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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vyasa Puja


Vyasa Puja

Today is VyasaPuja or the Appearance Day of our spiritual master Srila Prabhupada.

Each year our holidays fall on different dates from the Western calendar, as they are figured mathematically through ancient Vedic Astrological calculations. [Different from Western, Chinese, etc.] The number date may vary, but always Janmastimi and VyasaPuja are one after the other.

Since before I joined the Hare Krishna Movement, there were guru's all over the place. At that time it was especially popular. Before making glolrifications, its important to know how to recognize who is guru. This is summarized here.

How do the devotees celebrate the birth or appearance day of the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada?

First, yearly everyone is asked to compose an offering of gratitude, writings to glorify Jagat Guru Srila Prabhupada. Now, not everyone is a great writer, tho that is not required. Sincerity of heart, and some basic 101 grammar skills even a child possesses. And they too, have sometimes written an offering. Though less often, but it has been done. These children are so sweet.

If one does not feel comfortable composing a written offering, that's all right, so long as they have their heart and mind in the right places. [Tho you'd be surprised at what comes out if you just sit down and try. Practice starts the creative juices flowing. :) ]

What else is therefore done on this day to celebrate?

Well, we do fast again, but only until noon. And to be honest, after staying up past midnight just yesterday :) most of us are not even thinking of hunger for that long. Its an easier fast. As with Janmastami, the purpose of fasting is not to suffer, no, but to spend less time on the bodily concept and more time in worship or glorification or something else spiritual. If, on the other hand, fasting gets in the way, then better to eat a something, like Ekadasi diets [no grains]. Remember, children, pregnant women, those with an illness, and sometimes the elderly, should not fast. Just eat light & sensibly.

Next, everyone attends a ceremony, or preforms one in front of their home Altar. At the temple there is a Pushpanjali, mantras with flowers showered upon the pure devotee, lovely incense burning, etc. At home, since most don't know the mantras, don't worry, the main mantra needed is the Hare Krishna mantra. That will certainly please Srila Prabhupada. A little "Jaya Prabhupada!" would be a simple addition too. Now flowers are nice if you can get them, but if not, again don't worry. Just try to find something to offer, even essential oils on a Q-tip [which has never been taken into the bathroom but bought specific for offerings & kept clean], or incense.

Next, an arotika is offered directly to Srila Prabhupada. Part of that arotika is the offering of foodstuffs. Therefore, most devotees cook something ahead of time. Then offer it. At the temple there are big elaborate offerings [and if your temple is not doing so, they should be.] At home, make what you can and feel good about it!!

We also dance and chant and feel happiness during the kirtana of the arotika.

If alone this may initially sound confusing in how to offer the arotika yet how to be the congregation. :) Simple. Most just chant while offering to the altar, or in this case, murti or pic of Prabhupada. Then when the offering steps are completed, they just keep chanting but walk away from the altar/pic and start to add dancing! Bliss.

Then soon follows a feast, remnants which were offered. But first, there are readings of Vyasa Puja Homage, writings by devotees. Everyone sits and listens with rapt attention, at the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, the intimate associate of Lord Sri Krishna, Srimati Radharani, & Lord Nityananda [mercy incarnation of Krishna.]

Those who have composed something often read it aloud for all to hear. Other times someone else may read from the VyasaPuja book.

Oh, speaking of that, almost forgot to mention, a special edition of Vyasa Puja books are published every year. Devotees who submit their praise of the guru, thus will have it published there as well, so we can all remember Prabhupada's various unique activities, qualities, and so on.

Probably I am in the category of those who feel a bit uncertain about composing.... anything. I have not written very many offerings, tho have some. This year I was encouraged by a devotee in Bangalore India that I could do it. Then they wanted to put it in their Vyasa Puja book with the written offerings of many sincere devotees.

For days I had writers block :) but remained determined. Each day writing a little. Even if it didn't come out the way which made me feel satisfied, I kept at it. Finally my offering below is what came out. I have no special traits, believe me. LOL Anyone can do it who endeavors. You can do this too.

Dear Eternal Srila Prabhupada,

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

All glories to Your lotus feet, beloved Srila Prabhupada who crossed oceans, tolerated heart attacks, just to save those of us in the various towns and villages world-wide. Without you how would I have heard about Krishna? How would many of us ever discovered "Who Is
God?" Unknowing, left with only our family churches, collegiate off-beat changes of religion, or popular New Age beliefs. The eternal words from the Highest Vedic literatures, was put into our hand by a Sankirtana devotee, or we may have visited a temple, seen a HariNama party, blessed with prasadam, or something else, which awakened us enough to discover Krishna. Without you, this could not have happened.

Your mercy, to the many fallen souls, is that of jagad, universal, available to all simply for the taking. No one can repay the debt to the spiritual master. It too, is eternal. Thankfully so. To be in your service forever is a blessing. Let us never forget our connection with you, let us always behave like devotees. May your lotus feet always be worshiped.

There are not enough praises I can give you, to thank and appreciate all you have done for myself, my family, and godsiblings as friends. Never would I have thought to have friends of such unique spiritual nature. You have picked me up out of this ocean of nescience, which I doubt I would have recognized needed to be done, thinking myself well with practices of Hatha Yoga or related philosophies. Steps, but also Illusions. Without you, I am nothing. With you, I may struggle, but I am determined.

When you left this world, disappeared from our sight, we cried and lamented deeply. The loss of the pure devotee, is something never to be forgotten. You are now up there with Krishna, and blissful. We are down here, needing to remember you are relishing activities with the Lord, and that we may achieve that ultimate goal by following your instructions to engage in devotional service. You explained to us the method, now we simply need to apply it more and more. I am everlastingly thankful to have somehow or other, found you.

"O Krsna, beloved son of Nanda Maharaja, I am Your eternal servant,
but somehow or other I have fallen into this ocean of nescience, and
although I am struggling very hard, there is no way I can save myself.
If You kindly pick me up and fix me as one of the particles of dust at
Your lotus feet, that will save me." ~ SB 6.1.50

All glories unto our savior Srila Prabhupada - Jagat guru ki jai!

Your Servant,
Priitaa devi dasi


Monday, August 22, 2011

Janmastami-KrishnasAppearanceDay


JANMASTAMI also known as the 'transcendental' birthday of our dear Lord Sri Krishna. Some may understand better when we explain it is our Christmas.

Simultaneously different from Christmas, simply it makes the point. It is the day the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, decided to make His appearance in this world, on our earth planet, as if He were one of us.

However, He is not one of us, and is very different being God. That'll do it. :-) But God can do whatever He wants. This is one of the attributes of being God, so if He wants to visit as if one of us, so be it.

Now, what does the devotee do in celebration? Many things.

First, many of us fast, tho this is not expected of everyone. The idea is to be on the spiritual level, using time for eating, instead chanting, reading, serving BUT if one is constantly thinking "where is food," lol than better to go eat. After that, its easier to serve anyway.

Some who can't fast [pregnant women, those with Diabetes "etc," and certainly children should not fast], often do well eating a 'no-grain' diet for the day.

Next thing we do, as touched on, would be to spend extra time in singing Gods Holy Names [Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.] Belt it out! :) Sing His praises with joy! Feel yourself as light as a feather.

Another thing we do is use time reading shastra, Vedic literatures translated by the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. There are many translations, but unless one is a pure devotee, it is risky business to take shelter of them. So read Prabhupada's original, unchanged books and feel the bliss! And often we read them aloud in front of the Deities or a spiritual picture of Krishna, for His pleasure.

Cleanliness is said to be next to Godliness. In any case, we do spend a lot of time washing hands, taking showers, changing clothes, so that when we touch a transcendental book, or make a garland which really goes on the Lord, etc, everything's as clean as humanly possible. But no big deal if you touch hair or dustpan etc. Just wash hands or keep a moist napkin nearby. Spray bottles work fast too. :)

So, we also cook very special meals for the Lord. Make Him a Birthday cake and His favorite foods, which we offer in a midnight arotika. Yes, it is an all day celebration. :)

Many also do things like decorate the altar. If they know how to sew they may have sewn the Deity new outfits not to be revealed until His actual birthday. :) This can also be done for a Murti. [This is like a Deity but not installed, less chance of making offenses.] If a devotee has none of the above available, there are always pictures. Krishna is nondifferent from His form, it being transcendental, so garlands can be strung from flowers or cloth or anything one can think up to help them find ways to preform devotional service. [Of course, garlands are for Deities and Murtis too.]

The entire day is used in some form, or another form, of devotional service. From chanting and dancing, to reading and artistic decorating, offering incense, making nice flower vases and arrangements for the altar, "ETC."

Than at midnight, after a rip-roaring :) fun kirtana, we honor prasadam. That means, we eat! lol We eat the remnants of the Lord. It was first offered on the altar to God/Krishna, in small portions of course, but He knows many must be fed, so He also accepts the same prep in the large buckets. :) What He accepts directly on the altar is called "Maha" prasadam. We get a little of that, and a lot of the other.

Now, read about how the Lord made His appearance into this world. This is from Krishna Book, but it should be recognized, it is Srimad Bhagavatam in story format. Can print it out and read aloud in front of your Home Altar, to your children, spouse, etc.


BIRTH OF LORD KRISHNA - Krishna Book, ch3

As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says that His appearance, birth, and activities, are all transcendental, and one who understands them factually becomes immediately eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The Lord's appearance or birth is not like that of an ordinary man who is forced to accept a material body according to his past deeds. The Lord's appearance is explained in the Second Chapter: He appears out of His own sweet pleasure. When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohini was also predominant because this star is considered to be very auspicious. Rohini is under the direct supervision of Brahma. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Krsna's birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.

At that time, in all directions, east, west, south, north, everywhere, there was an atmosphere of peace and prosperity. There were auspicious stars visible in the sky, and on the surface in all towns and villages or pasturing grounds and within the minds of everyone there were signs of good fortune. The rivers were flowing full of waters, and lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The forests were full with beautiful birds and peacocks. All the birds within the forests began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance along with their consorts. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, and the sensation of bodily touch was very pleasing. At home, the brahmanas, who were accustomed to offer sacrifices in the fire, found their homes very pleasant for offerings. Due to disturbances created by the demoniac kings, the sacrificial fire alter had been almost stopped in the houses of brahmanas, but now they could find the opportunity to start the fire peacefully. Being forbidden to offer sacrifices, the brahmanas were very distressed in mind, intelligence and activities, but just on the point of Krsna's appearance, automatically their minds became full of joy because they could hear loud vibrations in the sky of transcendental sounds proclaiming the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The denizens of the Gandharva and Kinnara planets began to sing, and the denizens of Siddhaloka and the planets of the Caranas began to offer prayers in the service of the Personality of Godhead. In the heavenly planets, the angels along with their wives, accompanied by the Apsaras, began to dance.

The great sages and the demigods, being pleased, began to shower flowers. At the seashore, there was the sound of mild waves, and above the sea there were clouds in the sky which began to thunder very pleasingly.

When things were adjusted like this, Lord Visnu, who is residing within the heart of every living entity, appeared in the darkness of night as the Supreme Personality of Godhead before Devaki, who also appeared as one of the demigoddesses. The appearance of Lord Visnu at that time could be compared with the full moon in the sky as it rises on the eastern horizon. The objection may be raised that, since Lord Krsna appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon, there could be no rising of the full moon. In answer to this it may be said that Lord Krsna appeared in the dynasty which is in the hierarchy of the moon; therefore, although the moon was incomplete on that night, because of the Lord's appearance in the dynasty wherein the moon is himself the original person, the moon was in an overjoyous condition, so by the grace of Krsna he could appear just as a full moon.

In an astronomical treatise by the name Khamanikya, the constellations at the time of the appearance of Lord Krsna are very nicely described. It is confirmed that the child born at that auspicious moment was the Supreme Brahman or the Absolute Truth.

Vasudeva saw that wonderful child born as a baby with four hands, holding conchshell, club, disc, and lotus flower, decorated with the mark of Srivatsa, wearing the jeweled necklace of kaustubha stone, dressed in yellow silk, appearing dazzling like a bright blackish cloud, wearing a helmet bedecked with the vaidurya stone, valuable bracelets, earrings and similar other ornaments all over His body and an abundance of hair on His head. Due to the extraordinary features of the child, Vasudeva was struck with wonder. How could a newly born child be so decorated? He could therefore understand that Lord Krsna had now appeared, and he became overpowered by the occasion. Vasudeva very humbly wondered that although he was an ordinary living entity conditioned by material nature and was externally imprisoned by Kamsa, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, Visnu or Krsna, was appearing as a child in his home, exactly in His original position. No earthly child is born with four hands decorated with ornaments and nice clothing, fully equipped with all the signs of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Over and over again, Vasudeva glanced at his child, and he considered how to celebrate this auspicious moment: "Generally, when a male child is born," he thought, "people observe the occasion with jubilant celebrations, and in my home, although I am imprisoned, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has taken birth. How many millions of millions of times should I be prepared to observe this auspicious ceremony!"

When Vasudeva, who is also called Anakadundubhi, was looking at his newborn baby, he was so happy that he wanted to give many thousands of cows in charity to the brahmanas. According to the Vedic system, whenever there is an auspicious ceremony in the ksatriya king's palace, the king gives many things in charity. Cows decorated with golden ornaments are delivered to the brahmanas and sages. Vasudeva wanted to perform a charitable ceremony to celebrate Krsna's appearance, but because he was shackled within the walls of Kamsa's prison, this was not possible. Instead, within his mind he gave thousands of cows to the brahmanas.

When Vasudeva was convinced that the newborn child was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he bowed down with folded hands and began to offer Him prayers. At that time Vasudeva was in the transcendental position, and he became completely free from all fear of Kamsa. The newborn baby was also flashing His effulgence within the room in which He appeared.

Vasudeva then began to offer his prayers. "My dear Lord, I can understand who You are. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of all living entities and the Absolute Truth. You have appeared in Your own eternal form which is directly perceived by us. I understand that because I am afraid of Kamsa, You have appeared just to deliver me from that fear. You do not belong to this material world; You are the same person who brings about the cosmic manifestation simply by glancing over material nature."

One may argue that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who creates the whole cosmic manifestation simply by His glance, cannot come within the womb of Devaki, the wife of Vasudeva. To eradicate this argument, Vasudeva said, "My dear Lord, it is not a very wonderful thing that You appear within the womb of Devaki because the creation was also made in that way. You were lying in the Causal Ocean as Maha-Visnu, and by Your breathing process, innumerable universes came into existence. Then You entered into each of the universes as Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Then again You expanded Yourself as Ksirodakasayi Visnu and entered into the hearts of all living entities and entered even within the atoms. Therefore Your entrance in the womb of Devaki is understandable in the same way. You appear to have entered, but You are simultaneously all-pervading. We can understand Your entrance and nonentrance from material examples. The total material energy remains intact even after being divided into sixteen elements. The material body is nothing but the combination of the five gross elements--namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Whenever there is a material body, it appears that such elements are newly created, but actually the elements are always existing outside of the body. Similarly, although You appear as a child in the womb of Devaki, You are also existing outside. You are always in Your abode, but still You can simultaneously expand Yourself into millions of forms.

"One has to understand Your appearance with great intelligence because the material energy is also emanating from You. You are the original source of the material energy, just as the sun is the source of the sunshine. The sunshine cannot cover the sun globe, nor can the material energy--being an emanation from You--cover You. You appear to be in the three modes of material energy, but actually the three modes of material energy cannot cover You. This is understood by the highly intellectual philosophers. In other words, although You appear to be within the material energy, You are never covered by it."

We hear from the Vedic version that the Supreme Brahman exhibits His effulgence, and therefore everything becomes illuminated. We can understand from Brahma-samhita that the brahmajyoti, or the Brahman effulgence, emanates from the body of the Supreme Lord. And from the Brahman effulgence, all creation takes place. It is further stated in the Bhagavad-gita that the Lord is also the support of the Brahman effulgence. Originally He is the root cause of everything. But persons who are less intelligent think that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes within this material world, He accepts the material qualities. Such conclusions are not very mature, but are made by the less intelligent.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is directly and indirectly existing everywhere; He is outside this material creation, and He is also within it. He is within this material creation not only as Garbhodakasayi Visnu; He is also within the atom. Existence is due to His presence. Nothing can be separated from His existence. In the Vedic injunction we find that the Supreme Soul or the root cause of everything has to be searched out because nothing exists independent of the Supreme Soul. Therefore the material manifestation is also a transformation of His potency. Both inert matter and the living force--soul--are emanations from Him. Only the foolish conclude that when the Supreme Lord appears He accepts the conditions of matter. Even if He appears to have accepted the material body, He is still not subjected to any material condition. Krsna has therefore appeared and defeated all imperfect conclusions about the appearance and disappearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

"My Lord, Your appearance, existence and disappearance are beyond the influence of the material qualities. Because Your Lordship is the controller of everything and the resting place of the Supreme Brahman, there is nothing inconceivable or contradictory in You. As You have said, material nature works under Your superintendence. It is just like government officers working under the orders of the chief executive. The influence of subordinate activities cannot affect You. The Supreme Brahman and all phenomena are existing within You, and all the activities of material nature are controlled by Your Lordship.

"You are called suklam. Suklam, or 'whiteness' is the symbolic representation of the Absolute Truth because it is unaffected by the material qualities. Lord Brahma is called rakta, or red, because Brahma represents the qualities of passion for creation. Darkness is entrusted to Lord Siva because he annihilates the cosmos. The creation, annihilation and maintenance of this cosmic manifestation is conducted by Your potencies, yet You are always unaffected by those qualities. As confirmed in the Vedas, harir hi nirgunah saksat: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always free from all material qualities. It is also said that the qualities of passion and ignorance are nonexistent in the person of the Supreme Lord.

"My Lord, You are the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, the supreme great, maintaining the order of this cosmic manifestation. And in spite of Your being the supreme controller, You have so kindly appeared in my home. The purpose of Your appearance is to kill the followers of the demoniac rulers of the world who are in the dress of royal princes but are actually demons. I am sure that You will kill all of them and their followers and soldiers.

"I understand that You have appeared to kill the uncivilized Kamsa and his followers. But knowing that You were to appear to kill him and his followers, he has already killed so many of Your predecessors, elder brothers. Now he is simply awaiting the news of Your birth. As soon as he hears about it, he will immediately appear with all kinds of weapons to kill You."

After this prayer of Vasudeva, Devaki, the mother of Krsna, offered her prayers. She was very frightened because of her brother's atrocities. Devaki said, "My dear Lord, Your eternal forms, like Narayana, Lord Rama, Sesa, Varaha, Nrsimha, Vamana, Baladeva, and millions of similar incarnations emanating from Visnu, are described in the Vedic literature as original. You are original because all Your forms as incarnations are outside of this material creation. Your form was existing before this cosmic manifestation was created. Your forms are eternal and all-pervading. They are self-effulgent, changeless and uncontaminated by the material qualities. Such eternal forms are ever-cognizant and full of bliss; they are situated in transcendental goodness and are always engaged in different pastimes. You are not limited to a particular form only; all such transcendental eternal forms are self-sufficient. I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord Visnu.

"After many millions of years, when Lord Brahma comes to the end of his life, the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation takes place. At that time the five elements--namely earth, water, fire, air and ether--enter into the mahat-tattva. The mahat-tattva again enters, by the force of time, into the nonmanifested total material energy; the total material energy enters into the energetic pradhana, and the pradhana enters into You. Therefore after the annihilation of the whole cosmic manifestation, You alone remain with Your transcendental name, form, quality and paraphernalia.

"My Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the director of the unmanifested total energy, and the ultimate reservoir of the material nature. My Lord, the whole cosmic manifestation is under the influence of time, beginning from the moment up to the duration of the year. All act under Your direction. You are the original director of everything and the reservoir of all potent energies.

"Therefore my Lord, I request You to save me from the cruel hands of the son of Ugrasena, Kamsa. I am praying to Your Lordship to please rescue me from this fearful condition because You are always ready to give protection to Your servitors." The Lord has confirmed this statement in the Bhagavad-gita by assuring Arjuna, "You may declare to the world, My devotee shall never be vanquished."

While thus praying to the Lord for rescue, mother Devaki expressed her motherly affection: "I understand that this transcendental form is generally perceived in meditation by the great sages, but I am still afraid because as soon as Kamsa understands that You have appeared, he might harm You. So I request that for the time being You become invisible to our material eyes." In other words, she requested the Lord to assume the form of an ordinary child. "My only cause of fear from my brother Kamsa is due to Your appearance. My Lord Madhusudana, Kamsa may know that You are already born. Therefore I request You to conceal this four-armed form of Your Lordship which holds the four symbols of Visnu--namely the conchshell, the disc, the club and the lotus flower. My dear Lord, at the end of the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation, You put the whole universe within Your abdomen; still by Your unalloyed mercy You have appeared in my womb. I am surprised that You imitate the activities of ordinary human beings just to please Your devotee."

On hearing the prayers of Devaki, the Lord replied, "My dear mother, in the millennium of Svayambhuva Manu, My father Vasudeva was living as one of the Prajapatis, and his name at that time was Sutapa, and you were his wife named Prsni. At that time, when Lord Brahma was desiring to increase the population, he requested you to generate offspring. You controlled your senses and performed severe austerities. By practicing the breathing exercise of the yoga system, both you and your husband could tolerate all the influences of the material laws: the rainy season, the onslaught of the wind, and the scorching heat of the sunshine. You also executed all religious principles. In this way you were able to cleanse your heart and control the influence of material law. In executing your austerity, you used to eat only the leaves of the trees which fell to the ground. Then with steady mind and controlled sex drive, you worshiped Me, desiring some wonderful benediction from Me. Both of you practiced severe austerities for twelve thousand years, by the calculation of the demigods. During that time, your mind was always absorbed in Me. When you were executing devotional service and always thinking of Me within your heart, I was very much pleased with you. O sinless mother, your heart is therefore always pure. At that time also I appeared before you in this form just to fulfill your desire, and I asked you to ask whatever you desired. At that time you wished to have Me born as your son. Although you saw Me personally, instead of asking for your complete liberation from the material bondage, under the influence of My energy, you asked Me to become your son."

In other words, the Lord selected His mother and father--namely Prsni and Sutapa--specifically to appear in the material world. Whenever the Lord comes as a human being, He must have someone as a mother and father, so He selected Prsni and Sutapa perpetually as His mother and father. And on account of this, both Prsni and Sutapa could not ask the Lord for liberation. Liberation is not so important as the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Lord could have awarded Prsni and Sutapa immediate liberation, but He preferred to keep them within this material world for His different appearances, as will be explained in the following verses. On receiving the benediction from the Lord to become His father and mother, both Prsni and Sutapa returned from the activities of austerity and lived as husband and wife in order to beget a child who was the Supreme Lord Himself.

In due course of time Prsni became pregnant and gave birth to the child. The Lord spoke to Devaki and Vasudeva: "At that time My name was Prsnigarbha. In the next millennium also you took birth as Aditi and Kasyapa, and I became your child of the name Upendra. At that time My form was just like a dwarf, and for this reason I was known as Vamanadeva. I gave you the benediction that I would take birth as your son three times. The first time I was known as Prsnigarbha, born of Prsni and Sutapa, the next birth I was Upendra born of Aditi and Kasyapa, and now for the third time I am born as Krsna from you, Devaki and Vasudeva. I appeared in this Visnu form just to convince you that I am the same Supreme Personality of Godhead again taken birth. I could have appeared just like an ordinary child, but in that way you would not believe that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, have taken birth in your womb. My dear father and mother, you have therefore raised Me many times as your child, with great affection and love, and I am therefore very pleased and obliged to you. And I assure you that this time you shall go back to home, back to Godhead, on account of your perfection in your mission. I know you are very concerned about Me and afraid of Kamsa. Therefore I order you to take Me immediately to Gokula and replace Me with the daughter who has just been born to Yasoda."

Having spoken thus in the presence of His father and mother, the Lord turned Himself into an ordinary child and remained silent.

Being ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva attempted to take his son from the delivery room, and exactly at that time, a daughter was born of Nanda and Yasoda. She was Yogamaya, the internal potency of the Lord. By the influence of this internal potency, Yogamaya, all the residents of Kamsa's palace, especially the doorkeepers, were overwhelmed with deep sleep, and all the palace doors opened, although they were barred and shackled with iron chains. The night was very dark, but as soon as Vasudeva took Krsna on his lap and went out, he could see everything just as in the sunlight.

In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is said that Krsna is just like sunlight, and wherever there is Krsna, the illusory energy, which is compared to darkness, cannot remain. When Vasudeva was carrying Krsna, the darkness of the night disappeared. All the prison doors automatically opened. At the same time there was a thunder in the sky and severe rainfall. While Vasudeva was carrying his son Krsna in the falling rain, Lord Sesa in the shape of a serpent spread His hood over the head of Vasudeva so that he would not be hampered by the rainfall. Vasudeva came onto the bank of the Yamuna and saw that the water of the Yamuna was roaring with waves and that the whole span was full of foam. Still, in that furious feature, the river gave passage to Vasudeva to cross, just as the great Indian Ocean gave a path to Lord Rama when He was bridging over the gulf. In this way Vasudeva crossed the river Yamuna. On the other side, he went to the place of Nanda Maharaja situated in Gokula, where he saw that all the cowherd men were fast asleep. He took the opportunity of silently entering into the house of Yasoda, and without difficulty he replaced his son, taking away the baby girl newly born in the house of Yasoda. Then, after entering the house very silently and exchanging the boy with the girl, he again returned to the prison of Kamsa and silently put the girl on the lap of Devaki. He again clamped the shackles on himself so that Kamsa could not recognize that so many things had happened.

Mother Yasoda understood that a child was born of her, but because she was very tired from the labor of childbirth, she was fast asleep. When she awoke, she could not remember whether she had given birth to a male or a female child.

Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Third Chapter of Krsna, "Birth of Lord Krsna."






Thursday, August 18, 2011

Appearance of Lord Caitanya-Nov 1969


Appearance of Lord Caitanya

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness

[The following is from a lecture at London's Conway Hall in November, 1969.]


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatara, appeared in India nearly five hundred years ago. It is the custom in India that when a child is born, an astrologer is called for. When Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared five thousand years ago, Gargamuni was called by His father, and he said, "This child formerly incarnated in three complexions, such as red and golden, and now He has appeared in blackish color." Krsna's color is described in the scriptures as blackish, just like the color of a cloud. Lord Caitanya is understood to be Krsna appearing in golden complexion.

There is much evidence in Vedic literature that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an incarnation of Krsna, and this is confirmed by scholars and devotees. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is confirmed that the incarnation of Krsna, or God, in this present age, Kali-yuga, will always engage in describing Krsna. He is Krsna, but as a devotee of Krsna He describes Himself. And in this age His bodily complexion will not be blackish. This means that it may be white, it may be red, or it may be yellow, because these four colors -- white, red, yellow, and black -- are the colors assumed by the incarnations for the different ages. Therefore, since the red, white, and blackish colors were already taken by former incarnations, the remaining color, golden, is assumed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His complexion is not blackish, but He is Krsna.

Another feature of this avatara is that He is always accompanied by His associates. In the picture of Caitanya Mahaprabhu one will find that He is always followed by many devotees chanting. Whenever God incarnates He has two missions, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita. There Krsna says, "Whenever I appear, My mission is to deliver the pious devotees and to annihilate the demons." When Krsna appeared, He had to kill many demons. If we see a picture of Visnu, we will notice that He has a conchshell, lotus flower, club, and disc. These last two items are meant for killing demons. Within this world there are two classes of men -- the demons and the devotees. The devotees are called demigods; they are almost like God because they have godly qualities. Those who are devotees are called godly persons, and those who are non-devotees, atheists, are called demons. So Krsna, or God, comes with two missions: to give protection to the devotees and to destroy the demons. In this age Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission is also like that: to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the non-devotees, the demons. But in this age He has a different weapon. That weapon is not a club or disc or lethal weapon -- His weapon is the sankirtana movement. He killed the demoniac mentality of the people by introducing the sankirtana movement. That is the specific significance of Lord Caitanya. In this age people are already killing themselves. They have discovered atomic weapons with which to kill themselves, so there is no need for God to kill them. But He appeared to kill their demonic mentality. That is possible by this Krsna consciousness movement.

Therefore, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that this is the incarnation of God in this age. And who worships Him? The process is very simple. Just keep a picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates. Lord Caitanya is in the middle, accompanied by His principal associates -- Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. One simply has to keep this picture. One can keep it anywhere. It is not that one has to come to us to see this picture. Anyone can have this picture in his home, chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and thus worship Lord Caitanya. That is the simple method. But who will capture this simple method? Those who have good brains. Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krsna, then one will realize God. Anyone can adopt this simple method. There is no expenditure, there is no tax, nor is there any need to build a very big church or temple. Anyone, anywhere, can sit down on the road or beneath a tree and chant the Hare Krsna mantra and worship God. Therefore it is a great opportunity. For example, in business or political life one sometimes finds a great opportunity. Those who are intelligent politicians take a good opportunity and make a success of it the first time it comes. Similarly, in this age, those who have sufficient intelligence take to this sankirtana movement, and they advance very quickly.

Lord Caitanya is called "the golden avatara." Avatara means "descending, coming down." Just as one may come down from the fifth story or the one-hundredth story of a building, an avatara comes down from the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky. The sky we see with our naked eyes or with a telescope is only the material sky. But beyond this there is another sky, which is not possible to see with our eyes or instruments. That information is in the Bhagavad-gita: it is not imagination. Krsna says that beyond the material sky is another sky, the spiritual sky.

We have to take Krsna's word as it is. For example, we teach small children that beyond England there are other places, called Germany, India, etc., and the child has to learn about these places from the version of the teacher because they are beyond this sphere. Similarly, beyond this material sky there is another sky. One cannot experiment to find it, any more than a small child can experiment to find Germany or India. That is not possible. If we want to get knowledge, then we have to accept authority. Similarly, if we want to know what is beyond the material world then we have to accept the Vedic authority, otherwise there is no possibility of knowing. It is beyond material knowledge. One cannot go to the far planets in this universe, what to speak of going beyond this universe. The estimation is that in order to go to the highest planet of this universe with modern machinery one would have to travel for forty thousand light-years. So we cannot ever travel within this material sky. Our lifetime and means are so limited that we cannot have proper knowledge of even this material world.

In the Bhagavad-gita, when Arjuna asked Krsna, "Will you kindly explain the extent to which Your energies are working?" the Supreme Lord gave him so many instances, and at the end He finally said, "My dear Arjuna, what shall I explain about My energies? It is not actually possible for you to understand. But you can just imagine the expansion of My energies: this material world, which consists of millions of universes, is a display of only one fourth of My creation." We cannot estimate the position of even one universe, and there are millions of spiritual planets. All this information is available from the Vedic literature. If one accepts Vedic literature, then he can get this knowledge. If one doesn't accept it, there is no other means. That is our choice. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, whenever an acarya speaks he immediately gives references from the Vedic literature. Then others will accept it: "Yes, it is correct." In a law court the lawyer gives references from past judgments of the court, and if his case is tight, the judge accepts. Similarly, if one can give evidence from the Vedas, then it is understood that his position is factual.

The avatara for this age, Lord Caitanya, is described in Vedic literature. We cannot accept anyone as an avatara unless he has the symptoms described in the scriptures. We do not whimsically accept Lord Caitanya as an avatara on the basis of votes. Nowadays it has become a fashion that any man can come and say that he is God or an incarnation of God, and some fools and rascals will accept it: "Oh, he is God." We do not accept an avatara like that. We take evidence from the Vedas. An avatara must conform to descriptions in the Vedas. Then we accept him; otherwise no. For each avatara there is a description in the Vedas: He will appear at such and such a place, in such and such a form, and He will act like this. That is the nature of Vedic evidence.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is a list of the avataras, and there is mention of Lord Buddha's name. This Srimad-Bhagavatam was written five thousand years ago, and it mentions different names for future times. It says that in the future the Lord would appear as Lord Buddha, his mother's name would be Anjana, and he would appear in Gaya. So Buddha appeared twenty-six hundred years ago, and the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which was written five thousand years ago, mentioned that in the future he would appear. Similarly, there is mention of Lord Caitanya, and similarly the last avatara of this Kali-yuga is also mentioned in the Bhagavatam. It is mentioned that the last incarnation in this age is Kalki. He will appear as the son of a brahmana whose name is Visnu-yasa, in a place called Sambhala. There is a place in India with that name, so perhaps it is there that the Lord will appear.

So an avatara must conform to the descriptions in the Upanisads, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, other Vedic literatures. And on the authority of Vedic literature and the commentary of great, stalwart gosvamis like Jiva Gosvami, who was the greatest scholar and philosopher in the world, we can accept Lord Caitanya as an incarnation of Krsna.

Why did Lord Caitanya appear? In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says, "Give up all other engagements and simply engage in My service. I will give you protection from all results of sinful actions." In this material world, in conditional life, we are simply creating sinful reactions. That's all. And because of sinful reactions, we have received this body. If our sinful reactions stopped we would not have to take a material body; we should get a spiritual body.

What is a spiritual body? A spiritual body is a body which is free from death, birth, disease, and old age. It is an eternal body, full of knowledge and bliss. Different bodies are created by different desires. As long as we have desires for different kinds of enjoyment, we have to accept different kinds of material bodies. Krsna, God, is so kind that He awards whatever we want. If we want a tiger's body, with tiger-like strength and teeth with which to capture animals and suck fresh blood, then Krsna will give us the opportunity. And if we want the body of a saintly person, a devotee engaged only in the service of the Lord, then He will give us that body. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita.

If a person engaged in yoga, the process of self-realization, somehow or other fails to complete the process, he is given another chance; he is given birth in a family of a pure brahmana or a rich man. If one is fortunate enough to take birth in such a family, he gets all facilities to understand the importance of self-realization. From the very beginning of life our Krsna conscious children are getting the opportunity to learn how to chant and dance, so when they are grown up they will not change, but instead will automatically make progress. They are very fortunate. Regardless of whether he is born in America or Europe, a child will advance if his father and mother are devotees. He gets this opportunity, if a child takes birth in a family of devotees. This means that in his last life he had already taken to the yoga process, but somehow or other he could not finish it. Therefore the child is given another opportunity to make progress under the care of a good father and mother so that he will again advance. In this way, as soon as one completes his development of God consciousness, then he no longer has to take birth in this material world, but returns to the spiritual world.

Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita: "My dear Arjuna, if one understands My appearance, disappearance, and activities, simply because of this understanding he is given the opportunity to take birth in the spiritual world after giving up this body." One has to give up this body -- today, tomorrow, or maybe the day after that. One has to. But a person who has understood Krsna will not have to take another material body. He goes directly to the spiritual world and takes birth in one of the spiritual planets. So Krsna says that as soon as one gets this body -- it doesn't matter if it is from India or the moon or the sun or Brahmaloka or anywhere within this material world -- one should know that it is due to his sinful activities. There are degrees of sinful activities, so according to the degree of sinfulness, one takes a material body. Therefore our real problem is not how to eat, sleep, mate, and defend -- our real problem is how to get a body that is not material but spiritual. That is the ultimate solution to all problems. So Krsna guarantees that if one surrenders unto Him, if one becomes fully Krsna conscious, then He will give one protection from all reactions to sinful life. This assurance was given by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, but there were many fools who could not understand Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita they are described
as mudhas. Mudha means "rascal," and Krsna says in the Gita, "They do not know what I actually am." So many people misunderstood Krsna. Although Krsna gave us this message of the Bhagavad-gita so that we could understand Him, many people missed the opportunity. Therefore, Krsna, out of His compassion, came again, as a devotee, and showed us how to surrender unto Krsna. Krsna Himself came to teach us how to surrender. His last instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is to surrender, but people -- mudhas, rascals -- said, "Why should I surrender?" Therefore, although Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, this time He teaches us practically how to execute the mission of the Bhagavad-gita. That's all. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching nothing extraordinary, nothing beyond the process of surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which was already taught in the Bhagavad-gita. There is no other teaching, but the same teaching in presented in different ways so that different kinds of people may take it and take the opportunity to approach God.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives us the opportunity to reach God directly. When Rupa Gosvami, the principal disciple of Lord Caitanya, first saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was a minister in the government of Bengal but wanted to join Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement. So he gave up his position as a minister, and after joining, when he surrendered, he offered a nice prayer to Lord Caitanya. This prayer says:

namo maha-vadanyaya
krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya
namne gaura-tvise namah

"My dear Lord, you are the most munificent of all the incarnations." Why? Krsna-prema-pradaya te: "You are directly giving love of God. You have no other purpose. Your process is so nice that one can immediately learn to love God. Therefore You are the most munificent of all incarnations. And it is no possible for any personality other than Krsna Himself to deliver this benediction; therefore I say that You are Krsna." Krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne: "You are Krsna, but You have assumed the name Krsna Caitanya. I surrender unto You."

So this is the process. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, and He is teaching how to develop love of God by a very simple method. He says simply to chant Hare Krsna.

harer nama harer nama

harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

"In this age, simply go on chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. There is no other alternative." People are embarrassed by so many methods of realization. They cannot take to the actual ritualistic processes of meditation or yoga; it is not possible. Therefore Lord Caitanya says that if one takes up this process of chanting, then immediately he can reach the platform of realization.

The chanting process offered by Lord Caitanya for achieving love of God is
called sankirtana. Sankirtana is a Sanskrit word. Sam means samyak-- "complete." And kirtana means "glorifying" or "describing." So complete description means complete glorification of the Supreme, or the Supreme Complete Whole. It is not that one can describe anything or glorify anything and that will be kirtana. From the grammatical point of view that may be kirtana, but according to the Vedic system, kirtana means describing the supreme authority, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is called kirtana.

This devotional service begins with the method of sravana. Sravana means "hearing," and kirtana means "describing." One should describe, and another should hear. Or the same man himself can both describe and hear. He does not need anyone else's help. When we chant Hare Krsna, we chant and hear. This is complete. This is a complete method. But what is that chanting and hearing? One must chant and hear about Visnu, Krsna. Not of anything else. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh: one can understand Visnu, the all-pervading Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by the method of hearing.

We have to hear; if one simply hears, that is the beginning. One does not need any education or development of material knowledge. Just like a child: as soon as he hears, immediately he can respond and dance. So by nature God has given us these nice instruments -- ears -- so that we can hear. But we must hear from the right source. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. One must hear from those who are devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are called satam. If one hears from the right source, from a realized soul, then it will act. And these words of God, or Krsna, are very relishable. If one is intelligent enough, he will listen to what is spoken by the realized soul. Then very soon he will be released from material entanglements.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ShaktaveshAvatara

Srila Prabhupada is ShaktyAveshAvatara. [Sometimes spelled differently, but similar enough to recognize. I tried to write it phonetically so everyone can read it.]

Devotees have asked both myself, husband, also our godsiblings, for evidence. 


Rightly so. They did not necessarily disbelieve, not at all. They believed - but sometimes it was almost like holding onto a blind hope, rather than having scriptural facts. 

Thus below are some emails with quotes complied by my husband. Which of course makes the comments that follow the quotes, his.

Subject: Here is sastra evidence that Srila Prabhupada is Saktavesh

"As far as Avesarupa is concerned, sometimes Krishna empowers some suitable living entity to represent Him; when a living entity is acting as a representative of the Supreme Lord, he is called Avesa avatar, or Saktavesh avatara." TLC

This means that when Krishna empowers a jiva to represent Him, then that person is saktavesh avatara. The following quotes prove that Srila Prabhupada is indeed that sakatavesh avatara, who was empowered by Lord Krishna to do extraordinary service, never done before in Vaisnava history, and can never be duplicated again, for that matter.

Here Srila Prabhupada explains how he was empowered by Lord Caitanya to fulfill His prophesy-

"So my dear boys and girls, about six years ago I came to your country single-handed, with this pair of cymbals. Now you are so many chanting Hare Krsna. That is my success. It was the prediction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara hoibe mora nama
(Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126)

Lord Caitanya desired that "In all the towns, in as many towns and villages as there are on the surface of the globe, My name will be broadcast." He is Krsna Himself, svayam krsna, krsna caitanya-namine, simply changing His name as Krsna Caitanya. So His prediction will never go in vain. That's a fact. So my plan was that "I shall go to America. America is the leading country of the world. If I can convince (the) younger generation of America, they will take up. …. If you kindly take this Krsna consciousness movement seriously, your country will be saved,and the whole world will be saved." Arrival Lecture -- Los Angeles, May 18, 1972

The following quotes show how Srila Bhaktivinoda started this movement, and how he predicted a great soul to spread it all over the world-

Prabhupada: He sent his first book...
Ambassador: Yes.
Prabhupada: ...in 1896. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the first origin of this movement. But he simply thought of it. And he was expecting some others that willing to take up the work. Well, somebody says that I am the same man. - Room Conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran -- March 13, 1975, Iran

Around the turn of the century, the great spiritual master Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura made this prediction- "Soon there will appear a personality who will preach the holy name of Hari [Lord Krsna] all over the world."

More proof-

"Without being empowered by the direct potency of Lord Krsna to fulfill His desire and without being specifically favored by the Lord, no human being can become the spiritual master of the whole world. …. Only an empowered personality can distribute the holy name of the Lord and enjoin all fallen souls to worship Krsna. By distributing the holy name of the Lord, he cleanses the hearts of the most fallen people; therefore he extinguishes the blazing fire of the material world. Not only that, he broadcasts the shining brightness of Krsna's effulgence throughout the world. Such an acarya, or spiritual master, should be considered nondifferent from Krsna -- that is, he should be considered the incarnation of Lord Krsna's potency. Such a personality is krsnalingita-vigraha -- that is, he is always embraced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Such a person is above the considerations of the varnasrama institution. He is the guru, or spiritual master, for the entire world, a devotee on the topmost platform, the maha-bhagavata stage, and a paramahamsa-thakura, a spiritual form only fit to be addressed as paramahamsa or thakura." Madhya 25.9P

"By the grace of Lord Sri Krsna, we had the chance of being born in a Vaisnava family, and in our childhood we imitated the worship of Lord Krsna by imitating our father….. Our spiritual master, who also took his birth in a Vaisnava family, got all inspirations from his great Vaisnava father Thakura Bhaktivinoda….. there is always symmetry between the early lives of all great devotees of the Lord….. Such maha-bhagavatas are called nitya-siddhas, or souls liberated from birth." Ref. VedaBase =Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.15 -- Los Angeles, June 1, 1972

"The Krsna consciousness movement is spreading to enlighten people about their real position, their original relationship with Krsna. One requires Krsna's special power in order to be able to do this…. The Lord again comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to induce people to take to Krsna consciousness. The Lord also empowers a special devotee to teach people their constitutional position." Madhya 19.114

I think that anyone who reads the above very carefully will agree with the thesis. Please inform if I made any mistakes here, thanks for following the Vaisnava protocol, ys Bdas

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Subject: MORE to show Prabhupada is avatar

Haribol, the paragraphs below are from the essay "great souls sometimes reappear" which appeared on several websites. This is more evidence that Srila Prabhupada is a unique saktavesa avatar sent by Lord Caitanya. Sdas asked if there will be anymore jiva empowered avatars to come. By reading all these predictions we surmise that there are no more empowered jiva avatars to come, or else there would be similar predictions to herald their soon arrival. Srila Prabhupada already fulfilled these predictions, there are no more similar predictions to come. Ydas also asked what class of avatar, so Prabhupada is in a unique class of empowered jivas, which is evident from the predictions he made come true, such as Bhakti personified coming to the west. Just like King Prthu was an empowered jiva, and did amazing things, also Srila Prabhupada is another glorious chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Several websites ran this "great souls" essay, but the VNN site refused to run it, even though they ran many other essays submitted by me. I think this is because they are mostly GM, [Gaudiya Math] oriented, and it seems they don't wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion of this essay, which confirms that Srila Prabhupada is a unique acharya, specially empowered by Lord Krsna, as said in the last paragraph here, "we should never even slightly think that Srila Prabhupada was just another guru, but we should be firm in conviction, from sastra, that he is the sena-pati great general of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement, sent by Lord Caitanya Himself, that he is jagat guru of the world, and he was sent to the western world by bhakti personified, as said in the Bhagavat Mahatmya." I feel they don't want to make such distinction, otherwise, why would they not run the article, when many other devotees liked it? So, should the disciples of Srila Prabhupada always glorify him in all times, and in all forms of words? Yes, Srila Prabhupada's glories should always be sung by poets and all devotees of Krsna, perpetually every day, [this is done in guru puja every day] every year, every century, for all times for the great contribution and service he rendered to Lord Krsna. Hare Krishna, ys Bdasa

From essay-

Lord Caitanya sends his great devotee, Srila Prabhupada- Lochan Das Thakur, in his Chaitanya Mangal, predicted that a sena-pati, or a "great general," would come and accomplish this mission. This was Srila Prabhupada. Also, Bhaktivinode Thakur, in an article entitled "Nityananda Suryodoy," which was published in the 1800s, in his Sajjana-toshani magazine -- he predicted that soon a time is coming when the chanting of Krishna's name will be heard in England, France, Russia, Germany, and America. Srila Prabhupada brought this to fruition. There is also one document from the fifteenth century. It is called the Bhagavat Mahatmya. In this book, Narada, the great sage, has a conversation with bhakti personified. In the course of this conversation, bhakti says, idam sthanam parityajya videsham gamyate maya. Literally, this means: "I will leave this country, India, and go abroad!" The same text informs us that this personified bhakti will go to South India and then leave to go abroad after staying in Vrindavan. This is exactly what Prabhupada did." Ref. VedaBase = OS 6: Chapter Six

Here we have sastra authority that Srila Prabhupada was directly sent to this world by Lord Caitanya, and Srila Prabhupada was Lord Caitanya’s sena-pati great general. Also, in the Brahma-vivarta Purana, Lord Vishnu told Mother Ganges to not worry about the many sins of Kali-Yuga, because He will send His devotee to spread the sankritan movement all over the world. Srila Prabhupada told his disciples, “never was there a time when I did not know Krishna.”

We should press upon all new devotees the extreme importance of never entertaining the thought that the great acharyas in our parampara are like ordinary human beings. Such an offensive mentality is described as naraka, or hellish. And we should never even slightly think that Srila Prabhupada was just another guru, but we should be firm in conviction, from sastra, that he is the sena-pati great general of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement, sent by Lord Caitanya Himself, that he is jagat guru of the world, and he was sent to the western world by bhakti personified, as said in the Bhagavat Mahatmya. It is the duty of all devotees who follow in Srila Prabhupada’s legacy to inform everyone of Srila Prabhupada’s exalted status of founder-acharya and Lord Caitanya’s sena-pati great general guru for everyone in his movement.

----

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Lord Chaitanya’s Senapati (Chief-Commander) Bhakta

Locana Dasa Thakura in his Caitanya Mangala (Sutra-khanda) mentions Srila Prabhupada (Lord Caitanya speaking of the reasons for His descent):

nama-guna-sankirtana vaisnavera shakti
prakasa karibe ami nija prema-bhakti

Chanting of the name & qualities of Krsna is the life & energy of the Vaisnavas. I will reveal these activities & rejuvenate pure devotional service unto Myself.

ei mate kali-papa karibe sanhara
sabe cala age pache na kara vichara

In this way I will destroy all the sins in Kali Yuga. So all of you, My associates, go ahead and take birth on the earthly planet before My advent and don't remain behind.

ebe nama sankirtana tikshna khadaga laiya
antara asura jivera phelibe katiya

Taking the sharp sword of the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, (nama-sankirtana) I will root out & destroy the demoniac mentality in the hearts of all the conditioned souls.

yadi papi chadi dharma dure dese yaya
mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya

If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to far off countries, then my Senapati Bhakta will come at that time to give them Krsna consciousness. (senapati - a military field commander, bhakta - a devotee. Lord Caitanya will empower His own devotee to spread Krsna Consciousness around the world.)

----

"A living entity who is specifically empowered by the Lord with knowledge or strength is technically called avesa-rupa. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11), krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: unless a devotee is specifically empowered by the Lord, he cannot peach the holyname ofthe Lord all over the world. This is an explanation of the word avesa-rupa." ~ CC Madya Lila, Ch 20 P 


Related Story: DOM.








Monday, August 15, 2011

Handwritten Notice By Prabhupada


HANDWRITTEN NOTICE BY SRILA PRABHUPADA

[From a godsister who said: "This was posted in one of the many temples I resided in. It was framed & posted in all the temples I ever lived in.]


All initiated devotees must attend morning & evening classes.

Must not be addicted to any kind of intoxication including coffee, tea and cigarettes.

They are forbidden to have illicit sex connections.

Must be strictly vegetarian.

Should not extensively mix with non-devotees

Should not eat foodstuff cooked by non-devotees

Should not waste time in idle talks

nor engage himself in frivolous sports.

Should always chant and sing the Lords Holy Names

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Thank You.

(Signed) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Acarya.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness
26 Second Avenue.
New York, N.Y.
Dated Nov. 25, 1966.

--

[NOTE: In the above Prabhupada refers to "no tea." That is caffeinated tea, not herbal tea which is fine if it's caffeine-free. Ayurvedic herbal tea is an example that its fine to drink herbs that do not contain caffeine etc within them.]

My Egroups

A reason I opened this blog resulted from yahoo web hosting improperly transferring my geocites sites, then shutting me down since my pages looked improper. :) [Basically they messed up my onsite pics, then blamed me for not having pics.] Even tho I paid. Anyhow, in time hope to relocate backups and will then start making those pages again.

UPDATE: Have so far located most of my former sites, and transferred two. Scroll to see which ones.


Since this may take quite a while [I'm not in control there ha], so I thought to share my e-groups for those interested. They are all different from the other, so be sure to pick those that fit your personality, interests, etc.

Inspiration Newsletter
A mellow Krishna conscious newsletter for anyone, on any level. Including those not near a temple, desirous of spiritual enlivenment. Not a chat group, but a published newsletter full of nectar, Prabhupada nectar, Gita, Krishna book, veggie links, the 'old days' of the movement, Jayananda info, recipes, Chaitanya Charitamrita, and much more.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/InspirationNewsletter

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Prabhupada Jagat Guru
Ever wonder why, if one desires happiness, they can not always be happy? Why is suffering forced upon us? How can I truly be free to enjoy life fully? The answer to these and many others can be discoverd thru a study of Prabhupada's books and personal letters to his disciples. For those ready to move on to this next level I have opened such a place, not a chat group but one of study. We are not for everyone, read our front page description and see if its a good fit for you.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Prabhupada_Jagat_Guru/

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MY SITES that have been TRANSFERRED Here


* DOM: Direction Of Management
[Written by Srila Prabhupada himself] A document, plus its amendment, deemed extremely important by Srila Prabhupada. Yet, why no one follows it? Why no one even wants to talk about it? Unless they can talk it "away." Cover it over with lots of long sentences. Whereas, IMHO, Prabhupada said it, then I for one, believe it.
http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2011/10/dom-direction-of-management.html

* HUMOR - Why should devotees read joke pages? Find out here. [Hint: health, longevity, more.] Lift your spirits and for gosh sakes, laugh a little. :) http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2011/11/humor.html

* Devotees CAN go Back To Godhead
This arose after I heard devotees I knew had died under auspicious circumstances, certain others spoke as if they had not achieved the goal of returning to Krishna. That is the exact opposite of what Prabhupada teachers. If we chant at the time of death, or die in Vrindavana for example, we go back to home, back to Godhead. Yet upon the death of an 11 or 12 years old child who others heard him chanting as he left this world, we were informed he did not go back. And upon the death of others who some may judge should not to have gone back, but they were factually chanting or passed over in the Holy Dham, then they had to have returned to the Lord. This needs to be better understood. Thus:
http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2011/10/devotees-can-go-btg.html

* Difference Between Hinduism And Krishna Consciousness
Many are under the impression these are one and the same. Not in the least. Find out more, here: http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2011/10/difference-between-hinduism-and-krishna.html

* Qualifications Of Dksha [Initiating] IGuru
What you do, or who you select, to save your soul, is of course your own individual choice. Simply, do it from a perspective of knowledge. Can you answer: "How does one recognize who is a pure guru?" Do you know: "What are the specified shastric qualifications of guru?" Or "What did Prabhupada say to help one recognize a qualified spiritual master?" Lets not jump on the vox-populi bus, that since everyone is jumping up and down happily dancing or promoting someone, or evaluating by how they feel, then we blindly go along. Instead, let us educate ourselves. Yes, feelings have their place, but so does knowledge. For the answers to the above questions, and more, please read the following link.
http://harekrishnablogging.blogspot.com/2011/08/qualifications-of-dksha-guru.html

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The following 2 E-GROUPS are for the very serious, wishing to live the lifestyle of the initiated disciple, OR for those all ready initiated, desirous to associate with others who took it as well.

Please do not join either of these if you have different philosophical beliefs to give difficulties [as we have seen in the past]. Its a waste of everyone's time, as such endeavors have never proven to convert anyone - either side.

Also don't join if you want to post your latest mission [we have our own mission], or post what guru fell down - or the opposite with the glories about other gurus. This is not a group for negativity, ranting on about whats wrong, and its not a group for other gurus either. Its a Prabhupada group to Practice what you preach. To make that very clear, it means: talk about japa, your at-home arotika, how many books you distributed, or what little or a lot you are able to perform at home. NOR should anyone use the above an an 'angle' to get their foot in door, then try to post your mission from a certain angle you think meshes with ours. It does not. That is trickery and is disturbing; we don't want such association either.

To those unlike this, not to worry, its a private moderated group and safe. Its ME who ends up going thru such things mentioned above, not you. :)

With that said, phew ha, please do join if you are a good fit with us. :) Read and see:

Prabhupada Centered WOMEN E-group
Can you, ladies, become a disciple of Prabhupada? Yes, you can, but you first need to learn 'how.' Not about getting into politics as I try to get along with all; simply those who have ALL READY come to that place in their mind where they can not imagine anyone other than Prabhupada as their guru, there "is" a group you too can get devotee association. If you're a Prabhupadanuga and in a female body... here's a place you can find like-minded Vaisnavi's [ladies]. If genuinely and most honestly interested, come join with us. Not limited to those wanting to be disciple but open to those who have. All ages & stages welcome! Then we can share our mirth, poems, hopefulness, recipes, what were' doing [or not doing] at home or anywhere. Not a group for fanaticism [nor the opposite], but for inspiration, strict following [or working toward it], and visionaries. Have you read Prabhupada's Last Will & Testament, July 9th letter, Others? Would you like to? Such documents are viewable in our files section. If we're not a good fit for you, that's fine. Kindly offer mutual respect by joining other e-lists that do fit you better. No politics, the focus is actually actual practice. Doing a Home program, etc. Read our e-groups front page in full to see if we are a good fit for you. We hope so! :) [No curiosity seekers please, only the sincere.]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VaisnavisForPrabhupada/

Senior Devotee Godsisters
Seeking my dear senior devotee godsisters who joined the Hare Krishna Movement prior to Nov 77 ... thus having similar life experiences, etc. Where did you all go? You left many of us who care, standing in the rain, alone. Please come out of the woodwork & join our e-group. Why? Because it's sane, helpful, warm & fuzzy :-) thus a soft place to fall for those of us who have been thru a lot, yet maintain the belief that Prabhupada's real teachings hold different / better ways of living. Tired of no association or something else similar? Put an end to it! Reach out & we'll reach back. No politics, just friends & fun. Read our front page & see if we're for you. We hope you feel you are! Please tho, don't join for ulterior reasons, such as to promote your egroup, a new guru, something you wrote or want to advertise. This group is a Prabhupada only egroup, as well as for association, seeking like-minded older godsisters tired of living in the woodwork. :)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SeniorDevoteeGodsisters
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OTHERS LINKS

Akshaya Patra
Feed the Children Charity can help relieve some malefic Astrological planetary transits, more importantly its the human thing to do, and beyond that, its great to feed Vaisnava [devotee] children! Anyhow, this program has been given recognition by President Obama & others, etc. This isn't about who you like or dislike politically. :) There are no politics in Krishna Consciousness anyhow. Its about, its authorized! To learn more about this program go to: http://foodforeducation.org ...The donation link is what's click-able.
http://www.akshayapatra.org/individual-donors

Prabhupada Connect
Here's an article I wrote which the web master, Padmapani das, so kindly posted. Recommended: check out the entire site, as its full of various devotees experiences with Prabhupada, sublime stories of what it was like "back in the day," and simply lots of nectar! http://www.prabhupadaconnect.com/CauselessMercy49.html

Great Souls Sometimes Re-appear
Fascinating, eye-opening article! Can devotees appear, disappear and then re-appear? Not talking about reincarnation here but something higher. Check it out.
http://vishoka.com/visoka/souls_reappear.htm

Book Changes [Srila Prabhupada's Writings]
What's your opinion on the changes that have been made to Prabhupada's books? For it? Against it? The choice is yours. Check out this viewpoint.
http://bookchanges.com/


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Qualifications Of Diksha [Initiating] Guru

Who should we bow down to offer our obeisances as worshipable spiritual master? Who can give us God?

Having asked many new devotees: "What are the qualifications you need to know in order to recognize a bona fide guru?," for decades now, hardly any have been able to give an accurate reply. At best, gave well intended speculations, but no factual knowledge of Prabhupada's instructions or quotes on this specific  matter. 


Thus this page.

Currently folks are often unaware of Vedic qualifications required for diksa [initiating] guru. Here then, are some quotes about what to look for when selecting a Diksa guru. This list is not complete, as it never will be, BUT it is sufficient.

If a devotee becomes first class uttama, plus ordered [somehow or other] by Srila Prabhupada to be a diksa [initiating] guru, then there are qualifications which would automatically be there to prove they are qualified pure devotee diksa.

A first class Mahabhagavata devotee, the pure devotee, or a bona-fide diksa guru, must:
 

Must be above the bodily platform with ALL senses under control [For example, no anger when he doesn't get the maha plate]; must be COMPLETELY free of sex desire. This is a tall order and one that must be achieved to accept the post of guru. They must even be free of “subtle” sex desire. That's important since history has revealed various guru's falling down with women even on subtle levels.

*  Always avoids the 10 offenses to the holy name, especially the first offense, which means he must be free of the propensity to criticize others or gossip.

*  Is happy! Jolly, never morose. Brahma-bhuta, or liberated from the material concept of life: "I and mine."

*  Meek and humble. He has genuinely become the personification of 3rd verse in Siksastakam, lower than a straw, yet more tolerant than a tree.
 

*  Always speaks of Krishna.
 

*  A pure devotee is not recognized by popular social position, number of followers, ashram, or so forth - but by their attraction to the holy name.

*  Has all qualities of a Brahmana: Honesty, cleanliness, etc. Simultaneously is above brahmana, or is Vaisnava - transcendental [yet follows properly, not misusing “transcendence” to do nonsense. Rather he sets the perfect example]. 
 
*  Siksastakam is their life and soul, especially na dhanam, na jahnam, na sundarim, and so on - or no desire for profit, adoration and distinction [not showing off or trying to stand out in a crowd.]
 

* Is a maha-bhagavata, and those who see such a personality immediately think of or remember the holy names of Krishna.   

*  Must be situated on the topmost platform, a first class devotee [beyond mechanics] -

"The guru must be situated on the topmost platform of devotional service. There are three classes of devotees, and the guru must be accepted from the topmost class. The first-class devotee is the spiritual master for all kinds of people. It is said, gurur nirnam. The word nirnam means "of all human beings." The guru is not limitedto a particular group. It is stated in the Upadesamrita of Rüpa Gosvami that a guru is a gosvami, a controller of the senses AND the mind. Such a guru can accept disciples from all over the world. This is the test of the guru." ~ Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 24.330, P

"When one has attained the topmost position of mahä-bhägavata, he is to be accepted as a guru and worshiped exactly like Hari, the Personality of Godhead. Only such a person is eligible to occupy the post of a guru." Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 24.330P

*  Must be above the six stages mentioned in Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur's book Madhurya-Kadambini, the six stages of unsteady or anisthita stages of bhajana-kriya (activities of worship). The sixth stage is enjoying the facilities of bhakti, or playing in the waves of the ocean of bhakti, a position known as taranga-rangini.

*  To accept disciples one must have such great faith in their own guru that they are always in agreement with their guru, "never" questions/doubts their guru, does not try to philosophize "around" something their guru has instructed. And is always obedient to guru. [Remember, they all ready checked out their guru prior to accepting initiation, thus there should be no more doubt. Also, it’s not based on 'blind' faith, but on shasta, knowledge, etc.] 


*  A PhD is not the least bit important. :) Nor does it make one a better choice of guru, nor is any high level of material education needed: 

    "My Guru Maharaja was very great scholar, and his Guru Maharaja, from literary point of view, he could not even sign his name, Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja.  And Bhaktivinoda Thakura asked Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to accept Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja as his, as his spiritual master, that 'You go and take your initiation from Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja.'  So he thought that 'I am a great scholar, and I am son of a magistrate, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and great Vaisnava.  He'll be very much pleased to accept me.'  Of course, he was very much pleased.  But in the beginning he refused.  He refused.  Because... Of course, that is only show.  He was not proud.  Just to teach us.  Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained that 'I was little proud. So I was thrice refused by Guru Maharaja,' although he was the only disciple.  So the scholarship is not a qualification of becoming devotee.  That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teaching.  Scholarship may help, but it is not necessary.  Real necessary is that one should be humble and meek and follow the instruction of the spiritual master.  This is real qualification." ~ Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 03/13/74, Vrindavan


* And my all-time favorite is in the exalted status described in Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 1.46P (quote follows)...

"In his prayers to the spiritual master, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms that all the revealed scriptures accept the spiritual master to be identical with the Personality of Godhead because he is avery dear and confidential servant of the Lord. Gaudiya Vaisnavas therefore worship Srila Gurudeva (the spiritual master) in the light of his being the servitor of the Personality of Godhead. In all the ancient scriptures of devotional service and in the more recent songs of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other unalloyed Vaisnavas, the spiritual master is always considered either one of the confidential associates of Srimati Radharani or a manifested representation of Srila Nityananda Prabhu." ~ Adi 1.46

* Does not have the AMBITION to be diksa guru, or does not think they are qualified. This example is found in Srila Bhaktivinode's "Jaiva Dharma" where the babaji is a first class devotee, but when he is asked by the disciple to give diksa, he declines, saying he is not qualified to be a diksa guru. 


* "Unless one is a resident of Krishna Loka, one cannot be a Spiritual Master.  That is the first proposition.  A layman cannot be a Spiritual Master, and if he becomes so then he will simply create disturbance ... So to summarize the whole thing, it is to be understood that a bona fide Spiritual Master is a resident of Krishna Loka." ~ Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 10, 1969

* ETC. -- This is not a complete list, though the point gets made sufficiently. :-) 



SOME HELPFUL QUOTES:

"Yes. A spiritual master must have seen Kṛṣṇa. Without seeing, he cannot be spiritual master. But how Kṛṣṇa can be seen? Kṛṣṇa can be seen by love. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena [Bs. 5.38]. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti. Just like if you are in love with somebody, you can see him constantly—he is always on your eyes, anyone you love—so similarly, Kṛṣṇa also can be seen by development of love. Otherwise how we can see Kṛṣṇa? He is so great, unlimited. Your eyes, your senses, are all limited. You cannot see the unlimited by your limited sense perception. But you can see... Not you can see, but svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. When you are developed in the sense of love of Godhead, then He reveals unto you. Therefore you can see. " - Srila prabhupada's Lecture : Bhagavad-gita 4.34-39 -- Los Angeles, January 12, 1969

 "So this adhokṣajam, Kṛṣṇa, we have to worship. Adhokṣaja. So we cannot see if it is beyond our sense perception. How we can worship Him? Therefore you have to take shelter of the spiritual master who has seen Him." - Srila Prabhupada's Lecture : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.25 -- Los Angeles, August 28, 1972

Woman Interviewer: But I mean supposing I wished to become an initiate. Wouldn't I have to come and live here?
Śyāmasundara: No.
Prabhupāda: Not necessarily.
Woman Interviewer: Oh, I could stay at home?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.
Woman Interviewer: What about work, though? Does one have to give up one's job?
Prabhupāda: You have to give up these bad habits and chant these beads, Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. That's all.
Woman Interviewer: Would I have to give any financial support?
Prabhupāda: No, that's your voluntary wish. If you give us, that's all right. Otherwise, we don't mind.
Woman Interviewer: Sorry, I didn't understand.
Prabhupāda: We do not want, depend on anyone's financial contributions. We depend on God, or Kṛṣṇa.
Woman Interviewer: So I wouldn't have to give any money at all.
Prabhupāda: No.
Woman Interviewer: Is this one of the main things that distinguishes a genuine guru from a fake guru?
Prabhupāda: Yes. A genuine guru is not a business man."
From Srila Prabhupada's Temple Press Conference -- August 5, 1971, London




                                                  RELATED LINKS:


Who is ShaktyAveshAvatara?,

Handwritten Notice by Prabhupada to Disciples.

Finding A Genuine Guru