WHEN IS VIOLENCE JUSTIFIED?

The Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha compound included a large field where the devotees cultivated vegetables. In those days, Acarya Kesarī had insufficient funds to construct a fence around the proper.
To protect the land, the brahmacārīs surrounded the area with thorn bushes. Still, buffalos and other animals entered the garden, consuming and destroying the vegetation. Herdsmen would intentionally allow their drove to enter the area. Gurudeva and the brahmacārīs tried repeatedly to protect the track of land, but the herdsmen came late at night while everyone was asleep, allowing the drove to eat everything.

Intending to stop the intruders, Śrīla Gurudeva kept vigil one night. The herdsman arrived at midnight, fully intoxicated and rowdy. To their surprise, Gurudeva drew a large stake and began to drive the buffaloes away. Startled, the herdsman yelled, “Why are you driving our herd away?”

“Why are you destroying our temple’s farm?” Gurudeva shouted back. “I won’t tolerate such unlawfulness!”

Ignoring his questions, the herdsmen assailed Gurudeva. Undaunted, Gurudeva struck them with his stick. The scene became hysterical as the drunken men called out to one another and retreated. The perpetrators returned to their village and instigated their neighbors to defend them. That same night, an angry mob returned and surrounded the temple compound. By this point the police were involved and trailed behind the horde. The commotion roused Acarya Kesarī. After hearing a brief summary of the affair, he told Gurudeva, “Go inside while I talk with the officers.”

Acarya Kesarī approached the head officer who said, “We are here to arrest the man who beat the herdsmen. Hand him over.”

Acarya Kesarī calmly escorted the officers into the compound and offered them seats saying, “Please tell me how one person could fight alone against so many? A large band of these men came with their herds to ravage our land. They come on a regular basis and allow their animals to eat our vegetables. Tonight they were drunk and attacked our brahmacārī when he confronted them. In the midst of the confusion, they beat each other and ran away, shouting like madmen.”

“Where is the man who fought with them?” the officers asked. “We want to see him immediately.”

“First examine these drunken buffalo herders,” Acarya Kesarī said. “Ask them how one man could beat all of them?”

The police questioned the herdsmen and observed their drunken state. Upset by their behavior, the police said, “If you ever come back and disturb this temple, we will beat and imprison you!” They told Acarya Kesarī, “Call for us if they return to disturb you. We will protect the temple.”

At that moment Gurudeva came out of the inner room and introduced himself. The officers said, “Oh! It’s Tārījī! Are you the same distinguished inspector who recently left his post? We have heard about your eminent composure but were never able to meet you.” They were pleased to meet the esteemed Nārāyaṇa Tārī and engaged in friendly exchanges before dispersing the crowd and securing the temple on their leave.

Acarya Kesarī was impartial when the two brahmacārīs had previously been selfishly fighting yet protected Śrīla Gurudeva in this instance because he was defending the temple. Acarya Kesarī told Śrīla Gurudeva, “One who as against the rules of dharma must pay the consequences; but you must be qualified in order to discipline others. By surrendering to God, your life will be successful; otherwise, you will fail the test during challenging circumstances. When Rāvaṇa stole Sītā-devī from Rāma, Hanumān jumped across the sea and burnt down Rāvaṇa’s city of Laṅkā. This was true humility. Devotees are submissive to Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and tolerate all attacks upon themselves, but owing deference to demons is the sign of a coward, not a devotee.” Acarya-deva concluded, “You never need worry. Kṛṣṇa is protecting you.” (click on the Title to read the Full article )

HOW DID GURUDEVA INSTRUCT THE RESIDENCE OF THE DHAMA?

Sannyāsīs and devotees from various societies had great faith in Śrīla Gurudeva and his non-sectarian spirit. Thus many people from all over India would gather and perform parikramā together under his guidance. The pilgrims walked in procession, while the luggage and cooking paraphernalia were taken on horse or buffalo carts. As Sanātana Gosvāmī would go on parikramā of Vraja and rest under a different tree each night, Gurudeva also stayed at a different place eve night with the devotees: on sool grounds, empty fields, dharmaśālās, and dilapidated temples.

Śrīla Gurudeva would send the brahmacārīs to serve the sannyāsīs and householder disciples of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and Ācaraya Kesarī. He said, “Go and soak their feet in hot water, then massage them with oil. Otherwise, how will they be able to go on parikramā tomorrow?”

“By this kind of service to Vaiṣṇavas,” Gurudeva instructed the brahmacārīs, “you will receive their affection and mercy. Bhakti will never descend if Vaiṣṇavas are disrespected or neglected. Pride has no place in bhakti. One must learn to respect and serve all jīvas for the pleasure of guru and Bhagavān.”

In whichever village Śrīla Gurudeva chanced to stay, the surrounding Vrajavāsīs would come and participate in the programs, sing in the kīrtanas, and listen to the hari-kathā. The villagers would normally retire when it became dark at around 7:00 p.m., but when Gurudeva came to their village on parikramā, they would light candles and kerosene lamps and attend the programs. They would bring hot milk and capātīs or porridge as offerings to the pilgrims.

Śrīla Gurudeva said with gratitude, “My dharma is to serve the Vrajavāsīs, not to take from them.”

Paṇḍitas and brahmaṇas would leave their homes and listen to hari-kathā late into the night. Some Vrajavāsīs would ask Śrīla Gurudeva questions on various topics. Once, when Gurudeva concluded his hari-kathā before a crowd of pilgrims and locals, a leader amongst the Vrajavāsīs spoke up, “Bābā, you are always speaking of vraja-bhakti and the moods of the gopīs. What is the most prudent and straightforward process to obtain this most exalted aspiration? We locals are set in our ways. To what degree can we engage in devotional practices every day? You are a great ācārya and hearing hari-kathā from you inspires us all. How can we practically integrate these teachings into our daily lives? We will try our best to abide by your advice.”

Śrīla Gurudeva replied, “One who has desire for vraja-bhakti must follow Ekādaśī purely. On Mādhava-tithi (Ekādaśī) you should engage your time in worshiping Śrī Hari and fasting from grains and sense enjoyment, all the while cultivating in your heart the aspiration to attain Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s service in Vraja. For one who does so, vraja-bhakti is assured.”

Śrīla Gurudeva spoke in depth on the glories of Ekādaśī. The villagers were inspired and agreed to follow Ekādaśī, as well as to encourage others to do the same. Another Vrajavāsī then asked, “We took birth in Vraja-maṇḍala. Why aren’t our hearts pure and full of love for Vraja and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa?”

“You have taken birth in Vraja because of pious merits from past lives,” Gurudeva said, “but you have been debased by undesirable association. A covering of māyā inhibits one from experiencing Vraja in truth. That net of illusion is attainment to material family life and sense gratification in this world, along with distaste for bhakti and Kṛṣṇa. People have made their homes all over Vraja but know nothing other than the four walls of their house. Since they do not frequent Śrī Hari’s temple, their inimical family members gradually convince them to leave Vraja for a more affluent city ”

Gurudeva continued, “Those under the influence of wicked company begin to think, ‘What is there at the mandira? Why should I follow bhakti, Ekādaśī, and all that fanciful talk? This is the modern world we live in. The place for old-world sentimentalism is rapidly passing.’ The homes of such people are like the dens of demons, where everyone is engaged in selfish enjoyment; while the homes of those who have faith and devotion become temples of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Those people never suffer any shortage.” (click on the Title to read the full article )

WHY SHOULD WE GO ON PARIKRAMA?

Once, a brahmacārī asked Śrīla Gurudeva, “Why do we go on parikramā every year? I heard that in our line mānasī-sevā is the highest practice. So, is it necessary to do parikramā physically year after year? Why don’t we simply visit the holy places mentally?”“Five material elements compose the physical body,” Śrīla Gurudeva answered. “These elements are governed by demigods. If we do not take the body on parikramā and engage it in the service of Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas at the holy places, we will remain indebted to the presiding deities of the elements in our bodies and will not be able to achieve salvation. During parikramā our bodies touch the dhāma and become purified, and we have the opportunity to serve the sādhus. Our bodies thence purified, the senses become favorable to the execution of devotional service. The nine limbs of devotion are naturally performed during parikramā. When we engage in bhakti, the demigods presiding over the elements of the body are pleased and discharge all debt. If we don’t engage our bodies in service, our senses will be agitated, and it is unlikely we will have the mental discipline to serve internally. Laziness is the worst malady. We must cure indolence by forcible engagement in service. For this reason we travel in sādhu-saṅga to all those places where Śrīman Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu went with Their associates:gaura āmāra, ye saba sthāne, karala bhramana raṅgese-saba sthena, heriba āmi, praṇayi-bhakata-saṅge‘In the company of devotees that have love for Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu, I will visit the places where My Lord happily wandered.’“Alone you cannot attain perfection. By going on parikramā in sādhu-saṅga, and smearing the dust of the holy places on your body, you will certainly receive the mercy of Śrī Guru, Kṛṣṇa, and the dhāma.“The Guru-varga serve the dhāma by annually bringing the devotees together for parikramā. They teach us that parikramā of the dhāma must not only be done annually, but daily—no matter where we are physically. We learn from them that we must first offer praṇāmas to the Guru-varga when we wake in the early morning, chant our mantras, and also visit all the dhāmas, praying to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, ‘Please let me stay nearby you. Without you I am a helpless orphan. Please do not reject me.’ You will always be with Guru and Vaiṣṇavas if you have this humble and prayerful mood.“While chanting harināma, you should mentally go to Vraja-maṇḍala, Navadvīpa-maṇḍala, and Kṣetra-maṇḍala. Offer obeisance at each of the places within these dhāmas, and pray at those places, as well as to all the devotees and associates of Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa, and Mahāprabhu. Render service in the mind by sweeping, cleaning, and decorating the dhāma, and offer gifts to the Deities. By doing so, your mind will be present in the spiritual abodes and will not wander in the realm of illusion, māyā-maṇḍala.“The dhāma cuts our relations with our temporary home and family, and awakens our relation with our eternal home and family. In truth, we are refugees in this world; like guests staying for some time in a boarding house—our material body. In these temporary dwellings we meet with many other refugees, whom we call our relatives. Inevitably however, death will come and all these relations will be lost. We must understand this bitter lesson. The duty of sādhus is to take the conditioned souls to the dhāma and connect them to Kṛṣṇa and His associates. is Navadvīpa-dhāma Parikramā has been going on continually from the time of Nityānanda Prabhu and Jīva Gosvāmī, to the time of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. My Guru Mahārāja continued this tradition and that continuation runs on to this day. All branches of the Gauḍīya Maṭha perform Navadvīpa-dhāma Parikramā.”In 1986, a massive celebration was held in Māyāpura for Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s fifth centennial. Millions of people came to Māyāpura from India and all over the world in the days before and after Gaura-pūrṇimā just for a chance to see the birthplace of Mahāprabhu. In preparation for all the people, the Bengal government set up temporary shelters, hand-pump wells, lights, and other facilities all around Māyāpura. The Indian Prime Minister granted 25 lākhas rupees for preparation and orchestration of the festival.Each branch of the Gauḍīya Maṭha organized a party of many thousands for Navadvīpa Parikramā; the overall congregation of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas was well over a hundred thousand adherents from all over India. The fifteen thousand strong Parikramā party of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samīti, led by Śrīla Gurudeva and his dear godbrothers, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was the largest group.ISKCON invited the Parikramā party of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samīti to participate in their opulent celebrations at the Māyāpura Candrodaya-mandira on Jagannātha Miśra Mahotsava. Śrīla Gurudeva led the procession from Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha to Māyāpura, with dozens of other sannyāsīs and scores of brahmacārīs, all singing, playing instruments, and dancing ecstatically in saṅkīrtana. A hundred and eight mṛdaṅgas played in rhythm to the kīrtana of Mahāprabhu’s names and glories, and devotees carried 108 clay pots of paraphernalia for Mahāprabhu’s abhiṣeka. As the grand procession entered the Candrodaya-mandira’s gates, the devotees were welcomed with showers of flower petals from both sides.Śrīla Gurudeva spoke in the temple room, glorifying Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and the specialty of Māyāpura and Mahāprabhu. Gurudeva concluded his speech saying, “The glories and specialties of Sri Guru are always present in the place that Vaiṣṇavas are welcome, and those who respect Vaiṣṇavas can experience the mercy of Śrī Guru. Those who serve and respect the family and disciples of Śrī Guru are true guru-sevakas. Today, the magnanimous disciples of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja have conquered the world by their service to the Vaiṣṇavas.”Thereafter, Śrīla Gurudeva offered puṣpāñjali to the deity of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, and then proceeded to Yogapīṭha with the Parikramā party. At midday, over 50,000 Mahāprabhu-bhaktas gathered in a field by Śrīdhara-āṅgana. Śrīla Gurudeva had arranged for the distribution of kicari, sweet rice, chutney, sabjis, and other varieties of prasāda, with generous help from Rāma Praka from Mathurā, Phuland from Āgrā, and other devotees. (click on the Title to read the full article)

Srila Gurudeva on: “HOW TO BALANCE ONE’S DAY”

Śrīla Gurudeva held a special discussion. He gave strong instructions on how to balance one’s day: a balance of sādhana-bhajana and temple services, a balance of sādhana-bhajana and preaching activities, a balance of sādhana-bhajana and family responsibilities, and a balance of sādhana-bhajana and earning money. Gurudeva began by saying that those who are not demons but are not doing bhajana are like very ignorant donkeys, kicked by the hind legs of the she-donkeys and taking all the burden of the washerman.In Holland, Śrīla Gurudeva said: “Persons favorable to devotion are of two kinds, and those who are not following the process, the rules of devotees and devotion, are greater in number. Real devotees are few, and even among that small number there are many divisions. Most are initiated by unqualified, false gurus, and even those with bona fide gurus are of many types. Some think, ‘My fire sacrifice has been performed and I have a sacred thread; therefore I am initiated.’ Such persons wear big tilaka, but there is no dīkṣā in the true sense, and they are continuing their unfavorable or sinful activities. They are greater in number, and we may be also in this category. There is no thick relationship with Kṛṣṇa and no real knowledge of tattva—not of jīva-tattva, bhagavata-tattva, guru-tattva, māyā tattva, or prema-tattva. Even if they remember a mantra like ‘aiṁ guruve namaḥ,’ their minds are elsewhere. After ten minutes they think, ‘What am I doing?’ They were sleeping or just drifting off. Then, while chanting, ‘klīm caitanyāya vidmahe,’ the mind is absent for half an hour. Most of us are in this category of struggle.”Śrīla Gurudeva continued: “Worldly affairs come, our job or the like, and we are always very careful and cautious in these affairs. The mind is always there—in computers and here and there—and not in the guru-gayatri and the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. A pure devotee comes and inspires them, but as soon as he leaves—nothing is in there. Such persons numbers are greater. Others cannot follow ‘tṛṇad api sunīcena’ or even Srila Rūpa Gosvāmī’s instructions in Upadeśāmṛta: ‘vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ.’ Some wear neck beads of only one strand, which do not even touch the neck. Even in the military there are some rules and etiquette, and the soldiers are punished if they do not follow them. If we cannot follow these things, how can we follow vraja-prema? Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates were all paramahaṁsas, but they all followed Vaiṣṇava etiquette. If we follow their rules and regulations, a taste will come. In school there is daily reading and requirements completing the tasks given by the teacher. First, vāco vegaṁ: control your tongue. The today, ‘I will not quarrel with my wife or husband, children, Gurudeva, and other devotees.’ Without this you cannot control your anger. Don’t take rich foodstuffs. The fault of overeating is not only the fault of the tongue. All five senses are guilty, including the eyes. Looking brings attachment. Don’t try to be astrologers, and don’t read books other than bhakti books. There is no harm if you have not studied in school and colleges. By chanting, remembering, and serving Gurudeva you will be happy. Nothing else will make you happy.“Don’t criticize all the Kaṁsas and Jarasandas. Spend your time in always glorifying Nanda, Yaśodā, the gopas, gopīs, Kṛṣṇa, and the devotees. Don’t care much for your life’s maintenance. A lower-class devotee can do so, but when you are mature, you have nothing to do in this regard. What you need will easily come. Don’t talk prajalpa. Chant one lākha of holy names daily. If this is not possible, then chant fifty-thousand names. If not, then thirty-two rounds. If not, then go to the ocean and at once jump in. You should certainly go to the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. Chant, but if your bona fide guru has come to give a lecture, then go and hear. Then your chanting will become high-class. Be confident that by doing all this, surely kṛṣṇa-prema will come. First finish these things, then do anything to maintain your life. The holy name will arrange everything for you.“Don’t associate with friends or family members if they are not devotees. They are all cheaters. If you are ugly, with two or three children, your husband will reject you and take a new wife. So, give up all your other jobs and come to śaraṇāgati—full surrender to Kṛṣṇa.”Some of the hundreds of devotees present were meeting Śrīla Gurudeva for the first time, and some had been waiting since the year before, counting the seconds. Some, although meeting with him in one or two countries each year, for the past three, four, or five years, were just now realizing the magnitude of their fortune in getting the most rare and precious association of such a high-class pure Vaiṣṇava from Vraja. Many within the various categories of devotees were now in the process of changing all their priories in life and were preparing to leave their money and position to remain with Śrīla Gurudeva. Holland was the first place of Śrīla Gurudeva’s preaching in the West. He was now fond of calling it “Holyland.” It was in Holland that he first initiated disciples outside of India. By now he had thousands of disciples in the West, and thus far this year’s tour had already made another three hundred fortunate in this way.

WHERE SHOULD WE DO OUR BHAJAN?

Hearing the glories of Bhagavān automatically cleans the heart and gives all good qualities. Therefore, Mahāprabhu chose this siddha-pīṭha, the perfected place of Gambhīrā. No ordinary people were allowed to enter that area for it was reserved for the service of Lord Jagannātha.In the garden of Kāśī Miśra, Tulasī and flowers are cultivated for Jagannātha’s service. But there is some other special glory there. Kāśī Miśra would daily go to that place and with firm concentration, sit and meditate on serving Lord Jagannātha. All places aren’t pure and the mind won’t be clean to serve Bhagavān. But there are some siddha-pīṭhas reserved for Bhagavān’s service. These days people make so called temples for the service of God, but they use these places for arranging marriages and hotels for mundane sense enjoyment and all people come and enjoy there. Then is that place for Bhagavān or for ordinary people? People build a temple and think, “This is owned by our family. This is my child’s room, my nephew’s room, my uncle’s room and all our anniversaries, marriages, birthday parties, śraddhā ceremonies and funeral festivals will be performed here. Everything is ours and Ṭhākurajī is imprisoned in a little room.”Then is that a place for Bhagavān’s happiness or one’s own families’ enjoyment? That place was only made for one’s own prestige. Then when any donations are collected all the money is counted and hoarded. The pūjārī is a paid worker who comes and places some sugar candy and flat rice on the altar, waves some incense and leaves. Then flies, mosquitoes and rats come and eat the offerings and pass stool on the altar. Is that a siddha pīṭha reserved for the service of God? A perfect place is where everything is used for the service of God with no trace of material sense enjoyment. Saintly people stay in such places to perform their bhajana, otherwise sādhana is not possible.Rich businessmen come to disturb the sādhus practicing bhakti in the temples. They say, “Hey, why don’t you come and do any business for me? You only eat and sleep like a lazy buffalo! You are a weight to society. Get out of this place.”People call their buildings a temple and keep a small altar to evade government taxes. Therefore, they name some place a temple. In such places the mind will never be clear and able to properly chant harināma and guru-mantra because they are full of the bad impressions of materialistic sense enjoyers.One time a sage was traveling and came to sit underneath a banyan tree to perform bhajana. But when he sat to meditate, he could not connect with harināma; instead, thousands of dead bodies appeared in his mind. All ghosts and demonic spirits were flying around that area cackling and attacking him.He said, “What do you want?”They said, “This is our graveyard, why did you come here.”In this way, not all places are pure and favorable for bhajana.Śrīman Mahāprabhu knew that this place of Gambhīrā was a beautiful garden reserved completely for the service of Jagannātha. Kāśī Miśra, the king’s guru, practiced sādhana and meditation of serving Jagannātha there from morning to evening. By going to a pure place your mind will be pure. But by going to a tamasika or rajasika place the consciousness will be restless and impure.For thousands of years all the king’s gurus of Jagannātha Purī would come to that place and do sādhana. What type of sādhana did they perform? One type of worship is called mantra-mayī-upāsana, where one only chants mantras and worship the Deities with arcana. But another type of worship is called svarasiki, this means to serve God internally out of pure loving affection. This love is the instrument of service and worship. What is the process to offer one’s body, senses, mind and heart to God? This is called real sādhana and meditation. The love of the conditioned souls has been spread and misused for millions of lives. How can this love be collected and offered to God? Conditioned souls use all their love and affection for temporary relationships.With mantra-mayī-upāsana, one remembers many mantras from the scriptures while giving incense, ghee wick, bhoga and other paraphernalia to the Deity. This is one method of serving Bhagavān. In the other process, there are no external materials; rather, the heart is the instruments and wealth. This is real pūjā, worship. Pūjā, worship, means to offer everything for the pleasure of the beloved.Kāśī Miśra, Sārvabhauma Paṇḍa, and other saintly devotees would come there and sit on a kuśa-āsana and practice mānasī-sevā. Always remembering the material world and speaking about mundane things is not the same as constantly engaging the mind in Bhagavān’s service. This is very difficult for ordinary persons. This is called samādhi, controlling the mind and intelligence and absorbing it in Bhagavān’s service. Such exalted saints who do so have conquered the mind.Śrī Guru sits in one place while chanting harināma and mantra; meanwhile all the offerings and Deity service run nicely in the temple. But this is only going smoothly by the power of Śrī Guru’s mānasī-sevā.One time, a brahmacārī asked Śrīla Gurudeva who manages and runs such big festivals like Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma and Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala parikramās.Śrīla Gurudeva replied that everything is maintained and done by Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī and the Guru-varga. Śrīla Gurudeva said, “One dog was walking underneath a rolling cart and thinking that he was the cause of the carts motion. Śrī Guru performs parikramā and thousands and thousands of devotees follow behind him automatically. Without his power no one would have the strength or ability to perform parikramā or follow bhakti.”Because of the internal mānasī-sevā of advanced Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, all external functions and services of the Deities and temples run naturally. If there is no internal service then externally nothing will go on. This is the specialty of Śrī Guru.Kāśī Miśra and the gurus in Jagannātha Purī would take bath in the ocean in the morning, and after donning tilaka, chanted their mantras while starting their internal service. Don’t think mānasī-sevā is imagination. When chanting guru-mantras, all paraphernalia is as near as your desire and thought. But if the mind’s nature is always to be restless and moving, then you cannot serve Bhagavān. The mind will run to wherever it has love and attraction. Pray to Śrīla Gurudeva for love of Kṛṣṇa, then naturally you will always remember Him.While performing mānasī-sevā sitting at this place of Gambhīrā, Kāśī Miśra would bathe Jagannātha, offer ornaments to Him and dress Him, and cook wonderful tasty foodstuffs and offer them as bhoga for Jagannātha. Mahāprabhu chose that nirguṇa place for His residence.It is said in śāstra, “The temple of Bhagavān is nirguṇa, transcendental.” But if a place is a temple in name only, while it is actually a place for sense enjoyers, than this is a tāmasika center. Those places that are reserved for the service of God are protected and cannot be entered by materialists. (click on the title to read the complete article)

Mohini Ekadasi

Gauranga Mahaprabhu follows Ekadasi today at Mayapura, but you are American das and not Gauranga das. Therefore, you follow Ekadasi tomorrow. If it is Sunday, 1st January, then it will be Sunday, 1st January at all places. But, during Ekadasi, Mohini-devi cheats and bewilders the intelligence of certain devotees. Hence, they speculate and based on their mundane calculations, they say, “No, no. How can it be Sunday, 1st January at all places?” If Ekadasi-devi comes to you on a particular day, how can it be possible for her to appear at different times in different places? Is this calculation logical? This is Mohini-devi’s bogus program. The laptops and computers contain Mohini-devi’s program. But, does Mahaprabhu have no intelligence? Does Ekadasi-devi have no intelligence? It is the duty of the residents of different countries to properly observe Ekadasi. Over the span of fifteen days, she moves all over the world. She appears in not only this brahmanda, she appears in many brahmandas. Which calendar to follow—the sun calendar or the moon calendar? The sun calendar never changes; it is always fixed. The moon calendar is subject to change, but the sun calendar never changes.Fourteenth January is Sankranti. The month ends on this day. At all places, this day marks the end of the month. This date has been provided by the sun calendar. Any program you can think of runs according to the sun calendar. But, Mohini cheats us now. Her tricks claim not only victims from the overseas; even India is not spared. In India, some people follow Ekadasi tomorrow, while others follow Ekadasi tomorrow. The smartas follow Ekadasi a day before her appearance. There are many rules and regulations. But, this is not good. Realize, “I am Krsna das; I am not Maya das. I am Gauranga das. My svarupa-stiti is in Goloka Vrindavan and Mayapura. I will follow any form of vrata, tapa, japa, and niyam only according to the Mayapura calendar. Otherwise, by following the calendars of Russian das and American das, will I be helped?”Will they tell you, “Ekadasi is best and good for you?”Ekadasi-devi announces her appearance day. Krsna and Mahaprabhu always tell us to follow Ekadasi.Now, I will relate some glories of transcendental Mohini. When the ocean was churned, Mohini-devi appeared to distribute the pot of nectar. She distributed the nectar to only the demigods. She didn’t spare even a drop for the demons. But, Rahu and Ketu took some of this nectar by hiding between the sun and the moon. Although Cakra Sudarsana separated their heads from their bodies, they didn’t die for they had already drunk the nectar. Despite drinking nectar, the fire of anger and jealousy scorched their hearts. Driven by feelings of enviousness, they are always attracted to the proposition of consuming the sun and the moon. They ominously tell the sun and the moon, “Why did you complain against us?”

Glories of Sita-devi

In 1987, at the Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha, many senior devotees of ISKCON came to Srila Gurudeva, as well as devotees of other Gaudiya Mathas. Srila Gurudeva gave darsana from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. A Maharaja asked Gurudeva, “How can we become related to Bhagavan and...

HOW CAN WE CHANT HARI NAMA AND INTERNALLY GO ON PARIKRAMA OF THE DHAMA?

Śrīla Gurudeva concluded, “In the beginning stage, the sādhaka cannot perform aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā-smaraṇa—meditation on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s eight-fold daily pastimes—but if he ever wants to advance, he must chant harināma while internally going on parikramā of these holy places every day. Parikramā should be done in the guidance of the Guru-varga while begging for their mercy.“Even if a dog comes to a person’s door daily, he will one day be given a piece of bread. After some days, he will become a member of the household. Similarly, if you pray every day to the Guru-varga and go to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu’s pastime places, you will surely achieve Their mercy and make your human birth successful—of this there is no doubt. Hence, don’t waste your time. Memorize the stavas, stutis, and aṣṭakams and pray every day from the core of your heart while internally going on parikramā of the holy dhāma.” (Click on the Title to read the full article)

Kesava-vrata: Offer Yourself like Candana

Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga. The souls bound by maya reside within a material body. Some bodies are like caves with four supporting pillars. Superior to those bodies are those with two pillars. Sometimes the souls live in bodies of plants. Some are able to...

WHAT IS REAL GURU SEVA?

Once, when Ramānujācārya had finished speaking hari-kathā in the morning the newly married daughter of one of his disciples approached him weeping profusely.“What is wrong my daughter?” Ramānujācārya asked.The girl replied, “Guru Maharaja, I do not want to complain, but I cannot tolerate my situation any longer. My in-laws are treating me like a slave. I have been married into a far away village, and the whole day I am abused and forced to work without any rest. I have no time to chant my guru-mantras or do any bhajana. They say this is all useless activity. Please protect me Guru Mahārāja and give me a place at your lotus feet!”Ramānujācārya called his personal servant who was very dear to him and told him, “Go with this girl and do all the work that is given to her by her in-laws. This will please me. Do not think that I have sent you for any ordinary work. If you follow my instructions you will please me. This is real service to me.”The sevaka thus went with the girl, accepting the instructions of his Gurudeva as his life and soul. At her in-laws home, he became the menial servant of the household. The shy girl did not disclose that he was a senior disciple of Ramānujācārya.The girl’s father-in-law thought that the she had brought a servant from her father’s home because he had said to her formerly, “If you cannot handle all the work here, then go to your father and have him send a servant to replace you.” Seeing the humble yet strong and healthy young man return with his daughter-in-law, he engaged him in all forms of work to maintain the household.The family had no mercy; they were greedy and abusive. The sevaka was fed with half-rotten food or whatever was stale and left over, but he was humble and did all the service he was ordered to do without complaint, all the time remembering his Gurudeva.Some months later, a large religious assembly was held in the area. The Śaṅkarācārya of that time was there giving a discourse. The girl’s in-laws went there to listen to the māyāvādī speak. The sevaka passed by this assembly several times as he collected water from the well to carry out his chores. Coming back and forth several times, he overheard some of the māyāvādī’s words. Unable to tolerate hearing the blaspheme of Bhagavān and especially his own Gurudeva, Ramānujācārya, he entered the assembly and asked if he could say something. Everyone there looked at him with contempt, like he was an ordinary low-caste servant. They ridiculed him, but the māyāvādī-guru said, “I encourage listeners to ask any questions they may have. If anyone has an inquiry or wishes to debate on any point let them do so.”The sevaka, raised his hand and requested a chance to speak once again. Seeing this, the in-laws tried stop him, but the Śaṅkarācārya silenced them, and called him forward. The sevaka then spoke, in eloquent Sanskrit, the teachings of Ramānujācārya. He spoke for five minutes, but by that time everyone was so surprised and pleased with his speech that they cheered and urged him to continue. He then went on for hours more, stunning everyone present.The māyāvādī-guru lowered his head in shame. His philosophy was completely smashed and defeated by a mere house-servant in tattered clothes. Humbled, and in awe of the sevaka’s knowledge and qualification, he said, “Salutations O Divya-sūri—O enlightened one.” He then departed with his followers.The girl’s relatives asked their daughter-in-law, “From where did you collect this person? We engaged him as a menial servant and now he is being considered a Divya-surī by the Śaṅkarācārya. Even hell will have no room for us! This is all your fault Who is this person? Tell us.”She replied, “I opened my heart and pain to my Guru Mahārāja and he sent his sevaka of his to serve you in this household.”“What is guru-sevā,” Śrīla Gurudeva asked us after telling this story. “Sitting around guru all day long is not guru-sevā. To follow Gurudeva’s instructions is guru-sevā. Also to go to those who have lost faith in guru and to bring them back on the right path— that is real guru-seva. (Click on the Title to read the full article)

WHY SHOULD WE CHANT 64 ROUNDS?

Mahāprabhu was very clever, He said, “I will accept the bhaktas invitation for lunch on one condition. They must be a lākhapati.”Lākhapati is generally a word used to describe someone who is wealthy. All the bhaktas were disturbed thinking that they were all very poor. Then Mahāprabhu said, “They must chant one lākha of harināma and then I’ll take prasādam from them. Otherwise I won’t touch anything.”The bhaktas thought, “When will we have time to chant 64 rounds and after perform all our services?” There would be no time to go and address anybody and no time to talk uselessly; there would be no time to waste a moment. Then after chanting, they would cook and offer and serve Mahāprabhu. Why did Mahāprabhu give this instruction to chant 64 rounds? While chanting, devotees could always pray to Śrī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs. By remembering and praying to them for six to eight hours daily, their mercy would easily be attained and then strong energy and taste comes. Then when they cook or offer any bhoga, those foodstuffs will be like the cooking of the Vraja-devīs and their mahā-prasāda. Otherwise one who does not follow, remember and pray to the Vraja-devīs, anything offered independently to Kṛṣṇa will not be accepted.Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu say, “If you have no relation with the Vraja-devīs, if you are not praying and requesting them for relation and shelter, then I will not be related to you.”In Dvārakā they chant, “oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevaya, śrī-kṛṣṇa śaraṇam mama.”But they don’t chant, “Rādhe Rādhe! Prāṇeśvarī Rādhe! Madeśvarī Rādhe!” They only go to the side of Kṛṣṇa; therefore, Kṛṣṇa does not accept them.Mahāprabhu instructed all bhaktas to chant daily 64 rounds of harināma with the aim and object fixed on serving Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala and the Vrajavāsīs. And if they do not think about Vṛndāvana, then they are very far from Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu and They won’t accept anything.From the day Mahāprabhu instructed the devotees to be lakhapatis, they seriously chanted 64 rounds daily and after came to the Gambhīrā near Mahāprabhu and invited Him to take prasādam and bhikṣa. This is called vraja-sevā and svarūpa-siddhi. If you think, “I will do everything! All work!” If you are not under guidance and shelter of the Vraja-devīs then everything you do will be karma. Karma and sevā are very different. Karma is anything done independently. If you work for 24 hours a day with an independent doer mood, only material results will come.Mahāprabhu instructed, “Chant 64 rounds daily while remembering the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs, and practicing internal mānasī-sevā. Otherwise the mind will go restlessly here and there. Pray for the service of the Vrajavāsīs. Pray, “Please accept me!” While chanting, always pray. If there is no prayer, then chanting is only dry practice, like a tape recorder or parrot. Once, a person taught a parrot to chant, ‘Rāma Rāma, Rādhe Syāma.” The parrot chanted over and over and all people came and said, “Bah! Very good parrot.” After some time a cat came. The parrot forgot Rāma’s name and started shrieking, “Kaw, kaw, kaw, don’t kill me!”Mahāprabhu said, “Chant 64 rounds of harināma while praying and remembering the holy names of the Vraja-devīs. ”After, when one goes for any task or service, then the practical mood will come and one will continue to pray and if anything goes wrong, the vraja-devī’s will be your guardians and will protect you. Otherwise, one’s service will be improper and not connected. Chanting does not mean austerity; it is the process to build relation with God and His associates. Therefore pray, “I’m very wicked and useless, please accept me and give me your eternal service. I’m waiting for this only, I will take nothing else.” Now the mind is restless and there is no desire or taste for any service. By force we do anything, and if any disturbance comes, like a volcano we erupt in anger.Gambhīrā means deep and grave. These instructions of Mahāprabhu are very important and serious. In this world all give instructions for material acquisition. From the beginning of life parents train their children, “mama, pāpa, uncle, auntie.” Then they send them to school where teachers teach business and atheistic philosophy. Sad-guru and vaiṣṇavas teach paramārtha, spiritual truths and treasure. They bring us to the transcendental path. No one else teaches this. Materialists hear the instructions of sādhus and tell their relatives; “Don’t listen to these crazy fools!”Worldly people always teach about material sense enjoyment for the dead physical body. But no one is merciful and teaches about the real life of the soul. No one helps to break attachment and bring one to the God’s lotus feet. They know this world and mortal life is temporary but without sense enjoyment their minds are not happy.Mahāprabhu told all the bhaktas that He would not accept or have any relation with a devotee who did not chant one lakh of harināma daily. Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanted three lakhas daily, and therefore, Mahāprabhu sent mahā-prasāda for Him daily. One day Govinda Prabhu went to give Haridāsa Ṭhākura mahā-prasāda but he wouldn’t accept saying, “Now my body is not helping or allowing me to complete my vowed number of holy names; therefore, I won’t give it any help with this prasādam. If this body doesn’t serve God, it is worse than useless.”Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja taught all his disciples to first chant sixteen rounds after maṅgala-āratī without distraction and then perform any other activity. The minds of those who have no relation with Śrī nāma will never be purified. (click on the Title to read the complete article)

HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A SADHU, RECOGNIZE WHO IS A SADHU?

In 1956 Srila Gurudeva returned to Mathura after Navadvīpa Parikramā and continued translating books alongside the publication of the monthly editions of the Śri Bhāgavata Patrikā. Acharya Kesarī stayed in Mathurā during this particular summer.

On July 27 a mandate requiring anyone considered a sādhu to register before a government officer was brought to the Indian Lower House of Parliament—the Lok Sabhā. When Acharya Kesarī’s attention was drawn to the proposed legislation, he objected with a lion-like voice, “How can someone who is not a sādhu recognize a sādhu, what to speak of dispersing assessment? Only a sādhu can control another sādhu. The Indian Penal Code has ample regulations to suppress sinful behavior and activities opposed to society. What is the need for this separate law targeting sādhus?”Acharya Kesari started a forceful campaign against the proposed mandate. He dictated a letter of protest as Gurudeva swiftly transcribed. It was printed in Hindi, Bengali, and English, and sent to prominent politicians, leaders of religious societies, members of parliament, and the President of India. As a result the Lok Sabhā quickly rejected the proposal.

Also in the summer of 1956, the followers of the Nimbārka-sampradāya in Vṛndāvana cast aspersions on Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in their journal, Sri Sudarśana, saying that He was a disciple of Keśava Kāśmīrī. In other editions, they insolently dared to claim that Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Acharya’s such as Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhakura were in the Nimbārka-sampradāya. When Śrīla Gurudeva showed these editions to Acharya Kesarī, he became irate and had an essay published in the August issue of the Bhāgavata Patrikā entitled, “Sri Nimbāditya and Nimbārka are not the same person.”In response to this essay, the directors of the Sudarśana journal announced that they were filing legal proceedings for libel. The Sudarśana editor wrote a long letter to Śrīla Gurudeva claiming that the Bhāgavata Patrikā had presented false information about their sampradāya, saying, “Your article has caused immense damage to the reputation of our sampradāya and has seriously wounded the sentiments of its numerous followers. The value of such damage, although incalculable, has been estimated at 10,000 rupees.

”Śrīla Gurudeva showed the threat to Acharya Kesarī, and he replied firmly, “We will prove each and every word based on evidence from śāstra.” On August 27, 1956, Śrīla Gurudeva replied to Sree Brajbihari Saran at the Gautam Rii, Barahghat, Mathurā, writing:

Regret to inform you that a letter dated 23-8-56 (posted on 24-56) under a registered cover, addressed to Sree Tridaṇḍī Svāmī Śrīmat Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, designating him as Editor and Publisher of Bhāgavata Patrikā, is received under protest.

The addressee is not in any way guilty of or liable for any of the charges, criminal or civil, and does not admit any content of the letter as you have alleged. If you are wrongly, improperly, and illegally willing to enter into any litigation, you are at liberty to do so at your own risk. Yours Truly, Svāmī B.V. Nārāyaṇa

Indignant, Brajbihari Saran of the Sudarśana journal contacted lawyers to start a legal battle. The lawyers warned him, “You don’t know Keśava Mahārāja and Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja. They never lose a case. Their knowledge of court proceedings and scripture is exceptional. Prosecuting them would be like a mouse going in a hole in search of an earthworm and finding a black snake that eats it instead.

”Cowed by what they heard, the Nimbārka leaders dropped the case and retracted their calumnies about the Gauḍiya-sampradāya.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from rasik@kripa.tv )

WHY HAVE YOU LOST YOUR GURUDEVA?

Śrīla Gurudeva gives guru-mantra, but should this become secondary? He gave us the mahāmantra also, but this does not mean guru-mantra is secondary. We chant it a few times a day and then forget about it. Then who do we stay with? Ghosts? Witches? Will Kṛṣṇa so easily come to deliver us?Āre Bābā! Seriously chant guru-mantra!

Chant it continuously. Śrīla Gurudeva’s eternal svarūpa will then manifest to you. Why have you lost your Gurudeva? What is the meaning of this? Guru-mantra and guru’s svarūpa are non-different. Therefore, Gurudeva gives guru-mantra and says, “Chant this mantra, and I will never be distant from you.”But we do not chant this mantra and are then naturally always disturbed. If we are always chanting guru-mantra, then all auspiciousness will easily come. The svarūpa of the mahāmantra will be revealed to us.

We will have darśana of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa only by Gurudeva’s mercy. Why? Gurudeva is always chanting the mahāmantra. He is chanting śuddha-nāma, but we are not.Who is the most helpful for us in this world? Is the mahāmantra the most helpful? By which medium did the mahāmantra come to us? Who gave it to us? Did Kṛṣṇa give it to us? Did Mahāprabhu give it to us? Did any other sādhu come and give it to us? Only our Guru-pāda-padma is with us. We must follow only him. We shall chant his mantra.

I said, “If I chant your mantra will you be pleased?”Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Nityānanda Prabhu will be happy and Baladeva Prabhu will give you cit-bala, spiritual strength.”“But will you not give anything?” I asked.“Yes…I have some love for my Guru Mahārāja, therefore you will receive love for your Guru Mahārāja.”This is called guru-śakti and guru-bhakti. If you have no guru-bhakti, you have nothing.Śāstra says:prathaman tu guruṁ pūjyāṁtataś caiva mamārcanamkurvan siddhim avāpnotihy anyathā niṣphalaṁ bhavetHari-bhakti-vilāsa 4.344Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “One must always worship one’s Guru first and only then worship Me. If one follows this process properly, one will naturally attain all perfection, but if one neglects this process everything will be fruitless.”Guru-bhakti must come before kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Gurudeva is not only Baladeva Prabhu’s expansion.

All gurus are not Baladeva Prabhu’s or Nityānanda Prabhu’s expansion. Some gurus come to this world by the order of Rādhārānī, and they are Rādhārānī and Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī’s direct followers. Not all lines are the same. Kṛṣṇa Himself is surprised and marvels at how Śrīmatī manifests Her group in this world and attracts everyone to Vraja to serve Him.Not all lines are the same. Different lines send people in different directions. Many people came after Nayana-maṇī-mañjarī and Vinoda Mañjarī.

Who is a true follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s line? The understanding of this is very rare. We are therefore very fortunate. Guru-bhakti is not only the backbone of bhakti, it gives us spiritual strength and bliss.In śāstra, there are prayers such as:gurur brahmā gurur viṣṇurguru devo maheśvaraḥgurur sākṣād parabrahmatasmai śrī-guruve namaḥDoes this mean that guru is Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, or Sākṣād-Parabrahma? What is the meaning of this prayer?

A disciple or follower that offers himself completely to Guru-pāda-padma attains the protection and care of Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Parabrahma, and all other powerful personalities. These personalities take you in their lap and bless you. They say, “I will take care of you. Why? Because you have taken shelter of sad-guru! You are very lucky.”Rāmacandra Kavirāja was the disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya. He stayed with Narottama Ṭhākura, but how strong his relation was with his Gurudeva! His Gurudeva went in samādhi to Rādhā-kuṇḍa to find

Śrīmatī’s lost nose ring. Rāmacandra Kavirāja also went there with his siddha-svarūpa and joined his Gurudeva in mānasī-sevā. Together, they searched for the nose ring and when it was found, they came back together. How strong his relation with guru is!How can we have relation with Gurudeva if we do not chant his mantra and always remember him? If our hearts have no room for him, then we are bogus disciples. I do not like this.

I desire that everyone pray to him, chant his name, and follow his footsteps and desire. What does he want for us? What is his line? Let this be our focus.Śrīla Gurudeva is present now also, protecting us, and helping us move forward on the path of vraja-bhakti. He is preparing us for the birth of our soul in Vraja, where we will blissfully serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa under guidance of the Vraja-devīs. Birth from the womb of the mother is birth of the body, but not of the soul. For the birth of the soul, guru is the father, and Gāyatrī is the mother—guru pitā gāyatrī mātā.

Through saṁskāra, spiritual initiation, Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā accept one, and give spiritual birth to the soul. The soul is now very small, like a dormant seed inside the body, where it is a prisoner, bound by its karma. When the conditioned soul accepts the shelter of sad-guru and receives the gāyatrī-mantra as its spiritual mother, then Gurudeva and Gāyatrī nourish one and help one develop in spiritual existence. If one gives up Guru Pitā and Gāyatrī Mātā, then one will be like an orphaned child. The flow of spiritual life will stop. One will run to accept the offerings of Māyā-devī. (CLICK on the Title to read the full article)

WHY ARE PEOPLE AFRAID OF SADHUS?

People are afraid of sādhus because of this. The sādhus cut away our five types of sufferings:  (i) avidyā, ignorance or forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa;  (ii) asmitā, or the false egoism arising from the conceptions of “I” and “mine”; (iii) rāga, or attachment for the objects of sense gratification; (iv) dveṣa, or hatred or aversion to unpleasant, disagreeable or adverse situations; and (v) abhiniveṣa, or attachment for or absorption in sinful activities.They vanquish our material attractions, desires, and attachments. By their power, they will remove all our kleśa. This process seems painful, but this is a stage of our purification and is necessary.

Still people think, “Oh, I can come to the dhāma, but who will take care of me when I am old? I will suffer so much and I will not have any one to support me.” But we should have faith in God and His devotees. If we surrender to them, they will make all arrangements for our welfare.The sādhus who are completely free from mundane attachments wield the medicine that cures our material disease. You might think, “When I sit in front of sādhus, they are so strong that it feels like they are cutting me and then throwing salt on my wounds. They are tormenting me.”But this is the process of our purification. Once we are freed of our sickness, we will feel so much happiness. We have been suffering for so many millions of lifetimes from this material disease. Once we are cured we will feel so much bliss. Therefore, we should not be afraid of taking the treatment of sādhus. Sādhus purify everyone by the nectar of hari-kathā. We can receive this rasa by going to sādhu-saṅga.The stage of kleśaghnī—when we undergo the somewhat painful identification and subsequent eradication of our kleśa, or misery—has been described. The next stage is śubhadā.

At this stage we do not suffer; rather, people respect us. They give us wealth and opulence, and offer us worship. This is an extremely dangerous stage. If, at this time, we forget guru and Vaiṣṇavas, then again we will fall into māyā’s clutches. We must be very steady in our sādhana at the stage of śubhadā.Rūpa Gosvāmī writes:yad-brahma-sākṣāt-kṛti-niṣṭhayāpi,vināśam āyāti vinā na bhogaiḥapaiti nāma! sphuraṇena tat te,prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥKṛṣṇa-nāmāṣṭakam 4O nāma! The Vedas loudly declare that even without a devotee undergoing any suffering, his prārabdha-karma, which cannot be eliminated even by resolute meditation on impersonal brāhmaṇa, is at once mitigated by Your appearance on the tongue.Everyone must suffer the results of their prārabdha and aprārabdha-karma, but if we are always doing nāma-kīrtana, then those reactions are taken away from us by those who are criticizing us or abusing us.

This is the only way that the tasting of those fruits is avoided. Those who respect us and praise us take away our puṇya, or the fruits of piousness. Bhajana cannot be performed so long as pāpa and puṇya are present. (click on the Title to read full article)