Sep 072023

My dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my prostrated obeisances at your divine lotus feet. All glories to Your Divine Grace and to your unparalleled service and mercy.

When I joined the Boston temple in 1969, Satsvarupa dasa was the temple president and also the editor of BTG, and he always wanted articles for the magazine. So I wrote one, entitled “The Genuine Spiritual Master,” and by the time the issue with my article reached you, in February of 1971, I was with you in Gorakhpur, India.

After reading my article, you called for me. The temple room was dimly lit—only some narrow shafts of light pierced through the slim openings in the wooden shutters along the side. Sitting alone on your raised cushion at the far end, you were the very image of the eternal spiritual master, and your voice resonated with the truth of eternal time. I sat at your feet, eyes and ears wide open.

“I saw your article in Back to Godhead,” you said. “It was very nice. You should write. This is your first business. Go on writing. We require many, many such articles about Krishna consciousness. So you should devote yourself to writing.”

“I will try,” I said. “But why are you asking me? I have no special qualification.”

“We require many to do this work, and we need you also. So, you travel with me and I will guide you. You come and stay with me.”

I felt thrilled and honored. You had never before given me a direct instruction. In fact, we had hardly ever spoken, and now you were inviting me to stay with you. I felt a little intimidated and wondered how it would work. Also, I had always worked under my authorities. Who would tell them about your proposal? So, I asked, “How will we decide whether I should travel with you or what I should do?”

You replied, “By mutual consultation.” And you instructed me, “See that my books are accepted in the universities, by the scholarly class.” Then you asked if I ever thought of getting married.

“No,” I said. “I never think of getting married.” And after a moment I added, “The only time I ever thought of getting married was when I saw that all the GBCs were married.”

“You will never be GBC,” you said. And you continued, “It is best to avoid marriage. Sex desire is like an itch. If you have an itch and you scratch it, it just becomes worse. Similarly, sex desire is there, and if you try to satisfy it, it becomes worse. So it is better to tolerate. Not only sex desire—all the demands of the senses—eating and sleeping also. Better to tolerate. So, you remain brahmachariand after two or three years I will give you sannyasa.

In a matter of twenty minutes, you had given me my whole life’s program in Krishna consciousness. Continue reading »

Sep 072023

Srutakirti dasa: We were on an airplane from Mexico City to Caracas, and Prabhupada started taking his puffed rice and peanuts. He ate for about ten minutes, and then he just looked and said, “Okay.” So I moved the puffed rice over, and I gave half to Paramahamsa and had the other half in front of me. After a few minutes, a stewardess was walking down the aisle and she stopped right in front of us and reached over, put her hand in my plate, and grabbed a handful of puffed rice and threw it in her mouth. She said, “Oh, this is wonderful. What is it?” I said, “Puffed rice.” She said, “Why are you eating this?” I said, “We have our own diet, and we’re vegetarian.” She said, “Oh, is there anything else I can get you?” I looked at Prabhupada, and he looked at me and said, “Hot milk.” She said, “Fine.”

After about ten minutes, she came back with three plates. She left, and I turned to Prabhupada and said, “Prabhupada, that’s amazing, isn’t it?” Prabhupada said, “No, women, they have a natural propensity to serve.” I was thinking it was amazing that she took Prabhupada’s maha-prasada right off of my plate. Somehow or other, she got what all of us were mad after—Prabhupada’s remnants.

One day I was giving class, and I told this story, and after class a devotee boy came up to me and he said, “That’s an amazing story. Can I tell you a sankirtana story?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “We would go out to the villages far from all the cities in Brazil in different places. You have to go by four-wheel drive. One day we were in the rain forest really far away from everywhere, and we found this village and we did our hari-nama. Then we began going door-to-door to distribute books. I went to this one house and knocked on the door, and a woman answered, and I tried to distribute books. As soon as she saw me—I was in dhoti and kurta—she invited me in. I went in and saw that there were pictures of Krishna on the wall and she had an altar with Deities, and I was so surprised. Then I said, “You’re a devotee,” and she said, “Yes, yes. It’s so wonderful to see a devotee here.” And I asked, “How did you become a devotee?” She said, “The first time I met devotees was when I met Prabhupada on an airplane. I was a stewardess.”

So, this was the woman—ten years after she took the maha-prasada. Then she met devotees again and got a book and that was it. That was the beginning of her spiritual life. Just seeing what Prabhupada has done, it’s mind-boggling to understand how Prabhupada has made devotees, and it just goes on and on.

Sep 052023

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Ten, Chapter Two: “Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb.”


tato jagan-mangalam acyutamsam
  samahitam sura-sutena devi
dadhara sarvatmakam atma-bhutam
  kastha yathananda-karam manastah


tatah—thereafter; jagat-mangalam—auspiciousness for all living entities in all the universes of the creation; acyuta-amsam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never bereft of the six opulences, all of which are present in all His plenary expansions; samahitam—fully transferred; sura-sutena—by Vasudeva, the son of Surasena; devi—Devaki-devi; dadhara—carried; sarva-atmakam—the Supreme Soul of everyone; atma-bhutam—the cause of all causes; kastha—the east; yatha—just as; ananda-karam—the blissful (moon); manastah—being placed within the mind.


Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krsna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

As indicated here by the word manastah, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was transferred from the core of Vasudeva’s mind or heart to the core of the heart of Devaki. We should note carefully that the Lord was transferred to Devaki not by the ordinary way for a human being, but by diksa, initiation. Thus the importance of initiation is mentioned here. Unless one is initiated by the right person, who always carries within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot acquire the power to carry the Supreme Godhead within the core of one’s own heart.

The word acyutamsam is used because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sad-aisvarya-purna, full in the opulences of wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. The Supreme Godhead is never separated from His personal opulences. As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.39), ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan: the Lord is always situated with all His plenary expansions, such as Rama, Nrsimha, and Varaha. Therefore the word acyutamsam is specifically used here, signifying that the Lord is always present with His plenary expansions and opulences. There is no need to think of the Lord artificially as yogis do. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.13.1). Yogis meditate upon the Supreme Person within the mind. For a devotee, however, the Lord is present, and His presence need only be awakened through initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. The Lord did not need to live within the womb of Devaki, for His presence within the core of her heart was sufficient to carry Him. One is here forbidden to think that Krsna was begotten by Vasudeva within the womb of Devaki and that she carried the child within her womb.

When Vasudeva was sustaining the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, he appeared just like the glowing sun, whose shining rays are always unbearable and scorching to the common man. The form of the Lord situated in the pure, unalloyed heart of Vasudeva is not different from the original form of Krsna. The appearance of the form of Krsna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhama. Dhama refers not only to Krsna’s form, but to His name, His form, His quality, and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.

Thus the eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full potencies was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki, exactly as the setting sun’s rays are transferred to the full moon rising in the east.

Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered the body of Devaki from the body of Vasudeva. He was beyond the conditions of the ordinary living entity. When Krsna is there, it is to be understood that all His plenary expansions, such as Narayana, and incarnations like Lord Nrsimha and Varaha, are with Him, and they are not subject to the conditions of material existence. In this way, Devaki became the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second and the cause of all creation. Devaki became the residence of the Absolute Truth, but because she was within the house of Kamsa, she looked just like a suppressed fire, or like misused education. When fire is covered by the walls of a pot or is kept in a jug, the illuminating rays of the fire cannot be very much appreciated. Similarly, misused knowledge, which does not benefit the people in general, is not very much appreciated. So Devaki was kept within the prison walls of Kamsa’s palace, and no one could see her transcendental beauty, which resulted from her conceiving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Commenting upon this verse, Sri Viraraghava Acarya writes, vasudeva-devaki jatharayor hrdayayor bhagavatah sambandhah. The Supreme Lord’s entrance into the womb of Devaki from the heart of Vasudeva was a heart-to-heart relationship. Continue reading »

Aug 292023

Today is the appearance day of Lord Balarama, the Personality of Godhead who is the first expansion of Lord Krishna, the original Personality of Godhead. Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita (4.7):

yada yada hi dharmasya
  glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
  tadatmanam srjamy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself.”

Krishna says, srjamy aham: “I manifest Myself.” He doesn’t take birth like an ordinary human being but manifests Himself in His original spiritual form. For what purpose?

paritranaya sadhunam
  vinasaya ca duskrtam
  sambhavami yuge yuge

“To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.” (Gita 4.8) He manifests Himself to protect the devotees, annihilate the demons, and reestablish the principles of religion.

In every sphere of activity in the material world there is deterioration—everything declines. For example, a new house is very nice, but it gradually deteriorates, and eventually, when too old, it has to be rebuilt. Similarly, over time our performance of spiritual duties deteriorates, whether we are individuals, families, communities, or a society. And so the Lord comes repeatedly to reestablish religious practice. He appears in order to establish religious principles (dharma), but over time religious practice declines, and so He manifests Himself again and again. We all know how prone we are to allow our practice to deteriorate. Thus, on auspicious occasions like today, Lord Balarama’s appearance day,we can pray to the Lord to manifest Himself and help us to become reestablished in our religious principles and practice. Continue reading »