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  1. There is nothing so comfortable as money, - but nothing so defiling if it be come by unworthily; nothing so comfortable, but nothing so noxious if the mind be allowed to dwell upon it constantly. If a man have enough, let him spend it freely. If he wants it,let him earn it honestly. -- Anonymous:cool:
  2. What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? I was practicing for this, I was training for this. -- Epictetus (55-135 AD) Greek Philosopher Tests will inevitably come in KC. The biggest test is the moment of death. Chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra and pray for the guru's spiritual power of tolerance to bear all trials and tribulations in the course of one's devotional life.
  3. Our Remarkable Godbrother An Appreciation of Gour Govinda Maharaja By Patita Pavana das Adhikary It was thirty-five years ago, and today my memory is a bit vague, but I recall the incident went something like this. The Meeting Vrindavana, 1974-5: It might have been the always-blissful English brahmachary Gunarnava or maybe the philosophical Scottish devotee Smara Hari who approached me with the news. “Hey, Patit,” he called, “A sadhu just asked Shrila Prabhupada for initiation.” “Wow, good luck to that Maharaja,” I chuckled pessimistically. After all, we had both been Prabhupada’s disciples for a number of years, and had been in India long enough to know that most sadhus preferred to keep their distance from us “phoren bhaktas”. Sure, most of the yogis and renunciates appreciated the fact that we were doing our level best, but they were reticent about mingling; maybe rightfully so. There were the wild rumors that we were foreign spies, or that we had strange parties into the night, but I doubt any intelligent person took those seriously. I think what really kept the genuine article at arm’s length from us was that we were neophyte students of an ancient culture. And–truth be told–in the length and breadth of India and the whole wide world, too, only Prabhupada possessed the bell-metal-into-gold savvy to tame the savage white man and create devotees from base mlecchas. Maybe the other so-called gurus who were preaching in the West had some following, but generally they wore their Western students the way Boy Scouts wear merit badges.*(1) Though the number of our Hindu well-wishers in India was growing–especially among the vaishyas–the brahmanas and sadhus remained wary. And who could blame those pious sadhus and brahmanas anyway? When it came to preaching Vedic philosophy we Americans and Europeans were often overbold, sometimes even rude. For some of us, preaching did not go far beyond that all-purpose admonition, “You’re in Maya!” Hindus naturally wondered at the presumptuousness of foreigners telling them a thing or two about a culture they felt “flowed in their blood”, while we felt that they had compromised away the value of their Vedic heritage. Although we had learned something about prachar (preaching), what we lacked was achar–a standard of behavior acceptable to Indian sensibilities. We had seen a few sadhus join us, only to turn and leave within the week when asked to mop the ashram or clean the pots. So I might not have been blamed for being skeptical when told that a sadhu had approached Shrila Prabhupada for initiation. However, my Godbrother cautioned me to avoid snap judgments, “Not so fast, Prabhu, he seems very sincere. Somehow he’s different.” As events would unfold, this sadhu who had approached Shrila Prabhupada–and who would soon become Shrila Gour Govinda Swami–was not at all like the others who had come and gone away. The wandering pilgrim who was signing on as one of Shrila Prabhupada’s men was neither a mayavadi yogi nor a dry renunciate given over to abstract meditation. He did not imagine that religious philosophies can be opportunistically manufactured by selecting wise-sounding homilies from professional gurus, then knitting them together into a patchwork doctrine of convenience. Neither had he approached the acharya like some profit-motivated broker with the baited offering of conditional service. He did not want a green card, nor was he looking to hang with a fraternity of foreigners. No boasting masked ulterior motives. Neither was he some New Age “guru collector” who imagines his spiritual advancement hinges upon meeting many yogis for bragging rights. He was not seeking respect, which in fact appeared to be the greatest obstacle of those who felt themselves superior by dint of some tapasya or high birth. I was humbled to discover that his motive was unconditional surrender and service at the lotus feet of the empowered representative of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As I would learn many years later, Gour Govinda Maharaja sprang from a family of famous Orissan Gaudiya kirtan leaders, devotional mystics and Vaishnava renunciates. There in Vrindavana after a long, long search he had immediately recognized Shrila Prabhupada as the acharya, the very embodiment of Lord Chaitanya’s worldwide movement. Full surrender took only a moment. Devotees would see him ascend to the post of guru in his own right. He would rise from the ranks to become a victorious preacher and modern sampradaya link, proving his mettle over again in the fire of bhakti-yoga. And by the time he would suddenly leave this world in Mayapur in January 1996 at the calling of Lord Shri Krishna, he would enhance the glory of ISKCON by founding two major centers of pilgrimage on behalf of his worshipable Guru Maharaja. A Life of Devotion His life is briefly described in the inspiring little book “Gopalju, the Beloved Deity of Gour Govinda Swami” penned by his ever-faithful disciple Shriman Madhavananda Das. At birth, his pious parents had pointed to his future by giving him a name of Lord Krishna. Braja Bandhu Manik came into this world in the interior village of Jagannathpur, Orissa. His earliest memories were of his love for the family Deity Gopaljiu of the nearby village Gadegiri. It was his relationship with Shri Gopaljiu that would guide and shape every moment of his life. By the age of eight, Braja Bandhu was discoursing from the Gita and the Bhagavat. Married at twenty-three, he raised a large family, supporting them on a school teacher’s salary. Then in 1974 at forty-five he took the name of Gour Gopal and suddenly walked out of his house to search the length and breadth of India for a bona fide spiritual master. Penniless, he wandered as a pilgrim from India’s tip at Kanya Kumari where the waters of three great oceans mingle, to the Himalayas where he discoursed with countless yogis on the mysteries of life and its goal. Satisfaction eluded him, for he found in his journey that India’s so-called spiritual preceptors were ignoring the command of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in His full avatara as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord’s sankirtan movement had been overlooked in favor of shadowy spiritual practices that are wholly unsuitable for the present age. Rejecting the many impersonalists he met along the way, Gour Gopal turned his footsteps toward the land for which he had been named. At last the seeker arrived in Vraja Mandala. Ironically, at a Gaudiya Math temple in Mathura the brahmacharis mistook him for a mayavadi and abruptly showed him the door. Later, in Vrindavana he spotted a sign that led him to the construction site of ISKCON’s proposed Krishna Balarama Mandir. There a devotee handed him a Back to Godhead. Looking through the magazine, Gour Gopal was delighted to find the three things he was looking for in his prospective guru: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the mahamantra and Shrimad Bhagavatam. As if by Providence, Shrila Prabhupada happened to be there as though waiting for him. When Gour Gopal offered his obeisances, Shrila Prabhpada’s first words were, “Have you taken sannyasa? I will give you sannyasa.” In this way the World Guru immediately knew the mind of the sincere candidate and offered the pilgrim what he had left home for. Less than a year later, His Divine Grace would offer him cloth and danda, as Braja Bandhu, now Gour Gopal, became transformed into Shrila Gour Govinda Swami on the holy day of Rama Navami at the opening of the Shri Krishna Balarama Temple in Vrindavana. Lord Gopaljiu of Gadeigiri Spiritual initiation from Shrila Prabhupada only deepened Gour Govinda Swami’s devotion to his beloved Deity of Shri Gopaljiu back in Gadeigiri. This village of Gadeigiri was founded in the late 1600’s by an ancestor of Shri Gour Govinda Maharaja named Shri Gadai Giri. Gadai Giri used to come down from Midnapur, today part of West Bengal, to sell door to door brass and metal items. While on one such trip, he heard coming from the jungle, the auspicious sounds of a flute, the tinkle of ankle bells and the blowing of a conch intermingling with the calls of various birds. A local sadhu whom Gadai Giri had befriended recommended that he make his home in that very spot, advising him that Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must be present there. And wherever Krishna lives, there dwells Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, all of Gadai Giri’s needs would be met if he were to simply remain there in adoration of the Supreme Lord. Thus Shri Gadai Giri made a clearing from the jungle and built a thatched-roof home. He gave up his business, constructed a small temple to Dadhi Baman* (2) and engaged full time in the glorification of the Supreme Lord through kirtan and study of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Gadai Giri’s only son was Gopal Giri, who became a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and a master of kirtan. Gopal Giri intensely desired to worship a Deity of Lord Krishna from Vrindavana, but in those days, long before trains and buses, he had no way to make the pilgrimage to Vrajabhumi. Hence he shifted from Gadeigiri to Puri thinking that somehow Lord Krishna would come to him there. At the temple of Lord Jagannath he was employed by the king as the poddar or cashier. At Puri he frequently met sadhus whom he used to request to bring him a Deity of Gopal from Vraja, but his wish remained unfulfilled. At that time there was a Vaishnava mendicant in far away Vrajabhumi who was worshipping a Deity of Lord Gopal. While the sannyasi went for begging alms daily, the Deity would accompany him in a cloth bag. One night the sadhu had a vision in which Lord Gopal ordered the renunciate to take Him to Puri where He desired to accept the adoration of Gopal Giri. At first the sadhu disregarded the command of the Lord as a mere dream. So a few days later, the Lord appeared again, this time soundly beating the sadhu across the legs till they bled. The Vaishnava awoke in pain and fervently apologized to Lord Gopal for ignoring His order. He immediately began the 2½ month trek walking to Puri. Gopal Giri was well known in Puri and there the sadhu had no difficulty in locating him. When they met, the sadhu handed over his Gopal Deity as per the divine instruction. When he showed the wounds on his legs, Gopal Giri healed them by his mere touch. Gopal Giri offered the sadhu as much money as he liked, but he declined, requesting instead that he remain with Lord Gopal as his pujari. Gopal Giri had a brass Deity of Shrimati Radharani made for the Deity’s pleasure, and resigned from his post, returning to Gadeigiri to engage in kirtan. The sadhu remained there in seva for twenty years and when he departed this world, a samadhi was built for him. Gopal Giri’s kirtan in the Odissi Gaudiya style of Shri Rasikananada and Shri Shyamanada Prabhus became so famous that it would be inscribed in the history book of the Jagannath Temple at Puri that the Gadeigiri kirtan group should always be allowed to perform in the temple. The tradition of employing a sannyasi pujari for Shri Gopaljiu of Gadeigiri continued for generations. In the mid-1800’s a crooked sannyasi engaged in His seva kidnapped the Deities in the still of night. Meanwhile, Lord Gopal alerted Gadai Giri’s great-great grandson Bhagavat Charan in a dream that He was being stolen away. By the will of Providence, the fleeing sadhu was bitten on his way by a poisonous snake. Bhagavat Charan found the thievish pujari lying dead, and returned Lord Radha-Gopal to the temple. Afterwards, he only engaged married brahmanas in Thakur-seva. In the early 1900’s, care of the temple fell to the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Gadai Giri, named Bauri Giri. Even government officers would come for the darshan of Bauri Giri, a paramhamsa bhakta said to have mystic powers to heal illness by the grace of Lord Gopajiu. One deputy magistrate named Bal Mukunda Kanungo used to come for his darshan, and it was his grand daughter who would hand over her property to Shrila Prabhupada for the future ISKCON Bhubaneshwara. ISKCON Bhubaneswar In the latter half of the Twentieth Century the grandson of Bhauri Giri, Ghanashyam, took over the seva of Gopaljiu. One day in a dream, the Deity instructed Ghanashyam to turn over His seva to Gour Govinda Maharaja. There had been discussion of Lord Gopaljiu’s seva coming under the banner of ISKCON, but Ghanashyam had been a little reluctant. Now his wife heard him telling Lord Gopaljiu in his sleep, “I will give, I will give.” Upon waking, Ghanashyam told her of how Lord Gopaljiu spoke to him from the window. A few days later Gour Govinda Swami arrived at Gadeigiri for darshan, and Ghanashayam Giri, honoring the Lord’s request, donated Lord Gopaljiu, His paraphernalia and His property to our dear Godbrother. Shrila Gour Govinda Maharaja immediately put everything in the name of ISKCON for the pleasure of Shrila Prabhupada setting the example that everything in the disciple’s possession is the property of Shri Guru. Then during his conversation with Ghanashyam Giri, Gour Govinda Maharaja revealed that Lord Gopaljiu had spoken with him at the same time as He had ordered Ghanashyama to offer Him to ISKCON. Shrila Gour Govinda Maharaja’s Divine Legacy Like several of his mystical ancestors, Gour Govinda Swami predicted his own departure and, like many of them, it would prove to be in the holy month of Magha. That is a time when the sun is in uttarayana, described in the Gita as one of the prerequisites for liberation. Like the other mahabhagavatas in his family tree who departed this world of their own accord, our remarkable Godbrother accepted maha-samadhi after Gopaljiu’s darshan. And so it was in Magha of 1996 after a visit to Gadeigiri that His Holiness Shrila Gour Govinda Thakur confided in a few devotees that he would soon leave this world. He departed soon thereafter at Shridham Mayapur on the sacred appearance day of Shrila Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. Our revered Godbrother left behind a notable legacy of service and accomplishments for the pleasure of his spiritual master, for the expansion of ISKCON and for benefit for the entire world. He is remembered primarily for the place of pilgrimage he developed at Bhubaneshwar, celebrated as ISKCON’s second Shri Krishna Balarama Mandir. By the wish of Shrila Prabhupada, the Deities of the Supreme Lord and His elder brother are of brass, and there is also a Deity of Lord Govinda in the same Divine Form as Shri Gopaljiu. Many had wondered at the remote spot Shrila Prabhupada chose for the temple. However, the all-knowing Shrila Prabhupada answered with a prediction that the area would become a major part of the city and an internationally-recognized tirtha-bhumi, which has now come to pass. Indeed, Shrila Prabhupada spent seventeen days in Bhubaneshwara with Gour Govinda Maharaja domiciling in a hut our Godbrother built for the pleasure of his Guru Maharaja. At that time Shrila Prabhupada encouraged him by telling of a prediction that Gaudiya Vaishnavism would spread all over the world from Orissa. Then, of course, there is the Deity Who guided his every step of his life and Who brought him to Shrila Prabhupada. Shri Gour Govinda Swami’s beautiful Radha-Gopaljiu Temple at Gadeigiri has also become a major ISKCON place of pilgrimage. Gadeigiri Temple For the pleasure of Shrila Prabhupada, our illustrious Godbrother introduced an Oriyan flavor of Gaudiya Vaishnavism into the family of ISKCON adding to the movement’s divine glory. By this he demonstrated that devotional service is not robotic, rather it is a personal expression of the individual devotee’s love for Shri Guru expressed through unalloyed service. Yet, more importantly, H.H.Gour Govinda Maharaja always emphasized the necessity of maintaining the Society as desired by Shrila Prabhupada. While not the goal in and of itself, the foundation and structure of ISKCON serves as a base that shores up the spiritual needs of both the preachers and the public they enlighten. Maharaja remained always a staunch and vigilant opponent of outside influences that would only weaken the minds and newfound faith of the Society’s worldwide members. Regarding devotees running for support and shelter outside the Society against the will of the founder-acharya, His Holiness offered this advice in a letter: “It is a fact that if an elevated Vaishnava is there, then one should go and take his association. There is no harm in that. But in this case there is a danger that the discipline in our organization will be affected adversely. If the leaders are going outside of ISKCON, how will we be able to maintain discipline? Srila Prabhupada has formed this society, and this threat to his society will only cause him pain.” Then in another letter he advised along the same lines: “My opinion is that Srila Prabhupada will not be happy with these senior devotees going outside of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada has said that everything is in his books. If you try to understand this, then by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada it will all be made clear to you.” His Holiness made the following statement in 1994: “There are three things that are very important to me. One is that I want to preach to the preachers. It causes me so much pain to see the devotees falling down and going away. The second thing is that I want to show how everything is in Prabhupada’s books. Those persons who are saying that Srila Prabhupada only gave ABC, it causes me so much pain in my heart. I want to make them silent. And the third thing is that I want to show how everything is in ISKCON and that devotees do not have to go elsewhere for higher teachings.” Our remarkable Godbrother also left behind a grand legacy of noteworthy Vaishnava literary contributions of his own. To read Godbrothers’ reviews of his masterful The Embankment of Separation and Mathura Meets Vrindavana, Reviews Today from Bhubaneshwar his disciples continue to preach his unsullied parampara message of pure love of God through Krishna consciousness. Always emphasizing scripture, whatever he said he always backed up with shastric references, and he came down heavily on those who did not follow suit. His disciples emulate his example that utmost tolerance is realized when the mind is placed at feet of Shri Guru in an attitude of service. They never find fault with the overall organization in an understanding that the Society remains as strong as its weakest links, and strengthening that structure rests upon each disciple’s personal tolerance. The journal called Shri Krishna Kathamrita produced by his disciples from ISKCON Bhubaneshwar is celebrated as among the finest current Vaishnava periodicals in the world. And any devotee who reads the book Gopaljiu will find his heart transformed. Today, some thirty-five years after the briefest of encounters, it has become this Godbrother’s ardent desire to someday visit the dual tirthas that HH Gour Govinda Maharaja established by the grace of Shrila Prabhupada and Lord Gopaljiu. By his example and activities, he is celebrated by his disciples as a modern-day acharya in his own right, a tireless preacher of Krishna consciousness, and a saint known for tolerance who never deviated from the order of Guru Maharaja. To learn more about the work of HH Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja, visit Welcome to GopalJiu.org. While there, sign up for the free online fortnightly Shri Krishna Kathamrita Bindhu and thereby enhance your Krishna consciousness. For more on ISKCON Gadeigiri , visit www.gopaljiutempel.com. Lectures by His Holiness can be accessed via YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.. ++++++++++++++++ *1. As evidence of this, even today many hundreds of thousands of pages of parampara literature have emerged from the pens of Prabhupada’s Western Vaishnavas, yet all the millions of Western fashion yogis world wide together have produced hardly a word of bona fide Vedic text whatsoever. That is the value of parampara disseminated via the bona fide spiritual master surcharged with the power and glory of the great Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradya. *2. In Orissa, whenever Lord Jagannath is worshipped without the Deities of Goddess Subhadra and His brother Lord Balarama, He is called Dadhi Baman or Patita Pavana.
  4. Our Remarkable Godbrother An Appreciation of Gour Govinda Maharaja By Patita Pavana das Adhikary It was thirty-five years ago, and today my memory is a bit vague, but I recall the incident went something like this. The Meeting Vrindavana, 1974-5: It might have been the always-blissful English brahmachary Gunarnava or maybe the philosophical Scottish devotee Smara Hari who approached me with the news. “Hey, Patit,” he called, “A sadhu just asked Shrila Prabhupada for initiation.” “Wow, good luck to that Maharaja,” I chuckled pessimistically. After all, we had both been Prabhupada’s disciples for a number of years, and had been in India long enough to know that most sadhus preferred to keep their distance from us “phoren bhaktas”. Sure, most of the yogis and renunciates appreciated the fact that we were doing our level best, but they were reticent about mingling; maybe rightfully so. There were the wild rumors that we were foreign spies, or that we had strange parties into the night, but I doubt any intelligent person took those seriously. I think what really kept the genuine article at arm’s length from us was that we were neophyte students of an ancient culture. And–truth be told–in the length and breadth of India and the whole wide world, too, only Prabhupada possessed the bell-metal-into-gold savvy to tame the savage white man and create devotees from base mlecchas. Maybe the other so-called gurus who were preaching in the West had some following, but generally they wore their Western students the way Boy Scouts wear merit badges.*(1) Though the number of our Hindu well-wishers in India was growing–especially among the vaishyas–the brahmanas and sadhus remained wary. And who could blame those pious sadhus and brahmanas anyway? When it came to preaching Vedic philosophy we Americans and Europeans were often overbold, sometimes even rude. For some of us, preaching did not go far beyond that all-purpose admonition, “You’re in Maya!” Hindus naturally wondered at the presumptuousness of foreigners telling them a thing or two about a culture they felt “flowed in their blood”, while we felt that they had compromised away the value of their Vedic heritage. Although we had learned something about prachar (preaching), what we lacked was achar–a standard of behavior acceptable to Indian sensibilities. We had seen a few sadhus join us, only to turn and leave within the week when asked to mop the ashram or clean the pots. So I might not have been blamed for being skeptical when told that a sadhu had approached Shrila Prabhupada for initiation. However, my Godbrother cautioned me to avoid snap judgments, “Not so fast, Prabhu, he seems very sincere. Somehow he’s different.” As events would unfold, this sadhu who had approached Shrila Prabhupada–and who would soon become Shrila Gour Govinda Swami–was not at all like the others who had come and gone away. The wandering pilgrim who was signing on as one of Shrila Prabhupada’s men was neither a mayavadi yogi nor a dry renunciate given over to abstract meditation. He did not imagine that religious philosophies can be opportunistically manufactured by selecting wise-sounding homilies from professional gurus, then knitting them together into a patchwork doctrine of convenience. Neither had he approached the acharya like some profit-motivated broker with the baited offering of conditional service. He did not want a green card, nor was he looking to hang with a fraternity of foreigners. No boasting masked ulterior motives. Neither was he some New Age “guru collector” who imagines his spiritual advancement hinges upon meeting many yogis for bragging rights. He was not seeking respect, which in fact appeared to be the greatest obstacle of those who felt themselves superior by dint of some tapasya or high birth. I was humbled to discover that his motive was unconditional surrender and service at the lotus feet of the empowered representative of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As I would learn many years later, Gour Govinda Maharaja sprang from a family of famous Orissan Gaudiya kirtan leaders, devotional mystics and Vaishnava renunciates. There in Vrindavana after a long, long search he had immediately recognized Shrila Prabhupada as the acharya, the very embodiment of Lord Chaitanya’s worldwide movement. Full surrender took only a moment. Devotees would see him ascend to the post of guru in his own right. He would rise from the ranks to become a victorious preacher and modern sampradaya link, proving his mettle over again in the fire of bhakti-yoga. And by the time he would suddenly leave this world in Mayapur in January 1996 at the calling of Lord Shri Krishna, he would enhance the glory of ISKCON by founding two major centers of pilgrimage on behalf of his worshipable Guru Maharaja. A Life of Devotion His life is briefly described in the inspiring little book “Gopalju, the Beloved Deity of Gour Govinda Swami” penned by his ever-faithful disciple Shriman Madhavananda Das. At birth, his pious parents had pointed to his future by giving him a name of Lord Krishna. Braja Bandhu Manik came into this world in the interior village of Jagannathpur, Orissa. His earliest memories were of his love for the family Deity Gopaljiu of the nearby village Gadegiri. It was his relationship with Shri Gopaljiu that would guide and shape every moment of his life. By the age of eight, Braja Bandhu was discoursing from the Gita and the Bhagavat. Married at twenty-three, he raised a large family, supporting them on a school teacher’s salary. Then in 1974 at forty-five he took the name of Gour Gopal and suddenly walked out of his house to search the length and breadth of India for a bona fide spiritual master. Penniless, he wandered as a pilgrim from India’s tip at Kanya Kumari where the waters of three great oceans mingle, to the Himalayas where he discoursed with countless yogis on the mysteries of life and its goal. Satisfaction eluded him, for he found in his journey that India’s so-called spiritual preceptors were ignoring the command of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in His full avatara as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord’s sankirtan movement had been overlooked in favor of shadowy spiritual practices that are wholly unsuitable for the present age. Rejecting the many impersonalists he met along the way, Gour Gopal turned his footsteps toward the land for which he had been named. At last the seeker arrived in Vraja Mandala. Ironically, at a Gaudiya Math temple in Mathura the brahmacharis mistook him for a mayavadi and abruptly showed him the door. Later, in Vrindavana he spotted a sign that led him to the construction site of ISKCON’s proposed Krishna Balarama Mandir. There a devotee handed him a Back to Godhead. Looking through the magazine, Gour Gopal was delighted to find the three things he was looking for in his prospective guru: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the mahamantra and Shrimad Bhagavatam. As if by Providence, Shrila Prabhupada happened to be there as though waiting for him. When Gour Gopal offered his obeisances, Shrila Prabhpada’s first words were, “Have you taken sannyasa? I will give you sannyasa.” In this way the World Guru immediately knew the mind of the sincere candidate and offered the pilgrim what he had left home for. Less than a year later, His Divine Grace would offer him cloth and danda, as Braja Bandhu, now Gour Gopal, became transformed into Shrila Gour Govinda Swami on the holy day of Rama Navami at the opening of the Shri Krishna Balarama Temple in Vrindavana. Lord Gopaljiu of Gadeigiri Spiritual initiation from Shrila Prabhupada only deepened Gour Govinda Swami’s devotion to his beloved Deity of Shri Gopaljiu back in Gadeigiri. This village of Gadeigiri was founded in the late 1600’s by an ancestor of Shri Gour Govinda Maharaja named Shri Gadai Giri. Gadai Giri used to come down from Midnapur, today part of West Bengal, to sell door to door brass and metal items. While on one such trip, he heard coming from the jungle, the auspicious sounds of a flute, the tinkle of ankle bells and the blowing of a conch intermingling with the calls of various birds. A local sadhu whom Gadai Giri had befriended recommended that he make his home in that very spot, advising him that Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must be present there. And wherever Krishna lives, there dwells Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, all of Gadai Giri’s needs would be met if he were to simply remain there in adoration of the Supreme Lord. Thus Shri Gadai Giri made a clearing from the jungle and built a thatched-roof home. He gave up his business, constructed a small temple to Dadhi Baman* (2) and engaged full time in the glorification of the Supreme Lord through kirtan and study of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Gadai Giri’s only son was Gopal Giri, who became a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and a master of kirtan. Gopal Giri intensely desired to worship a Deity of Lord Krishna from Vrindavana, but in those days, long before trains and buses, he had no way to make the pilgrimage to Vrajabhumi. Hence he shifted from Gadeigiri to Puri thinking that somehow Lord Krishna would come to him there. At the temple of Lord Jagannath he was employed by the king as the poddar or cashier. At Puri he frequently met sadhus whom he used to request to bring him a Deity of Gopal from Vraja, but his wish remained unfulfilled. At that time there was a Vaishnava mendicant in far away Vrajabhumi who was worshipping a Deity of Lord Gopal. While the sannyasi went for begging alms daily, the Deity would accompany him in a cloth bag. One night the sadhu had a vision in which Lord Gopal ordered the renunciate to take Him to Puri where He desired to accept the adoration of Gopal Giri. At first the sadhu disregarded the command of the Lord as a mere dream. So a few days later, the Lord appeared again, this time soundly beating the sadhu across the legs till they bled. The Vaishnava awoke in pain and fervently apologized to Lord Gopal for ignoring His order. He immediately began the 2½ month trek walking to Puri. Gopal Giri was well known in Puri and there the sadhu had no difficulty in locating him. When they met, the sadhu handed over his Gopal Deity as per the divine instruction. When he showed the wounds on his legs, Gopal Giri healed them by his mere touch. Gopal Giri offered the sadhu as much money as he liked, but he declined, requesting instead that he remain with Lord Gopal as his pujari. Gopal Giri had a brass Deity of Shrimati Radharani made for the Deity’s pleasure, and resigned from his post, returning to Gadeigiri to engage in kirtan. The sadhu remained there in seva for twenty years and when he departed this world, a samadhi was built for him. Gopal Giri’s kirtan in the Odissi Gaudiya style of Shri Rasikananada and Shri Shyamanada Prabhus became so famous that it would be inscribed in the history book of the Jagannath Temple at Puri that the Gadeigiri kirtan group should always be allowed to perform in the temple. The tradition of employing a sannyasi pujari for Shri Gopaljiu of Gadeigiri continued for generations. In the mid-1800’s a crooked sannyasi engaged in His seva kidnapped the Deities in the still of night. Meanwhile, Lord Gopal alerted Gadai Giri’s great-great grandson Bhagavat Charan in a dream that He was being stolen away. By the will of Providence, the fleeing sadhu was bitten on his way by a poisonous snake. Bhagavat Charan found the thievish pujari lying dead, and returned Lord Radha-Gopal to the temple. Afterwards, he only engaged married brahmanas in Thakur-seva. In the early 1900’s, care of the temple fell to the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Gadai Giri, named Bauri Giri. Even government officers would come for the darshan of Bauri Giri, a paramhamsa bhakta said to have mystic powers to heal illness by the grace of Lord Gopajiu. One deputy magistrate named Bal Mukunda Kanungo used to come for his darshan, and it was his grand daughter who would hand over her property to Shrila Prabhupada for the future ISKCON Bhubaneshwara. ISKCON Bhubaneswar In the latter half of the Twentieth Century the grandson of Bhauri Giri, Ghanashyam, took over the seva of Gopaljiu. One day in a dream, the Deity instructed Ghanashyam to turn over His seva to Gour Govinda Maharaja. There had been discussion of Lord Gopaljiu’s seva coming under the banner of ISKCON, but Ghanashyam had been a little reluctant. Now his wife heard him telling Lord Gopaljiu in his sleep, “I will give, I will give.” Upon waking, Ghanashyam told her of how Lord Gopaljiu spoke to him from the window. A few days later Gour Govinda Swami arrived at Gadeigiri for darshan, and Ghanashayam Giri, honoring the Lord’s request, donated Lord Gopaljiu, His paraphernalia and His property to our dear Godbrother. Shrila Gour Govinda Maharaja immediately put everything in the name of ISKCON for the pleasure of Shrila Prabhupada setting the example that everything in the disciple’s possession is the property of Shri Guru. Then during his conversation with Ghanashyam Giri, Gour Govinda Maharaja revealed that Lord Gopaljiu had spoken with him at the same time as He had ordered Ghanashyama to offer Him to ISKCON. Shrila Gour Govinda Maharaja’s Divine Legacy Like several of his mystical ancestors, Gour Govinda Swami predicted his own departure and, like many of them, it would prove to be in the holy month of Magha. That is a time when the sun is in uttarayana, described in the Gita as one of the prerequisites for liberation. Like the other mahabhagavatas in his family tree who departed this world of their own accord, our remarkable Godbrother accepted maha-samadhi after Gopaljiu’s darshan. And so it was in Magha of 1996 after a visit to Gadeigiri that His Holiness Shrila Gour Govinda Thakur confided in a few devotees that he would soon leave this world. He departed soon thereafter at Shridham Mayapur on the sacred appearance day of Shrila Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. Our revered Godbrother left behind a notable legacy of service and accomplishments for the pleasure of his spiritual master, for the expansion of ISKCON and for benefit for the entire world. He is remembered primarily for the place of pilgrimage he developed at Bhubaneshwar, celebrated as ISKCON’s second Shri Krishna Balarama Mandir. By the wish of Shrila Prabhupada, the Deities of the Supreme Lord and His elder brother are of brass, and there is also a Deity of Lord Govinda in the same Divine Form as Shri Gopaljiu. Many had wondered at the remote spot Shrila Prabhupada chose for the temple. However, the all-knowing Shrila Prabhupada answered with a prediction that the area would become a major part of the city and an internationally-recognized tirtha-bhumi, which has now come to pass. Indeed, Shrila Prabhupada spent seventeen days in Bhubaneshwara with Gour Govinda Maharaja domiciling in a hut our Godbrother built for the pleasure of his Guru Maharaja. At that time Shrila Prabhupada encouraged him by telling of a prediction that Gaudiya Vaishnavism would spread all over the world from Orissa. Then, of course, there is the Deity Who guided his every step of his life and Who brought him to Shrila Prabhupada. Shri Gour Govinda Swami’s beautiful Radha-Gopaljiu Temple at Gadeigiri has also become a major ISKCON place of pilgrimage. Gadeigiri Temple For the pleasure of Shrila Prabhupada, our illustrious Godbrother introduced an Oriyan flavor of Gaudiya Vaishnavism into the family of ISKCON adding to the movement’s divine glory. By this he demonstrated that devotional service is not robotic, rather it is a personal expression of the individual devotee’s love for Shri Guru expressed through unalloyed service. Yet, more importantly, H.H.Gour Govinda Maharaja always emphasized the necessity of maintaining the Society as desired by Shrila Prabhupada. While not the goal in and of itself, the foundation and structure of ISKCON serves as a base that shores up the spiritual needs of both the preachers and the public they enlighten. Maharaja remained always a staunch and vigilant opponent of outside influences that would only weaken the minds and newfound faith of the Society’s worldwide members. Regarding devotees running for support and shelter outside the Society against the will of the founder-acharya, His Holiness offered this advice in a letter: “It is a fact that if an elevated Vaishnava is there, then one should go and take his association. There is no harm in that. But in this case there is a danger that the discipline in our organization will be affected adversely. If the leaders are going outside of ISKCON, how will we be able to maintain discipline? Srila Prabhupada has formed this society, and this threat to his society will only cause him pain.” Then in another letter he advised along the same lines: “My opinion is that Srila Prabhupada will not be happy with these senior devotees going outside of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada has said that everything is in his books. If you try to understand this, then by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada it will all be made clear to you.” His Holiness made the following statement in 1994: “There are three things that are very important to me. One is that I want to preach to the preachers. It causes me so much pain to see the devotees falling down and going away. The second thing is that I want to show how everything is in Prabhupada’s books. Those persons who are saying that Srila Prabhupada only gave ABC, it causes me so much pain in my heart. I want to make them silent. And the third thing is that I want to show how everything is in ISKCON and that devotees do not have to go elsewhere for higher teachings.” Our remarkable Godbrother also left behind a grand legacy of noteworthy Vaishnava literary contributions of his own. To read Godbrothers’ reviews of his masterful The Embankment of Separation and Mathura Meets Vrindavana, Reviews Today from Bhubaneshwar his disciples continue to preach his unsullied parampara message of pure love of God through Krishna consciousness. Always emphasizing scripture, whatever he said he always backed up with shastric references, and he came down heavily on those who did not follow suit. His disciples emulate his example that utmost tolerance is realized when the mind is placed at feet of Shri Guru in an attitude of service. They never find fault with the overall organization in an understanding that the Society remains as strong as its weakest links, and strengthening that structure rests upon each disciple’s personal tolerance. The journal called Shri Krishna Kathamrita produced by his disciples from ISKCON Bhubaneshwar is celebrated as among the finest current Vaishnava periodicals in the world. And any devotee who reads the book Gopaljiu will find his heart transformed. Today, some thirty-five years after the briefest of encounters, it has become this Godbrother’s ardent desire to someday visit the dual tirthas that HH Gour Govinda Maharaja established by the grace of Shrila Prabhupada and Lord Gopaljiu. By his example and activities, he is celebrated by his disciples as a modern-day acharya in his own right, a tireless preacher of Krishna consciousness, and a saint known for tolerance who never deviated from the order of Guru Maharaja. To learn more about the work of HH Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja, visit Welcome to GopalJiu.org. While there, sign up for the free online fortnightly Shri Krishna Kathamrita Bindhu and thereby enhance your Krishna consciousness. For more on ISKCON Gadeigiri , visit www.gopaljiutempel.com. Lectures by His Holiness can be accessed via YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.. ++++++++++++++++ *1. As evidence of this, even today many hundreds of thousands of pages of parampara literature have emerged from the pens of Prabhupada’s Western Vaishnavas, yet all the millions of Western fashion yogis world wide together have produced hardly a word of bona fide Vedic text whatsoever. That is the value of parampara disseminated via the bona fide spiritual master surcharged with the power and glory of the great Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradya. *2. In Orissa, whenever Lord Jagannath is worshipped without the Deities of Goddess Subhadra and His brother Lord Balarama, He is called Dadhi Baman or Patita Pavana.
  5. krsna

    A trip to there and back again (Krsna ! )

    Yes, here and now there is another chance to get Gaura's krpa\mercy. I get the invite to burn bright in the everlasting light of Harinam Sankirtana:) By the causeless mercy of His dear devotee! Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
  6. Over 2,000 years ago, South Indian saint Tiruvalluvar wrote in the Tirukural: The body requires no medicine if you eat only after the food you have already eaten is digested. --Kural 942 Once digestion is complete, eat with moderation; that is the way to prolong the life of the body. --Kural 943 Life remains unharmed when one eats with restraint, refraining from foods that have proven disagreeable. --Kural 945 The pleasures of health abide in the man who eats moderately. The pains of disease dwell wth him who eats excessively. --Kural 946 ]
  7. Book distribution, what is the focus? The other day I was reading an article which was talking about the preaching work done be the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon’s in relation to devotees book distribution. They noted that from what they could see that both were more successful in making followers, and questioned why this could be? One is focus, what is the purpose of book distribution? Is it the book score? Is it the money raised? Or is it something more deeper? I can only talk for the Jehovah’s Witnesses as I used to be a regular pioneer (yes the ones who knock on your door); the focus was not the amount of books distributed, yes big numbers was nice but this was not the focus. The focus was this, the bible study through the study of the bible they will see the need for God in there lives and too become a follower of Jehovah and his son Jesus. Each Friday night service was focused on helping us all develop the skills needed and to inspire. As we went from street to street, house to house we logged and returned not only to those homes that had taken a book, but those who had shown an interest and asked questions. Time would be taken to note facts, name, address, family details, what was talked about any interesting detail; so that on the follow up call we could use these, if a family member or pet was ill we would know to ask how they are. This is a personal touch a personal interest in them, people respond well to this and it demonstrates concern. The aim is simply that one day they will come to the house group, this is held once a week in a persons home and is a page by page discussion of one of the societies books; it gives the person association of others and helps develop more personal relationships Eventually they will come to the Kingdom Hall and eventually will enter into the House to House ministry school Yes this was the simple program in order to make disciples. Srila Prabhupada wrote this: When Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami went to Vrndavana, there was not a single temple, but by their preaching they were gradually able to construct various temples. Sanatana Gosvami constructed the Madana-mohana temple, and Rupa Gosvami constructed the Govindaji temple. Similarly, their nephew Jiva Gosvami constructed the Radha-Damodara temple, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami constructed the Radha-ramana temple, Sri Lokanatha Gosvami constructed the Gokulananda temple, and Syamananda Gosvami constructed the Syamasundara temple. In this way, many temples were gradually constructed. For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary. The Gosvamis not only engaged in writing books but also constructed temples because both are needed for preaching work. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted the cult of His sankirtana movement to spread all over the world. Now that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has taken up this task of preaching the cult of Lord Caitanya, its members should not only construct temples in every town and village of the globe but also distribute the books that have already been written and further increase the number of books. Both distribution of books and construction of temples must continue side by side in parallel lines. Adi 7.164 We see that the Gosvami’s by there preaching work also gave facility for those who they had convinced to become God Conscious a focal point to share, to praise, to sing and dance, to worship Sri Krishna. The value of preaching is not only the number of books but that we develop the congregation; that we concentrate our book distribution in areas were we have or are wanting to set up a centre. That our focus in not the good book score or amount of money we raised, but that of follow up. I look at the book scores and myself wonder, why if so many books (and by Krishna’s mercy they are higher than that of the Witnesses) how come so few come end up coming to our centers. It is this as we give a book do we give contact details? Does it give the times for the outreach classes? The question is this, does it appear that we are interested in them taking the book, or are we interested in them? As we go out on book’s are we looking to make devotees? This should always be our focus, not the high book scores or the money, then our centers will be full.
  8. Was it at the wrestling arena in Mathura that Krsna and Balarama were seen differently according to the different gradations of rasa that each person had towards Them? from KRSNA Book:
  9. Ok, just kidding...so you've finally got a black man in the white house. Now what?!
  10. http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/news/10-08/news2295.htm http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/news/10-08/news2295.htm
  11. True Beginner BY: JAGABANDHU DAS Oct 26, FORT WHITE, FLORIDA (SUN) — "All persons of this world are really superior to us in every way as far as this world is concerned." -- L'Envoi, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada Sometimes it seems that the first thing I learned in an organized religious context was to demonize and think ill of all with apparently inferior divergent ideological viewpoints. But I'm so tired of learning to think ill of others regardless of what they may think, say or do. Aren't you all tired of it too? In my sojourn through this life I am inevitably bound to encounter many ideas and instances with which I may beg to differ. Certainly intelligent discernment should be sought and encouraged. But why must disagreement become dislike (or possibly even hatred)? If I think ill of others, how will I be able to follow Mahaprabhu's Third Beautiful Precept of always giving honor to them? How can I be humbler than the grass if my heart is afflicted with dislike and hatred of the "inferior," less intelligent and "impious" from amongst ignorant, "infidel" unbelievers? What could possibly be of any real spiritual benefit from such condescending "compassionate" outreach? How can love grow in a heart full of hate and ill-will? If I can carefully consider and imbibe the essence of Srila Rupa Goswami's and Srila Haridas Thakur's own moods of extreme self-abnegation; my heart will be filled with genuinely scathing shame in my feeble approach to the Supreme Divinity of Absolute Affection. This will cause me to reflect that I am myself an infidel of the infantile pretender class. And I wouldn't know true devotion proper if it hit me like a brick between my "eyes of hate." Srila Saraswati Thakur tells us that rather than feel ourselves superior to others, we must in fact consider ourselves inferior by comparison. In every way. Because of this, I think of myself as a mleccha really. Mere vegetarian white trash. A soul at best. Even Buddhists, Christians and Muslims are above me. From this true inner beginning, I might then truly pursue a positive life eternal, devoid of condescension, ill-will and sectarian party spirit. And enthused with a genuine respectful affection for all souls combined with the tolerant endurance of trees. By the Grace of Sri Guru and the True Vaishanavas, Sri Nam Prabhu may then finally soar from the empty depths of my lowly soul and consume all my existence, all the time. At last.
  12. How to get yourself killed. How to get yourself killed over and over again. <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE></CITE> <CITE>Chaitanya-charitamrita</CITE> Madhya-lila 24.251, text & purport: "Narada Muni continued, 'All the animals that you have killed and given unnecessary pain will kill you one after the other in your next life and in life after life.' PURPORT This is another authoritative statement made by the great sage Narada. Those who kill animals and give them unnecessary pain—as people do in slaughterhouses—will be killed in a similar way in the next life and in many lives to come. One can never be excused from such an offense. If one kills many thousands of animals in a professional way so that other people can purchase the meat to eat, one must be ready to be killed in a similar way in his next life and in life after life. There are many rascals who violate their own religious principles. According to Judeo-Christian scriptures, it is clearly said, "Thou shalt not kill." Nonetheless, giving all kinds of excuses, even the heads of religions indulge in killing animals while trying to pass as saintly persons. This mockery and hypocrisy in human society bring about unlimited calamities; therefore occasionally there are great wars. Masses of such people go out onto battlefields and kill themselves. Presently they have discovered the atomic bomb, which is simply waiting to be used for wholesale destruction. If people want to be saved from the killing business life after life, they must take to Krishna consciousness and cease sinful activity. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness recommends that everyone abandon meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling. When one gives up these sinful activities, he can understand Krishna and take to this Krishna consciousness movement. We therefore request everyone to abandon sinful activity and chant the Hare Krishna mantra: In this way people can save themselves from repeated birth and death and from being killed like the animals in slaughterhouses.
  13. Change in the direction of eternal time Maharaja Yudhisthira began to observe many inauspicious omens that indicated a change in the direction of eternal time and caused fear to penetrate his heart. There were disruptions in seasonal regularities, and the people in general became noticeably proud, greedy, angry and deceitful. Many citizens had adopted abominable means of livelihood, and ordinary transactions had become polluted with cheating, even among friends. There was a constant strain of misunderstanding between husband and wife, parents and children as well as between brothers and well-wishers. The disappearance of Lord Krishna - Canto 1
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