Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji’s Disappearance Day

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Feb 202023
 

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja comes in the Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession after Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. He was a renounced ascetic, fully engaged in chanting the holy names of Krishna and meditating on the pastimes of Krishna. For some time, he made his residence at Surya-kunda in Vraja-dhama, near the temple of Suryadeva, where Srimati Radharani used to come and worship the sun-god—or, I should say, where She used to come to meet Krishna on the pretext of coming to worship the sun-god.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who comes in the disciplic succession after Jagannatha dasa Babaji, accepted Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja as his main guru, his siksa-guru. Once, some of Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disciples in Vraja approached the Thakura and complained that although they had come to Vraja to live like Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, fully absorbed in chanting the holy names and meditating on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s astakaliya-lila, Babaji Maharaja had refused to instruct them in such topics and had instead engaged them in cultivating tulasi plants, flowers, and vegetables to offer to the Lord. And they requested Bhaktivinoda Thakura to appeal to their guru maharaja to instruct them in the esoteric practices of Krishna consciousness.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told the disciples, “Actually, your Gurudeva’s instructions are right for you. Because you still have anarthas, for you to sit and try to do nirjana-bhajana [solitary worship] and practice asta-kaliya-lila-smarana [meditation on the Lord’s eightfold daily pastimes] would be artificial, and you would just become degraded. So you should follow his instructions with full faith and work hard in Krishna’s service. Then, in time, you may be able to chant the holy names purely.” Continue reading »

Shiva-ratri

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Feb 182023
 

Today is Shiva-ratri. Vaishnavas generally do not celebrate Shiva-ratri, and to begin, I will explain why, with reference to the Bhagavad-gita. We read from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter 7: “Knowledge of the Absolute”:

TEXT 23

antavat tu phalam tesam
  tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
devan deva-yajo yanti
  mad-bhakta yanti mam api

TRANSLATION

Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Some commentators on the Bhagavad-gita say that one who worships a demigod can reach the Supreme Lord, but here it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to the different planetary systems where various demigods are situated, just as a worshiper of the sun achieves the sun or a worshiper of the demigod of the moon achieves the moon. Similarly, if anyone wants to worship a demigod like Indra, he can attain that particular god’s planet. It is not that everyone, regardless of whatever demigod is worshiped, will reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is denied here, for it is clearly stated that the worshipers of demigods go to different planets in the material world but the devotee of the Supreme Lord goes directly to the supreme planet of the Personality of Godhead.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

This is logical. As Srila Prabhupada remarked, if you buy a ticket to Calcutta, you cannot expect to reach Bombay. If you worship a demigod, you go to the planet of the demigod. If you worship Krishna, you reach the supreme abode of Krishna. Continue reading »

Sri Isvara Puri’s Disappearance Day

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Feb 162023
 

Today is the disappearance day of Sri Isvara Puri. He was such a perfect disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna Himself, was pleased to accept him as His spiritual master. Later, Lord Chaitanya visited Isvara Puri’s birthplace at Kumara-hatta and collected some earth from the birth site, which He kept very carefully and ate a small portion of daily. Thus He showed us how a faithful disciple worships a spiritual master who has faithfully served his spiritual master perfectly.

“At the last stage of his life Sri Madhavendra Puri became an invalid and was completely unable to move, and Isvara Puri so completely engaged himself in his service that he personally cleaned up his stool and urine. Always chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and reminding Sri Madhavendra Puri about the pastimes of Lord Krsna in the last stage of his life, Isvara Puri gave the best service among his disciples. Thus Madhavendra Puri, being very pleased with him, blessed him, saying, ‘My dear boy, I can only pray to Krsna that He will be pleased with you.’ Thus Isvara Puri, by the grace of his spiritual master, Sri Madhavendra Puri, became a great devotee in the ocean of love of Godhead.” Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti states in his Gurvastaka prayer, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ’pi: “By the mercy of the spiritual master one is blessed by the mercy of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement.” It is by the mercy of the spiritual master that one becomes perfect, as vividly exemplified here. A Vaisnava is always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if he appears to be an invalid, this gives a chance to his disciples to serve him. Isvara Puri pleased his spiritual master by service, and by the blessings of his spiritual master he became such a great personality that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted him as His spiritual master. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 9.11 purport)

On this auspicious occasion, we pray that Sri Isvara Puri and his disciple Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will bless us with devotion to the spiritual master.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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