Bali Homas
→ Ramai Swami

Most grhastha devotees in Bali have deities at home and according to their means worship them regularly. They are also very fond of arranging different types of yajnas, from vastu, Nrsimha and other types of ceremonies. I get numerous invitations to attend, lead kirtan and speak at these functions, which I see is a great privilege.

Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies Joins University of Arizona’s Conference on Consciousness
→ ISKCON News

Akhandadhi Das (Martin Fleming) opened the workshop with a summary of Vaishnava Vedanta and Sankhya metaphysics which could address the problematic gaps in current thinking about the interaction of the conscious agent, the mind and the brain. The Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies (BIHS) made a significant achievement by participating in the University of Arizona’s […]

The post Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies Joins University of Arizona’s Conference on Consciousness appeared first on ISKCON News.

Dott. Massimo Introvigne – Video for the 50° Anniversary of ISKCon in Italy
→ Dandavats

(Automatic translation) Good morning to everyone, I am Massimo Introvigne, sociologist, co-founder and director of the Cesnur study center on new religions in Turin and I am here to replace Professor Pierluigi Zoccatelli whose name appeared in the original program of this conference and who unfortunately left us last week in following a sudden cardiac
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Construction Updates on the State-of-the Art Sri Mayapur Community Hospital
→ ISKCON News

Harilila Das (left); the Sri Mayapur Community Hospital under construction. In a recent interview, Harilila Das, head of ISKCON Mayapur’s Health Care Division, shared the latest updates on the Sri Mayapur Community Hospital project. The ground-breaking initiative is spread across an area of approximately five acres and will have a palliative care facility, a birth […]

The post Construction Updates on the State-of-the Art Sri Mayapur Community Hospital appeared first on ISKCON News.

COMING OF AGE #16 – I, Me, Mine – Field!
→ ISKCON News

There’s one thing about minefields. They are dangerous. The “I, Me, Mine” mentality is arguably more deadly to our spiritual progress, even if compared to the dangers of traversing an explosive minefield during a war. There’s a famous story of Srila Prabhupada on a cold and damp morning walk with his walking cane. There were […]

The post COMING OF AGE #16 – I, Me, Mine – Field! appeared first on ISKCON News.

Krishna Center for Empathic Communication to Host Online Workshop
→ ISKCON News

Bir Krishna Das Goswami; Workshop details. The Krishna Center for Empathic Communication, an online platform under the guidance of Bir Krishna Das Goswami, is hosting an online workshop called “Seeking Harmony Within and Without” from June 16 to August 18, 2024, led by Madhuri Radhika Devi Dasi. The workshop meets weekly for two hours, focusing […]

The post Krishna Center for Empathic Communication to Host Online Workshop appeared first on ISKCON News.

Astronaut Carried Bhagavad Gita on Historic Starliner Flight to the International Space Station
→ ISKCON News

Photo credit: Joel Kowsky. On Thursday, the new Boeing Starliner made history by successfully docking with the International Space Station.  One of the two astronauts aboard, Sunita Williams, brought some “essentials” along on the mission, including the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and homemade samosas.   Navy Officer Williams was first selected for NASA’s astronaut program […]

The post Astronaut Carried Bhagavad Gita on Historic Starliner Flight to the International Space Station appeared first on ISKCON News.

Sadhu Sanga Kirtan Retreat Returns to Texas with Record-Breaking Attendance
→ ISKCON News

Over Memorial Day weekend 2024, more than 3,100 devotees gathered in Frisco, Texas, for the 11th annual US-based Sadhu Sanga Kirtan Retreat, organized by Indradyumna Swami. The sold-out event was held at the Frisco Convention Center near Dallas, Texas and welcomed devotees from 46 states and 14 countries. Attendees enjoyed 24 hours of joyful kirtans […]

The post Sadhu Sanga Kirtan Retreat Returns to Texas with Record-Breaking Attendance appeared first on ISKCON News.

Greek-Catholic Seminarians Visit ISKCON’s New Navadvipa Mandir in Kyiv, Ukraine
→ ISKCON News

On June 5th, 2024, a group of Greek-Catholic seminarians visited the ISKCON Kyiv temple with their professor as part of their religious studies curriculum, which includes learning about other spiritual traditions.   Under the guidance of Acyuta Priya Das and Bhakti Caru Das, the group of seminarians experienced a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the […]

The post Greek-Catholic Seminarians Visit ISKCON’s New Navadvipa Mandir in Kyiv, Ukraine appeared first on ISKCON News.

Canadian Devotees Open Unique Cultural Centre in Northern Ontario
→ ISKCON News

Sri Sri Radha Muskoka Isvara with 175 preparations in the new Muskoka Krishna Cultural Centre. The Muskoka Cultural Centre in Huntsville, Ontario celebrated its Grand Opening during the 3rd week of May 2024, with the aim of spreading Krishna Consciousness, prasadam, and kirtan in a welcoming environment to the local and larger community. By Srila […]

The post Canadian Devotees Open Unique Cultural Centre in Northern Ontario appeared first on ISKCON News.

Radha Gopinatha Temple Bali
→ Ramai Swami

Bali has six main Iskcon temples and of course a few smaller centres. It’s always a privilege visiting for darshan, kirtan, lectures and associating with devotees.

Last week 63 Malaysian youth devotees stayed at our Radha Gopinatha temple in the Baha area and very much enjoyed their visit.

I was able to lead kirtan and speak recently at the temple, along with Kavicandra Maharaja. We also went for some home programs and yajnas. As usual, it was blissful and prasadam was fantastic.

ISKCON South Africa and Food for Life Rushes Aid to Tornado Victims
→ ISKCON News

Gomatila Dasa and his Food for Life team distributing prasada in affected area. A tornado has caused significant damage in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, resulting in the loss of eleven lives and injuries to more than 50 people. The town of Tongaat was one of the most affected areas, with numerous homes […]

The post ISKCON South Africa and Food for Life Rushes Aid to Tornado Victims appeared first on ISKCON News.

Kirtan-lila Rome 2024
→ Dandavats

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Vrindavan Eshvari (@vrindavan.eshvari) View this post on Instagram A post shared by @uliana_roy View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tarana (@taranacaitanya) View this post on Instagram A post shared by @uliana_roy View this post on Instagram A post shared by Vrindavan Eshvari (@vrindavan.eshvari)
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ISKCON’s 30th Communications Conference Held at Radhadesh
→ ISKCON News

The four-day ISKCON Communications conference held at Radhadesh on May 25–28 was the thirtieth conference organized by ISKCON Communications Europe (ICE). The first day was dedicated to this anniversary.  Mahaprabhu Dasa, ICE’s current director, invited Mukunda Goswami, the original director of ISKCON Communications worldwide, to open the conference by video.  Mukunda Goswami spoke from Australia, […]

The post ISKCON’s 30th Communications Conference Held at Radhadesh appeared first on ISKCON News.

Annapurna Dasi’s “Illuminations from the Ramayana” Exhibit Debuts at MOSA
→ ISKCON News

On May 25, 2024, a new exhibition featuring the paintings of Annapurna Dasi (Anna Johansson) opened at the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) in Radhadesh, Belgium. Titled “Illuminations from the Ramayana,” it will be on display for one year and showcase more than 350 of her pencil-and-ink and water-color paintings.  Originally from Sweden, Annapurna Dasi […]

The post Annapurna Dasi’s “Illuminations from the Ramayana” Exhibit Debuts at MOSA appeared first on ISKCON News.

Achievements and activities of ISKCON Russian speaking Yatra for the month of May
→ Dandavats

I am excited to share with you the wonderful achievements and activities of ISKCON Russian speaking Yatra for the month of May. Maha Harinam with Indradyumna Maharaja: We started the month with a vibrant Maha Harinam featuring Indradyumna Maharaja. Our matajis dressed in colorful sarees, adding to the festive atmosphere and spreading joy through their
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When Krishna always uses his free will properly, why don’t we too when we are his parts?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Transcription

Question: When Krishna always uses His free will properly, why don’t we too when we are His parts?

If Krishna is All-Good and He uses free will to do all good, how can we do bad with our free will?

Answer: Independence without intelligence leads to decadence. Krishna is not only fully independent, he is also fully intelligent. We have independence, but because we are tiny parts, our independence is tiny and our intelligence is also tiny.

As long as we act only based on our tiny intelligence, we cannot always use our independence properly. Because of improper use of intelligence, we go into decadence. We make wrong choices and we become degraded. We hurt ourselves, we hurt others also. But as parts, we have fractional independence, and independence brings responsibility. We use the independence properly. Because Krishna has infinite intelligence, so Krishna always uses His intelligence for benevolence. Benevolence means to do good for oneself and others. So, when we connect with Krishna, when we turn towards Krishna, when we take intelligence from Him, then our independence also will lead to benevolence. But as long as we rely on our own fractional intelligence, then there is always the possibility that our intelligence can mislead us.

So, it’s not just a matter of we “being” parts of Krishna, but we also “staying” as parts of Krishna by using our intelligence properly. Otherwise, we will not be able to use our independence properly, and that’s how we’ll end up in decadence, doing wrong things.

End of transcription.

How to reconcile Krishna’s omniscience with our having free will?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Answer Podcast:

Transcription
Question: How to reconcile Krishna’s omniscience with our having free will?

If Krishna knows past, present and future, how do we reconcile that with the fact that we have free will? Or if we have free will, how do we reconcile that with Krishna’s knowing past present and future?

Answer: Firstly, Jiva Goswami explains in the Sandarbhas that when we approach Krishna, there is the concept of Achintya tattva, inconceivability that needs to be understood. What does inconceivability mean? He says that sometimes scripture talks about two attributes of God or two spiritual principles. Now, they seem contradictory to us, but they are not necessarily contradictory. Why? Because God can have powers that we don’t have. He says if scripture is saying two statements, say for example, scripture says that the Absolute Truth is personal and scripture also talks that the Absolute Truth is impersonal. How that is so? That we don’t know, but we accept both as true.

Similarly, scripture is quite clear that we have free will. The end of the Bhagavad Gita is what? Krishna is asking Arjuna, yathecchasi tathā kuru (18.63). Scripture is also clear that vedāhaṁ samatītāni vartamānāni cārjuna bhaviṣyāṇi ca bhūtāni. In 18.63, Krishna is emphasizing our free will. In 7.25-26, he says that Him no one knows, but He knows everything. How is this to be reconciled? I will talk about three main points in this.

First is that God’s knowledge of the future is like our knowledge of the past. What does that mean? (Laughter). Our knowledge of the past is knowledge without control. I did something in the past, I know it, but I can’t correct it right now. God’s knowledge of the future is also knowledge without intervention. It is not that Krishna cannot intervene, but He chooses not to intervene because He respects our free will. So, it is not necessary that knowledge has to mean that our freedom is taken away. This is a philosophical analysis. From a little more practical point of view, what it means is that if there are three roads on our path, there is a road over here, this road goes to a rocky area, this road is a smooth road, and this road goes into a dead end. Now, if someone takes a particular road, we know eventually what is going to happen. Choices are connected with consequences. So, which choice will lead to which consequence is known to a person who knows the whole area/terrain. But that does not still mean that that person forces the person to make a particular choice.

Similarly, Krishna knows the future in the sense that He knows there are certain choices that will lead to certain consequences, but still He gives us free will by which we can choose.

Secondly, and more importantly, in the spiritual realm, more important than knowledge is love. That means if you see when Krishna performs Krishna leela, He knows what is going to happen. It is He who is performing the pastime, it is He who knows, “Oh, when I’m going to steal butter, Yashoda Ma is going to come from here and then she’s going to catch me, then I’m going to run here, then this is going to happen, this is going to happen.” Now, Krishna knows everything. Sometimes when there is some suspense novel, then somebody says, this is a very good mystery novel, this is a good suspense novel, “don’t tell the story to me, don’t tell the end, otherwise you’ll spoil all the fun.” (Laughter).

In that sort of mystery novel, the fun is in knowing. Whereas, when there is love between two people, the joy is in the doing. It’s not so much in the knowing. Knowing is there, but the joy is in the doing. Krishna loves Yashoda Ma, Yashoda Ma loves Krishna, and in just their reciprocation there is joy. So it is not necessary that the event happening in a particular way and this happening or that happening, that’s what brings joy. It’s just their reciprocation that brings joy. In the spiritual realm, more important than knowledge is the expression of affection. For us as sadhakas, irrespective of whether Krishna knows or not our future, what is more important is that we have the opportunity to express our affection to Krishna and by expressing our affection to him, we can experience higher spiritual happiness. Ultimately, what applies to the spiritual realm? Now it is not only Krishna who knows what pastimes He is going to do. Krishna has certain assistants, associates, who participate in the pastimes and some associates who set the scene for the pastimes. Like we have Paurnamasi or we have Yogamaya especially. She’s setting the scenes for the pastimes. When she does that, the whole purpose is that she knows what is going to happen and still she relishes it.

In the spiritual world, knowing is not as important as doing and loving through that. The same applies to the sadhakas. We don’t have to bother whether, you know, if Krishna knows the future, then does Krishna know when I’m going to go to Him, when I’m going to attain Him and then if I’m going to go to Him after 10 lifetimes, maybe I can practice bhakti after 10 lifetimes only. (Laughter) Why practice now? No, the point is, even if we are going to go to Krishna after 10 lifetimes, if you are practicing bhakti, those 10 lifetimes will be much richer. We will be much better in our existence here, much better in our contributions, whatever we can do for others. The point is, even if it is after 10 lifetimes we will go to Krishna, still those 10 lifetimes also we can be experiencing Krishna prem, even if it is not a very advanced level, but still we can experience love for Krishna and experience the higher life devoted to Him in this world.

If we shift that focus, as devotees, we’re not really concerned so much about the future. Yes, we want to attain Krishna, but our focus is on loving Krishna. I came from India to America. Suppose I had come here to meet someone and the person who I had come to meet, I had not met that person before. I come to America and I find the address, I knock on that door, the person opens the door. Then I say, “Oh, this person was sitting right next to me in my flight, throughout my flight, but because I did not know this person, so I did not know this was the person I was going to meet.” Like that, Krishna is not just someone whom we will attain when we attain Krishnaloka. Krishna is right next to us in our own hearts: sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo, He is right now in our hearts. It is not that the opportunity to connect with Krishna depends on our attaining Him in some distant future. That opportunity is there right now. Even though we may not realize and relish it as much as we will when we become purified, but still that opportunity is there right now.

The whole essence of bhakti is what we can do to connect with Krishna, how we can love and serve Krishna right now. Whether it is Krishna’s omniscience or it is Krishna’s omnipotence, Krishna knows past, present and future, that is His omniscience. Omnipotence is whether He can do anything and everything. All these attributes are subordinated for the purpose of love. See, Krishna is omnipotent, so how can Mother Yashoda tie Him? But still, for the sake of reciprocating love, He lets Himself get tied. Just as Krishna and Krishna’s love focuses not on His Godhood, but on the reciprocation of love, similarly, when we are practicing bhakti, we don’t focus too much on His Godhood, in the sense that certainly we focus on His Godhood so that we subordinate ourselves to Him, but when it comes to practicing bhakti, we focus not on His Godhood, but on the principle of offering our love.

End of transcription.

New Book by Vaisesika Dasa Answers Four Timeless Questions, Offers Inspiration
→ ISKCON News

“The Four Questions: A Pathway to Inner Peace” by Vaisesika Dasa is a remarkable, compact book that not only summarizes the wisdom of ancient Vedic texts into four multi-layered questions but also provides practical answers that are highly relevant to the complex dilemmas and frustrations we all face in today’s world. The four questions that […]

The post New Book by Vaisesika Dasa Answers Four Timeless Questions, Offers Inspiration appeared first on ISKCON News.

Highlights Report from May 29th GBC Meeting Released
→ ISKCON News

We are pleased to present the GBC Meeting Highlight Report for the GBC Meeting held on 29 May 2024. This report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the online GBC meeting highlighting key topics discussed. The meeting commenced with Prahladananda Swami leading the pranams (invocation prayers) followed by a reading by Krishnadas Kaviraj Das […]

The post Highlights Report from May 29th GBC Meeting Released appeared first on ISKCON News.

ISKCON Italy Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Prestigious Gathering and Ratha Yatra
→ ISKCON News

Parabhakti Dasa speaking at the event. Seated to the right: Ugo Papi, Msgr. Michael Santiago, and Madhu Sevita Dasa. June 1, 2024, marked a historic turning point for Yatra Italia as it moved closer to achieving the Agreement with the State, the highest recognition for a religion in Italy. This status will enable devotees to […]

The post ISKCON Italy Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Prestigious Gathering and Ratha Yatra appeared first on ISKCON News.

Mantra In Munich
→ Dandavats

By Maharishi Das Sorry I’ve not written anything in a while but often think maybe me writting gets a bit too much and will just bore all of you, however I have been moved to write of a sweet simple loving exchange that I had recently. Every day I am meeting people through my work
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​When the modes control us, how do we have free will?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Answer Podcast

Transcription

Question: When the modes control us, how do we have free will?

So, when we act, our actions happen under the three modes, and even when we act, we say ultimately everything is happening by Krishna’s will, so sometimes when we act, that is also a reaction to our past actions. So, in all this, where does our free will come in?

Answer: Yes. We can consider the modes as a triplet, which multiplies. There are three primary colors. From those three primary colors, we can have a large number of colors. Like that, there are three primary modes, from which there are wide varieties of combinations of modes that can come out.

The modes present us choices, but those choices are not compulsions. When we say we act under the modes, that does not mean that we have to act under a particular mode all the time. Krishna, in the 14th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, when he tells about the three modes, it’s like we could consider three modes as, I have come till this point, and now I have three courses of action. Now, I have to go on one of those three courses. If we are practicing bhakti, we can say there is a fourth course of transcendence, but I have to go according to one of those, but which of those, that is up to me. So that means the modes determine the gamut of our choices. The modes don’t determine our specific choice.

For example, sometimes, you know, if there is a multiple-choice exam, and sometimes within the multiple-choice exam, there is a typing mistake so that the right answer is not there only in the multiple choice. (Laughter). So then, I look at it, which is the capital of India, and there is no Delhi only. What do I do there? What has happened over here, the gamut of choices, that is determined by the examiner, but then, which choice the student makes, that is not determined by that five, among the five, there is choice. The student may just say all five are wrong, the student may just add a choice, none of the above.

The point is that the modes don’t determine our specific choice. The modes provide us a gamut of choices, and within that gamut of choices, if we have repeatedly acted according to a particular mode, then a particular kind of action, we may be more inclined to choose that, but we are not compelled to choose that. The capacity to choose always remains with us; the extent of the choice, that may vary. For example, even if somebody is a compulsive alcoholic, he says, I can’t live without alcohol. But you know, even within alcohol, they may decide. Even if somebody says I can’t live without tea. Okay, but even within tea, you can take tea which is, you know, which is heavy tea or which is light tea. Somebody says I cannot live without sugar, I want to take sweets. But even with sweets, there are artificial sweeteners, there are natural sweeteners. Even when we talk about compulsion, even within the compulsion, there is choice. Based on how we choose, that compulsion increases or that compulsion decreases. The modes determine the scope of our choices, but the specific choice is not determined by the modes.

Now as far as the reactions to our past are concerned, yes, the reactions can come internally as the modes. That means the kind of modes that we have and the kind of behavioral pushings that we get, they are also reactions to our past karma, but along with that, the reactions to our past karma may also come as particular circumstances. For example, if I fall sick, then the ambit of my choice may be limited, you know, if I am so sick and if I have flu and I am weak, then I cannot go out of my room, but what I do inside my room is still free, it’s up to me. I can just sulk and feel sorry for myself or I can just shout and become gripey and shout at everyone who comes near me or I can try to become more introspective, I can read something. That choice is up to me. That’s why whatever reactions come to us by our past karma, again, they determine our external circumstances, they may also determine our internal inclinations, but they don’t determine our behavior per se. That is something which we still have the capacity to choose.

Everything is ultimately controlled by Krishna. But when we say everything is controlled by Krishna, that means that He “sanctions”, He does not “force” everything. Upadrasta anumanta ca: He is the overseer and the permitter. He is not the compeller of everything. This is most graphically seen when Krishna goes as a Shantidooth to Duryodhana. And here we see that God fails. If God is omnipotent, then how can He fail in persuading Duryodhana? This pastime is actually a testimony to God’s respect for human free will. Krishna rather than forcing Duryodhana to act in a particular way, Krishna appeals to the intelligence of Duryodhana, but Duryodhana doesn’t act according to his intelligence. So then, Krishna sanctions that. Sanctioning means not necessarily wanting a particular course of action, but allowing a particular course of action. Because we have been given free will, sometimes we may choose to act in ways which are undesirable. And sometimes, Krishna may allow that. Our free will is always there with us, but based on the ways in which we have used our free will in the past, the extent of the free will may vary.

If there is a horse which is tied to a pole, now some horses who are known to be very violent, they may be tied with very tight ropes and the ropes themselves may be very short. Some horses which are known to be friendly, they may be tied with a long rope, they are allowed to move around. Now all the ropes that are there, they control the horse. But within the circle, within the radius of that circle, the horses can do various things. Some horses can just strain and strain and strain and strain and they may just injure their legs or injure their necks by that straining. If there is some grass in that area, some food in that area, the others may eat that food over there.

To summarize it, whether it is God’s will or whether it is past karma, whether it is our modes, they determine the framework within which we have freedom, but they don’t take away our freedom. The framework of our freedom may be shaped by factors beyond our control, but our freedom, our capacity to choose is still there and when we make wise choices, the scope of our freedom increases.

End of transcription.

Vrndavan Dasa Thakura Appearance
→ Ramai Swami

Srimad Vrndavan dasa Thakura’s mother’s name was Sri Narayani Devi.  Narayani Devi was the daughter of Srivas Thakura’s brother.  After the disappeareance of  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srivas Thakura went to live in Kumar Hatta. Srivasa Thakura had three brothers: Sripati, Srirama and Srinidhi.

In his commentary on the Caitanya Bhagavata, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura: “At the ancestral home of Malini-devi  [the wife of Srivasa Thakura] Vrindavana dasa played as a small boy growing up.  There he was nourished and cared after just like a valuable gem.”

Vrindavana Dasa Thakura took birth four years after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa.  When Mahaprabhu had disappeared from this world and entered into his aprakrita-lila, Vrindavana Das was barely twenty years old.  

Soon thereafter, Vrindavan Das Thakura accepted initiation from Sri Nityananda Prabhu.  He is Nityananda’s eternal servant.  Sri Vrindavana Dasa Thakura went with  Sri Jahnava-devi to the great festival in Kheturi gram.  The poet Sri Krishna das Kaviraja Goswami writes of the endless glories of Vrindavan das Thakura:

“Krishna’s life was written in the Bhagavata of Vyasa. The Vedavyasa for Sri Caitanya was Vrindavana Dasa. Vrindavan das has called his book the “Caitanya Mangala”. Whoever hears his book no grave misfortunes shall befall. Who reads it knows the glories of Caitanya and Nitai.”

“Since such a wonderful book could not be written by a human being, it seems that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself has spoken it through the mouth of Srila Vrndavana Dasa Thakura. I offer millions of respectful obeisances to the lotus feet of Vrndavana Dasa Thakura. By compiling such a valuable book he has delivered everyone from the cycle of birth and death.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 8.33-42)

At Mamagacchi in Modadrumadvipa (Navadvipa), Vrndavana Dasa Thakura establised Deities of Nitai-Gauranga and Sri Jagannatha. He lived there as a celibate and worshiped his beloved Deities. Vrndavana Dasa Thakura had many disciples including Gopinatha Brahmacari, a descendent of Sri Kesava Bharati.

 In Krishna’s pastimes Vrndavana Dasa Thakura is Srila Vyasadeva. His samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis Area of Vrindavana.

  

A Festival of Devotion Honoring Kadamba Kanana Swami
→ ISKCON News

In the heart of Vrindavan, amidst the vibrant colors of the Holi festival of India in 2024, devotees from around the globe converged to honor the Tirobhava & Samadhi Festival for Kadamba Kanana Swami. This sacred gathering, rich in devotion and celebration, marked a significant milestone in the ongoing spiritual journey of his seniors, disciples, […]

The post A Festival of Devotion Honoring Kadamba Kanana Swami appeared first on ISKCON News.

Srila Vrindavan Dasa Thakura’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is Srila Vrindavan dasa Thakura’s appearance day. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 11.55) states, “Srila Vyasadeva described the pastimes of Krsna in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Vyasa of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was Vrndavana dasa.” In his purport Srila Prabhupada elaborates: “Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura was an incarnation of Vedavyasa and also a friendly cowherd boy named Kusumapida in krsna-lila. In other words, the author of Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura, the son of Srivasa Thakura’s niece Narayani, was a combined incarnation of Vedavyasa and the cowherd boy Kusumapida.” Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura was the last initiated disciple of Sri Nityananda Prabhu.

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 8.33–40, 42, 44) Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami glorifies Srila Vrindavan dasa Thakura and his book Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (then called Sri Caitanya-mangala): “O fools, just read Sri Caitanya-mangala! By reading this book you can understand all the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thakura Vrndavana dasa has composed Sri Caitanya-mangala. Hearing this book annihilates all misfortune. By reading Sri Caitanya-mangala one can understand all the glories and truths of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda and come to the ultimate conclusion of devotional service to Lord Krsna. In Sri Caitanya-mangala [later known as Sri Caitanya-bhagavata] Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has given the conclusion and essence of devotional service by quoting the authoritative statements of Srimad-Bhagavatam. If even a great atheist hears Sri Caitanya-mangala, he immediately becomes a great devotee. The subject matter of this book is so sublime that it appears that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally spoken through the writings of Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura. I offer millions of obeisances unto the lotus feet of Vrndavana dasa Thakura. No one else could write such a wonderful book for the deliverance of all fallen souls. What a wonderful description he has given of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya! Anyone in the three worlds who hears it is purified. Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has written Sri Caitanya-mangala and therein described in all respects the pastimes of Lord Caitanya.”

In his purport to text 45 Srila Prabhupada writes, “Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura’s Sri Caitanya-bhagavata was originally entitled Sri Caitanya-mangala, but when Srila Locana dasa Thakura later wrote another book named Sri Caitanya-mangala, Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura changed the name of his own book, which is now therefore known as Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. The life of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very elaborately described in the Caitanya-bhagavata, and Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has already informed us that in his Sri Caitanya-caritamrta he has described whatever Vrndavana dasa Thakura has not mentioned. This acceptance of Sri Caitanya-bhagavata by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami indicates his acceptance of the disciplic succession. A writer of transcendental literature never tries to surpass the previous acaryas.”

And he writes in his purport to text 48, “The subject matter of this book is so sublime that it appears that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally spoken through the writings of Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura”—Srila Prabhupada explains, “The secret in a devotee’s writing is that when he writes about the pastimes of the Lord, the Lord helps him; he does not write himself. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (10.10), dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te. Since a devotee writes in service to the Lord, the Lord from within gives him so much intelligence that he sits down near the Lord and goes on writing books. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami confirms that what Vrndavana dasa Thakura wrote was actually spoken by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and that Vrndavana dasa simply repeated it.”

How blessed we are to receive knowledge of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through our glorious parampara—and to be engaged in their service.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

The Mayapur App Is Out!
→ Mayapur.com

Hare Krsna Devotees Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada On the auspicious occasion of Nrsimha Chaturdasi 2024, ISKCON Mayapur would like to offer the ‘Mayapur’ App for the pleasure of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Sri Panca-Tattva, Sri Sri Prahlad Nrsimhadeva and Srila Prabhupada. Vision for ‘Mayapur’ App Srila Prabhupada said, […]

​Does the precision of astrological predictions imply that we don’t have free will?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Answer Podcast

Transcription

Question: Does the precision of astrological predictions imply that we don’t have free will?

Answer: They are very factual and very accurately determine certain things about our lives.

Our past karma does determine certain major landmarks in our lives.

Suppose I am going from here to Melbourne, and I board a flight to Melbourne. Once I board a flight to Melbourne, the trajectory is more or less fixed. I can see that I am here now; I came to Calcutta; now I am coming to Bangkok; now I am coming to Singapore. So, the trajectory is more or less fixed, and once I have boarded that flight, I can’t change the trajectory. 

At the same time, when the flight is going along its trajectory, I have some choices. It also may be determined, once I take a particular seat, who is going to sit beside me; that also may be fixed. Who is going to sit to my left, and who is going to sit to my right? That may also be fixed. 

But within what I do, I still have free will, and I can be in a very argumentative mood. I fight and quarrel next to me. Then, I may become abusive and attack somebody. As soon as I come out of the plane, I am under arrest. Or I find that the person sitting next to me is a very influential businessman. I come up with a business deal. I had a lot of prospects in front of me after I came out of the flight.

Once I am in the flight, a large pattern of my life is fixed, once I boarded the flight. Still, within that, I have substantial freedom.

When we start our life journey, we consider our body to be a plane; we have ascended the plane. The body is a plane journey from birth through youth, middle age, old age, and ultimately death. That trajectory is fixed.

That trajectory can be told, to some extent, through astrology. Things like, when you go on a plane, they can tell where you are going to go, where the plane is at this time, who is going to sit next to you here, who is ahead of you, and who is going to be behind. Those things are fixed, but what we are going to do is not fixed.

Sometimes we may say, I want to change my seat; I want to go from here. I sit somewhere else. Some amount of freedom is there. Astrology determines certain things in our lives.Those who are accredited astrologers may be able to tell us about these things. Still, it doesn’t mean everything is determined.

For example, if I am born in India, a large percentage of the people with whom I am going to associate are Indians. That is fixed by my birth in India. I may migrate to some other country, and then the people around me change. Even there, I may want to associate with Indians because that’s what I am familiar with. Then I may form a group, and I will have a large number of Indians with me. I may interact with some other people as well.

It’s not necessary that the predetermination of certain things or the capacity to predetermine certain things necessarily imply that nothing is in our hands. Everything is predetermined.

We have free will. One challenge in dealing with astrology is knowing in advance which factors are predicted to be right or wrong. We may not be able to know, based on how precise the astrologer is, how precise the kind of astrology is. How much initiative do we take in our own lives?

If we start practicing bhakti, astrologers also tell us that it is an important element that may change the astrological predictions to some extent. That’s why we don’t need to overdepend on astrology.

Astrology doesn’t mean that we don’t have free will. It means that certain things in our lives are determined, and certain things are malleable and choosable for us.

End of transcription.

Devotee Youth Camp Bali
→ Ramai Swami

Young devotees from the Jagannatha Gauranga Temple in Bali organized a camping trip at the beautiful lakes area, half way between Denpasar and Singaraja. The accommodation was comfortable cabin style and over one hundred youth and parents attended.

Kavicandra Maharaja and I were invited to give class and lead kirtan in the mornings and evenings. During the day the devotees took each others’ association and went out on canoes around the lake. Prasadam was wonderful and everyone had a great time.

Vedic Culture Means Protection
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What is the difference between the spiritual and the material worlds? In the spiritual world, everyone is serving Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And these lovers of Krishna are also serving one another. Even Krishna relishes serving His devotees. It cannot be fathomed. No one wants to get ahead, be the best, or […]

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Happy Father’s Day
Giriraj Swami

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

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

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

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

Hare Krishna.

 

 

 

 

BRC Releases Visual Tour of its Extensive Rare Manuscript Collections
→ ISKCON News

The Bhaktivedanta Research Centre (BRC)  has released a visual tour on YouTube of  their extensive collection of rare manuscripts, books, and journals dedicated to Vaishnavism and Indian philosophy. Located in Kolkata, West Bengal, the BRC is a premier institution dedicated to the preservation and study of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and Indian philosophical traditions, housing a growing […]

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