HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja: a ‘true touchstone’
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By Bhakti Gauravani Swami

Bhakti Charu Maharaja was a true touchstone. Whoever came in contact with him was given an opportunity to experience a life-changing transformation. I experienced the magic of his presence for the first time in 1979 when we met in Calcutta. He was in charge of the local BBT office, and thanks to our common service as translators of Srila Prabhupada’s books, we immediately connected as brothers in arms, exchanging our realizations. Continue reading "HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja: a ‘true touchstone’
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HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja being a ‘courageous firebrand…’
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By Sesa Das

Can you picture our dear Vaisnava gentleman His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami as a sword-wielding, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, general on the battlefield, a courageous soldier in the thick of battle, waging war on behalf of ISKCON? A more predominant view of Maharaja is one who is a source of inspiration, refuge, and hope. However, as I reflect on my recent GBC Executive Committee service with Bhakti Charu Swami, an instance of such a military persona stands out vividly in my mind. Continue reading "HH Bhakti Charu Maharaja being a ‘courageous firebrand…’
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Gita key verses course 26 Does Isn’t one God enough Does the Gits teach polytheism – Gita 07.21
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Podcast


 

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The Monk’s Podcast 32 with Bhakti Rasamrita Maharaj – Sensitivity in presenting spiritual wisdom
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Podcast


 

Video:

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Tuesday, July 7th,2020
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Brickworks Park, Toronto

 

Warriors Saint

 

In dedication to Bhakti Caru Swami 

 

It’s hard to fathom,

That it could be so,

But warriors do enter,

And charge into battle,

And may not return

A matter of death and dignity.

Because of the love lost,

It becomes a tearful time.

With the voice of guidance now gone,

An apparent vacuum exists.

Something went wrong perhaps.

Loved ones become confused,

No one can know the plan…

Emotions begin to play out

A welling of tears in the eyes

An wholesome outpour of feelings,

With friends/family around.

A figurative pool of water collects,

Leaving a surface of reflection,

Of two facesof one grieving,

A secondthe one who died achieving.

If you look deep and hard,

The warrior-saint who achieved,

Carries a magnificent smile.

And with a nodding approval,

And directional message,

He says, “Go forward!

There’s a fight to fight!

There is a world to shake!

There’s a God to love!

Don’t be disturbed!

 

May the Source be with you!

8 km 


Dear Bhakti Charu Swami
Giriraj Swami

Dear Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. And all glories to your wonderful service to him.

One of your most prominent qualities while you were physically with us was your deep love for Srila Prabhupada. Very soon after you met him, he included you in his personal staff and made you his secretary for Bengali and Hindi correspondence. Soon thereafter, he gave you first and second initiation and then sannyasa. And you personally, lovingly served him throughout his last days.

You were also devoted to ISKCON. You always considered ISKCON to be a unique creation of Srila Prabhupada’s and always wanted to serve ISKCON—both the devotees in ISKCON and ISKCON as an entity, a manifestation of Srila Prabhupada. You loved anyone who loved Srila Prabhupada.

You were a very pure-hearted, loving person. Your love for Srila Prabhupada was seen in your love for the devotees and for people in general, whom you wanted to bring to Srila Prabhupada—and in how you encouraged devotees to increase their engagement, take on more responsibility, and become more loving, humble servants. The more responsibility one accepts, you once explained to a devotee in Mauritius, the bigger servant of the devotees one becomes. This reminded me of something Srila Prabhupada once said when a disciple came into his room in Mayapur one day and began to complain about the management. Srila Prabhupada said, “If you think you can do better, why don’t you?” Somehow, the disciple came out and announced that Srila Prabhupada had made him the temple commander, and he began to boss around the other devotees. Some devotees complained to Srila Prabhupada that the devotee had said that Prabhupada had made him the temple commander and that now he was barking orders at everyone. So Srila Prabhupada called for the devotee and instructed him: “First you become the servant of everyone; then you become the temple commander.” Thus Srila Prabhupada expressed the same idea, that a bigger position means becoming a bigger servant. And you, in parampara, had that same understanding.

Listening carefully to all of your instructions, we can understand how closely you followed the disciplic succession. Some of your statements were very close to Srila Prabhupada’s words, and some took the basic principles that Srila Prabhupada gave and sweetened them with beautiful personal realization.

Another of your many fine qualities was your offenselessness. You were very careful not to commit any offense against any devotee, or any living entity, and if you felt you had committed an offense, you immediately tried to mitigate its effects by approaching the person, apologizing, and asking forgiveness. Somehow or other you tried to rectify the offense. From our point of view, we wouldn’t think you had committed an offense, but within your pure heart you may have felt that you had, and immediately you would try to approach and please the person you feared you had offended, to remove the effects of the offense.

You exemplified the principle found in The Nectar of Devotion of “Not Giving Pain to Any Living Entity,” which was supported with a reference from the Mahabharata: “A person who does not disturb or cause painful action in the mind of any living entity, who treats everyone just like a loving father does his children, whose heart is so pure, certainly very soon becomes favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” That was you: so pure, just like a loving father to everyone—and favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 You were a perfect gentleman—and Vaishnava. Once, an interviewer asked Srila Prabhupada, “How would I recognize a true follower of the Krishna consciousness movement by his behavior? What would his traits be? What would his outward expressions be?” And Prabhupada replied, “His behavior—he is a perfect gentleman. That’s all. You cannot find any fault in him. That is perfect Krishna consciousness.” That was you: a perfect gentleman—one could not find any fault in you.

Your heart was pure and very sensitive—full of appreciation for other devotees and sensitive to your own faults, which again, from our point of view, wouldn’t even have been considered faults. That’s really the heart of a Vaishnava—full of love and appreciation for others but sensitive to one’s own deficiencies or mistakes.

As stated by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita (12.13–14), “One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me—such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.” You exemplified all those qualities described by Lord Krishna and thus were very dear to Him—and to us, to all others.

Now you have left this world and gone to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna. As Srila Prabhupada said, when a Vaishnava departs we feel both happy and sad—happy because the Vaishnava has gone to serve Lord Krishna and sad because we will miss the Vaishnava’s association. Sometimes the pain of separation is so intense that we can only recall Raya Ramananda’s exchange with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Cc Madhya 8.248):

“duhkha-madhye kona duhkha haya gurutara?”
“krsna-bhakta-viraha vina duhkha nahi dekhi para”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Of all kinds of distress, what is the most painful?”
Sri Ramananda Raya replied, “Apart from separation from the devotee of Krsna, I know of no unbearable unhappiness.”

Still, we will try to be happy serving in separation. As Srila Prabhupada wrote to one of his disciples, “Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my guru maharaja since 1936, but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna, and the feeling of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.”

By serving Srila Prabhupada’s—and your—instructions, we will feel his presence, and yours. And in fact we will live with you both. As Srila Prabhupada wrote in his dedication to Srimad-Bhagavatam: “To Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, my spiritual master: He lives forever by his divine instructions and the follower lives with him.”

Please look kindly upon us and guide and inspire us, following in your footsteps, to serve Srila Prabhupada and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and when we have done what you want us to do here, bring us back to you and Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet.

Your eternal servant,
Giriraj Swami

Monday, July 6th, 2020
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Toronto, Ontario

 

Tonight’s Walk and Sit

 

Tonight I met Jake who very much misses eating at Govinda’s.

 

“It’s not that having a take-out wasn’t nice. I just like eating the meal inside and sitting back and taking in the peaceful atmosphere.“

 

Jake was on his bicycle but stopped to talk. Once we finished, he was inspired to walk his bike. I didn’t ask him to.

 

The only other person who somewhat gravitated toward me was a very loud bipolar chap. He saw me in the lotus position when the breezes were so inviting. Well, the breeze blew him my way. He was open and friendly enough; spoke a mile a minute.

 

“I’m Muslim. Hey, you’re sitting in the direction of Mecca. Did you know that? The three Abrahamic religions are all part of the same family…. Do you mind praying for me? Please.”

 

He gave me his name and just went on talking.

 

“I will pray,“ I responded. And I did. He now has a mantra.

 

I’m still having the toughest time getting over the departure of Bhakti Caru Swami. It came so suddenly. Although he passed away in Florida, arrangements are being made to fly his body back to India for the last rites where he will be placed in a samadhi in Mayapura, ISKCON’s headquarters. During those thoughts I shifted myself more in the direction of the east, toward Mayapura. Maybe I’ll get the blessings of both Mecca and Mayapura. https://iskconnews.org/beloved-iskcon-guru-and-gbc-member-bhakti-charu-swami-passes-away,7419/

 

Indeed the breezes were so favourable, but my mind was disturbed at the loss of a true brother.

 

May the Source be with you!

4 km


 

Sunday, July 5th, 2020
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Headwaters, Ontario

 

Clean Consciousness

 

I was on two zoom calls this morning with Trinidad, Tobago, and Guyana as the first, then a second call with Brampton. During both online communications, I presented details of the first Ratha Yatra (or Festival of the Chariots) five millennia ago when people from all over Bharatvarsha (Greater India) converged at Kuruksetra during a solar eclipse. It was a massive familial reunion of the Yadu Dynasty.

 

That presentation, in many ways, was supplementary. The main focus of each conversation was with regard to His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami, whose sudden departure from this world shocked a global community of yogis within the bhakti lineage.

 

Afterward,  a visit—that was long in the planning—to Vishal’s Caledon farm was good. There, as in the aforementioned discussions, we opened our dialogue with remembrance of a mild soul who taught us so much about being temperate amidst madness. His passing came so suddenly, though Maharaj was diagnosed as Covid 19 positive earlier in June.

 

We enjoyed a great meal prepared by Yasomati, Vishal’s wife, which was nothing short of an ahimsa-milk wonder. Their herd of Gir and Guernsey cows and bulls are protected from slaughter. A new barn is coming up for them to be completed before winter.

 

At Hockley Valley, we stopped over at Tom’s cabin on the Nottawasaga River. The water there is pristine. It flows so invitingly by his humble home. The water reminded me of our dear monk/friend, Bhakti Caru, whose consciousness was clean like that flow. David, Krishnachandra, Vishal and I bathed in the glory of the Creator’s blood-line. That bath was equivalent to a stroll of ten kilometres.

 

May the Source be with you!

0 km



Along with all of you, his disappearance breaks my heart, too
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By Nrsimhananda das

Just a few days before he departed for the US, he called me in the wee hours of his night. "What are you doing up so early, Maharaja?" It was 2am IST. He was thinking how the society could put Srila Prabhupada more in the center. He was concerned for the future, and was unable to sleep just thinking about it. We spoke for half an hour. I consider that last conversation with him one of the great blessings of my life. Continue reading "Along with all of you, his disappearance breaks my heart, too
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H.H. Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s Last Visit to the TOVP
- TOVP.org

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Maharaja was one of the most ardent and steadfast supporters of the TOVP. Over the years he personally spoke incessantly about the project, raised funds for construction, attended fundraising events, and was recently planning to travel with the North American TOVP Tour to many temples until the COVID-19 shut everything down. His temple in Ujjain is also overseeing the production of all the parampara murtis for the TOVP altar.

Below Sadbhuja prabhu speaks about Bhakti Charu Maharaja and provides some photos from his last visit to the TOVP site in 2019.

Hare Krishna to all,

As you all are aware, we have suffered a great loss within the ISKCON community of a wonderful devotee, and amazing Guru to many, H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja.

His sincere and hard work in spreading Krishna consciousness will always be cherished and appreciated for years to come. Maharaja has always been very enthusiastic, and as far as I can remember always greeted anyone with a welcoming grin, which could melt anyone’s heart.

I will always reminisce on the association which he gave me, as it was always amazing spending time with him. Here are just a few photographs of his last visit here at the TOVP site at the beginning of last year.

Although his passing has been painful to many, and a great tragedy at the thought of being unable to have his association anymore, we must be glad that he is now reunited with our Founder/Acarya along with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Bhakti Charu Swami, Ki Jay!

Sadbhuja das

[See image gallery at tovp.org]

 

Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s last public talk on June 14, 2020:

HH Bhakti Charu Swami’s great love for ISKCON
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By Kavicandra Swami

When I was asked to speak something about Srila Bhakti Charu Swami at a kirtan program I said that he was the “personification of Vaisnava culture”. Being quite uncultured myself I could not say much more except to glorifying some of his services to Srila Prabhupada, especially his translating all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Continue reading "HH Bhakti Charu Swami’s great love for ISKCON
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When something is arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should not be disturbed by it
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By Virabahu das

Seeing all these reverses affect devotees, one should not be disturbed; one should simply understand that in these matters there must be some plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Bhagavatam's conclusion is that a devotee is never disturbed by such reverses. He accepts even reverse conditions as the grace of the Lord. One who continues to serve the Lord even in reverse conditions is assured that he will go back to Godhead, back to the Vaikuntha planets. Continue reading "When something is arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should not be disturbed by it
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Why did you decide to go back to Srila Prabhupada’s Lotus Feet not caring for how we would be unable to tolerate your departure?
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By Madhusevita Das

Where will I find that loving smile filled with care and affection that made you feel so important though you are worthless...., that caused you to remember Prabhupada in any circumstance..., that was pure sweetness...? I am so angry at you for leaving me here unprotected. Why did you decide to go back to Srila Prabhupada's Lotus Feet not caring for how we would be unable to tolerate your departure? Continue reading "Why did you decide to go back to Srila Prabhupada’s Lotus Feet not caring for how we would be unable to tolerate your departure?
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The Monk’s Podcast 31 with Shyamananda Prabhu – The Ugly Rainbow of Consumerism 2
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Podcast


 

Video:

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Letter for the disciples of HH Bhakti Caru Swami from HH Giridhari Swami
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By Giridhari Swami

I had the good fortune of associating with your Guru Maharaja during the 2019 GBC midterm meetings held in Tirupati. Numerous times throughout that visit he would give me a long, warm and loving embrace and say, “My dear old friend, my dear old friend.” And he would reminisce about the times he visited our Hong Kong yatra in the 1980’s when we worked closely together to publish his series of books for children. He called these happy days, when he cooked for the devotees, led kirtan and gave classes to our newly recruited Chinese devotees. He was always very liberal with his association and enlivened one and all. Continue reading "Letter for the disciples of HH Bhakti Caru Swami from HH Giridhari Swami
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Sadbhuja Das: Hare Krishna to all, As you all are aware we have…
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Sadbhuja Das: Hare Krishna to all,

As you all are aware we have suffered a great loss within the ISKCON community of a wonderful devotee, and amazing Guru to many, HH Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja.

His sincere and hard work in spreading Krishna consciousness will always be cherished, and appreciated for years to come. Maharaja has always been very enthusiastic, and as far as i can remember always greeted anyone with a welcoming grin, which could melt anyone’s heart.

I will always reminisce on the association which he gave me, as it was always amazing spending time with him. Here are just few photographs of his last visit here at the TOVP site at the beginning of last year.

Although his passing has been painful to many, and a great tragedy at the thought of being unable to have his association anymore, we must be glad that he is now reunited with our founder Acarya along with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Bhakti Caru Swami, Ki Jay!

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TOVP Architecture Department Report – June, 2020 Making Things Happen
- TOVP.org

We are delighted to share that the lock down did not deter the spirits of the team. ‘Moving the deities into Their homes’ is the motto. Capturing the individual and collective contributions herein. Through the duration of the pandemic, the team is at its laborious best to ‘make it happen’.

Click here to see it in your browser or download a copy to your desktop for offline reading.

Samadhi Ceremony in Mayapur
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By the GBC Executive Committee

As we try to come to terms with the departure of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, we join you in eagerly awaiting Maharaja's return to Sri Mayapur Dham where his samadhi will be erected. Due to the ravaging spread of COVID-19 in India, the government will not allow any public ceremonies to take place at this time. Therefore, we request devotees to refrain from making plans to travel to Mayapur. Only a few devotees, those who are directly involved in service, will be able to attend the last rites. This will be strictly enforced by government protocol. Continue reading "Samadhi Ceremony in Mayapur
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Remembrance of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja
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By Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami

I think that now is the time for us to really take those instructions that we read in Srila Prabhupada’s offering in the Shrimad Bhagavatam to his spiritual master to heart. And that instruction is that he lives forever by his instructions and his disciples and followers live with him. And this is the case for His Holiness Bhakti Charu Maharaj as well. Although it is a great misfortune that we will not have his personal association, his instructions and his example will live for us to get forever. And for myself, Bhakti Charu Maharaj was always an example of intense affection and intense dedication to Srila Prabhupada. I saw that exhibited the first time I had a personal interaction with Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj, and that was in the summer of 1977 in Vrindavan when we were all serving here, and Srila Prabhupad was bringing his pastimes in this world to an end. Many times while sitting in Srila Prabhupada's room, I would observe how when Prabhupad heeded some comfort, when Prabhupad need somebody to speak to very closely and when Prabhupada wanted to hear the loving words of his disciples, he would call Bhakti Charu Maharaj and they would sit and speak very sweetly and intimately in the Bengali language. Continue reading "Remembrance of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja
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Bombay HC declares ‘ISKCON’ is a well-known trademark
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By Kanchan Chaudhari

ISKCON authorities had moved the HC, seeking a permanent injunction against Iskcon Apparel Private Limited, a private enterprise, for infringing on its registered trademark. The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday declared that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to be a “well-known trademark” that enjoys protection under the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Justice BP Colabawalla accepted ISKCON’s argument. “Since it is a coined a trademark, which is associated exclusively with the plaintiff, it, undoubtedly, deserves the highest degree of protection,” said Justice Colabawalla. He said ISKCON has acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill both at home and aboard, while upholding its plea. Continue reading "Bombay HC declares ‘ISKCON’ is a well-known trademark
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Homage to HH Bhakti Charu Swami
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Srila Prabhupada spent his entire life's energy to give Krishna to the whole world; and in so doing he also created so many empowered saints, men and women of such pure hearts and saintly characters. Bhakti Charu Maharaj is such an exemplary saintly son, the ideal disciple and perfect follower of Srila Prabhupada. Having given his whole heart to Srila Prabhupada's mission, he was thus blessed with so many of Srila Prabhupada's pure qualities: his deep compassion, his constant selflessness, his humble dedication to the spiritual upliftment of everyone.

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Krishna Kshetra Swami: Why BCS Maharaj wanted to visit America?
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As we know, H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami's support for the IMCPA was very substantial. By his stature among the leaders of our Society, he was able to call attention to the importance of the ministry; he supported it financially; he helped in making favorable legal arrangements for the North American branch of the Ministry; he personally attended a farm meeting in Deland (thereby foregoing his expected participation in London Rathayatra); he helped form the Ministry's board of advisors and, as some of us personally witnessed in Sridham Mayapur this last February, he took part in formation of the Ministry's Council of Elders, thereby hosting the ceremony establishing H.H. Smita Krishna Swami as the Council's first member.

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Srila Prabhupada: “So at the Risk of his Life he did it”
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Srila Prabhupada makes us understand that ‘a cent-percent devotee of the Lord is immune to the dreadful material miseries of repeated birth and death’ (SB 1.3.39, purport). And ‘service to the Lord is rendered in pure consciousness of one's spiritual identity; by service one is immediately freed from material encumbrances (SB 1.1.2, purport). ‘Because a devotee is freed from all contaminated material association, he is not affected by the miseries of material existence. Even though he appears to be in the material world, he is not affected by the miseries of the material world (SB 3.25.24, purport)

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