Monday, 26 September 2016

"The mahātmās, great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations"

In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekādaśī, and on the appearance day of the Lord, etc. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great ācāryas for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world. The mahātmās, great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result.

Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 9.14



Thursday, 22 September 2016

"That is just like imitating Raslila"

“So far your telling me that some devotees consider that because there may be some grammatical discrepancies in my Srimad-Bhagavatam, first canto, then they may also be allowed to translate with errors accepted, that is just like imitating Raslila. When you do all other things like Krishna, then you can do Raslila. So if these other writers can do like me and spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world by becoming big Vedic scholars, then they can do. If one is too big, there is no mistake. "Arsapreyaya" means there may be discrepancies but it is all right. Just like Shakespeare, sometimes there are odd usages of language, but he is accepted as authority. I have explained all these things in my Preface to First Canto.”

Letter to: Mandali Bhadra — Jaipur 20 January, 1972

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

"He is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa"

The special qualification of the pure devotee is that he is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa without considering the time or place. There should be no impediments. He should be able to carry out his service anywhere and at any time. Some say that the devotee should remain in holy places like Vṛndāvana or some holy town where the Lord lived, but a pure devotee can live anywhere and create the atmosphere of Vṛndāvana by his devotional service. It was Śrī Advaita who told Lord Caitanya, "Wherever You are, O Lord—there is Vṛndavana.

Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 8.14


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Śrī Radha Raman, Vṛindāvana

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Disappearance of Haridāsa Ṭhākura


Brahma Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave up his body with the consent of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and the Lord Himself personally performed the funeral ceremony and carried the body to the sea. He personally entombed the body, covered it with sand, and erected a platform on the site. After taking bath in the sea, He personally begged prasāda of Jagannātha from shopkeepers and distributed prasāda to the assembled devotees.

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta 

 Antya 11-1975: The Passing of Haridāsa Ṭhākura

Thursday, 15 September 2016

"The Seventh Goswami"

Sri Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared in 1838 in a wealthy family in the Nadia district, West Bengal. He revealed that he is an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by his extraordinary preaching activities and prolific writing. Living as a, mahabhagavata Vaisnava, he stayed in the grhasta ashram until the last few years of his life. Then he renounced everything, accepted babaji, and entered samadhi, totally absorbed in the loving service of Gaura-Gadadhara and Radha-Madhava.
"He had a responsible government position as the District Magistrate (high court judge), maintained a Krishna conscious family, and wrote almost one hundred books on Krishna consciousness. At the same time, he served the Supreme Lord in so many ways. That is the beauty of his life. After a full day of government service he would sleep four hours, get up at midnight and write until morning. That was his daily program." (Srila Prabhupada)
Thakura Bhaktivinoda took Vaisnava diksa from Sri Vipinvihari Goswami in the line of Sri Jahnava Mata. Afterwards, he received spiritual inspiration and direction from Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji. Holding an exalted government post, vast erudition, and spiritual accomplishment never disturbed Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He remained prideless, always humble, friendly to all. Charity seekers at his home always left happy and satisfied. A well-wisher to everyone, he never kept grudges, even with opponents to his preaching. In fact, he never spoke a word that would hurt another's feelings. 
"The Thakura was always courageous and acted for everyone's welfare. Keeping personal needs to a minimum, he led the simplest of lives," said one pandit. In the following entry from Saranagati, Srila Bhaktivinoda, who had all pure divine qualities, takes the role of a conditioned soul to teach us how to advance in Krishna consciousness:

"You should always absorb your mind in attentively chanting Krishna's glories. By performing Krishna kirtana you'll gain mastery over the mind. Give up all false pride. Always think yourself to be worthless, destitute, lower and more humble than straw in the street. Practice forgiveness like the tree. Giving up all violence toward other living beings, you should maintain them. Throughout your life you should never give anxiety to others. But do good to them, make them happy, and forget about your own happiness.
"Thus when you become a pious good soul by possessing all good qualities, you should give up desires for fame and honor. And just make your heart humble. Knowing that Lord Sri Krishna lives within all living beings, you should respect and honor everyone at all times. You will attain virtue by being humble, merciful, respecting others, and renouncing desires for fame and honor. In such a state, you should sing the glories of the Supreme Lord. Weeping, Bhaktivinoda submits his prayer at the lotus feet of the Lord. '0 Lord, when will You give me such qualities as these?' "
Always anxious to use every moment in loving service of Krishna, he followed a strict austere daily schedule:
8 p.m.-10 p.m. Rest (two hours)
10 p.m.-4 a.m. Write
4 a.m.-4:30 a.m. Rest
4:30 a.m.-7 a.m. Chant Japa
7 a.m.-7:30 a.m. Correspondence 
7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Study sastras
9:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Bath,prasadam (half-liter milk, fruit, 2 chapatis)
10 a.m.-1 p.m. Court Duties
1 p.m.-2 p.m. Refresh at home
2 p.m.-5 p.m. Court Duties
5 p.m.-7 p.m. Translate Sanskrit sastras to Bengali
7 p.m.-8 p.m. Bath,prasadam (half-liter milk, rice, 2chapatis)

Srinivasa Acarya praises the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma samsthakapau, lokanam hita karinau … "The six Gosvamis deeply studied all the sastras in order to establish eternal religious principles for the benefit of everyone." Similarly, Thakura Bhaktivinoda made unlimited preaching contributions to help humanity. And for this he's known as the "Seventh Gosvami."
Biographers list three major preaching achievements of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:
(1) Wrote 100 authorized spiritual books. (2) Discovered appearance place of Lord Caitanya. (3) Introduced preaching innovations. Besides books (in Bengali, Oriya, English) reviving and explaining Mahaprabhu's message, he wrote hundreds of poems and songs full of spiritual sentiments and sastrie siddhanta (philosophical conclusions).
"His writings have made the sacred teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully available to every modern reader. And they are presented in a form which carries irresistable conviction and devotion," said a late disciple of Thakura Bhaktivinoda.
Sri Krishna-samhita, Kalyana Kalpa-taru, Sri Caitanya-siksamrta, Sri Navadvipa-dhama mahatmyam, Jaiva Dharma, Sri Harinama¬cintamani, Bhajana-rahasya, Gita-mala, Gitavalli, Saranagati, and commentaries on Bhagavad-gita and Caitanya-caritamrta are some of his works. The following quote comes from Thakura Bhaktivinoda's Gitavali:
"He who has failed to carefully worship the lotus feet of Sri Radhika, which are the abodes of all auspiciousness. He who has not taken shelter in the transcendental abode of Vrindavana, which is decorated with the lotus flower named Radha. He who in this life has not associated with the devotees of Radhika, who are full of wisdom and love for Radhika. How will such a person ever feel the bliss of bathing in the ocean of Lord Syamasundara's sublime mellows?
"Please understand this most attentively. Sri Radhika is the teacher of madhurya rasa (mellows of conjugal love). Radha-Madhava madhurya prema is meant to be discussed and meditated upon. He who cherishes the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani obtains the lotus feet of Madhava, which are priceless jewels. Without taking shelter of Radha's lotus feet one can never meet Krishna. The Vedic scriptures declare that Krishna is the property of the maidservants of Sri Radha. Give up wife, sons, friends, wealth, followers, speculative knowledge, all materialistic actions. Just become absorbed in the sweetness of serving the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. This is Bhaktivinoda's solemn declaration."
During the last five-hundred years, the original appearance place of Lord Caitanya had vanished under the indomitable Ganges River. In 1888, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura revealed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's janmasthana at the Yogapitha in Sridhama Mayapur. Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja, a famous siddha saint, and paramahamsa rasika Vaisnava, confirmed the Thakura's discovery. This most auspicious event delighted the Gaudiya Vaisnavas from Gaura-mandala to Vraja-bhumi. He established the worship of Lord Gauranga and Sri mati Vishnupriya at Yogapitha. Bhaktivinod Thakur
In the mood of innovation, in 1896 he sent to universities around the world a book of slokas, Sri Gauranga-lila smarana which had a forty-seven page English introduction: "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts." This act rose from a keen desire to spread Lord Caitanya's teachings in the Western countries.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura made three predictions concerning a person and a phenomena: "A personality will soon appear," wrote Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "and he will travel all over the world to spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya."
His second prediction: "Very soon the chanting of 'Harinama sankirtana will be spread all over the world. Oh, when will that day come when people from America, England, France, Germany, Russia will take up karatals and mrdangas and chant Hare Krishna in their towns?"
The third prediction: "When will that day come when the fair-skinned foreigners will come to Sri Mayapur-dhama and join with the Bengali Vaisnavas to chant, Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana. When will that day be? "
Srila Prabhupada said it's spiritually significant that he himself appeared in 1896, the same year Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent his book overseas. The will of Lord Caitanya, the desire of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, and the mercy of Srila Sarasvati Thakura empowered Srila A.c. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to spread Sri Caitanya's teachings and the chanting of Hare Krishna all over the world. Prabhupada fulfilled the Thakura's three predictions! Bhaktivinod Thakur
Devoid of pride, full of humility, radiant with pure love for Radha-Govinda, Srila Prabhupada gave all credit to the previous acaryas. "We should take it," said Srila Prabhupada, "that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the origin of the Krishna Consciousness Movement in its pure form."
In 1986, just one-hundred years after Bhaktivinoda Thakura's third prediction, three-thousand "fair skinned devotees" from America, England, France, Germany, Russia, and fifty other countries gathered at the ISKCON Mayapura Chandrodaya Mandir in Sridhama Mayapur. They joined one thousand "Bengali Vaisnavas" to rock the universe by chanting Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Sacinandana, Gaura-Hari. Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura ki jai! Bhaktivinod Thakur
Devotees all around the world came to Mayapur to sing: "Jai Sachinandana Goura Hari!!!"
.
In 1914, on the tirobhava tithi (disappearance day) of Sri Gadadhara Pandit (the incarnation of Sri Radha), Thakura Bhaktivinoda entered the eternal pastimes of Gaura-Gadadhara and Radha-Madhava. Bhaktivinod Thakur
In Godrumadvipa (Navadvipa) Sri-Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, the worshipable Deities of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, await to bless any visitors to Svananda-sukhada-kunja. In Radha-Madhava's nitya-vraja lila Bhaktivinoda Thakura takes the form of Kamala-manjari to serve Srimati Radharani. His pushpa samadhi is in his bhajana kutir at Radha-kunda

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Srila Jiva Goswami Appearance Day


Appearing as the nephew of Shri Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis, Shri Jiva Goswami displayed all the charming features of a mahapurusa (divine person). He had lotus eyes, a high nose and forehead, broad chest, long arms, and a radiant golden body. 
   In his boyhood he made a Deity of Krishna-Balarama. Expressing his pure devotion, he would often cry while worshiping Them. After offering clothes, chandana, flowers, ornaments, and tasty sweets to Krishna-Balarama he would take some and give Maha-Prasadam to his playmates. From the beginning Jiva showed his kindness to other jivas (living entities). Jiva was so much attached to Krishna-Balarama that at bed time he would embrace his Deities and fall asleep. His parents thought he was only playing. But the villagers rejoiced to see Jiva's love for Krishna-Balarama.
   In school he quickly mastered Sanskrit grammar, poetry, logic, philosophy. Shrimad Bhagavatam gave life to his life. Krishna-katha filled him with happiness. No one dared to speak to him about anything but Krishna. He toured Navadwipa-dhama with Shri Nityananda Prabhu, studied Sanskrit in Benares, and then resided in Vrindavana. After humbly serving Shri Rupa Goswami by washing his feet, preparing his manuscripts, and editing his books he received diksha.
   Once the aging Vaishnava, Vallabhacharya, gave critical advice to Shri Rupa Goswami on his writing. Although much younger than the venerable Vallabha, Shri Jiva brazenly spoke in defense of his guru. Shri Rupa Goswami scolded Shri Jiva telling him to leave Vrindavana. Living in an abandoned crocodile hole in Nanda Ghat (45 minutes from Shri Rupa's bhajana kutir) , Shri Jiva Goswami began fasting. He subsisted on wheat flour, which he begged, mixed with Yamuna water. Seeing his strict self-denial, Sanatana Goswami brought him back to the service of Shri Rupa Goswami. 
   Shrila Prabhupada once commented on this "guru-disciple pastime." "Shri Rupa Goswami cast out Jiva Goswami to teach us, the Devotees of today, a lesson. It was not done to teach or punish Shri Jiva Goswami, who is a perfectly liberated, eternal associate of Lord Krishna. Rupa Goswami sent Jiva Goswami out of Vrindavana to teach all jivas what he wrote in Upadesamrta: vaco vegam mansah krodah vegam, jihva vegam… At all times, a Devotee should control his tongue, his speech, and always remain humble, trnad api sunicena:"
    After the disappearance of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana Goswamis, Shri Jiva Goswami became the Gaudiya Sampradayacharya to guide all Vaishnavas in Navadwipa, Vrindavana, Jagannatha Puri. Although he was the undisputed leader, he always acted as a humble servant of all the jivas. Whenever Bengali Vaishnavas visited Vrindavana he would lovingly receive them, arrange for Prasadam and comfortable rooms, an even guide them on Vraja mandala parikrama.
    A superexcellent Sanskrit scholar, Shri Jiva Goswami would compose Sanskrit verses in his mind and write them down without changing anything. Write them down means he used a metal stylus to permanently etch them in palm leaves. This inscription method left no room for erasing, editing, rewriting, or running a spellcheck. Yet, each verse was a priceless gem of perfect meter, rhythm, poetry, and meaning. He was the greatest philosopher in all of Indian history. Contemporary Sankritists call him the greatest scholar who ever lived.

   Shri Jiva Goswami was the youngest but most prolific writer among the Goswamis. He wrote an astounding half million Sanskrit verses (about 25 books). His books prove that Shri Chaitanya's philosophy gives the essence of Vedic wisdom and the perfection of religion. Gopala Champu, Sat Sandarbhas, and Hari Nama-vyakarana are three of his most famous works. The Sandarbhas firmly establish the transcendental truths of Shrimad Bhagavatam. They also confirm that Lord Shri Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth (svayam bhagavan), the cause of everything and the source of all avataras. Anyone who faithfully reads these books will become a Devotee of Krishna.
 he following quote comes from Shri Jiva Goswami's nectarean Gopala Champu, which describes the playful Vrindavana pastimes of Radha Damodara. "From Govardhana Hill a large form of Govardhana manifested. All the Vrajavasis along with Krishna Himself then offered obeisances to that towering form. As Shri Krishna stood by with folded hands, that great personality Govardhana bellowed, 'I shall eat all your offerings.' He ate and drank water by emptying all the kundas around the hill. While eating all the preparations made by the Vrajavasis with his right hand, he snapped the fingers on his left hand. The cowherd men ran out of the way when Govardhana stretched out His hands to take more and 'called out, Aniyor! Aniyor! Aniyor! 'bring more, bring more, bring more.' " At the request of Acharyarani Jahnava Devi Thakurani, Shri Jiva Goswami had Shrinivasa Acharya, Narottama Dasa Thakura, Shyamananda Prabhu take the Goswami's writings from Vrindavana to Bengal. They translated them into Bengali and distributed them throughout Bengal and Orissa. They also preached extensively and initiated hundreds of Devotees. In 1542, Shri Jiva Goswami established the worship Shri-Shri Radha-Damodara in Seva Kunja, Vrindavana. His samadhi stands in the Temple compound. Shri Jiva Goswami is Vilasa-manjari in Radha-Damodara's nitya Vrindavana lila.