Vyasa Puja at Bhaktivedanta Manor
→ Dandavats

By Visakha Dasi

At Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON’s flagship center in the UK, Srila Prabhupada’s 125th anniversary theme was: Srila Prabhupada offers enlightenment to the world through his books.

For the occasion, the stage in the new Haveli was decorated with dozens of candles symbolizing the light of knowledge that Srila Prabhupada brought to the world through his spiritual teachings. Throughout the morning of Vyasa Puja, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and grand disciples expressed their gratitude to him and appreciation of him. Continue reading "Vyasa Puja at Bhaktivedanta Manor
→ Dandavats"

Actor Ed Asner passed away. The episode with the devotees (video)
→ Dandavats

By Gauracandra Das

On his T.V. show he spoke to an enormous audience of millions in a positive manner about chanting Hare Krishna, and anyone who publicly spreads the glories of chanting the Holy Name like he did has successfully counteracted the effects of all bad karma whether they know it or not. Another important factor in anyone's spiritual progress is if they have a personal relationship with a devotee, which is the only way to be introduced to devotional service. Continue reading "Actor Ed Asner passed away. The episode with the devotees (video)
→ Dandavats"

The 125th Birth Anniversary India Govt. Released Commemorative Prabhupada Coin is Now Available from the TOVP
- TOVP.org

On September 1, 2021 spiritual history was made. To honor the 125th Birth Anniversary of ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada, the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, officially released a commemorative Prabhupada coin. In a 38-minute online event, Prime Minister Modi, Union Minister Sri Kishan Reddy and His Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami made presentations glorifying Srila Prabhupada to a live audience of thousands of Government officers and ISKCON leaders.

This occasion represents an unprecedented step forward in the advancement of the Krishna consciousness movement and sanatan dharma in India. It also furthers the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that all people born in India should take to Krishna consciousness and preach this message to the world.

This unique, limited-edition coin is now available to all devotees through the TOVP as a sponsorship that will also help further finance construction. Reserve your coin today as supplies are limited. A two-year installment payment plan is an option for long-term payments.

TOVP Prabhupada Coin

To reserve your coin, use the following buttons:

RESERVE YOUR COIN NOW! (International)   

RESERVE YOUR COIN NOW! (India Only!)   

 

 

PRABHUPADA IS COMING! BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

“I have given you the Kingdom of God. Now take it, develop it and enjoy it”

Srila Prabhupada, Mayapur, 1973

 

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Saturday, August 21, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

High Park, Toronto

Blue Moon

 

What keeps me sober these days is my physio sessions, shiatsu treatment, composing the blog, chanting and most indeed the outdoor kirtan sessions. Today the kirtan was at our usual Hyde Park location. The fruit or result of this endeavor is the attention drawn by the public.

 

Nicol came to join us for the first time. She just slid right into our kirtan circle. A young family, with origins from Bangalore, also cozily sat on the grass to partake in this positive sound. Of course, Anna Purna and Madhava are a real plus to our team — musically. Madhava is attached to his guitar playing for Krishna. Also, Billy returned from Philly to prove his dedication to the weekly cause. I was also impressed with Nick’s musical ability. He’s shifting from kartals (hand symbols) to mridanga drum and harmonium.

 

In regard to the use of the harmonium, it really drew the attention of one young cyclist. “What is that? It sounds so exotic.” He was glued to the shape and the sound of this lovely instrument.

 

People with their baby strollers stopped by for a mystical moment. For babies, well, they usually become stilled or stunned at the mellow, collective sound.

 

As I complete this writing, I catch a glimpse of tonight’s blue moon. This moon falls on the birthday of Balarama, Krishna’s brother. Now, that disc is mystical.

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km


 

Friday, August 20, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

The Annex, Toronto

Pet Peeves and Soft Spots in the Temple

 

Listing here my personal annoyances (pet peeves) and also listing what I like (soft spots) at the temple/ashram.

 

Pet Peeves

When:

1) … the temple and washroom are not clean

2) … a poor brand of incense is being used for the deities

3) … there is dissension amongst resident monks

4) … we lag behind in building repair

5) … the front yard is overgrown by weeds

6) … classes are delivered without eye contact and in monotone

7) … shoes are not placed in the designated area

8) … bugs enter and we don’t address quickly enough

9) … an enthusiastic newcomer is not well looked after

10) … the prasadam is too spicy or oily

 

Soft Spots

When:

1) … fresh veggies from our garden get offered to Krishna

2) … Govinda’s Dining Room is in full, smooth operation

3) … devotees encourage, complement and praise each other

4) … meaningful seminars are being conducted

5) … the kirtan chanting is sweet and invigorating

6) … lots of Prabhupada’s books are being sold

7) … arati ceremonies are regulated and viewing maximized

8) … things are clean and orderly

9) … people come from many different demographics

10) … everyone reflects the smiles of Radha and Krishna

 

Today I am suddenly celebrating the one month anniversary of my knee surgery.

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km


 

Thursday, August 19, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Rosedale, Toronto

Come Down My Trail

 

Dr. Sunil Sachdev decided he wanted to fly in, from his home in Vancouver, for a visit to help me during my rehab. He is a specialist with eyes. He had a vision and a heart to see how he could pitch in. So, this morning we phoned an Ayurvedic clinic which offers natural healing through a system of panca-karma. He also booked me in for shiatsu. I do have friends in this field but you have to know Sunil. He gets over excited with service; either that or most other people I know usually under achieve in this department.

 

Anyway, Sunil, nice job! You’re only here for five days. Enjoy your stay and learn or pick up on a few things for improving your bhakti, loving service.

 

In the evening Sunil and I went for a stroll. We started just after sundown and, for him, being a visitor, the neighborhood is all so new to him. We entered Ramsden Park and then residential Rosedale. It’s all so peaceful and quiet. We came to a finish at 10 PM and I concluded that we trekked 2 km — that’s my estimation but Sunil countered, “No, it’s more like 3.”

 

It was not worth arguing over. In truth we are happy to be walking and my companion just happened to be so kind hearted. I will admit as such that good people often come down my trail. Such is my karma. I am so fortunate.

 

May the Source be with you!

2 km



 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Toronto West General

Making the Three Mark

 

Adam was coaching me once again as my physiotherapist and said, “You’re doing really good.” He gave some more exercises to add onto the regimen I already have. At one point he cautiously grabbed the weakened left leg and held it to a certain angle which caused some mild spasms to arise. I knew he knew what he was doing, being an expert in the field. I’m grateful.

 

He knew that my home (the ashram) was 3 km away because I mentioned it last week. “Are you doing three a day?”

 

“I’m not there yet but building up to it,” I said.

 

I went on my merry way with my walking cane, convincing myself that I’ll tackle the distance, which, on long marathon days this would be a cinch. I was thinking about the couple, Mahadev and Annapurna, who dropped me off and I was dwelling on their evolution. Their story is that they were once graduates of the Sivananda Yoga Society and gradually their interest led them to bhakti. A big part of that growth came from the purchase of Sapta Rsi, seven books by Prabhupada.

 

I eventually caught up to them at the ashramand had a meal with them in Govinda’s. “We have been searching and we have found something very definite and to the point in the Bhagavad-Gita: As It Is. We now follow his lectures and hear bhajans from devotees.”

 

Looks like they are on to something.

 

May the Source be with you!

3 km


 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Ramsden Park, Toronto

Third Leg

 

We hear that we have a third eye. We may also hear that some of us (myself included) have a third leg. I graduated from two crutches to two walking poles and now to one single walking cane —my third leg. Progress is being made in the healing department. There’s hope for sure.

 

I must say I envy those who can walk the Camino in Spain for pilgrimage purposes. I hear of people championing the Bruce Trail, that rocky up-and-down arduous foot path that runs through southern Ontario. In the US enthusiasts tackle the Appalachian trail; on the west it’s the Pacific Trail. And where I took to the national trail in Israel, we came to some real challenging, almost impossible, trekking trails.

 

It is definitely in my plans to challenge a trail again; on two new knees, when that happens. Pilgrimage or parikrama, as they say in Hindi, it’s so much a sleeping giant in our world. I’m wondering if COVID-19 has affected an increased number of pedestrians? I don’t know.

 

One thing I can say about expanding the experience is that both this and last summer we have increased the number of procession festivals. Places like Moncton, Fredericton, Scarborough, Kingston, Stratford, Milton, Brampton, Vancouver and Toronto have enjoyed great summer social events in the form of Ratha Yatra, all in the northern zone, where I serve. To those managers, hats off!

 

May the Source be with you!

1 km




 

Monday, August 16, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

Ramsden Park, Toronto

A Slight Mix Up

 

I had myself set up at a picnic table with a majestic blue spruce to my back. I was just beginning with a Zoom call and connecting with our Ottawa admins. I popped my two-day-old walking cane on the table. Like all meetings, virtual included, we start by reciting prayers to the guru, our founder, Srila Prabhupada.

 

That was completed and then a decent looking man appearing to be in his 60’s came over to grab for my cane. He thought it was his. I placed my grip on it.

 

“Oh!” He looked back and saw his actual stick where he left it before picnicking with his friends. Anyway, they look alike.

 

“I’m sorry!” He said.

 

“Think nothing of it!”

 

“Now you’re a monk?” He inquired.

 

“Yes, I am.”

 

“It was bad enough karma to take someone’s possession, what to speak of taking from a monk. I can’t imagine.”

 

Pulling away from my phone and the meeting in session, I suggested to the gentleman, “Sir it’s nothing to worry about. We all make mistakes.”

 

He clutched his own cane and helped himself down the hill to the street level. Come to think of it, more people use walking canes or sticks than are willing to admit. The cane is a third leg that helps support any imbalance. It’s like life. You have a guru that keeps you from a falldown.

 

May the Source be with you!

1 km


 

Sunday, August 15, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

 Scarborough, Ontario

A New Way?

 

This weekend the Scarborough ISKCON team held their Ratha Yatra, starting at 6:30 AM on Saturday and completing near midnight. What I’m hearing from some of the different centres we have is that the Covid approach to this festival may be better than the usual way of doing things. Several items make the event more favorable such as:

1) It reaches more people as a vehicle with Jagannatha inside, goes to the neighborhoods where people get curious

2) Less-to-no permits required

3) Easier to organize

4) A better fund and friend raiser

5) There may be more arguments.

 

The managers of the various centers need to collaborate and to analyze the situation. I’d be curious to know the end result.

 

Normally I would be attending the Vancouver Chariot festival on this weekend but Covid has changed that, besides I’m still going through a knee healing. Also, enthusiastically the place of Shakespearean theater in Canada, Stratford, was also seeing this event in the suburbs by masked men and women. Again, a plus for this approach is that if you can’t go see God, then God (Jagannath) will come to see you.

 

It looks like Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe, likes to get around. Can’t blame Him. He also doesn’t care for lockdowns. He likes His freedom.

 

Freedom is such a magical word and it can be put into practice.

 

May the Source be with you!

0 km


 

Saturday, August 14, 2021
→ The Walking Monk

El Dorado Park, Brampton

 

A Joke, A Park and the Mantra

 

One of our newcomers, Ralph, sent me the following. It’s hilarious. Although I’m not fond of automobiles I got a good chuckle from this. Thanks Ralph.

 

“Pan handler is going door-to-door asking for money and goes up to this one house to ask for money when the guy says, ‘I’m not going to give you money for nothing. You have to work for it.’ He says, ‘If you paint my front porch then I’ll give you money.’ Pan handler agrees. He then finished painting and goes back to the owner and says, ‘I finished painting. Oh, and by the way, it’s not a porch it’s a Ferrari!’”

 

That was a knee slapper. Only thing is I wouldn’t slap my knees these days, especially the one going through a healing process – the left one.

 

At El Dorado Park in Brampton where devotees were to have yoga and kirtan, I met my physio guy, Paramahamsa. With me now using a single cane (I graduated from crutches to walking poles and now a cane) this walking doctor of mine, coached me a bit during the yoga and kirtan. That was great.

 

Then a group of us scooted over to High Park in Toronto for a killer kirtan. Ajamila lead and had to settle for me as the mridanga drummer. Sweet melodies though.

 

While at the park I also ‘Zoomed’ a class to a group of devotees in Windsor. From chapter 11 of The Gita perhaps the most important sloka (verse) is number 54. Check it out!

 

May the Source be with you!


 

Devotees, Deities Safe at ISKCON New Orleans and New Talavana After Hurricane Ida Hits
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

After Hurricane Ida hit the US State of Louisiana on Sunday August 29th, the devotees, deities and cows at ISKCON New Orleans and the New Talavana Farm in neighboring Mississippi have been reported safe and unharmed. The temples’ public Janmastami festivals, however, had to be canceled or delayed to next weekend.

Notes on Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021
→ Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk

Notes on Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021
(By Krishna Kripa Das)


I was a proofreader for Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021 back in June and July, and I noted down some excerpts that were striking in some way or other. Some are quotes of Srila Prabhupada, others are stories of Srila Prabhupada that I had not heard before, some are examples of eloquence, essential truth spoken concisely, others are creative rhymes. I hope reading them increases your devotion to Srila Prabhupada and inspires you to read the entire book, Srila Prabhupada Tributes 2021. Sharing this with you is my Vyasa Puja offering for Srila Prabhupada this year.

Prabhupada quotes:

“There is a science of God by which you can understand how God appears, disappears, how He acts, how He works. Everything is there, but if you are not interested that does not mean that the science of God is false or there is no such science.” (Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.7–10 in Los Angeles on January 6, 1969)

“You believe that they have gone to moon planet. You have not gone. You have heard from somebody in the newspaper, that’s all. That is your authority. So if you can believe in the newspaper, then I cannot believe in the sastras [scriptures]?” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavam 5.5.1 in Delhi on November 28, 1975)

Umapati Swami:

“I had read the Bhagavad-gita before, but it was only Prabhupada who told me to believe it.”

“‘The Americans will not accept some of these things you are saying,’ I said to Prabhupada in 1966.
“‘I am not going to change the truth for the Americans,’ Prabhupada replied.”

“In 1968 I asked Prabhupada’s servant why the grass in front of Prabhupada’s house was growing tall when all the neighbors had neatly trimmed lawns. His answer: ‘Prabhupada said, “You have given the animals a home. Do not take it away.”’”

“My godsisters and godbrothers have begun leaving this world, one by one. And none have left in fear. What better proof could anyone want?”

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

“You were charismatic and charming. As the Village Voice reporter who interviewed you in the Bowery loft said, ‘I just plain liked the guy.’”

“Today, when I listen to your early classes at 26 Second Avenue or your talks to outside groups and one-time lectures to students at colleges, I am simply amazed at how bold you were, diving at once into the heart of Krishna consciousness without any fear or hesitation. I love you for being so straightforward. Every time I hear you speak, it builds my faith more and more.”

Jayadvaita Swami:

“Thoughts:

• Srila Prabhupada has brought the pure holy name.

• We can understand Srila Prabhupada by the grace of Srila Prabhupada.

• He kept it pure.

• He kept it simple.

• When we remember him he is with us.

• Just start to remember and serve him, and inspiration and realizations will come.

• On my own, what could I do with my life? Let me offer my life to him, and he will engage me in Krishna’s service.

• I am weak, but he is strong. Let me depend on him.”

Prahladananda Swami:

“ISKCON’s actual wealth and treasure is its members’ selfless and loving commitment
to Lord Caitanya’s mission.”

Giriraja Swami:

“In Bombay you received a phone call from the temple president in Calcutta, who reported that one of your earliest disciples from America had come to Calcutta and was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do. You instructed your secretary to relay your response: ‘Tell him that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja I will reject him.’ Afterwards, Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, ‘Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja you will reject him?’ And you said, ‘No—I cannot reject anyone. The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limit.’

“Then, maybe two years later, we were in Juhu, and you had a disciple who fell into bad company and was living on Juhu Beach with a bogus, so-called yogi and doing tricks. He was putting a coin in one ear and then making it come out the other—different strange things to collect money—and he was known as your disciple and as a member of ISKCON. So, Tamal Krishna Goswami approached you and said, ‘This is happening, and he is giving you a bad name and giving ISKCON a bad name. You should reject him.’

“And again you replied, ‘I cannot reject anyone.’ Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, ‘But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?’ And again you said, ‘The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limits.’”

Hridayananda dasa Goswami:

“Just as Lord Krishna commanded Arjuna, ‘Just be My instrument’ [Bg 11.33], so you urged us to try to become Krishna’s instruments. Just as Lord Krishna Himself had already slain the warriors whom He urged Arjuna to fight, so you revealed to us that Lord Caitanya has already spread His sankirtana movement around the world. Arjuna had only to fight a war already won by Krishna, and we have only to spread a sankirtana movement that Lord Krishna Himself has already spread.

“‘Why don’t you take the credit?’ you challenged me. ‘Otherwise, Lord Krishna will give the credit to other devotees.’

“I personally heard this from you on a morning walk in Rancho Park, Los Angeles. On this, your sacred Appearance Day, I pray that you may inspire and guide me to fully embrace Lord Krishna’s most generous, loving offer — to become His instrument in spreading the Hari-nama-sankirtana movement.”

Tridandi Bikshu Bhakti Vighna Vinasa Narasimha:

“Lord Caitanya has predicted that the chanting of the holy names would be heard everywhere. If we do not go to the remote corners of the world then in the future others will go there and they will get the credit. We want to see that you, Srila Prabhupada, get the credit for bringing the maha-mantra to every town and village on this planet.”

Bhaktivaibhava Swami:

“Srila Bhaktivinoda Ṭhakura explains further: ‘The supreme nectar (paramamrta) of favorable service rendered unto Lord Krishna will gradually become thickened until it breaks through your two bodies—the gross (sthula) and the subtle (linga)—and will finally cause your eternal spiritual form (aprakrta-svarupa) to reawaken.”

“Srila Prabhupada provided the entire world with the training and education needed to gradually perform favorable devotional service as taught by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. The chanting of the pure holy name is verily the only true welfare of the living entity. There exists no higher benefit for anyone in the entire three worlds.”

Sacinandana Swami:

“You told Mr Sethi that you considered it your duty to provide accommodations for your disciples. Then you revealed to him the marvels of serving you: “Just as you are building these rooms for my
disciples here at Hare Krishna Land, Lord Krishna is making your rooms ready in Krishnaloka.”

“I am a sinful man,” Mr Sethi replied. “How can I go to Krishnaloka?”
“That I will see to,” you answered him. “This is not your duty. I will see that you go to Krishnaloka.”

Bhaktivedanta Vaikhanas aka Janardana Dasa:

[A quote from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:]

“It is only possible to chant the Lord’s name in the association of devotees. Hari’s pure name does not appear in the association of non devotees. If we are indifferent to sadhu-sanga, hari-katha, and service to Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnavas, we will not gain anything. Therefore whether we are householders or residing in the Maṭha, we must pay special attention to these three items. Then our success will be guaranteed and we will develop a taste for chanting, self-realization, and find ourselves reestablished in our constitutional position.”

Dhirasanta Dasa Goswami:

“The virus that has brought everyone to their knees is nothing new. It is just another tool Krishna sometimes uses to slow things down when foolish people of the world think they are in control.”

Janananda Goswami:


“To godforsaken lands you brought the holy bhakti tree.

You crossed the ocean great to set the whole world free.


“Alone you spread the holy name, the only yuga-dharma;

In the park you chanted, capturing all by your loving charm.


“You gave the world the chance to know that God is personal;

With Deities, temples, prasadam you made Him accessible.


“You opened up the treasure chest, allowing all to enter in,

No matter what their background, even full of sin.


“You taught the world the secret of where to find true love

And happiness, peace of mind, descending from above.


“A lifestyle you gave and showed, to bring us to sattva-guna.

Farms, schools, temples, books were coming very soon.


“A simple life, but thinking high, a motto you did hold,

Compelling us to follow—your preaching was so bold.


“You traveled on your conquest, no obstacle could stop,

Showing how to preach the message till this frame does drop.


“Relentless, you wavered not, your message ever fixed:

Bhakti never fructifies unless it is unmixed.


“Fearlessness, compassion, love, and deep humility,

Tolerance, determination, true equality—


“These qualities you showed, which are inert within each soul

Covered by illusion, ignorant of life’s true goal.


“You challenged every doctrine that opposed the Absolute;

Speculative science and philosophy you really gave the boot.


“No scientific jargon was an obstacle to your scheme;

You impregnated truth within the mundane academe.


“A revolutionary never known, to bring us all back home

With sankirtana, every town and village, previously unknown


“Has spread to every continent, to almost every town,

And all conditioned souls in its waves will surely drown.


“The sweetest process, freely given: chanting the holy names.

You empowered dvi-pada-pasus to carry out your aims.


“The seeds you scattered everywhere, most yet to fructify,

That in the future they would sprout and ever multiply.


“Incarnations are innumerable, your qualities the same.

Into this world from Goloka dhama so mercifully you came.


“Like the four Kumaras, you spoke the highest truth.

Like them, you did appear to be a fountainhead of youth.


“Like Varahadeva you challenged the greatest ass on earth;

Like no one else you shattered the illusion of our birth.


“Like Narada you traveled to everywhere you could;

You preached the purest bhakti path for everybody’s good.


“Nara-Narayana’s austerities to yours do not compare;

Patita-pavana manifest gave everyone their share.


“Like Kapila, you expounded the truth, defeated the atheist,

The Mayavadis, Sunyavadis, and all the craziest.


“Like Rsabhadeva, you showed the world the sheer futility

Of mundane social intercourse, so clear and vividly.


“You milked the earth like Prthu-raja, relieving all distress

Of numerous fools and rascals struggling in their mess.


“Like Matsya you did rescue the scriptures as they are

From deviant interpreters, leading us afar.


“Like Kurma you supported each and everyone,

Allowing us to churn the nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam.


“Like Lord Nrsimha you destroyed all demonic traits,

Protected the devotees, relieved them of their weights.


“Like Vamana you tricked us by the beauty of your heart,

Took everything for Krishna, and that was just the start.


“Like Parasurama you slew all the so-called heads;

With the sharpened axe of sastra, you put them in their beds.


“Like Rama, you rescued Sita and returned her to Her Lord,

And showed us bunch of monkeys how our life was so absurd.


“You engaged us in the mission to build bridges ’cross the sea

And release the captive jivas, setting everybody free.


“Like Balarama and Krishna, your presence is sublime,

Transporting us to a realm beyond the mundane time.


“‘Krishna is the summum bonum, origin of all.’

Loudly you proclaimed this with your clarion call.


“Like Buddha, you were self-composed, compassion to its hilt.

Nourishing true bhakti, lest our creepers they might wilt.


“Fearlessly, like Kalkideva, you severed sinful thought.

With ‘the sword of knowledge’ you slash our pride,

practically to naught.


“Like Visvakarma you gave the world the gem TOVP,

Like Dhanvantari, the medicine to really set us free.


“To counter all pandemics, you taught us what to do:

Amala-harinama the only safe way through.


“You are Sri Vyasa personified, it’s clear as a bell—

The only hope to save mankind from falling down to hell.


“Your literary contribution—unexcelled does it stand.

Each word that you deliver, so expertly you planned.


“Ten thousand years these books you gave will stand as etched in stone,

The law books for mankind—a guide to the unknown.


“O Prabhupada, you embody all acaryas of the past,

The empowered representative of all the avataras.


“The mood of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai you surely epitomize,

And all subsequent practitioners you do harmonize.


“You gave association like never seen before,

The only hope for one and all, you opened up the door.


“O Prabhupada, I’ve drifted far from the spirit that you gave,

To a proud and lusty hypocrite, an egotistic slave.


“You are the only hope for a cretin like myself,

Full of envy, pride, duplicity—nothing but a helf.


“Lord Nityananda taught us in this fallen Kali Age

That everyone’s like a Madhai, no one is a sage.


“Fifty years have passed since the day that somehow there you were

Before me in my degradation—you appeared in my blur.


“Like Visvakarma you gave the world the gem TOVP,

Like Dhanvantari, the medicine to really set us free.


“You floated in as BTG, into that lowly place,

This fallen soul you did call ‘this message to embrace.’


“Have mercy, Lord, on one and all, so all may have a chance

To hear and chant the holy names, even here in France.


“The senapati-bhakta, the savior of the earth,

Delivers each and everyone from the cycle of rebirth.


“And in such simple human ways you welcomed all who came.

Everyone is eligible, simply ‘Come and chant the name.’


“Actually you are with us now, as if you never left.

Forgetting you are here, we will certainly be bereft


“Of the jewel of suddha-bhakti, the most valuable of them all,

As Dhruva realized at last; at your lotus feet we fall.


“In all the worlds there’s never been, nor will there ever be,

One like you, O Prabhupada, the topmost devotee.


“The Supersoul has manifest as Srila Prabhupada.

At his lotus feet we fall prostrate, remain forever bound.

“There is no shelter anywhere else in all the three worlds.”

Krishna Kshetra Swami:

“I recall a pithy statement by you in your purport to the introductory verse of the Sri Isopanisad: ‘All forms of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the Complete Whole.’ This sentence reverberates so deeply with your devotional conviction. I can understand from it that the inverse of this statement applies to yourself: You have complete knowledge of the Complete Whole, such that you do not experience any form of incompleteness. And because of such freedom from incompleteness, you are able to so powerfully bring us in the vicinity of the Complete Whole.”

Lokanath Swami:

“I approached you for sannyasa initiation which you kindly awarded me in Vrndavana on 6 December 1975. Srila Prabhupada, the instructions you gave me on that day, I always carry close to my heart: “So you should always keep yourself fixed up in Krishna consciousness. It is not very difficult. Strictly follow the rules and regulation and chant Hare Krishna mantra as many times ... for a sannyasi, you should increase. Then you will be fixed up. And go on preaching.

bharata-bhumite manusya janma haila yara
janma sarthaka kari kara para-upakara (Cc. Madhya 7.128)

This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, that every Indian should learn what is this Krishna consciousness and preach it all over the world. That is His order. So from that platform you go on preaching Krishna consciousness. By executing the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu you’ll be glorified, the country will be glorified, the whole world will benefit.”

Bhakti Prabhupada-vrata Damodara Swami:

“Now bearing the mantle of sannyasa, I yet helplessly glide toward impending death.”

Kesava Bharati Goswami:

“Indeed, you single-handedly founded and nourished a branch of the tree of pure devotional service planted by Lord Caitanya Himself, a branch that is still growing despite the efforts of some to choke it with the poison of dissension.”

Parthasarathi Goswami:

“Then the audience stood up with the devotees and they had a kirtana. I remember Mahavisnu Prabhu, Prabhavisnu Prabhu, Janananda Prabhu and Revatinandan Swami leading the kirtana. As soon as I heard the holy name tears started falling from my eyes. I really didn’t know what was happening. I felt my hairs standing on end and profuse tears flowing from my eyes—then the penny dropped!

“This is krpa-siddhi. Now forty-eight years later I am still surviving and being nourished by this krpa-siddhi which is coming from our guru parampara.

Varsana Swami:

“Truly, after those joyous times of walking and talking with you, followed by the painful anguish of separation, we are now invited to enter the deepest mystery of communion as it unfolds in your physical absence. The fundamental lessons you initially imparted were the seeds which blossomed in time. Therein a new realm unfolded where you personally extend the sweetest assurance.”

Devamrita Swami:

“By your fulfilling the desire of Mahaprabhu, what you granted the critically tormented world successfully persists as humanity’s genuine hope and rescue.”

Dhanurdhara Swami:

“There is no doubt that you had every talent needed to spread the teachings of bhakti around the world, or that your selflessness and devotion were self-effulgent. What is just as spectacular to me, however, is that you were always surrendered to the will of Krishna, down to both the simplest things you did and the unwanted things you avoided. It may not always have been flashy, but by your chastity to Krishna’s will, we were spared from seeing any ambition, lust, or pretension. I am honored that, in this world of cheats and showmen, I have a spiritual master who, imbued with pure devotion, always remained beyond suspicion.”

Bhakti Vikasa Swami:

“The prospects are bright and the possibilities unlimited, but the lures of maya are as dangerous as ever. Many greater men than I succumbed to maya even after performing phenomenal service which I can hardly imagine emulating. Srila Prabhupada, you are my only protector. Save me from the dangers I am constantly harassed by, and make me an instrument in your mission of saving others. I fall at your lotus feet.”

“O Srila Prabhupada, O unlimited ocean of mercy, I have committed many sinful activities, disrespected many great souls, and whimsically neglected your instructions. Despite making a show of being your disciple, factually I have not even a small drop of devotion for you. O Srila Prabhupada, only by your mercy may I be purified of these offenses.”

“I have nothing better to say than, ‘Another year gone, I am still here.’ Your merciful message of sanity continues to reverberate in my heart, subduing the egoism and foolishness therein, sustaining the conviction that I must remain at your lotus feet or I am doomed.”

Giridhari Swami:

“Bhakti Charu Maharaja’s departure last year ushered in what my dear godbrother Bhurijana Prabhu calls ‘the decade of tears.’ Inevitably many, if not most, of your disciples will depart over the next ten years.”

Vedavyasapriya Swami:

“I realise that only in trying circumstances can we perform purely. What would it be without you being my spiritual guide and inspiration for performing devotional services in such precarious circumstances that seem never ending!”

Govinda Dasi:

“You sent a letter to all your temples in 1976: ‘All householder couples should move to our farms immediately.’ Many devotees saw this letter. But it somehow vanished and is nowhere to be found on the Vedabase. Things get lost. Teachings get changed. Or even buried with ulterior motives. (There’s money in cities; no money in the country.) Yet the orders were given. You gave them.”

Guru Das:

“Prabhupada had a very regulated life. He said, ‘Regulation is preventative of disease.’”

“When Prabhupada heard that people from the village were stealing construction supplies, he hired a guard and said that the guard should ring the bell every hour. That was to prevent the guard from sleeping on the job.”

“In the upper rooms of the Radha Damodar Temple I saw Prabhupada washing his dhoti in a bucket of water. I said, “Prabhupada, I would be happy to wash your cloth for you.”

He replied: “I can wash my own cloth, and in that way I can remain independent.”

He continued, “I shall teach you to roll a chapati with a bottle—just bring me one bottle.” I fetched a bottle, and Prabhupada showed me how to roll a chapati with it.

Then he said, ‘But I don’t even require the bottle,’ and he proceeded to flatten the dough into perfectly round chapatis using only his hands.”

“Another time, I saw Srila Prabhupada on his hands and knees scrubbing the floor. When he looked up and saw me, he said, ‘Be as independent as possible.’”

“The sky was overcast. I went near his rooms and made my walking and chanting sounds. Prabhupada came out again and smiled. He walked up and down the balcony with me, then turned towards the fields. He looked out and said, “The farmers beg Krishna for rainwater, ‘Give me water, give me water!’” He then said, “All right, take it.” He majestically swept his hand down, as if dispensing rain. Simultaneously, as he did this, a lightning bolt crashed, the sky opened, and rain came furiously down.

‘Take it,’ he said quietly, and walked back into his room.”

“I asked, ‘Are there mosquitos in Krishna loka?’
He answered, ‘They don’t bite, they sing.’”

“Prabhupada quotes:

“‘Do everything together, for if there is success, then everyone is glorified, and if there is failure then no one is to be blamed.’

“‘If we can help one person become Krishna conscious, then our movement has been successful.”

“‘Accounting means putting down every expenditure immediately.’

“‘A child takes protection of mother, even after she slaps him; similarly we take shelter of Krishna, even if slapped by Maya.’

“And once again, ‘Do everything together, for if there is success, then everyone is glorified, and if there is failure then no one is to be blamed.’”

“Quotes by others:

“‘A clenched fist cannot shake hands.’—Indira Gandhi

“‘Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’—Oscar Wilde

“‘The nightingale desists to sing until it has something pleasing to say.’—Canakya Pandit”

Bhurijana Dasa:

“Prabhupada, far greater than your stark warnings was your guiding souls to Vraja, that jewelled land of play, joy, dance, and sweetness. You presented the ticket, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and bade us to board by always chanting. You offered us live books that reciprocate with those who read them. You captured first our eyes then our minds with visions of divine Deities. You led us to mysterious holy mountains and rivers. You created a Society offering both friendships that could last a lifetime and a worthwhile mission, a cause, a purpose that awards hope to ourselves and others. You placed in our hungry mouths truly nourishing food.”

Ranadhir Dasa:

“Today I can only pray that in this body’s decline, I will forget neither you nor your beloved Krishna.”

Arundhati Devi Dasi:

“How amazingly fortunate your disciples were to be given this teaching. So in the midst of this terrible pandemic, where so many are fearful that they may get the dreaded virus and die an awful death, we have this higher knowledge, that in fact there is no death. Death is simply the shedding of this body, just like taking off a coat and then putting on another coat. It is simple. It is the fear of the mind and the identification with this body that causes so much misery.”

“Suffering is a great gift, because that is when you don’t want to be your body anymore.”

“I pray I may chant better japa because I know when I concentrate and chant good rounds I feel so much better and my understanding becomes greater.”

Kausalya Devi Dasi:

“I find it unfortunate that in many places in the world, and even at times in our own society, the contributions of women are minimized and their potential stifled, but my experience with Prabhupada was quite different. He would always encourage me to be my best, and expected me to do whatever was needed, without any limitations, even if it was something I had never done before. Through his example, he taught me many life lessons which have been a wellspring of inspiration throughout my life.”

“Any devotee who spent time with Prabhupada knows what a powerful and fearless presence he emanated but I would like to share stories that reflect how kind, affectionate and funny he was. As I look back, I’m amazed how often he would teach us through kindness and his wry and witty sense of humor.”

“We met when I was 17 and had been reading the Bhagavad-gita since I was 14. The book was my constant companion. As my desire for self-realization grew, I felt that what I needed most was to live in nature and meditate. So off I went to Hawaii seeking the answers to life’s greatest questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the meaning of life? I set up a tent on the beach on the north shore of Oahu and was living on the fruits of the land when, through the most mystical event of my life, Prabhupada entered my world. It was March 1969.

“While meditating on the beach, a flier, carried on the warm ocean breeze, came to rest on my leg. It announced that an Indian guru, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, would be lecturing on the Bhagavad-gita at Sunset Point. I was so excited – had the universe just sent me a message? I went to hear what the Swami had to say... and it was love at first sight!”

“After his talk, Prabhupada invited me to come visit him at the apartment where he was staying with Govinda Dasi, Gaurasundar and Kartikeya. When we sat together in his room, I knew I was in the presence of a great soul, and yet his charming, warm and loving personality made me feel immediately comfortable. It was an open and honest exchange, and I felt like I could tell him anything, so we talked for a long time about many subjects.”

“He showed me his newly published Bhagavad-gita and compared it to my Bhagavad-gita by looking up a few verses then declaring with complete confidence, ‘mine is better.’

“When he showed me his first record album, I told him that I had listened to it many times. I would play it while taking LSD, which I explained that I used as a sacrament for self-realization. I told him that I saw Krishna on many of my psychedelic trips. Instead of being judgmental, Prabhupada was concerned for my welfare and said, ‘It is not the LSD. You see Krishna because He loves you and shows favor upon you. Promise me you will not take this any longer.’”

“A few months later, I flew to Los Angeles to join the temple. It was only a few weeks after my arrival that we met again. This time I was wearing a sari and tilak but he immediately recognized me and said, “We met in Hawaii. I’m glad you’ve come.”

“When we arrived, we were given two rooms next to each other. Prabhupada stayed in one, and Yamuna and I stayed in the other. The men slept in the courtyard, and it was extremely cold. Often, Prabhupada asked Yamuna and me to lead kirtana or sing bhajans. I had never performed for such a large crowd, and it was intimidating, but he encouraged us and we loved singing for him.

“Once, when a man criticized us for our imperfect Sanskrit pronunciation, Prabhupada defended us saying, ‘These girls have more devotion than you will ever know in a million lifetimes.’ The man slunk away, humiliated.”

“When we were invited to visit the Golden Temple, the holiest site of the Sikh religion, Prabhupada was very respectful and impressed by the spiritual mood of the temple. Food was being cooked and served to thousands of visitors of all faiths from their community kitchen. They would make thousands of rotis every day. When we left, Prabhupada was asked to write in their guest book. Under comments, he wrote, “very spiritual.” Under religion, he wrote “Krishnite,” then looked up at us and laughed and repeated the word he had made up, “Krishnite.”

“When we took the Punjab Mail train back to Bombay, Guru Das was in first class with Prabhupada and Yamuna wanted to visit them, so we made our way to their cabin. Yamuna asked if there was anything Prabhupada wanted and he said, ‘Can you cook me some hot rice?’ We said yes – even though we had no idea how we could do it on a moving train.

“We wandered through the train until we found an employee and insisted that they let us cook. The answer from the official was a definitive, no! Fearless, Yamuna replied, ‘Then I may as well throw myself from the train.’ At last, he capitulated, saying, ‘Crazy American women!’ So, after cleaning the tiny filthy kitchen nook and scrubbing out a dirty pot, we made the rice. Yamuna was such an expert cook that even in the worst conditions, she was able to make sublime rice. She carried the platter to Prabhupada’s cabin, and he was delighted. Yamuna and I often wondered about this pastime – did he really want rice or was he teaching us a lesson in determination and commitment?”

“An Indian gentleman walked into his room and prostrated himself in front of Srila Prabhupada. He said, ‘Swamiji you will save me’ and Prabhupada replied, ‘I cannot save you. I can teach you how to save yourself, but you must do the work.’”

“As we traveled through India, I remember that once Tamal Krishna asked Prabhupada where he wanted to go next. He said, ‘I am just like a cow – I will give milk wherever you take me.’”

“Your words and deeds will empower our lives and speak to our hearts forever.”

Chintamani Devi Dasi:

“I pray when I die I can be in a big kirtana that goes on and on. My favorite thing, my heart and soul, and all because you came and gave us this divine gift.”

Krishna Bamini Dasi:

“You know my heart and my anarthas. But I won’t give up because you never give up on us. You kindly visit me in my dreams very often which I relish and have started to write these down. We can never repay you Srila Prabhupada, for presenting us with this most valuable treasure, if we can only just open the treasure chest.”

Cathurbhuj Dasa:

“By example and by your books you, Srila Prabhupada, have provided us a method and a tremendous insight into developing our role and attitude in devotional service. By highly practical advice and guidance you have steered devotees along the path of loving Krishna, and imbibing the science of Krishna without adulation.”

Bhavananda Das:

“One morning in Mayapur, I saw that you were alone in your rooms. I entered and paid my obeisances, and sat with you for a few minutes.

“‘Srila Prabhupada, may I ask you a question? No, not a question, a request?’ I asked.
“‘What is that?’ you replied.
“‘Prabhupada, would you please bless me that I may be your personal servant eternally?’
“You were silent for a moment, then you said, ‘Yes. Is that all right?’
“‘Yes Srila Prabhupada, thank you very much!” I paid my obeisances again and left in a joyful mood. That one promise alone has sustained me through all the highs and lows that every person, regardless of their station, must endure or tolerate in this world.”

“Your life was dedicated to awakening us all to the perils of material existence. If I did not have your purports, I honestly am convinced I would lose my mind. An 82-year-old man has no future, but an 82-year-old aspiring Vaisnava has the entire spiritual panorama before him. You are so wonderful, kind and merciful for having given us this future.”

“Thank you so much for the Bhaktivedanta Purports, but especially, thank you for promising me that I may have your personal service forever. Srila Prabhupada, I am depending on it.”

Sujan Devi Dasi:

“Srila Prabhupada, I am not at all qualified to be your disciple, but you have so kindly accepted me. Now my humble request is that you please empower me to carry out the duties of a disciple successfully. I am completely dependent upon your mercy. You have so kindly set me upon this path back to home, back to Godhead; it is my humble but fervent prayer that you bless me to always remain on that path and never wander from the shelter of your lotus feet.”

Bhakta Das:

“Gurukrpa Prabhu once asked you what the most important verse in all the sastra is. You quoted this sloka from the Svetasvatara Upanishad.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (SU 6.23)

Although Gurukrpa told me at least 30 years ago, it has never left my heart.”

“I had no idea who Krishna was. I had heard Krishna was one of the many ‘Gods’ worshipped by the crazy people of India who worship cows instead of eating them. That is what I had been brought up to believe. Yet somehow, I understood that I MUST have a teacher to whom I can submit myself with full faith. I thought I would have to go to India and search. But you had come to the USA a few years before. I guess that I could feel you with me from the time you landed. I always felt someone was with me always, watching over me. And when I saw your photograph, I knew you were the one who I was waiting for. Since that moment I never have doubted you. And gradually by following the practices you gave me, by studying your books with the other devotees, I started to have faith that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Truth, the Person who is the source of everything animate and inanimate.”

Mahatma Dasa:

“I ask you, Srila Prabhupada, can you bless me now with a hundred times more purity, sense control, compassion and intelligence? I really want to be an instrument in taking your movement to the next level, yet without your blessings I can’t do much. Would you consider making me a puppet? I am willing. I am at your feet, a beggar crying to help execute the impossible task you have given me.”

Narottamananda Das:

“Whether you were addressing university students, Allen Ginsberg, George Harrison, journalists, ministers, educators, or politicians, you spoke to the soul.”

Kusa Devi Dasi:

“Knowing that merely expressing words of appreciation is severely lacking, we hope to convey our appreciation by dedicating our lives to you as best we can.”

“Although we are only infinitesimally aware of the blessings you have given us, by your mercy we may properly celebrate the life gifted by you by practicing your teachings and sharing your blessing with suffering humanity.”

Nagapatni Devi Dasi:

“Temples appeared in all the Western lands
It was not enough for this saintly man
Russia and China were added to the story
Even his country awoke to revive its glory”

Sarvamangala Dasi:

“How fortunate we are to be able to speak to you still, to pray to you, to remember the unbelievable sweetness of your personal association and the profoundly powerful effect it has had on all of your fortunate spiritual sons and daughters, as well as whoever we meet with whom we can share Krishna consciousness. On the blessed day you appeared, the Lord smiled upon us, giving the most rare opportunity to begin our journey Home. Without you, there would have been no chance for us.”

“With each passing year, it becomes even more inconceivable that we’ve been given such mercy. Now most of my godbrothers and sisters and I are around the age that you were when you went to America. We begin to realise more intensely the austerities you performed in order to come to the west and accept us as your disciples. How patiently and kindly you dealt with so many young men and women who were completely new to Vaishnava life, behaviour and activities. I personally marvel daily that you gave us this amazing experience of devotional service. Through your books and personal example, you trained us in every possible way and continue to do so.”

“Even if we are not feeling joyful, as soon as we speak what you have taught, we immediately become happy beyond belief. There is nothing so enlivening as witnessing others taking to the process of devotional service. In this way, we experience your association and feel the presence of Krishna. It is wondrous.”

Ramesvara Dasa:

“You gave us the ability to rise above selfish desires, even ‘selfish spiritual desires’, and devote our life and soul to the mission of saving all conditioned souls. Setting aside what ‘we wanted to do for you and Krishna’, you gave us the vision and desire to instead devote ourselves to what pleases you and Lord Krishna the most. Regardless of our natures, our propensities and personal interests, you turned us into your Sankirtana soldiers to distribute your divine books and to distribute the holy name publicly to every town and village.”

“Once, when we were sharing a train car in India, you spoke to me about Lord Ramacandra engaging an army of empowered devotee monkeys to help rescue Srimati Sita Devi from the great demon of the age. You compared that lila to your coming to the West and engaging monkeys in human dress to help you rescue Laxmi Devi and bring Her back to the service of Sri Krishna.”

“I pray to remain your lowly instrument, your puppet, your ‘monkey’ to be used in any way that pleases you the most. On this great occasion of celebrating your divine appearance, I fervently pray with all my heart that you somehow find some use for me in your Sankirtana mission, life after life.”

Jaya Jagadisa Prabhu:

“Srila Prabhupada, as an eternally liberated soul you have always experienced full, ever-expanding consciousness whether you inhabited an external body or not. And when you did inhabit a physical body, you respected it and cared for it as a valuable vehicle with which to render service to Krishna in the material sphere.

“Those of us who identify with our body are always in a state of fear. On some level we’re always expecting danger; we know that our body will die one day, we just don’t know when. Our ever-present fear means that we’re never fully present – in the same way that someone who occupies a building that may burn at any moment cannot be at peace in that building.

“Which brings us to a paradox: the only way to be fully present in a physical body is to not identify with it. If we identify with our body, we become enslaved by the modes of material nature, which cover our consciousness and blunt our self-expression.”

“Some people have great impact on the world but their character is flawed or abrasive. Many people are superficially “nice” but have little impact on the world. Few are those who accomplish great things and do so with pristine character. Srila Prabhupada, you epitomized such a person, for you taught us how to create the greatest benefit for the world and at the same time act in purity.”

Narayani Devi Dasi:

“Before we met you we were totally concerned about our bodies and minds, thinking ourselves the center of the universe. But by chanting we can experience something of spiritual life. In the beginning days we were so immersed in harinama that we would sometimes forget our bodies. After a month of living with devotees, they were concerned that I might be a little sick. They asked if I was ok. I answered that I cannot tell if I have a fever or if I am just in ecstasy. Now I am still tasting that happiness and wanting to share it with others.”

“You gave us beautiful Deities to worship so we could develop a personal relationship with Krishna. When we were pujari priests in Calcutta we could see their expressions change moment to moment. Our desire was to please Them with flowers, food, clothes, jewelry and our prayers. Although living in Calcutta, we felt like we were living in the spiritual world.”

“Srila Prabhupada, we need your mercy to understand the knowledge, to joyfully chant Hare Krishna and to worship the Deities with devotion. To access all the gifts of hope you have given us we must always remember you and pray for your causeless mercy at every moment.”

Suresvara Dasa:

“‘A spiritual master takes his disciples
as his spiritual master. That is the position.
He thinks that, ‘Krishna has sent me so many
spiritual masters.’
He does not think himself as spiritual master.
He thinks himself their servant.’

“Dearest Srila Prabhupada,
How many times have I heard and taught those words
Of yours, without realizing one word?
Sadder but wiser I bow again at your lotus feet
Amazed and grateful you never give up on me
Praying to see you in the serious seekers you send

Feeling myself their servant your lowly
servant makes amends
For those endless subtle falldowns, I scarcely had a chance
But for the kindly causeless mercy
of your loving lotus glance.”

Mandalesvara Dasa:

“I prostrate myself before you, Srila Prabhupada, awe-struck, yet at peace, in the presence of your great wisdom, love, and compassion. And now, within my heart and before the world, I praise Your Divine Grace for what is certainly one of your greatest miracles: your creation of an army of sincere followers, who are faithfully, purely, and without speculation or deviation, carrying on your precious mission, continuing the parampara, increasing the flood of mercy, and inspiring even me, today and always.”

Atmananda Dasa:

“You are the personified universal panacea and perfect holistic health adviser.”

Gostabihari Das & Mahavisnupriya Devi Dasi:

“You had all the answers that we were searching for without our being fully conscious of what we were truly looking for.”

“You saw Krishna everywhere and Krishna’s beauty in everything. Again in Hawaii in 1975 when you walked the grounds of the Honolulu temple at 51 Coelho Way, you saw a strawberry guava tree (known as Waiwi, in Hawaiian) growing alongside the driveway. That tree for the first four years of its life grew straight and tall, but after the temple became home to your disciples, the tree made a sharp right turn, growing sideways instead of straight up. Srila Prabhupada, you said, ‘This tree is trying to go into the temple to see Lord Caitanya and the Pañca Tattva.’”

“In Hawaii, in 1976 you stated, ‘Just like in our universe, there are hundreds of planets, so likewise there are millions of universes, and millions of planets. But on every planet there is Srimad Bhagavatam with slightly different pastimes because Krishna’s activities in these universes vary some. But in every Bhagavatam there is mention of our ISKCON society where the yavanas and mlecchas are joyfully chanting the holy name and dancing.”

Srutakirti Dasa:

“It has been a most unusual year for everyone in the world, your followers, but it is also one that you have prepared us for in your lectures and your books.”

“We pray that you allow us to continue to serve you year after year no matter what goes on in the world and feel completely protected by you. We pray that you continue to make us dance according to your desire and in this way our lives will be successful.”

Yadubara Das and Visakha Dasi:

“Due to your teachings and example, however, your followers – including us – feel far more prepared than before for the material energy’s challenges; the lengthy worldwide upheaval we’ve confronted and continue to confront due to the pandemic is one example. We feel unlimitedly fortunate to have had your teachings to guide us through this unusually dark time and to verify your many statements about the nature of this material world and our insignificance. We are definitely not the controllers.”

Guru Gauranga Prabhu:

“Life has continually examined me to verify whether I have understood your teachings. And ultimately, death, the great examiner, will do so as well.”

Prabhavisnu Dasa:

“I was so attracted that I didn’t want to leave the temple, but Tribhuvanath Prabhu pushed me out the door saying, ‘Come back tomorrow. Krishna will take care of you.’

I came again a couple of days later. Vishal Prabhu greeted me in the hallway and thrust a large Krishna book into my hands saying, ‘It’s a very auspicious day to take this book. The spiritual master will be
giving a lecture.’ He was a very convincing book distributor. I took both volumes and gave him all my money.”

Jagattarini Dasi:

“It was clear that you wanted me to feel at home, and use my gifts in Krishna’s service.”

“Your greatness is visible in your books, your temples and the quality of your disciples, yet you were seeing even a most incapable person like myself as useful.”

Ali Krishna Devi Dasi:

“By remembering your resolute, fearless character I can honestly say that I feel strong in my fights against maya and her innumerable agents, and by remembering your unflinching determination I find the strength to stay till the end on the path you have traced for us.”

“Oh, what a great fortune to have met you, Srila Prabhupada! You are everything to me: the most loving father, the eternal well wisher, the absolute master, the spotless example, the dispeller of all doubts and fears, and my constant shelter.”

“Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, for beautifying my life in countless ways. Your Grace is the most precious and brilliant jewel, and I hope to be able, one day, to reflect a ray of your light.”

Gokulananda Dasa:

“Yes, Srila Prabhupada is the perfect lover of God and the full embodiment of His selfless service whose miraculous life forever shines as the beacon of hope for the millennia of the Golden Age of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement.”

Janakaraja Dasa:

“And so just as you, your character and swan-like countenance convince me of the truth of Krishna, your disciples convince me of the truth of you. And even though I am such a hopeless person, Srila Prabhupada, I thank you for allowing me to come in contact with you, your followers and your Krishna.”

Sakshi Gopal Prabhu:

“You travel tirelessly to capitals and continents
Full fourteen times around the globe you fly
Yet jet lag never seems to dull your glowing countenance
And all the while the titles in your Book Trust multiply

“Meanwhile, it seems an empire tilters on the brink of ruin
A growing storm of karmic retribution for the crime
Of godless living at the cost of countless others
Destroying body, mind and soul of all mankind

“You urge we recognise the virus of our own illusion
And take the cure – the vaccination of Lord Krishna’s Holy Name
Or face conditioned life of never ending lockdown –
Samsara’s cycle of repeated birth, old age, disease and pain”

Gokularanjana Dasa:

“It is also true that regularly, whatever doubt, or inner or outer conflict I may be going through, somehow or other, I will be directed to a purport or tape that will perfectly resolve any question or issue I am facing. It is as if Srila Prabhupada is personally instructing me, and I am at peace.”

Adideva Das:

“Srila Prabhupada, before meeting you my devotion lay in ever-changing eye candy.
I was a destitute rogue, cheating myself of life’s goal.
No sin had I not crawled under a rock with.
As a result I found myself churning in the ocean of material existence.
As I drowned you sent your disciples to save me.
You then compassionately engaged
me in beneficent services to aid
other drowning souls.

“You still patiently teach me through
your books, still inspire me through
your tireless examples, still open door
after door to the spiritual world
for me by introducing me to the writings
of the saints of the past.

“Please continue to guide this stumbling pilgrim.
May I always follow your lotus footsteps
as your aspiring servant.”

Jitamitra Devi Dasi:

“It is hard to imagine life without your guidance. What a lost soul I would be. Your guidance has brought many good times in my life and your guidance has gotten me through whatever bad times I was destined to experience. Your guidance has brought meaning and fulfillment to my life. The more I accept your guidance, Srila Prabhupada, the more content and peaceful my mind becomes. Your guidance has helped me develop the healthy, spiritual habits of rising early, chanting 16 rounds, following the four regulative principles, offering all actions in service to Krishna, and remaining in the association of devotees. I have full faith that accepting your guidance brings me the best possible life I can live.”

Arjuna Das:

“I stand to be inspected, corrected and directed. Hoping to never be neglected!”

Ramya Devi Dasi:

“How can I find words to glorify you when everything’s been said thousands of times in thousands of different ways by thousands of different people who are far more advanced and qualified than I am?”

“I will just say a heartfelt thank you Srila Prabhupada for the opportunity to go beyond the familiar and
safe and, in isolation, to go deeper within ourselves.

“For the time and space to read more and listen more and to try and gain a deeper understanding of what a truly wonderful gift you have given us and to begin to realise that actually that is all we have.

“Nothing else matters but the knowledge which you have brought us. Nothing else has any value.”

Thank you Saila Prabhupada for this unique opportunity to learn what is truly important in our lives.

Citraka Dasa:

“You coined the term ‘Krishna consciousness’ for your ‘matchless gift’, and you underwent countless hardships to deliver it to us. Day and night you endeavored tirelessly to introduce the chanting of the maha-mantra and translate the cream of the ancient Vedic scriptures to support the authenticity of this method. You also introduced us to the most elevated philosophers, saints and spiritual teachers that the world has ever known.”

“Alone, in the kingdom of ignorance, the uncivilized madhouse of New York, single-handedly you started the chanting and teaching of the philosophy, and the rest is glorious and miraculous history!”

“While I haven’t really any big external accomplishment to offer unto your lotus feet, as if it was ever possible to thus repay you, I am here to thank you immensely and testify about the amazing beauty and nature of this blessing we have being given ... the vision of Krishna consciousness personified in your perfect example!”

“Dear Srila Prabhupada, I am praying intensely for your mercy. Please bless me to awaken again the forgotten art of serving and pleasing the Lord and His devotees. I remember, when you were with us, you wouldn’t judge us for our fallen past, nor take seriously our then immature present, but you would look at our potential, how we could be in a purified, perfected and saintly future. Such a lovely and encouraging vision! I want to make it mine!”

Uttama Devi Dasi:

“I have no idea where to begin, as I am grateful to you for so many things. I am grateful for your immense compassion for all of us. I am grateful for your eloquent, deeply insightful translation and commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam. I am grateful for your witty comments, that cut to the essence. I am grateful for your perseverance to spread Krishna consciousness despite odds that would have sent most people back to the warm comforts of home. I appreciate the personal dealings you had with each Deity, every disciple, every guest. I appreciate witnessing, even second hand, the vast spectrum of love that you have for Krishna. I pray that somehow, I too, may develop a sliver of that love.”

Sarva-drik Das:

“Preaching MEANS . . . to confront the outright atheists, and the covert atheists too, that hide behind
a veil of religiosity.”

“Srila Saraswati Thakur wrote:

A chanter of Hari-kirtana is necessarily the uncompromising enemy of worldliness and hypocrisy.
It is his constant function to dispel all misconceptions by preaching the truth in its most unambiguous form, without any consideration of person, place, or time.
Harmonist, 26.249–50 (April 1929)

“Our Srila Prabhupada, following the example and precept of his Guru Maharaja, taught us exactly the same thing. He wrote:

‘The fact is that I am the only one in India who is openly criticizing, not only demigod worship and impersonalism, but everything that falls short of complete surrender to Krishna. My Guru Maharaja never compromised in His preaching, nor will I, nor should any of my students. We are firmly convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all others are His part and parcel servants. This we must declare boldly to the whole world, that they should not foolishly dream of world peace unless they are prepared to surrender fully to Krishna as Supreme Lord’ — Letter, January 3, 1972

“By his uncompromising preaching spirit Srila Prabhupada, was the greatest revolutionary and human society was the beneficiary.”

“Create a revolution! Distribute Srila Prabhupada’s mercy in the form of his books, his recorded lectures, his letters, his devotees, and his temples. And especially we should endeavor to bring the attention of the world to recognize his books as the most profound contribution to the welfare of human society that history will ever see. If we dedicate our life to this task of making Srila Prabhupada the most well-known, authoritative, spiritual authority on the planet, there is hope for society. Doing this is more important, and more fruitful, than an abhiseka, obeisance, and a handful of flowers.

“O Srila Prabhupada, O Vaishnava Thakur, I am simply begging at your lotus feet to be a participant in your revolution, in any way you see fit.”

Jaya Bhadra Devi Dasi:

“Meditating on you, your unfathomable devotion to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and the previous acaryas, your overflowing love for Lord Krishna and His entourage, your affectionate gratitude and concern for those who attempt to serve you, and your unfathomable compassion for all souls who are not engaging in a loving relationship with the Lord – all this draws my attention away from maya’s glaring and bewildering reflection.”

Parividha Dasa:

“My dear Srila Prabhupada,

“A few weeks ago a line of a Beatles song ‘speaking words of wisdom’ popped into my mind and I desired to write a cover of the song in your glorification, and this is the outcome:

“The first thing that I do each day
Is hear a class from you
Speaking words of wisdom so sublime
I listen to your classes play
Whether I am glad or blue
Grateful for your wisdom all the time
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Speaking words of wisdom, so sublime
And when the searchers of the truth, living in the world agree
That you have the answers, Prabhupada
For though you have departed,
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer in your books
If they look in your book it will be hard to overlook
That you speak the truth, so sublime
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Enlightening the world, all the time
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Speaking words of wisdom, so sublime
Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada
Enlightening the world, for all time
Hare Krishna.”

Dravida Dasa:

“You spoke for a few minutes on the verses leading up to this one [SB 1.8.21], and then you spoke these words that went straight into my heart and drew me irrevocably to your lotus feet:

“Chant Hare Krishna mantra and hear repeatedly, and take prasadam. These are the two businesses of the tongue. So you’ll realize. Very simple method. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam . . . Krishna will reveal. Not that by your endeavor you can understand Krishna, but your endeavor in the lovingservice, that will make you qualified. Krishna will reveal.

Svayam eva sphuraty adah. Krishna is very much anxious to take you back home, back to Godhead. But we are stubborn. We do not wish. So He’s always finding out the opportunity how you can be taken back home, back to Godhead. Just like affectionate father. Rascal son left his father, loitering in the street and has no shelter, no food—suffering so much. The father is more anxious to take the boy home. Similarly, Krishna is the supreme father. All these living entities within this material world, they’re exactly like the misled child of a big, rich man, loitering in the street. Therefore the greatest benefit to the human society is to give him Krishna consciousness.”

“Srila Prabhupada, I very much felt like the rascal son loitering in the street with no shelter, and I very much felt that you were my real father who was anxious to take this boy home. I still feel that way, and I fervently pray that by your mercy I can overcome my deep-rooted anarthas, stay in your service till my final hour in this body, and rejoin you in our eternal home at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.”

Krishnavesha Dasi:

“It was only when I went back to the temple the following summer, and sat in Bhagavad-gita classes given by your disciples, that understanding of your book came to me—quickly and easily. And this is the wonder of you. In giving your personal association to your early disciples, you transformed that small number of ordinary people into living, breathing, walking Bhagavad-gitas with the capability of rendering transcendental knowledge accessible and relevant to me – instantly.”

“Instantly. ‘Just add water’ is the expression used in the instant foods industry. Instant mashed potatoes, instant noodles, instant idlis—whatever it might be. Water is the additive with that magic touch that plumps everything into shape, reconstitutes it and makes it recognisable. In the same way, when we are lucky enough to happen upon the records of wisdom left in this world by God, often thousands of years before our time, it is the personal association of the pure devotee, the emissary of God, that activates that knowledge for us, making it understandable and usable by us in our lives. This is the reason for the disciplic succession, the need every one of us has for personal exchange with a living guru.

“My story shows that the process of receiving the torchlight of knowledge from the person of Your Divine Grace, and passing it on in person to others is not happening only now on account of the fact that you are not physically present among us, but was happening even then in the early days of ISKCON when you were physically present. My hearing from your disciples, who became my senior godbrothers and godsisters, in no way excluded me from a relationship with you, but brought me closer to your lotus feet and gave me a whole family of spiritual mentors. The bliss I feel on remembering my senior godbrothers and godsisters and the merciful guidance they have given me over the years is beyond wonderful.

“It is my hope that young devotees of today and tomorrow will read this as an affirmation of their personal connection with Your Divine Grace as siksa disciples that will give them joy and inspiration. Remember, between diksa and siksa, siksa is more important, and in that we are all equals and equally fortunate.”

Dhanesvara Dasa:

“In all of your activities you gave the sterling example that with the combination of a steadfast vision of future success, tireless effort, and taking necessary risks, wonderful results could be wrestled from seemingly impossible situations.

“You are justly appreciated and lauded for these efforts and activities by your followers every year on this occasion. Today I wish to acknowledge, thank, and praise you, not just for these, but for another of your wonderful gifts, that is too often overlooked – your vision and efforts as a social reformer.

“While everyone in this mad world glorifies the continued materialistic development of modern civilization as ‘progress,’ mesmerized by its baubles and bangles, you, as a spiritually cultured Vaishnava, stood alone against the entire world, calling it out for what it actually is: a society of hogs, dogs, camels and asses. A soul-killing civilization that destroys the finer sentiments of the human being.

“Indeed, it is a ‘civilization’ created by the demonic to serve their purposes at our expense, yet we cannot see it, blinded as we are by the pleasures it offers. We cannot see this because since birth every one of us is indoctrinated, by parents, schools and media, to the understanding that this is not only a great civilization, but that we are at the pinnacle of progress! Conditioned as we are by the sense gratification it offers, we think of this world as a benign place where we can pursue our dreams to find happiness and fulfillment.”

“But it is a demonic civilization that is organized to control and exploit us at every turn. And so conditioned are we in this ‘culture’ that we think it normal and sadly, we even apply its demonic methods in our own activities.”

“Better that we follow your example that we need not focus on money as the means of performing our service. You said many times ‘when you get money, spend it immediately, and Krishna will supply more.’ Yet due to our conditioned nature we too often take shelter of money, not Sri Krishna, for security. Again you demonstrated by your own example, how your success came as a result of giving freely everything without consideration of return: instruction, mantra, prasadam, etc. And because everyone was touched by your gifts they reciprocated with you, giving everything needed to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.”

“The second demonic method of control is institutional hierarchical control where authority is placed in a seat such as president, and power given regardless of qualification. The demons have created this system to allow them to control hundreds and even millions of people, and to build huge enterprises to accumulate wealth and power. Such methods are antithetical to spiritual culture where authority is given not to a seat or position, but to individual persons according to their qualification.”

“You instructed us not to have excessive hierarchical command-control authority within ISKCON, severely chastising your leading men when they attempted to do so, writing: ‘Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility,competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No.”

“We have now come to this momentous time, a time of great change when everything in this world will be changed. This is the stated intention of the demonic powers that control this world. They say there will be a Great Reset. We heartily agree that a Great Reset is needed. The question is: in which direction? Towards more control, exploitation, materialism and impersonalism? Or towards a God-centered, spiritual, personal culture? Encouraged by you, our senapati bhakta, our great devotee commander, we choose to use all of our energy to establish the latter. Although it seems like an impossible task from where we sit just now, it is no more impossible than the task that was before you of establishing Krishna conscious all over the entire world.”

Aristaha Dasa:

“Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, you saved me from disaster
And you will always remain my loving master
We are living in a difficult age
I feel so lonely and suffocated in the false ego cage
But by associating with sincere devotees a door is being opened
When I lend my ear to hear I experience less fear.”

Yadavendra Das:

“Your message of good spiritual will to save us from repeated birth and death is very rich and we find ever new and encouraging passages. For example, you told your former personal servant His Grace Nanda Kumara Dasa that calling out for Krishna through the regular chanting of sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra will protect us from fall down just as a child is protected from falling by holding the hands of his parents. What a thoughtful, simple and touching example!”

Purnamasi Devi Dasi and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Dasa:

“We offer our humble obeisances to you Srila Prabhupada. You are the Founder-acarya of ISKCON.

“We all are aware of you being the founder, however, we are slowly becoming more aware of how you are our beloved acarya. More and more books by your disciples are allowing us to experience your loving, giving, and compassionate side. These remembrances help us and all future devotees to have a deeper appreciation and personal relationship with you.”

“As a pure devotee of Krishna, you are a transparent via medium to Krishna. Devotees and non-devotees alike can catch a glimpse of Krishna’s love for us by reading your books and also the books or memories of your disciples. People are attracted by a ‘good personality’. We are attracted to you because you are a perfect representative of Krishna who is the greatest personality. We can try to follow the example of your perfect interactions with others so that they may be attracted to the process of Krishna consciousness, their only hope.”

Phalini Devi Dasi:

“We are forever indebted to Your Divine Grace because you have delivered to us the holy names of Krishna and you gave us a fixed number of rounds to chant each day for the rest of our lives. You stressed again and again the importance of sticking to a vow of chanting at least sixteen rounds per day. We are grateful to you for establishing this minimum, so that no matter what happens to our bodies or our minds, we know that we must complete our rounds.”

“I heard you say in a lecture recently that we have promised to chant Gayatri mantra three times a day. Your Divine Grace said, ‘Tri-sandhya means three times. We initiate...They promise that three times they will chant Gayatri-mantra, but I do not know what they are doing (you paused here a moment to let your heavy words sink in)...So these are the recommendation[s] in the sastra. If we don’t follow, then we must fall down. There is no doubt about it.’ (Lecture, SB 1.3.29, LA, Oct. 4, 1972) Srila Prabhupada, that’s scary. Please protect us from falling down by helping us to be strongly devoted to maintaining our vows that we made at our initiations.”

Kalpalatika Devi Dasi:

“One day I went by myself to a local park to chant and sing. Then my husband joined me. Gradually, more and more devotees started coming to the park to have kirtana together. We had to sit six feet apart and wear masks, but we were ecstatic to have each other’s association. Every week Lord Caitanya invariably sent souls to come hear the kirtana and take some cookie prasadam and a book. We had a large festival in the park for Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day, with 38 devotees and guests and a wonderful feast of twelve preparations. In this way we have managed to take shelter of the holy name and continue to have the loving association of devotees. Our weekly gatherings have been the life and soul of all of us.

“None of this would have been possible if you had not come to New York so long ago and sat alone to chant beneath a tree in the park. When I think of that, tears of gratitude well up and my heart feels full of love and appreciation for all that you have given to me and to the whole world. I know that I can never adequately repay you, Srila Prabhupada, but I pray that I always remember you and strive to live in a way that pleases you.”


Tripti Devi Dasi:

“For it’s your sincere disciples that are the real tributes,
serving you selflessly with body, mind, heart and spirit.
That’s the true glory of your life’s holy art,
to have lifted up so many and set them apart.
Miraculously transforming souls transfixed by maya,
cleansing their hearts, sparking spiritual desire.
With humor, compassion, strict and constant attention,
you freely taught how to love and serve Krishna.
You built a house based on Love, Trust and Service,
inviting the whole world to come home – Back to Godhead.
And they are still coming, those gentle souls who surrender
at your lotus feet from now til’ forever.
For your love knows no limits, no restrictions, no boundaries,
Unlimited Krishna bhakti – given free for the asking.”

MokshaLaksmi Devi Dasi:

“Srila Prabhupada, you are the greatest of altruists, your unselfishness knew no bounds. Your self-sacrifice was exemplary and your humility unmitigated. You cared for everyone from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor; Your mercy was there for every last entity. You surely saw only the soul trapped in its material body.”

Sandamini Devi Dasi:

“A DAUGHTER’S RAP

“I ponder your nobility,

Marvel at your ability,

Wonder at your humility,

Charmed by your tranquility.

When challenged you’re serenity,

With children sly passivity,

To devotees total purity,

To the world such credibility.

For ISKCON you’re stability,

Engaging with agility,

Your principle, utility,

Not a moody-blue futility.

No gender nix-ability,

Just spirit capability,

Bhakti’s invincibility

You welcome us to reality.


“Displaying remarkability,

With no whiff of debility,

You show the possibility,

Of earth’s sustainability.

You’ve given us facility,

To act with flexibility,

Evincing great mobility.

While teaching with gentility.

Your writings’ readability,

Full of rasa not sterility,

Showing God’s adorability,

And ageless likeability.

You see our trainability,

A spark of suitability,

Our rounds with audibility.

Your incredible incredibility!”


Sukhavaha Dasi:


“I offer my obeisances with respect and care.

With gratitude I extend a heartfelt prayer

For remembrance of you, to be ever aware

Of your great compassion for the world’s welfare.


“I bow before your empowered lotus feet,

Praying for your mercy, whether bitter or sweet.

Teach me to refrain from the tendency to cheat.

Purify my heart, make my serving mood complete.

Your Vyasa-puja day, a time for recollection,

Honoring your many gifts of spiritual direction.

With deep appreciation for your caring protection,

For the holy name and meditative reflection.

You came to this world full of Kali-yuga tension

Giving us a glimpse of the spiritual dimension

Where would we be without your intervention?

Surely in places we wouldn’t want to mention.

Thank you for your clear, ongoing corrections.

For initiating me without any objections.

For your kind acceptance rather than rejection.

Despite my many, many imperfections.

You awakened us to the root of our dissatisfaction

Conferring upon us the highest benefaction

Starting us out with a simple plan of action

You prayed that we’d gradually develop attraction.

Alerting us to Maya’s keen ability to distract

How fault-finding is her way to get us to react.

When our bhakti lata creeper is clearly ransacked,

Your grace fills our hearts with what we lacked.

Although I thought I was looking for perfection,

Through years of transformative introspection,

My goal is now simply to model your affection

For Krishna and His devotees through loving connection.”

Samapriya Devi Dasi:

“And when your words are the prime objective,
everything is in perfect order.”

Sukhada Dasi:

“I came across an article written some time ago by an independent Irish journalist, Brendan O’Connor. Phenomenal article, as this man perceived Srila Prabhupada’s all pervading influence. He said: ‘I was reading somewhere recently that while we might think of Hare Krishnas as a marginal cult, their influence on the world we live in is enormous. The view seems to be that while the religion has not succeeded in the mainstream, as such, the ideas have. Everywhere you look there is watered down Hare Krishna-ism, from the kinds of foods we eat, to the notion of sustainable, community based living, to the whole mindfulness thing.’ He says. ‘IT SEEMS WE ARE ALL A LITTLE BIT HARE KRISHNA NOW!!!’ Mr. O’Connor goes on to say ‘Do you practice yoga? Are you a vegetarian? Do you believe in karma? Do you believe in positive vibes through social media? If you do, then, my friend, you might just be a little bit Krishna conscious.’ Mr. O’Connor wonders if it’s okay to take the trappings of spiritual techniques without buying into the ‘whole thing’. He goes on to muse, ‘Or do the Hare Krishnas and the rest of them know something we don’t? Do they know that the more people they can get to chant or meditate or not eat meat, or do the yoga, even if those people just do it for well being, the more people they bring a little closer to Krishna?’ He concludes his article, ‘WILL WE ALL END UP IN SAFFRON ROBES SOME DAY’ Well, guess what Brendon, that’s Prabhupada’s plan, so that’s our plan and we’ll continue to give out your mercy. The seeds have been planted and continue to be planted.”

Atitaguna Dasi:

“Before I left for Mayapur from Australia I asked a friend what I could personally take as a gift for you, Srila Prabhupada. She said ‘full cream powdered milk’. I was startled because in Australia it is such a common commodity. I bought a tin of it along anyway. In those days every Australian devotee would bring you 2 kg of ghee each, and I also brought the tin of full cream powdered milk. I was so embarrassed to give it to you. I was thinking – this is such a common thing for us – how can I give this to my spiritual master? I thought you were going to say – this is so far from milk, etc. But when you saw the banged up tin of milk your eyes lit up and you said to your servant, ‘Make all my milk sweets out of this’. Then you talked for 30 minutes on cow protection and the incredible value of milk.”

Gaura Dasa:

“Lately I have been invited by your granddisciples to give classes in Pakistan. You will be very pleased to know that because of your pure desire, the Pakistan government extended financial support to sponsor and print 10,000 of your Bhagavad-gita As It Is in the Urdu and Sindhi languages. . . . May you and Lord Caitanya continue to bless the Government of Pakistan.”

“Your Divine Grace: ‘I can understand your concern about the deterioration of the civilization. Yes, the city will be more dangerous place as Kali-yuga advances. It will be very deteriorating. The modern civilization is so corrupt and as sinful activities are more and more committed., the people will be forced to face more troubles, by nature’s order. Our business, however, is simply to take shelter of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and pray to the holy name to give us protection. We shall be unaffected by all that will happen. Krishna will provide us with working facilities. Be assured of this, that the devotees will be protected by the holy name. Others will have to suffer in the days that are coming.’ (Letter Kurusrestha, 3 July 1973)”

Shyamasundara Dasa (Jyotisa Sastri):

“I recall a vivid dream that I had in the early part of 2001. It was during a very dark time in the history of the movement you had started. You were being publicly insulted by miscreants in your own institution and your official representatives did not come to your defense or censure the guilty. In that dream I was weeping uncontrollably that such a horrible thing was happening in your own institution. Then suddenly in the dream the whole ‘screen’ went black and then a white spot appeared in the center and this spot gradually expanded to cover the whole screen again. In this white area the whole lila of Prahlada Maharaja played out and in the end Lord Nrsimha appeared and vanquished the demons and protected Prahlada. Then a loud deep voice booming like rolling thunder stated, ‘Just as Prahlada Maharaja could not be vanquished, in the same way Prabhupada’s mission cannot be stopped.’ Then the dream suddenly stopped, and I woke up having fallen out of my bed in shock.”

Guru Carana Padma Devi Dasi:

“What a year it has been! Although we have been locking down for the most part, on a personal level, you have been unlocking so many things for me within my heart and mind.”

“Even though we could not go out and about, we could enter a world unaffected by viruses and pandemics...a world you have allowed us access to.

“Even though we could not be in the association of devotees, we were able to connect through the airwaves and there were so many wonderful souls sharing inspiring wisdom on many levels.… you taught us that this sanga is most vital for spiritual life.”

“Being confined at home enabled us to expand our horizons and meditate on the gifts you have bestowed upon us.”

Sarnga Thakur Dasa:

“Thank you Srila Prabhupada for the most profound blessing of being able to worship and connect with the divine names of God – the most personal, the sweetest, the purest, all-powerful, and all-attractive names in existence!

“The holy name is everything. Such a priceless gift! It is the life-blood of our International Society for Krishna Consciousness that you created. The holy name is the ultimate goal and sustainer of our devotional lives. We cannot have peace and happiness without the holy name being at the center of our lives.

“All of our reading, worship, and sadhana is to perfect our chanting of the holy name. Purified and thoroughly honest, we approach the holy name humbly and submissively, knowing we serve your lotus feet by doing so. Pure chanting, suddha nama, brings prema – pure loving devotion to Sri Sri Radha Krishna. We get so enlivened by chanting, we want to do everything with more attention and devotion. We want to soak in any, and all, of the knowledge about the Lord and His devotees, their spiritual affairs and abode. We want to broadcast the Lord’s glories and share the chanting with everyone.”

“Because of your deep and sublime faith in the holy name, your influence continues to sweep across the world, carrying multitudes of ignorant people into the magic of chanting Hare Krishna.

“Because of your divine potency and that of Harinama, we get surcharged every day, to live and practice the lifestyle that brings us closer to the holy name.

“Where would we be, Srila Prabhupada, without the holy name? Who can imagine how many souls will swim in the ocean of nectar, revealed by the holy name because of your dedication and love?”

Liberating the Liberators
→ Krishna Dharma

It is interesting that the US and UK style themselves as “liberators” of Iraq. Subtly implied in this euphemistic term is the assumption that we are ourselves already liberated, in a position to bestow our happy state on others. And that is surely a commonly held assumption in the West. We view ourselves as having the most progressive and free societies. But how true is this?

A popular newspaper columnist recently wrote a book about globalisation in which she described it as the “onward march of the human rights culture.” As one country after another eagerly embraces the Western ideals of capitalism and the free market, then along with Coca-cola, McDonald's, and pop music, they inevitably imbibe the West’s underlying values such as democracy, liberality, and tolerance.

Junk culture aside that sounds like a good enough thing. Who can complain as the fanatical theocrats and ‘ethnic cleansing’ despots are swept away by the all-engulfing tide of the free world? But it begs a question. Where is it all going? The West may enshrine progression and liberality, but what are we progressing toward? If we are to be truly liberal, then what is the evil from which we must be freed?

Perhaps it is obvious — oppression, denial of the basic right to practice the religion or politics of choice, denial of education or employment, and so on. What all that adds up to is that we want to be happy, to be free or liberated from unnecessary suffering.

On the face of it, the West promises just that. Certainly, it is striving in that direction. But has it properly identified the real impediments to lasting happiness? Even if we free ourselves from the oppression of every tyrannical regime on Earth, it seems we still face some pretty oppressive problems.

For example, figures given by the charity Mind show that three in ten people in the UK suffer from a mental illness. Every day of the year twenty of them commit suicide. Alcoholism is rife, with 40,000 people a year admitted to hospital for alcohol-related illnesses, out of which 5000 of them will die due to that problem. As for America — 30,000 US citizens took their own lives during 1997. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that the numbers of Americans being treated for depression between 1987 and 1997 more than tripled from 1.8 million to 6.3 million, while those taking antidepressants doubled. Then there are the crime figures…

Clearly, something is going wrong somewhere. It seems that the advance of technology and modern amenities is not making us happier. In fact, a recent UN survey polled a large number of people in many countries around the world, trying to determine who was the happiest. Way down the list came the US and the UK, along with other Western countries. Top, perhaps surprisingly, was Bangladesh, where the average person consumes some thirty times less resources than his American counterpart.

India’s ancient Vedas have much to say about this. They would first of all question whether increasing access to resources means more happiness. Indeed, it is said that the more we have the more we will want. It simply feeds our lust and greed. The Vedic ideal is “simple living, high thinking.” Keep our needs to a minimum and concentrate on a higher, spiritual reality.

Lust, greed, anger, envy and illusion are the true oppressors we all face. Even the oppression of tyrants can be traced to these agents, as they drive despots everywhere. And which of us can say we are free of them ourselves? But as long as we are not then can we say we are truly liberated?

The Vedas define liberation as a state of ineffable peace and inner joy. Are we peaceful as we view the barrage of consumer advertising that daily assails our senses, urging us to buy more and more? Are we happy when we realise we simply cannot afford the things we think we need? How does it make us feel when we see others who have those things?

The founder of the Krishna movement, Srila Prabhupada, coming as he was from a peaceful Indian village, and bearing the spiritual messages of the Vedas, looked with astonishment at Western society. “It is madness,” he declared. “A mad pursuit of a mirage of happiness, an illusion that you will never grasp.” His message was simple. We are all eternal parts of the Supreme Spirit, blissful by nature. Shift your focus away from material things and onto this truth and you will find the happiness you seek

Of course, the secular ideologies of the West, and increasingly the whole world, take no account of spirit. It is little more than rampant materialism dressed in the smart clothes of progress. Sooner or later we have to wake up to the fact that it is a progression toward insanity. Far from advancing human rights, it is robbing us of our rights, of our birthright to be peaceful and happy, a right that is being utterly overwhelmed by a tidal wave of sensual allurements that promise much and deliver little. Is that what we want to bestow upon the world?

The Greatest Good Fortune
→ Krishna Dharma

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to you.

Lately, I have been reflecting on my good fortune in meeting your divine grace. Sastra tells us we have been languishing in material existence for countless millennia. I made a rough calculation for how long we in this present age have been around and found it pretty scary. We learn from the Bhagavatam that we jivas are injected into the creation at the beginning of Brahma’s life. He is now in his fifty-first year and just one of his days is 1000 divya yugas, or cycles of the four ages. His night is the same. There are 360 days in each of his years, so 50 times that, which is 18,000, times 4.32 million (one divya yuga) times two and here we are, 150 trillion years later, assuming that this is our first creation, which is by no means certain. That is an awful lot of stubbornness, of determinedly trying to satisfy the insatiable senses.

It does not bear thinking about all the different species we have passed through, utterly forgetful of our divine nature. You have opened our eyes to the ghastly reality of this world. Just recently I have seen a centipede writhing about in the earth with dozens of ants biting it all over its body, a fox with a bug-eyed rabbit hanging from its mouth, a hawk swooping down to catch a sparrow in its talons, a mouse frozen in terror as a cat batted it about for the sheer fun of it. That’s just a small snippet of the delights the material energy has on offer. We have been all those tormented creatures and millions more, and we have the samskaras to prove it, no doubt a large part of the reason we are here today worshipping your lotus feet.

Now we are in Bharata varsha, karma bhumi, the junction where we decide our next destination in the great phantasmagoria of material existence. Here too the miseries are meted out very nicely by Maya. Especially in this dark and dismal age, when Durga shows us the full glories of her house of horrors. War, disease, hunger, all kinds of anxiety, and finally death, of our loved ones and then ourselves.

These are the hard truths you have shown us, Srila Prabhupada. As you pointed out, so-called material happiness is really nothing more than a momentary respite from the pain. Even if we somehow make it to some heavenly region, that too will end, and we will soon find ourselves again grappling with the implacable monster of material misery.

How fortunate then that we found you and have heard your urgent, heartfelt plea to us not to waste any more time futilely chasing the mirage of worldly happiness. Your powerful messages cannot be ignored. Out of your boundless compassion and kindness, you gave us your books, exhorting us to read them daily, to study them systematically, from ‘different angles’, threadbare, deeply discussing them among ourselves. We cannot afford to neglect this instruction. Your books are our passport to freedom, to the real joy and love we seek. But we must hear from them continually. How quickly we forget the truths you are telling us when we stop hearing from you. Maya steps in to cover what little intelligence we have; slaps us down again and we fall back into complete illusion, thinking that some material adjustment will resolve our endless dilemmas. Politics, sociology, philanthropy, economic development and a whole slew of so-called solutions entice us, all of them simply entangling us further in suffering. Captured by these vain notions, we speak all sorts of nonsense, which you compared to the croaking of frogs, which does nothing more than call the snake of death closer.

Thank God you came, Srila Prabhupada, and smashed our madness. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude. If you had not come here to rescue us, I would certainly have soon been once more associating with my old friends, the fierce custodians of hell, again suffering the horrifying results of my ignorance.

But, by your fathomless grace, I am standing here to offer my heartfelt thanks and my prayers that you allow me to remain at your feet. I have no clue how I became so fortunate. Mulishly attached to my senses, I have zero qualifications and cannot offer anything of value in return. Dear Srila Prabhupada, please give me a taste and attraction for hearing the divine messages inculcated throughout your books. Free me from my insane belief that I can ever find happiness through the medium of my material senses. I have faith that if I go on hearing from you and try my best to share your brilliantly illuminating words with others, then something will eventually change in me. The great gordian knot of my worldly attachment will slacken and some good sense will dawn. Until then, I can only beg that you be patient and continue to bestow your causeless mercy.

I remain your ever indebted servant.

Krishna dharma das

 

 

 

 

Vyasa-puja Offering to Srila Prabhupada—How Shall I Take Shelter of One More Merciful Than You?
Giriraj Swami

How Shall I Take Shelter of One More Merciful Than You?

My dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances at your divine lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Grace and to your sublime mercy.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Three, Chapter Two, verse 23 is very significant. Not only is the verse beautiful, but it also has historical significance, because when after sixteen years Sukadeva Gosvami came out of the womb, he left home immediately, and his father, Srila Vyasadeva, followed him into the forest. And when Vyasadeva came close enough to his son for Sukadeva to hear, he recited two verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam, one describing Krishna’s beauty, from the Tenth Canto, and one—this verse—describing Krishna’s mercy.

When Sukadeva Gosvami heard these two verses—the one describing Krishna’s mercy and the one describing Krishna’s beauty—he became attracted. Although liberated, he became attracted by Krishna’s transcendental qualities, and he came back to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from his father.

I quote this verse today because it reminds me of you—how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than you?

aho baki yam stana-kala-kutam
  jighamsayapayayad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry-ucitam tato ’nyam
  kam va dayalum saranam vrajema

 TRANSLATION

Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than Him [Lord Krishna] who granted the position of mother to the she-demon Putana although she was faithless and had prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast?

PURPORT

Here is an example of the extreme mercy of the Lord, even to His enemy. It is said that a noble man accepts the good qualities of a person of doubtful character, just as one accepts nectar from a stock of poison. In His babyhood, the Lord was administered deadly poison by Putana, a she-demon who tried to kill the wonderful baby. And because she was a demon, it was impossible for her to know that the Supreme Lord, even though playing the part of a baby, was no one less than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His value as the Supreme Lord did not diminish upon His becoming a baby to please His devotee Yasoda. The Lord may assume the form of a baby or a shape other than that of a human being, but it doesn’t make the slightest difference: He is always the same Supreme. A living creature, however powerful he may become by dint of severe penance, can never become equal to the Supreme Lord.

Lord Krsna accepted the motherhood of Putana because she pretended to be an affectionate mother, allowing Krsna to suck her breast. The Lord accepts the least qualification of the living entity and awards him the highest reward. That is the standard of His character. Therefore, who but the Lord can be the ultimate shelter?

[End of purport.]

The Lord is absolute. He is all good for everyone, and He is neutral toward everyone. He is always thinking of how to do good for others. So even if one approaches Him as an enemy, He will try to do good for the person, as in the case of Putana. Although she came to kill Krishna by administering poison from her breast, He elevated her to the position of a nurse, like a mother, in the spiritual world. And merciful as He is, you are even more merciful.

You said that it is a mark of a good man that he sees the good side, not the bad side, of others. You gave the example of your guru maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta had a disciple named Kunjabihari dasa—people used to call him Kunja Babu—who, you said, came to do business with your guru maharaja, to profit personally from his relationship with him and from his service in the Gaudiya Math. But you said that your guru maharaja didn’t focus on Kunja’s dark side, that he was coming to make business, but on his bright side, that he was coming to offer service.

In your conversation with Bob Cohen on February 28, 1972, in Mayapur, you said, “Putana Raksasi—she offered Krishna poison. But Krishna is so nice that He thought, ‘She took Me as My mother,’ so He took the poison and delivered her. Krishna does not take the bad side. A good man does not take the bad side—he takes only the good side. Just like one of my big godbrothers—he wanted to make business with my guru maharaja, but my guru maharaja did not take the bad side. He took the good side. He thought, ‘He has come forward to give me some service.’ ”

So, this verse reminds me of you: How shall I take shelter of one more merciful than Your Divine Grace? There was no one more merciful than you. Lord Nityananda is most merciful, and you manifested the same quality of mercy as Nityananda Prabhu.

In Bombay you received a phone call from the temple president in Calcutta, who reported that one of your earliest disciples from America had come to Calcutta and was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do. You instructed your secretary to relay your response: “Tell him that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja I will reject him.” Afterwards, Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, “Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja you will reject him?” And you said, “No—I cannot reject anyone. The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limit.”

Then, maybe two years later, we were in Juhu, and you had a disciple who fell into bad company and was living on Juhu Beach with a bogus, so-called yogi and doing tricks. He was putting a coin in one ear and then making it come out the other—different strange things to collect money—and he was known as your disciple and as a member of ISKCON. So, Tamal Krishna Goswami approached you and said, “This is happening, and he is giving you a bad name and giving ISKCON a bad name. You should reject him.”

And again you replied, “I cannot reject anyone.”

Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, “But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?”

And again you said, “The mercy of Lord Nityananda has no limits.”

Srila Prabhupada, you are the manifest representative of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, and your forgiveness is like His. How shall I take shelter of one more merciful than you?

Another, similar quality of yours is that you were always willing to give someone a chance to take up Krishna consciousness. Around 1976 a strange man with a PhD came to the Juhu temple and said he wanted to join, and you invited him to stay upstairs with your personal staff, in the flat adjoining yours. And you spent quite a bit of time with him. Hamsaduta Prabhu was visiting at the time, and he told you, “Prabhupada, you are just wasting your time with this man. He is never going to amount to anything.” But you kept spending time with him. And in the end, the man left; he never did amount to anything. But when Hamsaduta mentioned that to you—“I could see that he never was going to amount to anything”—you replied, “I wanted to give him a chance.”

Another person whom you encouraged was Dr. C. P. Patel, who would almost always accompany you on your morning walks on Juhu Beach. You had a friendly relationship with him, but Dr. Patel would sometimes speak like a Mayavadi. You would accuse him, “You are a Mayavadi!” and Dr. Patel would reply, “No sir, I am a Vaishnava, a pure Vaishnava.”

One morning Dr. Patel and you had a huge argument. Dr. Patel would bring up different so-called holy men of India, and if they were not up to standard, you would criticize them. So, one morning you were criticizing one of Dr. Patel’s favorite revered so-called saints of India, and Dr. Patel and you had a huge argument. He raised his voice to you, and you raised your voice to him—the two of you were literally shouting at each other. And Dr. Patel’s friends, his cronies, were trying to pull him away, saying, “Don’t upset Swamiji; he has a heart condition.” And eventually they pulled him away.

Back at Hare Krishna Land, Tamal Krishna Goswami approached you in your room and asked, “What is Dr. Patel’s position? Is he a Vaishnava or a Mayavadi, an impersonalist?”

In response, you told a story about a man who could speak many languages. In whatever language people addressed him, he would respond fluently. No one could figure out where the man was actually from.

After much discussion, a neighbor said, “I will find out.” So, one day, when the man was preoccupied, the neighbor came up behind him and gave him a big whack. And when the man started to curse in his native tongue, his origin was disclosed.

“Dr. Patel is like that,” Prabhupada said. “He can speak very expertly. He can sound like a devotee, sound like a Vaishnava, sound like a Mayavadi, sound like anything. But when I gave a slap where it really hurt—this so-called saintly person that he revered—his real language came out.”

“So, why do you put up with him?” Tamal Krishna asked. “He is so offensive.”

“It is our duty to engage everyone,” you said. You wanted to give Dr. Patel a chance. And as the years passed, Dr. Patel developed great affection for you, and after you left this world he wrote a beautiful article for Back to Godhead about his relationship with you. The article was titled “My Life’s Most Precious Moments,” with the subtitle “A Bombay doctor wins the title ‘big fool’ and loves it”—because you would always call Dr. Patel a mudha. You would say, “I am not saying—Krishna is saying: na mam duskrtino mudhah.” [Anyone who doesn’t surrender to Krishna is a mudha, fool.]

So, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than you? Your Divine Grace had so many wonderful qualities, but your most significant quality, for us especially, was your extreme mercifulness.

You had a good friend in Bombay named Bhogilal Patel, who was extremely pious. The first devotee to meet him was Gargamuni, and when Gargamuni was explaining your work, Bhogilal wept profuse tears of appreciation.

One day some years later, Bhogilal Patel came to meet you in your flat at the back of Hare Krishna Land. I had a close relationship with Seth Bhogilal, so I brought him up to meet you. The two of you were talking and, as is natural in a conversation, when you were speaking I would look at you, and when Bhogilal was speaking I would look at him. But at one point, while Bhogilal was speaking I looked at you, which you were not expecting, and I saw that you were looking at me with such love and affection, like a father or a grandfather (by age, you were more like my grandfather). I was surprised that you were looking at me with so much love. But as soon as you saw me looking at you, you changed your expression and became very grave and serious. I think it was some special mercy that I got a glimpse of how much love you had for us, which you didn’t usually show very openly. Your love for us was manifest in your care for us and your giving us the knowledge of Krishna consciousness and engaging us in Krishna’s service.

You were very reserved about touching people, including even disciples. In 1971 in Gorakhpur, as guests of Hanuman Prasad Poddar of Gita Press, we were staying in his large estate, Sri Krishna Niketan, which had previously been his personal residence.

You were traveling with your small Radha-Krishna Deities, and you wanted to establish an altar for Them in Sri Krishna Niketan. You wanted some foliage for the altar, so you sent a couple of devotees, including me, to collect some. I went out to a thicket and was collecting branches with leaves. I wasn’t tearing them live—I was looking for branches and leaves that had fallen. I just kept going deeper into the woods and collecting more and more foliage, and eventually I had a huge bundle, as much as I could possibly carry.

So, I lugged the bundle back to Sri Krishna Niketan and up the stairs, and when I reached the temple room you were there and the altar was being set up. I just dropped the bundle on the floor and offered my obeisances. And while I was on the floor, you patted me on the back. It was one of the only times—maybe the only time—that you physically touched me. I looked up and saw you smiling broadly. I didn’t know if you even needed any more foliage, but you were pleased by my effort.

Again I ask: Srila Prabhupada, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than you?

Thank you for your ongoing causeless mercy, which, like Nityananda Prabhu’s, has no limit.

I pray to serve your merciful lotus feet eternally, and in doing so, share your sublime mercy with others.

Hare Krishna.

Your eternal servant,
Giriraj Swami

Srila Prabhupada Vyasapuja
→ Ramai Swami

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale

srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine 

nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism. 

Srila Prabhupada, in your purport to Bhagavad-gita 4.15 you write:

There are two classes of men. Some of them are full of polluted material things within their hearts, and some of them are materially free. Krsna consciousness is equally beneficial for both of these persons. Those who are full of dirty things can take to the line of Krsna consciousness for a gradual cleansing process, following the regulative principles of devotional service. Those who are already cleansed of the impurities may continue to act in the same Krsna consciousness so that others may follow their exemplary activities and thereby be benefited.

I am very fortunate that Krsna consciousness is beneficial for both types of people because I am definitely in the category of one with many polluted things in the heart. By your mercy, I have been engaged in the process of Krsna consciousness, and someday I may come to the level of being free from impurities. 

In fact, at my initiation you said that all the new disciples should become pure as quickly as possible. Krsna is pavitram, pure, and to associate with Him nicely we should be of the same spiritual nature. I am still endeavouring, Srila Prabhupada, but sometimes I stumble. Please help me become 100% completely fixed in devotional service to the Lord. Help me stay on the path, without my mind wandering to other places. As Lord Caitanya says, let me taste the real nectar we are always hankering for.

Here at New Govardhana, every Ekadasi the devotees see and listen to your lectures on a screen in the temple room. How wonderful and powerful they are! Your words cut through maya like a hot knife through butter. How learned you are! You continually quote from many different sastras to emphasise your points in an authorised manner. How compassionate you are! Patiently you explain everything clearly in a constructive way to uplift people to the transcendental position.

If I could possess one ten-thousandth of your qualities, I am sure I would advance rapidly in my Krsna consciousness, but I know I do not have even that many. For me, advancement is slow. However, I have faith that if I hold on to your lotus feet and associate nicely with devotees in ISKCON, ultimately I will go back home, back to Godhead. Or, being purified, I will get an opportunity to serve you and the Lord again in this material world. Either way will be perfection for me.

His life of virtuous thought and deed

The lives of others did exceed.

From whom but Prabhupada shall I hear

Those words that ever charm my ear?

No one like Srila Prabhupada shall be—

A wonderful guiding light for me,

He of high and noble mind,

Gentle, modest, meek, and kind.

Ignorant we were, just foolish youth;

We clung to him for constant truth,

Yearning to stay by his holy side

To hear instructions that were bona fide.

Sacred texts he presented clear and pure,

An offering that shall always endure.

He was always ready to speak and give

Knowledge of where we eternally live.

Devotional service, with its every limb,

Brilliantly taught and explained by him.

Like a king with a powerful, wondrous bow,

He drove away mäyä and made us glow.

He filled my soul with nectar so high,

I began to feel bliss, though a fool was I.

The more he gave, the more I drank—

For this kind mercy, him I’ll ever thank.

Srila Prabhupada is my only hope,

Without whom I could never cope.

With suppliant hands and reverent head,

I must always remember what he said.

He is dearer to me than light and life;

My existence before was only strife.

Please, Prabhupada, always show the way

To someone like me who goes astray.

Your servant,

Ramai Swami

Sri Krsna Janmastami
→ Ramai Swami

Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul of all living entities and who vanquishes all the fear of His devotees, entered the mind of Vasudeva in full opulence.

While carrying the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of his heart, Vasudeva bore the Lord’s transcendentally illuminating effulgence, and thus he became as bright as the sun. He was therefore very difficult to see or approach through sensory perception. Indeed, he was unapproachable and unperceivable even for such formidable men as Kamsa, and not only for Kamsa but for all living entities.

Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krsna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.

Thus when the birthless Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to appear, the saints and brahmanas, who had always been disturbed by demons like Kamsa and his men, felt peace within the core of their hearts, and kettledrums simultaneously vibrated from the upper planetary system.

The demigods and great saintly persons showered flowers in a joyous mood, and clouds gathered in the sky and very mildly thundered, making sounds like those of the ocean’s waves. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon, because Devaki was of the same category as Sri Krsna.

Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotus-like eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons sankha, cakra, gada and padma. On His chest was the mark of Srivatsa and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem. Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidurya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.

A Happy Janmastami to All!
→ Traveling Monk

“May Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master of the three worlds, protect us. Continually bow down to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has killed all our enemies. Obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. From Kṛṣṇa alone this world has come into being. I am the servant of Kṛṣṇa. This entire universe rests within Kṛṣṇa. O Kṛṣṇa, please protect me!”
( King Kulasekhara, Mukunda mala Stotra, verse 43 )

Sri Krishna Janmashtami—Lord Krishna’s Appearance
→ Dandavats

By Giriraj Swami

Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krsna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon. Continue reading "Sri Krishna Janmashtami—Lord Krishna’s Appearance
→ Dandavats"

Janmastami Festival Schedule 30th August 2021
→ Mayapur.com

𝐀𝐖𝐄𝐒𝐎𝐌𝐄 𝐒𝐫𝐢 𝐊𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐚 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐢 𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐒𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐚 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐡𝐮𝐩𝐚𝐝𝐚 “…. So, this bhakti, devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, is so nice. And under that bhakti category, this Janmāṣṭamī… Of course, this Janmāṣṭamī ceremony is observed by all Hindus. Irrespective of becoming Vaiṣṇava or not, this ceremony is observed in India, every home. Just like in your Western […]

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Sri Krishna Janmashtami—Lord Krishna’s Appearance
Giriraj Swami

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, Chapter Two: “Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb.”

TEXT 18

tato jagan-mangalam acyutamsam
  samahitam sura-sutena devi
dadhara sarvatmakam atma-bhutam
  kastha yathananda-karam manastah

SYNONYMS

tatah—thereafter; jagat-mangalam—auspiciousness for all living entities in all the universes of the creation; acyuta-amsam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never bereft of the six opulences, all of which are present in all His plenary expansions; samahitam—fully transferred; sura-sutena—by Vasudeva, the son of Surasena; devi—Devaki-devi; dadhara—carried; sarva-atmakam—the Supreme Soul of everyone; atma-bhutam—the cause of all causes; kastha—the east; yatha—just as; ananda-karam—the blissful (moon); manastah—being placed within the mind.

TRANSLATION

Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krsna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

As indicated here by the word manastah, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was transferred from the core of Vasudeva’s mind or heart to the core of the heart of Devaki. We should note carefully that the Lord was transferred to Devaki not by the ordinary way for a human being, but by diksa, initiation. Thus the importance of initiation is mentioned here. Unless one is initiated by the right person, who always carries within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot acquire the power to carry the Supreme Godhead within the core of one’s own heart.

The word acyutamsam is used because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sad-aisvarya-purna, full in the opulences of wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. The Supreme Godhead is never separated from His personal opulences. As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.39), ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan: the Lord is always situated with all His plenary expansions, such as Rama, Nrsimha, and Varaha. Therefore the word acyutamsam is specifically used here, signifying that the Lord is always present with His plenary expansions and opulences. There is no need to think of the Lord artificially as yogis do. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.13.1). Yogis meditate upon the Supreme Person within the mind. For a devotee, however, the Lord is present, and His presence need only be awakened through initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. The Lord did not need to live within the womb of Devaki, for His presence within the core of her heart was sufficient to carry Him. One is here forbidden to think that Krsna was begotten by Vasudeva within the womb of Devaki and that she carried the child within her womb.

When Vasudeva was sustaining the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, he appeared just like the glowing sun, whose shining rays are always unbearable and scorching to the common man. The form of the Lord situated in the pure, unalloyed heart of Vasudeva is not different from the original form of Krsna. The appearance of the form of Krsna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhama. Dhama refers not only to Krsna’s form, but to His name, His form, His quality, and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.

Thus the eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full potencies was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki, exactly as the setting sun’s rays are transferred to the full moon rising in the east.

Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered the body of Devaki from the body of Vasudeva. He was beyond the conditions of the ordinary living entity. When Krsna is there, it is to be understood that all His plenary expansions, such as Narayana, and incarnations like Lord Nrsimha and Varaha, are with Him, and they are not subject to the conditions of material existence. In this way, Devaki became the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second and the cause of all creation. Devaki became the residence of the Absolute Truth, but because she was within the house of Kamsa, she looked just like a suppressed fire, or like misused education. When fire is covered by the walls of a pot or is kept in a jug, the illuminating rays of the fire cannot be very much appreciated. Similarly, misused knowledge, which does not benefit the people in general, is not very much appreciated. So Devaki was kept within the prison walls of Kamsa’s palace, and no one could see her transcendental beauty, which resulted from her conceiving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Commenting upon this verse, Sri Viraraghava Acarya writes, vasudeva-devaki jatharayor hrdayayor bhagavatah sambandhah. The Supreme Lord’s entrance into the womb of Devaki from the heart of Vasudeva was a heart-to-heart relationship.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

We have gathered here at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna to remember and celebrate His appearance in this world. According to Vedic literature, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). He is the Absolute Truth, the origin of all that exists. And He is realized in three features, nondual (advaya), as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.11):

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
  tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
  bhagavan iti sabdyate

“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan.”

Brahman is the impersonal effulgence that emanates from the transcendental form of the Lord; Paramatma is the localized feature of the Lord, within the heart; and Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna Himself, full in six opulences.

The form of Krishna is not material. Our bodies are material, distinct from the soul, which is spiritual. The Bhagavad-gita (2.13) explains,

dehino ’smin yatha dehe
  kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
  dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” The soul is a nonphysical, nonchemical particle of spiritual energy, and it is the soul that animates the body. As long as the soul is in the body, we say the body is alive. Actually, the body is never alive; the body is just a machine. But it appears to be alive when the soul is present to animate it. And when the soul leaves the body, the body has no capacity to act, to function, and then we say that the body is dead. In conditioned beings, such as us, there is a distinction between the body, which is made of material energy, and the soul, which is composed of spiritual energy. But in the case of Krishna, there is no difference between His body and soul. Being absolute, His body and He are the same. In our case, there is a difference between us and the body, because our real identity is the soul. If someone’s father passes away, he or she will cry, “Oh, my father has left. My father is gone.” Although the body of the father is there, why do we say, “My father has gone”? Intuitively we know, especially at a time like death, that the body lying there in the room is not the person. The body is just a bag of chemicals. The real person is the soul who has left the body, and so the children and other relatives and friends cry, “Oh, he’s gone,” because he is the soul, not the body.

But in the case of Krishna, He and His body are not different because He is absolute. There is no difference between His inside and His outside. He is completely spiritual. The Brahma-samhita says, isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah: “Krishna is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal, blissful spiritual body.” Anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam: “He is the origin of all, but He Himself has no origin. He is the prime cause of all causes.” That is Krishna.

Everything we see in the material world has a cause. On a simple level, we can say, “I am caused by my parents” (or “my body is caused by my parents”). They, in turn, were caused by their parents, who, in turn, were caused by their parents. And if we keep going back, further, further, further, eventually we will come to the original cause, and that is Krishna (sarva-karana-karanam). He is the cause of everything—the cause of all causes. But He Himself has no cause.

This is hard for us to understand in the conditioned state, because everything material has a cause. Everything has a beginning and an end, but Krishna has no beginning and no end. He is eternal (sanatana). “Eternal” means “no beginning and no end.” Even we, as spirit souls, are also eternal. We have no beginning and no end. Our life in a particular body has a beginning, which we call “birth” (or “conception”), and it has an end within a particular body, which we call “death.” But we, as spirit souls, have no beginning and no end, because we are parts and parcels of Krishna. We are of the same quality as Krishna, just in different quantity. The Lord says,

mamaivamso jiva-loke
  jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah-sasthanindriyani
  prakrti-sthani karsati

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Gita 15.7)

The living entity is an eternal, fragmental part of Krishna. This is the sublime philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva: the “inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference” of the living entity and the Supreme Lord. We are one in quality with the Lord but different in quantity—He is infinite and we are infinitesimal. Because we have the same qualities, we can have a relationship with Him. Unless there is some commonness, we can’t have a relationship. And because of the difference in quantity—He is the whole and we are the part—our relationship is one of service. It is the natural function of the part to serve the whole. For example, the hand is part of the body, so the function of the hand is to serve the body. If the hand doesn’t serve the body, there is something wrong; it is diseased or dead. So, our natural function is to serve Krishna (jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’). And we are eternal, as Krishna is eternal, and our relationship, our service, is also eternal—it never ends.

Earlier we mentioned the three features of the Absolute Truth: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. There are different classes of transcendentalists, who have different spiritual aspirations. Most people are materialists. They are not even interested in spiritual life. They just want to enjoy the world. But when one becomes a little more elevated, a little more purified in consciousness, one thinks of improving oneself spiritually. And when one becomes serious enough, one will actually enter into a discipline in a particular school of thought and practice. So, one category of transcendentalists is the jnanis. Their goal is to merge and become one with Brahman, the impersonal effulgence that emanates from the transcendental body of Krishna. And higher than the jnanis are the yogis. They want to realize the localized feature, the Lord within the heart (dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah). And the highest are the bhaktas. They want to enter into a loving relationship with Bhagavan, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Although in one sense, because the Absolute Truth is nondual (advaya), all transcendentalists are the same, still, from an analytical or objective point of view there are degrees of realization. As stated earlier, Krishna is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. Sat means “eternal,” cit means “cognizant,” and ananda means “blissful.” The jnanis who attain impersonal Brahman realize only the sat feature, eternal existence. The yogis who realize Paramatma have perception of sat (eternity) and cit (knowledge), because they apprehend the individuality of the Lord in the heart. And the bhaktas have full realization of sat, cit, and ananda (eternity, knowledge, and bliss), because real happiness comes from loving relationships. Although one may say that there is a sort of bliss in impersonal Brahman, compared with the ecstatic happiness of loving service to Krishna it is insignificant. There are many statements in the shastra, the Vedic scriptures, to the effect that the happiness realized in relationship to Krishna is like an ocean and that the happiness of merging (or trying to merge) into impersonal Brahman is like a puddle of water in comparison.

tvat-saksat-karanahlada-
  visuddhabdhi-sthitasya me
sukhani gospadayante
  brahmany api jagad-guro

“My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Being situated in that ocean, I now realize all other so-called happiness, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman, to be like the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.” (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 14.36) Practically, there is no comparison.

Furthermore, to realize impersonal Brahman is very difficult, especially in the present age. And even if one succeeds—or imagines that one has succeeded—there is every chance that one will fall down.

ye ’nye ’ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
  tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
  patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah

“O lotus-eyed Lord, although nondevotees who accept severe austerities and penances to achieve the highest position may think themselves liberated, their intelligence is impure. They fall down from their position of imagined superiority because they have no regard for Your lotus feet.” (SB 10.2.32)

More likely, they just imagine that they have realized Brahman, but whether they have actually realized it or just imagine they have, because they have neglected the service of the lotus feet of Krishna they fall down (patanty adhah).

We, conditioned souls, are rotating in the cycle of repeated birth and death (samsara), and our goal is to gain release from this samsara-chakra. Such liberation is called mukti, or moksha. The impersonal type of liberation, in which the individual soul merges into the spiritual light, is very hard to achieve—if one can achieve it at all. But even if one does, it doesn’t last. Therefore the Bhagavatam says patanty adhah: they fall down. Why? Because they have no engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

Impersonal liberation is like going to sleep. Intelligent people can perceive that there is misery in material existence, and they want relief. That is one factor that may lead someone to consider spiritual life.  So, a person trying to achieve impersonal liberation is similar to someone who is suffering and tries to escape the suffering by sleeping—“The world is too much.”  Well, all right, you can temporarily escape the misery by going to sleep, but how long can you remain asleep? Eventually you will wake up, and the same miseries will be there.

And being suspended in the impersonal Brahman effulgence can be boring. It is a relief—it is definitely a relief to be out of the material world—but eventually it can get boring. Someone may go on a cruise: “Oh, boy, I need to get away from things. Let me go on a cruise. I want to enjoy the sea.” And it may be nice for a while, but eventually one gets bored—just water and waves and wind. Eventually one wants to go back on dry land, even though the land is what he wanted to get away from. Although there was frustration and misery on the land, at least there was some stimulation, some variety.

So, the impersonal jnanis who want to merge and become one with Brahman eventually fall down (patanty adhah), because they become restless. They want some activity, and because they have no idea of the spiritual activities of Krishna consciousness, devotional service to Krishna, patanty adhah, they fall into material activities, and again they suffer, because the result of material activity is material misery.

So, why does the Lord descend? He is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha: eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. And He lives in His spiritual abode, where everything is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. And He is served by great souls completely free of material contamination, liberated from the material bodies that cause so much pain. So why should the Lord come here at all? What does He have to gain?

Personally, He has nothing to gain. But He comes out of His mercy, to deliver us. The material world is compared to a prison house, and we, conditioned souls, are the prisoners. We are restricted, like prisoners. We can’t just go anywhere and everywhere, wherever we want. Liberated souls can travel anywhere in the universe. They don’t need spaceships or any other such contraptions. They can move about freely. But we are bound. We are not allowed to leave this planet very easily, and even if we do, we don’t really have any other place to stay. So we are bound, and we have to suffer.

I mentioned the body, that there is so much pain in the body. So someone might think, “This swami is very negative about the body.” But the Bhagavad-gita says, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam: one should always perceive the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. You might say, “Why does the swami have to be so negative? I want to enjoy the body. I want to enjoy life. I want to enjoy the here and now”—which is good in a certain context—but if I ask any of you, “Truthfully, do you want disease?” “No.” “Do you want old age?” “No.” “Do you want death?” “No.” Well, that is what comes with the body. When you get a material body, those come in the package; they are what you get with it. You may think, “But there is so much happiness in the body. I can go surfing, I can go hiking, I can eat ice cream, I can drink and eat and enjoy with the body.” Well, yes, but it is not actually the body that enables you to enjoy; it is the soul within the body. All the parts of the body may be there when the soul departs, but where is the enjoyment? There is no enjoyment in the body after the soul leaves. We may think that we are enjoying with the senses, but it is actually because of the presence of the soul that we are able to enjoy and work and live.

The body is the medium for the conditioned soul’s experience. For example, I have these eyeglasses. I see through the eyeglasses—the eyeglasses themselves don’t see. Similarly, we have these sense organs—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin—and we perceive through them. They themselves cannot actually perceive. It is the soul that perceives—through the senses of the body. But we don’t need the body in order to perceive happiness. With the body, there is some perception of happiness—but with lots of pain.

There are different schools of philosophy—sad-darsana—and one philosopher has analysed and concluded that the body is meant for misery. He gives the example of your little finger. How many ways can your little finger enjoy? Not many. And how many ways can it feel pain? So many. Even a little sliver or blister can be so painful. And the finger can be cut, burned, crushed. The body is so vulnerable. But the soul is not. As the Gita says, it can’t be cut, it can’t be burned, it can’t be made wet, it can’t be withered—it is beyond the range of material elements.

nainam chindanti sastrani
  nainam dahati pavakah
na cainam kledayanty apo
  na sosayati marutah

“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.” (Gita 2.23) Without the body, the soul can enjoy freely, in every way, but without the pain.

And because the soul is part and parcel of Krishna, it derives its real happiness in relation to Krishna. We now are like fishes out of water, because originally we come from Krishna, from the spiritual atmosphere, and we have come into the material world and are suffering in a foreign atmosphere. We are always restless, anxious, and fearful.

So, why does Krishna come? He comes to reclaim us, His lost children, to bring us back home, back to Him. That is why He comes. There is no other reason. There is nothing for Him here. He comes only for our sake.

Although He comes into the material world, He doesn’t come in a physical body. He comes in His original, spiritual form (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha). And Krishna in particular comes in a form that resembles a human being. “Man is made in the image of God.” That Krishna comes in a humanlike form is very good for us, because it makes it easier for us in human bodies to relate to Him.

anugrahaya bhaktanam
  manusam deham asthitah
bhajate tadrsih krida
  yah srutva tat-paro bhavet

“When the Lord assumes a humanlike body to show mercy to His devotees, He engages in such pastimes as will attract those who hear about them to become dedicated to Him.” (SB 10.33.36) He comes to reclaim us and deliver us, His lost children and devotees.

And how does He come? He does not take birth like an ordinary human being, by seminal discharge. Rather, He manifests Himself, or appears.

ajo ’pi sann avyayatma
  bhutanam isvaro ’pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
  sambhavamy atma-mayaya

“Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.” (Gita 4.6)

And that is what we read tonight. It is a very esoteric subject, how the Lord appears. But He chooses a completely purified devotee and enters the mind of that completely purified devotee. The name of the devotee whose mind Krishna entered is given here—Vasudeva. And the state that enabled him to receive Krishna within his pure mind is called vasudeva, which means completely beyond the three modes of material nature, completely transcendental—the state of pure goodness, suddha-sattva. As stated in Srimad-Bhagvatam, sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam: completely pure consciousness is known as vasudeva.

sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam
  yad iyate tatra puman apavrtah
sattve ca tasmin bhagavan vasudevo
  hy adhoksajo me manasa vidhiyate

“The condition of pure goodness, suddha-sattva, in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is revealed without any covering, is called vasudeva. In that pure state the Supreme Godhead, who is beyond the material senses and who is known as Vasudeva, is perceived by my mind.” (SB 4.3.23, quoted as Cc Adi 4.66)

After Vasudeva received Krishna within his purified mind, or heart, he, by his spiritual power, transferred Him into the purified heart of Devaki. There was no seminal discharge. And the process by which the Supreme Personality of Godhead was transferred from the heart of Vasudeva to the heart of Devaki is called diksa. Diksa means “spiritual initiation.” Diksa takes place between teacher, or guru, and disciple. When the guru is qualified enough, he can carry Krishna within his heart. And when the disciple is qualified enough, he can receive Krishna from the guru—through an exchange called diksa.

The process of diksa is essential for the realization of God (Krishna). There is an entire science of bhakti-yoga, described in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and it begins with this process. Guru-padasrayas tasmat: “One must accept shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual master.” Krsna-diksadi-siksanam: “One must take initiation from him and receive instruction from him.” And visrambhena guroh seva: “One must serve him with intimacy.”

We cannot attain Krishna by our own efforts. We have to receive Krishna by the mercy of one who has Him. Thus Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great spiritual teacher, prays to the pure devotee:

krsna se tomara, krsna dite paro,
tomara sakati ache
ami to’ kangala, ‘krsna’ ‘krsna’ boli’,
dhai tava pache pache

“Krishna is yours; you have the power to give Him to me. I am simply running behind you shouting, ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ ” (Saranagati, “Ohe! Vaishnava Thakura”)

This act of diksa, as described in today’s verse, is really the culmination of a gradual process. It is not so easy that we just decide, “Oh, let me find a guru who has Krishna, and he will give Him to me, and my business will be finished.” We have to be qualified to receive Krishna, and the process of becoming qualified proceeds gradually. We have to work to come to that stage of purity where we can receive Krishna in our hearts—and not just receive Him in our hearts, but actually see Him face to face. After residing for some time in the heart of Devaki, Krishna came before her, and they saw each other face to face. She saw Him face to face, and He saw her. That is the perfection of Krishna consciousness.

So, we have to qualify ourselves. We have to cleanse the mirror of the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam).

The process of purification varies from age to age. Although the basic process is the same—Krishna consciousness—in the present age the specific process recommended is to chant the holy names of the Lord:

harer nama harer nama
  harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
  nasty eva gatir anyatha

“One should chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name of Lord Hari [Krishna]. There is no other means, no other means, no other means for success in this age.” (Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126)

Chant is repeated three times for emphasis. “You must do it, you must do it, you must do it.” There was once a cartoon in a newspaper, which depicted an elderly man sitting across from his wife. She was requesting him, “Chant, chant, chant,” and he was replying, “Can’t, can’t, can’t.” That is our misfortune. Shastra, scripture, tell us, “Chant, chant, chant” (harer nama harer nama harer nama), and for no good reason—just some causeless aversion—we say (not necessarily by our words but by our behavior), “Can’t, can’t, can’t.” “Can’t, because I am too busy.” “Can’t, because I prefer other things.” “Can’t, because . . .”—because, because, because. So harer nama harer nama harer nama is emphatic: chant, chant, chant. And kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva: there is no other way, no other way, no other way. Now, that phrase might conjure up images of a fanatical Christian insisting, “Jesus is the only way.” But this nasty eva, the “only way,” is a little different. (And we don’t want to presume that there is anything wrong with “Jesus is the only way,” either.) But in this context, nasty eva, “no other way,” has a special meaning.

In different ages different methods for self-realization were recommended—in Satya-yuga it was meditation, in Treta-yuga Vedic sacrifice, and in Dvapara-yuga opulent temple worship. In the present age, however, harer nama, chanting the holy names of God, is prescribed. So, nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva means “not by silent meditation, not by elaborate sacrifices, not by ritualistic temple worship,” but by chanting the holy names.

But the holy names are not sectarian. There are Christian sects in which practitioners constantly repeat the name of Jesus. We don’t say that you have to chant only the holy name of Krishna. You may chant any name of God. Because God is absolute, any name of God is as good as any other. But you should chant some name. The Muslim tradition also recommends chanting the name of God, of Allah. In Pakistan I came across a book titled, Ninety-Nine Names of Allah. In the Vedic tradition there is Visnu-sahasra-nama, “A Thousand Names of Vishnu.” So the principle of chanting the names of God is current in every tradition, but it is often overlooked. Then again, in any tradition, the majority of people are conventional. It is only the minority who are really mystical, or spiritual. But within the mystical, spiritual traditions, the chanting of God’s names is advised.

The process of chanting (sankirtana) cleanses the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam) and makes it a fit place for the Lord to reside. That is what we have to do to prepare to receive Him. We have to chant. And chanting is pleasant, as I hope you all experienced. It is pleasurable. That’s the other thing: although the results of Krishna consciousness are the highest, the process is also the easiest and most sublime. It’s almost too good to be true, but it is true. Chanting is easy and joyful, and at the same time it cleanses the heart (ceto-darpana-marjanam) and makes it a fit place for the Lord to reside. And that process is accomplished through diksa, the continuing process of diksa, which culminates in perfect realization of Krishna. And then, when one is fully purified and realized, Krishna can’t contain Himself within your heart. He becomes so pleased with your service and so eager to see and embrace you that He comes out of your heart. (Of course, at the same time, He also stays there.) In His own way, He comes out of your heart to look at you and touch you and embrace you and take you by the hand and invite you to come with Him to His eternal abode.

That is the perfection of Krishna consciousness, and it is possible for each and every one of us. We just have to make the effort to chant without offense, and remain encouraged and steady in that effort. And for that, we need association. In every endeavor one needs association. In every field there are associations of people engaged in the same endeavor, because they support each other. There is the chamber of commerce, the diabetes society, the birdwatchers association—there are societies for everything, because in association with others who are pursuing the same goal, we get encouragement to stay on the path and we learn from them, from their experiences, how to improve in our own efforts and quicken our progress. It is a natural thing—and essential. Once we become a little serious, once we develop a little faith and attraction, the next stage is to associate with devotees (adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah). That association will really help us.

Chanting is simple, but the real art of chanting is to hear the chanting. Anyone can chant mindlessly, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna . . .” and look at the trees, look at the moon, look at the newspaper, look at the television, but that’s not real chanting. Real chanting means to hear with one’s mind fixed on the sound. This is meditation, mantra meditation, and it takes practice. If you chant for five minutes, will you be able to keep your mind fixed on the sound of the holy name? It will be a challenge. Even one minute is a challenge, because the nature of the mind is to flicker. It is restless. It always wants to go every which way—like the wind. In the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna says that it is as hard to control the mind as to control the wind.

cancalam hi manah krsna
  pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
  vayor iva su-duskaram

“The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate, and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.” (Gita 6.34)

How can you control the wind? It is always going here and there. No one can stop it. So how can we control the mind? We can’t. Still, the Bhagavad-gita says it is possible—by practice (abhyasa) and detachment.

asamsayam maha-baho
  mano durnigraham calam
abhyasena tu kaunteya
  vairagyena ca grhyate

“It is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.” (Gita 6.35)

This is the suitable practice: hearing about Krishna consciousness and then chanting—and hearing—Lord Krishna’s name. We chant and we hear. We practice fixing our mind on the sound of the holy name of the Lord. That is our sadhana; that is our practice. And it is serious business, and hard work. As our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, said, “Chanting is easy”—anyone can articulate the sounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna—“but the determination to chant [and hear with attention] is not so easy.” So that is what we need. We need that determination (drdha-vratah). And that determination develops in the association of devotees who are serious about chanting and hearing. Therefore the association of devotees is so valuable, and it is most important to maintain favorable relationships with devotees.

There are different offenses to be avoided when one chants. The main offense is to be inattentive while chanting, and another is to offend devotees. Devotees are our best well-wishers. They give us the holy name. They give us support in our efforts to chant. And if we offend them, we cut ourselves off from our best well-wishers, our best friends, our best support for the chanting. We cut ourselves off from the mercy that we so desperately need to progress. But if we pay attention to these two points—chanting attentively and maintaining favorable relationships with devotees—then gradually we can come to the stage of perfection. It takes time, but we can actually come to that stage when Krishna will enter our hearts. He is there already, but He will manifest Himself fully to us, and then, eventually, we will see Him face to face. So we should always, every spare moment, kirtaniyah-sada-harih, chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Whatever you do when you are not chanting should be to place you in a position where you can chant. You may say, “I can’t chant all the time. I have to work. I have to earn money. I have to pay the bills.” That is true, but what is the goal of it all? Why do you want a roof over your head? Why do you want food on your plate? Ultimately, it should be to keep your body and soul together so you can chant the holy names and realize God. That is kirtaniyah-sada-harih, to “always chant the name of God.” We have the body. We must take care of it. We must bathe and dress and eat and sleep. We must get the necessities of life. We must do it all. But why are we doing it? The goal should be to chant the holy names of Krishna and realize Krishna.

So, Krishna comes to give us this message, and if from this occasion, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, we can just take this message—take it in our heart—that will be the beginning of our perfection. We must take it in our heart and practice it and repeat it to others—repeat it both for the benefit of others and for our own sake. And the results will be glorious. Krishna’s purpose in appearing in this world will be fulfilled, and our purpose as human beings will be fulfilled. And we will all be happy in Krishna consciousness together. Hare Krishna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Guest (1): Christians believe in resurrection, and Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation, but personally, I always ask myself, “What is the meaning of starting something and ending something? What is the meaning of several or many lives when we can be comfortable with maybe just one life? Why we are reaching perfection through many lives?

Giriraj Swami: That is a very good question. Miguel says that Christians believe in resurrection and Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation, but what is the need of passing through many lifetimes if you can realize God in one lifetime?

We agree with you completely. That is the whole idea. Especially now that we have come to this human form of life, which is achieved after many lifetimes, and especially now that we have come in touch with devotees who tell us about Krishna and the process of bhakti-yoga, we can and should complete our purpose in this world in this life.

labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
  manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavan
  nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat

“After many, many births one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life before his body, which is always subject to death, falls away. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being.” (SB 11.9.29)

And if we chant seriously—chant and hear and follow the regulative principles that support the chanting and hearing—we can achieve complete success in the same lifetime. And that should be our determination.

Still, the Bhagavad-gita explains that if by chance you are not completely successful, then in your next life you continue from where you left off in this one; you don’t have to start all over again. With anything material, you have to start all over again in the next life. In this life you might know seven languages, but in your next life, when you are born, all you can say is “Ga, ga, ga,” and you don’t even know ABC. Materially, whatever you acquire in this life is lost at the time of death. But whatever you gain spiritually through the practice of bhakti-yoga continues in the next life. Suppose in this life you complete only 50 percent; then in the next life you begin from 51 percent. You don’t have to start again from the beginning.

But still, we have the human form of life, and the association of devotees, so why should we take any chances? We should have that determination to be completely successful in this life, just like you said.

Guest (1): Why did we come here in the first place? Why do we have to go through so many lives?

Giriraj Swami: Actually, as mentioned, we all come from Krishna, but when we turn away from Him—when we forget Him and want to enjoy apart from Him—we come under maya and suffer in the material world.

krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga-vancha kare
nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare

“When the living entity desires to enjoy separately from Krishna and turns away from Him, the illusory potency of the Lord, maya, immediately takes the soul in her clutches.” (Prema-vivarta)

But in that process, we don’t start at the bottom; we start at the top. We start as an elevated being on a higher planet. So we can reverse the process from that position and go back to Godhead. We don’t start as a germ or an amoeba. But if we are careless, we can keep declining and end up as an amoeba, in the body of an amoeba. But we don’t start at the bottom. We actually start at the top, and if we are attentive and vigilant, we can reverse the whole process in one lifetime. We don’t have to pass more than one life, and we don’t have to see any lower form of life.

Guest (1): Can we say that everything around us is energy—the material world? Animals, vegetables, minerals—everything is life, even if it doesn’t have consciousness by itself?

Giriraj Swami: Well, that is true—everything is energy—but as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, there are two kinds of energies. One is the material energy, and the other is the spiritual energy. The spiritual energy is conscious, alive. And the material energy is dull, dead.

bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
  kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
  bhinna prakrtir astadha

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.” (Gita 7.4)

apareyam itas tv anyam
  prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
  yayedam dharyate jagat

“Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.” (Gita 7.5)

What we see alive in the material world is really a combination of the spiritual and material energies—the spiritual spark within the physical body. And as long as the soul is present, there is consciousness. But an inanimate object—say this piece of metal—has no consciousness. Of course, in an ultimate sense, we could say that there is consciousness everywhere, because Krishna is everywhere. He is expanded within the atoms and in the space between the atoms throughout the entire universe (andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham). But practically, in terms of individual consciousness, animals and vegetables have souls; they are a combination of matter and spirit. Minerals do not have souls; they are material energy. And then there is Krishna, who is completely spiritual.

Guest (1): Are there other forms of intelligence on other planets in the universe, or is it just here on our own planet?

Giriraj Swami: There is, in fact, even more advanced intelligent life on planets other than the earth. Everything is the creation of God. We don’t believe that anything has happened by accident or chance. God has created all these planets to provide different environments for different types of people. Just as there are different relativities on earth—Ojai or Santa Barbara may be relatively more congenial than Alaska or Antarctica—so there are relativities within the universe. Some planets are more heavenly, and some are more hellish. The earth is considered to be in the middle, though a little on the lower side. But there is intelligent life everywhere—and suffering everywhere—and everyone is ultimately meant to become God conscious and go back home, back to Godhead

a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah
  punar avartino ’rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
  punar janma na vidyate

[The Supreme Lord Krishna said:] “From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Gita 8.16)

Guest (2): You said that the only practice we need to do is chant the name of God. That seems to be asking God to receive from Him the grace of the holy name. But what can we do to prepare ourselves in everyday life to better understand and receive this grace?

Giriraj Swami: Yes, there are practices. Although chanting in and of itself is enough, there are disciplines that we can undertake to make it easier for us to get the full benefit of the chanting, to get the full grace of the Lord. There are certain personal restrictions. But the beauty of chanting is that even if it is hard at first to accept these restrictions, the process of chanting itself, the process of purification itself, will make it easier to accept them—to the point where we won’t even want to indulge in adverse activities anymore.

The first restriction is no eating meat. The second is no taking intoxicants. The third is no illicit sex—no sex outside of marriage, no frivolous sex. And the fourth is no gambling. If we are able to follow these regulative principles, our chanting will be more quickly effective, and we will be better receptacles for God’s grace.

And there are other things as well, such as getting up early in the morning. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” The early hours of the morning, especially before sunrise, are considered the best for spiritual practice, and therefore we generally rise early. Some devotees, when feasible, get up at two. They may take rest at eight and get up at two. Otherwise, we try to rise by four. Initiated disciples have a certain quota of chanting, which takes about two hours to complete. So they rise by four and complete their quota of rounds between five and seven and still have the rest of the day ahead of them.

And the more serious you are, the more things you can learn to improve your practice. But if you can just manage those four restrictions—and get up early—you will be off to a good start. And if you want to know more, we have volumes of books . . .

Guest (2): Hard news. Thank you.

Giriraj Swami: I was going to ask if you were ready for the answer before I gave it, but I figured that you asked, and you seemed sincere, so I just said it.

But again, the good news is that if you chant, all the other things will become easier. That’s why we don’t emphasize the restrictions at first, because we know that if people just chant, they will lose interest in those indulgent acts, and they will become more and more eager to advance in Krishna consciousness.

Guest (2): Inshallah.

Giriraj Swami: When you said “inshallah” it reminded me of a group of Ahmadiyya Muslims who would sometimes meet me at our Juhu Beach temple. They told me the same thing, that the prayers offered before sunrise—almost like we say, beginning an hour and a half before sunriseare heard by God more than prayers offered later in the day.

Inshallah, or insha’Allah, means “if Allah wills.” Allah is a name of God, so insha’Allah means “God willing.” Of course, we also accept the name Allah. Allah is the same as Krishna. But our devotees in Pakistan, instead of “insha’Allah,” would sometimes say, “insha Krishna,” to mean the same thing—“God willing.”

Krishna Bamani dasi: Maharaja, I was just going to give an example. In the beginning, some people think, “Oh, I have to be a vegetarian” when they hear all the negative restrictions. But the process of spiritual life is so pleasant that they experience a higher taste. They actually prefer our food, prasada, to other things they used to eat. And it is kind of like that with all of the seeming restrictions. As we chant and associate with devotees, we develop a higher taste.

Giriraj Swami: Good point.

Krishna Bamani dasi: I was going to say one more thing. You already explained it. But in today’s world, fanatical Muslims or fanatics in any religion—they may be chanting God’s names, yet so much violence is going on. They may chant, for example, “Allah, Allah,” yet engage in so much violent activity. They are “God’s warriors,” so to speak. So, you have explained that there are ways to chant God’s names properly.

Giriraj Swami: Correct. One must avoid that offense of offending devotees, and devotees are there in every tradition. One may take the name of God in one’s own tradition, but if one is inimical to devotees in other traditions, that is an offense, not only against the devotees but against the holy name. And if one commits offenses against the holy name, one doesn’t get the benefit. In fact, it is described that when you offend devotees, the holy name is offended and withdraws its mercy. So even though such fanatics are mouthing God’s name, it is almost as if God has left. He has withdrawn His mercy from them, because they are offensive.

Of course, offending devotees is the worst, but offending anyone—causing pain to any living entity—is prohibited. That is the complete injunction. And that is one reason why we don’t kill animals or eat flesh.

So, it is not just a question of mouthing God’s name. One should be in the proper consciousness, the proper mood of service to God and to the devotees of God—in whatever tradition, culture, or community they may be. We should respect and appreciate all genuine devotees, servants of God, and encourage the devotees and chant the holy names. That will bring us all success, and one day the holy name will reveal Himself to us, and we will see Krishna face to face.

prabhu kahe,—“vaisnava-seva, nama-sankirtana
dui kara, sighra pabe sri-krsna-carana”

The Lord [Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] said, “You should engage yourself in the service of the servants of Krsna and always chant the holy name of Krsna. If you do these two things, you will very soon attain shelter at Krsna’s lotus feet.” (Cc Madhya 16.70)

Hare Krishna!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Sri Krishna Janmashtami, September 2, 2007, Ojai, California]

Sep. 1st, Live, Prime Minister of India Inauguration of 125th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s Birth Celebrations
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

The global online celebrations will be hosted on September 1st by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to inaugurate the 125th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON centers worldwide will participate. The event is open to the public here: Broadcast in English - https://pmindiawebcast.nic.in [with interpreter]

Broadcast in Hindi - https://pmindiawebcast.nic.in/hindi

Подношение на день явления Шрилы Прабхупады – 2021
→ Traveling Monk

My Dearmost Spiritual Master,

Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet.

Today I am praying to the Supreme Lord to find the proper words to glorify you on this special occasion of your 125th appearance day anniversary.

abalam prabhur ipsitonnatim
krta-yatnam sva-yasah-stave ghrni
svayam uddharati stanarthinam
pada-lagnam jananiva balakam

“Wishing to drink from his mother’s breast an infant child clutches his mother’s foot and she kindly picks him up. In the same way when a sincere devotee, although not expert with words, yearns to praise others, the Supreme Lord uplifts and empowers him.”

( Hari-bhakti-vilasa 8.351 )

Srila Prabhupada, the other day a person inquiring about Krsna consciousness asked me if I was happy. When I replied, “Yes, of course I am,” he countered, “But how can you be happy when there’s so much suffering in this world? Everywhere one looks people are unhappy.”

I replied, “Sir, my happiness lies in encouraging people to chant the holy names of Krsna, a time-honored remedy to alleviate all suffering in this world. I’m sure if you tried it you’d be happy too!”

“I can’t do that,” he said bluntly.

“It’s easy,” I said. “Just say, ‘Hare Krsna!’”

“Sorry,” was his only response.

“Well,” I said, “then you’ll just have to be satisfied with being one of the unhappy persons you mentioned.”

There was a pause and then suddenly he blurted out, “Alright! Hare Krsna! Hare Krsna! Hare Krsna!”

I waited for a moment and then asked him, “So, how was it?”

He replied, “Well, yeah. It was nice. I felt something different. I’ll give it a go.”

Srila Prabhupada, that conversation reminded me of how you were once walking on a beach in Bombay with some of your disciples and a little girl walking by folded her hands and said to you, “Hare Krsna!” Smiling, you turned to your disciples and commented, “Just see how successful our movement is!”

One disciple asked, “What do you mean by ‘successful’, Srila Prabhupada?”

You replied, “If you taste just one drop of the ocean, you can understand how salty the whole ocean is. Similarly, by this one girl greeting us with ‘Hare Krsna’ we can appreciate how the chanting of the Lord’s holy names has spread around the world.”

Such small triumphs in the spreading of the holy names certainly add to the success of your mission, Srila Prabhupada, but to be perfectly honest, locked down and locked out of my previous services to you as a result of the worldwide pandemic, I miss more than ever the big victories we helped you achieve in days gone by.

I miss seeing thousands of young people loudly chanting the holy names of Krsna at the Polish Woodstock Festival every year.

I miss distributing tens of thousands of plates of prasadam annually to Zulu children in the poor townships of South Africa.

I miss the standing ovations that our theater productions received as we toured the United States.

I miss our festivals along the Baltic Sea coast, where for 30 years running, each summer night, people would leap from their seats during the final kirtan and chant and dance with us in great ecstasy.

I miss our harinam parties in Altay, Dzag, Urgamal, and Hodrogo on the far-western steppes of Mongolia, where each time, literally the whole town would follow us back for a program in a hall.

The list is endless, Srila Prabhupada, but recently I realized I can’t go on forever daydreaming about the past. You said many times that if we are sincere, then there can be no real impediments to spreading the glories of the holy names. I was reminded of this recently while listening to a lecture you gave in London on July 18th, 1973, wherein you said:

“Material impediments cannot check progress in the science of God. We are experiencing that Krsna consciousness does not get checked anywhere. We have got branches all over the world. Any country, there is no language difficulty. Wherever we chant Hare Krsna they join. Even in Africa, they are also chanting Hare Krsna. So, there is no checking this movement.”

Your words had a profound effect on me, which is often the case when I listen to your lectures. I feel you are speaking directly to me.

“The learned say that nectar resides in the ocean, the moon, the lips of a young lady, the abode of serpents and in heaven. But the ocean is salty, the moon wanes, the husbands who drink nectar from the lips of their wives die, snakes provide poison, and one falls down from heaven when the fruits of his virtuous deeds are exhausted. But indeed, nectar is found in the voice of realized saints whose sweet words and instructions lead one to immortality.”

[ The Subhāṣita-ratna-bhāṇḍāgāram ]

Inspired by your words, Srila Prabhupada, the daily chanting of my mantras took on a different tone. I pleaded to be engaged once again in some significant service to your mission.

Narada Muni says to Gopa Kumara in Brhad-bhagavatamrta:

“My dear boy, whatever you desire while chanting your mantra, by its power you will fully achieve. Indeed, you will attain more than your desire.”

[ Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta 2.1.189 ]

Time passed in this way, and having received no discernable sign from the Lord that He would fulfill my prayer for service to your mission, I suddenly realized how foolish I was to think that I, an aspiring devotee at best, could personally request something from Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So then I did the right thing: I begged you, my beloved Spiritual Master, to pray to the Lord on my behalf!

In a letter to Mahananda das on April 26th, 1970, you wrote:

“Regarding your questions, are the Spiritual Master and the grand Spiritual Master consciously aware of the prayers of a sincere devotee who prays in love to Them? The answer is that no conscious prayers go in vain. They are transmitted positively. Any prayer you offer to your Spiritual Master and Superior Spiritual Master is conveyed to Krsna. No sincere prayers go in vain.”

So it was no surprise to me, Srila Prabhupada, when one week later, without any additional effort whatsoever on my part, my prayers [ to you! ] were answered.

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.”

[ William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1 ]

As I was walking by the prestigious Vrindavan Research Institute, near to our Krsna Balarama Mandir here in Vrindavan with my disciple Visnu-tattva das, he turned to me and said, “Srila Gurudeva, the managers of the institute told me they would like to meet with you. Can I make an appointment?”

I looked at him in disbelief. Since 1973, when I first travelled to Vrindavan, the prestigious institute with all of its thousands of sacred scriptures had mostly been off-limits to anyone except research scholars. I often dreamed of walking into the institute and having darshan of the sastras contained within its walls, which I knew included the original handwritten manuscripts of Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami, Narottama das Thakura, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and many other great Vaisnava saints, as well.

“It’s under new management now,” Visnu-tattva continued. “They are eager to improve the important work they are doing. I’ve actually been helping them for some time now with cataloguing their vast library.”

Visnu-tattva comes from a well-respected Goswami family in Vrindavan and is pursuing a master’s degree in Sanskrit.

“They know about you, Srila Gurudeva, and are asking for your cooperation with scanning, digitizing, preserving, translating and publishing the 32,000 scriptures in the institute.”

Surprised, I said, “But how in the world do they know me?”

“Through your social media,” he replied. “And they’re aware that you’ve been lecturing about Vrindavan for almost two years based on authentic scriptures.”

I shook my head in disbelief.

“Ok,” I said. “Make an appointment.”

Several days later we met with the head of the institute and his managers for several hours, discussing the dynamics of how we could cooperate.

Afterwards, one of the managers took me on a tour of the institute.

As we walked through numerous rooms encasing the sacred texts, she said, “The previous managers were mainly interested in protecting the valuable manuscripts. But our new management realizes these scriptures were written to be read by the entire world.”

As we sat down to discuss more, she placed an old palm-leaf manuscript in my hands.

“Take this one for example,” she said. “It’s the original Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu by Srila Rupa Goswami. It is over 500 years old. You can see how much it is in need of preservation.”

“Good Lord!” I said softly. “I’m holding one of the most important sastras of our tradition in my hands.”

I could hardly fathom my good fortune. Looking closely at the beautiful handwriting of Srila Rupa Goswami, I remembered a verse from Caitanya-caritamrita:

sri-rupera aksara—yena mukutara panti
prita hana karena prabhu aksarera stuti

“Thus being pleased, Lord Caitanya praised the writing by saying, ‘The handwriting of Rupa Gosvami is just like rows of pearls.’”

[ Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.97 ]

Carefully taking the manuscript from my hands, she placed another in front of me.

“Do you know the saint Narottama das Thakura?” she asked.

“Yes, I do,” I replied. “He’s one of my great heroes.”

“That is his book, Prarthana,” she said with a smile. “The original.”

As I very carefully turned each parchment page to inspect the condition of the book, she said, “These treasures need to be treated and preserved for future generations. Would you like to help?”

My eyes became moist and a lump appeared in my throat. I tried my best to convey my consent, but I couldn’t. I finally just blurted out, “Yes! Thank you!”

As she carefully placed the parchment in its box, she noticed a tiny sliver of the manuscript in the corner that had apparently broken off. Handing it to me, she said, “Please accept this as a blessing from your hero. Place it in a kavaca and wear it around your neck.”

At that point, I couldn’t help myself and I burst into tears of gratitude.

Srila Prabhupada, thank you for answering my prayers and entrusting me with a service that I know is very dear to your heart. You yourself carried a number of our previous acaryas’ books everywhere you travelled. Every day you would refer to them as you wrote your Bhaktivedanta purports. I know this for a fact, for I once carried a heavy suitcase of yours filled with those precious scriptures from the London airport to your room in our temple at 7 Bury Place. Huffing and puffing, I placed it at your lotus feet and when I bowed down, you slapped me on the back in firm appreciation and gave me an eternal blessing, saying:

“So much endeavour in this material world, but when I take you home, back to Godhead, everything will be easy and sublime.”

I look forward to that day when you’ll take me home, Srila Prabhupada, but in the meantime I’ll work closely with a team of devotees I am assembling from around the world to help the Vrindavan Research Institute raise funds, as well as catalogue, scan, digitize, preserve, translate and publish all the works—known and unknown—of our previous acaryas. All the while, I will keep your following words close to my heart:

“It is my serious desire to devote the fag end of my life to translating Srimad Bhagavatam and so many other Vaisnava literatures, so by assisting me in this regards you will be performing the highest service to Krsna.”

[ Srila Prabhupada, letter to Hayagriva das, April 27th, 1972 ]

Your eternal servant,
Indradyumna Swami

 

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Celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s 125th Anniversary Vyasa Puja
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By the GBC

The Governing Body Commission requests all ISKCON regions, temples, and communities to highlight and celebrate Srila Prabhupada's 125th Appearance Anniversary throughout the upcoming year, including Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja Day 2021 and ending with Vyasa Puja Day 2022. The GBC is particularly grateful for the ideas, themes and programs generated by the Prabhupada 125th Anniversary Committee in India. The GBC recommends that devotees around the world to utilize the ideas the Committee has generated, including the official 125th Anniversary logo, as well as any other ideas and programs that may be locally initiated, to celebrate this historic year in a humble mood of gratitude and service to His Divine Grace. Continue reading "Celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s 125th Anniversary Vyasa Puja
→ Dandavats"

Five years of Ratha Yatra in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate.
→ ISKCON News: Latest Stories

Since 2016, the Berlin ISKCON Jagannatha Temple has been celebrating the traditional Ratha Yatra at the Brandenburg Gate in the middle of the government district of the German capital. The decision to hold the traditional chariot festival at the most famous symbol of German history was a strategic consideration. In a time in which more and more people in Germany get afraid of partly unknown religious communities and their rites, the Berlin ISKCON community wanted to set a sign and stand up for "More tolerance for lived religion in society".