Aug 082022
 

We read from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter 19:

TEXT 1

vrndavaniyam rasa-keli-vartam
  kalena luptam nija-saktim utkah
sancarya rupe vyatanot punah sa
  prabhur vidhau prag iva loka-srstim

TRANSLATION

Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahma with the details of the creation and manifested the Vedic knowledge. In exactly the same way, the Lord, being anxious to revive the Vrndavana pastimes of Lord Krsna, impregnated the heart of Rupa Gosvami with spiritual potency. By this potency, Srila Rupa Gosvami could revive the activities of Krsna in Vrndavana, activities almost lost to memory. In this way, He spread Krsna consciousness throughout the world.

TEXT 2

jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda

TRANSLATION

All glories to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to all the devotees of the Lord!

TEXT 114

loka-bhida-bhaye prabhu ‘dasasvamedhe’ yana
rupa-gosanire siksa kara’na sakti sancariya

TRANSLATION

Due to the great crowds in Prayaga, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to a place called Dasasvamedha-ghata. It was there that the Lord instructed Sri Rupa Gosvami and empowered him in the philosophy of devotional service.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. The Supreme Lord has multipotencies, which the Lord bestows on His fortunate devotees. The Lord has a special potency by which He spreads the Krsna consciousness movement. This is explained in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11): kali-kalera dharma—krsna-nama-sankirtana/ krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana. “One cannot spread the holy name of Krsna without being specifically empowered by Lord Krsna.” A devotee who receives this power from the Lord must be considered very fortunate. The Krsna consciousness movement is spreading to enlighten people about their real position, their original relationship with Krsna. One requires Krsna’s special power in order to be able to do this. People forget their relationship with Krsna and work under the spell of maya life after life, transmigrating from one body to another. This is the process of material existence. The Supreme Lord Sri Krsna personally descends to teach people that their position in the material world is a mistaken one. The Lord again comes as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to induce people to take to Krsna consciousness. The Lord also empowers a special devotee to teach people their constitutional position.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Lord Chaitanya met Srila Rupa Gosvami at Prayaga. Because of the great crowds that surrounded Lord Chaitanya, He took Rupa Gosvami to a secluded place called Dasasvamedha-ghata. In 1971, when Srila Prabhupada traveled to Allahabad for the Ardha-kumbha-mela, he also visited Dasasvamedha-ghata with his disciples. Lord Chaitanya empowered Srila Rupa Gosvami with His potency to revive Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan and thus spread Krishna consciousness. Only one who is empowered with the potency of the Lord, by the mercy of the Lord, can actually spread Krishna consciousness all over the world. Although Rupa Gosvami lived simply in Vrindavan, wearing a loincloth and sleeping one night under one tree and the next night under another, he wrote books that for generations have served to enlighten devotees all over the world. Even now we are reading The Nectar of Devotion, which is a summary study of his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and The Nectar of Instruction, which is his Upadesamrta. And we are benefiting both from the example Srila Rupa Gosvami set when he lived in Vrindavan and from the books he wrote. Continue reading »

Aug 082022
 

Today we are celebrating the beginning of Jhulana-yatra, which is steeped in the moods of Vrindavan. When I first began reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, I was struck by the following description in the introduction to Teachings of Lord Chaitanya: “Actually, Vrindaban is as good as the Spiritual Vrindaban, and therefore Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says that underneath one of the desire trees of Vrindaban there is a nice throne decorated with valuable jewels on which Radharani and Krishna are seated. And His dear friends and the gopis are all serving Them: somebody is singing, somebody is dancing, somebody is offering betel nuts and refreshment, somebody is decorating with flowers.

“In India it is still a fashion of recreation to sit on a swinging throne, and, if it is moving, it is very refreshing. In each and every home they have a hanging throne, and when a man comes home from the office, if it is practical, it is moved from time to time and he becomes refreshed. So, similarly, the same system prevails, especially in the month of Sravana, July, when there is the function called Jhulana. During Jhulana, in all the houses—not only of Vrindaban but all over India—the people hang thrones. In every house and village they place Radha and Krishna and decorate Them with flowers and move the throne and offer dancing and kirtan. . . . The temples are decorated, and thousands of people come as spectators. Generally, people go to Vrindaban at that time. Krishna and Radha are seated on the throne, surrounded by His friends.”

Leading into these two paragraphs, he wrote, “There is an acharya who describes Vrindaban: When my mind becomes cleansed of all dirty hankering for material enjoyment, then I shall be able to see Vrindaban! So Vrindaban is actually experienced by persons who have finished with material enjoyment. Everything is spiritual. This becomes revealed. . . . As you become more Krishna conscious, as you become more advanced, everything is revealed to you.”

Although I am still waiting for that qualification and that revelation, even in my present state, by divine mercy I can relish some of the flavors of Vrindavan during Jhulana-yatra.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jul 262022
 

Yesterday my dear godbrother HH Siddhartha Swami Maharaja came to visit me in Carpinteria. He was the head pujari in Juhu for many years when I was the temple president, and we shared many fond remembrances of our time together in service to Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari.

Now Maharaja is developing a huge temple complex in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. The project is 70 percent complete, and he hopes to open it next year.

Maharaja has become a learned scholar who knows many verses, mantras, and shastras. I was impressed with how, by Srila Prabhupada’s grace, he has developed in devotional service. We had a blissful time together, and I felt that mood for quite some time after he left. It was kind of him to come and visit me on his last day in LA, before flying to onward destinations.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Jul 242022
 

Urvasi Dasi was Srila Prabhupada’s beloved disciple and my dear godsister. His Divine Grace said that when a Vaishnava departs, we feel simultaneously happy and sad—sad because we will miss the Vaishnava’s association, and happy because we know they have gone to serve Krishna.

In the last few months, I have had several programs at my ashram in Carpinteria, and Urvasi attended—and enjoyed—all of them. Her presence—her humanity and divinity—uplifted our spirits and consciousness. She was always pleased to attend our programs, and we were happy to attend hers.

On November 7, 2017, I wrote Urvasi, “The latest issue of The New Yorker has an article about Tulsi Gabbard, and considering that she is a devotee, I thought to read it. The first few pages were mundane, all about politics, and I wondered whether I was just wasting my time—but then the whole last half of the article was about Tulsi’s association with Krishna consciousness. In case you want to see the article, here is the link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/06/what-does-tulsi-gabbard-believe.”

She replied, “Thank you, Maharaja. It was very interesting reading this, as I was right in the thick of Chris Butler’s transformation into a spiritual teacher. When I moved to Hawaii, he was the only person I knew there, and he picked me up from the airport. I became part of his family of friends, and gradually he became more and more of a spiritual teacher figure, although he was always enlightened, as were the circle of friends. Later I managed one of his retreat centers on the island of Maui, and eventually the historic moment arrived when we gradually converted it to a very successful ‘independent’ Hare Krishna center dedicated to the teachings of only Srila Prabhupada. This was the beginning of his heart’s desire to surrender himself, his status, and everything he had established to Srila Prabhupada. His only concern was to bring all his disciples along with him and not lose any of them.

“It is so wonderful and Krishna’s mercy to have a rising star like Tulsi Gabbard make so much progress in such a broken and corrupt political system. We all pray for her success and steadfastness in her convictions.

“All glories to our beloved Srila Prabhupada!

“Always thankful for your association . . .”

I was always thankful for Urvasi’s association, and I look forward to having it again in what Srila Prabhupada called “the ISKCON in the spiritual sky.”

Mother Urvasi, I love you and miss you, and I pray to please you by my service in separation.

Hare Krishna.

Your eternal servant,
Giriraj Swami

Jul 212022
 

Srila Prabhupada incorporated ISKCON on July 13, 1966, in New York City, which corresponds to today on the Vaishnava calendar. One exchange between him and Bhavananda indicates some of its significance:

Bhavananda: In Svarup Ganj theres one big astrologer. So, he saw your photograph, and he said, “This is the face of the most powerful spiritual personality on the planet.”

Prabhupada: [laughs] Hare Krishna.

Brahmananda: Then what else?

Bhavananda: Then he said that “I can tell from his face that he can make a house in which the whole world can live peacefully.”

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupada!

Prabhupada: At least I desire so.

(Morning Walk, July 1, 1975, Denver)

 

The following are excerpts from the certificate of incorporation:

CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION
OF
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC.
(Pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York)

We, the undersigned, for the purpose of forming a corporation pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York, do hereby make, subscribe and acknowledge this certificate as follows:

FIRST: The name of the corporation shall be INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC.

SECOND: The purposes for which the corporation is organized are:

(a) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

(b) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagawat Gita and Srimad Bhagawatam.

(c) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

(d) To teach and encourage the Samkirtan movement congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

(e) To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

(f) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

(g) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings. . . .

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF we have made, subscribed, and acknowledged this certificate of incorporation this 13th day of July, 1966.

[signed:] A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Carol Bekar, Raymond Marais

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