Ravana were condemned by the curse of Mother Sita, the monkeys were able to kill them simply by throwing stones and trees. Continue reading "Sri Rama-vijaya-dasami
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The Passing of Pita Das (ACBSP)
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By Vaisnavananda Das

For those who knew and loved Pita it is a great loss for us and certainly the world at large. Why is the passing of Pita prabhu such a great loss for all? Well, it is difficult to begin extolling his glories, there are so many! Pita prabhu was a great devotee, friendly to all, amicable, compassionate, helpful, very honest, funny, a true Southern gentleman, but most of all his highest virtue is that he loved and served Srila Prabhupada with all his heart and soul! Certainly, people of his caliber, whether devotees or not, have risen above the grade of varna shankara, unwanted population. Continue reading "The Passing of Pita Das (ACBSP)
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Memorial for HH Nitai Chaitanya Goswami
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By Niranjana Swami

"People should not expect that even in the Krishna Consciousness Society there will be Utopia. Because devotees are persons, therefore there will always be some lacking -- but the difference is that their lacking, because they have given up everything to serve Krishna -- money, jobs, reputation, wealth, big educations, everything -- their lackings have become transcendental because, despite everything they may do, their topmost intention is to serve Krishna. "One who is engaged in devotional service, despite the most abominable action, is to be considered saintly because he is rightly situated.'' The devotees of Krishna are the most exalted persons on this planet, better than kings, all of them, so we should always remember that and, like the bumblebee, always look for the nectar or the best qualities of a person." Continue reading "Memorial for HH Nitai Chaitanya Goswami
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TOVP Srila Prabhupada e-Abhishekam Seva Opportunity
- TOVP.org

On October 14, during the Grand Welcome Ceremony of Srila Prabhupada to the TOVP, the TOVP Team will launch the first-ever e-Abhishekam online virtual murti bathing ceremony. Every devotee will have an opportunity to virtually ‘bathe’ Srila Prabhupada from a choice of several different auspicious substances.

There is no cost for this unique seva opportunity. It has been designed to give every devotee the chance to bathe Srila Prabhupada during this historic Welcome Ceremony commemorating His Divine Grace’s 125th Appearance Anniversary Year.

Book your slot TODAY by registering your name at the link below: https://m.tovp.org/eabhishekam

 

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