Harinam Sankirtan in Cologne, Germany (Album with photos) Srila…

Harinam Sankirtan in Cologne, Germany (Album with photos)
Srila Prabhupada: A devotee, either in danger or in happiness, constantly chants the Hare Krishna mantra. When he is in danger he is immediately relieved, and when he is in a position to see Lord Vishnu or His associates directly, by chanting this maha-mantra he can please the Lord. This is the absolute nature of the maha-mantra. Either in danger or in happiness, it can be chanted without limitation. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.12.21 Purport)
Find them here: https://goo.gl/drK01N

May 6. ISKCON 50 – S.Prabhupada Daily Meditations. Satsvarupa…

May 6. ISKCON 50 – S.Prabhupada Daily Meditations.
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami: Soul Eyes of Prabhupada.
One devotee wrote to me appreciating my poem about Srila Prabhupada’s gaze, Soul Eyes. He said, however, that he never saw Prabhupada’s eyes, and he considered it a great loss in his life. I consoled him and told him there were many wonderful photos to meditate on Prabhupada’s eyes and form. There’s also film footage of his moving body, an expressive feature. There’s also an oversize book of special photos called Srila Prabhupada Art Book, which one can spend hours gazing over Prabhupada’s beautiful body. Even when Prabhupada’s health diminished and his face became emaciated he maintained nobility in his features, and his face was very grave.
Devotees can also ease their separation by getting together and talking about his qualities and pastimes on occasions such as his appearance and disappearance days. Srila Prabhupada personally said, “If you want to know me, read my books.” So a devotee should not think he has lost out just because he was not present when Prabhupada was still alive in his physical presence here.
By the means available through vani (instruction in sound vibration), many second-generation disciples have developed relationships equal to and even greater than first-generation disciples.
Srila Prabhupada wrote in one letter explaining the principles of vapu and vani: “… Presence of the transcendental sound received from the spiritual master should be the guidance of life.” He also told us that we could place his picture on his sitting places and this would give us solace. The main factor in developing association with Prabhupada is attaining the stage of wanting to please him. He is still living and open to reciprocate with devotees who wish to serve him. This is accomplished in standard ways and by accepting him as one’s śikṣā guru or primary guru, and obeying his instructions regarding the rules and regulations. One also pleases Srila Prabhupada by taking up the preaching spirit and working in cooperation with others in the sankirtana movement. Prabhupada’s reciprocal gaze of “soul eyes” is still available to the earnest soul who yearns to please Prabhupada and comes before him in the available methods of service in separation.
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Appreciation. What you appreciate in others, appreciates in you and your company

By Mahatma das

Appreciation only costs you a few words, but what it buys is priceless. When Dale Carnegie said to be appreciated is the greatest human need, those who paid attention found appreciation one of the greatest motivating forces known to man.

Years of research has taught us this important lesson: if you don’t pay people enough that they feel secure in life, you will get a small percentage of their creative abilities because they are worried about their future. So, it would seem logical that if those people were paid enough, you would tap into their full creative potential. The research shows this is not the case. What inspires people to give more, do more and be more is that they feel valued.

Enthusiasm and productivity increase in relation to the appreciation people are given. Mother Teresa said the greatest hunger in the world is the hunger for love.

I have worked with companies and organizations who hold annual events in which employees or supporters are appreciated for their contribution. What concerns me is when such appreciation doesn’t continue throughout the year. It makes such events appear contrived and disingenuous. Of course, I am not saying they shouldn’t be held. If it wasn’t for such events, the only time most of us would be publicly appreciated is at our funerals!

Still, it is important to understand what real appreciation is. Appreciation is an emotion. When you genuinely appreciate someone, you experience the emotion of appreciation. And when you feel it, so do they. It is a simple fact that if your appreciation isn’t genuine, it won’t communicate well.

If words come out of the heart, they will enter the heart, but if they come from the tongue, they will not pass beyond the ears. ~al-Suhrawardi

Srila Prabhupada honestly appreciated everyone, even those who rendered the most “insignificant” service to him or his organization. His appreciation transcended the body. He appreciated the divinity within everyone. (Namaste: I bow to the Divine within you.) He appreciated everyone as God’s creation, as an individual soul part of the Supreme Soul. His appreciation was so genuine and natural that it deeply touched hearts. This kind of appreciation created such dedication in the hearts of his disciples that they willingly sacrificed far beyond the call of duty. What happens in an organization in which not only leaders, but all levels of employees develop the appreciative heart? As mentioned above, this is not just about training everyone to speak appreciative words. We are talking about imbibing the consciousness that causes appreciation to naturally flow from the heart. This consciousness will feed the culture of any organization with positive energy, powerfully raising the collective consciousness of the group.

Various levels of consciousness vibrate on different frequencies. Research shows that even a few higher vibrational people will raise the consciousness of an entire company, while people engaged in lower consciousness activities, like criticism and back-biting, have the opposite effect.

A simple way to change the vibrational level in your organization, and to allow people to experience the positive power of appreciation, is to organize an appreciation exercise (either with the entire company or within one department). Each person personally appreciates everyone present. The person receiving the compliment only responds with “Thank you,” and then proceeds to offer his or her appreciation.

For the sake of discussion, imagine we did the opposite, a fault- finding session. The result would be a consciousness and energy drop. Everyone would feel depleted and upset – even frustrated. The contrast between appreciation and criticism speaks volumes about what we do to ourselves and the environment when we engage in fault-finding.

Great minds discuss ideas. Small minds discuss other people.~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The findings of Dr. Scott Peck in his book The Different Drum underscore another practical benefit of appreciation. Dr. Peck studied many communities of different sizes, including small groups of people and large organizations. He found that the most important attitude for development of community is the ability of its members to appreciate the differences brought to the community by the individuality of each person. When this is not done, the differences tend to be seen as a threat. He suggests differences not be seen as something to overcome, but as something to value. Thus rather than tolerate diversity, we appreciate and celebrate it.

Let’s do the math.

Compromise – 1/2+1/2 = 1 Co-operation – 1+1 = 2 Synergy – 1+1 = 11 How can we help people naturally see the good in one another, overlook faults, and show appreciation? We should understand that most people’s egos are insecure. They think if someone else gets ahead, they will go down; if someone else is honored or appreciated, they won’t be. We all need to acknowledge, and help others understand, that when we light up another’s path, we also light our own path. When we bring people up the mountain, we end up on top with them. If we push people in the gutter, we live there with them. This is simply how karma works.

Our motto should be: “Leave others better than we found them.”

Help others see that everyone is a walking temple of God that deserves to be respected, honored and appreciated. When we see God manifest in another, we naturally feel appreciation without having to specifically isolate their talents, intelligence or actions to appreciate.

When we feel appreciation, we communicate appreciation, even when we don’t speak. And when do speak, our words will touch a person’s heart. Most people can fly for months on a few words of genuine appreciation. This is why in survey after survey, the manager with the highest emotional (relational) IQ is most liked by employees.

The number one reason people quit their jobs is because they are not appreciated. People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

Principles

Practices Make a list (or think) of what you appreciate about a person and continue until you begin to feel appreciation for them in your heart.

Lessons

Quotes

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. James Mathew Barrie

Your soul is nourished when you are kind. ~ Proverbs

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Norman MacEwan

If you cannot win, make the one ahead of you break the record. ~ Jan McKeithen We make a first class mistake if we treat others as second class citizens. ~ John Mason

One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul within the destructible body is ever destroyed, actually sees. ~ the Bhagavad-gita 13.28

Rectifying Mistakes by Repentance

From Back to Godhead

By Gauranga Dasa

Mistakes why we make them and how we can rectify them?

To err is human … ” so goes the saying. Safely we can add three more details to the list: tendency to fall under illusion, cheating propensity and imperfect senses. A conditioned soul is bound by these imperfections, but in this article I will focus on the tendency to commit mistakes. All of us make mistakes. Srila Prabhupada says that to make a mistake is not wrong, but to make a mistake and not learn from it, that is wrong.

In this regard there is a nice story in ‘Black Lotus’, the biography of His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja was having some problem with his colleagues in the library party. At that time he happened to be with Srila Prabhupada in India. One day, Srila Prabhupada had received some injuries on his hand and legs and he called Bhakti Tirtha Swami and indicated to him to put a paste of neem on his injuries. While doing so Bhakti Tirtha Swami got so nervous that his hands began shaking, and the medicine started spilling all over Prabhupada’s dhoti and kurta. He thought, “Now Prabhupada is going to shout at me, he is going to kick me out of the room.”

But he saw that Srila Prabhupada did not speak anything, he just smiled. He got the realization: 1) even if I make mistakes, Srila Prabhupada will love me and not reject me. 2) That doesn’t mean that I continue making mistakes; I should learn from them and try to become as perfect as possible.

“That gave me so much hope,” he reminisces, “and I understood that, ‘yes, I may have made mistakes in dealing with devotees but I should learn from those mistakes and transform myself.’ ”

This is a very important principle in our spiritual life because we are on the path of sadhana bhakti. Sadhana bhakti means practice, and we may make mistakes in practice, but how we transform and change that is most important.

WHY DO WE MAKE MISTAKES?

Rectifying Mistakes
Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta describe many factors which impel people to commit mistakes. The powers of anarthas like greed, lust, envy, pride, anger, and illusion overwhelm one’s intelligence. Under the influence of these anarthas, one is impelled from within to do things which one may not want to do.

The story of Maharaja Uttanapada in the Fourth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam illustrates how lust influences us to commit mistakes. King Uttanapada had two queens, named Suniti and Suruci. Suruci was much dearer to the King; Suniti, who had a son named Dhruva, was not his favorite. Once when Suruci’s son Uttama was sitting on his lap, Dhruva also tried to get on his father’s lap. At that time Suruci stopped Dhruva with harsh words. Even though Maharaja Uttanapada could see that injustice was being done to Dhruva he remained quiet. This hurt Dhruva Maharaja so much that he left home for th e forest. A seemingly small mistake silence on the part of Uttanapada, stirred up violent turbulence in the heart of little Dhruva.

His son gone, the father repented before Narada Muni that he had become a slave of lusty desires and failed to take care of his son. When Uttanapada Maharaja condemned himself, Narada Muni smiled, “Your son is very safe. You, my dear king, may have dissatisfied your son but because of that your son has gone to the forest and satisfied the Supreme Lord Krsna.” Srila Prabhupada says that to please Krsna is the most difficult task, even for the demigods, but what the greatest demigods could not achieve, Dhruva Maharaja, because of the power of his devotional service, could easily achieve. Thus what started as a mistake, by the touch of devotional service, ultimately led to a great feat.

SIMILAR ACTIONS, DISSIMILAR REACTIONS

Ajamila Enchanted by Prostitute
Another example of mistake under influence of lust is that of Ajamila. Enchanted by a prostitute, he gave up his young wife, children and old parents, married the prostitute and took to sinful way of life. On his deathbed, when he saw the messengers of death coming to take him, he cried out of affection ‘Narayana’ -the name of his young child. Hearing the name of Lord Narayana, Visnudutas appeared on the scene and rescued him from the hands of Yamadutas. When he listened to the words of the Visnudutas, he repented and took a vow to never repeat the mistake again . He utilized the second chance given to him and went to Haridwar and transformed himself completely.

To commit a mistake is not wrong. To take the opportunity of transformation, and to make a commitment not to repeat the sin, that is an important principle.

Again, there is the example of disobeyed the injunctions and the direct instruction of Kasyapa Muni, who was guiding her on the basis of guru, sadhu, and sastra. Because of Diri’s proximity to a great soul like Kasyapa Muni, it was incumbent on her to behave properly and not come under the influence of lust. Therefore, mistakes Diti. Diti, being afflicted with sex desire, begged her husband, Kasyapa, to have union with her in the evening. Kasyapa Muni, objected because it was an inappropriate time, but Diti forced him to oblige. And thus she committed an offence against her husband, a great sage, the demigods, and to all four directions. The result was the birth of Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu, the two demons who went on to terrorize the entire universe.

Here is a very interesting principle. Both Ajamila and Diti fell victim to lusty desires, but the result of Diti’s deviation was devastating to all the three worlds. Ajamila’s deviation did not affect anyone except his immediate family. Diti’s transgression was more severe because she committed by those closely associated with great souls are much greater and the effect more lethal at both the individual and the collective level. Along with facility comes responsibility, and responsibility to not commit mistake is greater when a person is very intimately associating with other devotees. Therefore in the association of devotees we have to be extra careful and extra vigilant. Along with the ecstasy of sadhu sailga comes the added responsibility of upstanding behaviour. Therefore a devotee has to be extremely careful.

Later Kasyapa Muni told his wife, “As a result of this untimely act, you’re going to get demoniac sons who are going to devastate everyone. Finally they will be killed by the Supreme Lord.”

Diti and Kashyap Muni
Diti was mortified but the final statement pacified her. She replied, “I’m very happy to know that my sons will be killed by the Supreme Lord, whose two arms are very magnanimous. That means their liberation is guaranteed, but I only pray that my sons are not killed by the anger of devotees.”

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, “The Lord does not appear when the brahmanas become angry at someone, because the wrath of a brahmana is sufficient in itself.”

Therefore Diti preferred that her mistake result in the appearance of the Lord, but not that it displease the devotees. This is a very important principle: the severity of a mistake varies according to how it affects others. How we speak and how we behave under the influence of these anarthas becomes a greater sin if it affects more devotees.

Here, Kasyapa Muni told Diti what she should and should not do. But sometimes, the force of the desire is so strong that it overwhelms our judgement and we ignore the instruction, regardless of who gives it. In spite of having heard, known, read, discussed, even seen examples, still one falls prey. Arj una too asks this question to Lord Krsna, “By what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?” And then Lord Krsna replies, “Because of the influence of lust, my dear Arjuna.” (Bhagavad-gita 3.36·37)

PRIDE AND REPENTANCE

Pride is another principal cause of committing mistakes. In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 6, we read about Indra, the king of the demigods. He was sitting in his royal assembly seeing the dancing of apsaras when his guru, Brhaspati, entered the assembly hall. Indra acted as if he had not seen him, and failed to offer him a seat. It was a momentary lapse, but Brahaspati took that offence to heart and went away. As a result of disrespectful behavior towards his spiritual master, a chain of calamities unfolded. Indra lost all his opulence and was conquered by the demons. On Lord Brahma’s order, the demigods accepted Visvarupa as their priest. Out of affection for the demons, Visvarupa secretly favored them in yajna. When Indra learned about this, he beheaded Visvarupa. In retaliation, Visvarupa’s father performed a yajna to kill Indra and created Vrtrasura.

Indra in this pastime repents many times, but because the influence of material desire is so strong and because he approaches pure devotees with a selfish motivation, his transformation is not complete. Because the desires persist, the demon of pride rears his head, attacks him, and he falls. It was not possible to beg forgiveness from his guru, Brhaspati, because he had committed another offence against his second guru, and also killed a brahmana all the effects of deadly pride.

On the other hand, we have an example of positive behavior in the incidence of Nalakuvara and Manigrlva. Nalakuvara and Manigriva were great devotees of Lord Siva, but because of material opulence they became so proud and senseless that one day they were enjoying indecently with girls in a lake. Suddenly Narada Muni passed by, but they were so maddened that they did not cover themselves. Narada Muni decided to wake them up with his pinch he cursed them to become dull and unconscious like trees. But he also gave them the benediction that the Supreme Lord would personally liberate them.

Yamalarjuna Vriksha
Later, when Nalakuvara and Manigriva were deliverd by Lord Krsna, they said in their prayers: anujanihi nau bhumams tavanucarakinkarau (Bhag 10.10.37). ‘0 supreme form, we are always servants of Your servants, especially of Narada Muni …. It is by the grace and mercy of Narada Muni that we have been able to see You face to face.”

In spite of the heavy curse, they did not have any bad feelings towards Narada Muni. Many times when devotees correct us and recommend better ways of performing our Krsna consciousness, we carry hard feelings, and do not accept that correction in the right spirit. But here Nalakuvara and Manigriva were condemned to remain as trees for a long span of time, and they knew that the person responsible was Narada Muni. But because of that curse they received the darsana of Lord Krsna. They were in ecstasy, and both exclaimed, “My dear Lord, only because of Your dear devotee, Narada Muni, we got a chance to have Your darsana … So therefore, we just want to be Narada Muni’s eternal servants.” Darsanarh nau bhagavaw rser asid anugrahat “Only by rsi’s anugrahat, only by Narada Muni’s special mercy we could get this opportunity.”

So they regretted their mistake, and they also expressed gratitude towards Narada Muni for having corrected them at the right moment. That correction helped them transform their lives in such a way that, ultimately, they could become eternal servants of Krsna.

ERADICATION OF ENVY

Then there are mistakes which we commit because of envy, and we have example of Prthu Maharaja and lndra.

Prthu Maharaja had performed ninety nine horse sacrifices, one more sacrifice, and he could have taken over the position of Indra. Indra became very disturbed fearing that Prthu Maharaja would usurp his post. So when Prthu Maharaja was performing the last horse sacrifice King lndra, invisible to everyone, stole the horse intended for sacrifice . Prthu Maharaja got agitated and attacked him, and this resulted in such a feud that the Lord had to manifest.

Lord Vishnu came with Indra, the culprit, and preached to Prthu, the affected party. “Those who are intelligent people, the best amongst men,” the Lord said, “they do not express envy to wards others, because they know that we are all souls, the body is simply external dress, it is simply a symptom of disease. So do not be envious towards each other. I do not like this.”

Indra Stealing Horses
The Lord tells Maharaja Prthu, “You are more mature, you should understand. By service of great souls, one’s spiritual advancement manifests. But, by expressing envy and misbehaving towards them all of those accumulated credits are lost.”

Because of Lord Vishnu’ s intervention, lndra felt very ashamed , and he fell at the feet of Prthu Maharaja. King Prthu immediately picked him up and embraced him, and both of them forgot all the past incidents. Srila Prabhupada writes in that purport that conflict cannot be avoided in this age, but one must try to adjust the cause of envy. Both lndra and Prthu Maharaja forgave each other because of the touch of Lord Vishnu , and similarly by the influence of Krsna consciousness the eradication of envy is possible. By the Lord’s words or His devotee’s words, transcendental knowledge is revealed . This knowledge acts as a medicine treating all the anarthas, and makes one realize that one should not behave in a degraded envious way. Therefore one should try to honestly follow the instructions of great souls.

Srila Prabhupada was instructing his devotees that unless a person preaches Krsna consciousness, very soon he will become envious. Because what brings us to this material world is envy for Krsna, so the more we preach the glories of Krsna, the more we will become purified, and the more we share Krsna with others the more we will become non envious. So therefore, to overcome the influence of this envy, just give Krsna to others. The influence of envy is seen in another interesting pastime of Indra and Diti.

When Diti’s sons, Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa, were killed by the Supreme Lord on the behest of Indra, Diti vowed to have a son who would kill Indra. Again she charmed her husband Kasyapa Muni to give her this benediction. When Indra came to know about this vow, he, with a duplicitous heart, offered to serve Diti while secretly looking for an opportunity to destroy her vow. Although Diti was aware of Indra’s hideous plans, she agreed to his proposal because she was confident that her performance of the vrata would be perfect. Indra was apparently serving Diti with great humility. But prepsuh paryacaraj jihmo (S.B. 6.18.58) means he Indra cut Diti’s embryo into seven, but they did not die. was serving with deceit, externally manifesting a service attitude but, mrga-heva mrgakrtih, he was just like a hunter who goes to hunt deer in the forest. That hunter wears the dress of deer, and when the other deer come near, he kills.

Indra cut Diti’s 7 Embryo
One day Diti made a mistake in following her vrata. At that time, Indra took advantage and entered her womb and cut her embryo into seven pieces. They didn’t die though, but shouted, “Please, don’t do this!”

Indra cut each of them into seven more pieces so they became forty nine. Still they survived and started telling Indra, “We are your brothers, don’t kill us!”

Immediately, Indra came out, and these forty nine embryos were born and called the Maruts. When Diti woke up she saw Indra and her sons. But because Diti performed devotional service, the sons had a favourable consciousness towards Indra. And because Indra was also serving Diti in a favorable way, he also was affected, and when these children started shouting, “We are your brothers”, Indra also didn’t feel like killing.

Srila Prabhupada says this is the power of devotional service, that even if there is envy, gradually, it gets purified. Diti first said, “Oh please forgive me, Indra, I was envious; I wanted to kill you.”

Indra replied, “What to speak of you, I also wanted to kill.”

Prabhupada describes that because Diti expressed her intentions honestly, Indra also felt enlivened and eager to express his heart. Therefore both of them became close and could communicate freely.

Diti had made a mistake by allowing Indra to serve, although she knew that he did not have good intentions. Therefore a master may not have very good servants, they may have duplicitous motives but because the master is performing devotional service Krsna protects the master. Even if one makes the wrong choice, still, protection is offered and ultimately the envy within the heart is destroyed.

HOPE

Therefore, when a person rakes to devotional service all these positive transformations rake place. The most important thing is the attitude when the devotee feels, “Yes, I made a mistake but I want to change.” Then when he adds devotional service, that devotion creates the transformation from within. Just by preaching Krsna consciousness, giving books, giving prasadam, giving Krsna-katha-the envy which is there within the heart melts away. There is a Chinese saying, “The hand which gives the rose also smells sweet”. So when one gives Krsna to others, one is also affected and experiences transformation. We know we should not be envious, we know what should be done, what should not be done, but still because of the anarthas, our actions go beyond our control. But even if that happens, that is not the end of the world. If we just realize our mistakes and take shelter of Krsna, things can change for good.

Hare Krishna

Sri Gadadhara Pandita

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By Giriraj Swami

Today is the most auspicious occasion of Sri Gadadhara Pandita’s appearance day. As many of you know, Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself in the role of a devotee. He is Krsna, but with the complexion and mood of Srimati Radharani. There are different purposes for the Lord’s advent. The internal reason for Lord Caitanya’s appearance was that He wanted to experience the glory of Srimati Radharani’s love for Him, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She experiences the sweetness of His love for Her–which only She can experience. The external reason (not that it was any less significant) was to propagate the yuga-dharma, the recommended method for God realization in each particular age (yuga).

To assist the Lord in His pastimes, four principal associates descended with Him–Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa Thakura, and Gadadhara Pandita. Together with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu they comprise the Panca-tattva. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 1.14) the author offers his respects to all five together:

panca-tattvatmakam krsnam bhakta-rupa-svarupakam bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam namami bhakta-saktikam

“I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krsna, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee, and devotional energy.”

Krsna appeared in the form of a devotee (bhakta-rupa), as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; as the expansion of a devotee (sva-rupakam), as Nityananda Prabhu; as an incarnation of a devotee (bhakta-avataram), as Advaita Prabhu; as a devotee (bhakta), as Srivasa Thakura; and as the devotional energy that inspires a devotee (bhakta-saktikam), as Gadadhara Pandita. Together they all came to propagate harinama-sankirtana as the yuga-dharma for the present age.

We are now in Kali-yuga, the worst age. But although Kali-yuga is the worst, it affords us the best opportunity to realize God, through the chanting of the holy names. At the end of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami says, kaler dosa-nidhe rajann: this Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults. An ocean–you cannot measure the length or breadth of an ocean. Asti hy eko mahan gunah: but within Kali-yuga there is one great opportunity. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: by chanting the holy names of Krsna, one becomes liberated from material association and attains the supreme goal of life.

Sanga–association. Sangat sanjayate kamah. Desire comes from association. Generally, people in the material world are associated with the three modes of material nature: sattva-guna, rajo-guna, and tamo-guna. Because of their association with the three modes, they develop material bodies made of the three modes, and mentalities influenced by the three modes. And it is very difficult to overcome the influence of maya, which consists of these three modes.

daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te

In the Bhagavad-gita (7.14) Lord Krsna says that this material nature, which consists of the three modes, is very difficult to overcome but that one who surrenders unto Him can easily overcome it and become free from the influence of these modes.

Lord Caitanya and His associates in the Panca-tattva came to taste love of Godhead and to distribute love of Godhead–to taste the holy names of Krsna and to distribute the holy names of Krsna. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta describes that the storehouse of love of Godhead had remained sealed but that the members of the Panca-tattva broke open the seal, plundered the storehouse, ate the contents, and became intoxicated with love of God. But they didn’t want to enjoy the contents themselves. They also wanted to share the contents with others. And that was their life–tasting ecstatic love of Godhead and distributing it.

The main method by which they distributed love of Godhead was through the chanting of the holy names of God, in particular the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The members of the Panca-tattva would become so intoxicated chanting and dancing that they didn’t know whether it was day or night. They didn’t know where they were. Once, Nityananda Prabhu led a party of devotees from Puri, and all the way they were chanting and dancing. They were trying to make their way back to Bengal, but Nityananda Prabhu and the others were so intoxicated with love of God that they didn’t know which way they were going. They would start in one direction, and days later they would realize that they didn’t know in which direction they had gone. Then they would ask someone to set them in the right direction. Again, days would pass in chanting and dancing. They wouldn’t even eat or sleep. And after some time they would realize that again they didn’t know where they were. This was the high level of their kirtana in ecstatic love of God.

So, that is what they were tasting, and that is what they wanted to distribute. And reciprocally, that is what they wanted us to accept: the great gift of the holy name, the great treasure of love of God. Golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana: the great treasure of love of God has descended from Goloka Vrndavana, the spiritual world, as the congregational chanting of the holy name. The holy name is not a material sound vibration. Krsna’s name is Krsna Himself. It is completely spiritual.

nama cintamanih krsnas caitanya-rasa-vigrahah purnah suddho nitya-mukto ‘bhinnatvan nama-naminoh

Nama cintamanih krsnas: the holy name of Krsna is a transcendental touchstone that bestows all spiritual benedictions. Caitanya-rasa-vigrahah: it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is complete (purnah), pure
(suddha), and eternally liberated (nitya-muktah) from the influence of maya, the modes of material nature. ‘Bhinnatvan nama-naminoh: the holy name of Krsna is in all respects the same as Krsna Himself.

When we chant Hare Krsna, we are, in principle, associating with Krsna. Srila Prabhupada has explained that in the material world the name of a thing and the thing itself are different. So if you are thirsty and you chant “Water, water, water, water,” just chanting “Water, water” will not quench your thirst because the word “water” and the substance water are different. But in the spiritual world, the absolute world, the name of the thing and the thing itself are the same. So when you chant “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna,” Krsna is personally present, dancing on your tongue. And great devotees who realized Krsna through the process of chanting wanted to do nothing but chant. Srila Rupa Gosvami prayed, “With one tongue and two ears what can I chant, what can I relish? If I had millions of tongues and billions of ears then I could begin to chant.” That is the stage of relishing the holy name, when one is able to chant purely.

We, unfortunately, have no such attraction. In the second verse of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Siksastaka we find the word durdaivam, which means “misfortune.” We are unfortunate. Of course, we are also fortunate, because we have come in touch with Srila Prabhupada, who served the Panca-tattva by executing their mission, traveling all over the world and distributing the holy name of Krsna. We are fortunate, but at the same time we are unfortunate because we do not experience ecstatic love when we chant–because we commit offenses. The great value of the holy name can be realized only when we chant without offense.

But here too, the Panca-tattva help us, because they do not consider offenses. They are so liberal and magnanimous that they do not take any offense. Thus, if one chants the holy names of the Panca-tattva with enthusiasm, with complete absorption, one will feel ecstatic, and when one feels ecstatic one can chant the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra without offense.

But we have to work. We have to practice. As Srila Prabhupada said, “Chanting is easy, but the determination to chant is not so easy.” We have to be determined to chant with attention, without offense. And if we can chant without offense, we will obtain the great treasure of love of God. Chanting is so important, as Lord Caitanya instructed.

tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana

“Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.” (Cc Antya 4.71)

There are ten offenses mentioned in the Padma Purana. Srila Jiva Gosvami has discussed them in detail in his Bhakti-sandarbha, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also discussed them, in Sri Harinama-cintamani. In Srila Prabhupada’s books we find lists and explanations of the ten offenses in different places. The list in The Nectar of Devotion is often read in temples as part of the morning program after mangala-arati, as devotees prepare to chant their rounds, for just reading or reciting the list, hearing it and praying, will help us to avoid the offenses. The last offense in this list is “to not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.” And then devotees often add, “It is also an offense to be inattentive while chanting.” Actually, at the end of the Sanskrit for the eighth offense we find the words api pramada. Pramada means “inattention.” In the Hari-nama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has taken pramada as a separate item, as the ninth offense–inattentive chanting. He states that by attentive chanting one can destroy all other offenses and that inattentive chanting allows the other offenses to grow and flourish.

So we have to make a concentrated effort to overcome this offense (pramada) and chant and hear with attention. As the Bhagavad-gita (6.26) says,

yato yato niscalati manas cancalam asthiram tatas tato niyamyaitad atmany eva vasam nayet

“From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.” So, that is our work.

And when we observe the activities of the mind while we are chanting and really consider what is happening–“Why is my mind always wandering? What is it thinking about?” (There is a whole list of things we think about, which we can’t even begin to discuss.)–if we consider, “What is going on? Why am I having all these other thoughts when I should be hearing the holy name?” we will find (at least that is my experience) that it basically comes down to thinking we are the doers, the controllers, the proprietors, the enjoyers. Actually, the holy name is Krsna, and He is the controller, He is the proprietor, and He is the enjoyer. So let us surrender to Him. Let us surrender to the holy name, surrender to Krsna in the form of transcendental sound, and let Him take over.

When we are chanting, at least our sixteen rounds, those two hours–or however long it takes–are our time with Krsna. At least in those two hours we should have no other thought but to be with Krsna, to associate with Krsna. Srila Prabhupada has explained that the chanting is a prayer to Radha and Krsna. The name “Krsna” refers, of course, to Krsna, and “Hare” is a way of addressing Radha. Thus Hare Krsna means “O Radha, O Krsna.” When we call people’s names, we want to get their attention, and when we get their attention they may respond, “Yes, what do you want? What can I do for you?” So when we get Radha and Krsna’s attention by chanting Their holy names, Hare Krsna, what are we going to ask? A pure devotee will ask for only one thing, and that is service. “I want to serve You. Please engage me in Your service.” That is our prayer when we chant.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written much about the Siksastaka and the holy name, and in Sri Bhajana-rahasya he has explained that the eight prayers of the Siksastaka correspond with the eight pairs of names in the maha-mantra. So when we are chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra–Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare–the verses of the Siksastaka are included. And if we are really concentrating, we can focus on each pair of names and know that the corresponding prayer of the Siksataka is included. We should not be racing through our rounds, just to finish them–“Oh, God, okay, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna . . . Okay, one down, fifteen to go.” Not racing through. This is our time with Krsna. In one sense, it is the most important time of the day–our time with Krsna. And we should give ourselves to Krsna. Of course, we do serve Him throughout the day–in principle, twenty-four hours–but this is our special time to associate with Him directly, with hari-nama directly.

Our godbrother Gopala Bhatta Prabhu owns a large business and has many responsibilities and projects, but he told me that when he chants his rounds he takes off his eyeglasses and his wristwatch. This is his time with Krsna, and he will not think about anything else. Of course, he is very organized. He makes long lists of what he has to do, so when he is chanting he doesn’t have to worry about remembering or forgetting things. That is a common fault, a common form of inattention–while we are chanting, within our minds we are making our to-do lists. We have to hear. And if what we have to do is important enough, we will remember it later. But we have to let go of all other thoughts when we chant, and just hear. Sometimes it may be that in that purifying process of chanting, Krsna is trying to tell us something, trying to remind us of something. And it really builds up. Even though we try, we just can’t let it go. Then it might be better to make a note of it, and then our mind might settle down. Otherwise, in principle, whatever it is, just let it go and hear–tac chrnu–hear the holy name of Krsna.

This is the great mission of the Panca-tattva, to propagate pure chanting of the holy name, and through it, ecstatic love of Godhead.

Gadadhara Pandita appeared one year after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And in their childhoods, the two were inseparable. They were so attached to each other. Together, they attended Gangadasa Pandita’s tola, or school, and as classmates they enjoyed many pastimes with each other. In His childhood, Lord Caitanya was called Nimai, because He was born under a nima tree. So, Nimai and Gadadhara would go to Ganganagara and attend class together. They would walk home together. They would study together. They would take bath in the Ganga together. They were inseparable. They could not bear to be separated from each other for even a moment.

Later, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and went to reside in Jagannatha Puri, Gadadhara Pandita followed Him. Most of Mahaprabhu’s other associates in Navadvipa remained in Bengal; they came to Puri only once in a year, for the four months of the rainy season, to attend the Ratha-yatra and to see Mahaprabhu. But Gadadhara Pandita couldn’t bear to be separated from the Lord, and the Lord couldn’t bear to be separated from him. So he was permitted to stay with Mahaprabhu in Puri, and there they engaged in pastimes. Gadadhara Pandita accepted ksetra-sannyasa, which means he took a vow never to spend a night outside the dhama, Jagannatha Puri. And he engaged in the service of the Deity called Tota-gopinatha. The first time Caitanya Mahaprabhu left Puri to travel to Vrndavana, Gadadhara Pandita followed Him–even at the cost of his ksetra-sannyasa and his service to Gopinatha. And when Caitanya Mahaprabhu finally compelled him to return to Puri, Gadadhara fainted. He could not bear the separation. And for Mahaprabhu too, the separation was difficult. But Mahaprabhu tolerated it because He wanted to keep Gadadhara’s vow and service intact. Gadadhara Pandita and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had many intimate, loving pastimes together in Puri, which are described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would come regularly to relish Gadadhara Pandita’s reading of Srimad-Bhagavatam. And it is said that in the end Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered the Tota-gopinatha temple and never came out, that He entered into the Deity of Gopinatha to return to His eternal pastimes.

After Mahaprabhu left, Gadadhara Pandita felt such intense separation that his body began to age very quickly–although he was hardly forty-eight years old. In time, he was unable to stretch out his arms even to offer a garland to the Deity. So, as we hear, the Deity, to facilitate Gadadhara’s loving service, sat down (one can still visit Tota-gopinatha and see the sitting Deity), and soon Gadadhara himself entered into the Deity to join Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His eternal pastimes.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta states that Gadadhara Pandita was an incarnation of the pleasure potency of Sri Krsna. And Sri Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika confirms that Srimati Radharani appeared in gaura-lila as Gadadhara Pandita. When the Lord descends, He doesn’t come alone. He comes with His eternal associates. Thus, when Lord Krsna came as Sri Krsna Caitanya, in the role of a devotee, His eternal associates accompanied Him, as devotees, to assist Him in His pastimes. And the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, written by Kavi-karnapura, also an associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, explains what roles the associates of Krsna in krsna-lila played in gaura-lila. Sri Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika
(147-149) states, “Srimati Radharani, who is the personification of pure love for Krsna and who is the queen of Vrndavana, appeared as Sri Gadadhara Pandita, who was very dear to Lord Caitanya. Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami has also confirmed that the goddess of fortune, who appeared in Vrndavana and was very dear to Lord Krsna, appeared as Sri Gadadhara Pandita, who was filled with love for Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

Gadadhara Pandita is an incarnation of Srimati Radharani, the internal potency of Lord Krsna. But because Lord Caitanya is Krsna acting in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Gadadhara Pandita, although Radharani, did not act in the mood of Radharani–because there can be only one Radharani. Gadadhara Pandita understood, “This is Krsna’s time. This is Krsna’s opportunity to relish the loving ecstasy of Srimati Radharani, so I will keep my mood of Radha in the background and just support Him in His experience of radha-bhava.” It is also said that if Gadadhara Pandita had manifested the nature or feature of Srimati Radharani, then Krsna, who was trying to absorb Himself in the mood of Radharani, would have become attracted to the Radha outside of Him and wouldn’t have been able to maintain His inner mood as Radha. So Gadadhara Pandita, to facilitate Lord Caitanya in His pastimes, played the perfect role to complement and support the Lord–that of a perfect brahmana, very gentle, very submissive, very scholarly, very sober.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.166, 163-164) concludes,

panditera saujanya, brahmanyata-guna drdha prema-mudra loke karila khyapana

“Gadadhara Pandita is celebrated all over the world for his gentle behavior, his brahminical attributes, and his steady love for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

panditera bhava-mudra kahana na yaya ‘gadadhara-prana-natha’ nama haila yaya

“No one can describe the characteristics and ecstatic love of Gadadhara Pandita. Therefore another name for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Gadadhara-prananatha, ‘the life and soul of Gadadhara Pandita.’

pandite prabhura prasada kahana na yaya ‘gadaira gauranga’ bali’ yanre loke gaya

“No one can say how merciful the Lord is to Gadadhara Pandita, but people know the Lord as Gadaira Gauranga, ‘the Lord Gauranga of Gadadhara Pandita.’”

On this auspicious occasion we can pray to Gadadhara Pandita, a most intimate associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and a member of the Panca-tattva, to be merciful to us, to help us to taste and distribute the nectar of the holy name, the nectar of Krsna consciousness, as humble servants of his devoted servants.

Thank you very much. Hare Krsna.

Sri Gadadhara Pandita ki jaya! Sri Sri Panca-tattva ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

[A talk on April 17, 2007, in Dallas]

A mother’s lesson in gratitude. Radhanath Swami: When I…

A mother’s lesson in gratitude.
Radhanath Swami: When I was a little boy, my mother taught me a lesson. She always emphasized, more than anything else, the quality of gratitude. She told me, “If you are not grateful for whatever you have, you receive, you can never be happy. Because if you are not grateful, whatever you get, you expect something else, or you expect more, or you think that you deserved it. But when you are humble and grateful, then whatever comes to your life, the apparent fortune and misfortune, you can actually find happiness in that situation. We could actually be able to see the opportunity that there is to grow in that situation.”
On her birthday one year, I forgot all about it. So I ran to the backyard where my mother had her rose garden. She had exactly 6 rose bushes growing, because we had only a very small backyard; she grew the roses herself. And I took one of the roses, snapped it off, and ran to my mother. I gave her the rose and wished her a happy birthday.
She started to cry in joy. She was so happy that I gave her the rose, even though I stole it from her. She didn’t need it, but the fact that it was offered with affection melted her heart. And she told me, “It’s not the thing that counts; it’s the thought that counts.” Things could never bring any fulfillment to the heart. Only love brings fulfilment to the heart.