SrilaPrabhupada Vyasa Puja @ New vrindaban
→ New Vrindaban Brijabasi Spirit

01s

On September 1, 1896, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made his appearance in this world in Calcutta, Bengal. Born on the day immediately after Krsna Janmastami, he was given the name Abhay Carana by his Vaisnava father, Gour Mohan De, and his mother Rajani. Gour Mohan’s principle desire for his son’s spiritual future was for him to become a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krsna, the ultimate goal of Vaisnavism.

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God’s Temple
→ Seed of Devotion

Several years ago, in the evening a whole busload of devotees all went swimming in the ocean, and I was in bliss! Ah, the ocean! It had been almost a year since I'd frolicked in the waves. I then went on a very long, dancing and frolicking walk along the shore.

For the first time in a long time, to the crashing waves I sang "Mama Mana Mandire." I used to sing this song so often - it would invoke a very special mood for me.

When I used to live in Hawaii, there was no temple on my island. As a teenager and the years went by, I began to despair that I would ever be around a temple and devotee association again. One day I listened to Rasa's "Mama Mana Mandire" track, and I was stunned. What did this song mean? I did a Google search: the temple of my heart.

I used to bikeride in the evenings out to this crest on the mountain that overlooked the city of Kailua-Kona. I would take in the undulating valleys, glistening blue bays, and the ocean would wrap around the island. I would watch the magnificent, glorious sunset every evening, and I began to sing this song. "This is my temple."

A tradition grew. Whenever I felt awed and humbled by the beauty of nature, I would sing this song. I began to be absolutely immersed in the everyday experience of being in the majesty of God's temple.

When I moved to live within the devotional community of Alachua, I lost touch with the song, that longing.

But when I sang and danced amidst the ocean waves at sunset on the Atlantic Ocean, I traveled back in time. I meditated on that deep feeling that God is everywhere. I can feel Him, I can experience Him. I don't need a building to worship Him. He is here in my heart and He is also all around me.

That longing to be around the devotees when I was in Hawaii was so very, very special. Every single day, my desire became only more and more intense, my longing more and more powerful. I pray that this longing may always reside within my heart. Always.



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A Moment of Your Time
→ NY Times & Bhagavad Gita Sanga/ Sankirtana Das



It's my goal to have my award-winning book - Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest -  eventually replace William Buck’s ambiguous and impersonal rendition which so many professors are accustomed to using in their college courses. To bring this goal one step closer, I am asking for your help.  Last year, if you googled 'Mahabharata,' my site was on page 20 and it's now hovering between 2 & 3. Buck's book is on page ONE.

My first step was to write a good piece of literature; the second was to have the book's back cover adorned with quotes by professors, and now the third is to get maximum visibility on Google. I humbly request that you use Google to visit my site -   www.Mahabharata-Project.com   - to help  achieve this next step and bring it up to page one next to Buck.

Without being didactic, Maha:TEQ offers an authentic Vaisnava perspective in the understanding of who Krishna is, of dharma, of real leadership qualities, and of the foreboding nature of our age, the Kali-yuga. All this as the story moves steadily forward, and as the tension builds,  and all in under 280 pages (a comfortable read for a college or even high school course). Actually, the book has been hailed by the devotee and academic community alike, and is a great resource for devotees wanting to share the Mahabharata and it’s concepts with people they are cultivating. 

Thanks so much for your help. Below is only a small part of the response from the book:


 “Wonderful! Your storytelling art – which quickly gets to the essence of everything – has opened the world of Mahabharata to me , for it has opened up the world of the feelings and emotions of Mahabharata.” Sacinandana Swami

“Got the books. Already finished the first chapter....really nice. Have a friend who teaches comparative religion classes at the University here, I'll give her a copy.” Trivikrama Swami, FL

“Hare Krishna. Very nice interview!  Much thanks for your ingenious service.”  Malati dd


“It is so beautifully written!” Robin

"Loved the book!" Charlotte Jones

“Thank you Andy for this wonderful book. As I sit here reading I feel whole regions of my mind and heart awaken. Soul food for our times.” Rasika Walkingfeather, MD

““Best storyteller ever! I'm reading Mahabharata book now. May you live for many years and keep producing wonderful stories that lift the spirits of all who hear them."  Vegavati dd

“The book has brought Stephanie and I so much joy, we couldn't put it down and read it to one another so we could both enjoy together. We also love the cover artwork. Our complements to the artist.” Luke Kopyar

“I am almost finished reading the book. Very mesmerizing.” Dheeraj Handa, CA

“I couldn’t put it down.” Vidya DD

“Andy Fraenkel’s Mahabharata is a transcendental experience on every page.” Steve Howard

“The book and website look really good. I'm excited that this important subject is getting attention.” Roi in Israel

“Very well written. You have kept the meaning of Mahabharata and have given life to the major and minor personalities.” Appa Roa Gollamudi, Hyderabad, India

“His book is an incredible rendition of one of the oldest written books on the planet. I highly recommend it if you want to immerse yourself in the most amazing drama and intrigue ever recorded.” Darrell Martin, Blue Boy Herbs,

 “A course with this book will be great!”Ashish

“There have been many renditions of Mahabharata in both the East and the West,but your book is the Mahabharata in its essence. Easy to understand, enlivening, and inspiring. Thanks.” Thakor Topiwala, NC

“Thank you for sharing your amazing gift. Your Mahabharata is brilliant. I loved reading it.” Stephanie, NY

“Thank you for this engaging rendering of Mahabharata. You’ve performed a great service.” Dr Vicky Jenkins, IN

“I could not put it down…. I am going to give it out to others who I think have an interest…. It’s a landmark work….. How difficult it must have been to reduce the volume of the text and not loose the threads of the story, nor the essence of the philosophy! Magnificent!” Josef Lauber

“Really enjoyed it. Amazing! ” Barbara K.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for your unbelievable gift of Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest… I found myself picking it up only minutes after putting it down and reading it all in every spare moment I had…… a great telling of the classic…… When I came to the chapter where you condensed the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, I found tears in my eyes. It was wonderful, concise, and exceptionally powerful.” Emil Sofsky

"Wow, what a wonderful book. We just finished it this morning ... i'm sad it's over...we'll have to read it again!"  Mohanasini Lighfoot


"I just finished reading Mahabharata. Wonderfully done. Except I started to do the math to calculate the years of Kali-yuga remaining and... think I'll just keep playing my flutes. Thank you a great read." Lou Boden

“It's a wonderful read.” Rasikananda Dasa, FL.

“I am loving the Mahabharata - its absolutely wonderful! An intriguing read. Its one of those books you can't put down. The CD Sacred Voices is great as well! Hari Krishna!”  Joseph Baker,  WI.

“I loved reading this book and I've sent my copy on to a friend, who is also loving it, and selling it at her temple store too. If you are ever so inspired, it would be wonderful to host you here in Alachua for some storytelling.”  Mukhya dd

“Reading it the way we are (reading aloud) is taking much longer, of course,  but is such a lovely experience. Thank you for writing such a wonderful and rich rendition of the epic.”  Venkata Das (Vineet Chander – Princeton, NJ) 


Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest – www.Mahabharata-Project.com


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Brisbane Temple Janmastami
→ Ramai Swami

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Krsna has four qualities, which are not manifest even in the Narayana form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows. 

He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes). He is surrounded by devotees endowed with wonderful love of Godhead. He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute. He has a wonderful excellence of beauty which cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.
The devotees at Brisbane temple arranged a wonderful village of tents where Krsna’s transcendental appearance was celebrated with great enthusiasm.
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With Reverence And Attention
→ Japa Group

"....I do value the holy names and don’t consider them something to be rushed. They should be carefully passed through the mind with reverence and attention."

From Bhajan Kutir #251
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

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Taking it to another level
→ KKSBlog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 July 2014, Fruska Goranga, Serbia, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.16)

KKS-italy-2014When one thinks, ‘Yes, the holy name is powerful. Yes, the holy name can purify everyone,’  that is a shallow understanding of the holy name. The holy name is ALL powerful, because the holy name is non-different from Krsna!

So as soon as one brings in that element, that the holy name is not just invested with spiritual potency, but it is ALL powerful because it is non-different from Krsna, then one takes it to another level. 

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The Meaning of Vyasa Puja
→ The Vaishnava Voice

sp-vyasa-puja

Every year the disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of ISKCON, compose written tributes in celebration of the day of his birth. This year I was asked to write ‘The Meaning of Vyasa Puja’ for the international book. Here is what I wrote:

Earlier this year, I visited the city of Kolkata and was taken by a kind devotee to an old building on a short backstreet known as Ultadanga Junction Road. I had never been there before, but had heard about the place for forty years. The square, brown brick, rather plain three storey building was formerly known as Bhaktivinoda Asana and it was here, on the flat roof-top, that Srila Prabhupada met his spiritual master for the first time. I had always been intrigued by the idea of a sacred meeting place up on a roof, and it had a special relevance for me, too. In September 1977, Srila Prabhupada came to Bhaktivedanta Manor on what was to be his last visit. I had been sitting close to Srila Prabhupada when, during the Vyasa Puja ceremony, Tamala Krishna Goswami began recounting events from his spiritual master’s early life. He faltered when he couldn’t recall the date of this roof-top meeting. Even though Srila Prabhupada had said nothing until this point, and was in some obvious physical discomfort, he smiled and said “1922” drawing a cheery “Jaya!” from all of us disciples. I was a direct recipient of what had developed since that meeting, and it was because of what transpired on that Kolkata roof-top that I was now sitting before Srila Prabhupada.

The connection of guru and sisya comes after much searching on the part of the disciple and much compassion on the part of God. Srila Prabhupada explained that for the meeting of the disciple with his guru, God Himself makes the arrangements. He said:

“So guru is also incarnation of God, mercy incarnation of God. Guru means that… God is within you, caitya-guru, the guru, or the spiritual master, within your heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati. So this Paramātmā is also incarnation of God. And the same Paramātmā, when He comes before you, being very much merciful upon you, to teach you from outside, that is guru.” (Lecture on SB 1.3.26 October 1, 1976)

“Therefore God is called caitya-guru, the spiritual master within the heart. And the physical spiritual master is God’s mercy. If God sees that you are sincere, He will give you a spiritual master who can give you protection. He will help you from within and without. Without in the physical form of spiritual master, and within as the spiritual master within the heart.” (Conversation on May 23, 1974)

On Vyasa Puja Day we worship Srila Prabhupada as the manifested compassion of the Supreme Lord, and we give thanks for the day he appeared in this world, as well as the blessed day we met him and heard his words for the first time.

* * *

And what are those words? The spiritual master teaches everything we need to know about the Lord who dwells within us, that one supreme person who is unseen by our eyes. As the external manifestation of the Paramatma, the guru teaches the Vedas, the sound manifestation of God. He teaches the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Puranas, and he does it as a messenger of the Lord’s incarnation, Srila Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. Srila Vyasadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men. And all other preceptors are to be considered his representative.

Only by learning, understanding, living and teaching the Vedas is a person a spiritual master; and only being voiced through the spiritual master can the Vedas become fully manifested and understood in this world. The result of this successful combination – between God, the Vedas, the guru and the disciple – is that the cleansing of the heart takes place; the hard knot of material attraction is loosened; lifetimes of karma-phala are dissolved and the happiness of loving service to the Supreme Lord is established.

The spiritual master is a guru because he is heavy with knowledge and unmovable by any other, lighter arguments. He is an acarya because he moves and lives completely in accordance with the Vedas and teaches the deeper meanings of the scriptures to others. As the Manu Samhita states:

upaniya tu yah sisyam veda-madhyapayed dvijah

sankalpam sa-rahasyam ca tam acaryam pracaksate

 One who confers the sacred thread, trains his disciples in sacrifice and teaches them the confidential meaning of the Vedas is known as an acarya, according to saintly authorities. (2.140)

Such a spiritual master is a rare personality indeed, and is someone whose very life contributes the best of all fortune to all those who seek his company. His presence in our life is so valuable because it gives us the greatest possible life: a life lived as a preparation for returning to our eternal home. Through the gifts of knowledge, guidance, encouragement and correction, the spiritual master takes us personally over the darkest valley of repeated birth and death and sets us up in the highest, most glorious place.

When the great Sri Vaishnava poet, Vedanta Deshika (1268-1370) was writing a book about the transmission of spiritual knowledge, he was trying to think of an analogy for the importance of the acarya, the foremost spiritual preceptor, when he remembered something his nephew, Mudaliyantan, had said to him:

“When a lion leaps from one hill to another, the little ants on its body are transported with him. Similarly, when Ramanujacarya leaped over this world of repeated birth and death, we were saved because of our connection with him.”

 Srila Prabhupada has similarly leaped over the world of repeated birth and death, and we tiny souls have somehow or other been transported with him.

On Vyasa Puja Day we try to understand our incalculable good fortune of being connected with such an acarya as Srila Prabhupada. He not only carried the message of Srila Vyasadeva but showed us how to live it. He continues to personally lead us from this world of darkness to the world of eternal light. We give thanks for his boundless compassion and never-ending efforts to save us, and we think that through him, we have come to understand the meaning of the term ‘His Divine Grace’.

* * *

‘The juiciest, sweetest mango is always in the sunshine at the very top of the tree.’ Thereby begins the classic analogy of how the highest spiritual teachings are brought down from ancient times to today. A chain of ‘fruit-pickers,’ sitting in the branches of the mango tree, carefully hand down the delicate fruit from higher to lower branches until it reaches the ground. Similarly, the compassionate preceptors always ensure that the teachings are handed down to the next generations. Yet it is no easy task, and even Lord Krishna says that He must come to the Earth, age after age, to re-establish the teachings that have been lost. One essential component of preserving the living message is therefore the chain of teachers – the parampara.

The greatest spiritual master is moved by compassion to make the teachings of the Vedas accessible to as many as possible. Without compromising their integrity he renders them intelligible and accessible to contemporary listeners, protects them from adulteration, and preserves them by creating the next generation of teachers. Srila Vyasa codified, compiled and protected the entire Vedas and is therefore known forever as the ‘literary incarnation of God.’ The Srimad Bhagavatam provides a description of how the sage divided the responsibility for the preservation and extension of Vedic knowledge:

“Paila Rsi became the professor of the Rg Veda, Jaimini the professor of the Sama Veda, Vaisampayana protected the Yajur Veda, and Angira Muni the Atharva Veda. Romaharsana Suta was entrusted with the Puranas and historical records.” (1.4.21-22)

The illustrious son of Romaharsana Suta, the grand-disciple of Srila Vyasadeva, Suta Goswami, then assumed responsibility for protecting the Puranas.

Without teaching his disciples, empowering them to become advanced in spiritual practise and also engaging them in teaching and preaching, the acarya’s work is not complete. Only when he has safeguarded the message of the Vedas for the next generation – both in precept and example – can he be satisfied that he has offered the world what his own preceptor offered him. As the Vayu Purana explains:

Acinoti hi sastrarthan acare sthapayatyapi

svayam acarate yasmad acarya stena kirtitah

“The acarya is thus called because he has studied and understood the meaning of the scriptures, he practises what he preaches, and he establishes this meaning in the behaviour of others.”

The spiritual master not only comes in parampara, but he ensures that the parampara continues by making the Vedas accessible and intelligible, the essential spiritual techniques practicable, and by fully initiating and training his disciples. He encourages his students to do the same for their countrymen and the next generation. In this way the ancient knowledge and tradition is preserved yet always kept fresh. Thus the sacred mango gets passed down the tree to the next level and to the human society that is yet to come.

On Vyasa Puja Day we honour Srila Prabhupada as one who preserved Vedic knowledge and made it accessible to a fresh, new audience. We honour him as one who explained the deeper meanings of the scriptures and demonstrated by his example the efficacy of the spiritual techniques described in them. We honour him as one who walked through the Earth establishing the sacred arca-vigraha, restoring brahminical culture and arguing for cow protection – the hallmarks of civilized human life. We give thanks that he initiated and trained many disciples to carry forward his messages and preserve the chain of teachers.

* * *

On February 5th, 1919, just three years before Srila Prabhupada met him, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur performed one more duty of an acarya. He gave a human and organisational shape to the mission to perpetuate the parampara. Although the parampara will continue to exist whenever and wherever there is teaching of the Vedas, training and mantra-giving, it is such a delicate structure that sometimes it may not even be located by those who are any less than supremely dedicated. When an organised mission is established there can be greater strength. When disciples gather into groups, each with a specific task, the mission to serve the predecessor gurus can be done with improved efficacy. Yes, there is always danger that the power so accrued by such an efficient organisation may turn the heads of even the most devoted disciple, but done well and with devotion to the spiritual master, it will serve his purposes well.

The Six Goswamis of Vrindavan had similarly organised themselves and their followers and called their assembly the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur had also revived the mission of the Goswamis as a human organisation. In 1919 Srila Saraswati Thakur gave a human shape to what he described as the ‘third descent’ of the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha. Speaking at the property known as ‘Bhaktivinode Asana’ at Ultadanga Junction Road in Calcutta, before a large assembly of Vaishnavas, he said:

“Even though this Sabha is eternally established, it has descended into the world three times. Eleven years after the disappearance of Shri Mahaprabhu, when the world was beginning to darken, six wonderfully bright stars arose in Sri Vraja-mandala and were engaged in the service of Gaurachandra…

“Sri Chaitanyadeva is Krishnachandra Himself—the King of all the Vaisnavas in the world (Visva Vaisnava Raja). The gathering of His devotees is the Sri Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha; the foremost ministers amongst the members of the society are Sri Rupa Gosvami and his honoured Sri Sanatana Gosvami. Those who consider themselves to be the followers of Sri Rupa are the members of this Sri Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha.”

A guru lives to give systematic knowledge, relevant guidance and inspirational encouragement to all who wish to receive it from him and who are qualified to become disciples. He gives whatever he has with compassion, love and discipline, and he sets before his grateful receivers a living example of what it means to be in consciousness of God and His laws. To better share his gifts with others, the guru invites them to come and live with him.

Yet the guru’s mission is also to broadcast and propagate the teachings to as many newcomers as possible. Even to those who cannot live with him. That enormous task requires the training of future travelling teachers, preparation of various types of publications, and the building of temples and other venues so that people can congregate and become educated and inspired, no matter what their level of spirituality or commitment and no matter where they live. It involves organising groups and devotee farms and villages so that future would-be disciples can be part of a social network and helped toward discipleship. Existing disciples and their families can also live peacefully and be supported through the inevitable challenges of life. The disciple’s role in all this is to help the guru and to alleviate his burden. When this larger mission of the guru is understood by the disciple, he or she will participate in the mission of the guru by offering energy, time, intelligence and resources.

It is a privilege to be even a small part of such a glorious movement for the spiritualisation of human society. Although to mundane vision ISKCON may be perceived as merely a human institution, with transcendental vision it can be seen as a compassionate vehicle of Srila Prabhupada’s divine grace, the most important institution in the world, and an excellent means to accomplish the complete manifestation of the desire of the Six Goswamis.

Vyasa Puja is an opportunity for all of us gathered here today to reflect upon the mission and movement of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It is a movement of inspired devotees of Krishna, established to make tangible the hopes of all the predecessor acaryas. It began on a suburban Kolkata roof-top in 1922 with a simple instruction to teach the message of the Vedas in the English language. Our appreciation for everything we have received from Srila Prabhupada, of how it has transformed our life, and our display of gratitude, must surely be to continue the mission and message of this most extraordinary of all representatives of Srila Vyasadeva. May we honour him today and always, and work together to share him with the world.

* * *


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Sri Krishna Janmastami Evening, August 17, New Dvaraka, Los Angeles
Giriraj Swami

08.17.14_01.LA08.17.14_02.LA———————————
“That is the specific reason that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears. Any incarnation of Vishnu could kill the demons, deliver the devotees and re-establish the principles of dharma, but only Krishna can show us the beautiful life that awaits us if we join Him in Vrindavan. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam says:

anugrahaya bhaktanam
manusam deham asthitah
bhajate tadrsih krida
yah srutva tat-paro bhavet

TRANSLATION
Krishna manifests His eternal human-like form and performs His pastimes to show mercy to the devotees, having heard such past times one should engage in service to Him

SB 10.33.36

Janmasthami Evening Talk

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Forever Your Servant
→ travelingmonk.com

Volume 14, Chapter 3 Aug 18, 2014   Dear Srila Prabhupada, Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. Once again, I stand before you on the annual occasion of your auspicious Vyasa Puja, the celebration of your appearance in this world. I take this opportunity each year to reflect [...]

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A Thousand Lectures on the Absolute Truth
→ travelingmonk.com

Volume 14, Chapter 2 Jun, 2014   It was a week after the Sadhu Sanga Retreat in North Carolina last May, and I was in Los Angeles waiting to board a flight to London and then on to Warsaw, when an older gentleman walked up to me. He looked at my sannyasa robes. “You must [...]

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Janmashthami Celebration in Iskcon Detroit (Album 126 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Nanda Maharaja was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation. Therefore, after bathing and purifying himself and dressing himself properly, he invited brahmanas who knew how to recite Vedic mantras. After having these qualified brahmanas recite auspicious Vedic hymns, he arranged to have the Vedic birth ceremony celebrated for his newborn child according to the rules and regulations, and he also arranged for worship of the demigods and forefathers. Read more ›

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If you like the devotees of Krishna you will like this video! (3 min video)
→ Dandavats.com

Devotees of Krishna in St. Petersburg, Russia. Cam1 - Kalinin Denis Cam2 - Radhananda Cam3 & edit - Ganga Mai Read more ›

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Krsna Janmastami at Bhakti Centre, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
→ Dandavats.com

In ISKCON, Krsna Janmastami is celebrated around the world sometimes on other days than in India. This is because the calculation of the planetary systems is different in that particular area. Countries east of India generally observe it the next day. Some of the temples, however, observe it on the same day as India or even have two days of celebrations. At the Bhakti Centre on the Gold Coast the devotees decided to celebrate Janmastami on the same day as India and it was a wonderful occasion with many guests attending. Read more ›

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Srila Prabhupada appearance day celebration in Moscow 2014 (Album 34 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

At age 6, his father purchased upon his request, his own Radha-Govinda Deities. Seeing the family engaged from his birth, watching his father performing the 'puja' at home, and going regularly to see Radha-Govindaji, it was only natural. From this day on whatever foodstuffs were brought before him by his parents, he would first offer to Sri Radha-Govindaji, and then eat Their 'prasadam'. He also used to daily offer them a ghee lamp, and properly put Them to rest at night. Little is know of his adolescence. Read more ›

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Sri Krishna Janmastami 2014 Goloka Dhama Germany, Temple of Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana (Album 127 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Some impressions from the Janmastami Festival at the Sri Sri Radha Madhana-mohana Temple in Germany Read more ›

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Iskcon Krishna Balaram Temple’s Gomata Products Opens a New Wing of Offices (Album 61 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Vrindavana: 17- August 2014 Gomata Products opens a new wing of offices just inside the back Goshala Gate. Read more ›

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21 Aug 2014 – Annada Ekadashi
→ ISKCON Desire Tree

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Mahavishnu Swami’s Facebook Wall 2014-08-19 09:26:26
→ Mahavishnu Swami

Mahavishnu Swami - Lecture at Malmo Ratha Yatra - 6 July 2014 Continue reading

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Janmasthami and Vyasa Puja celebrations in Iskcon Hungary with fireworks, boat rides and more! (Album 146 HR photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Beautiful arrangements, photos, do not miss them! Read more ›

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Prabhupada’s Appearance 19 August 2014 at ISKCON’s New Govardhana farm, Australia (Album 46 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

1901 (circa) Young Abhay conducts his very own first Rathayatra. His father making a small cart, three feet high with a canopy resembling closely the huge carts in Puri. all the local children and many adults would come. Abhay stood out as a leader even then, as he organised and engaged everyone, even many of themothers were engaged by him in cooking, (especially his sister Bhavatarini), who all cooked special preparations to be offered and distributed as 'prasadam' at this Rathyatra festival. Read more ›

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Janmastami 2014 – Festivities at Krishna Balaram Mandir, Vrindavana (Album 54 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

When Krishna does appear, He chooses His devotees to play the roles of His father and mother. He Himself plays the role of their child, and acts like a human being, while also performing superhuman activities that are impossible for anyone else to imitate. Read more ›

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Sri Krishna Janmastami 2014 at Kalachandji’s Hare Krishna Temple in Dallas (Album 78 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Krishna's appearance is significant on many levels, and is something of a paradox. He's the beginningless Supreme Person, eternally existing everywhere at all times. Read more ›

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The Mayapura-Vrindavana Trust guest house and restaurant in Vrindavana Opens for 2014 Fall Season (Album 33 photos)
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MVT guest house and restaurant are being efficiently managed by second generation devotees, Shyamasundar Aranya and Govinda going on their second year. MVT restaurant is opened to serve the residents and visitors of Vrindavan. Read more ›

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Where it all began! 26 2nd ave, New York: Ten Srila Prabhupada’s disciples gather to celebrate his appearance day!
→ Dandavats.com

Packed house, 26 2nd ave. matchless gifts, the place where it all began, celebrating the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada disciples present: Jayadvaita Swami, Abhiram, Rukmini, Yogesvara, Sruti Rupa, Bhumipati, Badarayana, Satyaraj, Pattarajni, Adi Purusha, Yadunandana Pada, Catur Vyuha, Laksmi Nrsimha Read more ›

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Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja celebration in Raman Reti, Alachua, Florida (Album 60 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

As Abhay grew up he became more and more devoted to the Deity form of the Lord. He was especially enamoured with the Jagannatha Rathyatra festival that was held in Calcutta each year. Hearing and understanding the significance of the festival Abhay would sometimes check railway timetables to go to Jagannath Puri where Lord Caitanya personally attended some 500 years before. Every year a conservative estimated 5 million people attended the festival, this absorbed Abhay more in the mood of Rathyatra. Read more ›

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Sri Krishna Janmashtami Maha Abhishek at Iskcon Delhi, 18th Aug, 2014 (Album 42 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Janmashtami is the yearly observance of Krishna's appearance on earth. It is one of the world's most widely observed spiritual festivals. Krishna's "birth," janma, occurred at midnight on ashtami, the eighth day after the full moon in the Vedic calendar. Read more ›

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Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day 2014 celebration at Iskcon San Diego (Album 82 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

Srila Prabhupada was born Abhay Charan De on September 1st 1896 in Calcutta, India. His father was Gour Mohan De, a cloth merchant, and his mother was Rajani. His parents in accordance with Bengali tradition, employed an astrologer to calculate the child's horoscope, and they were made jubilant by the auspicious reading. The astrologer made a specific prediction: When this child reaches the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great exponent of religion, and open 108 temples. Read more ›

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Srila Prabhupada 118th Vyasa Puja Celebrations in Iskcon Mumbai – 18 Aug 2014 (Album 20 photos)
→ Dandavats.com

The appearance day of the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON was celebrated with glorification by the local devotees, more than 1008 food offerings, arati and distribution to lunch meal to every visitor to the temple. The offerings where thereafter distributed amongst devotees, visitors & underprivileged people. Read more ›

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Lokanath Swami Maharaj leading Balaram Purnima Abhishek Kirtan
→ Gouranga TV - The Hare Krishna video collection

Lokanath Swami Maharaj leading Balaram Purnima Abhishek Kirtan

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New Vrindaban’s Janmastami and Prabhupada Appearance Day Delights
→ New Vrindaban Brijabasi Spirit

Here is a picture story of New Vrindaban’s 44th Janmastami and Prabhupada’s Appearance Day festivals.

Hare Krsna!

Krsna Book Reading on Janmastami Day for the Cows

Krsna Book Reading on Janmastami Day for the Cows

The cows listen while munching hay.

The cows listen while munching hay.

Radha Vrindavan Chandra in New Vrindaban forest

Radha Vrindavan Chandra in New Vrindaban forest

Lord Jagannatha's altar on Janmastami

Lord Jagannatha’s altar on Janmastami

Gopal Nathji on Janmastami

Gopal Nathji on Janmastami

Srila Prabhupada gets a cake offering on his appearance day.

Srila Prabhupada gets a large size cake offering on his appearance day.

 

Kitchen Kirtan Bliss

Kitchen Kirtan Bliss  as vegetarian feast is prepared.

The kirtan moved into the kitchen on Prabhupada's Appearance Day.

The kirtan moved into the kitchen on Prabhupada’s Appearance Day.

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HG Nityananda Chandra Prabhu / Śrīmad Bhāgavatam set presentation – Vyasa Puja evening
→ Kalachandji's Audio Archive

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Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja Festival
→ Kalachandji's Audio Archive

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HG Ananga Manjari Mataji – Morning talk on Srila Prabhupada
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HG Ananga Manjari Mataji / SB.10.68.09-10
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Everyone who participates in wrongdoing is culpable
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Not only the performer of the theft but also anyone who assists him, instigates the crime, or simply approves of it must also share the reaction in the next life. According to their degree of participation, they each must suffer a proportionate consequence (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.27.55).

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Violence has its utility, but it shouldn’t be abused
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Violence also has its utility, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the justice of the peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the justice of the peace cannot be blamed, because he orders violence to another person according to the codes of justice. In Manu-saàhitä, the lawbook for mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore, the king's punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial(Bg 2.21 purport).

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The weapon for waging the world’s most formidable spiritual war (Srila Prabhupada Vyasa-puja Offering 2014)
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept my humble obeisances at your lotus feet. All glories to your divine self.

Among the many things that inspire me about you, the most inspiring in recent times has been your song “Markine Bhagavata-dharma.” This song composed as a prayerful request to your beloved Lord Krishna reveals not just the intimacy of your devotion to him. It also reveals the strategy you planned to use for waging on his behalf a war of the kind that had rarely, if ever, been fought before by a spiritual commander.

You had embarked at an advanced age, utterly alone and practically penniless, for sharing the spiritual wisdom of Krishna with the materialistic culture of the West – that too at its headquarters, America. In this mission, you were like a warrior set to single-handedly take on a formidable army, as did Arjuna at Virata. Your war was in a sense much tougher because you were confronting the opponent on its home turf – a territory physically, culturally and intellectually foreign to you.

For a warrior on any battle, the key possession, the thing to which one’s thoughts go repeatedly, is one’s most potent weapon. So, naturally as you approached the American coastline, your thoughts went to your most important weapon, what you considered your trump card. This song reveals that spiritual game-changer: the process of hearing about Krishna.

Hearing is what the whole song centers on, literally and conceptually. Literally, you placed at its center the Sanskrit Bhagavatam verses (1.2.17-21) that delineate how hearing works. Conceptually, you analyze in the preceding and succeeding Bengali verses that you composed the obstacles to that process and the ways to overcome them. The primary obstacle to the working of the process (vaasudeb-katha ruchi nahe se prasanna) that you apprehended was the predominance of the modes of passion and ignorance in the minds of your audience (rajas tamo gune era sabaai aacchanna).

The way you envisioned the obstacles reveals your deep shastra-chakshu. You did not dwell on the many obvious obstacles that would have intimidated a lesser mortal: the intellectual unfamiliarity of the message, the cultural strangeness of the messenger, the probable unintelligibility of an Indian accent and so forth. You knew about these obstacles, but you didn’t consider them noteworthy. The only noteworthy obstacle for you was the universal obstacle, as revealed by scripture, to understanding krishna-katha: the predominance of the lower modes.

And your apprehension of the obstacle formed the foundation of your prayer. You didn’t pray for a smooth landing or a warm reception or even for life’s basic necessities. None of these were guaranteed as you were going to be received by an utter stranger at the request of a person who was at best your casual acquaintance. You were going to live with strangers, but this song reveals that you were living with Krishna. You had complete faith that he would be with you always, no matter how much stranger your living conditions might become.

To your beloved Lord you prayed not for any material necessity, but for the removal of the main obstacle to your spiritual mission. You prayed that Krishna use his matchless mystical potency (sakal-i sambhava hoya tumi se kautuki) to make the message comprehensible to your audience. You beseeched the universal spiritual master (akhila jagat-guru) to ornament your speech (bacana se aamaar alankrita koribaar) so that it would become attractive to them.

And how wonderfully Krishna ornamented your message as it attracted over the next eleven years millions, inspiring them to dedicate their lives for seeking and serving him.

Among the many ornaments that adorned your krishna-katha, the most endearing and disarming was your compassion. You were tirelessly and fearlessly concerned for everyone, all of whom you saw as potential recipients of krishna-katha. It was this concern that made you speak krishna-katha all day while there were people ready to hear. And it was that same compassion that made you speak almost all night while the world slept. Though the audience slumbered, you persevered, preparing books that they could read when they woke physically and spiritually. The krishna-katha that emanated from the innermost core of your heart settled in the deepest recesses of the hearts of millions of sincere seekers, transforming forever their activities and their destinies.

Thus, the transmission of krishna-katha formed the crux of your war strategy. And you never changed this strategy even as your mission spread incredibly all over the globe, encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles and scaling apparently unreachable peaks. In one of the last messages that you gave us before you departed from mortal vision, you quoted from the same section of the Bhagavatam, emphasizing the potency of hearing in association and urging us to seek protection in that potency.

Srila Prabhupada, I am forever grateful to you for not just sharing krishna-katha so courageously and vigorously, but also for inspiring your followers to do the same and for setting up ISKCON for doing so. I was most fortunate to be introduced to krishna-katha by your disciples and grand-disciples in a culture that cherished the tradition of hearing – and encouraged the asking of questions to address individual hearer’s needs. Over the last two decades, I have heard thousands of classes and asked thousands of questions – and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life, as I relish the timeless nectar-treasure that you brought to the world.

At the same time, I feel acutely and urgently the weight of your standing order to all your followers that they share what they have received. By your mercy, by the guidance of my spiritual mentors, and due to my own physical limitations, I have over the last few years realized the Internet universe to be my most promising guru-datta-desha – an eminently fertile field for sowing the seeds of krishna-katha. ISKCON’s presence on the Internet is still underdeveloped. Though we have a good amount of devotional content, very little of it is customized to systematically groom online seekers.

Through my fledgling attempts at playing the digital brihat-mridanga, I have been making small inroads in this vast terrain, answering over seventeen hundred questions from hundreds of people from various parts of the world. And in what I hope will be a pleasing service rendered over the course of the last year, I helped prepare ISKCON’s first fully online version of the Bhakti-shastri course – the course that you considered foundational for serious devotees.

Given the fast-paced life of today, I have also tried to make krishna-katha, specifically the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita, accessible through fresh daily meditations. Similar reflections on the Bible take its message daily to millions through the Internet, but no such reflections on the Gita were available – a gap that I felt inspired to fill. In 300-word reflections that can be read in two-three minutes, I try to explain the Gita's relevance in the contemporary context.

Past writers in our tradition have glorified Krishna poetically and artistically in the prevalent languages of their times such as Sanskrit or Bengali. I attempt to follow in their illustrious footsteps in my insignificant way by doing the same in English. I endeavor to ornament each Gita-daily article with literary devices so as to make the krishna-katha more memorable and relishable.

Writing Gita-daily is my humble attempt to expand to the digital and the literary arena on a daily basis the tradition of transmission of krishna-katha that you established through ISKCON’s daily classes. I am immensely grateful to have been able to glorify the Gita daily for nearly three years now.

I pray earnestly and fervently for mercy and intelligence so that I can continue to receive, relish and share krishna-katha for the rest of my life.

Seeking your mercy to stay immersed eternally in Krishna’s message of love,

Your servant

Chaitanya Charan das

 

 

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Japa Is The Cornerstone
→ Japa Group

Japa is the cornerstone of our sadhana, it supports the rest of our spiritual life, much like a cornerstone is the strong part of the building that the rest of the house is built upon.
If the cornerstone is solid and strong, then the rest of the house will be the same....so with your Japa, if it is strong and solid, then the rest of our spiritual life will be the same.

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Saturday, August 16th, 2014
→ The Walking Monk


Brampton, Ontario

Real Strength


“I am the strength of the strong.”

This statement from the Gita bears relevance when we appreciate its reference to the Creator.  Strength comes in many shapes and forms. 

Nick and I were walking southbound on Yonge Street.  At the juncture of Gerard, we met a group of young folks from Niagara Falls who’d been drinking something more powerful than Gatorade.  They were partying.  The men in the group were obvious body builders.  They wore their muscle t-shirts to flaunt what they had – huge biceps. 

Upon seeing Nick and I in our devotional attire, the group from Niagara took a keen interest.  The most talkative of the group admitted their weakness, “We were up all night partying.”  Now being 6:15 AM, they acknowledged our strength with our early rising.  The group of them had question after question about how we see life.  As Nick put it after we part it, “They were very genuine and eager to learn.”  I had concluded in my mind, “I wouldn’t mind having body guards like them if I was in a dangerous setting somewhere.”

Hours passed, then hours were spent at the ISKCON Brampton Centre conducting a Kirtan Standard Seminar.  The subject of rules, policies and ecstasies regarding kirtan, chanting sessions, had been a very sought after workshop which helps to strengthen and reinforce the chanting that these participants engage in.  Its purpose is to make one’s self strong beyond physical strength.  Coping with life’s challenges is, after all, an incredible strength. 

May the Source be with you!

7 KM

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Friday, August 15th, 2014
→ The Walking Monk


Toronto, Ontario

On The Knees


I had been away from my home base for quite a good amount of time this summer.  My walking for the day was quite exclusively in the premises at 243 Avenue Road. I kept to the interior of the building and paced back and forth, more specifically in the temple hall.  For my entire chanting meditation, I chose to stay out of the cooler climate.  Had it become a hot, balmy day, as it often is in the summer, I would have made the escape. 

While in the shelter of the building which I love, I noticed the need for a cleaning – surfaces, shelves, floors.  The edifice is frequented by many peole and maintenance attention lags behind.  I did the necessary, I donned sweat pants and kept to the traditional kurta shirt.  I was inspired by monks of the past who boldly went at it. 

The favourite is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who orchestrated a healthy competition for collecting dirt and dirt affiliates in the Gundica Temple.  He positioned Himself against an entire group of followers and ended up the winner in comparing heaps of refuse. 

I rather liked going at the scrubbing of the floor and food areas right on the knees.  The after effect of cleaning is perhaps the best, there’s no better feeling.  When cleaning a place, particularly a sacred space, and getting at all the corners, it’s like cleaning the corners of your heart.  It’s highly therapeutic.  Try it out. 

May the Source be with you!

4 KM

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