Thursday, November 11, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Yorkville, Toronto

That’s It

 

War is an ugly thing, an explosion of emotions. It is a clash of feelings, triggered by a major misunderstanding. The warring of the mind is enough; the subtle but destructive conflict within that everyone goes through. It’s a tug-of-war between mind and reason.

Today, people are honouring Remembrance Day, at least in Canada, when men and women from all over the world are revered for rendering an incredible sacrifice through war. Can war and combat ever be averted? In the Mahabharat, India’s best of two epics, details of combat are outlined in a rich display of emotions. It was Krishna who personally attempted to stave off a brewing madness between the Pandava and the Kauravadynasties. The attempt failed and in the crazed tug-of-war between greed and goodness, greed insisted on a fight, which it lost. In this scenario, like most clashes of interest, a time of calm, or a down time sets in, but for a brief space until the next flare-up.

As far as possible we try to keep at bay the madness of the world. We forget we are spirits and are not these bodies. It’s a case of false proprietorship. The body is not mine and all connected to it is not mine. Anything outside of my so-called acquisition is also not mine. We may have a quota in which to use but that’s it. No more. This point is made clear in the first verse of Sri Isopanisad. Stewards of a small portion we may require but that’s it. That’s it!

I would propose we battle the senses and mind, first, before tackling anything else. All praises to those who sacrifice for freedom.

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km


 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Oakville, Ontario

Walking and a Passing

 

I am not a happy shopper, but when it comes to going to that drug store that sells the unique ky boots, right there on the main street of Oakville, I have no qualms. The selection for shoes styles is not huge when it comes to ky boots, but they have a great fit and bottom. It was time to get a new pair for winter and a kind donor from Toronto made it possible to get this awesome black, comfy footwear.

I just had to show them off so my kind driving friend, Nanda, dropped me off after the purchase at Yonge and King. Those shoes had me flying. I was going at 5 km per hour. Mind you, Yonge St. walkers have always been fairly speedy. “Going with the flow” is what it was. Both knees were in sync.

When I did arrive home at the ashram, I learned about the passing of another GO BRO, Rajendranandana. Here is my offering to him. I call it Man of Bhakti Contagion.

It didn’t matter what was the occasion

He was always a man of bhakticontagion

An anti-Kali personality

In touch with the ultimate reality

A guy with an incredible smile

To see that you’d walk a long mile

For him cynicism was a sin

Positivity is what he indulged in

A Prabhupada person all the way

Humble steps, gentle breaths, made up his day

He was a detailed lila story-teller

Considering all his services – a remarkable fellow

 

(All you men, sign up for MANtra this weekend)

 

May the Source be with you!

5 km



 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

243 Avenue Rd., Toronto

Come Around

 

I was pleasantly surprised to see a group of ladies suddenly appear. I guess I’ve not been around much when a slew of people come, but there they were, about nine of them, somewhat mournful. Something’s happened. And then one of them, a sister or a daughter of a gentleman, Oberoi by name (who’s not doing well at the hospital), revealed the reason for their visit.

Well, these ladies came at the right time. It was 7 a.m. and the group of us residents were poised to present dhiyas, or ghee lamps, to the beautiful image of Radha-Gopinatha, that is Krishna and Hiss servant Radha. We sang the song which honours Krishna as a baby.

The women then delighted in offering flower petals to Prabhupada, the guru, which is also part of the morning sadhana. They were so relieved when I announced it to the deities that these simple rituals were being dedicated to their relative. I offered them prasadam, a simple sweet. And as one of the women asked for an appropriate book to put under his pillow, I acted swiftly to hand her a book, “Dharma” by author, Srila Prabhupada.

At 8:45 a.m. Ryan came to visit. He’s going through “stuff,” but he’s advancing in Krishna Consciousness. “I’m trying to put in a good effort.”

At 11:30 a.m. two monks and an assistant from the Swami Narayana group arrived with sweets for our residents, which was very nice of them. We chatted and became acquainted with each other. We all agreed that extremism or fanaticism is very harmful.

All in all, I love it when people come around for strengthening their spirituality and engaging in devotional service.

 

May the Source be with you!



 

Utthana Ekadasi and the TOVP
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

This Ekadasi has four names: Utthana – Haribodhini – Prabodhini – Devotthani, and it is the second Ekadasi (Kartik Shukla, light fortnight) in the month of Kartik. It is said that Lord Vishnu goes to rest for four months during the period known as Chaturmasya. Starting from Sayana Ekadasi, which is the first Ekadasi that falls in the month of Ashada Lord Vishnu rests and awakens on the day of Kartika Shukla Ekadasi, which is why it is known as Utthana Ekadasi.

Monday, November 8, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Ramsden Park, Toronto

Reflect, Reflect

A poem in honour of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:

 

Reflect Reflect

 

Reflect, reflect on His Divine Grace

Mirror the values he’s put into place

Set into practice what he’s left us

Deliberate on his love, then discuss

Evermore is this our obligation

Of commitment and unbroken dedication

May we shine in his powerful glow

Like the formation of crystal, soft snow

Clean and clear directions he’s given

Moving us until we’re self-driven

Let us act with the same heart

With the same vision and make it our art

 

-Composed by Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk©

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km




 

Sunday, November 7, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Prabhupada Remembered Through Speaking

 

As a speaker of Krishna Consciousness, I feel fulfilled. At the home of Kadamba Priya a group of students and families came to partake in a Sunday sanga and it was the occasion of an event not everyone understands. The date is, by lunar calendar, the passing anniversary of Prabhupada, our guru, and founder/acharya.

Few people know Srila Prabhupada and our gathering was no exception. He departed 44 years ago, so it’s no wonder that the young students in the room know so little. So, I delivered my message about his super but under-rated qualities and contributions, and the listeners were so attentive. Even the boisterous babies in the house (Kadamba Priya’s kids) were peaceful, for a time. So, it was magical. I felt like I was an instrument in doing Krishna’s will.

It was just prior to the talk that I was on the phone with friend, Radhanatha Swami (we do communicate despite the lock-downs) and we were exchanging what each of us was doing when we heard that Prabhupada left his body. It was chilling to go over. Then he said that we have the obligation to gravely share with the next and new generations the power this personality had. Prabhupada was and is powerful.

So, I felt the listeners in the home were really listening. It got through to their hearts. It’s not always the case. I did feel happy, especially with the questions that followed, not all to do with him, necessarily, but to do with their lives and how all questions can lead to relevant answers. Sri Krishna has the answers and it is Prabhupada who can be credited for making known the great voice of Krishna, through his books.

With the talk and feast completed, Kadamba and I hit the trail to the walking bridge. My last walk in New Brunswick. Moving forward.

 

May the Source be with you!

4 km


 

What Defines a Person’s Importance, Birthplace or Activities?
- TOVP.org

Below is a narration of a conversation between His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Bhavananda prabhu in Mayapur, 1977:

In 1977 I was on the roof of the Lotus Building with Srila Prabhupada. He was walking the perimeter and chanting japa. At one point he stopped on the North side and was looking across the rice fields towards the Yoga Pitha temple. In 1977 it was open fields all the way to the Yoga Pitha. Imagine there were no other buildings of any sort. Prabhupada turned to me and said, “What is more important about a man? Where he was born or the activities he performed?” I replied that I thought the activities were more important. Prabhupada replied, “Exactly. So that is the birthplace temple of Lord Chaitanya and this ISKCON campus is the preaching activities of Lord Chaitanya. I want you to build a temple that is so wonderful that no one will go to the birthplace temple but everyone will come here to ISKCON”.

This story is a wonderful example of Srila Prabhupada’s preaching mood and dedication to the spreading of Krishna consciousness, specifically in this case through the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. And that mood permeated everything he said and did during his lifetime of serving the order of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.

It also represents Prabhupada’s keen philosophical perspective of all aspects of life in relation to Krishna consciousness. He wasn’t a dreamer or a mere sentimentalist, but a thinker and visionary on the most practical and down-to-earth level, what to speak of the most sublime spiritual level. Everything had its place in proper Krishna conscious perspective and could also be explained in a practical and implementable way.

He said in simple and clear words, “I want you to build a temple that is so wonderful that no one will go to the birthplace temple but everyone will come here to ISKCON”. This is the order and command from Lord Caitanya’s Senapati Bhakta, our Commander in Chief. It must be fulfilled by all of us, his dedicated followers and servants.

We humbly beg all the worldwide ISKCON community to continue to offer your support to this project, now scheduled for its Grand Opening in 2024. Make a donation if you haven’t yet, make another donation if you have given already or fulfill your pledge as soon as possible. There are over twenty available donation options to choose from according to your means. And the Prabhupada Seva 125 India Govt. minted commemorative coin is now available.

Please visit the Seva Opportunities Page today and show your support and gratitude to Srila Prabhupada by building that temple to which the whole world will come.

“Now you all together make this Vedic Planetarium very nice, so that people will come and see. From the description in the Srimad Bhagavatam you prepare this Vedic Planetarium. My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mayapur.”

 

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Gopastami
→ Ramai Swami

Gopastami puja is observed on the eighth day of the bright half of Kartika month (Kartika Shukla Astami). Sri Krishna Puja and Go Puja are the main ceremonies of the day.

According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, on Gopastami day, Lord Sri Krishna and his elder brother Lord Balarama became qualified cowherds. Before this day, both looked after the calves.

The cows are given a bath and decorated with colourful clothes and jewellery. Devotees paint the horns of the cows with turmeric and put Sindhura on their foreheads. They also put hand marks on their bodies. Special food recipes and fresh grass are offered to the cows on Gopastami. Pradakshina around the cows (circumambulation) is a most beneficial ritual of the Gopastami festival.

Gopastami and Go Puja are celebrated with the utmost fervour in all ISKCON temples in India and abroad.

Nature’s Newsroom: Global Commons Alliance
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

Source: Global Commons Alliance

Interview with Gopal Patel, Hindou Ibrahim, and Janine Benyus from the Nature’s Newsroom at COP26, Glasgow.

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.

Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.

Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture, and land use are among the main emitters.

Children Who Remember Their Past Lives: The Link with the Bhagavat Philosophy
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

Source: Devotion Yoga 

I'm Cyril Wohrer, also known as Chandra. I'm from Los Angeles and Paris. I have a Masters's in the Study of Religion from the University of Oxford. I have an accumulated fifty thousand hours of mantra meditation, and I teach and am the Director of Studies at the Krishna West Theological Seminary. This channel is for those who are interested in yoga/Indian philosophy, meditation, God, inner peace, and a plant-based lifestyle.

Sri Dhananjaya Pandit’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the disappearance day of Sri Dhananjaya Pandit, who is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 11, text 31:

nityananda-priyabhrtya pandita dhananjaya
atyanta virakta, sada krsna-premamaya

 “The sixteenth dear servant of Nityananda Prabhu was Dhananjaya Pandita. He was very much renounced and always merged in love of Krsna.”

Purport: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, “Pandita Dhananjaya was a resident of the village in Katwa named Sitala. He was one of the twelve gopalas. His former name, according to the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (127), was Vasudama. Sitala-grama is situated near the Mangalakota police station and Kaicara post office in the district of Burdwan. On the narrow railway from Burdwan to Katwa is a railway station about nine miles from Katwa known as Kaicara. One has to go about a mile northeast of this station to reach Sitala. The temple was a thatched house with walls made of dirt. Some time ago, the zamindars of Bajaravana Kabasi, the Mulliks, constructed a big house for the purpose of a temple, but for the last sixty-five years the temple has been broken down and abandoned. The foundation of the old temple is still visible. There is a tulasi pillar near the temple, and every year during the month of Kartika (October-November) the disappearance day of Dhananjaya is observed. It is said that for some time Pandita Dhananjaya was in a sankirtana party under the direction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then he went to Vrndavana. Before going to Vrndavana, he lived for some time in a village named Sancadapancada, which is six miles south of the Memari railway station. Sometimes this village is also known as ‘the place of Dhananjaya’ (Dhananjayera Pata). After some time, he left the responsibility for worship with a disciple and went back to Vrndavana. After returning from Vrndavana to Sitala-grama, he established a Deity of Gaurasundara in the temple. The descendants of Pandita Dhananjaya still live in Sitala-grama and look after the temple worship.”

May Sri Dhananjaya Pandit bless us all.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Why Does Srimati Radharani Give Us Darshan Of Her Divine Lotus Feet On Gopastami?
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

The eighth day of Kartika’s bright fortnight marks an important day in Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes, his initiation as a full-fledged cow-herder. This day, known as Gopastami, is the day Krishna graduated from spending his days herding calves to herding the cows. Srila Jiva Goswami’s Gopala Campu describes the occasion of Krishna’s initiation as a cow-herder, marking his passage from boyhood to youth.

Sri Gopastami
Giriraj Swami

Today is Gopastami, the day on which Krishna and Balarama and other boys Their age, who previously had tended the calves, were given charge of the cows. This event is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.15.1):

tatas ca pauganda-vayah-sritau vraje
  babhuvatus tau pasu-pala-sammatau
gas carayantau sakhibhih samam padair
  vrndavanam punyam ativa cakratuh

“When Lord Rama and Lord Krsna attained the age of pauganda [six to ten] while living in Vrndavana, the cowherd men allowed Them to take up the task of tending the cows. Engaging thus in the company of Their friends, the two boys rendered the land of Vrndavana most auspicious by imprinting upon it the marks of Their lotus feet.”

As stated in the purport, “Since Lord Krsna’s spiritual body had apparently grown slightly in age and strength, the senior men of Vrndavana, headed by Nanda Maharaja, decided to promote Krsna from the task of herding calves to the status of a regular cowherd boy. He would now take care of the full-grown cows, bulls, and oxen. Out of great affection, Nanda Maharaja had previously considered Krsna too small and immature to take care of full-grown cows and bulls. It is stated in the Karttika-mahatmya section of the Padma Purana:

suklastami karttike tu
  smrta gopastami budhaih
tad-dinad vasudevo ’bhud
  gopah purvam tu vatsapah

‘The eighth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Karttika is known by authorities as Gopastami. From that day, Lord Vasudeva served as a cowherd, whereas previously He had tended the calves.’

“The word padaih indicates that Lord Krsna blessed the earth by walking on her surface with His lotus feet. The Lord wore no shoes or other footgear but walked barefoot in the forest, giving great anxiety to the girls of Vrndavana, who feared that His soft lotus feet would be injured.”

The celebration was meant for only the cowherd men and boys, but Srimati Radharani also wanted to enjoy the fun, and so, because of Her resemblance to Subala-sakha, She donned his dhoti and other garments and joined Krishna. Thus, on this occasion, in temples in Vrindavan and elsewhere, Srimati Radharani is dressed as a cowherd boy.

The Lord is very kindly disposed toward the cows and the brahmans (go-brahmana-hitaya), and whoever serves them becomes dear to Him, too. Knowing this, devotees observe a special festival on the Gopastami day, dedicated to the worship of cows. In Vrindavan especially, but also the world over, devotees begin the festival by brushing the cows, painting their horns and bodies with artistic designs, and hanging flower garlands around their necks. Then a cow and her calf are selected and an arati is offered to them. During the arati, devotees sing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and then they feed the cow, her calf, and indeed the entire herd, bananas, balls of gur (jaggery), and fresh grasses. Some devotees also recite the following mantra (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 16.252):

agratah santu me gavo
  gavo me santu prsthatah
gavo me parsvatah santu
  gavam madhye vasamyaham

“May cows stay in front of me. May cows stay behind me. May cows stay on both sides of me. May I always reside in the midst of cows.”

At the ISKCON goshala in Vrindavan, the program ends with a breakfast feast served to participants in the cowsheds.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Gopashtami Celebration 12 November 2021
→ Mayapur.com

𝗙𝗲𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀 𝗹𝗲𝗳𝘁 𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗹 𝗚𝗼𝗽𝗮𝘀𝗵𝘁𝗮𝗺𝗶! It is on this day Nanda Maharaja performed a ceremony for the cows and Krishna (and His friends) in Vrindavan, as He reached the pauganda age. Also, on this day Nanda Maharaja sent his children Krishna and Balarama to herd the cows for the first time. It was a celebration […]

The post Gopashtami Celebration 12 November 2021 appeared first on Mayapur.com.

Giving Tuesday – A Worldwide Day of Giving- November 30, 2021
- TOVP.org

The annual worldwide GIVING TUESDAY event is scheduled this year for Tuesday, November 30th. This day is set aside by world leaders as a day to help make the world a better place to live and improve life for all by giving to the charity of your choice.

While giving in charity for hospitals and schools, feeding the poor and other philanthropic activities has its place, as devotees our main ‘charity’ is to give to Krishna, specifically for the purpose of helping the sankirtana movement spread through the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books, building of temples, prasadam distribution, etc.. This is especially the duty of the householders who earn money, and such an act of charity guarantees them advancement in spiritual life.

“This service of spiritual value with your hard-earned money on behalf of Godhead, will be recognized by the Lord and you will be blessed with spiritual enlightenment in your life without fail.”

Srila Prabhupada

Of course, there are many ISKCON projects to donate to during this one-day event. But if you are so inclined, please consider giving to the TOVP by offering a one-time donation or making a pledge towards a specific campaign option such as the Prabhupada Seva 125 India Govt. minted Prabhupada Coin. Or consider making a pledge payment or even completing your pledge. All these options are available on the Seva Opportunities Page of the TOVP website.

And if you live in the US, Facebook will match donations through the TOVP Foundation Facebook Page. Please visit the page for specific instructions.

As you, the readers may know, the TOVP is Srila Prabhupada last tangible temple project requested by him. It is the crest jewel of all his temples and is located at ISKCON’s World Headquarters in the most sacred land in the universe at Sridhama Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is the “rising tide that lifts all boats”, meaning all ISKCON temples, centers and projects will benefit from establishing this temple, and from here Krishna consciousness will spread like it’s never done before.

“The more you help develop Mayapur, the more Lord Chaitanya will bless your area of the world and it will flourish”

Srila Prabhupada letter to Hari-sauri

Please give to the TOVP on GIVING TUESDAY this year and help complete this temple ‘built by the hands of every devotee’ so we can open the floodgates of Krishna prema to the world in 2024.

 
#givingtuesday logo

 

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First Ever Sriksetra Parikrama 14th – 16th 2021
→ Mayapur.com

𝐇𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐔𝐩! 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟑 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐋𝐞𝐟𝐭! 𝐆𝗼 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗻’𝘁!!! Greetings from Sri Mayapur Dham! Happy Kartik Month! We convey our warmest of wishes to you and the family on these auspicious days of Kartika and we pray that the blessings gotten from offering lamps to the lotus feet of Sri Radha […]

The post First Ever Sriksetra Parikrama 14th – 16th 2021 appeared first on Mayapur.com.

Utthana Ekadasi and the TOVP 2021
- TOVP.org

This Ekadasi has four names: Utthana – Haribodhini – Prabodhini – Devotthani, and it is the second Ekadasi (Kartik Shukla, light fortnight) in the month of Kartik. It is said that Lord Vishnu goes to rest for four months during the period known as Chaturmasya. Starting from Sayana Ekadasi, which is the first Ekadasi that falls in the month of Ashada Lord Vishnu rests and awakens on the day of Kartika Shukla Ekadasi, which is why it is known as Utthana Ekadasi.

It’s recommended to fast, chant extra rounds and stay up all night chanting and hearing the Lord’s glories. It is also auspicious to donate to Vaishnavas and Lord Krishna’s service on Ekadasi, and we invite our readers to consider contributing on this Rama Ekadasi towards the campaigns below. You can also make a pledge payment towards your TOVP donation pledge.

Prabhupada 125 India Govt. Minted Coin
General Donation (General Donation for Indian residents)
Pledge Payments (Pledge Payments for Indian residents)

  NOTE: Utthana Ekadasi is observed on Sunday, November 14 in the US and Monday, November 15 in India and other parts of the world. Please refer to your local calendar through www.gopal.home.sk/gcal

The Glories of Utthana Ekadasi

From Skanda Purana

The narration of Utthana Ekadasi is found in the Skanda Purana in a conversation between Lord Brahma and his son, the great sage Narada.

Lord Brahma said to Narada Muni, “Dear son, O best of the sages, I shall narrate to you the glories of Haribodhini Ekadasi, which eradicates all kinds of sins and bestows great merit, and ultimately liberation, upon the wise persons who surrender unto the Supreme Lord. O best of the brahmanas, the merits acquired by bathing in the Ganges remain significant only as long as Haribodhini Ekadasi does not come. This Ekadasi, which occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Kartika, is much more purifying than a bath in the ocean, at a place of pilgrimage, or in a lake. This sacred Ekadasi is more powerful in nullifying sin than one thousand Asvamedha sacrifices and one hundred Rajasuya sacrifices.”

Narada Muni inquired, “O father, please describe the relative merits of fasting completely on Ekadasi, eating supper (without grains or beans), or eating once at midday (without grains or beans).”

Lord Brahma replied, “If a person eats once at midday on Ekadasi, the sins of his previous birth are erased, if he eats supper, the sins acquired during his previous two births are removed, and if he fasts completely, the sins accumulated during his pervious seven births are eradicated. O son, whatever is only rarely achieved within the three worlds is obtained by him who strictly observes Haribodhini Ekadasi. A person whose sins equal Mount Sumeru in volume sees them all reduced to nothing if he simply fasts on Papaharini Ekadasi (another name for Haribodhini Ekadasi). The sins a person has accumulated over a thousand previous births are burned to ashes if he not only fasts but also remains awake throughout Ekadasi night, just as a mountain of cotton can be burned to ashes if one lights a small fire in it.

“O Narada, a person who strictly observes this fast achieves the results I have mentioned. Even if one does a small amount of pious activity on this day, following the rules and regulations, one will earn merit to Mount Sumeru in volume; however a person who does not follow the rules and regulations given in the Scriptures may perform pious activity equal to Mount Sumeru in volume, but he will not earn even a small amount of merit.

One who does not chant the Gayatri mantra three times a day, who disregards fast days, who does not believe in God, who criticizes the Vedic Scriptures, who thinks the Vedas bring only ruination to one who follows their injunctions, who enjoys another’s wife, who is utterly foolish and wicked, who does not appreciate any service that has been rendered to him, or who cheats others – such a sinful person can never perform any religious activity effectively. Be he a brahmana or a shudra, whoever tries to enjoy another man’s wife, particularly the wife of a twice-born person, is said to be no better than a dog-eater.

“O best of the sages, any brahmana who enjoys sex with a widow or a brahmana lady married to another man brings ruin to himself and his family. Any brahmana who enjoys illicit sex will have no children in his next life, and any past merit he may have earned is ruined. Indeed, if such a person displays any arrogance toward a twice-born brahmana or a spiritual master, he loses all his spiritual advancement immediately, as well as his wealth and children.

“These three kinds of men ruin their acquired merits: he whose character is immoral, he who has sex with the wife of a dog-eater, and he who appreciates the association of rogues. Whoever associates with sinful people and visits their homes without a spiritual purpose will go directly to the abode of Lord Yamaraj, the superintendent of death. And if someone eats in such a home, his acquired merit is destroyed, along with his fame, duration of life, children, and happiness.

“Any sinful rascal who insults a saintly person soon loses his religiosity, economic development, and sense gratification, and he at last burns in the fire of hell.
Anyone who likes to offend saintly persons, or who does not interrupt someone who is insulting saintly persons, is considered no better than an ass. Such a wicked man sees his dynasty destroyed before his very eyes.

“A person whose character is unclean, who is a rogue or a swindler, or who always finds fault with others does not achieve a higher destination after death, even if he gives charity generously or performs other pious deed. Therefore one should refrain from performing inauspicious acts and perform only pious ones, by which one will acquire merit and avoid suffering.

“However, the sins of one who, after due consideration, decides to fast on Haribodhini Ekadasi are erased from one hundred previous lives, and whoever fasts and remains awake overnight on this Ekadasi achieves unlimited merit and after death goes to the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, and then thousands of his ancestors, relatives, and descendants also reach that abode. Even if one’s forefathers were implicated in many sins and are suffering in hell, they still attain beautifully ornamented spiritual bodies and happily go to Vishnu’s abode.

“O Narada, even one who has committed the heinous sin of killing a brahmana is freed of all stains on his character by faster on Haribodhini Ekadasi and remaining awake that night. The merit that cannot be won by bathing in all the places of pilgrimage, performing a horse sacrifice, or giving cows, gold, or fertile land in charity can easily be achieved by fasting on this holy day and remaining awake throughout the night.

“Anyone who observes Haribodhini Ekadasi is celebrated as highly qualified and makes his dynasty famous. As Death is certain, so losing one’s wealth is also certain. Knowing this, O best of sages, one should observe a fast on this day so dear to Hari – Sri Haribodhini Ekadasi.

“All places of pilgrimage in the three worlds at once come to reside in the house of a person who fasts on this Ekadasi. Therefore, to please the Lord, who holds a disc in His hand, one should give up all engagements, surrender, and observe this Ekadasi fast. One who fasts on this Haribodhini day is acknowledged as a wise man, a true yogi, an ascetic, and one whose senses are truly under control.
He alone enjoys this world properly, and he will certainly achieve liberation.
This Ekadasi is very dear to Lord Vishnu, and thus it is the very essence of religiosity. Even one observance of it bestows the topmost reward in all the three worlds.

“O Naradaji, whoever fasts on this Ekadasi will definitely not enter a womb again, and thus faithful devotees of the Supreme Godhead give up all varieties of religion and simply surrender to fasting on this Ekadasi. For that great soul who honors this Ekadasi by fasting and remaining awake throughout the night, the Supreme Lord, Sri Govinda, personally terminates the sinful reactions that soul has acquired by the actions of his mind, body, and words.

“O son, for anyone who bathes in a place of pilgrimage, gives charity, chants the holy names of the Supreme Lord, undergoes austerities, and performs sacrifices for God on Haribodhini Ekadasi, the merit thus earned all becomes imperishable.
A devotee who worships Lord Madhava on this day with first-class paraphernalia becomes free from the great sins of a hundred lifetimes. A person who observes this fast and worships Lord Vishnu properly is freed from great danger.

“This Ekadasi fast pleases Lord Janardana so much that He takes the person who observes it back to His abode, and while going there the devotee illuminates the ten universal directions. Whoever desires beauty and happiness should try to honor Haribodhini Ekadasi, especially if it falls on Dvadasi. The sins of one’s past hundred births – the sins committed during childhood, youth and old age in all those lifetimes, whether those sins are dry or wet – are nullified by the Supreme Lord Govinda if one fasts on Haribodhini Ekadasi with devotion.

“Haribodhini Ekadasi is the best Ekadasi. Nothing is unobtainable or rare in this world for one who fasts on this day, for it gives food grains, great wealth, and high merit, as well as eradication of all sin, the terrible obstacle to liberation. Fasting on this Ekadasi is a thousand times better than giving charity on the day of the solar or lunar eclipse.

“Again I say to you, O Naradaji, whatever merit is earned by one who bathes in a place of pilgrimage, performs sacrifices, and studies the Vedas is only one ten-millionth the merit earned by the person who fasts but once on Haribodhini Ekadasi. Whatever merit one has acquired in his life by some pious activities becomes completely fruitless if one does not observe the Ekadasi fast and worship Lord Vishnu in the month of Kartika. Therefore, you should always worship the Supreme Lord, Janardana, and render service to Him. Thus you will attain the desired goal, the highest perfection.

“On Haribodhini Ekadasi, a devotee of the Lord should not eat in another’s house or eat food cooked by a non-devotee. If he does so, he achieves only the merit of fasting on a full moon day. Philosophical discussion of scriptures in the month of Kartika pleases Sri Vishnu more than if one gives elephants and horses in charity or performs a costly sacrifice. Whoever chants or hears descriptions of Lord Vishnu’s qualities and pastimes, even if but a half or even a fourth of a verse, attains the wonderful merit derived from giving away a hundred cows to a brahmana.

“O Narada, during the month of Kartika one should give up all kinds or ordinary duties and devote one’s full time and energy especially while fasting, to discussing the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Such glorification of Sri Hari on the day so dear to the Lord, Ekadasi, liberates a hundred previous generations. One who spends his time enjoying such discussions, especially in the month of Kartika, achieves the results of performing ten thousand fire sacrifices and burns all his sins to ashes.

“He who hears the wonderful narrations concerning Lord Vishnu, particularly during the month of Kartika, automatically earns the same merit as that bestowed upon someone who donates a hundred cows in charity. O great sage, a person who chants the glories of Lord Hari on Ekadasi achieves the merit earned by donating seven islands.”

Narada Muni asked his glorious father, “O universal sire, best of all demigods, please tell me how to observe this most sacred Ekadasi. What kind of merit does it bestow upon the faithful?”

Lord Brahma replied, “O son, a person who wants to observe this Ekadasi should rise early on Ekadasi morning, during the brahma-muhurta hour (an hour and a half before sunrise until fifty minutes before sunrise). He should then clean his teeth and bathe in a lake, river, pond, or well, or in his own home, as the situation warrants. After worshipping Lord Sri Keshava, he should listen carefully to the sacred descriptions of the Lord. He should pray to the Lord thus: ‘O Lord Keshava, I shall fast on this day, which is so dear to You, and tomorrow I shall honor Your sacred prasadam. O lotus-eyed Lord, O infallible one, You are my only shelter. Kindly protect me.’ Having spoken this solemn prayer before the Lord with great love and devotion, one should fast cheerfully.

“O Narada, whoever remains awake all night on this Ekadasi, singing beautiful songs glorifying the Lord, dancing in ecstasy, playing delightful instrumental music for His transcendental pleasure, and reciting the pastimes of Lord Krishna as recorded in bona-fide Vedic literature – such a person will most assuredly reside far beyond the three worlds, in the eternal, spiritual realm of God.

“On Haribodhini Ekadasi one should worship Sri Krishna with camphor, fruits, and aromatic flowers, especially the yellow agaru flower. One should not absorb oneself in making money on this important day. In other words, greed should be exchanged for charity. This is the process for turning loss into unlimited merit. One should offer many kinds of fruits to the Lord and bathe Him with water from a conchshell. Each of these devotional practices, when performed on Haribodhini Ekadasi, is ten million times more beneficial than bathing in all the places of pilgrimage and giving all forms of charity.

“Even Lord Indra joins his palm and offers his obeisances to a devotee who worships Lord Janardana with first-class agastya flowers of this day. The supreme Lord Hari is very pleased when he is decorated with nice agastya flowers. O Narada, I give liberation to one who devotedly worships Lord Krishna on this Ekadasi in the month of Kartika with leaves of the bel tree. And for one who worships Lord Janardana with fresh tulasi leaves and fragrant flowers during this month, O son, I personally burn to ashes all the sins he has committed for ten thousand births.

“One who merely sees Tulsi Maharani, touches her, meditates on her, narrates her history, offers obeisances to her, prays to her for her grace, plants her, worships her, or waters her lives in the abode of Lord Hari eternally. O Narada, one who serves Tulsi-devi in these nine ways achieves happiness in the higher world for as many thousands of yugas as there are roots and subroots growing from a mature tulasi plant. When a full grown tulasi plant produces seeds, many plants grow from those seeds and spread their branches, twigs, and flowers, and these flowers also produce numerous seeds. For as many thousands of kalpas as there are seeds produced in this way, the forefathers of one who serves tulasi in these nine ways will live in the abode of Lord Hari.

“Those who worship Lord Keshava with kadamba flowers, which are very pleasing to Him, get His mercy and do not see the abode of Yamaraj, death personified.
What is the use of worshipping someone else if all desires can be fulfilled by pleasing Lord Hari? For example, a devotee who offers Him bakula, ashoka, and patali flowers is freed from misery and distress for as long as the sun and moon exist in this universe, and at last he achieves liberation. O best of the brahmanas, an offering of kannera flowers to Lord Jagannatha brings as much mercy upon the devotee as that earned by worshipping Lord Keshava for four yugas. One who offers tulasi flowers (manjaris) to Sri Krishna during the month of Kartika receives more merit than can be obtained by donating ten million cows.
Even a devotional offering of newly grown sprouts of grass brings with it a hundred times the benefit obtained by ordinary ritualistic worship of the Supreme Lord.

“One who worships Lord Vishnu with the leaves of the samika tree is freed from the clutches of Yamaraja, the lord of death. One who worships Vishnu during the rainy season with champaka or jasmine flowers never returns to the planet earth again.
One who worships the Lord with but a single kumbhi flower achieves the boon of donating a pala of gold (two hundred grams). If a devotee offers a single yellow flower of the ketaki, or wood-apple, tree to Lord Vishnu, who rides on Garuda, he is freed from the sins of ten million births. Furthermore, one who offers Lord Jagannatha flowers and also a hundred leaves anointed with red and yellow sandalwood paste will certainly come to reside in Svetadvipa, far beyond the coverings of this material creation.

“O greatest of brahmanas, Sri Narada, after thus worshipping Lord Keshava, the bestower of all material and spiritual happiness, on Haribodhini Ekadasi, one should rise early the next day, bathe in a river, chant japa of Krishna’s holy names, and render loving devotional service to the Lord at home to the best of one’s ability.
To break the fast, the devotee should first offer some prasadam to brahmanas and only then, with their permission, eat some grains. Thereafter, to please the Supreme Lord, the devotee should worship his spiritual master, the purest of the Lord’s devotees, and offer him sumptuous food, nice cloth, gold, and cows, according to the devotee’s means. This will certainly please the Supreme Lord, the holder of the disc.

“Next the devotee should donate a cow to a brahmana, and if the devotee has neglected some rules and regulations of spiritual life, he should confess them before brahmana devotees of the Lord. Then the devotee should offer them some dakshina (money). O king, those who have eaten supper on Ekadasi should feed a brahmana the next day. That is very pleasing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

“O son, if a man has fasted without asking the permission of his priest, or if a woman has fasted without asking her husband’s permission, he or she should donate a bull to a brahmana. Honey and yoghurt are also proper gifts for a brahmana. Someone who has fasted from ghee should donate milk, one who has fasted from grains should donate rice, one who has slept on the floor should donate a bedstead with a quilt, one who has eaten on a leaf plate should donate a pot of ghee, one who has remained silent should donate a bell, and one who has fasted from sesame should give gold in charity and feed a brahmana couple with sumptuous food. A man who wants to prevent baldness should donate a mirror to a brahmana, one who has second-hand shoes should donate shoes, and one who has fasted from salt should donate some sugar to a brahmana. During this month everyone should regularly offer a ghee lamp to Lord Vishnu or to Srimati Tulsidevi in a temple.

“An Ekadasi fast is complete when one offers a qualified brahmana a gold or copper pot filled with ghee and ghee wicks, along with eight waterpots containing some gold and covered by cloths. One who cannot afford these gifts should at least offer a brahmana some sweet words. One who does so will surely attain the full benefit of fasting on Ekadasi.

“After offering his obeisances and begging permission, the devotee should eat his meal. On this Ekadasi, Chaturmasya ends, so whatever one gave up during Chaturmasya should now be donated to brahmanas. One who follows this process of Chaturmasya receives unlimited merit, O king of kings, and goes to the abode of Lord Vasudeva after death. O son, anyone who observes the complete Chaturmasya without a break attains eternal happiness and does not receive another birth.
But if someone breaks the fast, he becomes either a blind man or a leper.

“Thus I have narrated to you the complete process for observing Haribodhini Ekadasi.
Someone who reads or hears about this achieves the merit earned by donating cows to a qualified brahmana.”

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Karttika-sukla Ekadasi – also known as Utthana, Prabodhini, Haribodhini or Devotthani Ekadasi – from the Skanda Purana.

From Hari-Bhakti-Vilas

PRABODHINIM UPOSYA EVA NA GARBHE VISATE NARAH SARVA
DHARMAN PARITYAJYA TASMAT KURVITA NARADA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/289 from SKANDA PURANA spoken by Lord Brahma)

Oh Narada Muni, one who fasts on Prabodhini (when the Lord gets up) Ekadasi, does not enter again into the womb of another mother. Therefore, a person should give up all varieties of occupation and fast on this particular Ekadasi day.

DUGDHABDHIH BHOGI SAYANE BHAGAVAN ANANTO YASMIN
DINE SVAPITI CA ATHA VIBHUDHYATE CA TASMINN ANANYA MANASAM
UPAVASA BHAJAM KAMAM DADATY ABHIMATAM GARUDANKA SAYI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/293 from PADMA PURANA)

One who fasts with one pointed intelligence on the day when the Supreme Lord Sri Hari, Who sleeps on a bed of the enemy of Garuda (snake) goes to take rest in the Milk ocean on the bed of Ananta Sesa and also the day He gets up, gets all of his desires fulfilled.

BHAKTIPRADA HAREH SATU NAMNA KSATA PRAVODHINI
YASA VISNOH PARA MURTIR AVYAKTA ANEKA RUPINI
SA KSIPTA MANUSE LOKE DVADADI MUNI PUNGAVA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/301 from VARAHA PURANA conversation between Yamaraja and Narada Muni)

This Prabodhini Ekadasi is famous for rewarding devotion to Lord Sri Hari.
Oh best of the sages (Narada Muni), the personality of Ekadasi is present on this earthly planet in an unmanifested form of Lord Hari.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami remarks in his Digdarsini-tika that one who exactly observes the Ekadasi fast by observing this, he directly worships Lord Sri Hari. This is the meaning of this verse. Therefore, Ekadasi is said to be equal to Lord Sri Hari Himself.

CATUR DHA GRAHYA VAI CIRNAM CATUR MASYA VRATAM NARAH
KARTIKE SUKLAPAKSE TU DVADASYAM TAT SAMACARET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/412 from MAHABHARATA)

A person who observed Caturmasya fast stated in four different ways should end his fast on the Dvadasi day on the light fortnight of the month of Karttika.

(Of course in ISKCON we do Caturmasya & Kartika-vrata from Purnima to Purnima.)

EKADASYAM PARER DATTAM DIPAM PRAJVALYA MUSIKA
MANUSYAM DURLABHAM PRAPYA PARAM GATIM AVAPA SA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 16/129 from SKANDA PURANA)

One rat (female mouse) had once burnt a ghee lamp which was offered by someone else on Ekadasi day. By doing so, she achieved a rarely achievable human form and at last attained the topmost destination.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami writes in his Digdarsini-tika:

In this verse it is found that it is possible to attain the results of directly offering a lamp on Ekadasi. This history of the mouse is very famous in the Padma Purana, Kartika Mahatmya. (In a temple of Lord Visnu, there was a mouse living who was eating the ghee from the extinguished ghee lamps which had been offered by others to Him. One day when she felt hungry to eat ghee, she tried to eat the ghee from a lamp which was not yet extinguished. While eating ghee from the lamp, the cotton wick got stuck in her teeth. Since the ghee wick had a flame, the mouse started jumping in front of the Lord’s Deity form and thus died due to fire. But Lord Sri Visnu accepted the jumping of that mouse with a lit ghee wick in her mouth as His aratik.
In the end He gave her liberation, the topmost destination.)

Glories of Remaining Awake on the night of Prabodhini Ekadasi from Padma Purana, Kartika Mahatmya:

The sins accumulated in thousands of previous births burn like a mass of cotton for someone who remains awake during Prabodhani-ekadasi. Even if guilty of the most heinous sins, such as killing a brahmana, O sage a person shakes away his sins by remaining awake in Visnu’s honour throughout Prabodhani-ekadasi. All his mental, vocal, and physical sins will be washed away by Sri Govinda. Results that are difficult to obtain even with great yajnas, such as Asvamedha, effortlessly accrue to those who remain awake during Prabodhani-ekadasi. The Lord should be taken out on a grand Ratha-yatra festival on this day after awakening Him from His sleep for the four months of Caturmasya i.e from Sayani Ekadasi when the Lord had taken rest on the Milk Ocean.

This article has been used courtesy of ISKCON Desire Tree

 

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Rajendranandana Prabhu’s Glorious Departure
→ Mayapur.com

Hare Krishna. Rajendranandana prabhu (Sam Rogers) a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and beloved by many devotees around the world, left his body yesterday (Tuesday, November 10th) at approximately 1:15pm local time in San Diego, California. He was at home and being lovingly cared for by his wife, son, and fellow devotees. Rajendranandana prabhu’s health had […]

The post Rajendranandana Prabhu’s Glorious Departure appeared first on Mayapur.com.

Passing Away of HG Param Dayal Gauranga Prabhu
→ Mayapur.com

Dear community devotees, With profound sadness and a heavy heart we wish to inform you that HG Param Dayal Gauranga Prabhu, a senior disciple of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, left his body November 9th at 9 pm. He was our Namahatta  director and preaching district head of East & West Medinipur and Jajigram districts in […]

The post Passing Away of HG Param Dayal Gauranga Prabhu appeared first on Mayapur.com.

Rajendrananda Prabhu Departs this World
→ Dandavats

By Badrinarayan Swami

Rajendranandana prabhu’s health had been failing for some time, and two or three weeks ago he was diagnosed with terminal spinal cancer. He was given three months to live. In the Vaisnava fashion so typical of Raj prabhu, he took the diagnosis as Krishna’s mercy and began to prepare himself for this final test. By the merciful arrangement of the Supreme Lord, he passed away within two weeks (instead of the projected several months). Continue reading "Rajendrananda Prabhu Departs this World
→ Dandavats"

Responding to attacks on devotees in Bangladesh
→ The Spiritual Scientist

During the Durga-puja festival in Bangladesh this year, posts appeared on social media claiming that the Hindus had disrespected the Koran by placing it on the floor before the Durga deities. A subsequent investigation found CC TV evidence showing that the Koran was placed there by a Muslim – it seemed to be a ploy of some Muslim extremists to stir passions among the Muslim masses. Unfortunately, it worked and hundreds in aggressive mobs rioted, destroying many Durga mandaps, as well as Hindu temples, businesses and homes. During these riots, a mob attacked the ISKCON temple in Noakhali, killing three devotees and disfigured the deity of Srila Prabhupada.

Channeling outrage in two ways

When such things happen, we naturally feel shocked, sickened and outraged. If we don’t feel angry, then where is our devotion? When five-year-old Prahlada was persecuted by his demonic father Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva took serious action against Hiranyakasipu. We need not imitate Nrsimhadeva’s actions, but feeling anger when things connected with our Lord are threatened or destroyed is a natural sign of devotion. We feel angry about something when we are emotionally invested in it. Feeling indifferent about such incidents is a sign of apathy.
The main question is not whether we should feel angry, but how we should express our emotion of anger. Are our emotions taking control of us, impelling us to do things that we would regret or would make things worse? Or are we controlling our emotions and using their energy intelligently? We need to channel that anger in a constructive way so that our response makes things better.

Broadly speaking, there are two dimensions to our response in such situations:
1. Brahminical response based on scriptures (sastra)
2. Ksatriya response based on weapons (sastra).

The brahminical response with sastra, or scriptures, is used to protect people from misconceptions and to give them the right understanding. sastra or weapons are one part of the ksatriya response; this response is integral to a multi-pronged strategy for protecting the innocent and punishing the wrongdoers. Any healthy society needs to use both sastra and sastra to deal with such situations.

Brahminical response

From a brahminical perspective, we need to do three things:
1. Protect our own faith by taking shelter of scriptures
2. Avoid getting caught up in sectarian anger towards particular groups
3. Work in a collective spirit with those who share our cultural values, even if we may have philosophical differences.

Let us discuss each of them in detail.

1. Protect our own faith: Such events may shake our faith in Krishna’s power to protect us. But scripture offers a holistic understanding of Krishna’s protection. Both in Ramayana and Mahabharata, there were great souls who were on the side of virtue but were killed: Jatayu in Ramayana and Abhimanyu in Mahabharata. In Ramayana, even before the war took place, Lord Rama had come to a place in central India known as Ramateka, where he came across piles of bones. These were the remains of sages who had been performing austerities and had been devoured by cannibalistic demons who thereafter spat out their bones. In this material world, horrible things may happen to everyone, including even to sincere devotees of the Lord.

Krishna’s protection does not always manifest at a material bodily level; nonetheless, it always manifests at the spiritual level. Jatayu died in the arms of Lord Rama, and Abhimanyu died for the cause of the Krishna. Both of these personalities were elevated to the most auspicious destination. Similarly, those devotees who were unfortunately killed in Bangladesh will be elevated to a destination that is more conducive for their spiritual evolution.

2. Avoid getting caught up in sectarian anger: In such situations, it is easy to get caught up in sectarian conceptions by labeling certain religious groups as bad or violent. Instead, by taking guidance of scripture, we can learn to see the world around us in terms of the three modes of material nature. All over the world, in every group, be it religious or non-religious, there are some people in goodness (sattva), some in passion (rajas) and some in ignorance (tamas). People in goodness can discuss and resolve differences amicably. People in passion and ignorance will use violence to fulfill their agendas. These three types of people are there in every demographic group. Sometimes the leaders of such groups may also be in passion and ignorance. In such cases, all their followers may also become violent and destructive. Despite such occasional actions by some people or groups, we should be careful and not paint everyone in those groups with the same brush.

In our Gaudiya Vaisnava history, let’s see how our acharyas dealt with such situations in their times. Srila Viswanath Chakravarthi Thakhur came to Vrindavan at a time after the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had fanatically wreaked havoc in that holiest of all holy places for Krishna devotees. Previously, Srila Rupa and Sanatana Goswami had come to Vrindavan when Akbar was the Mughal king. Akbar was tolerant, although not as broadminded as painted in the history books. Under Akbar’s rule, the Goswamis were able to develop Vrindavan. It was not that Akbar helped a lot, but at least he did not hinder the development. The Gosswamis also had a good rapport with the Rajputs, who formed alliances with the Mughal kings and who thereby that ensured Vrindavana’s protection. Aurangzeb, however, put his religious fanaticism above political alliances; he devastated Vrindavan and terrorized the Hindus. After these depredations, Srila Viswanath Chakravarthi Thakhur came there and restored Vrindavan (at least a portion of it) to its erstwhile glory.

This was also the time when Viswanath Chakravarthi wrote his commentaries of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, as well as many other devotional books. Despite having witnessed the consequences of Aurangzeb’s fanaticism, in none of his books did he mention those terrible acts. Instead, he reiterated the Gita’s statement that this material world is a place of misery, and that we can best tolerate and transcend such distresses by following the path of bhakti. Being an acharya, he taught by his example: don’t let contemporary situations consume your consciousness.
Additionally, we can sastra-cakshu (vision of scriptures) to understand these distresses philosophically. Such events of communal violence are part of adhibhautika-klesa (distress caused by other living entities), which is one of the three major forms of worldly distress, the other two being adhyatmika-kleça (distresses caused by the body and the mind) and adhidaivika-klesa (distresses caused by nature. The more people are in passion and ignorance in this world, the more they will inflict such miseries on each other. Undoubtedly, we need a ksatriya response to deal with such people. But if we let ourselves fall under the influence of rajas and tamas, then we will not be part of the solution; we will only further aggravate the problem. We need to see that the entire religion or entire country is not extremist; some people within it are.

3. Work collectively with those who share our cultural values:
While our focus is on spreading Krishna consciousness, just to survive, we need the basic maintenance of dharma (law and order in society). Therefore, we need to connect with those who share with us the basic values of dharma. Sattva means seeing our commonality with others, which includes with various groups within the broader Vedic and Hindu tradition. We need the breadth of vision to overlook theological, religious and philosophical differences so as to build bridges. Then we can have the collective strength to draw on during such situations. In the past when there was a threat to Bhaktivedanta Manor (the biggest ISKCON center in the UK), the entire Hindu community came together to counter this threat to what was then the biggest Hindu temple in the UK. And the Manor was saved. Similarly, when the Bhagavad-gita was banned in Russia, the fact that the main sacred Hindu book was banned created a national outrage that reached even the Indian Parliament. The subsequent governmental and media pressure compelled the Russian government to revoke the ban.

Ksatriya response
1. Better self-defense
2. Increased collective advocacy

1. Better self-defense
Temples need to make arrangements for better security through various ways like training interested members in self-defense, inspiring those already with such training to do service in the temple, and working with organizations that are more experienced and expert at such things. Such proactive preparation for self-defense has precedents. When Srila Prabhupada was developing the Mayapur project (the birth-place of Lord Chaitanya and the global headquarters of ISKCON), trained devotees there had to keep guns to protect the temple from dacoits in the region.

2. Increased collective advocacy
Simultaneously, it’s important to remember that the ksatriya way is not only about warfare; it is also about diplomacy. If we focus too much on weapons and fighting, we run the danger of being branded as right-wing extremists, and we may even face the danger of becoming such extremists. Broadly, ksatriyas may work in four ways to resolve conflicts: sama (conciliation: focus on common interests), dama (reward: offer benefits for amicable resolution), bheda (dissension: create rifts in the opposite camp to weaken their opposition) and danda (force: use physical or martial force to overpower opponents). Considering these strategies in today’s context, diplomacy can mean exerting pressure on the Bangladeshi government. Devotees across the world organized kirtana protest marches in 150 cities all over the world. Simultaneously, devotees along with other Hindu groups have given letters to the embassies of Bangladesh in various parts of the world. These letters have made four requests to the Bangladesh government:

● Protection of Hindu temples, businesses and homes;
● Justice by punishing the perpetrators;
● Reparation for the victims;
● Reconstruction of the temples at government cost.

For such protests and petitions to be more effective, we as a community need to be more united and focus more on advocacy, whereby our voices are heard by mainstream media outlets, human rights organizations and national governments. In today’s world, few things are as effective as monetary consequences. Many Western governments give millions of dollars in aid to Bangladesh; if these governments could be persuaded to make that aid conditional to the protection of the human rights of Bangladesh’s Hindu minorities – and such protection is the basic duty of any government that claims to be secular – that would galvanize the government into action. Even if ISKCON may not be demographically large enough for a democratic government to have to pay attention to, we are parts of a large community of Hindus, who are among the wealthiest immigrants in the Western world. Moreover, Hindus are usually respected for their law-abiding and tax-paying nature; their ethos of hard work and personal responsibility; and their educational and professional success. Together, we can have a voice that will be influential. Unfortunately, we as the Hindu community haven’t used such influence to do effective advocacy for causes that are important for us. May this terrible incident be the necessary jolt that impels us to come together for taking tangible action.

Offering on Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day
→ Krishna Dharma

I have been trying to work out if in this life I have been fortunate or unfortunate. Certainly to have come into contact with your movement and to have some small faith in your words is a very great good fortune. I really don’t know how that happened. I was just an average fool heading straight to hell, fully absorbed in sense gratification. Sure I was suffering, but I wasn’t intelligent enough to recognise that fact.  I thought I was looking for spirituality, but didn’t have the faintest idea what that meant.  I had just heard from somewhere that meditation leads you to states of bliss, so I thought well that sounds good, I could use a bit of bliss, let me give it a try.  I starting doing so called transcendental meditation for a while, but all that did was send me soundly to sleep, so I began looking around for something a bit more effective. Roughly around this time I happened to encounter one of your disciples. Not my first encounter. Whilst in London I had previously been sold, on different occasions and on various pretexts, a record, a book and a BTG. I had also watched open mouthed as a Harinam party made its stately way past me on Oxford Street.  But alas I had been too dull and self-absorbed to understand any of it.  Sure, I could recognise that the devotees were on a spiritual path, which I thought was genuine enough, but it looked way too weird to me, the dress, the haircut, the bell ringing – no way was I going to get into any that. So I kept looking. But this time when I met your disciple it was different. A few more years had gone by and Maya had landed some good solid blows right on my chin.

So there I was one day hitchhiking and a van driven by your disciple - - dressed incognito -- picked me up. “Where are you going?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “Do you happen to know of any spiritual communities?” He looked at me curiously and said, “Funnily enough yes. I will take you there.” He then asked if I would read to him the book on his dashboard, which happened to be Bhagavadgita as it is. I picked it up and began to read the verses and it was like bombs going off in my head. I should perhaps add here that due to the assimilation of certain substances I had arrived at a point of total confusion about who I was, where I was, how I got there and where I was going. It was a complete identity crisis. I could intuitively understand that I was something other than the body in which I resided, but what that was I had no clue at all.  I wasn’t even sure if I actually existed at all. Then Krishna spoke to me through you. “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”

As I read one powerful verse after another my mind was blown. Actually it might be more accurate to say that it was reconstructed. “What is this knowledge?” I asked. “Where can I find out more?”

To cut a long story short he brought me straight here to the Manor. I really had no intention of joining, especially after I had been apprised of the regulative principles, but I decided to stay for a week or two just to check it out. This was around Janmastami time in 1979 and I distinctly recall the Vyasa Puja ceremony of that year. As I watched one devotee after another stepping up to the microphone and tearfully declaring him or herself to be a low wretch of the worst order, unworthy of your divine mercy, I was astonished.  Here were persons undergoing what to me seemed like a path of very high renunciation and spiritual dedication, and yet they were so humble.  And who was this amazing person they talked about, to whom they had given their lives and for whom they now wept in unrestrained grief at his departure. My heart just melted.  There was no question of going anywhere.  I wanted to be like these people.  Within a week I had shaved up, put on the strange clothes, abandoned my girlfriend, and donated my life savings, the princely sum of £600 – quite a lot back then.

I really don’t know how I received such good fortune, but my misfortune was that I did not meet you Srila Prabhupada. I think about it a lot. I was surely in London at the same time as you on many occasions but the Lord did not guide me to you until after you had left. Still, I feel I owe you everything.  You are certainly the person who saved me, there is no doubt at all in my mind. It doesn’t really matter that I never saw your physical manifestation. Your books, your lectures, your loving disciples, your vibrant mission – I see you in all of these and that is what keeps me alive.

I have just one prayer. Please Srila Prabhupada, although I am hopelessly unqualified, a completely selfish rascal, please by your boundless mercy engage me in your service. And although I can never actually repay my debt to you, I ask that you kindly allow me to die trying.

 

 

Srila Prabhupada Disappearance Day
→ Ramai Swami

“My dear Lord Krsna…. How will I make them understand this message of Krsna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking Your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless to do so on my own…. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life….”

This poem was written on September 17, 1965. Just twelve years later, on November 14, 1977, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, passed away in Vrndavan, India, at the age of 81. 

Srila Prabhupada, had spread the teachings of Krsna consciousness to every major city in the world, and had formed an international society comprising thousands of dedicated members. He had established 108 temples, with magnificent estates spread across six continents, and had circled the globe twelve times to personally guide the membership of his broadening mission.

Srila Prabhupada had also translated, written, and published 51 volumes of books in 28 different languages, tens of millions of which had been distributed throughout the world.

He had delivered thousands of lectures, written thousands of letters, and taken part in thousands of conversations with followers, admirers, and critics alike. And he had won the esteem of hundreds of prominent scholars and social figures, who had genuine appreciation for Srila Prabhupada’s contributions to religion, philosophy, and culture.

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

Saturday, November 6, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Super Special Day

There is an expected rule for covid restrictions and therefore we have limited attendance for our extended festival of Govardhan, here in the province of New Brunswick. Nevertheless, those who came to the location, the home of Kadamba Priya, had a sweet time. Now, today, Sunday, November 7, we take on dutifully an event to honour our world teacher, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who passed away in 1977. It is an anniversary celebration today and we will remember him, sadly but gloriously, for the great contribution he has made.

What did he do for the world and, to better express it, what does he continue to do for humankind? The gifts he has offered us may be too many to list but let us begin with saying that he turned people’s lives around for the better. It begins with his making clear our true identity. We are spirits – servants to the world. We are not these bodies. We are the engine; the heart of the machine (the body).

Our priority is this: to come to terms with our actual nature in taking care of the needs of others and that of our maker, Krishna. There is the need to rekindle our connection with God. To do that we take measures to remove obstacles that stand in the way of achieving that ignored relationship.

Prabhupada insisted that we reconnect, that we love again, and what helps is looking at lowering bad habits. Clear-mindedness and challenging the mental clutter is a way forward. We live in a confused world with misdirection and imbalance being the norm. What he has left us is his good guidance through his books, letters, and conversations. Take advantage of that compassion. Make a commitment today to make needed personal improvements and better the world.

May the Source be with you!

8km