Rama-katha
Giriraj Swami

This verse is quoted in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Padyavali (151): ramo nama babhuva hum tad-abala siteti hum tam pitur vaca pancavati-vane viharatas tasyharad ravanah nidrartham janaki-katham iti harer hum-karatah srnvatah saumitre kva dhanur dhanur dhanur iti vyagra girah pantu nah  [Mother Yasoda is telling Sri Krishna a story:] “There was once a king named […]

Sri Rama-navami
Giriraj Swami

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven: “Scheduled Incarnations.” TEXT 23 asmat-prasada-sumukhah kalaya kalesa   iksvaku-vamsa avatirya guror nidese tisthan vanam sa-dayitanuja avivesa   yasmin virudhya dasa-kandhara artim arcchat TRANSLATION Due to His causeless mercy upon all living entities within the universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with His plenary extensions, appeared in […]

Thoughts on April Fools’ Day
Giriraj Swami

April Fools’ Day is celebrated yearly on April 1, and today I thought of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction that we remain fools before the spiritual master, as stated in a conversation in Bombay, August 16, 1976. A devotee asked, “Even nitya-siddha has guru . . . Even the liberated soul, nitya-siddha?” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Liberated […]

Chanting Means Associating with Krishna
Giriraj Swami

Krishna is absolute. Krishna the person, and Krishna’s words, Bhagavad-gita—there is no difference. Advaya-jnana, no duality. Everything is one, absolute. Krishna is absolute, Krishna’s instruction is also absolute, Krishna’s pastimes absolute. Everything. That is Absolute Truth. There is no difference. In the material world, the name and the thing are different. Suppose here is mango—mango […]

To Get Rid of Material Pains, One Must Chant Hare Krishna
Giriraj Swami

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, samsara-visanale, divanisi hiya jvale, judaite na kainu upaya: “We are always suffering from material pangs, and our hearts are burning, but we cannot find any way out of it.” The materialistic person can also be called a tapasvi, which means someone who is always suffering from material pains. One can […]

Srila Prabhupada Took Pain to Translate—We Should Take Advantage
Giriraj Swami

We have got Krishna; we have got spiritual master; we have got books, Bhagavata and Gita. Now let us take advantage of it. We have taken much pain to translate these transcendental literatures into English so that you can understand. We have got fifty books. So take advantage. It is not meant for the cats […]

Know about Krishna—Don’t Be a Cheater
Giriraj Swami

       sri visnuduta ucuh yuyam vai dharma-rajasya   yadi nirdesa-karinah bruta dharmasya nas tattvam   yac cadharmasya laksanam  “The blessed messengers of Lord Visnu, the Visnudutas, said: If you are actually servants of Yamaraja, you must explain to us the meaning of religious principles and the symptoms of irreligion.” (SB 6.1.3) The Yamadutas […]

Srivasa Pandita’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the appearance day of Srivasa Pandita, one of the members of the Pancha-tattva: sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasa. In describing the Chaitanya tree, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 10.8–11) states, “The two brothers Srivasa Pandita and Sri Rama Pandita started two branches that are well known in the world. Their two brothers were named Sripati […]

Memories of His Holiness Sridhar Swami Maharaja
Giriraj Swami

Srivasa Thakura, one of the members of the Panca-tattva, lived in Navadvipa-dhama in Mayapur, near the residence of Jagannatha Misra and Sacidevi, where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. Later, when Lord Chaitanya began His sankirtana movement in Navadvipa-dhama, He and His other most confidential associates would meet at Srivasa-angana, the home of Srivasa Thakura, and have […]

The Importance of Association
Giriraj Swami

There is no hopelessness. Anyone can attain the spiritual perfection. Satam prasangan mama virya-samvidah. (SB 3.25.25) [“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the […]

Sri Gaura-purnima
Giriraj Swami

We welcome you to the most auspicious celebration of Sri Gaura-purnima, the appearance day of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna Chaitanya. According to Vedic scriptures, the Absolute Truth is realized in three features: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. The impersonalist speculators want to merge and become one with God, one with the impersonal brahmajyoti, […]

The Sun and the Moon
Giriraj Swami

Walking at Butterfly Beach this evening, I saw the almost full moon in the sky before me, and turning my head, the sun behind me. And I thought of a beautiful verse, especially relevant on the eve of Gaura-purnima: vande sri-krsna-caitanya-   nityanandau sahoditau gaudodaye puspavantau   citrau sandau tamo-nudau “I offer my respectful obeisances […]

Sri Madhavendra Puri’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the auspicious disappearance day of Sri Madhavendra Puri, the grand spiritual master of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Madhavendra Puri’s disciple Isvara Puri was accepted by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as His spiritual master. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is Himself the origin of all knowledge—perfect, Vedic knowledge—and He had no need to […]

Srila Prabhupada’s Genius
Giriraj Swami

One evening Harikesa and Saurabha got to talking about Prabhupada’s plans for the Mayapur project. Harikesa, appreciating Prabhupada’s genius—how, from Mayapur, God-centered cities with temples, educational institutions, and proper social organization would spread around the globe—became so excited that he ran all the way from the construction office to Prabhupada’s apartment. He bounded up the […]

Tamal Krishna Goswami’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Appreciating Tamal Krishna Goswami—In Service and Separation Srila Prabhupada said that when a Vaishnava departs we feel simultaneously happy and sad. We feel happy because we know the Vaishnava has gone to Krishna, but we feel sad because we will miss the Vaishnava’s association. I have no doubt that Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaja has […]

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja comes in the Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession after Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He was a renounced ascetic, fully engaged in chanting the holy names of Krishna and meditating on the pastimes of Krishna. For some time, he made his residence at Surya-kunda in Vraja-dhama, near the […]

Shiva-ratri
Giriraj Swami

Today we shall read a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Four, Chapter Twenty-four: “Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Siva.” As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Shiva is the greatest Vaishnava, and why he is so is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is considered the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic scriptures. The glories […]

Sri Isvara Puri’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the disappearance day of Sri Isvara Puri. He was such a perfect disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna Himself, was pleased to accept him as his spiritual master. Later, Lord Chaitanya visited Isvara Puri’s birthplace at Kumara-hatta and collected some earth from the birth site, which He kept […]

By His Mercy, All Our Desires Are Fulfilled
Giriraj Swami

Those who are intelligent know that everything is supplied by Krishna. So why not depend on Krishna only? Why so many other attempts? Therefore Krishna says, vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ’vyavasayinam         [Gita 2.41] Vyavasayi means one who knows business particularly. Vyavasaya. Or one who knows confidently, “This is the […]

Bhagavat-priyanam—Dear to Krishna
Giriraj Swami

In a talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.51, on December 28, 1973, in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada spoke about bhagavat-priyanam, those who are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “Bhagavat-priyanam. There is a common saying in English, ‘If you love me, love my dog.’ That is very important. If you love such person who is […]

Visiting Rajani Priya
Giriraj Swami

Twice last week, accompanied by various devotees, including Vrindavan Chandra das from London; Ugrasena das, Nitya Manjari dasi, and Kaviraj from Durban; and Visnupriya dasi from Dallas, I visited Rajani Priya dasi (Rose Forkash) at her home in Carpinteria, California. She is seven months away from her one hundredth birthday, but she is mentally and […]

Valentine’s Day Message—The Love That Satisfies
Giriraj Swami

Today, February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, I was struck when Srila Prabhupada, at the conclusion of his class on Sri Isopanisad, spoke about love—the love that Krishna wants and the love that will satisfy us: “Any religion, it doesn’t matter whether Hindu religion, Muslim religion, Christian religion—if you are developing love of God, then you […]

Celebrating Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the auspicious appearance day of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. When our Srila Prabhupada first came to America, we had no idea of Vaishnava etiquette or culture; we had no idea how to honor the appearance day of the spiritual master. In 1970, soon after I had joined the Boston […]

A Devotee Has No Problem—Only Kirtan and Compassion
Giriraj Swami

Prahlada Maharaja says, bharam udvahato vimudhan. Prahlada Maharaja, a great devotee, was offered a benediction by Nrsimhadeva: “My dear Prahlada, you have suffered so much for Me from your father’s side. He has chastised you in so many ways because you are My devotee. Now your father is killed. That is finished. Now you take […]

Sri Nityananda-trayodasi
Giriraj Swami

We welcome you on this most auspicious occasion of the appearance day of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. According to the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the Absolute Truth is realized in three features. Preliminary is Brahman, the impersonal light that emanates from the transcendental form of the Lord. Next is Paramatma, the localized Supersoul within the […]

Sri Varaha-dvadasi
Giriraj Swami

Today is Varaha-dvadasi, the appearance day of the boar incarnation, Varahadeva. To celebrate His appearance, we shall read one verse about Him from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven, “Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions.” TEXT 1                        brahmovaca yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat     kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah […]

Sri Ramanujacharya’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the appearance anniversary of Sripada Ramanujacharya, the principal acharya in the Sri, or Lakshmi, sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada wrote that “We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacharya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” (Letter 22.11.1974) And in the early days of ISKCON in […]

Srila Prabhupada at Advaita Bhavan
Giriraj Swami

This story was heard from the pujari at Sri Advaita Acharya’s house in Shantipur, West Bengal. He came to the ISKCON Chaitanya Chandrodoya Mandir with a copy of the Back to Godhead article about Srila Prabhupada entitled “A Lifetime in Preparation.” Just recently an amazing realization occurred to me that I wanted to share with […]

Madana-mohana-mohini Dasi’s Book Distribution
Giriraj Swami

With Mercy, Nothing Is Impossible By Aishwarya Madaan My sister—nineteen-year old, wheelchair-bound, muscular-dystrophic Madana-mohana-mohini dasi from Pune, India—really wanted to participate in book distribution during the marathon month, in December 2019, because it is so dear to Srila Prabhupada. Mohini’s health not being so supportive, she made a compromise: “I’ll just go to a few […]

Sri Advaita Acharya’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

We are gathered here to celebrate the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya. Advaita Acharya is an incarnation of Maha-vishnu. In terms of pastimes, He appeared before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and so was considered an elder by Mahaprabhu. He was actually older than Lord Chaitanya’s own father. Advaita Acharya, although Vishnu Himself, was in the […]