Srila Prabhupada’s Film Restoration Project Achieves Important Milestone

Yadubara Dasa with film reels.  In March 2023, ISKCON News reported on Inner Voice Production’s latest initiative, Srila Prabhupada’s Film Restoration Project. The team is well-known for its transformative film “Hare Krishna – The Mantra, The Movement, and the Swami Who Started It All,” which has been showcased around the world and is still available […]

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TOVP Nrsimhadeva Wing Announcement – “The Miracle Is Happening!”

“The Miracle Is Happening!” – The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium Nrsimhadeva Wing, the largest Nrsimha Temple in the World, is opening! From February 29 – March 2, 2024 the TOVP will reach its next milestone towards the completion of Srila Prabhupada’s dearmost project during an ecstatic and historic festival, the Sri Nrsimha Vaibhavotsava.

We humbly request all ISKCON leaders and devotees to spread the word to all their temple members and congregation. The events each day can be watched live at

Below are several links to relevant and inspiring videos, flyers and flipbooks that can be shared with others to promote this auspicious occasion:

“The Miracle Is Happening!” Video (watch and subscribe):

Full Announcement and Schedule (view, download and share):

Nrsimha Wing Opening Flyers (for print and social media):

Nrsimha Wing Images and Development (view, download and share):

Exclusive Nrsimha Vaibhavotsava Sponsorships:

Help Open the Lord’s Temple.

Miracle in the Making ~ Home of Our Divine Protector




News & Texts:
RSS News Feed:

Sri Nityananda Trayodasi
→ Ramai Swami

I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in Lord Nityananda’s appearance celebration at Sri Sri Radha Syamasundara temple in Adelaide.

Srila Prabhupada has written in Chaitanya Charitamrta:

Srila Nityananda Prabhu was born in the village of Ekacakra, in the district of Birbhum, as the son of Padmavati and Hadai Pandita. In His childhood He played like Balarama.

When He was growing up, a sannyasi came to the house of Hadai Pandita and begged to have the pandita’s son as his brahmacari assistant. Hadai Pandita immediately agreed and delivered his son to him, although the separation was greatly shocking, so much so that Hadai lost his life after the separation.

Nityananda Prabhu traveled on many pilgrimages with the sannyasi. It is said that for many days He lived at Mathura with him, and at that time He heard about Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Navadvipa. Therefore He came down to Bengal to see the Lord.

When Lord Nityananda came to Navadvipa, He was a guest at the house of Nandana Acarya. Understanding that Nityananda Prabhu had arrived, Lord Caitanya sent His devotees to Him, and thus there was a meeting between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu

ISKCON Mayapur Celebrates Sri Advaita Acharya Appearance Day

On February 16, 2024, ISKCON Mayapur joyously commemorated the auspicious appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya. It is said that material nature has two features, namely, the material cause and the efficient cause. The efficient causal activities are caused by Mahā-Viṣṇu, and the material causal activities are caused by another form of Mahā-Viṣṇu, known as […]

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India’s Vedic Revival

Srila Prabhupada preaching to a large crowd in India. Srila Prabhupada, founder of the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement, vigorously presented the Vedic culture and the teachings of Sanatana Dharma throughout the world in the last ten years of his life. This was a monumental and singular achievement for a man who had not stepped outside […]

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Sri Nityananda-trayodasi
Giriraj Swami

We welcome you on this most auspicious occasion of the appearance day of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. According to the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the Absolute Truth is realized in three features. Preliminary is Brahman, the impersonal light that emanates from the transcendental form of the Lord. Next is Paramatma, the localized Supersoul within the hearts of all living entities. And the last word in realization of the Absolute is Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. The jnanis who realize the impersonal Brahman experience only the sat, eternal, aspect of the Absolute Truth. The yogis who realize the Paramatma within the heart experience the eternal, sat, and cognizant, cit, features of the Absolute Truth. Only the devotees, who realize Krishna, experience ananda, bliss, which is the goal and ultimate nature of every living entity.

When an interviewer once asked Srila Prabhupada, “What is the goal of life?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “The goal of life is to enjoy.” Now, the effort to enjoy materially, through the mind and senses, leads only to frustration and misery, but spiritually one can enjoy in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that pleasure, unlike the temporary so-called happiness of the material world, is eternal, and that eternal happiness can be realized through the mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Nitya means “eternal” and ananda means “bliss.” So, if we can come in touch with Lord Nityananda, we can realize that eternal bliss for which we are hankering.

How do we become eligible for Lord Nityananda’s mercy? That we can learn from the description of His qualities and pastimes in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the most authorized book, biography, about the teachings and activities of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda and Their associates. There are a number of verses that summarize the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, but one is especially instructive, from Adi-lila, Chapter Seventeen: “The Pastimes of Lord Caitanya in His Youth”:


tabe saci dekhila, rama-krsna—dui bhai
tabe nistarila prabhu jagai-madhai


Thereafter Mother Sacidevi saw the brothers Krsna and Balarama in Their manifestation of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda. Then the Lord delivered the two brothers Jagai and Madhai.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

One night Sacidevi dreamt that the Deities in her house, Krsna and Balarama, had taken the forms of Caitanya and Nityananda and were fighting one another, as children do, to eat the naivedya, or offering to the Deities. On the next day, by the will of Lord Caitanya, Sacidevi invited Nityananda to take prasada at her house. Thus Visvambhara (Lord Caitanya) and Nityananda were eating together, and Sacidevi realized that They were none other than Krsna and Balarama. Seeing this, she fainted.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

The story is that Sacidevi had a dream and told her son Nimai, “Last night I had a wonderful dream, and in this dream You and Nityananda went into my Deity room, and You picked up the Deity of Balarama, and Nitai picked up the Deity of Krishna, and the Deities started to protest, ‘You can’t take Us from the altar. You can’t take Us out of the Deity room.’ And You and Nityananda replied, ‘Your days of stealing butter and playing pranks are over. Now You are appearing as brahmans to chant the holy names.’ ” Then They started to fight over Mother Saci’s offerings, and Krishna and Balarama said, “These are meant for Us. You can’t have these.” And Gaura and Nitai were saying, “But now You have appeared as Us, so We can take them.”

Mother Saci asked Lord Chaitanya, “What do You think of this dream?” and Lord Chaitanya said, “This is a very wonderful dream, but don’t tell anyone about it.” Because He was concealing His identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He didn’t want anyone to know that He was Krishna and Nityananda was Balarama.

Then Lord Chaitanya said, “I would go into the Deity room to have maha-prasada and see that half of it was gone.” His wife, Vishnu-priya, was listening to this, and He knew that she was listening, so He said, “When I would see that half of the offering was gone, I would suspect that it was Vishnu-priya who took the maha-prasada, but now I am seeing that these Deities are very mystical, and I am suspecting that They Themselves might be eating half of the remnants meant for Us.” He continued, “Anyway, I think tomorrow you should invite Nityananda for lunch.” So, she did, and as They were having lunch, she saw Them transform Themselves into Krishna and Balarama, and she fainted.

PURPORT (continued)

Jagai and Madhai were two brothers born in Navadvipa in a respectable brahmana family who later became addicted to all kinds of sinful activities. By the order of Lord Caitanya, both Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura used to preach the cult of Krsna consciousness door to door. In the course of such preaching they found Jagai and Madhai, two maddened drunken brothers, who, upon seeing them, began to chase them. The next day, Madhai struck Nityananda Prabhu on the head with a piece of earthen pot, thus drawing blood. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this, He immediately came to the spot, ready to punish both brothers, but when the all-merciful Lord Gauranga saw Jagai’s repentant behavior, He immediately embraced him. By seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face and embracing Him, both the sinful brothers were at once cleansed. Thus they received initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra from the Lord and were delivered.


This is a very important pastime of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, and it is worth considering in detail, because it will give us an insight into the actual mission of Gaura-Nitai and, through parampara, disciplic succession, the mission of Srila Prabhupada and consequently the mission of his followers.

So, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura to go into Navadvipa to approach whomever they met on the way and to go door-to-door and approach people at home and request them to chant the name of Krishna, to worship Krishna, to accept Krishna as their life and soul and the treasure of their wealth—and not to distinguish between who was qualified and who was not. Many people in Navadvipa were pious, and when Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura approached them, they accepted the request. And they all developed pure love for Krishna.

One day, as Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura were making their way around Navadvipa, they saw a large crowd of people watching a spectacle from a distance. When they approached, they saw two drunken brothers, Jagai and Madhai. “They were born in a respectable brahman family,” the townspeople explained, “but in their youth they fell into bad association and have engaged in all sorts of sinful, horrible activities. They drink wine, they murder people, they burn down their houses, they loot and rob and plunder them. They rape women. They eat cows’ flesh. There’s not a sin they have not committed. They are extremely dangerous, and the whole of Navadvipa lives in fear of them.”

Nityananda Prabhu thought, “So far, we have been approaching pious folks and they’ve taken up the order of Mahaprabhu and become pure lovers of Krishna, but no one really knows the glories of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. If we can convert Jagai and Madhai, then everyone will know the magnitude of Mahaprabhu’s mercy.” So, Nityananda, accompanied by Haridasa, approached the drunken brothers and delivered the message: “Chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna, follow Krishna’s instructions, glorify Krishna, and give up your sinful activities.” The two were physically powerful, though—very powerful and very arrogant—and they became enraged: “Who are these people to tell us to worship Krishna and give up our activities?” They decided to kill Haridasa and Nityananda and started to pursue them, shouting, “Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!” They were running after them, and Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura were running for their lives.

While they were fleeing, Nityananda Prabhu said, “Haridasa, I think this is the end of both of us. This is it.” And Haridasa replied, “I think You are right.” Then Nityananda said, “But you were caned in twenty-two marketplaces and Krishna saved you, so why don’t you pray to Krishna to save us now?” And Haridasa said, “Yes, that’s true, but at that time I wasn’t associating with a madman like You. You went up to the two biggest demons on the planet and told them to chant Hare Krishna and give up their sinful activities! All the townspeople told us, ‘Stay away from them; they are very dangerous,’ but You didn’t listen.” Nityananda defended Himself: “You are blaming Me, but actually I’m not the one to blame. It’s your master, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, who’s responsible. Never in the history of the world has a brahman acted like Him, like a king ordering people to go out in the town and approach people whether they are pious or sinful and ask them to chant Hare Krishna. I was just following His order. So don’t blame Me; blame Him.” And He added, “If we don’t obey His order, we’re finished, and if we do obey His order, we’re finished.” Like that, they were joking and laughing as they were fleeing for their lives, Jagai and Madhai in hot pursuit.

Eventually Jagai and Madhai, though strong and powerful and angry, couldn’t keep up. They were a little heavy and quite drunk, so eventually they fell behind, and Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura ran to Mahaprabhu. The Lord had asked them to come report to Him every evening after their preaching, and they told Him what had happened. When He asked, “Who are these Jagai and Madhai?” Gangadasa Pandita and Srivasa Thakura explained, “They are most sinful. The whole of Navadvipa lives in terror because of them. They kill people, they rape women, they burn down people’s houses, they plunder their riches, they drink strong liquor, and they eat cows’ flesh.” Mahaprabhu said, “I will kill them. I will cut them to pieces.” But Nityananda Prabhu—and this is His extreme mercy—said, “No, Lord, don’t do that. Don’t harm them. In Kali-yuga our mission is not to kill the demons but to deliver them. And in Kali-yuga pretty much everyone will be like Jagai and Madhai. So don’t kill them. You give them to Me; I will take charge of them.” Gauranga Mahaprabhu agreed, “All right, I put them in Your charge, and because You want to give them mercy, I predict that very soon they will be delivered.”

While Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was speaking with Nityananda, Haridasa Thakura, who was sitting with Advaita Acharya, said, “You do not know how difficult it is to have a sankirtana partner who is a madman. He is an avadhuta. He goes to people’s houses and steals their butter and yogurt.” If the householder came out and pursued them, Nityananda Prabhu, who was younger, would be gone, and they would catch Haridasa. Sometimes Nityananda would ride on people’s bulls and say, “I am Mahesh!” And sometimes He would milk the cows and drink all the milk. Sometimes He would approach small boys and say, “I’m going to beat you!” and they would become frightened and run home to their parents, and their fathers would come out with sticks to protect their child. And Nityananda would escape, but they’d catch Haridasa, and he would fall at their feet and plead, “Please, please, it’s not what you think.” And sometimes Nityananda would go up to innocent young girls and say, “I want to marry you.” “But the worst was today,” Haridasa said. “Everyone told us to stay away from these drunken demons, and He went right up to them and said, ‘Give up your sinful activities, surrender to Krishna, and chant Krishna’s name.’ They almost killed us! We barely escaped with our lives.”

Advaita Acharya began to laugh in ecstasy but with a little anger and said, “Why are you surprised? It is the nature of drunkards to associate with other drunkards. Nityananda Prabhu is always intoxicated with krsna-prema, prema-rasa, so it’s natural for Him to want to associate with other drunkards. But you are a naistika-brahmachari, sober and learned, so why are you associating with those three? You let them associate with one another. Why should you get involved with them?” Then He said, “I know the power of My Nityananda, and you will see within one or two days that these rogues will be chanting and dancing in kirtan with us.”

A day or two later, as Nityananda Prabhu was wandering around Navadvipa in His playful mood, He again came upon the two drunk brothers. And again He approached them and delivered the same message, and again Madhai was enraged: “Who is this person? We almost killed him the other day, and still he is coming back. Who does he think he is?” Then he asked, “Who are you? What is your name?” Nitai replied, “I am avadhuta.” And that was it. Madhai picked up a clay pot, and with all of his immense strength he smashed the head of Nityananda Prabhu and cut a big gash. Blood covered Nitai’s face and gradually His whole body. “I don’t mind that you struck Me,” He told Madhai, “but what really pains Me is how much you are suffering in ignorance. Please accept the mercy of Gauranga Mahaprabhu and you’ll be happy.”

That infuriated Madhai even more, so he picked up another pot, wanting to kill Nitai—he was ready to smash Him—but Jagai intervened and said, “Stop it! Can’t you see that this is a genuine saintly person, that he actually has love for you and feels compassion for you? He is trying to help you. What will you gain by killing such an innocent soul?”

Meanwhile, the news of Madhai’s attack reached Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and He rushed to the scene—as Prabhupada said, angry as fire—and immediately called for His Sudarshan chakra to kill them. The chakra came like the blazing sun, but Nityananda Prabhu intervened. “Lord, don’t kill them,” He beseeched Mahaprabhu. “I am going to,” Lord Chaitanya replied. “They have harmed My Nitai, and I am going to kill them.” Still, Nityananda said, “But Jagai saved Me. Madhai was wanting to kill Me, but Jagai stopped him; he saved My life.”

When Mahaprabhu heard that, His heart melted and the chakra immediately disappeared. He embraced Jagai and said, “You have saved My Nitai. You have saved My Nitai. I forgive you for all that you have done.” After embracing him, He manifested a four-armed form with the symbols of Vishnu—the club, disc, lotus, and conch—placed His lotus foot on the heart of Jagai, and filled him with ecstatic love for Krishna. And Jagai was weeping in ecstasy.

Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu turned His attention back to Madhai. He was still angry and ready to kill him, but Madhai’s heart had also changed. The Caitanya-bhagavata describes that the two of them, Jagai and Madhai, were so close they were like one soul in two bodies. So, by Jagai’s heart changing, Madhai’s heart also changed. And, of course, he didn’t want to be killed. He said, “You have given mercy to Jagai, but we’re together; we’ve done everything together. Whenever we plundered someone’s house, we did it together. Whenever I burned down someone’s house, he was with me. Whenever I drank liquor, he was with me. Whenever I ate cows’ flesh, he was with me. We did everything together, so why are You giving him mercy and not me? You should give me mercy, too.” Mahaprabhu replied, “No, I will not give you mercy, because you have hurt My Nitai.” Madhai said, “We’ve read in scriptures that so many demons attacked You with weapons and You delivered them all. So You should deliver me too.” And Mahaprabhu replied, “No, I will not deliver you. Nityananda’s body is more dear to Me than My own. Those demons attacked My body and I delivered them, but you attacked Nitai’s body, which is more dear to Me. I will not forgive you.”

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was poised to kill Madhai, and Madhai pleaded for mercy. Then Mahaprabhu showed the way: “You beg for Nitai’s mercy. If He gives you mercy, then I will spare you.” So Madhai prayed to Nityananda Prabhu, and Mahaprabhu told Nitai, “If You actually forgive him, then You should embrace him.” And Nityananda, His whole body still covered with blood, picked up Madhai, who had prostrated himself, and embraced him. That is how merciful He is. Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “All right, I will spare you.” Nitai said, “Now I give him to You.” Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave Madhai prema-bhakti. This is inconceivable—He gave him something that Lord Brahma doesn’t have. He gave him something that great rishis and sages and devas are endeavoring to get. He gave it to Madhai and Jagai, and they were the most horrible, sinful reprobates.

So, all that Nitai wanted came true. Later, back at Mahaprabhu’s house, the devotees had sankirtana, and Mahaprabhu said that all of Nitai’s desires would come true. Nitai was thinking, “If these two demons, the worst on the planet, could receive Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy, then My traveling everywhere and preaching will be successful.” He thought, “If I can convert these two demons to accept the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, then I can actually consider Myself a servant of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And if these two demons can chant and dance in ecstasy with the Vaishnavas, I can consider that My name, Nityananda, has value and is true.”

There was a big festival of kirtan, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Don’t any of you think that Jagai and Madhai are sinful. I will accept all their sinful reactions. Just watch.” And as Gauranga, in His beautiful golden form, began to accept their sinful reactions, His body turned black. “What do You see? What do I look like?” He asked Advaita Acharya. “I see Syamasundara,” Advaita replied. “Gaurasundara has become Syamasundara.” Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Now how will I get free from these sinful reactions? It will be through hari-nama-sankirtana. So, all of you do hari-nama-sankirtana, and I will be relieved of these sinful reactions. But then where will the sinful reactions go? Into the hearts of those who blaspheme Vaishnavas, who criticize devotees.”

So, they had ecstatic kirtan, and Mahaprabhu with His black form was dancing in ecstasy, and gradually the black went away; His form became lighter, and He resumed His original beautiful fair Gauranga golden hue.

After this, the Vaishnavas accepted Jagai and Madhai, but especially Madhai felt guilty, because he had tried to kill Nityananda Prabhu, who was the cause of his deliverance. He was very sad. Nityananda Prabhu could see this and inquired, “You’ve been liberated, you’ve been given prema-bhakti—why are you so sad? Don’t be sad.” Madhai replied, “When I think that I tried to kill You, I feel terrible. I just can’t forgive myself.” Nityananda told him, “I accept you like My son. Sometimes a child will hit the parent, but the parent doesn’t take it seriously. I forgive you.” Madhai said, “But what about all the other people I wronged and caused pain to? I was so intoxicated, I don’t even know who they are. I don’t even know how to ask them to forgive me. I hurt so many.” And Nityananda Prabhu said, “You should make a ghat—a very beautiful ghat—with your own hand, and when people come to take bath, you prostrate yourself before them and ask them to forgive you. And serve whoever comes, in any menial way. Being close to the Ganga, you will be purified.”

So, Madhai did that, and when people saw how humble he and his brother had become, their hearts melted and they gave them all affection and respect. But there were some people who were still angry, who had been so hurt by the brothers, by Madhai in particular, and seeing him in that humble position, they would take up a stone and throw it at his head. Madhai was now so meek, however, that he would pick up the stone and return it to them, saying, “I am so sinful. I’ve caused so much pain to others. Once is not enough; you should hit me again.” Even the people who were the most upset and angry had to forgive him and embrace him.

This is the mercy of Gaura-Nitai, and that was what Nityananda Prabhu wanted: that people should understand the glory of Mahaprabhu’s mercy. Srila Prabhupada took up the same mood of approaching anyone and everyone—pious or sinful, qualified or unqualified—without discrimination. As Nityananda Prabhu said, in Kali-yuga practically everyone will be like Jagai and Madhai. That may be more apparent in America and Europe than in India—though I did hear a talk in which Srila Prabhupada was discussing how demonic Western civilization is and how the leaders, and pretty much everyone, are demons, but then added, “Actually in my country also, 80 percent are demons.” But still, what Prabhupada encountered in 1965 when he came to America was something that people now, especially people in India, can’t even imagine.

Krsna Candra Prabhu (Hrishikesh Mafatlal), from Mumbai, used to say that people cannot imagine who Srila Prabhupada faced when he went to America. He recommended that everyone see the DVDs of Srila Prabhupada when he came to America, first at 26 Second Avenue in New York, then at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. You just can’t believe, can’t imagine, the type of people he was approaching. And they didn’t always receive him well.

There was one incident when Srila Prabhupada was in New York—I hope you’ve read Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta; everyone should read the Lilamrta, as well as see the series Following Srila Prabhupada—living in a loft in the Bowery, which was the most degraded part of the city, its “Skid Row,” inhabited mostly by drunks. But even they had a little respect. They would be sprawled out on the sidewalk and on the stairs leading up to Prabhupada’s apartment, but somehow they sensed that Prabhupada was a saintly person, and they would try to move over and make room for him to pass.

Prabhupada was staying with a young man who seemed interested in Krishna consciousness. In fact, Prabhupada thought, “I’ll train him as a Vaishnava.” But one day the young man went crazy, probably from taking LSD or something—the 1960s equivalent of the strong wine that Jagai and Madhai were taking five hundred years ago. He went crazy and wanted to attack Srila Prabhupada. And he was ready to kill him, like Madhai was ready to kill Nityananda Prabhu. Srila Prabhupada bolted out of the room and ran down the stairs, with this young man in pursuit—very similar.

It is quite a history, how Srila Prabhupada stayed in different people’s places, and what he endured for the sake of delivering the mercy of Gaura-Nitai is inconceivable. On the boat to America he had suffered two heart attacks, and even in America he had a lot of physical problems. But he endured everything—all these attacks of maya—for the sake of delivering Gaura-Nitai’s mercy to us. And what Nityananda Prabhu wanted in India has been fulfilled by Srila Prabhupada outside India. What Nityananda Prabhu wanted was fulfilled in Bengal, but through Srila Prabhupada it’s been fulfilled throughout the world. So, Srila Prabhupada is really the embodiment of that mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. There’s no one in the history of our sampradaya, no one after Nityananda Prabhu, who has taken up that mood of approaching anyone and everyone without discrimination, without considering who is qualified and who is not.

And it’s the same message: chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna, follow Krishna’s instructions (bolo krsna, bhaja krsna, koro krsna-siksa)—but not in so many words, because the people that Srila Prabhupada was approaching didn’t even know who Krishna was. When Nityananda approached people in Navadvipa, “Chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna, accept Krishna as your life and soul,” they knew who Krishna was, they knew what He was saying, but in America and Europe nobody knew who Krishna was. So even “Chant Krishna’s name, worship Krishna” had to be explained in detail in books, and thus Srila Prabhupada wrote so many books to explain who is Krishna, what is Krishna’s name, how to chant Krishna’s name, how to worship Krishna, why we should accept Krishna as our life and soul, why we should surrender to Krishna—the same message that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda Prabhu to deliver to everyone, but in an expanded form, because the people Prabhupada was approaching had no idea of Krishna’s identity or instructions.

When we go out with Srila Prabhupada’s books, it is like when Mahaprabhu sent Nityananda and Haridasa to approach people with that message. Sometimes devotees are not well received, but even Nityananda and Haridasa were not always well received. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would have nocturnal kirtans in Srivasa Thakura’s house, and if anyone was proud, he was not allowed to enter. Only humble, pure devotees were allowed. So, all these proud people in Navadvipa were upset and angry that they weren’t allowed to join the kirtan, and when Nityananda and Haridasa came, they were angry with them—“Oh, you’ve come from that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srivasa Thakura”—and they spread rumors about them: “They are thieves. They come to your door and say to chant Krishna’s name and worship Krishna, but really what they’re doing is looking in your house to see what you have so that they can come back at night and steal it.” They were spreading a lot of false propaganda. So, we have to accept that, expect it and accept it, without being deterred. It didn’t stop Nityananda Prabhu, and it didn’t stop Srila Prabhupada, and it shouldn’t stop any of us.

So, this is the continuation of Nityananda Prabhu’s mission, and Srila Prabhupada really had that mood. When one of his early disciples came to India and the Calcutta temple president phoned Prabhupada in Bombay to tell him that the devotee was smoking ganja, marijuana, and asked what to do, Prabhupada told his secretary to relay his response: “Tell him that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja, I will reject him.” Afterwards, Tamal Krishna Goswami asked Prabhupada, “Is it true that if he doesn’t stop smoking ganja, you will reject him?” And Prabhupada said, “No—I cannot reject anyone.” Tamal Krishna Goswami asked, “But don’t you have to draw the line somewhere?” And Prabhupada replied, “The mercy of Lord Nityananda is unlimited.” So that was Srila Prabhupada’s mood; he was in the mood of Nityananda Prabhu.

We are the recipients of Gaura-Nitai’s mercy through Srila Prabhupada. By Prabhupada’s mercy, we are chanting Krishna’s name and worshipping Krishna, accepting Krishna as the goal of our lives. And it is also by Prabhupada’s mercy and order that we should preach the same message to others. We can speak to our capacity, and whatever our capacity to speak may or may not be, we can give people Srila Prabhupada’s books, which convey the same message of Mahaprabhu. We just elaborate on it and present it in a way that people without any background in Vedic knowledge can understand.

So, on this most sacred and blessed occasion, we can pray to Nityananda Prabhu to inspire and empower us with His mood of humble persuasion. When He approached people, after giving the instruction He would say, “If you accept this instruction, I will consider you more dear to Me than My own life.” And if someone did not accept the sacred instruction, He would prostrate Himself at their feet and beg them to take it. He is Lord Balarama, the first of all of Krishna’s expansions; He is the origin of Maha-Sankarsana, who is in turn the origin of Maha-Vishnu, Karanodakasayi Vishnu, by whose breathing universes are generated from the pores of His body. And then a portion of that Maha-Vishnu is Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, and He enters into every universe and gives birth to Brahma and engineers the creation of every universe. And Ksirodakasayi Vishnu is the Supersoul in everyone’s heart. Nityananda is that Original Supreme Person, and He is rolling in the dust of people’s feet and begging them, “Just chant Hare Krishna.”

I saw that mood in Srila Prabhupada. He often instructed us, but I saw it personally. When we first came to Bombay, there was a program on the terrace of the house where we were staying—Seksaria Bhavan, on Marine Drive. It was very nice, very glamorous, near the sea, and our host, Kailash Seksaria, had invited all the elite, affluent aristocratic people he knew in Bombay. And Prabhupada, with the same humility as Nityananda Prabhu, implored them, “I am taking the straw in my mouth and begging you, please chant Hare Krishna”—just like Nityananda Prabhu.

Prabhupada often quoted a verse by Prabodhananda Sarasvati about how we should approach people the way Nityananda Prabhu approached them. The verse is, dante nidhaya tånakam padayor nipatya: “I take a straw in my mouth.” It is a sign of utter humility. “And I bow at your feet.” kaku-sataà krtva caham bravimi. “And I flatter you a hundred times.” He sadava: “O great learned man.” Sakalam eva vihaya durad: “Whatever you have learned, you keep it far away from you.” And caitanya-candra-carane kurutanuragam: “Just accept the mercy of Lord Gauranga, just surrender to Lord Gauranga, become attached to Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet.” And Srila Prabhupada did it himself.

There was a big shipper in Bombay who was avoiding me. I had been successful with many big people in Bombay, but I just couldn’t get through to him at his office—too many secretaries and too many doors. So, one weekend I took a chance and went to his house. The man was totally unprepared, and when he opened the door and saw me, there was a little respect, or etiquette: he didn’t slam the door in my face; he invited me in. I could see that he was very smug, and the first thing he said was, “What can I do for you?” I responded, “I haven’t come so you can do something for me. I’ve come to do something for you.” And he said, “You’ve come to do something for me? What can you do for me?” “I’ve come to engage you in Krishna’s service.”

That evening, when I gave my report to Srila Prabhupada (as Haridasa and Nityananda would give their reports to Mahaprabhu), Prabhupada said, “To preach, you have to be very humble. If you approach a materialistic person and say . . .” Of course, sometimes Prabhupada would say the opposite, so it really depends on the context, but in this case he said, “If you approach someone and say, ‘Everything is Krishna’s property—you’ve stolen it all from Krishna, and you should return it to Krishna, the sooner the better,’ they will get angry: ‘What do you mean? It’s my hard-earned money. What do you mean it belongs to Krishna?’ But if you say, ‘We’re building a temple—I’ve come as a beggar to your door,’ ‘Oh, a beggar has come. Oh, okay, take something and go.’ ”

So, in that humble mood, Nityananda was begging. He wasn’t begging for money; He was begging for people to take the holy name—literally begging, falling at their feet, rolling in the dust, and begging them. And that, in essence, is what Prabhupada did with us.

And none of us would be here today if Srila Prabhupada hadn’t done what he did.

Many Indians have told me, “I’m so glad I met the devotees here in America and became Krishna conscious here.” They say, “I can’t be Krishna conscious like this in India, because of the association of the family members.” I have devotee friends who, when their family members and friends want them to drink alcohol and eat meat, refuse and are questioned, “What’s wrong with you? You went to America and now you’ve come back. You’re supposed to be the leader in these things. Now you won’t even touch them.” So, people everywhere are pretty fallen.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite statements of Srila Prabhupada’s. He said, “To approach Radha and Krishna, you need the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, and to get the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, you need the mercy of Lord Nityananda, and to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda, you have to approach people like Jagai and Madhai.” So, if we ever feel, “Oh, I’m too high, I’m too holy, I can’t approach these people,” we should think of that instruction and Srila Prabhupada’s own example and Nityananda Prabhu’s example and really pray, beg, to be humble instruments of their love and mercy and compassion. As Srila Prabhupada’s guru maharaja told him, that will be good for you and good for the people who hear you. Most of all, we should loudly chant the holy names: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Hare Krishna.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Nityananda-trayodasi, February 12, 2014, San Diego]

Successful “The Children Are Our Future” Seminar Held in Mayapur

Devaki Devi Dasi offered a five-session seminar titled “The Children Are Our Future.” It was conducted from 29th February to 2nd March 2024 at the Vaishnava Academy (near the Goshala) in Mayapur. The seminar imparted a good understanding of important principles and practices of child-raising within Krishna consciousness, beginning from conception (Garbhadhana Samskara) to teenage. […]

The post Successful “The Children Are Our Future” Seminar Held in Mayapur appeared first on ISKCON News.

Sri Varaha-dvadasi
Giriraj Swami

Today is Varaha-dvadasi, the appearance day of the boar incarnation, Varahadeva. To celebrate His appearance, we shall read one verse about Him from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven: “Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions.”


yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat
    kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah
antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam
    tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara


Lord Brahma said: When the unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar as a pastime, just to lift the planet earth, which was drowned in the great ocean of the universe called the Garbhodaka, the first demon [Hiranyaksa] appeared, and the Lord pierced him with His tusk.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Since the beginning of creation, the demons and the demigods, or the Vaisnavas, are always the two classes of living beings to dominate the planets of the universes. Lord Brahma is the first demigod, and Hiranyaksa is the first demon in this universe.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

From the beginning of creation, there have been two classes of human beings in the universe. One is the demigods, or the devotees, who are favorable to Lord Vishnu, and the other is the demons, who are against Lord Vishnu. The difference between them has existed from the beginning of creation, and the competition between them has continued until now. There are always struggles and fights between the devotees and the demons.

Even to get the place where we are so comfortably sitting now, Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, there was a great struggle. Srila Prabhupada, the devotee, wanted to purchase the land to build a temple for Radha and Krishna, and so many enemies, demons, joined together to oppose him. Month after month, the struggle continued, until ultimately Srila Prabhupada and the devotees were successful.

Even after they acquired Hare Krishna Land, the struggle continued. So many enemies tried to stop the construction of the temple, but again, in the end, the devotees were successful and Srila Prabhupada was able to build this temple for Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihariji.

Even after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, so many enemies tried to capture Hare Krishna Land and take the management of the temple from the devotees. They accused the devotees: we were CIA, we were spies, we were smugglers, we were this, we were that. They even claimed that the chakras on top of the temple domes were radio antennas for sending and receiving secret messages, and such ridiculous stories were published all over the newspapers. Finally these enemies induced the police to make a thorough search of the entire premises.

The police came to look for radios, contraband, and whatnot, and eventually they wanted to search Srila Prabhupada’s personal quarters on the fifth floor of the west tower. His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami was the GBC for Bombay, so he accompanied the officer to Prabhupada’s quarters. When the officer saw the quarters, he paused and asked, “Do you know why we are searching Hare Krishna Land?” Goswami Maharaja replied, “Because there are so many foreigners here.” The inspector in charge of the investigation said, “There are more foreigners at the Holiday Inn, so why are we not searching there?” Tamal Krishna Goswami replied, “I don’t know. Maybe you should say.” Then the officer said, “At the Holiday Inn they eat meat, they take intoxicants, they gamble, and they have illicit sex, so no one bothers about them. But here you don’t eat meat, fish, or eggs; you don’t take intoxicants; you don’t have illicit sex; and you don’t gamble. And you broadcast very loudly that people should not eat meat, should not take intoxicants, should not have illicit sex, and should not gamble. That is why we are investigating you. People are comfortable with sense gratification, so where there is sense gratification they feel comfortable. But you are giving up sense gratification, announcing it, and telling others to give it up as well. So, people get disturbed, become suspicious, and want to know what’s happening, because they can’t understand how people can actually give up sense gratification. That’s why we are investigating you.”

Shortly thereafter, I happened to read a purport in Srimad-Bhagavatam in which Srila Prabhupada states that the demons want to create a godless society in which they can enjoy sense gratification without restriction: “Demons are very much disturbed when devotees worship the Lord in the prescribed ways recommended in the scriptures. In the Vedic scriptures, the devotees are advised to engage in nine kinds of devotional service, such as to hear and chant the holy name of God, to remember Him always, to chant on beads Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, to worship the Lord in the form of His Deity incarnation in the temples, and to engage in various activities of Krsna consciousness to increase the number of godly persons for perfect peace in the world. Demons do not like such activity. They are always envious of God and His devotees. Their propaganda not to worship in the temple or church but simply to make material advancement for satisfaction of the senses is always current. . . . Demons are always anxious to have a godless society for their sense gratification.” (SB 3.18.5 purport)

So, that is the motive of the demons. They want to create a state of godlessness where they can indulge in sense gratification without restriction, and the devotees stand opposed to godlessness, opposed to sinful activities in defiance of God’s laws. Therefore there is always conflict and struggle. From the beginning of creation to the present, there is always a struggle between the devotees and the demons. The devotees want to establish the order of God, and the demons want to tear down God and God’s order.

Hiranyaksa is described as the first demon, and he was killed by the boar incarnation at the beginning of the creation.

PURPORT (continued)

Only under certain conditions do the planets float as weightless balls in the air, and as soon as these conditions are disturbed, the planets may fall down in the Garbhodaka Ocean, which covers half the universe. The other half is the spherical dome within which the innumerable planetary systems exist.


The universe is a hollow sphere. In the lower half of the sphere is the Garbhodaka Ocean, and in the upper half is space, and within space so many planets are floating or orbiting. There is a very delicate balance that keeps the planets in space, and if the balance is disturbed, the planet may fall down into the Garbhodaka Ocean.

PURPORT (continued)

The floating of the planets in the weightless air is due to the inner constitution of the globes, and the modernized drilling of the earth to exploit oil from within is a sort of disturbance by the modern demons and can result in a greatly harmful reaction to the floating condition of the earth.


The demons do not appreciate the order of the universe created by God. They take everything for granted. They think they can transgress the laws of God without any reaction. They do not know that the creation is engineered very precisely and that if they disturb the natural order, there could be severe consequences. Now people are becoming aware of the threat to the planet and the environment. Just a slight shift in the earth’s axis or orbit will completely change the temperature, change the seasons, change the climate, and affect the ecology. But the demons don’t understand or care that by drilling the earth and extracting oil they can actually disturb the orbit of the earth, what to speak of other harmful effects. The devotees understand the laws of God and the laws of nature and try to act accordingly. And the demons defy the laws of God and do whatever they want. But the result of such independent activities is that they create disturbance for themselves and for others. The earth is surrounded by air and space. We cannot measure the atmosphere around the earth, it is so vast. But the biggest things we know—the oceans and the air—are now being polluted because of disregard for the laws of God and nature.

It is not that the devotees are competing with the demons because they want to enjoy supremacy. Actually, devotees have no selfish interest. They just want to see that the people of the universe, all living entities in the universe, are peaceful and happy. But they know that people can be happy only if they surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and follow His orders. So, out of compassion for others—not for any personal self-interest—they want society to be organized according to the laws of God. And because the demons disturb the natural order and cause innocent people to suffer, devotees feel concerned, and therefore, if necessary, they intervene. They fight with the demons to place the universe in the right hands, in the hands of persons who are submissive to the will of God, to the scriptures.

PURPORT (continued)

A similar disturbance was created formerly by the demons headed by Hiranyaksa (the great exploiter of the gold rush), and the earth was detached from its weightless condition and fell down into the Garbhodaka Ocean. The Lord, as maintainer of the whole creation of the material world, therefore assumed the gigantic form of a boar with a proportionate snout and picked up the earth from within the water of Garbhodaka.


Sri Varaha Bhagavan ki jaya!

The Lord is the creator of the universe. As the father of all living entities, He is concerned for all of His children in the universe. So, when the earth fell down into the Garbhodaka Ocean, the Lord assumed the form of Lord Varaha in order to pick it up. He assumed a form that was suitable for the purpose—the form of a boar with a long snout, which could enter into the water and lift up the earth planet.

PURPORT (continued)

Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, the great Vaisnava poet, sang as follows:

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
  sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa
  jaya jagadisa hare

“O Kesava! O Supreme Lord who have assumed the form of a boar! O Lord! The planet earth rested on Your tusks, and it appeared like the moon engraved with spots.”

Such is the symptom of an incarnation of the Lord. The incarnation of the Lord is not the concocted idea of fanciful men who create an incarnation out of imagination. The incarnation of the Lord appears under certain extraordinary circumstances like the above-mentioned occasion, and the incarnation performs a task which is not even imaginable by the tiny brain of mankind. The modern creators of the many cheap incarnations may take note of the factual incarnation of God as the gigantic boar with a suitable snout to carry the planet earth.


As any sensitive and intelligent devotee would notice, most of the public media is controlled by demons. They use the media to promote materialism, and quite often they use the media to defame spiritualism. During the struggle for Hare Krishna Land, the demons were very active. And apart from the articles that appeared against us, there were many articles that were designed to make a farce of religion. There was a newsmagazine, The Illustrated Weekly of India, that was very popular, and based on its editorial policy, the editor, Khushwant Singh, seemed to be a demon. “Demon” doesn’t mean having ten heads and twenty arms. Demons can also look like you or me. But they are considered demons because they are against the supremacy of the Lord. So, this Khushwant Singh published an article by Dr. Agehananda Bharati, an Austrian scholar who had become a sannyasi, in which Dr. Bharati gave his account of his debate with our Hridayananda dasa, in which he had claimed that Lord Shiva was supreme and advocated the chanting of Lord Shiva’s name.

I could understand that the idea of the article was to make both Bharati and us look foolish—religious fanatics fighting like children over nothing: “Krishna is supreme.” “No, Shiva is supreme.” “You should chant Hare Krishna.” “No, you should chant Shiva Shiva.” So, I wrote Srila Prabhupada what the editor had done, and Srila Prabhupada agreed: “Yes, Giriraj is right. Bharati is a fool, but Singh is a demon.”

Demons try to make religious people look silly so that intelligent people reject religion. Of course, much of what passes as religion is actually fanaticism, and Srila Prabhupada commented that in the present age intelligent people will be skeptical because so many cheaters adopt the guise of religious leaders. But then again, Srila Prabhupada also said that just because there is counterfeit money, it doesn’t mean there is no real money. Just because there are false religious leaders or false incarnations, it doesn’t mean there are no true representatives of God or true incarnations of God.

A real incarnation of God does things that no one else can do, that ordinary human beings cannot even imagine. The Lord assuming the form of a boar and lifting the earth from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean? We can’t even imagine it. These are the activities of real incarnations—not making ashes. Anyone can make ashes just by burning agarbatti, incense. You don’t need an incarnation to make ashes. So, we should judge. Who is an incarnation? One who can do something that no one else can do.

In one sense, Srila Prabhupada is also an incarnation—saktyavesa-avatara. He did what no one else could do: spread Krishna consciousness to every town and village in the world. Of course, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Krishna for the age of Kali described in the scriptures, had desired it: prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama / sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: “In every town and village in every country of the world, the glories of My name will be chanted.” (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126) But five hundred years passed, and it was actually Srila Prabhupada who fulfilled the prediction and desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which no one else had been able to do. Therefore Srila Prabhupada is accepted as saktyavesa-avatara, a living entity who is imbued with the potency of God. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11) confirms:

kali-kalera dharma-krsna-nama-sankirtana
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana

“The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Unless empowered by Krsna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement.” The religious system for Kali-yuga is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, sankirtana. And krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: unless one is blessed with krsna-sakti, the energy of Krishna, one cannot spread the chanting of the holy name all over the world. Because Srila Prabhupada was blessed with krsna-sakti, he was able to spread the sankirtana movement throughout the whole world.

Still, Srila Prabhupada presented himself as the humble servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord, and generally we also worship him as the humble servant of the servant of the servant of Lord Krishna. And we want to be his servant, or the servant of his servants. That is the position of a Vaishnava: gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Even Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu presented Himself as such:

naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
  naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
  gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

“I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.” (Cc Madhya 13.80)

“But if you are not a brahman, not a kshatriya, not a vaishya, and not a sudra, if you are not a brahmachari, not a grihastha, not a vanaprastha, and not a sannyasi, then what are you?” Gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah: “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis of Vrindavan.” So, that is the identity of a Vaishnava. He has no other identity. He doesn’t identify with the material varnas and ashramas. He identifies himself as the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.

In fact, Sisupala, who was also a great demon, criticized Lord Krishna, “No one knows Your caste. Sometimes You act as a cowherd boy, and sometimes You act as a warrior. So nobody knows Your caste, whether you are a kshatriya or a vaishya or what.” In Vedic civilization, to accuse someone of being without a caste is a great insult. Yet although Sisupala meant to criticize Krishna, indirectly he was glorifying Him, because the Lord—and the Vaishnava—is transcendental; he doesn’t belong to any caste. He doesn’t belong to any varna or any ashrama. So, mundane people or demonic people may criticize, “What are you? You are not a brahmana, not a kshatriya, not a vaishya, not a sudra. What are you? You don’t fit into our categories.” Or in the West, when we used to perform hari-nama-sankirtana in the streets of major cities, people would come up to us and shout, “Get a job!” But our business is to serve Krishna, and Krishna’s business is to enjoy transcendental bliss. Actually, Krishna and Krishna’s devotees are beyond material designations and categories. Although materialists may try to fit them into some category and then become bewildered or disturbed that they don’t fit, devotees know their own identities: they are just the servants of the servants of the servants of Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis of Vraja.

PURPORT (concluded)

When the Lord appeared to pick up the earth, the demon of the name Hiranyaksa tried to create a disturbance in the methodical functions of the Lord, and therefore he was killed by being pierced by the Lord’s tusk. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, the demon Hiranyaksa was killed by the hand of the Lord and after being killed by the hand of the Lord, the demon was pierced by the tusk. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms this version.


The Lord is absolute: He can perform any function with any limb. But He chose to kill the demon with His hand, and then He pierced the demon’s body with His tusk.

Now, what can we as devotees learn from this pastime? Of course, there are many lessons to learn from every pastime of the Lord. But we are also like planets in the sense that we stay afloat in Krishna consciousness by a delicate balance, and if there is a disturbance to that balance, we may fall down into the ocean of material existence. So we have to be careful to maintain our wholesome condition in spiritual life. And what is the balance? In general, Srila Prabhupada said that the balance is between hearing and chanting about Krishna in the morning and the evening and working for Krishna during the day. Thus Srila Prabhupada established the daily schedule for ISKCON: every morning from 4:30 to 8:30 the devotees come together in the temple and hear and chant about Krishna, and then again every evening from 7 to 9 they gather in the temple to hear and chant about Krishna, and during the day they engage in so many different activities for the spreading of Krishna consciousness. I don’t know if Srila Prabhupada himself used the term, but some devotees call it a “transcendental sandwich.” A sandwich is two pieces of bread with a filling in the middle. Similarly, we have the morning and evening programs, and in the middle we have our practical activities to spread Krishna consciousness. So, we have to keep the balance. We cannot imitate Haridasa Thakura and think that we can sit down and chant 300,000 names daily, because we can’t do it and don’t have the time to do it. Nor should we work like materialistic people, just keeping busy going here and there to get and spend money with no time to hear and chant about Krishna. We need to do both: hear and chant about Krishna and engage in practical service to spread Krishna consciousness.

And we should cultivate favorable relationships with devotees. Because we are social animals, if we don’t develop relationships with devotees, we will make relationships with nondevotees. Relationships with nondevotees will lead us into nondevotional activities or sinful activities, and ultimately we will commit offenses against devotees. So, to maintain the delicate balance, we need the association of devotees. Otherwise, if our outside engagements become too much and our spiritual association becomes too little, we may fall down into the material ocean.

But even if we fall down, grossly or subtly, the Lord, who is very kind, will pick us up. Specifically, the spiritual master will come and pick up the devotee if by chance the devotee falls from the standard of pure Krishna consciousness. So, we are not alone in our struggle. We do our best to follow the instructions we have received from sadhu, shastra, and guru. Still, because the material energy is very powerful, we may become bewildered and fall from the pure principles of Krishna consciousness. But the spiritual master will not leave us. As long as we are sincerely trying to serve him, he will not leave us; he will pick us up again and again. Just like a child who is learning to walk—because the child is weak, sometimes he or she might stumble and fall, but the parent will pick up the child and help him or her to walk again. The parent will actually hold the hand of the child, and the child, being helped by the parent, will walk without any fear or difficulty. So, in Krishna consciousness we are not alone. We don’t try to succeed by our own strength or our own intelligence. Rather, we are helped by the hand of the Lord, who extends Himself in the form of the spiritual master. And if we allow ourselves to be guided by the spiritual master, we can be relieved from all distress and disturbance.

For example, Arjuna was so confused; he did not know what to do. He saw arrayed on the battlefield before him his uncle, his cousin-brothers, his teachers, his superiors—people who loved him, who had fed him, who had trained him—and he was thinking, “How can I fight with them? How can I kill them? Even if I win the kingdom, how will I be able to enjoy it?” People want to enjoy some kingdom or some success or some facility with people they love. He was thinking, “Even if I win the battle and gain the kingdom, I won’t be able to enjoy it, because all the people I would want to enjoy it with will be dead, and I will be responsible.” He was bewildered, and eventually he became overwhelmed with grief. His limbs were shaking, and his eyes were full of tears. Although Arjuna was such a powerful kshatriya, such a fierce warrior, the material energy is so strong that even he was trembling, his eyes brimming with tears.

And then Arjuna made a critical decision. He decided to surrender to Krishna and accept Him as his spiritual master. He had been enjoying a relationship of friendship with Krishna. They would sit together as equals, dine together as equals, and in general enjoy together as equals. And Arjuna had relished that friendly relationship. But when he was bewildered about what to do and what not to do, he could not get any solution just by being friends with Krishna and talking with Him as equals. It was only when Arjuna decided to surrender to Krishna and accept Him as his spiritual master and take instruction from Him that Lord Krishna began to teach him the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna said, “I am confused about my duty—I do not know what to do—so now I am surrendering unto You. Please instruct me.”

   prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
   sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” (Gita 2.7) When Arjuna surrendered to Krishna, he asked Krishna to instruct him—what to do, how to solve this problem. And when he accepted Krishna’s instructions, all of his problems were solved.

Srila Prabhupada once wrote to a disciple, “Your enthusiastic response to my instructions is very encouraging. Actually, the disciple is supposed to find relief from all of his problems just by carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. In the beginning Arjuna was completely confused and lamenting, but after accepting Krishna and hearing from Him he said, ‘Now my illusion is over, and I am prepared to do whatever You say.’ If the guru is a representative of the Supreme Lord in disciplic succession and the student is sincere, only then he can get him out of the clutches of the material energy to become situated in spiritual happiness above all material desires, in Krishna consciousness.” (SP letter dated 4.5.1974)

So, this is our process. We don’t try to stay afloat by our own efforts, by our own intelligence. We take help from Krishna and Krishna’s representatives, and that will lift us up. Even if we have fallen down and become bewildered and confused—we don’t know what to do and what not to do—when we surrender to Krishna’s representative, he will pick us up by his guidance and mercy.

Today I read a letter from a devotee in Mauritius. In the beginning he related how after spending a few minutes with me and discussing some problems he had, his chanting improved. But then, after some time, the same problems came again—not as bad as before, but still, the same problems returned. I had given him five instructions, and he was not following one. So he wrote, “Please give me your mercy that I may follow your instructions.” Now, that appeal may sound nice, but in one case when a disciple prayed to Srila Prabhupada, “Please give me your mercy that I may follow your instructions,” Srila Prabhupada replied, “It is like a man who has fallen to the bottom of a well. I come and send down a rope to pull him out, and the man at the bottom prays, ‘Please give me your mercy. Please make my fingers curl around the rope.’ ” And with that, Srila Prabhupada made such a face of disgust. The person is giving you his mercy by sending down the rope. All you have to do is hold on to it and he will lift you up, and you are praying, “Please give me your mercy that my fingers will curl around the rope.” So, the spiritual master comes and sends down the rope of his instructions, and all you have to do is follow his instructions and he’ll lift you out of the deep, dark well of material existence and situate you at the lotus feet of Krishna. But at least you have to hold on to the rope. At least you have to try to follow the instructions—not even to follow perfectly, but at least try to follow the instructions—and he will lift you up.

Actually, our process, the descending process, is very easy. Knowledge descends from above. Mercy descends from above. We just have to accept it, and then the Lord will lift us up out of our abominable condition, just as Lord Boar lifted up the earth when it had fallen into the Garbhodaka Ocean. This is the mercy of Krishna. Sometimes Krishna comes personally, as one or another of so many incarnations, but generally He sends His representatives. And for us, the rope that can take us out of the material world back to Krishna is the disciplic succession. If we just hold on to the rope of the disciplic succession—the instructions of the disciplic succession—the disciplic succession will lift us out of the well of material existence and situate us at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari in pure devotional service.

Hare Krishna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Mataji: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: The question is: When we do something wrong, is it misuse of our free will, or is it the Lord’s arrangement to purify us?

Both may be true. We may misuse our free will and come into difficulty, but even then we are not alone. The Lord is there, and He wants us to learn from our mistake and rectify it. So, although the Lord is not responsible for our mistakes (nadatte kasyacit papam)—we are responsible—by the Lord’s mercy we can learn from our mistakes and be reinstated in our constitutional position and be stronger and better than we were before we made the mistake. Because we have learned from the mistake, we are actually better situated than before.

Devotee 1: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Yes, by the misuse of the free will we make the mistake, and by the mercy of the Lord we get the intelligence to realize our mistake and rectify it. Of course, the Lord’s mercy is open to everyone; it is the devotee’s openness to receiving the Lord’s mercy and being rectified that allows the devotee to be reinstated. Not everyone who makes a mistake is purified. But it is to the credit of the devotee that even after making the mistake he or she tries to take shelter of the Lord, to take shelter of the spiritual master, and by the mercy of the Lord and the spiritual master is able to improve, to come back to the proper standard.

Devotee 1: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: She says that in Mumbai people work late at night and then sleep late in the morning, so how to make our transcendental sandwich—how to strike a proper balance between spiritual activities and the material world?

Everyone has their minute independence. In most cases, if someone wants to take rest early and get up early, they can. Although there may be some jobs that require one to work late, still, if we give priority to hearing and chanting about Krishna, we will be able to find time. “Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way.” Many people watch television at night, or read the newspaper or go to clubs. They find time, because nobody can work day and night without recreation. They need some recreation. Generally, people work in the mode of passion, so they want relief from that mode. Sinful people get relief through the mode of ignorance: they go to a bar and get drunk; they engage in meat-eating, illicit sex, and gambling. They try to get relief from the mode of passion by plunging themselves into ignorance. And pious people get relief through the mode of goodness. They want to rise early, to chant Hare Krishna, to attend mangala-arati, to read Srimad-Bhagavatam. So, there is time for recreation. Nobody can work day and night, without recreation. And according to the person’s desire, he or she can seek recreation in sinful life or spiritual life.

If someone is really confused about how to organize their time, they can speak to some experienced devotee and get some suggestions. There are many devotees, even in Mumbai, who work during the day, but they still chant sixteen rounds, come to the temple, attend satsangas, and read Prabhupada’s books. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Devotee 2: [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: He says that he read in an article by Khushwant Singh himself that Singh came to Hare Krishna Land, stayed in the guesthouse, closed the doors so that he wouldn’t be disturbed by conchshells, and drank whisky. He himself has written so.

When the sun rises, the owl goes into the cave; the owl doesn’t like sunlight, so he goes into the darkness of the cave. Krsna—surya-sama; maya haya andhakara / yahan krsna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara. Godhead is light, and nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead, there is no nescience, or darkness. Singh came here; he could have been in the light of Krishna consciousness, in the glory of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari. But he went to his room, closed the door, and drowned himself in the bottle. That was his free will. We do not force. Even Krishna does not force. After explaining everything to Arjuna, Krishna did not force him to fight. Rather, He told Arjuna, “Now you have heard everything that I have said; now yathecchasi tatha kuru—whatever you like you can do.” And immediately Arjuna replied, smrtir labdha: Now my memory has come back; now I remember my actual position. Now I am prepared to act as You instruct me. Karisye vacanam tava: I am prepared to act according to Your order. Krishna never forces. He gave Arjuna the choice. He explained everything, but in the end He gave Arjuna the choice, and Arjuna voluntarily surrendered: Karisye vacanam tava: Now I am prepared to act according to Your order.

So, I am sure that those who want to take the benefit of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari’s splendor and mercy and glory will do so. And those who want to close the door and open the bottle—they too have their free will. They too are free to do as they like—and enjoy or suffer the consequences.

Sri Varahadeva ki jaya!
Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari ki jaya!
Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Sri Varaha-dvadasi, February 8, 1998, Juhu, Mumbai]

Gaura Is Coming! Are You Ready To Receive Him!

Hare Krishna,Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.Greetings from Sri Mayapur dhama!Happy Varaha Dwadasi & Nityananda Trayodasi. We are happy to share the exciting festivals lined up from Nityananda Trayodasi in Mayapur! 29th Feb-2nd March will be grand opening of Narasimha wing at the new ToVP temple. Mark your calenders! 3rd March […]

Thousands Gather at ISKCON Auckland for Festival of Colours 

On Sunday, February 11th, ISKCON Auckland hosted their annual Festival of Colours, welcoming thousands to the Hare Krishna Centre campus, a 100-acre haven located 30 minutes drive from Auckland city center in New Zealand. Organizers said around 9,000 pre-registered for the free afternoon event, but around 15,000 showed up for the festivities. Guests enjoyed the […]

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Exploring the Unique Journey of Krishna Consciousness in Japan

Madhumangala and his wife Yamuna – photo by Masashi Sato. Madhumangala Das, a devoted adherent of the Hare Krishna movement in Japan, shares a compelling narrative of spiritual growth intricately woven with the cultural tapestry of the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Reflecting on his journey, Madhumangala’s insights offer a profound glimpse into the collective […]

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Sri Ramanujacharya Disappearance
→ Ramai Swami

Ramanuja was born in India during the year 1017 A.D. when, according to astrological calculations, the sun was in the zodiacal sign of Cancer.

His parents were Asuri Keshava and Kantimati, both from aristocratic families. Rumanja passed his childhood days in Shriperumbudur, the village of his birth. At the age of 16 he was married to Rakshakambal.

Only four months after his wedding, Ramanuja’s father was struck with a severe illness and died. Upon the death of his father, Ramanuja became head of the household and decided to move to Kanchi, a holy city famed for its scholars and magnificent Temples.

Shortly thereafter, Ramanuja opened a small school at his home, and in no time many people began to come to him to hear his devotional discourses. Ramanuja’s lectures were wholly theistic. He rejected the concept that the jiva, a living entity, could be equal to the Supreme Brahman or become God as postulated by Shankara.

The living entity, Ramanuja taught, is a particle of Godhead, and as such, his position is to serve the complete whole. He said that as the hand is part of the body and thus a servant of the body, similarly the living entity is part of the Supreme and thus his constitutional position is to serve the Supreme.

The fame of Ramanuja continued to spread far and wide. One day as Ramanuja sat in the solitude of his study, a venerable saint named Yamunacharya came to his door for alms. Extending his full courtesy, Ramanuja welcomed the saint into his home. Ramanuja learned that Yamuna was from Shri Rangam, the famous Temple of Vishnu.

In the course of their discussion, Ramanuja soon realised that Yamunacharya was a qualified spiritual master of the science of devotion. Overwhelmed with ecstasy and jubilation, Ramanuja fell at his feet and asked to be accepted as his disciple.

 Yamuna instantly raised Ramanuja up from the floor, and embracing him with deep love, said, “My child, I am blessed today by seeing your devotion to God. May you live a long and fruitful life always being intent in the service of Narayana, the Personality of Godhead.” Ramanuja then circumambulated his guru to invoke auspiciousness, and Yamuna left for Shri Rangam.

Although he lived for many years as a successful householder, Ramanuja was destined to accept the path of renunciation. Eventually he took up the renounced order of life, sannyasa, by going before the Deity in the Temple and praying to be exclusively engaged in the service of Godhead.

From that day forward Ramanuja always wore the the symbol of Narayana on his forehead, dressed in saffron cloth, and carried the renunciate’s three-sectioned staff, which signified service to God by body, mind, and words.

Ramanuja began living at Shri Rangam, serving the Deity of Narayana and imparting enlightenment to whoever came to him until he was 120 years old.

One day while worshipping the Deity, he prayed, “Dear God, whatever I could do to preserve the essence of the Vedas, to uplift the fallen souls, and to establish the shelter of Your lotus feet as the supreme goal in life, I have done. Now my body has grown tired after many years in this world. Kindly allow me to depart from this mortal world and enter Your supreme abode.”

Ramanuja spoke his last instructions to those who were most near and dear to him:

“Always remain in the company of and serve those souls devoted to Godhead just as you would serve your own spiritual preceptor. Have faith in the teachings of the Vedas and in the words of the great saints. Never become the slave of your senses: always strive to conquer the three great enemies of self-realization: lust, anger, and greed. Worship Narayana and take pleasure in uttering the Holy Names of God as your only refuge. Sincerely serve the Devotees of Godhead: by service to the great Devotees, the highest service is done and one quickly gains the supreme mercy. Remembering these things you should live happily in this world for the attainment of the next.”

With these departing words, Ramanuja, keeping his head on the lap of Govinda and his mind fixed in spiritual trance, relinquished his mortal body and entered the realm of Vaikuntha.

150th Vyasa-puja Celebration of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati & TOVP Nrsimha Wing Opening

This month, on February 29, all Gaudiya Vaishnavas worldwide will celebrate the most auspicious 150th Appearance Anniversary of the Founder-Acharya of the Gaudiya Math, and spiritual master of ISKCON Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: His Divine Grace Ashtotarashata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. We cannot imagine our eternal good fortune for having […]

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Sripada Ramanujacharya’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the disappearance anniversary of Sripada Ramanujacharya, the principal acharya in the Sri, or Lakshmi, sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada wrote, “We find great shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Ramanujacharya because his lotus feet are the strongest fort to combat the Mayavadi philosophy.” (letter 22.11.1974) And in the early days of ISKCON in India, before we had Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is in Hindi, Prabhupada would refer people to read the Hindi edition of the Gita with Sri Ramanujacharya’s commentary.

Srila Prabhupada often told a story about Sri Ramanujacharya’s merciful, compassionate nature. As he related it in Ahmedabad in 1972, “The servants of Krishna take all risk for Krishna’s sake. Just like Ramanujacharya. Sri Ramanujacharya’s spiritual master said, ‘My dear son, the mantra which I am giving, you chant silently and you will be delivered. It is so powerful. Don’t chant this mantra loudly so others can hear.’

“Ramanujacharya thought, ‘If this mantra is so powerful that if others hear it they’ll also be delivered, then why not?’ He immediately went to the market and began to chant the mantra. So, his spiritual master became very angry, that ‘I told you not to chant loudly, so others may not hear.’ And Ramanujacharya replied, ‘My Lordship, I have done offense unto you. That’s all right. For this I am prepared to go to hell. But if this mantra is so powerful, I must speak it to everyone.’ ”

In this mood, following in the footsteps of Sripada Ramanujacharya, Srila Prabhupada broadcast the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita everywhere, to everyone.

We pray and aspire to follow in their footsteps.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

A New Hare Krishna Retreat in Dehradun

Hare Krishna Resort, located amidst the beautiful Doon Valley in Dehradun, India, is emerging as a distinctive and peaceful retreat place or holiday option away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The inauguration of the new initiative was graced by Gopal Krishna Goswami, who provided inspiration and leadership for the project. Aniruddha Kirtan […]

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Nandu, our Padayatra Ox, Goes Back to Godhead

On February 10th, 2024, the last rites were offered for a beloved padayatra ox, Nandu, who served Nitai Guarasundar for 12 years by carrying Them throughout India. A few years ago, Nandu retired at the goshala in Sri Pandharpur Dham and departed his body in the early morning of February 8th. The antyesti (funeral rites) […]

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Sripada Madhvacharya’s Disappearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is Sripada Madhvacharya’s disappearance day. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 9, describes him:

TEXT 245

madhvacarya-sthane aila yanha ‘tattvavadi’
udupite ‘krsna’ dekhi, tahan haila premonmadi


Caitanya Mahaprabhu next arrived at Udupi, the place of Madhvacarya, where the philosophers known as Tattvavadis resided. There He saw the Deity of Lord Krsna and became mad with ecstasy.


Sripada Madhvacarya took his birth near Udupi, which is situated in the South Kanara district of South India, just west of Sahyadri. This is the chief city of the South Kanara province and is near the city of Mangalore, which is situated to the south of Udupi. Near the city of Udupi is a place called Pajaka-ksetra, where Madhvacarya took his birth in a Sivalli-brahmana dynasty as the son of Madhyageha Bhatta, in the year 1040 Sakabda (A.D. 1118). According to some, he was born in the year 1160 Sakabda (A.D. 1238).

In his childhood Madhvacarya was known as Vasudeva, and there are some wonderful stories surrounding him. It is said that once when his father had piled up many debts, Madhvacarya converted tamarind seeds into actual coins to pay them off. When he was five years old, he was offered the sacred thread. A demon named Maniman lived near his abode in the form of a snake, and at the age of five Madhvacarya killed that snake with the toe of his left foot. When his mother was very much disturbed, he would appear before her in one jump. He was a great scholar even in childhood, and although his father did not agree, he accepted sannyasa at the age of twelve. Upon receiving sannyasa from Acyuta Preksa, he received the name Purnaprajna Tirtha. After traveling all over India, he finally discussed scriptures with Vidyasankara, the exalted leader of Srngeri-matha. Vidyasankara was actually diminished in the presence of Madhvacarya. Accompanied by Satya Tirtha, Madhvacarya went to Badarikasrama. It was there that he met Vyasadeva and explained his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita before him. Thus he became a great scholar by studying before Vyasadeva.

By the time he came to the Ananda-matha from Badarikasrama, Madhvacarya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. His companion Satya Tirtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvacarya returned from Badarikasrama, he went to Ganjama, which is on the bank of the river Godavari. There he met with two learned scholars named Sobhana Bhatta and Svami Sastri. Later these scholars became known in the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha. When he returned to Udupi, he would sometimes bathe in the ocean. On such an occasion he composed a prayer in five chapters. Once, while sitting beside the sea engrossed in meditation upon Lord Sri Krsna, he saw that a large boat containing goods for Dvaraka was in danger. He gave some signs by which the boat could approach the shore, and it was saved. The owners of the boat wanted to give him a present, and at the time Madhvacarya agreed to take some gopi-candana. He received a big lump of gopi-candana, and as it was being brought to him, it broke apart and revealed a large Deity of Lord Krsna. The Deity had a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. As soon as Madhvacarya received the Deity of Krsna in this way, he composed a prayer. The Deity was so heavy that not even thirty people could lift it. Yet Madhvacarya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Eight of Madhvacarya’s sannyasa disciples became directors of his eight monasteries. Worship of the Lord Krsna Deity is still going on at Udupi according to the plans Madhvacarya established.

Madhvacarya then for the second time visited Badarikasrama. While he was passing through Maharashtra, the local king was digging a big lake for the public benefit. As Madhvacarya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvacarya visited the king, he engaged the king in that work and departed with his disciples.

Often in the province of Ganga-pradesa there were fights between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus were on one bank of the river, and the Muslims on the other. Due to the community tension, no boat was available for crossing the river. The Muslim soldiers were always stopping passengers on the other side, but Madhvacarya did not care for these soldiers. He crossed the river anyway, and when he met the soldiers on the other side, he was brought before the king. The Muslim king was so pleased with him that he wanted to give him a kingdom and some money, but Madhvacarya refused. While walking on the road, he was attacked by some dacoits, but by his bodily strength he killed them all. When his companion Satya Tirtha was attacked by a tiger, Madhvacarya separated them by virtue of his great strength. When he met Vyasadeva, he received from him the salagrama-sila known as Astamurti. After this, he summarized the Mahabharata.

Madhvacarya’s devotion to the Lord and his erudite scholarship became known throughout India. Consequently the owners of the Srngeri-matha, established by Sankaracarya, became a little perturbed. At that time the followers of Sankaracarya were afraid of Madhvacarya’s rising power, and they began to tease Madhvacarya’s disciples in many ways. There was even an attempt to prove that the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was not in line with Vedic principles. A person named Pundarika Puri, a follower of the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya, came before Madhvacarya to discuss the sastras. It is said that all of Madhvacarya’s books were taken away, but later they were found with the help of King Jayasimha, ruler of Kumla. In discussion, Pundarika Puri was defeated by Madhvacarya. A great personality named Trivikramacarya, who was a resident of Visnumangala, became Madhvacarya’s disciple, and his son later became Narayanacarya, the composer of Sri Madhva-vijaya. After the death of Trivikramacarya, the younger brother of Narayanacarya took sannyasa and later became known as Visnu Tirtha.

It was reputed that there was no limit to the bodily strength of Purnaprajna, Madhvacarya.

There was a person named Kadanjari who was famed for possessing the strength of thirty men. Madhvacarya placed the big toe of his foot upon the ground and asked the man to separate it from the ground, but the great strong man could not do so even after great effort. Srila Madhvacarya passed from this material world at the age of eighty while writing a commentary on the Aitareya Upanisad. For further information about Madhvacarya, one should read Madhva-vijaya, by Narayanacarya.

The acaryas of the Madhva-sampradaya established Udupi as the chief center, and the monastery there was known as Uttararadhi-matha. A list of the different centers of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya can be found at Udupi, and their matha commanders are (1) Visnu Tirtha (Soda-matha), (2) Janardana Tirtha (Krsnapura-matha), (3) Vamana Tirtha (Kanura-matha), (4) Narasimha Tirtha (Adamara-matha), (5) Upendra Tirtha (Puttugi-matha), (6) Rama Tirtha (Sirura-matha), (7) Hrsikesa Tirtha (Palimara-matha), and (8) Aksobhya Tirtha (Pejavara-matha). The disciplic succession of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya is as follows (the dates are those of birth in the Sakabda Era; for Christian era dates, add seventy-eight years): (1) Hamsa Paramatma; (2) Caturmukha Brahma; (3) Sanakadi; (4) Durvasa; (5) Jnananidhi; (6) Garuda-vahana; (7) Kaivalya Tirtha; (8) Jnanesa Tirtha; (9) Para Tirtha; (10) Satyaprajna Tirtha; (11) Prajna Tirtha; (12) Acyuta Preksacarya Tirtha; (13) Sri Madhvacarya, 1040 Saka; (14) Padmanabha, 1120; Narahari, 1127; Madhava, 1136; and Aksobhya 1159; (15) Jaya Tirtha, 1167; (16) Vidyadhiraja, 1190; (17) Kavindra, 1255; (18) Vagisa, 1261; (19) Ramacandra, 1269; (20) Vidyanidhi, 1298; (21) Sri Raghunatha, 1366; (22) Rayuvarya (who spoke with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu), 1424; (23) Raghuttama, 1471; (24) Vedavyasa, 1517; (25) Vidyadhisa, 1541; (26) Vedanidhi, 1553; (27) Satyavrata, 1557; (28) Satyanidhi, 1560; (29) Satyanatha, 1582; (30) Satyabhinava, 1595; (31) Satyapurna, 1628; (32) Satyavijaya, 1648; (33) Satyapriya, 1659; (34) Satyabodha, 1666; (35) Satyasandha, 1705; (36) Satyavara, 1716; (37) Satyadharma, 1719; (38) Satyasankalpa, 1752; (39) Satyasantusta, 1763; (40) Satyaparayana, 1763; (41) Satyakama, 1785; (42) Satyesta, 1793; (43) Satyaparakrama, 1794; (44) Satyadhira, 1801; (45) Satyadhira Tirtha, 1808.

After the sixteenth acarya (Vidyadhiraja Tirtha), there was another disciplic succession, including Rajendra Tirtha, 1254; Vijayadhvaja; Purusottama; Subrahmanya; and Vyasa Raya, 1470–1520. The nineteenth acarya, Ramacandra Tirtha, had another disciplic succession, including Vibudhendra, 1218; Jitamitra, 1348; Raghunandana; Surendra; Vijendra; Sudhindra; and Raghavendra Tirtha, 1545.

To date, in the Udupi monastery there are another fourteen Madhva-tirtha sannyasis. As stated, Udupi is situated beside the sea in South Kanara, about thirty-six miles north of Mangalore.

Most of the information in this purport is available from the South Kanada Manual and the Bombay Gazette.

TEXT 246

nartaka gopala dekhe parama-mohane
madhvacarye svapna diya aila tanra sthane


While at the Udupi monastery, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw “dancing Gopala,” a most beautiful Deity. This Deity appeared to Madhvacarya in a dream.

TEXT 247

gopi-candana-tale achila dingate
madhvacarya sei krsna paila kona-mate


Madhvacarya had somehow or other acquired the Deity of Krsna from a heap of gopi-candana that had been transported in a boat.

TEXT 248

madhvacarya ani’ tanre karila sthapana
adyavadhi seva kare tattvavadi-gana


Madhvacarya brought this dancing Gopala Deity to Udupi and installed Him in the temple. To date, the followers of Madhvacarya, known as Tattvavadis, worship this Deity.

TEXT 249

krsna-murti dekhi’ prabhu maha-sukha paila
premavese bahu-ksana nrtya-gita kaila


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu received great pleasure in seeing this beautiful form of Gopala. For a long time He danced and chanted in ecstatic love.


May Sripada Madhvacharya bless us all.

Hare Krishna.

Lord Jagannath’s Mercy in the Desert at the ISKCON Phoenix Ratha-Yatra

On February 10th, hundreds gathered in Phoenix, Arizona, for the annual Jagannatha Ratha-Yatra parade hosted by ISKCON of Phoenix. In addition to the procession, a festival was held at the Steele Indian School Park, which included book distribution, yoga and meditation, henna and face painting, children’s activities, cultural programs, dance presentations, and the distribution of […]

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Srila Madhvacharya Disappearance
→ Ramai Swami

Madhvacharya took his birth in a brahmana (priestly) family at Udupi, a South Indian town on the Arabian Sea. There are some amazing stories surrounding Madhva’s early life. It is said that his father piled up many debts and that to pay them off, Madhva converted tamarind seeds into coins.

It is also said that near Madhva’s house a demon named Maniman lived in the form of a snake. Madhva killed him with the big toe of his left foot. We are further told that whenever Madhva’s mother was feeling anxious, he would come before her in one jump—from wherever he happened to be playing.

Even as a young boy Madhva was renowned as a scholar. When he was only five he received spiritual initiation, and when he was twelve he accepted sannyasa,the most renounced order of spiritual life. At that tender age Madhva gave up all family ties to travel the length and breadth of India in quest of spiritual knowledge.

In the course of his travels Madhva visited Badarikashrama, a place of pilgrimage high in the Himalayas. There he met the great sage Srila Vyasadeva—Lord Krishna’s literary incarnation and the author of the Vedic literatures. By studying under Srila Vyasadeva, Madhva grew even greater in his scholarship.

After coming down from the Himalayas, Madhva at last returned to his birthplace, Udupi. Once, when he was sitting at the seashore and meditating on Lord Krishna, Madhva saw a huge merchant ship in danger and signaled the crew safely to shore. Since the boat’s owners wanted to reward him, Madhva agreed to accept a chunk of gopi-candana,clay from Krishna’s land of Vrindavana.

As the crew members were bringing the big chunk before him, it broke apart and revealed a Deity form of Lord Krishna, with a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. At that moment Madhva composed a beautiful prayer to express his gratitude. Although the Deity was so heavy that not even thirty ordinary people could lift Him, Madhva carried Him back into town all alone. The people of Udupi still worship that Krishna Deity in the way Madhva established.

Madhva showed his overwhelming physical and spiritual strength on still other occasions. While he was walking on the road a band of thugs attacked him, but he killed them all. Another time a tiger attacked Madhva’s companion Satya Tirtha, but Madhva pulled the fierce animal off with his bare hands. People began to say his strength had no limit.

Madhvacharya’s learning and devotion to Krishna were famous throughout India. His life’s mission was to defeat the views of the impersonalist philosophers. They say that God’s form is simply illusion (maya), and thus they are called Mayavadis. “Even if God was a person in the beginning,” these people say, “He has distributed Himself throughout the creation and thus lost His individual identity.”

Madhvacharya smashed this monistic (“all-is-one”) idea with the philosophy of shuddha-dvaita—pure dualism. He proved logically that God is always a person and is always distinct from His creation.

Shri Madhvacharya’s Nine Teachings

   (1) Bhagavan Shri Krishna alone is the Supreme Absolute Truth, one without a second.
   (2) He is the object of knowledge in all the Vedas.

   (3) The universe is real, satya.
   (4) The differences between Ishvara (God), Jiva (soul) and Matter are real.
   (5) Jiva souls are by nature the servants of the Supreme Lord Hari.
   (6) There are two categories of jivas; liberated and illusioned.

   (7) Liberation (moksha) means attainmg the lotus feet of Bhagavan Krishna, in other words, entering an eternal relationship of service to the Supreme Lord.

   (8) Pure devotional service to Krishna is the only way to attain this liberation.
   (9) The truth may be known by pratyaksha (direct perception), anuman (inference or logic), sabda (spiritual sound or Vedic authority.

   Shri Madhvacharya serves as Madhavi-gopi in Radha-Govinda’s eternal Vrindavana pleasure pastimes. 

Madhvacharya passed away in 1317 at the age of 79. The Krishna temple, and the older Ananteswara temple in Udupi where Madhvacharya is said to have vanished are still there to this day.

Highlight Report of GBC Meeting Held on February 7, 2024

Revati Raman Das, GBC Chair, welcomed members and initiated the meeting by inviting Niranjana Swami to read excerpts from two ‘Conversations with Srila Prabhupada,’ one from Geneva 1974 and the other from Mayapur, January 1977.  The meeting agenda focused on continuing the reading of the ‘Guru Projects and Guru Dakshina’ paper presented by Badrinarayan Swami. […]

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Museum of Sacred Art Collaborates with India’s National Gallery on Latest Exhibit

India’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) presented a new exhibit entitled “Shakti: Fair & Fierce” in New Dehli, which celebrates feminine creativity and empowerment ahead of the upcoming International Day of Women on March 8, 2024. NGMA is one of the premier art institutions in India. Established […]

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Mercy Is The Theme Of The Day!

Sri Advaita Acharya Appearance Day! It is said that material nature has two features, namely the material cause and the efficient cause. The efficient causal activities are caused by Mahā-Viṣṇu, and the material causal activities are caused by another form of Mahā-Viṣṇu, known as Advaita. That Advaita, the superintendent of the cosmic manifestation, has descended […]

Sri Advaita Acharya Appearance
→ Ramai Swami

maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah
tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah
advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-shasanat
bhaktavataram isham tam advaitacaryam ashraye

Maha Vishnu is the master of the universe, which He creates through his power of Maya. Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of this form of the Supreme Lord. He is known as Advaita because he is none other than Hari, as Acharya because he is the preceptor of devotion. I take shelter of the supreme lord Advaita Acharya who is the incarnation of a devotee. 

When Sri Advaita Acharya manifested in this world, Srila Madhavendra Puri, Sri Ishwar Puri, Sri Sachi Mata and Sri Jagannath Mishra also made their appearances. 

Sri Advaita Acharya was a disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri and forms one of the main figures amongst the Pancatattva – Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhar pandit and Srivasa. 

Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu was born in 1434 in Nabagram, Bengal to Sri Kubera Pandit and Srimati Nabha devi. They were originally inhabitants of Nabagram village near Sri Hatta, but later moved to Santipur on the banks of the Ganga. He disappeared in the year 1559, at the age of 125 years.

Sri Advaita Acharya studied the Vedas and other scriptures under a scholar named Santacharya in Phullavati village near Santipura, where He was awarded the title Acharya.

Before the appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, all the Vaishnava devotees in the Navadweep area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya. In these meetings, Advaita Acharya preached on the basis of the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. 

In the house of Advaita Acharya, the devotees took pleasure in Krishna Katha, worshipping Krishna and chanting the Lord’s names. Sri Advaita Acharya was a spiritual guru and had many followers. Sri Chaitanya’s older brother Vishvarupa used to visit Advaita Acharya’s house every day to engage in the chanting and dancing of nama sankirtan. 

He spent most of his adult life in the town of Shantipur, with his wife and family, where he became the well-respected leader of the small vaishnava community encouraging everyone to follow the path of bhakti – loving service to Sri Krishna.

Seeing all around Him the growing tendency for people to abandon their spiritual practices for the pursuit of wealth and short-lived materialistic gains, Advaita Acharya felt greatly pained. He wondered how the masses would ever be liberated.

It is said Advaita Acharya prayed fervently to the Lord for several months – He worshipped His shaligram shilas lovingly with sacred tulasi leaves and Ganges water calling out aloud to the Lord to manifest and show a way to the worldly people to reach the eternal spiritual abode. 

By the momentum of his spiritual fervour, his loud cries pierced the coverings of the material universe and echoing through the transcendental Vaikunta lokas, reached the ears of Sri Krishna in Goloka. Hearing this urgent cry saturated with devotion, Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Krishna Chaitanya in Mayapur, Bengal, as the son of Sri Jagannatha Mishra and Saci Devi.

jaya jaya advaita isvara avatara 
krsna avatari kaila jagat-nistara

“All glories to Advaita Prabhu, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He induced Krsna to descend and thus delivered the entire world.” 

When Kubera Pandit and Nabha Devi disappeared, Advaita Acharya went to Gaya to perform their pinda dana ceremonies and then continued on a pilgrimage tour of the holy places in India.

He came to Vrindavan and became absorbed in the worship of Krishna. He discovered the deity of Sri Madan Mohan or Madan Gopal, which He later entrusted to the care of a Choube brahmin in Mathura before continuing on his pilgrimage tour. It was this deity that was later served by Srila Sanatana Goswami.

Sri Advaita Acharya had two wives; one was named Sri, the other Sita. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, it is written that the divine Yogamaya took the form of Advaita’s wife Srimati Sita devi, and that Sri is her prakasha expansion. 

The Chaitanya Charitamrita gives a history of Sri Advaita’s sons. One of these, Achyutananda, is described in the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (87-8) as the incarnation of Karttikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. 

Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu’s lilas are too multifarious and mystical to be understood by mundane intellect. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself glorified Advaita Acharya and described the underlying truth of his nature in the following way: 

Advaita Acharya is God himself. As a result of his association, I have become purified. Because there is no one equal to him in devotion to Krishna, nor in knowledge of the scriptures, he is called Advaita Acharya. By his mercy, even the mlecchas become devotees of Krishna, who can describe the extent of his powers or his devotion?

The Narasimha shaligram shila and deities made in the image of Sri Sri Madan-Gopal that were worshiped by Sri Advaita Acharya are still to be found at Santipur in Madan-Gopal Para.

The place on the banks of the Ganga where Sri Advaita Acharya worshiped the shaligram shila and called out to the Lord to descend to the world is known today as Babla. A temple has been built in memory of Advaita Acharya’s pastimes there.

Nurturing Body, Mind, and Spirit: A Recap of the 6th Annual BMA-US Retreat

Participants listening to “Intermittent Fasting” by Dr. Hari Raman from Minneapolis. Medical professionals from across the nation gathered at the serene Veda Foundation in DeLand, Florida, February 2nd-4th, for the 6th Annual Conference of the Bhaktivedanta Medical Association US. Inspired by the divine instruction and desire of Bhakti Charu Swami, this transformative retreat, organized by […]

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Sri Advaita Acharya’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

We are gathered here to celebrate the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya. Advaita Acharya is an incarnation of Maha-vishnu. In terms of pastimes, He appeared before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did and thus was considered by Him to be an elder. He was actually older than Lord Chaitanya’s own father.

Advaita Acharya, although Vishnu Himself, was in the mood of a Vaishnava. And as a Vaishnava, He felt compassion for the fallen conditioned souls who were suffering without Krishna consciousness. Although previously Navadvipa had been a great center of devotion, it had deteriorated into a center of dry learning. Thus, Advaita Acharya felt compassion for the fallen souls of the age, as they were so engrossed in material affairs, devoid of devotional service to Krishna. Although He was Vishnu Himself, in the mood of a humble Vaishnava He felt that He was not capable of delivering the fallen souls. He believed that only Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself could preach the yuga-dharma of hari-nama-sankirtana and deliver them.

Advaita Acharya Prabhu was an ideal householder. He had read in the scriptures that the Lord sells Himself to a devotee who offers Him a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water. As a grihastha brahman, He worshipped a salagrama-sila at home. Therefore, He specifically began to worship Salagrama with Ganges water and tulasi leaves with the aim of bringing about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent.

The Caitanya-caritamrta describes Sri Advaita Acharya’s appeal to Lord Krishna to appear again on earth. He cried with such intensity that the sound traveled throughout the entire universe and ultimately reached Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of the loud cries of Sri Advaita Acharya, Mahaprabhu did indeed descend, appearing in Navadvipa on the full moon night of Phalguna (February–March). Thus the Lord came at the request of Advaita Acharya, His pure devotee, to reclaim the fallen souls.

What was the method by which He reclaimed them? The method was hari-nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. And so, in response to Advaita Acharya’s cries, the Lord appeared in Navadvipa on the full moon night of the Phalguna month, during a lunar eclipse, while millions of Hindus were bathing in the Ganges loudly chanting the holy names. Later, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself practiced sankirtana in Navadvipa-dhama, and after adopting the renounced order of life, sannyasa, He left Navadvipa and traveled throughout India. Wherever He went, He chanted the holy names and induced others to chant the holy names as well.

Originally, after Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa, He wanted to make His residence in Vrindavan. His mother, however, could not bear the thought that He would be so far away. So, in deference to His mother’s will, He made His headquarters in Jagannatha Puri, which is not so far from Navadvipa. Every year, devotees would travel from Navadvipa to Puri to attend the Ratha-yatra festival and have the association of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus, they would go back and forth between Navadvipa and Puri and bring news to Mother Sachi about Lord Chaitanya.

Still, Lord Chaitanya had an ardent desire to visit Vrindavan, and so He left by foot from Puri to travel to Vrindavan-dhama. On the way, He stopped in a place called Ramakeli, the capital of the Muslim despot Nawab Hussein Shah. There the prime minister and the finance minister of the Nawab, who later became known as Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami, came to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in disguise.

At the time, thousands of devotees were following Lord Chaitanya, and Lord Chaitanya inaugurated the hari-nama-sankirtana in Ramakeli just outside the area of the Nawab’s palace. The devotees chanted and danced day and night for many days. They totally forgot about eating, sleeping, and other bodily demands. They were simply absorbed in the ecstasy of hari-nama-sankirtana.

After some time, however, a few of the devotees began to think of the Nawab, realizing that they were just outside the doorsteps of his palace. The Nawab, Hussein Shah, was a terrible tyrant. He killed people like anything. And he used intimidation to compel Rupa and Sanatana to serve him, threatening that if they didn’t accept his proposal to act as his ministers or secretaries, he would wreak havoc on the Hindu community and kill thousands. Some of the devotees became anxious that they were doing such loud hari-nama-sankirtana so close to the Nawab’s palace: “What if he takes notice of us and becomes enraged? He could kill us all!”

As the omniscient Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand the anxiety of these devotees. So He stopped the kirtan and told them, “Although I am acting as a devotee, actually I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and because I am the Supreme Lord, no one can harm Me or My movement.” He explained that His movement of hari-nama-sankirtana was destined to spread to every town and village of every country of the world: prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama. (Cb Antya 4.126)

During that period, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission spread throughout India. But with the passage of time, even in India it became weak. Unauthorized groups who claimed to be followers of Mahaprabhu but who did not actually understand or follow His principles arose and became prominent. The situation got worse and worse until, in the 1800s, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared. He separated Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s true followers from the pseudo-followers and identified at least thirteen deviant groups (apasampradayas). He re-established the true idea of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He also discovered the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur-dhama, and with his followers he located many different sites associated with the Lord’s pastimes, including the residence of Sri Advaita Acharya in Mayapur. Advaita Acharya actually had two residences—one in Mayapur-dhama itself and one about twenty miles away, in Shantipur.

Although Lord Chaitanya had predicted that the holy name would be chanted and preached in every town and village of the world, even learned devotees could not imagine how such a phenomenon could come to pass. Still, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted that very soon somebody would come to fulfill the prediction of Lord Chaitanya. And, as we know, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada did emerge from the followers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to fulfill the desire and prediction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Yet from one point of view, this entire arrangement was created simply to fulfill the desire of Sri Advaita Acharya. He was the one who so intensely desired that the Lord should come and deliver the fallen souls, especially through hari-nama-sankirtana, that Lord Chaitanya did appear. And now, more than five hundred years later, we are gathered here in Camarillo, California, chanting the holy names of Krishna. This is possible only because Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu desired so intensely that we would be able to do so and thus be delivered from the bondage of material existence and imbued with the ecstasy of devotional service.

The sixteen words of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—contain all spiritual truths. Realized devotees have actually seen the entire pastimes of Radha and Krishna within the maha-mantra. Srila Jiva Gosvami wrote a poem describing various pastimes of Radha and Krishna that transpire in the course of chanting one round of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discussed the import of each word of the maha-mantra and each pair of words (Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, etc.). There are eight pairs of names that combine to make the sixteen words, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura explained how each pair corresponds to one verse of the Siksastaka prayer of Lord Chaitanya. Further, he wrote an entire chapter on each verse of the Siksastaka.

So, although superficially the Hare Krishna maha-mantra appears to be a simple combination of three different words arranged in a combination of sixteen, actually it contains the entire spiritual world. And as we go deeper and deeper in chanting the maha-mantra, we come closer and closer to entering into the spiritual world and the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Thus, what Lord Chaitanya came to give by the intense desire of Sri Advaita Acharya, although it appears to be very simple—just an arrangement of sixteen words—is actually deeply profound and unlimitedly vast. It is the entire spiritual world, in comparison with which the whole material world is just a tiny fraction.

The whole process is inconceivable. We know the story of Mother Yasoda and baby Krishna. On Krishna’s birthday, Balarama and the cowherd boys complained to Mother Yasoda that Krishna had eaten dirt. Krishna denied the accusation and accused Balarama and the other friends of being angry with Him from Their play and wanting to get Him into trouble. He said, “If you have any doubts, Mother, you can look into My mouth and see if there is any dirt.” So, Krishna opened His mouth, and Mother Yasoda looked inside. And in Krishna’s mouth she saw the entire universe, the whole cosmic manifestation. She saw all moving and nonmoving entities and all directions. She saw past, present, and future. She saw the material elements and the three qualities of nature. She even saw herself and Sri Vrindavan-dhama. And she became completely bewildered.

Mother Yasoda saw the entire cosmic manifestation in the mouth of Krishna, while Krishna Himself appeared just like a small child that she could hold in her arms. In the same way, the entire spiritual world is contained within the two syllables Krs and na, because the two syllables Krs-na are Krishna Himself, the origin of everything. That is actually the invaluable gift of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu upon the fallen souls, given to us due to the desire of Sri Advaita Acharya.

Sri Advaita Acharya is very merciful. Advaita means “nondifferent.” He is Advaita because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord (advaitam harinadvaitad). And He is Acharya because He preaches the cult of devotion (acaryam bhakti-samsanat).

We are followers of Advaita Acharya. He is one of the acharyas in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually, He was initiated by Sri Madhavendra Puri and therefore is in the same generation of spiritual masters as Sri Isvara Puri, the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Nevertheless, in one sense we can say Sri Advaita Acharya is in the line of Lord Chaitanya because He considered Himself to be His servant.

So, He is acharya—Advaita Acharya. Not only did He induce Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to descend to deliver the fallen souls through the holy name, but He also set the example how one can be acharya. Even as a grihastha, He was an acharya. Most people, especially in Kali-yuga, marry and become householders. Therefore, the example of Sri Advaita Acharya is most important for us. In some ways, His example may be even more relevant for most people in Kali-yuga than the example of Lord Chaitanya, who renounced family life at an early age, or that of Nityananda Prabhu, who as an avadhuta was beyond all material categories.

Thus, we all have been blessed by the mercy of Advaita Acharya, directly and indirectly. We should take advantage of His mercy and of the mercy He caused to descend from the spiritual world for us. We should serve Him with great love and affection.

maha-visnur jagat-karta
  mayaya yah srjaty adah
tasyavatara evayam
  advaitacarya isvarah

“Lord Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Maha-Visnu, whose main function is to create the cosmic world through the actions of maya.

advaitam harinadvaitad
  acaryam bhakti-samsanat
bhaktavataram isam tam
  advaitacaryam asraye

“Because He is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.” (Cc Adi 1.12, 13)

Hare Krishna.

Devotee: Some of Lord Chaitanya’s devotees went and stayed with Him in Jagannatha Puri. So why not Advaita Acharya?

Giriraj Swami: Advaita Acharya was a grihastha, so He remained in Bengal. But when the other devotees would travel from Bengal to Orissa to join in the Ratha-yatra festival and spend the four months known as Chaturmasya with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri, He would accompany them. But then He would go back. It was really just the renunciates who were able to join Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some of them were married previously but joined later. Advaita Acharya, however, as far as we know, remained based in Bengal.

Actually, all the members of the Pancha-tattva more or less concealed their glories. It was only later that the devotees gradually realized their positions.

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Sri Advaita Acharya’s appearance day, February 8, 2003, Camarillo, California]

Bhaimi Ekadasi and the TOVP, 2024

Vaishnava Jaya (Bhaimi) Ekadasi is an important fasting ritual observed on the 11th day during the Shukla Paksha (the bright fortnight of moon) in the month of Madhava in the Vaishnava calendar. This observance falls somewhere between the months of January to February in the Gregorian calendar. Jaya Ekadasi is also popularly called as Bhaimi Ekadasi and it is strongly believed that one who observes a righteous fast on this day will find a place in Vaikuntha. Observing the Vaishnava Jaya Ekadasi vrata is equivalent to observing all other Ekadasi fasts.

We encourage devotees reading this article to kindly consider donating on this auspicious day to help complete Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Wing in the TOVP, scheduled to open in a few weeks from February 29 – March 2. Please go to the Give To Nrsimha Fundraiser page on the TOVP website and select one of several new and unique seva opportunity options.

  NOTE: Bhaimi Ekadasi is observed on Tuesday, February 20 in India, and Monday, February 19 in the U.S.. Fasting is also done until Noon on Ekadasi to observe the Appearance of Lord Varaha the following day. Please refer to your local calendar through

  View, download and share the TOVP 2024 Calendar​.


The Glories of Bhaimi Ekadasi

From the Bhavishyottara Purana

The narration of the glories of Magha-Shukla Ekadasi or Jaya (Bhaimi) Ekadashi is found in the Bhavishyottara Purana in a conversation between Maharaja Yudhishthira and Lord Krishna. It is said that one who observes upavasa (fasting) on this day is granted entry into Lord Vishnu’s abode, even not having performed other vratas of the year. The half-day fast (vrata) for the appearance day of Lord Varahadev on the following day, Varaha Dvadasi is also observed on this Ekadashi.

Yudhishthira Maharaja Inquires From Lord Krishna

Yudhisthira Maharaj said, “O Lord of the lords, Sri Krishna, all glories unto You! O Master of the universe, You alone are the source of the four types of living entities – those born of eggs, of perspiration, of seeds, and of embryos. You are the root cause of all, O Lord, and therefore the creator, maintainer, and destroyer.

“My Lord, You have kindly described to me the auspicious day known as Sat-tila Ekadashi, which occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Magha (January – February). Now I request you to please explain to me about the Ekadasi that occurs in the bright fortnight (Shukla paksha) of this month. By what name is it known, and what is the process for observing it? Who is the presiding Deity of this sublime day, which is so dear to You?”

Lord Krishna Answers Yudhishthira

Lord Sri Krishna replied, “O Yudhisthira, I shall be glad to tell you about the Ekadasi that occurs during the bright half of Magha. This Ekadashi effaces all kinds of sinful reactions and demonic influences. It is known as Jaya Ekadashi, and the fortunate soul who fasts on this sacred day is relieved of the great burden of ghostly existence. Thus, there is no better Ekadashi than this, for it truly bestows freedom from birth and death. It should be observed respectfully and meticulously. Please listen to Me attentively, O Pandava, as I relate an ancient episode that I have previously narrated in the Padma Purana.

Malyavan and Pushpavati Attracted

“Long ago, Lord Indra ruled his celestial kingdom well and the devas (demigods) living there were content. In the Nandana Forest graced with Parijata Flowers, Indra drank ambrosia and enjoyed the company of fifty million celestial maidens (Apsaras), who danced for his pleasure. Singers, led by Pushpadanta, sang in sweet voices. Chitrasena, Indra’s chief musician in the company of his wife Malini and his handsome son Malyavan entertained Indra.

“At that time, an Apsara named Pushpavati became attracted to Malyavan. Cupid’s sharp arrows pierced her heart. With her beautiful body, complexion and enchanting movements of eyebrows, she captivated Malyavan.

“O King, listen as I describe the splendid beauty of Pushpavati: She had incomparably graceful arms with which to embrace a man like a fine silken noose; her face resembled the Moon; her lotus eyes reached almost to her lovely ears, which were adorned with exquisite earrings. Her thin neck decorated with ornaments looked like a conch, having three lines. Her waist was as slender as the size of a fist. Her hips were broad, and her thighs like the trunks of banana trees. Gorgeous ornaments and garments complemented her naturally beautiful features. Her breasts were raised emphasizing her prime of youth and to look upon her feet was to behold newly grown red lotuses.

Indra Curses Malyavan and Pushpavati

“Seeing Pushpavati in all her heavenly beauty, Malyavan was bewitched. They had come with the other performers to regale Lord Indra, but enamored of each other, they faltered in their singing and dancing. Their pronunciation dithered and their rhythm wavered. Lord Indra could understand the cause of their mistakes at once. Offended at the discord in the musical performance, he became very angry and shouted, ‘Useless fools! You pretend to sing for me while in a stupor of infatuation for each other! You mock me! I curse you both to suffer henceforth as pisachas (hobgoblins). Go to the earthly regions as husband and wife and reap the reactions of your offense.

The Sufferings of Malyavan and Pushpavati

“Dumbstruck by the chastisement, Malyavan and Pushpavati fell from the heavenly Nandana Forest to a Himalayan peak on Earth. Distraught, with their celestial intelligence vastly diminished by the effects of lord Indra’s fierce curse, they lost their sense of taste, smell, and touch.
“It was so frigid on the high Himalayan desert of snow and ice that they could not even enjoy the oblivion of sleep. Roaming aimlessly in the harsh altitude, Malyavan and Pushpavati suffered more at every moment. Even in a cave, their teeth chattered incessantly due to the cold. Their hair stood on end due to fright and bewilderment. In this wretched condition, Malyavan said to Pushpavati, ‘What abominable sins did we commit as to suffer in these pisacha bodies, in an unbearable environment? This is absolutely hellish! Hell is ferocious, but this suffering is even more abominable. Oh! One should never commit sins!’

The Blessings of Bhaimi Ekadasi

By their good fortune, however, that day happened to be the auspicious Jaya (Bhaimi) Ekadashi, the Ekadasi of the light fortnight of the month of Magha. Due to their intense misery, they had neglected to drink water, kill any game, or even eat fruits and leaves available at that altitude. They had unknowingly observed Ekadasi by fasting completely from all food and drink. Sunk in misery, Malyavan and Pushpavati collapsed beneath a Pipal tree unable to get up. The Sun had set. The night was colder and even more miserable than the day. They shivered in a freezing snowfall. Their teeth chattered in unison, and when they became completely numb, they embraced just to keep warm. Locked in each other’s arms, unable to enjoy sleep or sex, they suffered all night under the powerful curse of Indra.

“Yet, O Yudhishthira, by the mercy of the fast they had inadvertently observed on Jaya Ekadasi, and because they had remained awake all night, they were blessed on the following day. As Dvadasi dawned, Malyavan and Pushpavati had given up their demonic forms and once again attained beautiful heavenly bodies with lustrous ornaments and exquisite garments. As they both looked at each other in amazement, a celestial airplane (vimana) arrived on the spot for them. A chorus of heavenly denizens sang their praises as the couple stepped into the beautiful aircraft and proceeded directly to the heavenly regions, cheered by the good wishes of everyone. Soon Malyavan and Pushpavati arrived at Amaravati, Lord Indra’s capital city, and immediately went before their lord (Indradeva) and offered him their obeisances.

“Lord Indra was astonished to see them restored to their original forms so soon after he had cursed them. Indradeva asked, ‘What extraordinarily meritorious deeds did you perform to give up your pisacha bodies so quickly after I had cursed you? Who released you from my irresistible curse?’

“Malyavan replied, ‘O lord, it was by the extreme mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna (Vasudeva) and also by the powerful influence of the Jaya Ekadashi, that we were released from our suffering as pisachas. O master, because we unwittingly executed devotional service to Lord Vishnu by observing the day most dear to Him, we were restored to our former status.’

“Indradeva then said, ‘Because you served the Supreme Lord Sri Keshava by observing Ekadashi, you have become worshipable even by me, and I can see that you are now completely purified of sin. Whosoever engages in devotional service to Lord Sri Hari is commendable to me.’ Lord Indradeva then gave Malyavan and Pushpavati free reign to enjoy each other and wander the heavenly planets as they wished.

Lord Krishna Concludes

“O Maharaj Yudhisthira, one should strictly fast on the sacred day of Lord Hari, especially on Jaya Ekadashi, which frees one even from the sin of killing a twice born Brahmin. A great soul who observes this fast with full faith and devotion in effect gives profuse charity, performs all kinds of sacrifice, and bathes in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Fasting on Jaya Ekadashi qualifies one to reside in Vaikuntha and enjoy eternal happiness.”
“O great king,” Lord Sri Krishna concluded, “one who even hears or reads these wonderful glories of Jaya Ekadashi attains the merit of performing an Agnistoma fire sacrifice, during which the hymns from the Sama-Veda are recited.”

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Magha-shukla Ekadasii, or Jaya Ekadasi, from the Bhavishya-uttara Purana.




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Abhiseka of the Lotus Footprints of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be Installed at Nasika, Kolapura, and Mumbai

On February 11, 2024, devotees gathered at ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai to perform the abhiseka of stone imprints of the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which will be installed at Nasika, Kolapura, and Mumbai where Lord Chaitanya visited. “It was the desire of Srila Bhakisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada to install 108 lotus footprints of Sri […]

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Vasanta Utsava
→ Ramai Swami

Vasanta Pancami, observed February 13th, from ‘Ananda Vrindavana-campu’ by Srila Kavi Karnapura. 

The Holi festival is celebrated in Vraja from the Vasanta Pancami until a few days after Phalguna Purnima (Gaura Purnima). During this time Nanda Maharaja gives Krishna and Balarama leave from cow-herding to play Holi, so that they can throw coloured dyes and water at each other and at all the other Vrajavasis. 

On the Vasanta Pancami day Srimati Radharani and Her sakhis are attacked with coloured powder by the gopas as they are on their way to Nandisvara to cook for Krishna in the morning. In the haze of abir and gulal (types of coloured powder) that flies up from this colourful attack, Sri Krishna secretly embraces and kisses Srimati Radharani, but Lalita proudly pulls Her away from Him and safely brings Her to Nandishvara where they can peacefully go to their daily duty of cooking Krishna’s breakfast. 

Days later Paurnamasi announces: “Tomorrow is Maghi purnima (the full moon day in Magha) and the husband of any gopi who worships Vasanta Madana (the spring god of love — who is actually Krishna) at the foot of an Asoka tree on this day will gain a lot of wealth and many cows!” Hearing this, the older gopis allowed their daughters-in-law to do the puja. 

Food for Life -Nepal Holds Creative “Hike for a Purpose” Event

Food-for-Life Nepal (FFLN), a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of marginalized children and communities in Nepal, hosted a hiking program at the Bishnudwar, Shivapuri National Park, Budhanilkantha on February 3, 2024. The tagline for the event was “Hike For A Purpose, Climbing Hills, Nourishing Minds – Every Step You Take Supports a Child’s […]

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

Today, February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day, I was struck when Srila Prabhupada, at the conclusion of his class on Sri Isopanisad, spoke about love—the love that Krishna wants and the love that will satisfy us:

“Any religion—it doesn’t matter whether Hindu religion, Muslim religion, Christian religion—if you are developing love of God, then you are perfect in your religion. . . . And what kind of love? Ahaituki: without any cause. ‘O Lord, I love You, God, because You supply me so many nice things. You are order-supplier.’ No, not that sort of love. Without any exchange. That is taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that ‘Whatever You do . . .’ Aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam. ‘Either You trample me under Your feet or You embrace me—what You like. You make me brokenhearted by my not seeing You—that doesn’t matter. Still You are my worshipable Lord.’ That is love. . . . That sort of love Krishna wants. Therefore He was so much fond of the gopis. In the gopis’ love there was no question of business propaganda: ‘Give me this, then I love You.’ No. That is pure love. . . . If you want to love God, there is nothing throughout the whole world which can check you. Simply you have to develop your eagerness: ‘Krishna, I want You.’ That’s all. Then there is no question of checking. In any condition you’ll increase your love, increase your love. . . . If you can develop your love for God, or Krishna, without being checked, without any cause, then you will feel fully satisfied.”

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Devotee Youth Participate in Third Largest Parade in the US

Devotee youth and young adults from across Florida participated in the annual Gasparilla Parade held in Tampa, Florida, on January 20th, bringing the mercy of Lord Jagannath to the third-largest parade in the United States. According to the city of Tampa, the Gasparilla Parade welcomes a crowd of around 300,000 every year to celebrate the […]

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Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami’s Appearance Day
Giriraj Swami

Today is the appearance day of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and many other acharyas and associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was born in a very aristocratic family in Bengal. His father and uncle, Govardhana and Hiranya Mazumdar, were wealthy landlords, or zamindars; they were almost like kings in opulence. But although Raghunatha dasa was their only heir, he had no attraction for material opulence and enjoyment.

The Mazumdars’ family priest was Yadunandana Acharya, a disciple of Advaita Acharya. From the time Raghunatha dasa was a small boy, Yadunandana Acharya and Balarama Acharya, another friend of the Mazumdar family, would call him to sit on their laps. They would instruct him to chant Hare Krishna and tell him about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, from a very young age Raghunatha dasa developed the desire to join Sri Chaitanya. Namacharya Haridasa Thakura also visited Raghunatha dasa’s family, and he too was merciful to Raghunatha dasa.

One day, Raghunatha dasa left home and went to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. “I want to join You,” he told the Lord. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “No. Don’t act like a crazy fellow. You should return home and be a good son, an expert businessman, and a proper husband, and then, when the time comes, the Lord Himself will arrange for you to become free from the bondage of family life.”

Lord Chaitanya used the term markata-vairagya. Markata means “monkey,” and vairagya means “renunciation.” Monkeys appear to be very renounced because they live in the jungle, have no clothes or possessions, and eat only fruits and berries. But each monkey has two dozen girlfriends. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was instructing Raghunatha dasa, “Don’t be a monkey renunciant, making a show of renunciation when you still have material desires. Return home and act outwardly as an ordinary young man. And inwardly, develop your Krishna consciousness. Be detached internally and perform your external duties.”

So, on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order, Raghunatha dasa returned home. But within his heart he wanted to join Mahaprabhu. Raghunatha dasa’s parents were very worried that Raghunatha dasa, their only son, might leave home. So they kept guards at the gate to make sure he did not run away. One day, Raghunatha dasa got the idea to meet Nityananda Prabhu at Panihati. Once there, being extremely humble, he offered his obeisances from a distance. Lord Nityananda, being very merciful and humorous, said to Raghunatha, “You are just like a thief, staying at a distance. But now that I have captured you, I will punish you. You must make a festival for My associates and Me and feed us all chipped rice, yogurt, bananas, and milk.”

Raghunatha dasa bought all the cida (chipped rice), dadhi (yogurt), dugdha (milk), and fruits and sweets that were available in the market. Preparations were made using chipped rice, yogurt, milk, sugar, and bananas, and there were mangoes, sweets, and other items. Nityananda Prabhu and all the other devotees were very pleased.

When merchants heard about the festival, they came to Panihati to sell their goods. Raghunatha dasa bought all their dadhi, dugdha, bananas, and other items, made them sit down, and fed them the same items he had just purchased. Soon there were so many people that there was no place to sit. People began to sit on the bank of the Ganges, and when all of the space by the Ganges was occupied, they stood in the water and ate their cida-dadhi. At the end of the festival, Nityananda Prabhu was so pleased with Raghunatha dasa that He gave him a blessing.

We shall now read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter Six: “The Meeting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.”


krpa-gunair yah kugrhandha-kupad
   uddhrtya bhangya raghunatha-dasam
nyasya svarupe vidadhe ’ntar-angam
   sri-krsna-caitanyam amum prapadye


With the ropes of His causeless mercy, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu employed a trick to deliver Raghunatha dasa Gosvami from the blind well of contemptible family life. He made Raghunatha dasa Gosvami one of His personal associates, placing him under the charge of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. I offer my obeisances unto Him.

TEXT 138

tabe raghunathe prabhu nikate bolaila
tanra mathe pada dhari’ kahite lagila


Then, after the conclusion of the festival, Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunatha dasa near Him, placed His lotus feet upon Raghunatha dasa’s head, and began to speak.

TEXT 139

“tumi ye karaila ei pulina-bhojana
tomaya krpa kari’ gaura kaila agamana


“My dear Raghunatha dasa,” He said, “since you arranged the feast on the bank of the Ganges, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came here just to show you His mercy.

TEXT 140

“krpa kari’ kaila cida-dugdha bhojana
nrtya dekhi’ ratrye kaila prasada bhaksana


“By His causeless mercy He ate the chipped rice and milk. Then, after seeing the dancing of the devotees at night, He took His supper.

TEXT 141

“toma uddharite gaura aila apane
chutila tomara yata vighnadi-bandhane


“Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaurahari, came here personally to deliver you. Now rest assured that all the impediments meant for your bondage are gone.

TEXT 142

“svarupera sthane toma karibe samarpane
‘antaranga’ bhrtya bali’ rakhibe carane


“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will accept you and place you under the charge of His secretary, Svarupa Damodara. You will thus become one of the most confidential internal servants and will attain shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 143

“niscinta hana yaha apana-bhavana
acire nirvighne pabe caitanya-carana”


“Being assured of all this, return to your own home. Very soon, without impediments, you will attain the shelter of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”


As directed by Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha dasa returned home. Having lost all interest in family affairs, however, he no longer stayed in the inner section of the house, but moved to the outer courtyard. Late one night Yadunandana Acharya, who by then was Raghunatha’s spiritual master, came to him and told him that a disciple who was supposed to worship the Deity had left his service, and he asked Raghunatha to induce that disciple to return. So Raghunatha dasa left the house with Yadunandana Acharya. The watchmen were asleep, and nobody had any fear, because they thought that Raghunatha had gone with Yadunandana Acharya to do some work and would soon return. On their way, Raghunatha told his spiritual master, “I will go to that disciple and induce him to return to his service, so do not be in anxiety. You may return to your place.”

Yadunandana Acharya went home, and Raghunatha dasa thought that now he had an opportunity to escape. After he went to the disciple and sent him to do his service, Raghunatha proceeded toward Jagannatha Puri—not on the public road, because he knew that as soon as his family realized that he was gone, they would send people to catch him and bring him back—but along the interior paths. For twelve days he walked from Bengal to Puri, and on only three of them was he able to eat anything. But he did not mind, because he was absorbed in thoughts of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—that finally he would be able to join Him in Puri. Raghunatha dasa’s parents sent ten men to find him and bring him back, but they could not trace him.

TEXT 186

bhaksana apeksa nahi, samasta divasa gamana
ksudha nahi badhe, caitanya-carana-praptye mana


Not caring about eating, he traveled all day. Hunger was not an impediment, for his mind was concentrated upon obtaining the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

TEXT 189

svarupadi-saha gosani achena vasiya
hena-kale raghunatha milila asiya


When Raghunatha dasa met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord was sitting with His companions, headed by Svarupa Damodara.

TEXT 190

anganete dure rahi’ karena pranipata
mukunda-datta kahe,—“ei aila raghunatha”


Staying at a distant place in the courtyard, he fell down to offer obeisances. Then Mukunda Datta said, “Here is Raghunatha.”


Mukunda Datta had been present when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent Raghunatha dasa back home, so he was surprised: “Oh, the same boy has come again. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised him to remain at home, so how has he come?”

TEXT 191

prabhu kahena,—“aisa,” tenho dharila carana
uthi’ prabhu krpaya tanre kaila alingana


As soon as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard these words [“Here is Raghunatha”], He immediately welcomed Raghunatha dasa. “Come here,” He said. Raghunatha dasa then clasped the lotus feet of the Lord, but the Lord stood up and embraced him out of His causeless mercy.


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting with His most confidential associates, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, and they were discussing topics of Krishna. But as soon as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard “Raghunatha has come,” His mind was drawn to him. He left everything and stood up and embraced him.

TEXT 192

svarupadi saba bhaktera carana vandila
prabhu-krpa dekhi’ sabe alingana kaila


Raghunatha dasa offered prayers at the lotus feet of all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Seeing the special mercy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had bestowed upon Raghunatha dasa, they also embraced him.


Raghunatha dasa saw not only Chaitanya Mahaprabhu but also all of Mahaprabhu’s confidential associates. And he offered obeisances at their lotus feet. And seeing how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was merciful to Raghunatha dasa and had embraced him, they all did the same.

TEXT 193

prabhu kahe,—“krsna-krpa balistha saba haite
tomare kadila visaya-vistha-garta haite”


Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The mercy of Lord Krsna is stronger than anything else. Therefore the Lord has delivered you from the ditch of materialistic life, which is like a hole into which people pass stool.”

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

According to the law of karma, everyone is destined to suffer or enjoy according to a certain material standard, but the mercy of Lord Krsna is so powerful that the Lord can change all the reactions of one’s past karma, or fruitive activities.


According to our karma, we have to enjoy or suffer. But the Lord’s mercy is so strong that He can free us from any amount of suffering or material enjoyment. He can free us from all karma, whether punya (pious) or papa (sinful). He can lift us out of our material condition and place us on the spiritual platform, where there is no material enjoyment or suffering—only service.

PURPORT (continued)

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically drew attention to the mercy of Lord Krsna. That mercy is more powerful than anything else, for it had saved Raghunatha dasa from the strong bondage of materialistic life, which the Lord compared to a hole where people pass stool.


The bondage of material life is very strong. And usually, the more one is surrounded by material opulence, the harder it is for one to become free. Therefore, persons who are interested in spiritual life or liberation from material existence do not try to increase their material opulence, because their opulence may keep them bound to material existence. Srila Prabhupada himself told the story of how his father had helped him. When Prabhupada was of the age to be married, there were two proposals: one for him to marry a very beautiful girl and one for him to marry a not-so-pretty girl. Srila Prabhupada’s father advised him, “You should rather marry the plain girl, because later, when the time comes for you to leave family life, it will be easier if your wife is not so beautiful.” Srila Prabhupada took the advice, and in the end—as we know—he left everything to serve the order of his guru maharaja and preach Krishna consciousness. In the West there may be even more problems if the wife is beautiful. There used to be a popular song: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life / Get an ugly woman to be your wife.” Generally, the more one is surrounded by material opulence, the more one has trouble becoming free. But the mercy of Krishna is so powerful that even though Raghunatha dasa was surrounded by so much opulence (Nityananda Prabhu said that his opulence was like the king of heaven’s), such loving parents, and such a beautiful wife, he had no attachment to any of it. And he left it all to join Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, Sri Chaitanya told him, “The mercy of Krishna is so strong that you could leave your material opulence and come here.” And He compared family life to a hole in which people pass stool.

PURPORT (continued)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave His verdict that those addicted to the materialistic way of life are like worms that are living in stool but cannot give it up. A grha-vrata, one who has decided to live in a comfortable home although it is actually miserable, is in a condemned position. Only the mercy of Krsna can save one from such misery. Without Krsna’s mercy, one cannot get out of the filthy entanglement of materialistic life.


The worm lives in stool, eats the stool, and enjoys life. According to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, materialistic persons who want to enjoy the happiness of family life are like worms who want to enjoy the taste of stool. Of course, pure devotees can also be grihasthas, but here Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is talking about materialistic enjoyment.

PURPORT (concluded)

The poor living entity cannot give up his materialistic position on his own; only when granted the special mercy of Krsna can he give it up. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu knew very well that Raghunatha dasa was already liberated. Nevertheless He emphasized that Raghunatha dasa’s life of material comfort as a very rich man’s son with a very beautiful wife and many servants to attend him was like a ditch of stool. The Lord thus specifically indicated that ordinary men who are very happy with material comforts and family life are in no better position than worms in stool.


Just see Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s language. But He did not use the same language with everyone. He spoke as He did to Raghunatha dasa because of a special reason, as we shall now read.

TEXT 194

raghunatha mane kahe,—“krsna nahi jani
tava krpa kadila ama,—ei ami mani”


[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had said, “By the mercy of Krsna you have been free from the bondage of household life, which is like a ditch where people pass stool.”] Raghunatha dasa answered within his mind, “I do not know who Krsna is. I simply know that Your mercy, O my Lord, has saved me from my family life.”

TEXT 195

prabhu kahena,—“tomara pita-jyetha dui jane
cakravarti-sambandhe hama ‘aja’ kari’ mane


The Lord continued, “Your father and his elder brother [Govardhana and Hiranya Majumadara] are both related as brothers to My grandfather [they were of almost the same age and had friendly relations with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s grandfather], Nilambara Cakravarti. Therefore I consider them My grandfathers.


Nilambara Cakravarti, the grandfather of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was very intimately related to Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle. Nilambara Cakravarti used to call them his younger brothers because both of them were very devoted to the brahmanas and were very respectable gentlemen. Similarly, they used to call him Dada Cakravarti, addressing him as an elder brother brahmana. Raghunatha dasa, however, was almost the same age as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Generally a grandchild may joke about his grandfather. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took advantage of the relationship between His grandfather and Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle to speak in a joking way.

TEXT 196

“cakravartira duhe haya bhratr-rupa dasa
ataeva tare ami kari parihasa


“Since your father and his elder brother are younger brothers of Nilambara Cakravarti, I may joke about them in this way.


Sometimes we may want to give an instruction to someone but not want the person to take offense. And after we give the instruction, which may involve harsh words, we may say that we were just joking. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was saying, “Don’t mind, because your father and uncle were friends of My grandfather, so they are like My grandfathers. I am only joking by comparing them to worms in stool.” But although He was joking, He also was not.

TEXT 197

“tomara bapa-jyetha—visaya-vistha-gartera kida
sukha kari’ mane visaya-visera maha-pida


“My dear Raghunatha dasa, your father and his elder brother are just like worms in stool in the ditch of material enjoyment, for the great disease of the poison of material enjoyment is what they consider happiness.


In other words, they are in such a diseased condition that the thing that is actually poison—sense gratification—they take as nectar.


When a man is attached to material enjoyment, he is attached to many miserable conditions, but nevertheless he accepts his condemned position as one of happiness.


This is maya, illusion. He is suffering, but he thinks he is enjoying.

PURPORT (concluded)

Sense enjoyment is so strong for such a person that he cannot give it up, exactly as a worm in stool cannot give up the stool. From the spiritual point of view, when a person is too absorbed in material enjoyment, he is exactly like a worm in stool. Although such a position is utterly miserable to the eyes of liberated souls, the materialistic enjoyer is greatly attached to it.


Liberated souls can see that the poor man is in a miserable condition, but the materialistic person is attached to his condition and cannot leave it. Srila Prabhupada had a disciple named Sudama Vipra, who was a rough character, a former member of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. Once, when Srila Prabhupada arrived at a train station, maybe in Delhi, many people gathered around. The devotees performed kirtan, and Sudama Vipra began to preach. He said that before he came to India, he had thought that India was a very holy, spiritual place where everyone was inclined to spiritual life, and that he had expected to see beautiful mountains, forests, and rivers, and people engaged in spiritual consciousness. But when he had actually come to India, to the cities, he had seen that people were wretched, living in filth, poverty, and misery; he had also seen many lame people, deformed people, and lepers, all suffering. He said, “To the eyes of a pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada, all of us look just like those wretched people—poor, filthy, diseased, and miserable in so many ways. A pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada sees all of us like them, and naturally he feels compassion.” And at the end of the talk, Srila Prabhupada remarked, “He has spoken very nicely.” Here Srila Prabhupada says something similar in relation to how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle, who lived in great material opulence—how such a position is utterly miserable to the eyes of liberated souls but the materialistic enjoyer is greatly attached to it.

TEXT 198

“yadyadi brahmanya kare brahmanera sahaya
‘suddha-vaisnava’ nahe, haye ‘vaisnavera praya’


“Although your father and uncle are charitable to brahmanas and greatly help them, they are nevertheless not pure Vaisnavas. However, they are almost like Vaisnavas.


Raghunatha dasa’s father and uncle were kind to devotees and brahmans. They used to practically maintain the whole brahman community of Bengal, and they were friendly with such exalted devotees as Balarama Acharya, Yadunandana Acharya, and Haridasa Thakura. But because they still desired to enjoy material life, they are not considered pure devotees, suddha-vaisnavas. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu calls them vaisnavera praya, which means they are “like Vaishnavas,” or “almost Vaishnavas.” Pure devotional service is without any desire other than to serve Krishna (anyabhilasita-sunyam). It is not covered by fruitive work, impersonal speculation, or anything else (jnana-karmady-anavrtam). So, they were not pure devotees. They performed pious deeds and religious activities, but their aim was to enjoy material life.

As devotees, we also may be surrounded by material things, and because of habit we may not be able to serve enthusiastically without them. Srila Prabhupada gave the example of a famous barrister C. R. Das, who gave up everything to join India’s freedom movement. But he was so used to a high standard of living that he could not do without it—and within one year he died. He could not live as a mendicant. So, if one prematurely tries to renounce his material situation, he may become disturbed—or even die. Thus Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu generally advised, sthane sthitah sruti-gatam: Remain in your position and hear the messages of Krishna from the mouths of pure devotees; then you can gradually advance.

Here, because Raghunatha dasa was a liberated soul, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was speaking to him in a way befitting an advanced Vaishnava—although earlier He had advised him to return home.


As stated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya [his commentary on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta], some people, usually very rich men, dress like Vaisnavas and give charity to brahmanas. They are also attached to Deity worship, but because of their attachment to material enjoyment, they cannot be pure Vaisnavas. Anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam. The pure Vaisnava has no desire for material enjoyment. That is the basic qualification of a pure Vaisnava. There are men, especially rich men, who regularly worship the Deity, give charity to brahmanas, and are pious in every respect, but they cannot be pure Vaisnavas. Despite their outward show of Vaisnavism and charity, their inner desire is to enjoy a higher standard of material life.


In the West, we have little experience of persons who actually follow the principles of Vaishnavism but desire to enjoy material facilities. When I first came to India and met such persons, I became somewhat confused. There was one man who owned a textile mill—a follower of Vallabhacharya. He was very pious, very charitable, and he invited me to his house. So, I went to visit him, on Carmichael Road. He had a very nice temple room, and as a follower of Vallabhacharya he worshipped Bala Krishna—there was so much paraphernalia for the worship. He was also one of the trustees of the Vallabhacharya temple in Bombay, so he wanted me to visit the temple, and I accompanied him there. Many grihastha bhaktas were singing bhajanas in the temple, and it was very opulent. I was confused, because they seemed to be following everything—they were vegetarian, followed all the rules and regulations for worshipping the Deity, and gave money in charity—but still there was something different about them. So, I was a bit confused. But now we can understand: although they were religious and charitable, they still had the desire to enjoy material opulence; they were not pure devotees.

PURPORT (concluded)

Raghunatha dasa’s father, Govardhana, and uncle, Hiranya dasa, were both very charitable to brahmanas. Indeed, the brahmanas from the Gaudiya district were practically dependent on them. Thus they were accepted as very pious gentlemen. However, they presented themselves as Vaisnavas to the eyes of people in general, although from a purely spiritual point of view they were ordinary human beings, not pure Vaisnavas. In other words, they were kanistha-adhikaris, for they were ignorant of higher Vaisnava regulative principles. Nevertheless, they could not be called visayis, or blind materialistic enjoyers.


They were not pure devotees, but at the same time they were not blind materialistic enjoyers. They were in-between. So they are called vaisnava-praya, bhakta-praya, or kanistha-adhikari. They were on the material platform, because they wanted material enjoyment, but at the same time they had faith in Krishna and Vaishnavas, and they worshipped Krishna and served Vaishnavas. So they were vaisnava-praya.

TEXT 199

“tathapi visayera svabhava—kare maha-andha
sei karma karaya, yate haya bhava-bandha


“Those who are attached to materialistic life and are blind to spiritual life must act in such a way that they are bound to repeated birth and death by the actions and reactions of their activities.


As clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah: if one does not act as a pure devotee, whatever acts he performs will produce reactions of fruitive bondage (karma-bandhanah). In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said:

nunam pramattah kurute vikarma
   yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti
na sadhu manye yata atmano ’yam
   asann api klesada asa dehah

“A materialistic person, madly engaged in activities for sense enjoyment, does not know that he is entangling himself in repeated birth and death and that his body, although temporary, is full of miseries.” (SB 5.5.4)

A visayi, a person blindly caught in a web of materialistic life, remains in the cycle of birth and death perpetually. Such a person cannot understand how to execute pure devotional service, and therefore he acts as a karmi, jnani, yogi, or something else, according to his desire, but he does not know that the activities of karma, jnana, and yoga simply bind one to the cycle of birth and death.


In other words, without bhakti no one can be liberated. Not even a yogi or a jnani, what to speak of a karmi, can be liberated without the mercy of a devotee, without the touch of devotional service.

TEXT 200

“hena ‘visaya’ haite krsna uddharila toma’
kahana na yaya krsna-krpara mahima”


“By His own free will, Lord Krsna has delivered you from such a condemned materialistic life. Therefore the glories of Lord Krsna’s causeless mercy cannot be expressed.”


In the Brahma-samhita (5.54) it is said, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. Lord Krsna is so merciful that He can stop the reactions of karma for His devotee. Everyone—from the small insect called indra-gopa up to Indra, the king of heaven—is bound by the reactions of fruitive activities.

yas tv indra-gopam atha vendram aho sva-karma-
   bandhanurupa-phala-bhajanam atanoti
karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam
   govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

Everyone, whether an insect or the king of heaven, Indra, is entangled and bound by the actions and reactions of his karma. However, when one becomes a pure devotee, free from material desires and from bondage to karma, jnana, and yoga, one is freed from material actions and reactions by the causeless mercy of Krsna. One cannot express sufficient gratitude to Krsna for being freed from the materialistic way of life.


Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is the ideal example for us to follow. When he was a householder, he showed the ideal example of how to live in household life, how to execute one’s duty perfectly and at the same time be detached from material enjoyment and attached to Krishna. Later, after he joined Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he showed the ideal example of renounced life. He hardly ate or slept, and he was always engaged in chanting the holy names, offering obeisances, and other such activities. So, he is a rare example of a devotee who set the ideal standard for both grihasthas and sannyasis.

We pray for his mercy.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

[A talk by Giriraj Swami on Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s appearance day, February 4, 1996, Juhu, Bombay]