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  1. Today
  2. The luster of Kṛṣṇa’s body eclipsed the beauty of hundreds of moons (puṣkara), His eyes resembled lotus flowers (puṣkara) blooming in the blazing sun and His sidelong glances defeated Cupid’s flower arrows (puṣkara). Kṛṣṇa was eager to play in the water (puṣkara) to mitigate His love-fatigue and that of His girlfriends. Kṛṣṇa dipped into the … View the full article
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  4. When they hear Sri Radhika playing her Kacchapī vīṇā and Sri Krishna playing his beautiful Muralikā flute, the deer become ecstatic and the bunches of grass fall half from their mouths before they remain stunned. May these charming best of deer, who then surround Śrī-Sri Radha and Mādhava in a mood of friendship, delight me. yeṣaṁ kacchapikā-lasan-muralika-nādena harṣotkaraiḥ srastārddhas tṛṇa-guccha eṣa nitarāṁ vaktreṣu saṁstambhate sakhyenāpi tayoḥ paraṁ parivṛta-rādhā-bakadveṣiṇos te hṛdyā mṛga-yuthapāḥ prati dinaṁ māṁ toṣayantu sphuṭam Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse, deer like the Krishnasaras are praised. Even the deer in Vraja, the loving playground of Śrī-Sri Radha and Krishna, are most blessed and praiseworthy. How can there by any doubt about this when even Lord Brahmā and Uddhava are among those great souls who yearn to take birth here, desiring to become even immobile entities like the grass and bushes? In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam we can find the fortune of Vrindavan’s deer and does being praised by the pūrva-rāgavatī Vrajasundarīs, the gopīs who had just fallen in love with Krishna: dhanyāḥ sma mūḍha-matayo.api hariṇya etā yā nandanandanam upātta-vicitra-veṣam ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṁ saha kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ pūjāṁ dadhur viracitāṁ praṇayāvalokaiḥ The purport of this verse is that one Vrajasundarī once spoke to the other Vraja-devīs: “Ohe Sakhīs! Blessed are the does of Vrindavan! There is no comparison to their love! They are born as dumb animals and they have no intelligence whatsoever. They cannot distinguish right from wrong, but their hearts are filled with love. They love this beautiful Śyāma-form even more than their life airs! As soon as he enters into the woods they come running. What to speak of when he starts playing his flute! When they hear his flute, they flock to him even from afar and surround him on all sides, taking their husbands, the black bucks, along with them. In this way both husband and wife are blessed by seeing Krishna. Just as a guest is heartily welcomed and lovingly given entry into the house when he comes to the door of a gṛhastha, similarly when the beloved guest Sri Govinda comes to the gate of the does’ abode they heartily welcome him and offer him love-arghya or water to wash the hands with their restless eyes. They cannot speak, but their heart’s love is expressed through the eyes. Blessed are the lives of these deer! They know very well how to worship the god of love (Krishna). And blessed are their husbands too, for they do not obstruct their service to Krishna, but act in a favorable way. They are justly called Krishna-sāra, for the essence of their lives is Krishna! We are unfortunate girls, for although we attained gopī bodies in Vrindavan, we have not been able to worship Gopīnātha. It would have been better if we had taken birth as does!” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.21.11) Raghunath Das Goswami is Sri Radharani’s maidservant, so he knows how fortunate the does of Vrindavan are. Once he was absorbed in the taste of bhajan on the bank of Radha Kund when he suddenly perceived a honey sweet pastime of Sri Sri Radha-Mādhava. Sri Sri Radha Giridhārī are seated on a jeweled platform under a wish-yielding tree, illuminating the bank of the kuṇḍa with their golden and bluish splendor. There are no sakhīs around, but Das Goswami, as an antaraṅgā sevādhikāriṇī kiṅkarī, a maidservant who is eligible to render intimate services, is fanning the Divine Pair, who are absorbed in various rasika conversations. Suddenly Krishna lifts his enchanting flute to his lips and starts to play, while Sri Radharani picks up her Kacchapī vīṇā and begins plucking at its strings. The mobile and immobile beings are enchanted by the charming melody. The sweetness that Srimati’s vīṇā playing reveals stifles even the sweetness of Sri Krishna’s flute. Seeing this, the grazing deer and does, their mouths full of bunches of grass, come to surround Śyāma and Svāminī as if they are bewitched by a mantra. The grass falls half from their mouths, but remain stuck there. What sweet feelings are revealed in their eyes! They are just like the Divine Pair’s dearmost girlfriends, the priya-narma-sakhīs. Their hearts are filled with the sweetness of the flute and the vīṇā. With their eyes they offer flowers of love to the lotus feet of the Divine Couple, to whose sweetness they are so attracted. Remembering his vision of that day and taking that remembrance in his heart Das Goswami says: “May those charming best of deer always delight me!” In other words, “May I relish the enchanting sweetness of Śyāma and Svāminī and attain their service together with them, this is my prayer!” rādhā-kare śobhe yini, se kacchapī vīṇā dhvani, āra kṛṣṇa muralīra tāne. śravaṇete kṛṣṇa sāra, mantra mugdha bhāva yāra, preme stabdha hoy toto-kṣaṇe When the Krishnasāra-deer hear the sound of the Kacchapī vīṇā, that looks so beautiful in Radha’s hands, and the sound of Krishna’s muralī-flute, they become stunned of ecstatic love as if they are bewitched by a mantra.” arddha guccha tṛṇa mukhe, eka diṭhe ceye thāke, avicala dāḍāye royeche rādhā-kṛṣṇe sakhya-bhāve, antarera anurāge, citravat yeno virājiche “Half-chewed bunches of grass hang in their mouths and they stand there staring, motionless like pictures, their hearts filled with passionate fraternal love for Radha and Krishna. kṛṣṇa anurāgī yoto, sei mṛgapati yūtha, ei bhikṣā māge akiñcane tāhādera bhāva-rāji, kṛpāya arpiyā āji, santuṣṭa koruna anukṣaṇe “I humbly beg this alm from these best of deer, that are so deeply in love with Krishna: May they give me the treasure of their ecstatic love today and thus delight me at every moment.”
  5. Earlier
  6. Vrindavan, 05.21.2017 (Kusha Devi Dasi): It is with our whole heart that we humbly invite all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples to Sri Vrindavan Dham, in honor of the solemn and auspicious occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s Tirobhava on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of October 2017. In these three days, our sole focus will be to embrace every opportunity to extol Srila Prabhupada’s glories and to express our profound gratitude for his teachings, his books, and his extensive accomplishments. In this way, we hope to deepen our realizations of his immense transformative influence within our lives, both personally and collectively. A committee is being formed to organize the festival, and we would love to receive input from you with ideas on how you think we can best honor our beloved Srila Prabhupada. This is the 40th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s glorious departure. With deep honor and affection, we beseech you to consider reuniting with your Godbrothers and Godsisters in this most holy of places, to bask in Srila Prabhupada’s endless glories. We look forward to receiving news of your arrival. Please feel free to write with any questions regarding the occasion, along with any input you can offer regarding organization. Forty years have passed since Srila Prabhupada graced us with his physical presence, yet in accordance with his all-merciful nature, his impact upon our lives endures. Srila Prabhupada’s sainthood and domain of blessed inspiration continues to grow and expand over the decades, his glories glowing as brightly as ever! On behalf of our GBC, His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaj, our Vrindavan Executive Board, our Temple President, His Grace Pancagauda, our Vrindavan Management Committee and the 40th Anniversary Planning Committee, Kusha devi dasi.
  7. Radha Baba (1913-1992) was a devotee of Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna who lived in Gorakhpur. Born in a Vaishnav Brahmin family in Gaya, he became an Advaitin sannyasi, but later took the path of Braj devotion. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar, the founder of Gita Press, was his inseparable spiritual companion. It is said that Radha Baba spent fourteen years performing a very strict maun vrat, during which he kept complete silence, without even using gestures to communicate. During this period he was completely absorbed in Braj Lila. Several beautiful books were written by him, including Keli Kunj, Satsang Sudha and Mahabhaga Brajdeviyan. The following excerpt is taken from his book Easy Steps to Eternal Vrindavan, translated into English by Lakhpat Rai, M.A. It appears to be out of print, but the original Hindi edition, Prem Satsang Sudha Mala, is still available from Gita Press, as are his other works. The only source of all the lilas of the Lord is Shri Radhikaji alone. She is the enrapturing energy of Shri Krishna. She is His very Self. Assuming unlimited forms, She sees to the propriety of Shri Krishna’s lilas. The prem lila of Shri Radhaji is so exalted that, really speaking, he alone can see it, to whom She wishes to show it through Her Grace; there is no other way at all. She exists even today and whatever you desire, She can fulfill at that very moment and in that very manner. What Shri Krishna is, the same is Shri Radha. Between them there is not the very least difference of any kind whatsoever. I will tell you a true incident that happened in Braj. Three high-souled men were roaming about. While doing so, one of them, who was somewhat advanced in age, got tired and said, ‘Dear brothers, you may proceed; I shall, however, rest here only.’ All the three of them had taken no food at all throughout the day. So one of them stayed behind and the other two proceeded on. Barsana was approaching. Both of them were full of faith. After consulting each other, both of them decided that they should be the guests of Shriji (Shri Radhaji) for the day. As the above conversation had taken place in a humorous mood, they never thought of it again. Later they thought to themselves – night has now fallen, where shall we go to beg for food? After partaking of whatever prasad (food offered to the Deity) we may get in the temple tonight, let us drink our fill of water. That day there was a festival in the temple and they absorbed themselves in it. When the festival was over, the crowd of devotees dispersed. At about 11 o’clock in the night, the temple priest began to call aloud repeatedly. ‘Where are the two guests of Shriji?’ The two men heard this, and remembered their humorous conversation. Soon they became submerged in love and they answered, ‘Perhaps it is us?’ After that, the preist took them along with him and, with great affection, fed them to their fill with the most delicious prasad. Filled with love, they partook of the prasad with great delight and feeling fully satisfied, they left the temple and took rest in a pavillion nearby. After they had gone to sleep, both of them had a similar dream at the same time. Both of them saw that an extremely lovely young girl had come and was asking, “I hope you had a full meal. You are my guests, is it not?” They replied, in the dream itself, “Oh yes! We had a very hearty meal!” The girl said, “But in the prasad tonight there were very nice betel leaves (paan). The priest forgot to give them to you. I have come with those very betel leaves.” Saying so, she placed a pair of betel leaves seasoned with lime and catechu, etc., near each one of them. Just then the two of them woke up and, getting up, they saw that there were actually two betel leaves near each of their heads. Both of them started shedding tears and became agnonized with love. Placing the betel leaves in their mouths, they became beside themselves with love. Each of them related his dream to the other. Both of them had one and the same dream at the same time. This is a true incident, and the individuals who had this experience are perhaps still alive. [Editor’s note: I have heard in Vrindavan that this incident refers to Radha Baba himself, and his spiritual companion Shri Hanumanprasad Poddar] Shri Radha Rani and Shri Krishna looked to their faith alone, and then giving them food to their fill, They accepted them in the form of guests. Similarly, They can offer Their hospitality to a person, making him Their guest, who wishes to have Their blessed sight with a real faith, and who wishes to be blessed by seeing Their lila. Radha Baba and Hanumanprasad Poddar To Them, all are equal and there is no partiality towards anybody. Therefore, if you pray to Shri Krishna and Shri Radha Rani with an exclusive and impatient mind, ‘May I constantly think of You. May I be able to listen to Your lilas all the time – that is all,’ take it as true that there will be no delay in it. They will surely listen to this prayer, but only when the prayer is sincere. So long as your prayer is not sincere, till then go on repeating it even with an insincere mind. They can convert even an insincere prayer into a real one in due course. Your desire that you should be able to have a constant remembrance of Shri Krishna and to listen to the lilas is an excellent one. This is the very best desire. Just go on desiring, be it sincere or insincere, go on desiring alone. If the desire persists, eventually it will become real too, and some day or the other, full grace will surely manifest.
  8. yat pītaṁ śrutivāṅ manobhir aniśaṁ tṛṣṇāpradaṁ tvadbhutaṁ
saṁsārāmaya hāryapi praṇayajonmādāndhya mohādikṛt
śaśvac carvitam eva bhūri rasadaṁ dehādi hṛt puṣṭidaṁ
taj jīyād amṛta spṛhā haram idaṁ govinda līlāmṛtam (5) All glories to Śrī Govinda Līlāmṛta, the immortal nectar pastimes of Śrī Govinda, which defeats the nectar of the gods, or the desire for liberation, which constantly bestows a wonderful … View the full article
  9. Vrindavan, 2017.05.14 (Shri Binod Bihari Das Babaji Maharaj): There are two ways in front of the jeevatma (soul): one towards samsaar and another towards God. This is why the jeev is called tatastha-shakti, meaning the power situated in between two ways – on the shoreline. On one side there is the infinite Ocean, and on the other side is the land. If you want to keep on taking births one after the other, as insects, birds, animals and humans, then follow the path of samsaar. If you want to become free from this vicious endless cycle, then take the path to God. If you go towards samsaar, you will receive only sadness, because that’s all that there is in samsaar. There is no shanti here, no peace here. No one here is experiencing shanti, has ever experienced shanti, nor will they ever experience shanti here. This is because shanti is related to the soul alone. But we have forgotten that and accepted that there is shanti in this chaotic samsaar, in this body and things related to the body – in shabd (sound), sparsh (touch), roop (appearance), ras (flavor) and gandh (smell) – and we are running behind these? Run as much as you want! There is infinite time to run! The Time Cycle (kaal chakra) does not rotate beyond this universe. Here, when sun rises we say it is day, and when the sun sets we say it’s night. When we go beyond this universe, the Time Cycle is stationary there; there is no day and no night. Run as much as you want, but shanti is not here in samsaar! Here there is only infinite sadness is search of shanti. And where there is shanti, it passes away unnoticed from us; we don't even try to accept that there is shanti only in God. Our relationship with god has always been there, is still there and will always be there. There is no doubt about that! What new relationship you will establish with God? He was never a stranger! You have to correct your mistake, and the mistake is that you have forgotten your relationship with God. Correcting this mistake itself is sadhana (spiritual practice). You must offer yourself at the feet of God. What sadhana will you do? You don't have much capacity to do sadhana so that you can reach God by your own strength. God has not given such power to the jeev. In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, “Arjun! God resides in every creature, and through Maya, He makes every creature dance like a puppet.” So what should we do? The Bhagwad Gita says, just become samarpit (surrendered). Take His shelter. Then with his kripa you will receive the supreme shanti. But what is samarpan (surrender)? Suppose you have sold your cow to someone. Now you cannot direct that person on how he must look after the cow. You cannot tell him, you don't give the cow water and food at the right time. This is very wrong. You must do like this and like that. No, you cannot say that because you have sold your cow and now you have no right over her. Similarly, when we offer ourselves at the feet of God, our desires and thoughts have no place there. We have to destroy all our desires even become a drashta (a mere observer) and watch what He wants to do – what is His desire. Whatever is happening is happening by His desire. What shall we do? We must only see if we have any independent desire that indicates we still make way for new karma. We have to stop being doers and make god the doer. We are servants of god. Whatever is happening, we are acting as You want us to act. We don't want anything back as its result. We are Your slaves and we want nothing back. Now your karmas have finished! Any karma. How will we understand if our karmas have finished? There are symptoms indicating that. ‘Yadicchalaabhsantushtodwandhatitvimatsara’ As you receive, as is happening, be happy in that. ‘Dwandhateet’ means being unaffected by happiness and sadness, honor and dishonor, cold and warm, profit and loss. These are laws of samsaar. They will keep happening and have occurred in everyone’s life. If there is happiness, then there is unhappiness also. If there is profit, then there is loss also. If there is cold, then there is warmth also. If there is honor, along comes dishonor too. We must not be affected by these. We must weigh them as equal. ‘Dukheshusnudwignamanah sukheshuvigataspriha, veetraagbhayakrodh sthitadhiramuniruchyate’ (Bhagwad Gita) When unhappiness comes, don’t be disappointed or worried, and when happiness comes, don’t become elated by that either. Because that happiness will not remain for long. Tt is very short-lived. Worldly happiness is in fact an illusion. We think we will receive happiness just now… just now… but no-one has ever really received happiness in samsaar. Suppose you think you have received happiness. Don’t become engrossed in it, because it is a fraud. There’s no telling when it will throw you in the ocean of unhappiness. ‘Veetraagbhayakrodha’ – ‘Veetraag’ means unattached to samsaar, ‘bhay’ means the fear of losing materialistic things and ‘krodh’ means when we face an obstacle in achieving something we desire, anger arises. These three things when destroyed in a person, such a person is called ‘sthir buddhi’, one whose mind is unmoved. Only then there can be samarpan. Then Radha Rani will automatically start looking after you. Just like a mother always looks after her child, the child need not say, “Mother please look after me. Mother, please give me some food,” because the child is dear to the mother. The child doesn’t know anything other than her; she is dependent on her mother. Similarly, when we become samarpit, Radha Rani thinks that this child knows nothing other than Me. So she looks after the sadhak every second of his life. ‘Kaunteyapratijanihina me bhaktahpranashyati’ (Bhagwad Gita) God promises that his bhakta is never destroyed. He promises himself! This is samarpan. Accept whatever is happening as the desire of God. Be unaffected in all situations. If an unfavorable situation comes, accept that too because who knows how God is showering kripa (mercy) on you? There are two types of kripa. One is anukul kripa and the other is pratikul kripa. Anukul kripa means mercy which can be easily recognized as mercy. For example, when we encounter no obstacles in doing bhajan, our mind gets absorbed in bhajan, we feel bliss when meditating on the Lord, and so forth. These are favorable, or anukul kripa. The other kind of mercy, pratikul kripa, is mercy that does not seem to be mercy but afterwards, we realize that it was mercy alone. Suppose there is great restlessness; chaos, war within your heart. Then it is impossible to stay as you are. Then you become afraid of samsaar as a place of unhappiness. Then you try your best to become free from samsaar and offer yourself at God’s feet, saying, “Now I’m in Your shelter, please protect me.” This thought of offering yourself to God came due to all the unkind events you experienced. If you had experienced good fortune at that time, you wouldn’t have decided to take his shelter, Because the jeev is habituated to like this samsaar and be fooled by Maya. It is a habit from time unknown. For a little materialistic pleasure, the jeev forgets all about God. If your son, daughter, wife, husband, and so on, all behave well with you and love you, you wouldn’t be able to do bhajan really. You will chant ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna’ only for name’s sake. Your mind will roam only in materialistic thoughts. And as they start behaving unfavorably with you, you will try becoming free from all them as soon as you can. Who is your son, daughter, wife, husband, etc. here? All are Maya, an illusion. Leave them from your heart. So ‘Pratikul Kripa’ causes vairagya (renunciation) and makes you anxious to reach God. The sadhak becomes samarpit fast and whenever Maya attacks he or she becomes careful, thinking this is unpleasing samsaar. I have already experienced that. It is very unpleasing. This is pratikul kripa. Only afterwards we come to know, oh! It was actually kripa! If all this had not happened, I would not have become samarpit. Oh Lord, you are so kind! You shower so muc kripa! I was not a sadhu from childhood. In childhood, I was so badly hurt by samsaar. When I was 7 years old, my father died. When I was 10 years old, my mother died. Then my brother went away and everyone else left me. At the age of 10! Life became full of unhappiness. Whenever I went I was only hurt. Nobody to look after me. Nobody to guide me in proper direction. I was roaming on the roads, no guarantee of getting the next meal, no place to sleep at night. Everyone thought of me as a great problem. If I lived at their house, they would have to take care of me, give me place to sleep. Wherever I went, I was only hurt! Today, I have not really become a sadhu, but whatever I have is due to Radharani’s pratikul kripa at that time. Now no samsaaric love can be fool me into its trap. It is the fruit of the tree that was planted at that time. Now see how much peace there is. The world is short-lived, prone to be destroyed. No one belongs to me here. Let’s do bhajan. It’s all a fraud and we have nothing to do with it. ‘Na Lena, Na Dena, Magan Rehna’ “We have nothing to do here, except being constantly connected to God.”
  10. Vrindavan, 2017.05.14 (VT) Almost 5,000 years ago, Shri Krishna performed the Raas Lila with Shri Radha and the gopis. In the midst of that festival of bliss, he disappeared and took Radha away alone. But even in that secret exchange of love, Krishna disappeared yet again, leaving Radha weeping in separation. And then, 475 years ago, in the exact same spot where Krishna disappeared from Radha’s sight, he returned in the form of Radharaman. Shri Radharaman Lal May 10th was the 475th anniversary of the day when Shri Radharaman Lal appeared to the great rasik saint Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami, a disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The answer to his intense loving prayers, Radharaman self-manifested from a Damodar shaligram shila, which Gopal Bhatt worshipped. The three ancient deities of Vrindavan – Govind, Gopinath and Madanmohan – were made by Krishna’s grandson Vajranabh. Govind Dev’s beautiful, rounded lotus face is known as the perfect representation of Shri Krishna’s face. Gopinath’s wide and handsome chest is just like Shri Krishna’s chest, and Madanmohan’s soft and graceful feet are just like His lotus feet. But Radharamanji has the lotus face of Govind, the chest of Gopinath and the lotus feet of Madanmohan. In other words he is the exact Form of Shri Krishna. Devotees consider their darshan of Shri Krishna complete if they see Govind, Gopinath and Madanmohan in one day. But when devotees receive darshan of Radharamanji, they feel completely soothed and satsified. Lotus face of Shri Radharaman – P.C. Suvarnamanjari The festival of Radharamanji’s 475th Appearance Day was celebrated as if it were the 500th, with many special events that lasted throughout the week, including a 24-hour kirtan, a shobha yatra (procession), and a live lila performance on the ancient Raas Mandal in front of the temple gate. The main event, however was a grand maha-abhishek which lasted from about 8am till the early afternoon. The temple was filled beyond capacity, with the crowd spilling out both doors. Devotees braved the extreme heat just to catch a glimpse of their Beloved. After the abhishek the highly-prized charanamrit was distributed to the devotees. Many gathered charanamrit in bottles to take home to their loved ones. Small strips of the precious cloth that Radharamanji wore during abhishek were also distributed amongst the eager devotees. Charanamrit and Prasadi Cloth Distribution Goswami Vrind at the Shobha Yatra – P.C. Joy Goswami
  11. Vrindavan, 2017.05.13 (VT): On May 9, UP Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma announced that the merger of Mathura and Vrindavan will take place. This comes as a shock to many in Vrindavan who feel the merger undermines Vrindavan’s unique heritage and importance. According to various reports, the state government is taking this step in order to increase government revenue and provide more services for pilgrims. They assert that the development of Mathura and Vrindavan will run more smoothly if the two cities are treated as one. Opponents of the merger say that if the two cities are merged, Vrindavan will become a mere suburb of Mathura. Alcohol, meat and eggs – currently illegal in Vrindavan – will quickly start being sold there with government permission. Development disasters, like deforestation and the approval of construction on the Yamuna floodplain by the MVDA, will merely increase. They fear the unique culture of the town will be lost. Even the name of the town – Vrindavan – will officially cease to be when the two towns are joined and renamed “Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam”. We will bring you more news on the Mathura-Vrindavan merger as the story develops.
  12. The necessity to take shelter of a true sat guru One who wants to worship the Supreme Lord must first take shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru. Bhajana-sādhana is far removed from one who does not take shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, because this is the gate through which one … View the full article
  13. I always worship all the rivers and lakes of Vraja, in whose waters Krishna plays with his charming friends in the summertime, eager to defeat these friends, that also all desire victory, and with whom he was blissfully herding the cows, by lovingly splashing them with water. VERSE 66: sphīte yatra sarit-sarovara-kule gāḥ pālayan nirvṛto grīṣme vāri-vihāra-keli-nivahair gopendra-divyātmajaḥ prītyā siñcati mugdha-mitra-nikarān harṣeṇa mugdhaḥ svayaṁ kāṅkṣan svīya-jayaṁ jayārthina imān nityaṁ tad etad bhaje Stavāmṛta-kaṇā Vyākhyā: Now Raghunath Das Goswami praises the lakes and rivers of Vraja, like the Yamuna and Mānasa Gaṅgā, on whose banks Śrī Krishna performs his sweet cowherding pastimes with his friends. nija sama sakhā saṅge, gogaṇa cāraṇa raṅge, vṛndāvane svacchanda vihāra. yāra veṇu-dhvani śuni, sthāvara jaṅgama prāṇī, pulaka kampa aśru bohe dhāra “Krishna freely plays in Vrindavan with his equal friends, with whom he enjoys herding the cows. When they hear his flutesong, the mobile and immobile beings shed streams of tears, shiver and get goosepimples of ecstasy.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhye 21.108) Although it is eternally spring in Sri Krishna’s playground Vrindavan, where there is no influence of material time, still the seasons like summer and the monsoon appear to nourish the humors of his divine pastimes. In the hot season Krishna herds the cows, taking them to drink the water of the many rivers and lakes in Braj, and freely playing himself in these water bodies with his friends. itas tataḥ sañcaratīr gavālīḥ sva veṇu-nādair atha saṅkalayya jagāma tāḥ pāyayituṁ vayasyaiḥ sañcālayan mānasa jāhnavīṁ saḥ pāyayitvā jalaṁ gās tāḥ śītaṁ svādu sunirmalam svayaṁ gopāḥ papuḥ sasnur vijahraḥ salile ciram Krishna gathered his cows, that were wandering here and there, with the sound of his flute and brought them to the Mānasa Gaṅgā-lake with the cowherdboys to make them drink. Then he made all the cows and cowherdboys drink nice cool and clear water. He himself also drank and spent a lot of time bathing and playing in the water.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 6.36-37) In his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta Sripad Sanatan Goswami gives a delightful description of how Śrī Krishna and his cowherd boyfriends desire to defeat each other during their watersports in the Yamuna: As Krishna and his friends were splashing each other with water Krishna sometimes defeated his friends and sometimes the boys defeated Vinoda-kovida, Krishna, who is expert in having fun, by splashing him with water to his delight. Sometimes Śrī Krishna and his friends played sweet music on the water, sometimes they swam along with the stream of the Yamuna and sometimes they swam against the stream. Sometimes Krishna played a joke on the boys by concealing his Śyāma-body in the blue Yamuna water and hiding his face in a cluster of blue lotus flowers, so that nobody could distinguish him anymore. The boys then began to search for him whose darshan is their very lives, and when they could not find him they began to weep loudly in great anguish. Hearing their weeping, Śrī Krishna, the Joker, laughed and came out of the lotus cluster. Seeing him back, the dearmost friends began to run and jump around in front of him. After this Śrī Krishna enjoyed different water games with them. He strung wonderful garlands of lotuses on strings of lotus stems and decorated his friends with them, and his friends reciprocated by decorating him likewise. Finally they all came out of the water onto the shore. (Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.7.46-51) Śrī Hari plays such competitive watersports with his friends in Radhakuṇḍa, Śyāmakuṇḍa, Pāvana Sarovara, Kusuma Sarovara and other large lakes. In this way Śrīpāda Dāsa Goswami reveals these endlessly sweet transcendental pastimes, calling Śrī Krishna gopendra divyātmaja, the divine son of the cowherd king. Das Goswami says: “I always worship all these lakes and rivers!” sarit sarasī kūle, nitya gocāraṇa kāle, rādhākuṇḍa kālindīra jale se gopendra-divyātmaja, mūrtimanta manasija, jala keli kore grīṣma-kāle “The divine son of the cowherdking, who is Cupid in very own person, always sports in the waters of Radhakuṇḍa and Yamuna when he herds his cows there in the summer.” krīḍā-rase preme matta, nija priya sakhā-yūtha, nitya yārā jalakeli kore. govinda kautuka bhore, jayākāṅkṣī antare, jala siñce tādera upore “Govinda eternally plays in the water with his dearmost friends, intoxicated by the flavours of loving games he plays with them. Desiring victory in these sports, Govinda sprinkles them with water.” jayārthī vayasya-gaṇa, siñce jala anukṣaṇa, sadā se sarit sarovare. bhajana koribo āmi, hoiyā tāra anugāmī, e vāsanā jāgaye antare “His friends, who also desire victory, constantly splash him with water. I will worship these lakes and rivers and will become their follower; this desire has awoken in my heart.”
  14. Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja Badger, California: May 15, 2003 [This year, 2017, two auspicious holy days fall on May 10th and 11th around the world – the appearance day of Srila Madhavendra Puri and the appearance day of Srinivasa Acarya. In order that we may remember and glorify them and take their shelter, so that they may bless us in Krsna consciousness, Srila Gurudeva spoke the following lecture in Badger, California, on May 15, 2003. Whether it be the appearance day, or disappearance day, of Srila Madhavendra Puri and Srila Srinivasa Acarya – both are the same:] Madhavendra Puri You should know that Krsna was controlled by Madhavendra Puri, who is superior to Sri Prahlada Maharaja in various ways. I think Prahlada Maharaja cannot touch the lotus feet of Madhavendra Puri. Madhavendra Puripada is the root, or first sprout, of prema-bhakti, the prema kalpataru (the desire tree of love of God). The Deity of Srinathaji (Krsna, the lifter of Govardhana) manifested to him and gave him constant darsana. Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva had association for only a moment, and Bhagavan often gave His association to Bali Maharaja in the planet Sutala, but Madhavendra Puri is a special maidservant of Srimati Radhika. Madhavendra Puri has special love and affection for the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. His devotion is so high. He is the root of Vraja-rasa (the mellow of conjugal love for Krsna), for he brought such love to this world. Sri Isvara Puri received that gopi mood from him and then gave it to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Such wealth was then bestowed upon Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda, and the Six Gosvamis, and it is thus coming down in disciplic succession. Srinivasa Acarya Srinivasa Acarya was the disciple of Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, and He was trained by his siksa-guru, Srila Jiva Gosvami. He introduced many melodies for kirtanas, and he was such an exalted devotee that our Gosvamis depended upon him. They directed him: "You should go and preach in Bengal, and distribute all the literature written by us. Along with his associates, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura and Srila Syamananda Prabhu, he took their order and books, bound for Bengal. Along the way, some dacoits looted all the books. They thought they'd gained a trunk full of jewels. An astrologer had told the dacoits' leader, "This trunk is full of treasure", and for this they had stolen the cart with all the books. The three devotees became mad in separation from the manifest heart of the Gosvamis – their writings. Srinivasa Acarya sent both his associates to Bengal, telling them, "I'll stay here until I discover the location of the books." The local king was the leader of all the dacoits, but he was also a devotee. Though he used to loot so many things, he would also meditate and hear scriptures – Srimad Bhagavatam especially. There was a Bhagavata pandita in his council who read aloud and explained Srimad Bhagavatam. Srinivasa Acarya, in a very simple dress, went there one day when a Bhagavata discourse was taking place. He humbly sat in that assembly, hearing from the court pandita. After the Srimad Bhagavatam discourse was finished for that day, Srinivasa requested, "May I comment on what he has explained?" The king said, "Oh yes, very well; you may explain something about these topics." The pandita had been speaking on Bhramara-gita, but he was not able to explain it very deeply. Srinivasa Acarya stood up and began to explain it, weeping and making the audience weep. He gave the explanations that were also given by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami in their purports to Srimad- Bhagavatam. The king at once approached Srinivasa Acarya and offered dandavat pranams, begging, "I want to take diksa initiation from you, and I want to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam." Srinivasa accepted the king and gave him initiation. Then the king offered, "I want to give you some donation for this – guru-daksina. As you like, I can give." Srinivasa replied, "Oh, you are promising? Then you should try to arrange to get our cart full of all the books." The king immediately answered, "Oh, it is with me! It is with me! My astrologers told me, 'three persons are coming, devotees from Vrndavana, with lots of jewels – more than jewels.' And that is why we took the trunk. We could not tell in what way they are jewels; but now, hearing from you, I know that they are so much more than jewels." Jewels cannot give krsna-bhakti. They cannot help us. Those books can help us thousands of times more than jewels. You are coming here only by the grace of those books. In this way, the books of Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all the other Gosvami literature were saved. So this was Srinivasa Acarya, a very high class of devotee. We pray to the lotus feet of Srila Madhavendra Puri and Srila Srinivasa Acarya to sprinkle their mercy on us.
  15. Highlights from this years festival commemorating the appearance of Lord Narasimha.
  16. Vrindavan, 2017.05.08 (VT): Preparations for Narsingh Jayanti (The Appearance Day of Narsingh Dev) are in full swing in all the Narsingh temples in Vrindavan. Masks of the Holy Face of Lord Narsingh Dev are being prepared, along with costumes and props for the performance of Narsingh lila. A traditional bathing ritual or abhishek is being organized in all the temples. Devotees are giving their all in prepartion for the festival. Central to the tradition is the ancient Narsingh Mandir located in the Athkhambha area of the town. Temple sevayat Shri Dinesh Chandra Sharma said that their festival tradition is centuries old. In addition to lila performance and abhishek, the celebration will include chappan bhog and devotional songs. Maha abhishek will be held at about 12:30 in the afternoon. In the evening, the lila of Narsingh Dev will be enacted at Athkhambha Chauraha. The event will also feature an exhibition organized by the Braj Culture Research Institute on the Narsingh Lila tradition, which will be held on Wednesday, the day after Narsingh Jayanti. Brajwasis will be seen performing Narsingh Lila through the streets of Vrindavan in masks and full costumes on the evening of chaturdashi and throughout the following day (Vaishakh Purnima). The post Vrindavan Prepares for Narsingh Jayanti appeared first on Vrindavan Today.
  17. Vrindavan, 2017.05.08 (VT): Four hundred and seventy five years ago, Shri Radharaman manifested from a shaligram shila by the love and prayers of the great saint Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami. This most special occasion will be marked by a grand festival at the Shri Radharaman Temple. May 10th is the main day of the festival. A grand bathing ritual or maha-abhishek will be offered to Shri Radharaman Lal. The abhishek and related ceremonies will start around 8am and last till after noon. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s wooden seat and prasadi cloth will also be brought out for darshan on this day. Devotees of Radharamanji from all over India and around the world will fill the temple to witness the divine event. But those who cannot come to Vrindavan are still looking forward to enjoying the festival remotely; Radharamanji has a vast social media following, with well over half a million people following his darshans on Facebook alone. Celebrations began on May 6th and will last till the 17th. The special festivities include a daily flower-palace (phool bangla) and chappan bhog, congratulatory hymns (badhaai-gaan), 64-mahantas bhog aradhana (13th May), and a boat festival or nauka vihar (15 May).
  18. Vrindavan, 2017.05.08 (VT) The Appearance Day of Shri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Radhavallabh Sampraday, was celebrated on Saturday. Shri Hit Harivansh’s family was from Deoband in Northeast Uttar Pradesh. His father, Shri Vyas Mishra, was a Gaur Brahmin who, according to the Tarikh-i-Deoband, was employed by the Mughal Emperor Humayun. One summer, as he was travelling West with the royal caravan from Agra, they crossed the land of Braj. It was ekadashi when Shri Vyas Mishra’s wife gave birth in Braj’s Baad village, and thus Shri Hit Harivansh appeared in this world. The year of his birth is disputed, but it is somewhere around the year 1500 A.D. Despite having been born a Brajwasi, Shri Hit Harivansh ji spent his childhood with his family in Deoband. It was there that, according to Shri Radhavallabh Sampraday, he received mantra from Shri Radha in a dream, thus becoming Her disciple. In another story, the Gaudiya Sampraday says that Shri Gopal Bhatt Goswami gave initiation to Shri Hit Harivansh on his way to Nepal, although the Radhavallabh Sampraday does not accept this account. In the year 1534, Shri Hit Harivansh returned home to Braj. Thereafter, he lived in Vrindavan permanently. There he established the Shri Radhavallabh Temple and promoted the worship of Shri Radharani as the Supreme Power. His beautiful songs, full of love for the Divine Couple Shri Radha and Krishna, still resound through the narrow pathways of Vrindavan. Shri Hit Harivansh’s Appearance Day was celebrated with great joy at the Shri Radhavallabh Temple in Vrindavan and related ashrams. Devotees offered worship to Shri Hit Harivansh at the Bade Raasmandal. On Saturday morning, abhishek was offered to Radhavallabhji amidst the singing of Shri Harivansh’s divine pads. After that, the Shri Radhavallabh Lal gave His darshan sitting in a flower-palace. Devotees sang kirtan in procession through the streets of Vrindavan, finally reaching the Bade Raasmandal. There Samaj Gayan (a type of traditional singing) was was offered to Shri Radharani. Some rasik saints put on sakhi vesh and danced with great feeling, inspiring all the devotees. Soon they all began to dance. The blissful festival lasted late into the night. Shri Radhavallabh Lal
  19. Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja May 10, 1998 Wales, UK Respected Harikatha Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, 2017, the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva is May 9th and 10th around the world. Srila Gurudeva gave an amazing discourse on the Lord's appearance day in 1998, in Wales, and he is sharing this with you for the occasion this year. (To hear the audio lecture click here.) Just as Srila Sukadeva Gosvami's speaking of Srimad-Bhagavatam 5,000 years ago is as fresh and relevant today, just as Srila Rupa Gosvami's books, written 500 years ago, nourish us today, just as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's songs, written 100 years ago, nurture us each day, so there is no difference between the 'old' or 'new' discourses of Srila Gurudeva. In all of them he is speaking to us anew, each and every day. Your aspiring servants, the Harikatha team] Lord Nrsimha's Mercy Ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho, yato yato yami tato nrsimhah bahir nrsimhah hrdaye nrsimho, nrsimham adhim saranam prapadye Ito Nrismhah parato nrsimho. Nrsimha is here, Nrsimha is there; above, below, in front, in back, in all corners, and everywhere else. Wherever I go, wherever I walk, and travel, I see Nrismha everywhere. He is in our heart, He is in the creepers and plants, and everywhere else. There is not a single place – even an atom – where He is not present. Since He is everywhere, if you pray to Him to save you, He will come at once and save you as He saved Prahlada Maharaja from Hiranyakasipu. He will take away all of your problems, as He took away all the problems of Prahlada Maharaja. He quickly destroyed Prahlada's demonic father, Hiranyakasipu, who had been given a boon of immortality. Hiranyakasipu was strong like iron. He was blessed not to die in the sky, by weapons, demons, humans, animals, fire, poison, or any other force of this world. Still, Nrsimhadeva killed him very quickly. Nrismham adhim saranam prapadye. We take shelter of Nrsimhadeva. If you experience any difficulty or danger in your life, you can chant this mantra. Lord Nrismha surely will save you; He has come only to save you. You can test this. If you are very faithful to Him, as Prahlada Maharaja was faithful, He will take away all your difficulties in chanting, remembering, and becoming a pure devotee. He has come as the embodiment of Krsna's mercy. So chant this mantra, especially today, and He will protect you from everything inauspicious. [Srila Gurudeva sang the mantra again, along with the assembled devotees, and proceeded to sing with them the mantra below.] Prahlada jaya jaya. Nrsimha jaya jaya, Nrsimha jaya jaya, Prahlada jaya jaya, Nrsmadeva is always greedy to help us. He wants to help us, but we don't want His help. Prahlada's Mercy It is rare to find anyone who has such faith, and love and affection, for Krsna, as Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada tried to teach his demonic father this beautiful truth. naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhisekam niskincananam na vrrnita yavat (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.32) ["Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination."] Prahlada told his father that those in material consciousness are blind, and they are like dogs. Dogs think that they are intelligent, but they are not. sri-prahlada uvaca matir na krsne paratah svato va mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram punah punas carvita-carvananam (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.30) ["Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both."] Some dogs once found a dry bone, which had absolutely no juice. One of the dogs approached that bone, quickly grabbed it with his teeth, and ran away. He then looked back towards the other twenty dogs, who now began to pursue him in order to take that dry juiceless bone away from him. At last they all caught hold of him and began to viciously attack him. That dog, now full of injuries and blood, gave up that bone. His tail going inside his legs, he watched from the sidelines as another dog, while trying to relish the bone, was also violently attacked. We are like this. Our fathers and forefathers have tried to take the juice of material enjoyment from this world, tasting only dry bone. If you ask your grandfathers, who are eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, if they are happy with their life's accomplishments, they will all say, "No." When you ask, "Why not?" they will reply, "I am now old. I can no longer enjoy the taste of wonderful foods because I cannot digest anything I eat. I am going to die. I am not happy." Ironically, their children consider, "Doing what we have seen our fathers and grandfathers do, we will now be very happy." Suppose a man thinks, "I will drink a great quantity of wine;" what will happen to him? He will become like a madman. He will faint and fall in a drain, at which time he will think, "I am sitting on a golden throne. I am the monarch of all." Dogs will approach him, smell his body, and think, "What a good smell!" They will taste him with their tongues and thus wash his face. Thus, there is no real pleasure in worldly objects of enjoyment. Prahlada Maharaja explained this truth to Hiranyakasipu, hearing which, Hiranyakasipu became furious and decided to kill him. Hiranyakasipu tried several methods to kill him, which all subsequently failed, and he concluded, "I cannot kill him. I fear that my death will come from him. It is I who will die." In the meantime, his very dear sister named Holika approached him and said, "My dear brother, why are you so anxious and worried? Can I help you?" He replied, "No one in this world can help me." Holika then said, "I can help you. What do you want?" He said, "I want my son to be killed." She said, "I can do this very easily. I performed severe austerities and received a benediction that I will not burn in fire. I now have this power, so I will bring that boy into a fire and he will burn very easily." Hiranyakasipu began to laugh and said, "O sister, you have saved me." Holika replied, "Yes. Tomorrow, you should arrange a heap of dry wood. I will then take that boy on my lap and sit on the heap of wood. Some ghee and oil should be poured on the wood, and at once the fire will go so high that in a minute he will be burned. I will then come out of the flames." The next morning, a very big heap of dry wood was brought and abundant ghee poured on it. Holika took Prahlada and said, "My dear nephew, nephew, nephew; please come and sit on my lap. I will give you much milk to drink." She then sat comfortably in the midst of the dry wood, and took Prahlada Maharaja on her lap. At once a fire was started all around, and the flames very quickly created a great sound and began to touch the sky. All the spectators watched as both Holika and Prahlada were covered by fire, and considered that they must both have been burned to death. Hiranyakasipu was quite satisfied, thinking that his sister would come to him laughing, and that Prahlada would be finished. However, everyone present very soon saw Prahlada Maharaja walk out of the fire. Holika, on the other hand, was burned to ashes, never to return. Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, "How were you saved?" Prahlada replied, "When I was sitting there, I saw my aunty burn within a moment. At the same time, someone came to me and clothed me in an ice-like covering. I was easily saved, but I was so worried for my dead aunty." Hiranyakasipu's fury rose. Prahlada's teachers, the two sons of the depressed Hiranyakasipu's guru, drew near Hiranyakasipu and asked him, "Why are you worried? You have conquered the entire world. You have conquered air, fire, all five elements. You can easily fly in the air, and you can take a thunderbolt and defeat Indra. So why are you worried? Wait a little. Our father will soon come and solve this problem. Prahlada was again sent to school. Then, one day the teachers, desirous to engage in some household jobs, told him, "Prahlada, you should be the monitor and see that the other children do not do anything wrong. The boys can be somewhat naughty, so you must control them. We will return soon." Prahlada's Teachings Prahlada began teaching his fellow students about Krsna consciousness, but the boys initially resisted with the excuse that they would take up Krsna consciousness in their old age. They told Prahlada that now was the time to play. Prahlada replied, "We may die at an early age. We may even die when we are seven, eight, nine, or ten. If you die at a young age, you will not become old." "In order to marry and become happy with family, and in order to nourish and support one's children, a person thinks, 'I will build a first-class house and make a very beautiful garden. I will have strong, beautiful dogs, and I will enjoy.'" "This is a waste of time. We don't want to suffer, but suffering comes to us by our past births' impressions. We don't want to become old, but old age also comes. If you have performed any pious activity in the past, your present happiness will come automatically. Maintenance of your life, your good wife, good children, and everything else will come automatically. Since happiness comes automatically as a result of our past lives' activities, why are you making so many efforts to become happy? Why not chant Krsna's name and remember Him from the beginning of life?" Prahlada continued, "Now you are boys of three, four, five, six, and seven years of age. Now you are free from worldly entanglements and your hearts are like plain sheets of paper, without anything written there. Later, when you mature, you may marry a beautiful lady. At that time, if you want to leave this world to perform bhajana, she will weep. How will you be able to give up such a beautiful, qualified wife?" "Moreover, if you also have some children, beautiful sons or daughters, you will be engaged in serving them. Even if you try to give them up, you will not be able to do so. If the children call out to you in their sweet voices and broken language, 'Father, Father, Father,' how will you ever be able to give them up? You will think, 'I must support all these children. They are babies and cannot do anything. If I give up my household life, they will all die.' You may also lament, 'Oh, my beautiful dog and cow can't live without me.' Suppose you make a good garden with many trees and flowers, and later you decide to give it up to associate with devotees to chant and remember Krsna. You will then consider, 'Who will take care of this garden if I leave? All the flowers will die.' You will not be able to leave." Prahlada continued, "It is better that you chant and remember Krsna from childhood, when you are free from all these worldly entanglements." All the students were inspired, but at the same time they had some doubt. "We accept that what you are telling is true," they said. "Now we have great faith in you; but we want to know where you learned all these truths. You always remain within the palace, where it is very difficult to associate with any great personality." Prahlada Tells His History With a view to removing the doubts of his classmates, Prahlada said, "Some time ago, when my father was angry with Lord Visnu for killing his brother, Hiranyaksa, He began to consider, 'My brother has been killed by Varahadeva, an incarnation of Visnu. If I take revenge against Visnu now, he will surely kill me. So, I should first become immortal.' He began to perform severe austerities at Mandaracala Mountain, where he fully fasted from eating and drinking. He fasted even from dry leaves, and even water and air, for 60,000 years. He entered into a trance, and was thus oblivious to the fact that his body had been eaten by ants and only his bones remained." In Satya-yuga, one's life could reside in one's bones, without the rest of the body. Nowadays, if we do not eat anything we will die in two or three days, but at that time it was different. "In the meantime the demigods became worried. In Hiranyakasipu's absence, therefore, the demigods, headed by King Indra, made an attempt to subdue all the demons in warfare. A great battle ensued between the demons and demigods, wherein the generals of Hiranyakasipu were smashed. The victorious demigods plundered my father's palace and destroyed everything within it. Then Indra, King of heaven, arrested my mother, the Queen, planning to take her to a heavenly planet." The demigods considered that Prahlada was probably a demon, like his father, so they planned to kill him as soon as he would take birth from his mother's womb. In the meantime, the sage Narada was coming from heaven and asked them, "Why are you doing such nonsense? You are demigods and you are taking a lady in this way? She cannot fight with you, so why are you taking her? Moreover, there is a great devotee in her womb." Prahlada continued, "When the great saint Narada Muni spoke thus, King Indra immediately released my mother. Because of my being a devotee of the Lord, all the demigods circumambulated her. Then, after they left for their celestial kingdom, Narada brought my mother to his asrama, assured her of all protection, and taught me, within her womb, the truths of bhakti." Further Teachings of Prahlada Prahlada continued: "We can never be happy by our material activities. No one has ever become happy by such engagement. If you want to be happy in life, go to an expert guru and at once take initiation and a spiritual name from him. Then, under his guidance, try to follow the rules and regulations of devotion." guru-susrusaya bhaktya sarva-labdharpanena ca sangena sadhu-bhaktanam isvararadhanena ca sraddhaya tat-kathayam ca kirtanair guna-karmanam tat-padamburuha-dhyanat tal-lingeksarhanadibhih (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.7.30-31) ["One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the sastra and guru."] The boys told Prahlada, "This seems very difficult. We cannot do these things." Prahlada replied: sarvesam api bhutanam harir atmesvarah priyah bhatair mahadbhih sva-kataih krtanam jiva-samjnitah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.49) ["The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is the soul and the Supersoul of all living entities. Every living entity is a manifestation of His energy in terms of the living soul and the material body. Therefore the Lord is the most dear, and He is the supreme controller."] Prahlada assured his classmates, "There is nothing difficult in chanting Krsna's names, remembering Him, and engaging in devotional activities for His pleasure. We are eternal servants of God, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore devotional service is our natural activity. We must accept that Krsna is our holy master, father, mother and all other relations. After going to a guru and receiving initiation, we then begin to learn spiritual activities and develop to the exalted stage of uttama-bhakti (the topmost pure devotion). Guru will tell us everything about how to advance in devotion." Guru will tell us that there are sixty four kinds of bhakti, among which nine are prominent: sri-prahlada uvaca sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam iti pumsarpita visnau bhaktis cen nava-laksana kriyeta bhagavaty addha tan manye 'dhitam uttamam (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24) ["Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."] Among these nine kinds of bhakti, five are most important: sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.128) ["One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."] Amongst all devotional activities, if one is not committing offenses and is touched by any of the five limbs – chanting the holy name, being in the association of a qualified Vaisnava or guru, worshiping the Deity very faithfully, living in a holy place like Vrndavana, and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam – he can attain all success. sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa-sanga (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.129) ["These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna."] Most important among all the limbs of bhakti, which is also the root of bhakti, is harinama-sankirtana. tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila, 4.71) ["Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead."] Prahlada told the boys, "We should begin harinama-sankirtana today." The boys asked, "How can we do this? Do we have to be expert in playing musical instruments Do we have to bring any instruments?" Prahlada replied, "There is no need. Krsna has given us the very beautiful karatalas (hand cymbols) of our hands. We can clap our hands. Krsna has also given us our tongue and mouth to sing in a sweet voice." Prahlada Maharaja then instructed them, "Repeat after me. 'Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,'" The boys told Prahlada, "We are tired. We want something easier. This is so long. We want an easy kirtana." Prahlada told them, "Repeat after me again: 'Haribol, haribol, haribol.'" The boys all blissfully engaged with Prahlada in harinama sankirtana. Hiranyakasipu's Last Try After some time Hiranyakasipu overheard what was taking place. Grabbing Prahlada's hands, he demanded: sri-hiranyakasipur uvaca he durvinta mandatman kula-bheda-karadhama stabdham mac-chasanodvrttam nesye tvadya yama-ksayam (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.5) ["O most impudent, most unintelligent disruptor of the family, O lowest of mankind, you have violated my power to rule you, and therefore you are an obstinate fool. Today I shall send you to the place of Yamaraja."] Hiranyakasipu said, "What nonsense are you doing?! You are so disobedient! You are like a dull stone, with no intelligence at all. I am from an aristocratic dynasty. You have become like the handle of an axe that is trying to chop down my entire dynasty. I will teach you a lesson! I am now going to kill you! Let us see who will save you now!" ["My son Prahlada, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you? (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.6)] ["Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)] Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaja, "Where is your Lord? Is He present in this pillar?" Prahlada Maharaja fearlessly replied, "Yes, my Lord is present everywhere." satyam vidhatum nija-bhrtya-bhasitam vyaptim ca bhutesv akhilesu catmanah adrsyatatyadbhuta-rupam udvahan stambhe sabhayam na mrgam na manusam (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.17) ["To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja was substantial – in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall – the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion."] To convince Hiranyakasipu that the statement of Prahlada Maharaja was unmistakably true, the Lord appeared from the pillar, with flames emanating from His mane. By manifesting His form as Nrsimhadeva, the Lord also preserved the truth of Lord Brahma's promise that Hiranyakasipu was not to be killed by any animal or any man. The Lord appeared in a form that could not be said to be fully a man or a lion. He was extremely angry, and no one could pacify Him. Brahma, Sankara, and all other demigods present became worried regarding how to pacify Him. After offering Him their beautiful prayers of glorification from a little afar, they requested Laksmi-devi, "Please go and pacify your husband." She replied, "Today I am afraid to go. He may also kill me." Next they requested Brahma, "You should go; He is like your father." Brahma replied, "Today, I cannot go." Then they told Lord Siva, "You are a friend of Krsna. You should go." Siva replied, "Today we are not at all friends." Finally, Brahma requested Prahlada, "You should go. He is like your father." Prahlada Maharaja immediately went to Lord Nrsimhadeva and jumped upon His lap. Nrsimhadeva at once became pacified and tears fell from His eyes. He had been so angry; but now, in a moment, He was fully pacified. He began licking Prahlada Maharaja, as animals do, and said, "I came so late, and I am upset about that. I want to give you a benediction." Prahlada replied, "I am not a businessman. I do not perform devotional service to You in order for You to give me something in return. This is business. If any desire is hiding somewhere in my heart, please remove it so that I can become your pure devotee. You have asked me to take a benediction. That makes me think there may be some material desire hidden in my heart – but I don't know where it is hidden." Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "I know that you are pure; you never require anything. Still, I desire that you take any benediction." Prahlada Maharaja replied, "If You insist that I take a benediction, I desire that You deliver my father. He has offended You and me, and he has given great troubles to all the devotees. He has cut down all the green trees so that no one would be able to get any wood or fruit. He killed many cows so that no one would be able to get milk, ghee, and butter to be used for devotional activities like hommas, fire sacrifices, and offering of bhoga to the Lord. He has also killed so many brahmanas, and in this way he has committed innumerable sins. Please forgive him." Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "Don't worry about this at all. Your father has already been liberated. In fact twenty-one generations of your forefathers will be liberated." For the uttama-adhikari, twenty-one generations – forward and back – will be liberated. Regarding those who are madhyama-adhikari, who are always chanting, remembering and performing devotional activities, their relatives of fourteen generations will be liberated. Regarding those who are kanistha-adhikari, who are chanting, and remembering, who have taken initiation and are trying to engage in pure harinama and other devotional activities but cannot properly do so, seven generations of their relatives will be liberated. "I want to give you a benediction. My darsana should not go in vain." Prahlada replied, "All these conditioned souls, who have forgotten You and who are engaged in many sinful activities are greatly suffering. I cannot tolerate their suffering. I desire that my pious and devotional activities be given to them, so that they may be liberated and become devotees. I want to take all the fruits of their sinful activities and suffer for them for millions of births." Nrsimhadeva said, "In this conversation, you have won and I am defeated. I am giving you the benediction that all persons who hear the hari-katha about Myself and yourself – the pastimes of Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva – will be quickly liberated. They will not have to suffer." Those who hear, chant, and remember the sweet and powerful hari-katha of Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsimhadeva, who participate in today's Appearance Day festival and performs abhiseka will all be liberated by Lord Nrsimhadeva. He promises to take away all their suffering and sorrows, and He will surely fulfill His promise. We can have very strong faith that He will not cheat us. Whatever He promises to do, He will surely do. Have strong faith that He will be merciful to us, that we will gradually develop our Krsna consciousness, and that He will give us inspiration to accept the path of pure bhakti. Now let us first perform sankirtana, and then perform the abhiseka (auspicious bathing ceremony) of Lord Nrsimhadeva.
  20. Thanks to Sri Parthasarathy View the full article
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