Today is the appearance day of Indulekha–sakhi

Indulekha-sakhi has a tan complexion and pomegranate-colored clothes. She displays a hot temper and contrary nature. Indulekha knows the science of palmistry and charming snakes by mantras. She is expert in stringing necklaces, gemology and weaving cloth. Indulekha carries auspicious messages that create Radha and Krsna’s mutual attraction, and she is fully aware of Radha-Krsna’s confidential secrets. Indulekha is the leader of all the sakhis that present ornaments and garments to the Divine Couple.

An excerpt from Appreciating Sri Vrndavana Dhama by Mahanidhi Swami.

Iskcon Dham Seva: Planting Trees at Govardhan

Govardhan, 2014.08.17 (Bhaktisiddhanta Swami, Dandavats): On Indian Independence day, Aug. 15, Iskcon devotees from Radha Kund assisted in a long range tree replantation program around Giri Govardhan.

This might be considered a feather in the worldwide mission’s cap: caring for the Holy Dham through dham seva. It is furthermore a tribute to the place where its Founder-Acharya, on behalf of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, desired to circumambulate in the final days of his physical presence in this world.

Representing the UP government was CDO Śrīmati Durga Shakti Nagpal, who met with local officials and Iskcon representatives, Bhaktisiddhanta Swami, Devaki Pran Das, and Aishvarya Das. Together they inaugurated the project by symbolically planting trees near Govinda Kund.

Pancha Gauda, president of Iskcon Vrindaban, endorse this effort with Devaki Prana Das acting as the local representative.

Iskcon representatives made requests of the local administration to provide electricity, water and four kinds of trees. The response from Ms. Nagpal was,  “Tell us the area where you plan to plant and we will provide land, water and solar lights. You do whatever you want, just plant! Iskcon is already doing such great work through their prasadam distribution.”

Several trees were planted on location by Ms. Nagpal and the Braja caregivers. The government is planning a 300 crore rupee project under its Member of Parliament, Hema Malini for development around Govardhan, including improving the road systems.

Dham seva for the preservation and protection of Braja is an affair where material and spiritual institutions can work together. The continued teamwork of concerned parties is a “unity in diversity” that can serve as a model for other similar projects such as rehabilitating the Yamuna. These are simple attempts to return Braj closer to its original glory.


Srila Gour Govinda Swami Appearance

Gour Govinda Swami appeared in this world on 2nd September 1929 in the village of Jagannathpur, (corresponding to the appearance day of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, the year was, obviously, different 1838) in the Indian state of Orissa [present day Odisha]. Both the paternal and maternal sides of Gour Govinda Swami’s family have been Vaiṣṇavas for hundreds of years, dating back to the time of Śyāmānanda Prabhu, and prior to that, in Bengal for many centuries.

Astrology at Birth

Once a famous astrologer-mystic named Nityānanda Khāḍiratna traveled from Dhenkanal in Orissa and stayed two days in Gadāi Giri the famous village of the ancestors of Gour Govinda Mahārāja. At that time Gour Govinda Swami was a small child and along with his mother, Pata Dei, was staying at his uncle’s house in Gadāi-Giri. Pata Dei took her son to the astrologer, desiring to know something about his future.

The astrologer–mystic prophesied, “This boy is very intelligent and filled with devotion. He will marry and earn his livelihood in government service. In his middle age he will renounce family life and become a sādhu. He will acquire higher knowledge and gain an important place on the map of sādhus. He will build temples and make Gopāla’s [Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopāla Jīu the family deities] place bright.” Of course this all came to pass.

Lastly the astrologer–mystic said, “Kṛṣṇa (God) Himself has sent this child from His eternal abode to the material world for preaching His eternal message and for the deliverance of the fallen conditioned souls.”

First Remembrances

Gour Govinda Swami said that the first memories of his childhood were of hearing the songs of Narottama-dāsa Thākura sung by his uncles, who were famous kīrtanīyas (devotional singers), mystics and great devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. From a young age Gour Govinda Swami was immersed in the teachings of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Mahābhārata, the Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, as taught to him by his father, uncles and grandfather.
Gour Govinda Swami’s life was by no means ordinary. He remembered that his father, grandfather and uncles all kept a śikhā, wore kaṇṭhi-mālā, chanted the mahā-mantra on beads and wore Vaiṣṇava tilaka.

His grandfather, Bauribandhu Giri, who was a famous kīrtanīya and a great devotee, taught him how to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, from when he first began to speak.
As a child Gour Govinda Mahārāja would go to sleep with the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam clasped to his chest, and at a very early age had memorised much of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

The Passing of Bauribandu Giri
The Grandfather of Gour Govinda Swami

Whilst Gour Govinda Swami was staying at the famous village of his ancestors at Gadāi-Giri, his grandfather Bauribandhu passed away. This was no ordinary occurrence. It was one day prior to Māgha–saptamī, (which is also known as Advaita-saptamī), and is a very auspicious day. It is the seventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Māgha, which is the appearance day of Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the avatāra of Mahā-viṣṇu. That day Bauribandhu Giri declared, “Tomorrow is Māgha–saptamī. I must leave my body tomorrow and leave this world.” He requested that all his friends, relatives and the local villagers come to see him and perform kīrtana, nāma-saṅkīrtana. Their chanting continued all night long.

The next day [Māgha–saptamī], on Saturday 28 January 1939, they placed Bauribandhu Giri under the open sky so he could see the sun, where all his family members were assembled. His eldest son Gopinatha Giri said, “Today is an auspicious day, and therefore many pilgrims will take bath in Konark where after they will go to Purī to have darśana of Lord Jagannātha. The pilgrims are on their way to Purī now.” Bauribandhu Giri asked his son, “Is the road clear to Purī?” Gopīnātha Giri looked to the sky and replied, “Yes, the pilgrims have left Konark and are now in Purī.” Upon hearing this, Bauribandhu Giri replied, “Then I will leave my body now, I will go to Jagannātha now.” At that time, Bauribandhu Giri gave up his body and entered into the Lord’s pastimes.

As a boy of only ten years, Gour Govinda Swami, witnessed the extraordinary way in which his grandfather left this world during a mighty kīrtana. His grandfather Bauribandhu Giri was actually able to choose the day and time he departed from this world.

Gour Govinda Swami Mahārāja is quoted as saying,

"My maternal grandfather lived to 69 years of age. I was there when my grandfather left this world; I was a young boy. No one was upset everyone understood. ‘Purusottama-dhama’—‘The road to Jagannatha is clear,’ and he said, ‘Yes, I must go now.’ My grandfather was a very great devotee, a paramahamsa."

Bauribandhu Giri left behind him three sons, Gopīnātha Giri, Jagannātha Giri, and Dinabandhu Giri, and two daughters, Pata-devi and Hade-devi. As the eldest son Gopīnātha Giri was entrusted with the service of the famous deities Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Gopāla Jiu and Their temple. Two of Bauribandhu Giri’s sons Gopīnātha and Jagannātha Giri were expert kīrtanīyas who always sang bhajans for Gopāla. These two extra-ordinary kīrtanīyas, who were the uncles of Śrīla Gour Govinda Swami, left this world in a similar way to their father.

Gopīnātha Giri’s son Ghanaśyāma Giri recalls, “In 1967 at the age of 72 my father Gopīnātha Giri called his (our) family and friends and told us, ‘I will leave this world on the upcoming agni-utsava day.’ [corresponding to the appearance day of Śrīla Narottama-dāsa Thākura, which was Friday 24 February 1967]. We stayed with him until he left his body that day during harinām-saṅkīrtana.

Eighteen years later, at the age of 85 my uncle Jagannātha Giri left this world on the same day of agni-utsava [Tuesday 5 February 1985] in the month of Māgha. Most of our ancestors have left this world during the month of Māgha.”

Govinda Giri [1845 – 1933], the great grandfather of Gour Govinda Swami, had also passed from this world on the agni-utsava in the month of Māgha.
The Gadai Giri kīrtanīyas, the family members of Gour Govinda Swami are the most famous kīrtanīyās in the land of Orissa and are regularly invited to perform kīrtana for Lord Jagannātha in Purī and they are considered kīrtana-gurus.


Janmastami at Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math

Sri Krsna Janmastami Abishekh of Sri Sri Gopinath in the Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math, Sridham Mayapur.

Vyasapuja of Srila B.B. Bodhayan Maharaj

51th Vyasapuja of Srila Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaj Celebration, 2014, at the Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math, in Sridham Mayapur.


LEGISLATORS OF COLOMBIA TO CARE PLANET Days ago, on August 20, the Vaishnava spiritual master, Srila Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti, direct disciple of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, spoke at the plenary of the House of Representatives of Republic Congress in Colombia. He asked the representatives of the Colombian people, to promote peace in a constructive way. He spoke about the importance of being a ruler or legislator; and reminded them, that traditionally, according to Vedic wisdom, the king was the representative of God, and he had to account for their actions towards the people; the King must took upon himself 25% of the reactions of sins that were committed by people under his reign; and today this 25% is distributed among the elected members, as they are responsible for their country can obtain peace, love, health and safety. “On one hand, as regards your responsibilities you are God’s representatives, but on the other hand, this also means a big commitment,” said Paramadvaiti. 
He also explained that “The world is behind the progress; but this progress is poorly understood in most cases, as we see the state of the environment; more opencast mines, more deforestation, more, more, more; but less security, less happiness and less health, particularly in connection to the environmental pollution and waters’ pollution.”

“The solution is not that there should not be progress; but these solutions need not be through more factories and industrialization, but in having an education which allows you to know and feel happier with less. Global competition wants the mines of gold and also cut down all the trees of Chocó and the Amazon to put other things there; but that is not for the welfare of Colombians, the indigenous groups or those beautiful children of yours, who will be the future of Colombia and the world. 
Therefore, you should consider the great responsibility you have and evaluate that the progress of our planet does not depend on the bank figures, but on the degree of happiness and enlightenment that can be achieved with non-violence, meditation, and respecting women, who today are victims of a completely male-dominated society that just wants to enjoy the woman. So, we need a shift towards a more simple life but with higher thoughts; that is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, who with it has had made great impact on India, Burma and the Himalayas.” 

In his annual tour visiting different countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas, the Vaishnava spiritual master Srila B. A. Paramadvaiti Swami, founder of the “Vrinda Family”, spoke in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Colombia and delivered his message of protecting the planet by building a sustainable society that respects nature. His call to be more aware of the great damage which is being done to the planet was broadcast live across the country by the national chain of Colombia. Paramadvaiti Swami spoke to lawmakers about "Permaculture", the revolutionary new way to cultivate which is basically done by creating food forests which function as a natural ecosystem that regulates itself. This new form of agriculture could eliminate hunger across the globe at the expense of the mafia responsible for the shameful and corrupt food industry. Paramadvaiti said: “Today, the farming system is called “monoculture”, there are giant fields where one product is grown and there is a single owner; and all the families have no place to cultivate. Permaculture should be supported by you gentlemen, thus in this way we will have a healthy society and a true health; health is not in hospitals but in good nutrition, health is to allow people to grow back all their stuff and naturally respect the rights of others.” In conclusion, Paramadaviti Swami asked the legislators to reflect about their responsibility as Colombian Congressmen: “I ask you, in the name of the infinite God, to take this responsibility and save the national resources of Colombia from the international interests of the multinationals; who are interested in Colombia’s gold, but not in Colombia’s water. As I learned in Tolima, we want water, not gold; because with water we live, but gold is taken by others and we will never see it. And the only thing that remains with us is a wasteland, a devastated land, with undrinkable waters.” At the end, Srila Paramadvaiti thanked for being allowed to speak in the Congress, and did it on behalf of “our Infinite Well-wisher and Mother Nature, who is so great, so kind that she has given us this Colombia, which is the most amazing multi-diversity you can see so far, and hopefully it stays that way.” (Editor's note).