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  1. Inside ISKCON How do You Become an ISKCON Sannyasi? By ISKCON News Staff on 1 Jul 2008 <!--paging_filter-->Vaisnava culture emphasises renunciation therefore ISKCON has many people who have accepted a role as a sanyasa, or traveling monk. However, in the past many aspirants have had difficulty maintaining their vows which created controversy and scandal. ISKCON responded to the issue by developing a system by which we can better ensure the maturity and qualification of candidates. ISKCON News approached Prahladananda Swami, GBC minister of sannyasa, to help clarify the system by which an ISKCON member can take sannyasa. If you've spent much time in or around ISKCON or other Gaudiya Vaishnava communities, you'll be somewhat familiar with sannyasis. But what is the essence of being a sannyasi, and how does one become one? According to one verse in the ancient scripture Bhagavad-gita, a sannyasi is someone who has completely dedicated his activities – for the service of God for His satisfaction without any material desire. Of course, by that definition, any advanced Krishna devotee could be considered a sannyasi. Still, those who have taken a vow of complete celibacy and are fully engaged in spreading Krishna consciousness are given special honor because of their practical renunciation. So can just anyone who decides they're disgusted with family life, desires some special honor as well as free plane tickets around the world become an ISKCON sannyasi? Nope. Unfortunately for you, if that's your plan, your intention must be far purer and deeper. In the purport to Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila 3.6, ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada writes: "If one accepts the sannyasa order, his main business is to devote his life completely to the service of Mukunda, Krishna. If one does not completely devote his mind and body to the service of the Lord, he does not actually become a sannyasi. It is not simply a matter of changing dress." It's pretty clear that Srila Prabhupada, following the example of previous Vaishnava leaders, wanted ISKCON devotees to accept sannyasa only if they had the highest spiritual qualifications. And that's where the GBC Ministry for Sannyasa Services comes in. "Every year, at the GBC General Meeting in Mayapur, we systematically assess sannyasa candidates and give recommendations to the GBC Body," says International Sannyasa Minister Prahladananda Swami. "This assessment process for sannyasa candidates, as well as the training that follows, seems to have significantly improved the quality of the sannyasa ashrama in ISKCON." First off, every sannyasa candidate must have a sponsor, usually a senior devotee in their location. The sponsor must hand in an initial report of the candidate's qualifications according to the GBC Rules of Order, "The Qualifications for Sannyasa." Then the candidates being assessed must fill in a thorough application form which includes: 1. Age of the candidate. 2. Data necessary to do an astrological analysis. 3. Marital status. 4. If previously married, information when separated or divorced from the wife, including legal separation or divorce papers. How are the former wife and children maintained? When applicable, written statement by the wife that she is in agreement that her former husband is taking sannyasa. 5. Scriptural tests passed. Passing the Bhakti Sastri exam is a minimum qualification to apply for becoming a sannyasa candidate. 6. Service within ISKCON. Preaching experience and future preaching plans. Past responsible positions held within ISKCON. 7. A letter with a resume detailing the devotee's devotional career in or outside of ISKCON. 8. A letter explaining the devotee's reasons for wanting to take sannyasa. 9. Information about any possible criminal record. 10. Information about their opinions on certain controversial subjects. 11. Signed oath of loyalty to ISKCON. 12. A letter of endorsement from the local GBC and managerial body. 13. Names of 10 senior ISKCON devotees (i.e. sannyasis, GBC's temple presidents etc.) who can give an assessment of the devotee's qualifications to take sannyasa. 14. Names of 5 senior devotees who you trust can act as your mentors and give the Sannyasa Ministry feedback as to the devotee's preaching and devotional advancement. 15. An affirmation by the devotee that he is willing to travel and preach in areas designated by the Sannyasa Ministry and the GBC Executive Committee for one to two months a year. "When the candidate hands in this application, we review it, and interview them, as well as others who are familiar with the candidate and his qualifications and devotional history and when applicable make a recommendation to the GBC Body," says Prahladananda Swami. "Of course, if you're accepted, that doesn't mean you take sannyasa immediately! Instead you're put on a waiting list for different amounts of time according to what age you are and other factors - at 45, the wait is three years, at 40, it's four years, and at 35, five years." This seems to indicate that the GBC would rather sannyasa candidates are at a reasonably mature age, and have experienced family life for long enough to genuinely be able to renounce it. Any requirements for being placed on the sannyasa waiting list or being accepted as eligible for taking initiation in the sannyasa ashrama can be waived, but only in exceptional cases and by a vote of at least 4/5th majority of the GBC. Once the candidate has taken on their new role as sannyasi, their sponsor must send in annual reports on them, as well as making sure that any discrepancies on their conduct, behavior or attitude are rectified. "Each year, the new sannyasis themselves must also submit reports on their preaching, devotional practices, and finances," Prahladananda Swami says. On top of that, the candidate is requested to travel with an experienced sannyasi who can train them and give feedback on their qualifications and progress. Sounds like a process that couldn't possibly get more detailed. But the Sannyasa Ministry are well aware of how serious the post of sannyasa is, and want to make sure they've covered every inch of ground. "We're always looking for suggestions on how to improve our process of selecting ISKCON sannyasis," Prahladananda Swami says. "We'd really appreciate any valuable suggestions you may have."
  2. Radha Kund Das Remembering Srila Prabhupada by Siddhanta das Posted April 16, 2007 Radha Kund Das: As we were walking through the airport, Prabhupada stopped to tell Sri Govinda, whose tilak went up his forehead and continued on top of his head, "This is not a racing stripe. This is tilak. It stops at the forehead." Then I knew for sure how to put on tilak. I was walking and dancing in front of Prabhupada, and I could see that he was heading to an entrance door instead of an exit door, so I ran ahead and pulled the door open for him. When Prabhupada walked by he said, "Thank you." God, it was the greatest thing in the world that he said something to me. My initiation was the next day. The Radha-Damodar traveling bus party was also there and a lot of devotees were initiated that day. About a month before this, The Nectar of Instruction had been published, and for the first time people heard of Radha Kund. As the devotees were called up to get their beads, they made a lot of errors. They paid their obeisances to Srila Prabhupada with their rear-ends facing the Deities, Kishor-Kishori. Prabhupada told them to move. They would reach with their left hand to get their beads. When one devotee recited the principles, he said, "Don't eat after dark." Everyone was nervous and ecstatically discombobulated. They didn't know what to do or how to present themselves. I was watching and thinking, "Pay obeisances to the side, reach with the right hand, the four regulative principles, sixteen rounds. Okay, I've got this. I'm going to do this right." When I was called up I was still thinking, "Four regulative principles, sixteen rounds, right side, right hand." I was so intent on saying these things to Srila Prabhupada that Prabhupada picked that up. He knew that I was anxious to tell him, and so he sat there looking at me. I was waiting for him to ask me, and he was waiting for me to tell him. Finally he smiled and chuckled. He said, "What are the regulative principles?" I recited them, and then said I would chant sixteen rounds daily. He took my beads from the microphone stand and looked at me with a smile. Then he got sober and said, "Your name is Radha Kund." When he said that, it was like the Fourth of July. Five-hundred devotees exclaimed "Ooo, ahh!" because they had just read about the glories of Radha Kund. That was my first association with His Divine Grace. The next evening Prabhupada played the kartals in a two-four beat, which we had never heard before. With his eyes closed he sang, "parama koruna pahu dui jana, nitai gaurachandra." Only Dhirakrishna and one or two others knew the song. All the rest of us were dumbfounded to hear this concert from Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada came out of his samadhi, looked around, and said, "You don't know this song? Tomorrow you'll know this song." He put the kartals down and started class. We all felt strange. The next day, Balavanta and Rupanuga, the head men there, gave us copies of the song. When Prabhupada sang the first stanza we sang along with him. Then Prabhupada stopped, because Paramahamsa Swami, who was playing the mridunga, had no idea how to play the two-four beat. It was altogether different. Prabhupada said, "Give me the mridunga." This was the first time Prabhupada had played the mridunga in years. It was a spectacular moment in life and also an exclusive that Prabhupada was going to play the mridunga. But since it was humid in Atlanta, the mridunga had a horrible plap, plap, bang, bang sound. It had no tone. Dhirakrishna went off and brought Prabhupada a high-quality mridunga. But it too had a plap, plap, bang, bang sound because of the humidity. In front of all of us Prabhupada performed a miracle. He put that mridunga in his lap, and just by the tapping of his hand, sri mridunga came into tune, and then he started to sing again. Prabhupada was our hero. He conquered the mridunga, and he had a look on his face that he had figured it out. Everyone was roaring. Prabhupada was victorious in everything he did. It was so cool. When Prabhupada gave the Sunday feast lecture, a Christian woman kept interrupting him. She said, "It says in the Bible that Jesus is the only way." Prabhupada said, "Yes, the teachings of Christ are the only way. One has to surrender to a guru. One has to follow the principles of religiosity." Prabhupada humored her, but the devotees wanted to toss her out. One Sikh person called out, "In our scriptures there's no mention of Krishna, but we worship Govinda, Gopal." Prabhupada said, "That's good. Worship Govinda, Gopal; that's fine enough." Then the Christian woman interrupted again, and Prabhupada interrupted her. He said, "Have you seen God?" She said, "No." Prabhupada said, "Then why are you speaking? Don't speak anymore." All the devotees said, "Jaya!" and at that point the woman left. That was neat, because Prabhupada was caught in an awkward social situation. It was a Sunday feast. The temple was packed with devotees and guests, as well as the news media, and this woman was causing a disturbance. I wondered how Prabhupada was going to handle it, and the personality that he was, he handled it beautifully. One morning, Pushkar's painting of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada sitting in a chair was on the vyasasana. Prabhupada kept his head tilted and away in a mood of a child sitting humbly in front of his father. For Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was there. Prabhupada made sure that everything was perfect, that there were no problems. Even though his Guru Maharaj was in the form of a painting, Prabhupada treated him as if he were actually there. After Prabhupada chanted, he got off his vyasasana to offer the gurupuja arati. I was standing two feet to Srila Prabhupada's right as he did the arati, and I watched every move he made. After he offered the conch, he saw that there was no bowl for the offered water. In the roar of the kirtan, no one could hear his voice, but he looked at Rupanuga, and with his lips he said, "I need a bowl." All of a sudden, the devotees started roaring out "Haribol, Haribol!" and the whole room started chanting "Haribol." Prabhupada looked at them with the expression, "What do I have to work with here?" It was a funny moment. In order to be continuous and keep the flow going, Prabhupada tossed the offered water to a Tulasi devi plant that was near the picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, about three feet away and four feet high. The water came out of that conchshell in a perfect stream and circled around Tulasi devi without as much as splashing her. It was miracle number two. I was overwhelmed. What Prabhupada did was not within the laws of physical nature. Before this I had a romantic notion of who Prabhupada was. Although he initiated me, I was not convinced to the core of my heart that he was a pure soul who was in complete communication with Paramatma, with Lord Krishna. I didn't appreciate that reality. I thought, "It sounds good; we should think like that," but I didn't think so. Then it was time to blow the conchshell. It was a little conchshell, and its blowing hole was not properly made. Later the pujari mentioned that he gave Prabhupada the wrong conchshell. That conchshell hardly worked for me, a twenty-year-old. The whole room was waiting to hear Prabhupada blow this conchshell. I thought, "Oh, this 'old man' ain't gonna be able to blow this conch- shell." Srila Prabhupada took this conchshell to his lips, and with- out taking a breath he blew it perfectly three times. It was miracle number three. I realized that Srila Prabhupada was a pure devotee who was outside the laws of nature. That was the most amazing thing. On the only morning walk that I was ever on, I was directly behind Srila Prabhupada. I could see the three wrinkles on his neck, the tilt of his head, the quickness of his cane, and his smooth and soft gait, which appeared to be slow until you found yourself taking an extra-quick step to stay with him. He actually walked fast, which surprised me because it didn't look like we were walking fast. But I found myself having to move quickly to keep up. Srila Prabhupada would stop to answer a question or make some philosophical point, and all the devotees wanted to hear, so I was always being pushed from behind into Prabhupada. I found myself leaning backwards to keep from bumping Srila Prabhupada. At one point some big, tall, goofy devotee said over my shoulder, "Srila Prabhupada, is Krishna blue when nobody is around?" Srila Prabhupada immediately stopped, turned around, and looked at me with a disgusted, angry expression. Prabhupada's face was close to mine, and I tried to communicate, "It wasn't me talking, it was that guy." But Prabhupada looked at me and said, "Just read my books," with a tone that seemed to say, "You idiot." Then he turned around and continued the walk, and I stepped on the back of his shoe. First I got sauced, and on top of that I gave him a shoe flap. The devotees were looking at me like they wanted to kill me. Everyone thought I had asked that question. And then I stepped on Srila Prabhupada's shoe. Well, you can imagine. At the Sri Chaitanya Chandradoya Mandir in Mayapur, the gurukuli boys and girls were the first ones in line in front of Prabhupada's vyasasana, and I was next to the children. When Prabhupada finished class, he walked down the center aisle and patted some of the kids' heads. I bent my head down, hoping, and Prabhupada laughed and patted me on the head too. At this time Prabhupada was leading a procession to circumambulate the Radha-Madhava Deities and ring the temple bell. After he touched my head I paid my obeisances, and when I got up Brahmananda was standing there with a serious look on his face. I thought, "Oh, God, what are you doing here? You should be in the procession with everybody else." Brahmananda said, "I've been waiting for Prabhupada to pat me on the head for ten years, and he still hasn't done it," and then he went on. That was pretty cool. Brahmananda stopped to tell me that it was neat. In 1976 Srila Prabhupada was in L.A. for the last time. In L.A. there's an alleyway with steps to a side door that leads to Prabhupada's apartment above the Deities. To go on his morning walks Prabhupada went through that door to a waiting car. One morning I was on the side of the steps when all the other devotees were facing Prabhupada's door. Srila Prabhupada opened the door, and everybody said, "Jaya, Srila Prabhupada!" and offered their dandavats. I offered my dandavats, "-Nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale srimate bhakti-" and jumped up, because I didn't want to miss Prabhupada's form at all, ever. In all the different times I was around Prabhupada, I was always in front, and I never looked at anything else. Anyway, as I was paying my obeisances, Prabhupada went down the stairs and said, "Hare Krishna," in a dark, deep voice. I heard that as I was getting up, and without meaning to, I mimicked him, "Hare Krishna," because it sounded so cool. I thought, "Oh, God, what have I done? I just sent myself to hell. I just made guru maha aparad." I was very scared and freaked out. I thought I'd ruined my life that Prabhupada would tell me, "Get out!" Well, to my surprise Prabhupada looked at me, clinched his fist and said, "Jaya!", and then got into the car. I was overwhelmed. Prabhupada appreciated that I wasn't being sarcastic. I said it because it sounded so great.
  3. http://autofeed.msn.co.in/pandorav3/output/NRI/5ee77123-77f5-4b61-b82a -09181803c433.aspx PATNA, INDIA, April 3, 2005: A Canadian researcher of Indian origin says on the strength of astronomical evidence that the Mahabharata war was fought between the Pandavas and Kauravas in 2156 bce. Anand Mohan Sharan, who teaches in the faculty of engineering at the Memorial University in Newfoundland, said he used computers and several kinds of software to reach the conclusion about the epic Kurukshetra battle. "The astronomical evidences proved the historicity of the Mahabharata war by verifying the position of the planetary configurations mentioned in the 'Bhishma Parva' of the Mahabharata," Sharan told IANS. The Bhishma Parva is one of the 18 Parvas, or sections, that make up the Mahabharata. Sharan, who is visiting Bihar, says that his research on the Mahabharata war proves that the epic was no fiction. According to Sharan, the evidences include Lord Krishna's departure for negotiations in a bid to avoid the war on Revati day and the start of Balram's pilgrimage for 42 days along the Saraswati river on Pushya day. The drying up of the Saraswati river is believed by many to have take place around 1700 bce. "My results confirm that the descriptions in the Mahabharata are correct, and do not require re-organization of the shlokas, as suggested by many researchers in the past," he said. Sharan said his search time span covered 500 bce to 4000 bce. "This time span ensures that it covers all possible dates of the Mahabharata war. The date so determined were checked against other archaeological evidences such as the possibility of the presence of iron in India on that date."
  4. Good Lord,this body of'mine' is actally all his -every little atom of it belongs to Him and His material energy. I'm praying that He may take possession of it.May He enter my body and use it as He deems fit.Like a puppet;He is the Puppet Master pulling all the strings. "Dance !Make me Dance,dear Lord Krishna, Make me dance as you wish!"
  5. Landover Baptist Creation Scientist, Dr. Fred Neiman, announced findings related to his research into the female soul early this week. "The absence of either salvation or condemnation for women finds extensive support in the Word of God." He reported. "Jesus said that the sole reason God created women in the first place was to provide company and service to men (1 Corinthians 11:9), God determined that men would be lonely living alone, so he created women purely to keep men company and serve their needs (Genesis 2:18-22). Women are therefore completely subordinate to men (1 Corinthians 11:3). It stands to reason, though, that once men enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they will be one with God, and will no longer be lonely and in need of mortal companionship. Thus, the reason behind having women will no longer exist. Women, like the members of the animal kingdom, will fall by the wayside." Dr. Neiman went on to say that, "once men reunite with their maker, they will no longer be burdened with the care of women. After all, women were inferior creations from the start. Women are fond of self-indulgence (Isaiah 32:9-11). They are silly and easily led into error (2 Timothy 3:6). They are subtle and deceitful (Proverbs 7:10; Ecclesiastes 7:26). They are zealous in promoting superstition and idolatry (Jeremiah 7:18; Ezekiel 13:17, 23). And they are active in instigating to iniquity (Numbers 31:15-16; 1 Kings 21:25; Nehemiah 13:26). It was the inherent weakness of women that led them to be deceived by Satan (Genesis 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14). Consequently, women were cursed from the start (Genesis 3:16). There is simply no room in heaven for such flawed and inadequate beings." Pastor Deacon Fred warned the congregation that there was no reason to be alarmed. "Dr. Neiman's conclusions still need to be formalized," he assured. "I am certain that our team of religious experts will find some way around these Scriptures." Some of the women present were visibly shaken by the report. A teary eyed Sister Taffy Crockett said through choked sobs, "I've heard of colored women not having souls... but me? NO! This is outrageous!" Head Pastor, Rev. Ebeneezer Smith, had some comforting words for the ladies of Landover. "I personally want to assure all female members of this church that until we examine Dr. Neiman's research to our complete satisfaction, consider yourselves saved."
  6. <!-- the main section of the post goes here --> By Vaisesika dasa “There is sufficient merit in our books that if you simply describe them sincerely to anyone, they will buy.” -Srila Prabhupada The Steps Qualify your prospect with a question A friendly question is often the best way to qualify complete strangers to listen for a few minutes to your Bhagavad-gita presentation. If you don’t qualify your prospects, they won’t know why, out of the blue, you’re handing them a book. Feeling unqualified, they will most likely reject it. But by asking a simple question first, your prospects will feel more comfortable about accepting the book. Example: Distributor: “Excuse me, do you live in San Francisco?” Prospect: “Why, yes, I do!” Distributor: (While extending the book and placing it in the prospect’s hand . . .) “Oh, good, then let me show you one too.” NOTES: Q: What if the prospect says, “No, I’m from out of town”? A: It works either way. You’d still say, “Oh, good, then let me show you one too.” Whatever the prospects say in response to your question qualifies them to look at the book. “Show” vs. “Give” It’s important not to create the false impression that you’re giving your prospects a free book and then go on to ask them for a donation. Therefore, rather than saying, “Let me give you one of these,” it is much safer to say “Let me show you one of these.” A question is a powerful communication tool. It is sometimes called a “verbal hook” because, paradoxically, it allows you to gently lead the conversation. Hence, the age-old advice: “Whoever is asking the questions is controlling the conversation.” Example: Prospect: “Why are you doing this?” Distributor: “You believe in God, right?” (In this case, you’ve answered your prospect’s question with your own question. Asking your own question in response to his allows you to reframe and move the conversation in the direction you’d like it to go.) Trust the Hand Until you give your prospect a chance to hold the book, there’s a very good chance that he or she will walk away without buying it. Many new distributors hold back, feeling timid about actually placing the book in the prospect’s hand. Practice until you get used to placing the book into a person’s hands. Soon you’ll see that it’s natural, because the hand’s tendency is to take what is offered to it. All the body’s senses and limbs have natural tendencies. The eyes look, the ears listen, the feet walk, and the hands grab. That’s their job, and they do it well. We’ve seen thousands of cases in which people who seemed hesitant to look at a book became surprised after their hands had taken it in spite of themselves. But once they have the Bhagavad-gita in hand, they’ve made a psychic connection with you and the book. And since the Gita is Krsna Himself, the recipient often undergoes a change of heart just by holding the book for even a few seconds. Srila Prabhupada said that if they even touch one of his books they’ll make advancement: “And if somehow or other we place some literature in a person’s hand, that person becomes fortunate.” Note: You can leave the book in the prospects hands and show it to them as they hold it. Or, as many distributors prefer to do, you can gently take the book back into your hands, saying, “Here, let me give you a quick look.” A third option is to leave the Gita in the prospects’ hands and show them another copy, which you hold in your hands. Show and Tell Next, show and briefly explain: • A few select pictures • The Sanskrit, translations, & purports • The famous people who have read the Gita • A couple of university reviews • The number of Gitas printed Showing the pictures: Srila Prabhupada went to great lengths to include pictures in all of his books. He said that these pictures are “windows to the spiritual world.” Pictures are perhaps the best tools we have for explaining the Krsna consciousness philosophy. Remember, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The Changing Body (PLATE FIVE) Start by showing the picture of the changing body. Point to the baby’s body at the beginning of the sequence and say, “See, we all start off here.” Now, making a sweeping motion with your finger from the picture of the baby to the picture of the old man and finally the dead body, say, “And we all end up here.” Conclude with, “See, we’re all just passing through.” Note: If you’ve seen this picture many times, you may have come to take it for granted. However, you’ll find that most people who see this presentation for the first time are fascinated by it. The Changing Body is by far the most popular exhibit at The Festival of India. You might even notice that some people have a visceral reaction to it. People rarely visualize the entire span of their lives. However, with this simple presentation, your prospects will literally see their entire lives passing before their eyes. The Three Modes of Material Nature (PLATE SIX) Show the picture of the two men being controlled by the three modes of material nature. Krsna is at the top. Below Him are the three modes personified, who, like puppeteers, are controlling two men below them with a series of strings. Explain the picture: “This picture shows that we are all controlled by three modes of nature — goodness, passion and ignorance.” Now point to each of the modes in succession, saying: “Goodness brings wisdom, satisfaction, and peacefulness.” “Passion brings the desire to get ahead in life and the impetus to work hard to get more material stuff.” “And ignorance brings sleep, laziness, intoxication and the tendency to put things off.” Then ask them: “Which one do you think influences you the most?” Sample responses: Prospect: “I think I’m goodness.” You: “You look like you’re in goodness. I can see it in your eyes.” If they indicate that they’re most influenced by passion or ignorance, you can say: “Me too! Actually, we’re all under these modes to some degree, aren’t we?” Humble Sage (PLATE SEVEN) Next, show the picture of the humble sage who sees with equal vision the brahmana, cow, elephant, etc. Say, “Here’s a picture of the spiritually advanced person. “A spiritually advanced person treats everyone with respect because he or she sees that the body is only a dress for the soul and that God is in everyone’s heart.” Note: Most people agree with this definition of a spiritually advanced person and especially like the concept that such a person has respect for all. The Body as a Chariot (PLATE NINE) Next show the picture of the soul as a passenger on the chariot of the body. Explain that each one of our senses is like a powerful horse, the reins are our like our mind, the driver like our intelligence, and that we, the soul, are like the passengers on this chariot-like body. Point out that yoga, as taught by the Bhagavad-gita, teaches us how to bring the senses, mind, and intelligence under our control. Finish with, “If our horses — the senses — are out of control, we’re in for a very wild ride!” The Sitting Yogi (PLATE TEN) The next picture to show is that of the yogi sitting with matted hair and long fingernails, as his soul is leaving this world through the top of his head. In a light-hearted way, just point to the picture and say, “This guy’s been sitting here for a while, eh?” Karma (PLATE TWELVE) Next, show the picture of the man with the cow’s face getting ready to butcher the cow with the man’s face. Say, “You’ve heard of karma, right?” Then, using your index finger for emphasis, draw a circle in the air while saying, “What goes around comes around.” Sanskrit, Translation and Purport Next, turn to any verse in the Gita, point out the Sanskrit text, and say, “This is the ancient Sanskrit language. It’s a precise and complicated language that few people know these days. The author of this book has unlocked all of its secret meanings and given them here in the translations and purports.” (Point to the translations and purports.) Name-dropping Next, turn to the back cover of the Gita and point out the names: Thoreau, Emerson, and Gandhi as you say, “The Gita has been read by great thinkers throughout history. You’ve heard of Thoreau, Emerson, and Gandhi, right?” Finally, add, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Einstein also studied the Gita.” University Reviews Next, turn to the first couple of pages in the front of the Gita and point out the reviews by scholars and academic institutions. Point to University of Southern California and Georgetown University and say, “You’ve heard of USC and Georgetown University, right? “This book is used in major universities all over the world.” Printings Next, turn to the page near the front of the Gita that shows previous printings (790,000) and current printing (2004: 80,000) and say, “See, we’ve printed nearly a million copies of this book for distribution here in America. We also have them in many other languages.” Asking for a Donation By this time, your prospect will have understood the great value of the Gita and will want a copy of his or her own. Now you can explain what the prospect can do to take the book home. As you gesture toward your prospect, say, “My job is to select the nicest and most intelligent people to show these to.” Then, “We do this as a benefit to spread love for God and to propagate spiritual knowledge all over the world. “So people give donations to help our work and to help us out with the printing costs. “After printing, tax, shipping, and handling, the book costs us around eight dollars. Most people give between ten and twenty to help us out.” Variations on Donation Requests “We do this to systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to create real unity and peace in the world. “So people give donations to help our work and to help us out with the printing costs. “After printing, tax, shipping, and handling, the book costs us around eight dollars. Most people give between ten and twenty to help us out.” ______ “We’re helping people in suffering conditions, so we ask everyone to give a donation. “After printing, tax, shipping, and handling, the book costs us around eight dollars. Most people give between ten and twenty dollars to help us out.” Other Presentations Gratitude “This book teaches about bhakti yoga — the yoga of gratitude. “Have you noticed that when you are grateful, it doesn’t matter what your external surroundings are, you’re always happy? “On the other hand, if you don’t have gratitude, no matter how many material things you have, you can’t be happy.” God “These are spiritual books meant to awaken our pure love for God. You believe in God, right?” The Happiness Within “This book teaches that real happiness comes from within your own heart because God is in everyone’s heart. “Nowadays, we have fast Internet, five-lane freeways, and skyscrapers. But are people any happier than they were before these things existed? That’s because real happiness comes from within.” Prosperity “Everyone wants to be prosperous. But even among those who get an education or who work hard, some are more properous than others. This means that there’s another element that determines our properity. That’s the will of the Lord.” [alternative: “That comes from our spiritual side.”] Nature “God has created nature so that any intelligent person, without going to school or college, can become wise simply by observation. These books teach the art of observation.” Objections In a Hurry They say: “I’m in a hurry.” You ask: “Are you in a big hurry?” They say: “Yes.” You ask: “Do you want me to show this to you really quickly then?” Note: Remember, answering an objection with a question allows you to reframe the issue, giving you a chance to show the book in spite of the objection. Become a Master Asker. Religious Objections Born-again Christians Note: Most times, born-again Christians will inform you that they are “born again” or that they “only follow Lord Jesus Christ.” We recommend that you not spend a lot of time with these well-intentioned folks. They are not usually good prospects, and if you don’t learn how to break away quickly, you’ll waste a large portion of your preaching time listening to them explain their dogma. Here’s how . . . Option 1: They say: “I’m a born-again Christian.” You say: “Oh, that’s wonderful. We need more people like you in the world. It’s people of faith like you who are keeping the world afloat.” Note: At this point it’s often best to smile and let them go on their way. Or, you can try option 2: They say: “I’m a born-again Christian.” You say: “I’m not trying to change your religion; but you can always learn more right?” They say: “Well, I suppose so . . .” You say: “Do you read the newspaper?” They say: “Yes.” You say: “Well, you’ll get a lot more out of this than a newspaper.” Don’t believe in “organized religion.” They ask: “Is this about religion?” Note: Most times people who say they don’t believe in “organized religion” will ask this question. What they really mean is, “Is this another one of those cheating religions?” You say, “No. This is the opposite. In religion, they tell you what to do. This book points out that it’s your duty to find out the truth for yourself. It’s all inside of you.” [Alternative: “Don’t worry, we’re extremely disorganized.”] Price Objections They say: “I don’t have any cash.” You say: “We generally don’t take cash. Most people use a credit card.” Note: You should be set up to accept credit cards. They say: “I don’t have any money.” You say: “That’s all right, just give what you can. And if you’d rather, I can give you a smaller book that costs less to print.” Note: When people say, “I don’t have any money,” it usually means that they’re not sure how much they should donate or that the amount you’ve suggested to cover the cost of printing the book is too high for them. Lasting Impressions Our top objective is to leave everyone with a good impression. Make sure to do your best to leave each person feeling that you are his or her well-wisher and that you’re out there to give them something valuable. Be humble and considerate. Remember that you’re in public and that people are watching you. Everything you do and say matters. People will form an opinion about the “Hare Krsnas” based on your behavior toward them. Become an ambassador of goodwill. Make friends with people as much as possible. Parting words matter Say (even if they can’t donate): “Thank you for taking your valuable time.” “It was an honor to meet you.” Smile. Wave to people and wish them a good day. Be friendly to everyone. Give compliments liberally. Note: If you keep speaking positive words like this to everyone you meet, more people will be naturally inclined to say yes. Fan the Spark After someone gives a donation for a book, you have an ideal opportunity to teach this person the maha-mantra. You say: “Do you believe in the power of prayer?” (You can substitute the term, “mantra” for “prayer” if you’re dealing with an agnostic.) They say: “Yes.” You say: “Great. Let me teach you this ancient prayer that comes from the Sanskrit language.” Now hand them a card with the maha-mantra written on it and ask them to repeat after you: “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” After they’ve successfully chanted the mahamantra, say: “Just see, you’re a natural!”
  7. bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga laha gauranga namo re ye jana gauranga bhaje sei amara prana re Worship Gauranga, Chant Gauranga, Speak about Gauranga Day & Night; Whoever serves Gauranga is as Dear to Me as My Very Own Life.
  8. By Janmastami dasa When I joined the movement in 1977, "Chant, dance and be happy" was the motto on all the devotees’ lips. It was like the implicit contract we signed when we joined: if we chanted and danced, we would be happy. As the years rolled by I found out about the fine print in the contract: to "chant, dance and be happy", we had to go through a lot of hardships. So it wasn’t always easy to remain enthusiastic and determined in my service. The upheavals and changes in our movement sometimes bewildered me, but in 1989 I discovered something that makes chanting, dancing, and being happy a lot easier. I discovered the Vrindavana Institute of Higher Education (VIHE). After that, I would work hard at my service all year and then go to Vrndavana to take the VIHE courses on Srila Prabhupada’s books, offered by senior Vaisnavas. Taking these seminars gave me such deep realizations and inspirations that I would return to my service of preaching and book distribution with greatly renewed enthusiasm and determination. After relishing the nectar in Srila Prabhupada’s books, I had no choice but to distribute it. I attended VIHE seminars seven times, and they really helped me keep going in my service year after year. Now we have developed the Mayapur Institute for Higher Education and Training (MIHET) in cooperation with the VIHE, under the direction of the Ministry of Educational Development. We hope the MIHET addresses current needs, similar to those I experienced in the 1980s, and fulfills a desire Srila Prabhupada expressed in a 1971 letter: "…throughout the whole world there is no institution to impart education in the matter of spiritual understanding. So we are going to open a big center in Mayapur where this education will be internationally imparted. Students from all parts of the world will go there to take education in this important subject." ———————————————————— I actually sent all of the above 7 1/2 years ago as part of an invitation to devotees all over the world to participate in the first MIHET courses that began in February, 2000. Since those early days, the MIHET has made progress by the mercy of the Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the parampara and Vaisnavas from all over the world, as demonstrated by the statistics and testimonials that I have pasted at the end of this message. We hope you may have benefited by taking MIHET courses in the past and we hope you will seriously consider participating in one of these upcoming courses and and in these parikramas: VTE Bhakti-sastri Course November 21, 2007 - March 4, 2008 Separate Sections for Men and Women <TABLE class=MsoNormalTable style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt outset; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt outset; BACKGROUND: white; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt outset; WIDTH: 337.5pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt outset; mso-cellspacing: 1.5pt; mso-border-alt: outset #3333FF .75pt" cellPadding=0 width=450 border=1><TBODY><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 0; mso-yfti-firstrow: yes"><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Bhagavad-gita </TD><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Jayadvaita Swami BVV Narasimha Maharaja Laxmimoni devi dasi Rasa Manjari devi dasi </TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 1"><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Nectar of Devotion </TD><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Kadamba Kanana Swami Nanda devi dasi </TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 2"><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Nectar of Instruction </TD><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Devamrita Swami Srimati devi dasi </TD></TR><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 3; mso-yfti-lastrow: yes"><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">Sri Isopanisad </TD><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #3333ff 1pt inset; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #3333ff 1pt inset; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: inset #3333FF .75pt">BVV Narasimha Maharaja Laxmimoni devi dasi </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
  9. In "The Golden Volcano", Srila Sridhar Maharaj said: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura once revealed the importance of Kuruksetra in a unique way. The words of our guru maharaja were mostly very revolutionary. When I was a beginner with only two years or so in the Gaudiya Math, I was in charge of the Kuruksetra temple. Once, I came to the Calcutta headquarters at the hired house in Ulta Danga for the yearly preaching festival. After the festival I was to return to Kuruksetra. Srila Prabhupada was thinking of opening a "Theistic Exhibition" in Kuruksetra, showing with dioramas how Krishna and His friends came there from Dvaraka, and the gopis came there from Vrndavana. It is mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam that during the solar eclipse, they came to bathe in Brahma-kunda, a sacred lake in Kuruksetra. Srila Prabhupada wanted to show that pastime with a diorama, and so the exhibition was arranged. He ordered handbills to be printed, and twenty thousand circulated in the area, inviting people to come for the exhibition. Vrndavana-For Shallow Thinkers? In this connection, he told us, "You all know that only the bogus, hollow people and men of shallow thinking like Vrndavana." I was very much perplexed to hear this. I had been told that Vrndavana is the highest place of spiritual perfection. I had heard that one who has not mastered his senses cannot enter Vrndavana. Only the liberated souls can enter Vrndavana and have the opportunity of discussing krsna-lila. Vrndavana is for the liberated souls. Those who are not liberated from the demands of their senses may live in Navadwipa, but the liberated souls may live in Vrndavana. Now Prabhupada was saying tha the shallow thinkers appreciate Vrndavana, but a man of real bhajana, real divine aspiration, will aspire to live in Kuruksetra. Hearing this, I felt as if I had fallen from the top of a tree. "What is this?" I thought. I am a very acute listener, so I was very keen to catch the meaning of his words. The next thought he gave us was that Bhaktivinoda Thakura, after visiting many different places of pilgrimage, remarked, "I would like to spend the last days of my life in Kuruksetra. I shall construct a cottage near Brahma-kunda and pass the rest of my life there. Kuruksetra is the real place of bhajana." Shrewd Merchants Why? Service is more valuable according to the intensity of its necessity. Shrewd merchants seek a market in wartime because in that dangerous position, money is spent like water, without any care for its value. They can earn more money if a war comes. In the same way, when Srimati Radharani's necessity reaches its zenith, service to Her becomes extremely valuable. According to its necessity, service is valued. And in Kuruksetra, Srimati Radharani is in the highest necessity because Krishna is so close, but Their Vrndavana lila is impossible. in a football game, if the ball is just inches from the goal, but again comes back, it is considered a great loss. In the same way, after a long separation, Krishna is there in Kuruksetra, so the hankering for union felt by His devotees must come to its greatest point, but because He is in the role of a king, they cannot meet intimately. The circumstances do not allow the Vrndavana lila to take place. So at that time, Srimati Radharani needs the highest service from Her group, the sakhis. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that in that situation, a drop of service will draw the greatest amount of prema, divine love. In the pastimes of Radha-Govinda, there are two aspects: sambhoga, divine union, and vipralambha, divine separation. When Radha and Krishna are very near to each other, but can't meet intimately, service at that time can draw the greatest gain for the servitors. Therefore, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "I shall construct a hut on the banks of Brahma-kunda in Kuruksetra and contemplate rendering service to the Divine Couple. If I can achieve that standard where the prospect of service is so high, then there is no possibility of returning to this mundane plane at any time."
  10. The messegers of Yama will flee In Garud Purana it is stated: Those people of evil argumentative mentality who ask why wear Tulsi beads, what results are attained by wearing them ? Who don't wear them around their neck, burn in the fire of anger of Sri Hari and will never be liberated. Sri Krishna will grant the fruit of being a resident of Dvarka immediately to those who wear Tulsi beads with devotion. Sins of person who wears neck beads made of Tulsi with devotion after offering them to Sri Vishnu will be removed and Devakinandan, Sri Krishna will always remain pleased with them, he does not need to undergo further atonement, sins will no longer remain in his body. In Kaliyuga, one, who is bedecked with the beads made of Tulsi, performs ritualistic activities and activities pertaining to ancestors and demigods will obtain a far greater result. The messengers of Yama will flee away by the sight of the Tulsi beads just as leaves are blown off by wind. In Skanda-puran it is stated : Those who wear neck beads made of Tulsi after offering them to Sri Hari are definitely foremost among the devotees of Lord. Those fools who wear Tulsi beads without offering them to Hari will definitely go to hell. After presenting the mala, it should be purified with panca-gavya ; after that the mula -mantra should be recited followed by the recitation of the gayatri mantra eight times. Touching them with incense, worship with this Sadyojata-mantra with utmost devotion: Om sadyojatah prapadyami sadyojataya vai namo namah Bhave tave nadi bhave bhajeswamam bhavod-bhavaya namah After that, this prayer should be made, "Oh! Mala ! You are made of Tulsi and are dear to Vaisnavas . I wear you around my neck; you make me dear to Sri Krishna. 'Ma' means 'me', 'La' means 'to give'. Oh Hari-Vallabhe ! You have given me to the Vaisnava devotees, hence you are known as mala . Those Vaisnavas who pray in this manner and first offer the mala to Sri Krishna should then put them around ones neck and will attain the Lotus feet of Sri Vishnu." It is stated in Padma Purana : either during morning ablutions, bathing, eating or at any state which is clean or unclean, Tulsi must be worn; this means mala should not be removed under any circumstance. Shastras say: Tulsi mala should always be worn as yajna-sutra or like the sacred thread. Those who remove Tulsi mala even for a moment are considered to be Vishnu-drohi .
  11. Part of me wants to die Or is it that I want to kill that part of me that is demonic, like snuffing out the demon life for good so that it doesn't show it's ugly head again. /images/graemlins/blush.gif Ah that nasty material desire demon If i could just hang him up for good That demon! /images/graemlins/ooo.gif They use to take birth in different planets then different countries then different families but now these demons take birth in this very body. /images/graemlins/mad.gif Just see that fiery all devouring lusty devil demon with horns,tail and pitch fork is inside me wanting to get out and create distubance in my devotee life. I can't seem to shake off this devil demon. Please help... /images/graemlins/confused.gif
  12. 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 ]
  13. 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:
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. A poem(Krsna !) <font color="red"> Who's gonna save you when you're about to go over the edge(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/smirk.gif or off the rails(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/wink.gif Or jump into a bloody mess(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/tongue.gif of illusion ,confusion and delusion(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/confused.gif So who gonna kick your butt(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/blush.gif when you make offence to all the good people of this world(Are there any?)(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/ooo.gif Find out for sure whether or not you're flaming mad or not?(Krsna!) /images/graemlins/grin.gif </font color> --- Krsna das
  19. Moscow, RUSSIA – Thousands of Indians living in Russia have become outraged with what they consider a public blasphemy of Hinduism as Moscow prepares to receive Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his first state visit to Russia, scheduled for Monday, December 5. In a letter to the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, wired by Interfax news agency on November 30, Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Nikon called Lord Krishna “an evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God”, and “a livid lascivious youth”. The Archibishop further requested the Mayor to ban construction of the proposed Krishna temple in Moscow saying it would otherwise become “an idolatrous disgrace erected for the glory of wicked and malicious ‘god’ Krishna”. “Construction of the temple to Krishna offends our religious feelings and insults the thousand-year religious culture of Russia where the overwhelming majority of people, Christians and Muslims including, consider Krishna an evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God”, Interfax quoted Archbishop Nikon as saying. President of the Association of Indians in Russia Sanjeet K. Jha wrote a letter of protest to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexiy II, asking him to step in and bring the Archbishop to senses. “For centuries faith in Lord Krishna has been the very foundation of the Indian tradition of tolerance and respect for all religions and for all life. Nurtured by His teachings, none of His followers will ever dare speak a word of blasphemy against founders of any other religions. In fact, His teachings instill in us deepest respect for Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Moses as genuine saints who dedicated their lives to God”, said Mr.Jha in his letter to Patriarch. “Therefore the shower of offenses that Archbishop Nikon decided to publicly pour on Lord Krishna caused us intolerable pain and evoked bitterness and indignation in our hearts”, Sanjeet Jha added. He also reminded the Patriarch that the only Krishna temple in Moscow had been demolished last year, leaving some 15,000 Indians and 10,000 Russian followers of Hinduism without a place of worship. The fact was quoted by the U.S. Department of State in its annual International Religious Freedom Report among instances of religious intolerance against Hindus and other religious minorities in Russia. In January 2004, the Department of State report says, the Mayor of Moscow Mr.Luzhkov signed a decree allocating land in northwest Moscow for construction of a new temple in place of the demolished one. However, in October 2005 the Mayor repealed the decree and gave the order to remove a temporary Hindu shrine that devotees had erected from the allocated land. Now, according to Mr. Jha, the statement by Archbishop Nikon just adds to the exasperation felt by Indian community in Moscow in regard to the razed temple. “With the old temple demolished and the new temple project thwarted at the very root, thousands of Indians living in Moscow feel utterly disappointed,” – says a leader of the Indian business community in Russia who wished to remain anonymous. “While Russia signs multibillion contracts with India in weapons, it seems to turn a blind eye to such outrageous violations of our essential needs in the center of its capital”. According to several Moscow-based Indians, the discriminatory move by the Moscow government, the harassment of Indians by Russian ultra-nationalistic groups, inspired by open hostility of some Church leaders towards Hinduism, is making Russia a less than appealing place for Indians to live. “We hope that during his upcoming state visit to Russia in December, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will treat the signing of contracts with Russia and the protection of Indians in Russia as two inseparably related issues,” – the Indian business leader added.
  20. 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.
  21. The Location of the Island of Lanka BY: SUN STAFF <CENTER> Rama and His brother Laksman </CENTER> Jun 09, CANADA (SUN) — The last in a presentation of the Hindu temples of Central Java. India's Ramayana refers to an island called Lanka somewhere in the southern ocean beneath the Indian subcontinent. Scholars initially sought to forge a link between the island of the Ramayana with the former British crown colony of Ceylon, which is known today as Sri Lanka. Despite this interpretation, however, there is a valid reason behind the consideration of an alternate location for Lanka that is based on the contents of certain Vedic astronomy texts. During ancient times, all Indian astronomical observations were made with reference to a prime meridian--a line of longitude extending from one pole of the Earth to the other and also passing directly through the center of the Indian subcontinent. India's prime meridian was the precursor to the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude) of modern times, which by international agreement is conceived to pass through the Greenwich observatory in England. This prime meridian passes directly through the city of Ujjain, which is one reason why many historians believe that this central Indian city was the birthplace of Vedic astronomy. The astronomical texts also state that the termination point India's prime meridian was an island called Lanka located at the Earth's equator. With reference to our modern system of designating meridians of latitude and longitude, the ancient city of Ujjain is located at 76 degrees East Longitude and 24 degrees North Latitude. The island known today as Sri Lanka is located at approximately 81 degrees East Longitude and 7 degrees North Latitude. Even if we allow for a degree of measurement inaccuracy on the part of the early Indian geographers, the difference in longitude between the astronomical site for Lanka and the island of Sri Lanka is considerable. Ujjain's latitude of nearly 24 degrees North was important to early Indian astronomers such as Varahamahira, who observed that in the Kingdom of Avanti, the sun formerly passed directly overhead around the time of the summer solstice. The Indian astronomer probably used a vertical stick called a gnomon to measure shadows cast by the sun. This instrument would have allowed him to see that the gnomon would cast no shadow whatsoever as it passed directly overhead at the time of the June solstice. Since he and other Vedic astronomers held that the island of Lanka was located at the earth's equator, the sun would have to have been directly overhead in Lanka at the time of the two equinoxes each year. <CENTER> Sita's repose is disturbed by the appearance of two giants </CENTER> The modern globe and atlas show no island in the vicinity of the Earth's equator that would suggest an actual geographic location for Lanka in the vicinity of India's ancient prime meridian. Our difficulty in locating Lanka, however, can be plausibly resolved by assigning Lanka a celestial location rather than a geographical location on the surface of the Earth itself. This is an idea which compels one to evaluate the role of the hero of the Ramayana story in a whole new light. <CENTER> Ravana, Lord of Lanka, abducting Sita </CENTER> The fact that the hero Rama bears solar attributes is indisputable, for the story as it is portrayed at Prambanan begins by proclaiming him to be an incarnation of the solar deity Vishnu. Rama's descent to the island of Lanka to battle the Lord of Lanka at the earth's equator, as well as his return to the city of Ayodhya in the north, has its celestial parallel in the form of the sun's annual journey between the equinoxes and the solstices. According to the Dutch scholar Wilhelm Stutterheim, the placement of the Ramayana reliefs at Prambanan suggest that they were intentionally organized to coincide with the position of the Sun's movements at various times of the day as well as during the course of its annual solar cycle. "Taking the nature of these points into consideration, it does not seem to me too wild a supposition that the transition and turning-points in Rama's career as depicted on the Siva temple are associated with the corresponding points in the course of the sun. It is surely no accident that Rama's rise, decline and second rise coincide with the rise, decline, and rise of the sun in its daily course, if we speak of the eastern, southern, western, and northern points in that order, or in its annual course, taking the labels spring, summer, autumn and winter points to be appropriate.... "As we know, each quarter of the series as a whole is divided into six panels, making twenty-four panels in all. Provisionally assuming that it is the annual course of the sun that is symbolized here, the conclusion seems warranted, to my mind, that each panel represents a 1/24th part of that course. This then is half a month, or, more accurately, a paksa...." [7] <CENTER> Rama and Laksmana go with Hanuman to meet the king of the monkeys, Sugriva </CENTER> At Prambanan, the eastern entranceways to the Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu temples may have been meant to coincide with Java's spring equinox, which occurs during the month of September at all locations south of the Earth's equator. The final panel of the Rama series, which is located just to the northeast of the entranceway, portrays Hanuman's monkey army crossing the bridge they have built to connect the mainland to the island of Lanka. This panel also serves as the "bridge" between the opening Rama reliefs on the Shiva temple and the remaining reliefs that are displayed on the low balustrade of the Brahma temple to the immediate south. <CENTER> Rama slays King Sugriva's foe Subali </CENTER> The organization neatly ties Lanka's location at the Earth's equator at the time of the vernal equinox, when the sun at the time of its zenith passes directly overhead all locations on the equator. A possible solar organization can also be discerned in the Lalitavistara reliefs at Borobudur, where the panel that portrays the Bodhisattva announcing his impending descent appears next to the gallery's eastern entrance, his birth in close proximity to the south gate, the end of his life as a householder next to the western gallery entrance and his arrival at the Bodhi tree in the north. [8] As modern geography demonstrates, the Lanka of India's early astronomers is perhaps a celestial location rather than an actual physical place. In this way it might be regarded similarly as the cosmic mountain Meru of Indian cosmography. Some find that it is not unreasonable to presume that the island's location could be rightfully claimed by any islanders living in the vicinity of the Earth's equatorial region. Furthermore, an inscription discovered at the hilltop site of Ratu Boko overlooking Prambanan not only appears to suggest the presence of Mahayana Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka on the island toward the end of the eighth century CE, but also tells us that the monastery the inscription commemorates was named after one of Sri Lanka's famous Buddhist religious foundations: the Abhayagiri. [9] Regardless of one's conclusions as to the placement of Sri Lanka, it is clear that Javanese poets were engaged in the intentional transposition of "...what are basically Indian narratives into a Javanese setting. All the names of the kingdoms and places where the stories are set and those of the heroes and the heroines of the stories are, to be sure, Indian, and a great many of them, in particular the principal heroes and their kingdoms, are known from the Indian sources.... Yet when we come to the description of the environment where the actions took place, the scenery...is definitely Javanese.... With all the kakawin stories set in such an environment, it is not surprising to find that people eventually believed that all those events narrated in the kakawin actually took place in Java and that those places with Indian names were situated in Java. The story of the removal of Mount Mahameru from India to Java, which is found in various Old Javanese works such as the Tantu Panggelaran and the Korawasrama...may have been created to justify such beliefs.... Although both were probably written after the fall of [the east Javanese kingdom of] Majapahit...the contents could be from a much earlier period. Such a story may also have had to do with the indigenous cult of a mountain deity, which seems to have been in vogue throughout Javanese history." [10] <CENTER>The Temple Description from the Ramayana Kakawin </CENTER> <CENTER></CENTER> <CENTER>"It was evening, [late] and almost at the point of one. Now at the time of the waning moon, the darkness fled with the rising Moon God (Candra), just like the Daitya upon the appearance of the God Hari. Hanuman looked in the direction of the city, which was clearly visible. There was a temple, tall and large, which looked as if it was made of crystals and precious stones. There were animals depicted in its carvings: golden hares, elephants, lions, tigers, gazelles, wild boars, and rhinoceroses. The picture of a forest was carved out in it as well. <CENTER></CENTER> "The temple resembled a mountain. The temple square was fashioned out of gems and candrakanta stones. The sand consisted of splendid fine pearls. When the moon rose they turned liquid and cold, melting in the square and shining brightly.... The crystal temple was comparable to Mount Mandara, the square to the Milk Ocean. Gems and pearls represented the foam, so to speak; the clear cold water was like nectar (rising from the churned ocean).... "Outside there were...small and exquisitely fine temples, all carved out of black precious stones...[that contained] gold statues comparable to the gods and demons attacking each other in order to obtain the elixir of immortality (amrita).... <CENTER></CENTER> "There were suwuk over the doorways of the temple ...beautifully carved...[with eyes that were] round, staring and protruding...like Rahu, as it were, who also tried to steal the amrita.... There were also temples made of gems... vehicles for those who did the churning... with which they flew through the air. <CENTER></CENTER> Outside there was a high wall of white silver surrounding the entire complex. It was comparable to the snake Vasuki, recovering from the fatigue of churning the ocean . The gate of sparkling gems and red lustrous stones was comparable to the shining head gem (of the snake), while (the two) rakshasa acting as doorkeepers were comparable to its sharp, pointed, poisonous fangs. "Such outwardly was the temple there in Lanka. It shone beautifully, sparkling; a shining splendour. The higher the moon rose, the greater became the light; and the more beautiful became the temple, its beauty was illuminated. "'Dewa Sita, I think, will certainly be there.' Thinking on this notion, he reflected and decided that he should go. Then Hanuman took a leap and lo! he was there! He saw troops of rakshasas uncountable, on guard.... And draughts pure and fragrant to suit the wish of everyone were placed in the hall which was as clear as glass. Brilliant indeed (shone) the moon there. The young men were like Rahu drinking." (6) </CENTER> <CENTER></CENTER> FOOTNOTES: [1] "The arrangement of the Rama reliefs" by W. F. Stutterheim, In Praise of Prambanan, Roy Jordaan Editor, pp. 165, 167. See also "Rama-Legends and Rama-Reliefs in Indonesia" by Wilhelm F. Stutterheim. Likewise, the organization of the Lalitavistara reliefs at Borobudur (as well as the reliefs containing images of the Sun and Moon from the Bhadracarya series on the fourth gallery walls) coincide with Java's spring (Sept.), summer (Dec.), fall (March) and winter (June) points of the sun's annual course. [2] Other similarities can be discerned between Prambanan's Ramayana reliefs, and the Lalitavistara and Manohara reliefs at Borobudur. for example, the initial panel of both the Ramayana and Lalitavistara reliefs features the deity in heaven in preparation for his descent to Earth. Rama, Sidhartha and Sudhana also obtain their spouses bt exhibiting their prowess in an archery contest. In addition, all three stories prominently feature the role of a ring in the hero's winning of, or winning back, his spouse. [3] For an update concerning possible connections betwen Sri Lanka and the Sailendra Buddhist dynasty of central Java, see "Did the Abhayagiri Mahayana monks help build the world famous Borobudur stupa?" By Prof. (Em.) Dr. Caesar Voute.) [4] Illuminations: The Writing Traditions of Indonesia by Ann Kumar and John H. McGlynn. The Lontar Foundation, 1996, p. 29. [5] The opening stanza of the selection quoted above comes from "The Old Javanese Ramayana (OJR): An Exemplary Kakawin" by C. Hooykaas, p. 23; the temple description itself comes from "In Praise of Prambanan" by Roy E. Jordan. pp. 48-49; the concluding paragraph is from "The Old Javanese Ramayana: An Exemplary Kakawin" by C. Hooykaas, p. 24 The Indonesian scholar Poerbatjaraka has suggested that the Ramayana Kakwin contains poetic allusions to the social conditions that prevailed in central Java at the time of Prambanan's construction during the mid-ninth century CE. These allusions possibly refer to the reigning monarch thought responsible for Prambanan's construction, Rakai Pikatan, as well as the seductive influence that certain Buddhist monks may have had over the affairs of the kingdom. "The metaphoric equivalencies between certain birds and historical figures, among which that of Pikatan, are worth mention. The Pikatan bird can only refer to Rakai Pikatan. Thus it is said of this bird that it had allowed itself to be seduced by the call of the cuckoo (kuwong), which portrays the Buddhist clergy. The cuckoo represents a Buddhist monk, who, with the support of the female of his species, tries to persuade his Javanese audience to follow his admonitions by cleverly appealing to Hindu ideas about the transience of life. The spell is not permanent, however, for [the poet informs his audience] that the cuckoo would do better to follow his own lofty teachings and retreat into the forest as a monk." (The Sailendras in Central Javanese History by Roy E. Jordaan, Penerbitan Universitas Sanata Dharma, Yogyakarta 1999, p. 69. The Old Javanese Ramayana may also include a covert reference to the Sailendra Prince Balaputra "...who, as a stork (bala), suddenly scoops many unsuspecting fishes from the water. The announcement that this bird had been eliminated fully corresponds with the historical data about Balaputra's defeat and flight to Sumatra.") Source: Excerpted from Borobudur.tv
  22. figure that one out and then the rest is detail....
  23. Adi-Guru and FounderAcarya BY SWAMI B.V. TRIPURARI EDITORIAL, Nov 16 (VNN) — Q & A with Swami B. V. Tripurari "Srila Prabhupada himself never explained the terms adi-guru and founder acarya in the way that you have done. So from the start we are left to accept the explanation of these terms with no supporting evidence. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary." Q. Srila Prabhupada is the founder acarya of Iskcon and because the position of founder acarya is unique it mandates that all Gaudiya Vaisanvas follow him today. Was there institutionalization in Gaudiya Vaisnavism before Srila Prabhupada became the founder acarya of Iskcon? Do you underestimate the importance of the institutionalization of Lord Caitanya's teachings? A. It is important to note that Srila Prabhupada is the founder acarya of an institution, not a religion or even a lineage. The founder of Srila Prabhupada's religion is Sri Caitanya. This is explained in Sri Jiva Goswami's Sarva-samvadini tika on Sat-sandarbha. In Sri Caitanya's religion there are many lineages. Srila Prabhupada is a member and prominent guru in one of them, one that in modern times follows the vision of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada identified his movement as the movement of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. This statement is merely factual. It does not minimize Srila Prabhupada and would not need to be made if it were not for those who have tried to identify the title "Founder Acarya," with founders of sampradayas, such as Madhva, Ramanuja, and Sri Caitanya. Unfortunately, this kind of so-called glorification of Srila Prabhupada is often done to minimize other Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas and inadvertently clouds philosophical discussions with emotions and tears that smear the ink on the printed page of sastra. As for the institutionalization of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, other than the softer form of institutionalization in the form of literature, not much had been done previous to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. He was perhaps the first to make a major experiment in institutionalizing Gaudiya Vaisnavism, even though he made a number of statements about the potential problems that could arise from this. Given what has occurred in Iskcon in recent decades, it might be in the interest of spreading Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's precepts to place more emphasis on his essential teachings rather than so much emphasis on institutionalization. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura wrote, "The idea of an organized church in an intelligible form marks the close of a living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and the dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They, indeed, indicate a desire on the part of the masses to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purpose. They also unmistakably indicate the end of the absolute and unconventional guidance of the bona fide spiritual teacher." (The Harmonist, January 1929) Q. I read in an Iskcon publication that there are four disciplic successions and the leaders of these successions are known as adi-gurus, or original gurus. The duty of each member and all subsequent gurus in the sampradaya is to simply transmit the message as received from the adi-guru without adulteration. Is this correct? A. The Padma Purana says that there are four Vaisnava sampradayas. In relation to this statement our sampradaya would be the Brahma sampradaya and our adi-guru would be Brahmaji. He passed the teachings through Narada to Vyasadeva, who compiled the Vedas. When the teachings came to Madhvacarya, he did not simply repeat what he had heard from others, rather he shed new light on the Vedas by interpreting them according to his own spiritual realization. His interpretation, known as dvaitavada, gave birth to a new spiritual movement, in which prominent members further elaborated on the philosophy of Madhva, as the tradition developed its own rites, rituals, and spiritual practices. Later in the Brahma-Madhva sampradaya, Sri Caitanyadeva, in accordance with his own spiritual experience, shed new light on the teachings that Brahma received from Krsna. His disciples, the Six Goswamis of Vrndavana, further elaborated on the teachings of Sri Caitanya. In this way the Caitanya branch of the Madhva sampradaya came into being and developed its own rites, rituals, and spiritual practices. It is the religion of Sri Caitanya that Srila Prabhupada came west to establish. He did not come to establish a new sampradaya or religion. He came to promote the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, which he did by innovative preaching, not by simply parroting what he had heard from his guru. The point here is that while it is true that the teachings should be passed on without adulteration, the real spirit of the parampara involves shedding new light on the teachings, making them relevant to people of the times. While Srila Prabhupada would often say to pass on what you have heard without adulteration, his own example of adjusting the teachings according to time and circumstance clearly demonstrates that preaching involves understanding the teachings enough to deliver the essential message, in the midst of altering many nonessential details. Disciplic succession is not simply about repeating what you have heard from the previous guru. It is about realization. Q. I read that the adi-guru is the devotee who founds the disciplic succession and establishes its original teachings, and that "founder acarya" refers to the devotee who redirects the parampara and corrects the teachings when they become lost or altered. In this regard some consider Srila Prabhupada's contribution to be like that of Madhva and Ramanuja, who are founder acaryas. Some consider them adi-gurus as well, so I guess Srila Prabhupada could also be both an adi-guru and a founder acarya. The book I read says further that Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that devotees who succeed the founder acarya are duty bound to see the teachings of the parampara through the founder acarya's instructions. There was however no reference from the writings of Bhaktivinode Thakura given to support these statements. Did Bhaktivinoda Thakura actually say all this? A. The terms adi-guru and founder acarya are defined here in a novel way. Except for one instance, I have never read where any acarya used the term adi-guru to refer to anyone other than Krsna, the original guru. Similarly, the term founder acarya is not a scriptural term. If it were, it would be a translation of a Sanskrit term. Founder acarya refers to the founding acarya of an institution. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was the founder acarya of Gaudiya Math, Srila Prabhupada was the founder acarya of Iskcon, Srila Sridhara Maharaja was the founder acarya of Sri Caitanya Saraswat Math, and so forth. Srila Prabhupada himself never explained the terms adi-guru and founder acarya in the way that you have done. So from the start we are left to accept the explanation of these terms with no supporting evidence. Indeed, there is evidence to the contrary. Srila Prabhupada writes, "If we are to accept guru, so the original guru is Krsna because He instructed Lord Brahma, the first living creature within this universe. Tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye [sB 1.1.1]. He instructed the adi-kavi (Brahma, the original poet from whom the Vedic scriptures emanate). He is the guru, Krsna. And in the Bhagavad-gita, he also says, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam [bg. 4.1]. So He (Krsna) is adi guru. In Bhagavad-gita also he is instructing Arjuna. He is adi guru." Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, "The adi-guru of all the spiritual masters in the disciplic succession is Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Showing his great mercy, he instructed Brahma, the adi-kavi. These truths were in turn taught by Brahma to Sri Narada, by Narada to Sri Vyasa, and by Vyasa to Sri Madhvacarya. Such instructions as received through this disciplic succession are called guru-parampara-upadesa." The one instance I mentioned of adi-guru referring to someone other than Krsna is in Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Harinama Cintamani, where he refers to Madhva, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, and Visnuswami as adi-gurus. In Gaudiya Vaisnavism the term founder acarya first came into use during the time of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. It is not found in Harinama Cintamani or any of the writings of Bhaktivinoda that I am familiar with. Therefore I don't know how anyone could justify writing that Bhaktivinoda Thakura interpreted the term founder acarya in any particular way. In this case it appears to me that this reference from Harinama Cintamani has been grossly misconstrued to equate the term founder acarya with the founder of a sampradaya. I have already explained that the terms adi-guru and founder acarya are not synonymous. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, not Srila Prabhupada, is the founder of the Gaudiya Sampradaya. Q. I am trying to understand the role of the siksa (instructing) guru in the Gaudiya sampradaya. Some people are under the impression that the Gaudiya sampradaya means Iskcon exclusively and are teaching that members of Iskcon should not receive instruction in Gaudiya Vaisnavism from devotees outside that organization. What is your opinion on this? A. The International Society for Krsna Consciousness (Iskcon) is the largest international Gaudiya Vaisnava organization. Some members of that organization may believe that Iskcon alone, at the exclusion of other similar Gaudiya sects, represents the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya. In my limited experience, even when they know otherwise in theory, in practice some Iskcon devotees tend to forget this fact, which sometimes leads them to disrespect the rest of the sampradaya. While you may have accurately described Iskcon's official policy in regards to siksa guru, the truth is that many disciples of Srila Prabhupada have at one time or another accepted advice and spiritual instructions from senior devotees outside that organization. In spite of their rules to the contrary, I have found that Iskcon members have no difficulty in applying the principle of siksa guru in a way that extends beyond the boarders of that society. Many Iskcon devotees to Sanga and send me relevant questions on Gaudiya Vaisnavism, although I have not been a member of Iskcon for twenty years. Others regularly read the writings of acaryas who are outside of Iskcon or have accepted one or more these acaryas as their siksa guru(s), while remaining within Iskcon for convenience sake or other nobler reasons. Yet some members of Iskcon are still blinded by the glaring misconceptions that their official siksa guru policy is based on. The official position, stating that disciples of Srila Prabhupada, my beloved diksa guru, cannot accept someone outside of Iskcon as their siksa guru without being considered deviant, is understood by many devotees as not only theologically unacceptable but insulting as well. One result of this ill-conceived policy is that devotees who practice Krsna consciousness outside of Iskcon are ostracized and vilified by Iskcon members, instead of being embraced as fellow Vaisnavas, which is the type of non-sectarianism that Srila Prabhupada had ultimately hoped for. At any rate, differences of opinion are a fact of spiritual life and it should be clear on this matter that I differ with Iskcon's official policy. However, differences should only remain if each party can muster sufficient scriptural support to justify their opinion. I have yet to see any actual scriptural support justifying the theory that one can only take siksa from a member of one's own religious institution. Indeed, if this were an actual scriptural imperative then no member of any other Gaudiya Vaisnava sect or organization could take siksa from anyone in Iskcon. Q. I read that there are many types of siksa gurus and their role is to give instruction in devotional service, generally known as abhideya. Is it correct to say that a founder acarya is the siksa guru for his or her followers, and the diksa guru initiates disciples giving instructions in devotional science, known as sambandha? A. There are many types of siksa gurus and of course the founder acarya of an institution is certainly one of them. The founder acarya's influence on the spiritual life of any particular devotee will depend on many factors, but generally the best siksa guru for a devotee is the one who is helping him or her the most at any particular point in time. While Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Srila Prabhupada, Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Srila Kesava Maharaja, and so many others are founder acaryas for their respective missions, it is left to those who represent them to make their teachings understandable and accessible to devotees and the general public. This is what these founder acaryas did with regard to the teachings of the acaryas who came before them. Therefore to the individual, a particular representative of the founder acarya may be even more important than the founder acarya of the institution. This is the dynamic principle of disciplic succession. Otherwise, when it is said that the diksa guru gives sambandha jnana, this really refers to the fact that he or she gives the mantra, wherein knowledge of one's relationship with Krsna is found. Diksa means giving the mantra. Everything else that follows is siksa. The disciple requires siksa at every stage of progress. There is siksa on sambandha (conceptual orientation), siksa on abhideya (the nature of the path), and siksa on prayojana (the goal). Siksa may come from friends and associates, but the most helpful and meaningful siksa comes from the association of advanced devotees. One should seek out this type of siksa regardless of where it is found. Prohibiting devotees from going beyond institutional boundaries to seek advanced association can sometimes constitute an offense to the principle of guru, of which Krsna is the adi-guru. Krsna cannot be imprisoned within the walls of any particular religious institution and offenses to the principal of guru cannot be counteracted by official institutional policy.
  24. ETIQUETTE IN HEARING Sri Siva Purana 1.6.49-50 ye nindanti ca vaktaram katham cemam suravanam bhavanti sunaka bhuktva dukham janma-satam hi te Those who speak ill of the speaker or of the sacred story are born as dogs and lead miserable lives in a hundred births. kathayam vartamanayam durvadam ye vadanti hi bhuktva te narakandhoran-bhava ti gardabhastatah Those who argue and dispute while the discourse is being held fall into hell. After undergoing the tortures there, they are reborn as donkeys.
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