Late one night, Srila Gurudeva was in repose in his room when his rest was stirred by clamorous banging on the metal gate at the entrance to the temple. After rising an making his way downstairs, he saw a distraught woman and her sons huddled anxiously around a man at the front gate. Mumbling incoherently while shaking in violent spasms on the ground, the unfortunate man seemed neurotic. Seeing Srila Gurudeva at the gate, a boy pleaded, “Help! Please open the gate and help us!”
Bhakti means spontaneous loving service. When a servant renders service to his master in consideration of monetary exchange, it is not loving service neither this hired service can come within the category of “Bhakti”. When a friend renders service to a fellow friend in consideration of obligation or in expectation of reward or as a matter of gratitude, it is no longer spontaneous loving service and therefore cannot be called “Bhakti”. When a father loves his son in expectation of future reward or self satisfaction or a son loves his father in consideration of gain or gratitude, it is no longer a spontaneous loving service and it is out of the operation of “Bhakti”.
In one battle, armed with outdated rifles and bayonets, Kunja Bihari led his squadron in a surprise attack on a bunker behind enemy lines. Kunja Bihari alone survived the ambush. From the captured bunker, he used the heavy artillery to disable many advancing tanks and largely due to his efforts, India won one of the most critical battles in the campaign. He was locked in the bunker for two weeks, unable to escape, and lived on survival food pills. He spent the time chanting harinama incessantly
To resolve the situation, Tansena took his sitar and started singing, but he sang off-tune and out of rhythm. His gurudeva, Svami Haridasa, chastised him, saying. “Is this how I taught you to sing?” He took Tansena’s sitar and started to sing himself. At that time, a big cloud appeared in the sky and it started raining. The demigods came and offered flower petals, while the Gandharvas were dancing. Bihariji also came and danced there. All the flower trees started to bloom and drop honey, and everybody present was crying in separation. When the king saw this scenery, he became astonished and understood that God is really present in this world with his devotees.
Analyze, analyze, and discard. Analyze and throw out all egoistic and assertive tendencies: “I am something; I am someone, I have something to be proud of.” These have to be eliminated, and eliminated completely. It is not an easy thing. To become big is easy, but it is all false, like racketeering. To say, “I am a big man,” is very easy. But to say, “I am nothing,” to accept this creed in its true color, its true nature, that is very difficult. “I am no one; I am nothing!” It is very difficult.
But the guru replied, “Only one who serves sri guru will have such a sharp memory. Spiritual power flows from the heart of Sri guru to that person’s heart, giving him good inspiration. He will thus be able to speak pure knowledge.’Seeing that their guru was supporting Sabari instead of them, the brahmacaris became very disturbed. “Why is he supporting and glorifying this lady? “But the guru called sabari and told her to come every day to the asrama to hear hari-katha.
How beautiful! Krsna takes His flute and places it to His lips. What is He playing? He utters these names through His flute: “Gopi, gopi!,” “Radhe, Radhe!” Sometimes His flute calls Syamali, Davali, Kavali, and Syamala, which are also names of His cows. But He is not calling the cows; He is calling the gopis. He wears a vaijayanti-mala all around his very beautiful body. I think that if all beauty of the world is combined together in one place, it would still not be able to touch the feet of Krsna’s beauty.
On the way, however, he again became attracted to a lady. remembering his gurudeva’s advice, the prayed to God, “why do I, again and again, become attached to these physical bodies? My material body and senses keep disturbing me time and again.” He decided to no longer follow his mind, and thus he pierced out both his eyes. He then entered into samadhi-yoga and came to Vrndavana.
With the help of these five factors, all actions are effected: “The body, ego (in the form of the knot of spirit and matter), the separate senses, the different endeavors, and destiny, or the intervention of the Supreme Universal Controller.” It is not that just one incident is the cause but there are so many circumstantial things coming together that cause a particular event. Any event is the combination of many things: his free-will, his previous background, his present association, his nature: all these things have got their contribution for his progress. Circumstance can contribute much. It is not limited only to the free-will of the man who wants progress.
What is Bhaktabandhav
Sri Krsna says:
asmakam bandhava bhakta
bhaktanam bandhava vayam
“I am the dearmost friend of the devotees, and the devotees are My dearmost friends.”
The title ‘Bhaktabandhav – dearmost friend of the devotees’ was given to our Srila Gurudeva, Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, by his spiritual master. Bhakta means devotee and bandhav is the Sanskrit word for superlative friendship, indicating a loving bond that cannot be broken.
Krsna teaches that serving the devotees is more important than His own worship. Moreover, that those who consider themselves His devotees are not His real devotees, but those who are the devotees of His devotees, they are the real devotees. Therefore, our focus at Bhaktabandhav is serving the devotees and helping all people attain their true, spiritual identity, as pure loving devotees of the absolute, loving reality, the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
We help people develop their ultimate, spiritual potential, by personal guidance in applying the principles of pure bhakti-yoga. Our mission is not to change or save the world, but to help the individual transcend it. The world is a training ground, the university of life. We help people graduate to a higher ground, the spiritual plane of existence. Once we’ve trained the next generation of spiritual leaders, we guide them in training the next generation of spiritual aspirants, helping them transcend bondage to materialism. Thus, the mission of the world is fulfilled.
Our Headquarters and Daily Schedule
People of over a dozen nationalities and disciples of a dozen gurus reside harmoniously together in our mission headquarters, Sri Radhe Kunj, Vrindavan, India.
Our doors are always open, welcoming everyone for daily free feasts and programs full of illuminating classes, japa, meditation, guided pilgrimage, singing and dancing in kirtan, and courses on existential truths, the process of spiritual progress, and attainment of the ultimate goal of life, pure love of the absolute, loving reality.
Our morning services began at 4:30 a.m. with a half hour of prayers to the saints and the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, followed by the first of five daily aratis. Senior monks wake hours before this, and go on daily pilgrimage of various holy sites, returning in time for the 4:30 prayers and mangala-arati.
After the pre-dawn arati in the temple, residents and guests perform their morning meditations, gayatri-mantras, and japa chanting of the mahamantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
From 6 to 7 a.m. the monks sing kirtans, followed by the morning class until 8 a.m, and the arati to the ascended line of pure gurus. After breakfast, the monks attend to their various duties and services, including outreach work, preparation of a free lunch feast for our hundreds of daily guests, publication work, temple maintenance, and so forth. In the evening, we have a program of kirtana, class, and aratis, beginning from 5:30 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m.
“Rasik Mohan Das and the Bhaktabandhav team are doing an invaluable service publishing the hari-katha of Sripada Premananda Prabhu, Srila Gurudeva B.V. Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, and the books of the acaryas. Books like Sri Guru Darsana, Krsna-karnamrta, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, and so on, provide a wealth of information and purification: these volumes make one feel as though they are in Gurudeva’s presence, imbibing pure bhakti as only he could provide it.”
— Steven J. Rosen, Satyaraja Dasa (acbsp), author of 30 books on Gaudiya Vaishnavism, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and associate editor of Back to Godhead
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