Reason and Love

By Harmonist: August 8, 2016

By Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, From an article called, “The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri” published September 15, 1871.

We do not mean to say that reason is a foolish principle. On the contrary we do not find better admirers of reason than our humble selves. We hold that man’s superiority among all created beings consists in man’s possessing the noble gift of reason.

What we maintain is this, that independent of this noble principle there is another higher gift in man which goes by the name of love. Reason helps love to maintain its proper bounds in the spiritual world. Love often tends to degrade itself by exercising its function on objects other then God and converts itself into lust for women, wine, meat and gold. Here reason advises her to rise higher till she reaches her proper sphere above.

Thus we find that the object of reason is to help love and not to create it. Reason may be properly styled as the servant of love and must always be subject to her in all her hopes, aspirations, and holy works.

The rationalist on the contrary considers reason as all and all. This is a degradation of humanity. The progressive rationalist, on the other hand, believes in the principle of love, but attempts to make her the maid-servant of reason. This is another error. He makes spiritual love sometimes a prisoner in the jails of reason! Love wants to soar on her spiritual wings to a realm where the jailer (reason) cannot go and the latter is sure to tie up her wings for fear lest she goes to an unworthy place.

Love utters sounds of a spiritual character peculiar to herself, but reason, having no previous experience of it, mistakes it for a disease and administers medicine for her cure. Thus it is that the natural strength of the queen of our soul is crippled by artificial administration of the dry principle of reason and she rests in us as if a bird taken in a cage. Oh! What a havoc doth reason commit by abuse of his power. Oh! Shame to the Rationalist! God help the man!!

Theist take care of those among you who mix with you only by assuming the name of theist but are in fact rationalists of a very dry character. They are divisible into two classes; the designing and the dupes. The designing theist is he who is in fact a rationalist but by assuming the name of theist wants to degrade the sincere by his bad influence. He that calls himself a theist in order to get rid of the name of rationalist but still holds love in subjection to reason, is a dupe because he is unable to find out his own position. The sincere theist should however take care of both of them and preserve the sovereignty of love over reason and his comrades.

New Krishna temple coming to Salt Lake City

By The Salt Lake Tribune: Jul 10 2016

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vinita Sharma, left, and Priya Neema dance during the Kirtan ceremony blessing the area where the new Krishna Temple designed by Vaibhavi Devi will stand in Salt Lake City, Sunday, July 10, 2016.

Utahns gathered Sunday to celebrate a groundbreaking for a Krishna temple in Salt Lake City.

The event featured cultural dances and music followed by a community lunch.

According to a news release, the temple at 965 E. 3370 South is being designed by Vaibhavi Devi, who also worked on the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

Vaishnava meeting in Mexico DF

By Vrinda México: 31 May, 2016

Sripad Tridandi Swami B.S. Sannyasi Maharaja and Srila B.A. Paramadvaiti Swami Maharaja met in Mexico to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Sri Gaudiya Math.

H.H. Srila Paramadvaiti Swami, Sripad Sannyasi Maharaja, Sripad Damodar Maharaja, Sripad Avaduta Maharaja at Vrinda Mission's Mexico Mandir

Delhi Stadium Event Honored Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

By ISKCON News: May 13, 2016

IIT Kharagpur students perform shadow drama on the Bhagavad-gita.

“Although the Bhakti movement has spread far and wide, not many people know its founder Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – even in India,” says ISKCON’s communications deputy director in India, Yudhistir Govinda Das.

With the Festival of Inspiration in New Delhi this May 28th, he hopes to begin changing that. Supported by the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture, the event will take place at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium near Parliament. It’s expected to draw a full house.

The festival will commemorate the 500th anniversary of Sri Chaitanya visiting Lord Krishna’s home village, Vrindavana. But more than that, it will celebrate the timeless teachings of India – service, compassion and devotion to God – that the 15th century saint and Avatar exemplified and broadcast.

The Talkatora Indoor Stadium - photo by By Subhashish Panigrahi

It will also give people a rich experience of the Bhakti tradition through drama, dance and kirtan to inspire them on the path of devotion. Over 30 devotional artists from 20 countries will perform, and the message of inspiration will be supported in keynote speeches by some of India’s most distinguished political leaders.

Mahaprabhu’s Legacy

With ISKCON Communications and Delhi’s Sri-Sri Radha-Parthasarathi Mandir joining forces to spread the word about the event, many people will get the chance to learn about Lord Chaitanya’s legacy.

“We are organizing a press conference and pre-event media coverage, putting twelve large billboards up around the city, and producing promotional videos for social media and mobile platforms like Viber and WhatsApp,” Yudhistira says. “As a result, we’re expecting more than the venue’s 3,000-plus capacity. So we’ll be setting up hundreds of extra chairs and a big LCD screen outside for those who can’t get into the stadium.”

The Vaikuntha Players, who will be performing at the event, in their 'Ramayana'

The evening will run from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, launching with a mantra invocation by students of Mayapur’s Bhaktivedanta Academy. 

A fifteen-minute Powerpoint presentation on the life and legacy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will follow, informing the audience about how the Gaudiya Vaishnavism founder ignored the fantatical social systems of His time, and inspired and united people to chant God’s Holy Names regardless of race, gender, caste, religion or social standing.  

The presentation will end with a look at how later teachers such as Bhaktivinode Thakura, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and finally ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada continued Chaitanya’s movement.

A twenty-minute preview of the documentary Joy of Devotion, made for ISKCON’s 50th anniversary, will then be screened, showing ISKCON’s many achievements around the world in continuing Sri Chaitanya’s legacy.

The Bhakti Experience

After delving into Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life and legacy, the Festival of Inspiration audience will get to experience His Bhakti tradition for themselves through a series of cultural performances.

Mayapur International Dance Group

Eight ladies from various former Soviet Union countries including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan will deliver a Kathak dance on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Indian drama group Vaikuntha Players, who routinely tour the country, will perform a play on Chaitanya’s life and contributions.

Students of the Indian Institue of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, West Bengal will present a special shadow drama on the Bhagavad-gita and its teachings of love and devotion that Lord Chaitanya espoused.

And the Mayapur International Dance Group, a kirtan troupe of devotees who have toured the country and appeared on national television, will bring their uniquely heartfelt brand of kirtan.

Governor Padmanabh Acharya, who will be speaking, offers arati to Srila Prabhupada at a previous ISKCON 50 event

Support From India’s Leaders

Not only is the Ministry of Culture supporting this celebration of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but the last hour of the event will feature major Indian politicians speaking about His and Srila Prabhupada’s contributions.

Some have never participated in ISKCON public events before. There’s Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development. There’s Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture. And, tentatively, there’s Loga Bala Mohan, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of the Federal Territories.

Others have spoken at several ISKCON events before and are already good friends of the society, including Padmanabh Acharya, the governor of the Indian states Assam and Nagaland; and, tentatively, Mathura MP and film actress Hema Malini.

Devotee leaders like ISKCON India chairman Gopal Krishna Goswami, vice chairman Basu Gosh Das, and Lokanath Swami will also be present.

After the speeches, the event will close with a prasadam dinner. There will also be the Indian launch of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary magazine “The Hare Krishnas: Celebrating 50 Years.”

“This is the first time apart from Gaura Purnima that we are bringing Chaitanya Mahaprabhu out to the public on a national stage,” says Yudhistira. “We’re excited about educating people on His life, how Srila Prabhupada continued His legacy, and what ISKCON is doing today.”


By Gaudiya Mission (গৌড়ীয় মিশন): May 31, 2016

Different moods of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna during Sri Chandan Yatra Shringar at Sri Rupa Gaudiya Math, Allahabad, India.

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"Our Last Chance" play at Kumbha Mela

By Deena Bandhu Das
Ujjain, India
Kumbha Mela 2016

Last night (April 29th) HH Paramadvaiti Maharaja brought his devotees from South America to do an amazing drama called Our Last Chance in our Kumbha Mela Pandal! The theme was about how we're polluting our earth and her rivers with a professional Hindi soundtrack. In the end the whole audience danced with us to the Mahamantra and we got them to make a pledge to do their part to stop pollution!

Our happy green Earth comes dancing out!

They danced so beautifully the whole audience applauded!

A beautiful tree begins to grow!

All the evils of Kali, bribery, scams, stealing, sin, greed, etc.

The rape of our Earth!

Polluting the our Sacred Rivers!

Unnecessarily cutting the trees!

All the evils of society!
Together they will destroy the world!

Now everything is finished

Audience intently watching!

A devotee appears on the scene

You did this?? He points at the audience!

He repents and begins to clean up the mess!

Everyone is happy again!

The audience leaps to their feet to chant with us!

The even join on the stage dancing and chanting!

HH Paramadvati Maharja joins the fun!

I translate for Maharja in to Hindi!

He gets the audience to pledge that they will chant Hare Krishna and do their part to end polluting our sacred rivers and our Mother Earth!

Guided Chanting

Harmonist: February 22, 2016

Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami explains the importance of having a pure devotee’s association.

Student: Maharaja, I once heard that the chanting of Hare Krishna and Srimad Bhagavatam must be taken together, that the chanting of Hare Krishna alone will have some effect but the knowledge within Srimad Bhagavatam must also be there.

Srila Sridhara Swami: Not only Bhagavatam. That presupposes Bhakta Bhagavatam also. Sadhu-sanga and Nama-kirtana, these are the best. When there is want of sadhu-sanga, want of living scripture, then there is passive scripture (Bhagavatam).

sadhu-sange krsna-nama ei matra chai
(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 6.13)

With the association of the sadhu, we want to chant the Lord’s Name and when the sadhu is not available, then of course with scripture, sastra.

We are to take men to the guidance of the sadhu, the man of higher realization. There may be so many obstacles, oppositions, and difficulties along the way, but with his help, they may be removed. So, the guidance of the sadhu has been advised to be indispensable. But when sadhu is not available, then sastra comes. Mahaprabhu says:

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga

“(1) Associating with sadhus. (2) Chanting the Lord’s Name. (3) Hearing the scriptures of pure devotion. (4) Residing in a holy place. (5) Faith­fully serving the Lord’s Deity. These five are the best of all the limbs of devotional practice.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 22.128)

And if only one is to be accepted, then it is Nama-kirtana. Kirtana means to chant loudly, and that presupposes that with the company of someone or in congregation we will chant. So, sankirtana. Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu has given this interpretation of sankirtana:

bahubhir militva yat kirtanam tad eva sankirtanam

To talk about Krishna not alone but in a group is sankirtana. But Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also warns:

“Don’t join any type of imitation sankirtana. At least one leading man must be there who is a suddha-bhakta (pure devotee). When there is cholera or the great epidemic, some people want to go on with nama-kirtana but that is aparadha (offensive). They want the Name, the Lord, Hari, to remove all inauspicious things from the world. That is sakam (interested) chanting. That is aparadha. A suddha bhakta, a pure devotee, will not associate when such sankirtan is going on. So, at least one pure devotee must be in the group, then one can join the sankirtana.”

In this way, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has warned that there must be guidance under a pure devotee, who is nirguna, who does not want anything mundane, but only the grace of Hari. That type of vibration must be present there, and that will help me in my subtle-most plane of self, my nirguna aspect, and awaken me.

Navadvipa and the Parikrama of the Vaisnavas

Submitted by Harmonist on March 10, 2016

By Srila B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami

We should try to become more acquainted with the realistic view of Navadvipa. There are so many divisions in this Navadvipa Dhama: mainly nine. It is mentioned that they represent the nine sections of devotion:

sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23)

Simantadvipa represents sravana-bhakti, hearing about Krishna. Chanting about Krishna, kirtana, is in Godrumadvipa; remembering the Lord, smaranam, is in Madhyadvipa; serving the Lord’s feet, pada-sevanam, is here in Koladvipa; worshiping with the ghee lamp, etc., arcanam is in Rtudvipa; offering prayers, vandanam, is in Jahnudvipa; rendering service to the Lord in the relationship of a best friend, sakhyam, is in Rudradvipa; and full self-surrender, atma-nivedanam, is represented in Sri Antardvipa, Mayapur. They have connection with these nine main types of devotional conceptions respectively. When traveling to these places we are reminded by the incidents connected with them how such representation comes from each place. All of them taken together promote our understanding as to what is devotion proper.

Atma-nivedanam, full self-surrender, is the basis of all. After atma-nivedanam the plane of life will be categorically changed. After surrendering to the central direction, whatever will be done by us will come to have recognition as devotion. That is devotion. Atma-nivedanam is selflessness plus self surrendering. Self-surrendering presupposes selflessness. Selfish actions come to an end and selflessness is also crossed, and then self-surrendered life begins—and that is devotion proper.

The life of a devotee has no individual or provincial interest. He works only for the universal interest of the whole Absolute. Devotees are soldiers of that plane. Whatever they may do, the suggestion and inspiration comes from the center, the Absolute good. Though apparently they seem to be members of this plane of quarrel, in their heart their connection is with the Absolute; therefore their color has completely changed. The valuation of the devotees movements has completely changed although apparently they seem to be doing everything almost in a similar way to the mundane persons. Mundane persons eat, and the devotees also appear to eat, but actually they are not eating: they are rendering service to the remnants sent by the Lord. In this way they are going on.

tvayopabhukta-srag-gandha vaso ‘lankara-carcitah ucista-bhojino dasas tava mayam jayema hi

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.6.46)

Uddhava says in Srimad-Bhagavatam, “We shall conquer the whole of the deluding energy by only one thing. And what is that? We shall accept everything with the spirit of service. Whatever you, O Lord, send to us, you have already taken and enjoyed, and we shall serve those remnants and thereby the whole of the deluding energy will be devastated.”

One of my learned professor Godbrothers was challenged by his younger brother who was perhaps a graduate,”What do you do there in the matha? What we do, you also do there.”

The professor replied, “No, no, you do not do what we do in the matha.” “You do not eat?” “No, we do not eat.” “Then what do you do? With my own eyes I have seen you eating.” “No, we do not eat. We do not eat like you; we do not put solid things into our stomachs like you. We render service to maha-prasadam. What we do is beyond your understanding. We do not eat like you. We have no spirit of consumption. We do not consume anything, but we honor the remnants of God.”

Such will be the difference between all the activities of the true Vaisnavas and the worldly men. Apparently the Vaisnavas seem to do the same things as others are doing: walking, sleeping, eating, engaging others in activities, earning money, spending, and so many apparently similar things; but the standpoint is totally different. It is connected with the center. They abide by the direction of the central movement whereas the worldly men are guided by their provincial, local, and the other by the Absolute, and that difference is very, very great. The Vaisnavas are on the other side of selflessness, the other side of renounced life. Between the worldly men and the Vaisnava is the realm of complete renunciation. One is on one side, the other is on the other side.

What proper devotion is, must be realized. Generally, it may not be understood by the apparent movements of the devotees, but it is to be realized by the question of adjusting the angle of vision. The angle of vision is to be changed.

There are so many incidents, stories, and sceneries connected with Sri Navadvipa Dhama parikrama, but all are meaning to help us in our life of absolute adjustment. If one can catch that, then by his parikrama through different holy places and his hearing about local “historical” incidents he will receive eternal instructions in various conceptions of devotion. He will receive encouragement in this way.

It is not like the parikrama of the ordinary people in the general Hindu section of society who also go out on pilgrimage. The general people come in contact with the holy places and they have some holy association, but their main object is to gain some unseen help in their present life. They want their desires of this present life to be satisfied by some invisible help from the demigods. It is punya-karma—to acquire good merit to help success in their present life according to their conception. It is not suddha-bhakti.

The objective of the Gaudiya Matha people is quite different and it cannot be reckoned in any of the different planes the present educational section are hunting for. The present-day scholars cannot even think that purely spiritual life is possible at all. They consider that spiritual life may be only a concoction that others are suffering from. According to the so-called scientific scholars, the spiritual searchers are fighting with their shadow, hunting after impossibility and imaginary things. They consider the devotees to be running after phantasmagoria and superstition.

ya nisa sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh

(Bhagavad Gita, 2.69)

But on the other side, we think that in the name of concrete reality they are running after phantasmagoria—just the opposite. They are running after the mortal achievements. They think immortality is not possible, and Socrates had to pay a heavy price for expressing that the soul is immortal. At the cost of his life he announced that the soul is immortal. They objected, “No, nothing is immortal, therefore it is foolish to neglect the mortal pleasures, so let us enjoy whatever there may be.” That was their viewpoint.

The normal viewpoint is that we want to be wakeful in that plane of life which is darkness to them. The basis is that the soul is immortal and there is an immortal world. It is not only immortal but it is nectarean reality, srnvantu visve amrtasya putrah: “O you sons of nectar, be mindful. You are eternal and you have become victims of mortality but really you are not so. You have an inconceivably higher prospect of life. Come back. Come back to your own plane. Come back home.” That is the general call of the Upanishads, the most ancient revealed scripture.

Art Exhibit Opens from Satswarupa Das Goswami’s Paintings

By ISKCON News on March 17, 2016

One of Satsvarupa Goswami's paintings
Shippensburg Arts Programming and Education (SHAPE), which is based in Pennsylvania, USA has announced a truly unique show for the month of April.

ISKCON-guru Satsvarupa Das Goswami has been painting since the 1990’s. As he tells it, “ … I had not heard of outsider art or art brut (a French word for ‘rough art’). I just painted for the fun of it, but with a passion and as a therapeutic release from my migraine headache syndrome.”  He continues, “I don't really consider myself as belonging to any school of art. I wasn’t imitating anyone. I wasn’t copying Dubuffet or Picasso. I was my own man, painting for pleasure and pursuing my spiritual path by rendering pictures of Radha-Krishna, Gaura-Nitai, Vaisnavas, sadhus (holy men), and pictures of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, often with a self portrait beside him.”

Satsvarupa das Goswami has lived a very interesting life, from Temple President to biographer of his spiritual master to world traveler; he now lives in seclusion in New York State with a few devoted servants, who take care of his daily needs.

Information about the exhibition: 

Title: The Art of Satsvarupa – A Hare Krishna Monk.

Place: SHAPE Gallery  (Shippensburg Arts Programming & Education)

Address: 19 East King Street, Shippensburg, PA, USA

Dates: April 1 through April 28, 2016

Opening Reception: April 1, 2016 from 6-8 pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Friday 4-7 pm; Saturday 10 am-4 pm

"Soka-nihata-prarthana" by Guna-grahi & Kirtan for the Soul

ISKCON News: Feb. 3, 2016

A video by Blaiseus. Music by Gunagrahi Das and the Kirtan for the Soul group (Hungary).

Bhakti Without Borders Producers to Attend Grammys

By: Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on Feb. 5, 2016

The cover of the Grammy award nominated the Bhakti Without Borders CD

Four people are set to represent Bhakti Without Borders, only the third kirtan album ever to be nominated for a Grammy, at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on February 15th.

Main artist Madi Das – who duets on the album with eleven Vaishnavi co-vocalists – and producer Dave Stringer will attend as the Grammy nominees. 

They will be joined by KMA record label representatives Chaitanya Mangala and Kamal Vyas.

With the exception of Stringer, who is a well-known kirtan artist outside of ISKCON, all are second generation Hare Krishna devotees. 

The award ceremony will be held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and will be televised live at 8pm ET / 7pm CT / 5pm PT on CBS. It will also be streamed online at or through the GRAMMY Live app.

Madi Das, Dave Stringer, Chaitanya Mangala, and Kamal Vyas will also attend the Grammy celebration after-party at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“It’s a black tie event,” says Chaitanya. “We’ll all be wearing tuxedos!”

Bhakti Without Borders has been nominated in the Grammys’ “Best New Age Album” category, along with four other albums.

“We are a long shot,” admits Chaitanya Mangala. “Competition is stiff. This is the 11th nomination for Peter Kater and the 3rd nomination for Paul Averginos, though neither have won before. Regardless, to be nominated for a Grammy is to be placed in a very special musical category.” 

If Bhakti Without Borders wins, it will be the first kirtan album ever to do so.

This is also the first time an album entirely in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, featuring only traditional Sanskrit or Bengali bhajans, has been nominated. Songs include Radhe Jai Jai Madhava Dayite, Namo Maha Vadanyaya, Bhaja Govindam and Jagannathastakam. 

Bhakti Without Borders is also unique in that 100% of its profits go towards helping educate, clothe and feed underprivileged girls in Lord Krishna’s hometown of Vrindavana, India.

Kulimela Association, the organization represented by Chaitanya Mangala and Kamal Vyas, is the charity that collects and sends these profits to Vrindavana’s Sandipani Muni School for girls. It also runs the small indie record label, KMA, whose fourth album is Bhakti Without Borders.

“We also helped with the pre-planning and launch of the Indiegogo fundraising campaign that made producing the album possible,” says Kamal. “I’m glad that I was able to use my experience to offer that kind of support.”

Two of KMA’s stated purposes are 1) To promote, present and preserve the universal principles of Bhakti Yoga -- transformation of the heart through loving service – in contemporary, contemplative and dynamic ways.

And 2) To bring people together to participate in Kirtan, the sacred, joyful, and spontaneous congregational singing and dancing for the glorification of the Divine.

Whether Bhakti Without Borders wins a Grammy or not, the nomination is already helping it to achieve these goals by reaching a vastly larger number of people than it would have otherwise.

Dubbed by its producers as “our humble kirtan charity effort,” the album has been mentioned in the same list as global artists like Anoushka Shankar, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift, and in publications like Billboard magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

The mainstream Indian media has also taken particular delight in the fact that a kirtan album by a lifelong Western Vaishnava has been nominated for a Grammy, and have given it widespread coverage in the Times of India, New Delhi Times, Hindustan Times, and others.

“The recognition thus far for the highly talented Dave Stringer, Madi Das, and all the various singers and artists involved in this album -- all for educating girls in India -- is so deserving,” says Kamal. “The Grammy nomination has helped highlight this important cause, and all the hard work that went into producing this album. It is a great acknowledgement of the whole project, and an inkling of what can be achieved when friends, family and well-wishers come together for a wonderful charity.”

Chaitanya Mangala adds, “Our nomination is a positive sign of the gradual increase in overall awareness and appreciation for kirtan. That five of Soul Traveler Radio’s “Top 20 Conscious Albums for 2015” are kirtan albums is another. It’s a steady evolution, and, through our collaborative efforts, we’re winning hearts and minds, one at a time.”

For more information, please visit

To purchase the album or send it as a gift, visit: 

Chaitanya’s 5th centennial of Vraja arrival celebrated in Nand Gaon

Vrindavan Today: FEBRUARY 14, 2016 

The celebration of Chaitanya’s 5th centennial advent in Vraja doesn’t come to an end as His followers are in no mood to allow Mahaprabhu to leave Vraja this time. According to the deovtees Shriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can’t be separated from Krishna and the holy name given by Him will spread to each and every village and town of the world.

In Chaitanya Bhagvat Mahaprabhu himself said, “Prithivi te ache joto nagar adi gram, sarvatra prachar hoibe mora naam; which meant that the holy name will be preached in all the villages and towns of the world.”

After the series of events organized in Vrindavan to commemorate Mahaprabhu’s arrival, the Goswamis of Nandgaon’s Krishna Balaram Mandir organized three days long commemoration of Mahaprabhu’s Nandgaon visit, which took place 500 years back.

The celebration began with the grand Nagar Sankirtan on 12th February which came to Nandgaon from Varsana. The grand celebration was organized on a

On the second day of the event, on Vasant Panchami, was dedicated to celebrate the appearance day of Smt. Vishnu Priya, wife of Shri Gouranga Mahaprabhu. A joint recitation of Samaj Gayan by the Goswamis, Shrimad Bhagvat Parayan, 108 Gopal Sahasra naam and recitation of Vishnu Priya Charitra was also performed.

Mahaprabhu’s Vraja arrival pastime was described in Shri Goura Das’s discourse. Baba Shri Vinod Bihari Das also gave discourse on various pastime of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during his journey in Vraja.

A ‘Bhakti-conference’ was also convened on the third day of the celebration in which several saints and scholars participated.

Shri Kanhaiya Lal Goswami said, “When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Nandgaon, he had darshan of Shri Krishna Balaram, Nand Baba and Yashoda Maiyya in the cave of Nandishwar hill.” “We are commemorating the ‘Divine moment’, when Mahaprabhu entered the cave to have darshan of the deities of Krishna Balaram,” said Shri Sukhdev Goswami.

Shri Tamal Krishna Das Brahmachari from the Imli Tala Mahaprabhu Mandir said, “ Mahaprabhu’s visit to the cave was a discovery of this temple. The world knew about this temple only after Mahaprabhu’s visit.”

Vishnu Goswami, Nandkishor Goswami, Chail Bihari Goswami, Ramesh Chandra Goswami, Vijendra Goswami, Ex-Nagar Panchayat Chairman Tara Chand Goswami, Ram Sharan, Umesh Goswami, Bhagat ji, Mukesh Goswami, Hukum Goswami, Balmukund Goswami, Sukhdev Das (Bhagvat Niwas), Fuldol Bihari Das, Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti, Dina Bandhu Das etc. participated in the event.

The Lake Of Love: Prema Sarovara

By ISKCON News: Jan. 10, 2016

Prema-sarovara is a lake formed from the tears of Radha and Krsna when They felt intense separation from each other. Our parikrama party enjoyed a wonderful morning hearing about Their many pastimes at Prema-sarovara. Sri Prahlada and Bada Haridas also purified our hearts with their deep bhajans and kirtans. Who can estimate our good fortune?

A video by Ananta Vrindavan, music by Jahnavi Harrison.

Bhajan: Radhe Mohana!

By wryndawana

Recorded in November 2015 at Munger Raj Mandir, Vrindavan Dham.
Gina and The Mallick Familly with the participation of Srila Bhaktivedanta Sadhu Maharaj.

For more go to

Humble Aspiration

By Harmonist: January 14, 2016

By Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami

Student: We’ll see if we can engage them at least in namabhasa.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: That is His will. We do not know. We must attempt our best. This is on our side. We look to our faith and leave the rest to Him. He is infinite, and He must engage them. He is benevolent and gracious. He will come to them.

na hi kalyana-krt kaschid durgatim tata gachati

If we are sincere, then backing must come. We don’t know. No vaisnava says, “I am chanting suddha-nama.” They will all say, “This is namaparadha, not namabhas even. What capacity do I have? I am the meanest of the mean.”

avatara nahi kahe “ami avatara”
muni saba jani’ kare laksana vichara
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 24.352)

The Avatara, the incarnation of the Lord, when He comes here, He generally does not say, “I am an Avatar.” But the rishis are there, and according to the calculation of sastra, they see that at this time an Avatara should come. So, they say He is an Avatar; the signs of an Avatar found in Him. It is the duty of the acharyas to say whether one is an Avatara or not from the sastra. It is already given there by the Lord.

A Vaisnava does not say and cannot say, “I am a Vaisnava.” He will say, “I am trying to become the servant of a Vaisnava.” So much he can assert, that practically, “I want to be a servant of a Vaisnava, vaisnava-dasa. My aspiration, my highest end, is to become a servant of a Vaisnava. I want that, nothing else. So many disturbances are in the mind. They are opposing me in reaching my goal that I shall be a servant of a Vaisnava. So many obstacles are there.” That will be the real line of thinking of a true Vaisnava. We are told like that, and we feel also like that. Hare Krsna.

We must always keep in mind that we are going to deal with the Infinite, the Absolute. Whoever asserts, “I have got it,” is very doubtful, we may take it safely to be a bogus thing. Those that assert themselves to be big, we must be suspicious about them because the very nature of things is this:

trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

“The Name of the Lord should be chanted always by one who is more humble than a blade of grass, tolerant like a tree, respectful to others, and free from desire for respect.”

ayi nanda-tanuja kinkarampatitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-sthita-dhuli-sadrsam vichintaya

“O son of Nanda, please mercifully consider me, Your servant who has fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence, to be a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.”

“It will be very kind of You to consider me a particle of dust at your feet.” This means that I am a vibhinnamsa (a separated part).

mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah

“The eternal soul is a particle of Myself.”

“I am not direct part of You, but a vibhinnamsa of the tatastha-sakti: I am a particle of Your marginal potency, so I am like the dust at Your feet. It’s not even that I am similar, an atom of the same flesh; it is not that. I am not sajatiya (of the same nature) but vijatiya (of a distinct nature), a vibhinnamsa, a particle of dust of Your feet. Please consider me to be so. My highest ambition is there.” That is the direction we get from our masters: try to think in this way if you want to approach and make real progress towards the Absolute. You must couch your endeavor in such a way. Then, you will be able to hit the point.

American Couple spread Krishna-kirtan Worldwide

Vrindavan Today: DECEMBER 12, 2015

A devotee couple, having imbibed Krishna-bhakti since childhood, is dedicated to spreading Krishna-kirtan around the globe. Residents of Gopinath Bhavan in Vrindavan, Sudevi Dasi and her husband Kishori Mohan are from California.

Childhood friends since their Gurukula days, they met Narayan Maharaj in 1996 and became devotees of Krishna. Although their parents are Christians, they chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, attended Mangal Arati, and listened to the pastimes of Krishna since childhood. They have been practicing Krishna-bhakti and kirtans for the past 17 years.

Acclaimed for their Kirtans, their album Bhakti without Borders was also nominated for the Grammy Awards last year.

They wedded in the traditional Vedic manner 21 years back in the Rupa-Sanatana Gaudiya Matha at Seva Kunj.

Guru and Sisya

The meaning of the word, Guru (Spiritual master), is very grave. If the word is analyzed it’s only two parts ‘Gu’ and ‘ru’ are obtained. Here ‘Gu’ signifies ‘Darkness’ and ‘ru’ means ‘Light’.  It simply indicates that he who is able to save forever illusioned persons from the clutches of darkened maya (illusion) and is able to make them reach the sun or light-like God will be considered to be described as a ‘Guru’. Similarly the meaning of the word, ‘Sisya’ (Disciple), has its own speciality. A disciple promptly places on his head every order of all known as spiritual masters. He carries out the order in question with responsibility, regularity and pleasure and adds to the happiness of Krishna, the original Guru of all, and his Diksha Guru and Siksa Guru and all other Vaisnavas. The inherent meaning of the word Sisya, is associated with a person who always joyfully follows without any question the rules of all sorts of preceptors. In this age the difference between a preceptor and a disciple  is going to be abolished forever. This article is presented in this context.

In the Gita Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, taught lessons to all living in the world by addressing Arjuna. In the very way, the saviour from Kali and the apostle of love, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, addressed Sri Rupa Goswami and his brother, Anupam, when He was seated with them at Dasaswamedh Ghat in Prayag, and taught us that innumerable bounded up jiva souls wonder through 8 400 000 species in the fourteen worlds. There are two classes of jiva: mobile and immobile. Mobile creatures are of three types: aquatic, terrestrial and flying creatures. Among them terrestrial class is the best. Man is the best in this class. Among them the human beings are very small in number. There are many persons who are devoid of civilization and virtue and are atheists. One-half of those who are called virtuous, have reverence for the Vedas and accepts them verbally. Most of these religious persons who have attachment to the Vedas are workers. On analysis one wise person is found among many thousands of workers. In the same way one liberated persons will be detected among thousands of wise men. Similarly, one devotee of Sri Krishna is very scarce among one crore liberated persons.

According to Sriman Mahaprabhu, the apostle of love, devotee of Sri Krishna is very rare. But, in recent days so many rare devotees of Krishna are found all around. Is the utterance of the Lord a false one then? No, it can never be so. His words will never be false. Devotees of Krishna are truly very rare.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Nityananda Prabhu and Namacharya Haridas Thakur after observing the troubles of jivas struck by Kali:

suna suna nityananda suna haridas
sarbatra amara ajna karaha prachar
prati ghare ghare giya kara ei bhiksha
bala krishna bhaja krishna kara krishna siksa

“My dear Nityananda and Haridas, please, give ample publicity of my order to all places. Go to every house and beg  for uttering Krishna, worshiping Krishna and learning Krishna.”

In order to follow the instruction and  to place on high positions the flag signifying the conquest over all views in the foreign countries my Param Gurudev Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, at first sent there his three competent disciples: Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj, Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj and Srimad Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj, for propagating in every house the  way to make lives significant by pronouncing the Name of Krishna, taking part in the service of Krishna and  going through the books having bearings on Krishna. He also wanted to overflow the world by the Holy love of Lord Krishna through the above requests. After that Srila Prabhupada disappeared. In his absence nobody came actively to the foreign countries for a long time for preaching the lessons of Sriman Mahaprabhu. In 1965 Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj, my siksha Guru blessed by Srila Prabhupada and the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, preached with the vigour given by Srila Prabhupada almost everywhere in the world  as per the following desire of Srila Prabhupada and  instruction of Sriman Mahaprabhu ‘Harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam’ (The Name  of Hari, The Name of Hari, only the Name of Hari). He did so with the desire and grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada to make the following saying of Sriman Mahaprabhu a true one:

prithivite ache yata nagaradi gram
sarvatra prachar haive mor nam

“My name will be preached to all towns and villages in the world.”

He made it known to  all that Hari-nam only is the natural faculty of the people struck by Kali. It is the only means to get peace by giving up quarrel and enviousness. As a result, at least a number of people having devotion to Mahaprabhu can be found out.

During the time of the prakasa-lila (life-time) of Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaja, the founder of  ISKCON, many enthusiastic foreign devotees of Sriman Mahaprabhu were available. In course of time with the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and his class-fellows all Vaisnavas belonging to Sri Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Saraswat Sampradaya (community) and all other so called Vaisnava sects were griped by the awful seizure of Kali.

Men living in this material world lost their awareness about their abode and became devoid of religion. They believe in the so called worldly affairs, disregard the rules of religion and  almost all of them are entangled in transgression. Now in the name of religion we, the devotees in the eyes of the worldly people have made the very flow of the preaching of the message of Sriman Mahaprabhu the way to earn our livelihood. Each jiva is after  enjoying sensual  pleasures. He never  gave us the chance of such an enjoyment. The  entrance of the British in India about 254 years ago with measuring instrument of  a businessman can be taken up as an instance. They found that the hearts of the Indians are soft like flowers. Their measuring instrument gradually broke the said hearts by a magic power and they took over the ruling power in their hands with the aid of their enjoyment tendency.

In this way the religious arena is actually devoid of a true Guru today. We neglected the rules of the scriptures in the name of religion and like the British we made our religion a way to  earn our livelihood. As a result, people living in this country and the foreign lands United themselves in the foreign lands and in this country respectively in the beguile of accepting Guru and preaching religion. By  the attraction of Mahamaya we are detached from our religion and Varnasrama and gave religion an ugly form in connection with the relation of Guru and his disciples. Guru is the container and conveyer of religion. It makes us describe our Guru as the identical revelation of God. Previously we were proud of the judgment and characteristic of the practice of pure devotion by my Param Gurudev Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur. Afterwards my Gurudev, Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaj and his godbrothers showed the same ideal of Srila Prabhupada and taught us that the real home of every jiva is Bhagavatdham, Golok, where the Supreme Godhead Himself is engaged in lila (Pastimes) in company with His associates. Jiva is forever related with Him as His servant. They taught us  this matter and showed us the way to return to our real home, Bhagavatdham.

‘Asakti rahita, sambandha sahita kara ucchaisvare Harinam.’ — ‘Pronounce loudely the Name of Hari by discarding attachment  and embracing relation with Him.’  It is a matter of  great regret that we have down-trodden those ideals of the mahajanas (Great saints) as very insignificant ones and have used their great names. On the other hand we bade good bye from the core of our hearts to the land of religion, India and came to the foreign countries to earn money by hook or by crook in the name of the service of God and Guru-Vaisnava. By getting money in this way we saved it giving birth to attachment and leaving our ideal of detachment. Finally we are very much engaged in fulfilling our greed for the enjoyment of our senses.

Some persons disclose, ‘after earning money in the foreign countries we shall go back to our Dham and accept strict Bhajan like Rupa and Sanatana.’ In the words of Srila Viswanath Thakur this type of alternative thinking is called byudhavikalpa. It means a plea to enjoy worldly possessions in the name of service to God by forgetting Saranagati. In fact, only Saranagati (complete surrender) and nothing else is the stair to reach to the door of the knowledge of Bhagavata. At the time  of composing the kirtan ‘Vaisnava ke’ — ‘Who is the Vaisnava?’, Srila Prabhupada said ‘Kanaka, Kamini Pratistha baghini chariache yare, sei to vaisnava’ — ‘He who has discarded gold, female sex and the tigress, reputation is the Vaisnava’. Yet we being his prasisya (followers of the next generation) are  worshiping the three hindrances to Hari Bhajan: gold, female sex and reputation. In fact, most of us made Srila Prabhupada and His initiated personalities the capital of our business, entrapped ourselves in the guise of Vaisnavas and after accepting materialistic views we  are in the look out for making the number of Apasampradaya so many in place of only thirteen.

Srila Prabhupada always said ‘The condition of so called Guru and Sisya is very miserable. The condition of all Gurus is more regrettable than Sisyas’. In the words of Srila Prabhupada both Guru and Sisya of this type are blind while they follow the path to devotion. Gurudev is the pathfinder to the Bhagavat-dham. A blind can not show the way to another blind. If a person plays the role of a guru without practicing pure devotion and shows negligence to the scriptures he will receive two pushes at the time of trying to show the way to his sisya and his sisya will get one. His venture of this type will bring to him the first push. He will fall down in a ditch. His second push will come when his sisya will fall flat on him from behind having the first push.

In recent days another problem appeared very prominently. On getting in touch with different posts in religious organizations Guru and sisya both are now busy with these positions. Whenever they are asked of pure devotion, they being burdened with the posts say with wonder ‘What is that?! Now we are very busy.’ Srila Sukadeva Goswami told us to chant the Name of Hari for sixteen rounds on the beads and look after the property as the one belonging to Krishna. The exact time for taking Hari Nama sixteen times on the beads is not found out in view of the malice of property. Practically when a property is taken as one belonging to me instead  of Krishna, jiva by unbiased strength of Krishna goes far away from Him and gets a burning sensation as a separate entity.

Now gold, female sex and reputation are our necessity in place of love to Krishna. What will be the consequence? Will our taking shelter of the lotus feet of Guru and endeavour or service be proved futile? Our taking shelter of the lotus feet of Guru will then be meaningful when we shall be able to follow with pleasure all the principles laid down by him instead of imitating them and chant the Name of Hari whole-heartedly. In this way, our venture to be united with the soul of our Guru chanting of Harinam everyday and measures to serve the Vaisnavas and the Lord will make us follow Bhakti-anga instead of playing the role of accepting pure devotion. If a Guru is engaged in the robbing of the wealth of his sisya instead of removing his miseries and a sisya is entangled in enjoying his Guru instead of rendering devotional service to him (that was described previously at the time of showing the attempt of Guru to earn his livelihood by making the Name as the capital and his  engagement in enjoying the senses) then Yamaraj will construct a special naraka (hell) for both the Guru and his said sisya.

This dasadhama prays with a piece of cloth fastened around his neck to Srila Guru Padapadma, Srila Prabhupada and the  Acharyas following the footsteps of Rupa ‘Please, wake every one living in the  world, making  them detached  from Anyabhilasa (other aspirations) by defeating the two hindrances to pure devotion — knowledge and work, and give them that is conducive to the nourishment of pure devotion and allow them to be the eternal devotees of the Lord Krishna Chandra.’ They are also requested by him to allow the boat of his human body to serve the lotus feet of the  pilot who takes us to the opposite bank of the ocean in the form of this world, to rescue us by creating the chance for establishing an eternal relation with the Lord and to make us liberated from our condition of confinement in Maya.

This Dasadhama politely submit to the readers to kindly forgive the Aparadha (offences) for his faults.

Sannyasa: The Final Vow (Documentary)

A short documentary about the significance of taking Sannyas Vow in Vaishnava Tradition explained by the prominent spiritual leaders of ISKCON. The documentary focuses on the inner journey of HH Krishna Kshetra Swami when he decides to take Sannyasa Initiation which will be his final vow. The movie is dedicated to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada the Founder-acarya of ISKCON. Copyrights reserved. 2015


Opposition unites against UP Gov’t takeover of Banke Bihari

Vrindavan Today: December 5, 2015

The Congress and BSP have decided to come together to protest against the state government’s decision to acquire the famous Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, alleging that it would monopolise temple activities and disturb the faith of devotees.

Presently, the temple is run by a private management committee comprising 80 members along with dozens of priests. The proposal for acquiring the temple was initiated by the state government after a senior IAS officer was fined by the committee for taking VIP treatment, temple administration claims.

“The officer used a table and chair and had food on the campus which is prohibited. We imposed a fine of Rs 7.50 lakh on ‘Sewayat Gosains’ (Saraswat Brahmins who serve Bihari ji) for this act. After reaching Lucknow, the proposal for acquiring the temple was initiated. This will result in corruption in the temple,” Nandkishore Upmanyu, president, Banke Bihari Temple Committee told The Indian Express.

“We are also going to start a free hospital, dharamshala, school and garden for Thakur ji’s Shringar. We cannot allow government interference as it will result in destabilising the set practices,” Upmanyu added.

Pledging their support to the Banke Bihari Temple Committee, local BSP MLA Raj Kumar Rawat and Congress Legislature Party leader and MLA Pradeep Mathur, along with various local Hindu organisations such as Dharam Raksha Sangh and Hindu Jagran Manch have come together to oppose the government’s decision.

“We are against the government’s move as ‘Thakur ji’ belongs to every Brijwasi and will remain for them. There should not be any government interference in ‘Thakur ji’s’ puja,” said MLA Rawat. Mathur said, “It is a harsh step which the government should not take. It will disturb the faith of devotees. All parties should sit down and work for improving basic facilities at the temple.”

Government officials dismissed the protest as handiwork of those with vested interest. “Our main concern is security and facilities to the devotees. Most of the time these people are fighting among themselves. Only those who have vested interests are protesting. They have sought time and we have given them time for hearing their representation,” Navneet Sehgal, Principal Secretary, Religious Affairs department said.

The temple receives nearly Rs 50 lakh per month as donation from devotees, while nearly Rs 1.20 crore is spent on private security and housekeeping. The temple is served by nearly 550 Saraswat Brahmins who trace their origin to Swami Haridas who had set up the temple nearly 550 years ago.

Swami Haridas was the guru of music maestro Tansen. Presently, the temple is visited by lakhs with waiting period of over a year for participating in Phool Ka Bungla (floral decoration) among devotees.