Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Against Bridge Building Across Holy Yamunaji

In order to pursue money which is like honey for almost everyone, certain individuals and political bodies do not care for the destruction of historical or religious sites. Thus the building of a bridge across Yamuna takes place. Many devotees and well-wishers are protesting. This will bring about an ecological destruction of the Kesi Ghat area.
Here we are trying to preserve what is ours, yet there are those who are bent on seeing it go forever.
The heart bleeds. The eyes cries. The body quiver with uncontrollable rage. Yet never to give up, we shall rise.
It may bring in the big tourists' money. But at what cost???
Firstly, the residents of Vrindavan, especially the sadhus should be consulted in this matter. Instead, the construction is simply going on.
I suppose at the end of the day, only the Lord knows His own big plan. Still we protest and we try and we pray.
Let us all join our hearts and hands, and with Srila Gurudeva's blessings. protest against such destruction.
Please read the following sites below for further clarification.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Getting Rid the Ghost of Envy

This world is not only full of miseries but envy also. We are plagued by envy like a poisonous snake hissing its venom. Such envious thoughts and deeds will eventually consume our well-being and bring our own downfall.
What should our actions be when we see someone more qualified than ourselves. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 4, Chapter 8, verse 34 it is stated:
gunadhikan mudam lipsed
anukrosam gunadhamat
maitrim samanad anvicchen
na tapair abhibhuyate
"Every man should act like this: when he sees a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world."
Unfortunately, when we meet someone who is more qualified, we become envious of him. When we find someone who is less qualified, we deride him. And when we find someone equal, we become proud of our activities.
These are the causes for our material miseries. And it will drive us further and further into the darkest dungeons of envy. By constantly and sincerely serving a bona fide spiritual master is the only way to rid ourselves the ghost of envy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Always Chant And Be Happy

Srimati Uma didi gave a one day class on 15 November 2009. Srimati Uma didi is a disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. She has served her Guru Maharaja for many years including Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja and Srila Gurudeva, whom she has taken siksa from.
Below is the excerpt of the class from my own notes:
"In the scriptures, it is mentioned that when Hari-katha, topics related to Lord Krsna and His devotees, is going on, sun cannot enter. Sun-god is stealing our time. Upon sun set, our lifes become minus. One day passes and our life is diminishing.
When Hari-katha is going on, sun-god has no power to steal our time. Hari-katha means direct, no difference of nama, the holy names of the Lord and nami, the Lord Himself. Time becomes eternal.
When Hari-katha is going on, then Krsna must be present. Krsna will be present by the grace of Sri Guru. Krsna enters through our ears and enters our heart. With attentive listening, some mood will come. Krsna will clean our hearts. By speaking Hari-katha, it will make our heart and mind purified. Hari-katha is so powerful.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave instruction to everyone, including grhastha, householders, to first do Vaishnava seva, service to the devotees, Hari-seva, service to the Lord and Nagar-sankirtan, congregational chanting of the holy names.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to distribute harinama, holy names, to everyone. What is the benefit? If Hari-Sankirtan, congregtional chanting, is done by loudly singing, somehow the holy names is benefitting the trees, animals etc as sabda brahman, transcendental sound.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Srila Haridas Thakur and Sri Nityananda Prabhu to give harinama to everyone. He said, "Beg them to chant."

People used to give Srila Haridas Thakur and Sri Nityananda Prabu rice, etc, but Sri Nityananda Prabhu said He does not want any of these things. He only wants them to chant. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is guru-tattva, fundemental truths regarding Sri Guru.
Our Srila Gurudeva is going everywhere and preaching in his old age. Why? So that everyone will chant and become happy. Even if one person can be turned towards Krsna consciousness, then it is so great.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we can be happy by chanting. Human life is full of miseries. Because of our past life sukriti, spiritual pious activities, we have come to Krsna consciousness. Then by more and more sukriti, taste for Hari-katha will come.
What does bhakti, devotion to the Lord, means? Bhakti means no desire for oneself. Gopi's , the cowherd girls in Vrindavan, speciality is only how to love and serve Sri Krsna. They have pranaya, thick love, for Krsna. Gopis never expect anything from Krsna. They only think how to serve Krsna. That is their aim and object.
One who does Krsna bhajan, devotion to Krsna, is always pleased and happy. Our aim and object should be to attain radha-dasyam, the service of Srimati Radhika.
But first practice:
vaco vegam manasah krodha vegam
jihva vegam udaropastha vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prithivim sa sisyat
"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."
We must have strong faith in Sri Guru. Sincerely follow Sri Guru's instruction. Then realisation will come.
Once someone asked Srila Gurudeva whether mercy is the same for everyone? Srila Gurudeva said no. It is according to our surrender. If we want to be cheated, then we will be cheated by Sri Guru. We cannot do anything by our own effort.
So whatever instruction Sri Guru gives, follow it. First become guru-dasa, servant of Sri Guru, then Krsna-dasa, servant of Krsna, and then Radha-dasyam.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nagar Sankirtan with Uma Didi

Srimati Uma didi (left) and Rangavati didi.

I’ve always wanted to do a nagar-sankirtan seva (congregational chanting of the holy names). But having to acquire a police permit is a little daunting. The law here requires any public display of religious sentiments to have a permit so as not to disturb others of different faith.

That’s when I came up with the idea of chanting at the park. Devotees can sit around the park and chant. We can even call it “Krsna Picnic."

I talked to Lalita didi about it and she was excited to do this. But it had to be after the Kartik month since she was going for parikrama. I also talked to some other devotees and they were just as eager.

Nitai Gauranga Jaya!! Gaura Hari!!!

When Lalita didi came back, we set the date for 15th November. We did not call many devotees as the weather was really bad. It rained everyday. And we had to do a lot of cancellations if it rained.

Unfortunately, a day before the scheduled nagar sankirtan, Lalita didi had some emergency meeting. She informed that a senior Vaishnavi, Srimati Uma didi was coming for a stop over before flying off to Oakland.

Also, whomever I’ve requested to come could not make it as well.

I assured Lalita didi that it was alright and perhaps I will take Uma didi to the park instead. I’ve known Uma didi for a long time. She is such a sweet, gentle and great soul.

So on Sunday (15th November), as soon as I parked my car outside our preaching centre, a loud clap of thunder was heard. The whole day seemed fairly ok, and I feared of a heavy down pour.

I quickly went to the centre, met Uma didi and her assistant Rangavati didi and mentioned of my intentions. They very happily decided to join in the harinama chanting. This despite the fact they flew in only that morning.

We headed to the park, less than 5 minutes drive and picked a spot. We chanted loudly for about an hour. People passed us by. Some noticed, some nodded, some ignored. Many families were there with their children. Some playing, some just sitting by and some doing their evening exercises.

After that I took out my home made almond cookies prasadam and we relished it together. I also mentioned to Uma didi, how Srila Gurudeva used walk around the perimeters of the lake in the park.

Home-made almond cookies

Soon little silver droplets from the heavens started to sprinkle upon us. We made it to the car and headed towards the centre.

Later that evening Uma didi spoke on the importance of nagar sankirtan. (will blog about the class soon).

All's well, that ends well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Devotee's Prayer

Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja (left) with Srila Gurudeva (right)

Today, 1st November 2009, we celebrate the disappearance day of Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja. Below is an excerpt from His Divine Grace's Book, "The Art of Sadhana - The Devotee's Prayer."

"We should pray as follows: “I am fallen and useless, O Lord. May my spiritual master be pleased with me. May he give me the spiritual strength to follow his directions. May all the obstacles to my worshipping the Lord be removed so that at the end of my sojourn in this world, I may sit alone far from the hustle and bustle of the material world and, with a steady mind, chant the Holy Names with emotion.
May the Lord be merciful an allow me to give up my last breath in this way. With or without knowledge, I have committed so many offenses to His Lotus Feet, and even now I continue to commit offenses. O Lord please forgive all such offenses and give me a place at Your Lotus Feet. Make my life complete by allowing me to associate with those who are dear to You."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Talk Less, Go Within The Self

I had an interesting conversation with a devotee. He told me that if a person becomes quiet and goes deep within himself or herself, they will find solace. Not only that, miseries surrounding us can be cut into half.

Most of our miseries come from us talking too much nonsense. This will not only put us in trouble but put a dent in another person's heart as well.

This place is dukhalayam --- a place of misery. Why make it any worse for oneself by talking unnecessarily.

He went on to say that even people who are not on the spiritual platform or for those seeking higher truths, become quiet to think about the mysteries of the world.

As for Krsna devotees, who have so much more knowledge handed down by their spiritual masters, should use this material body and progress even further.

So less talk. More thinking. More Meditation. More Service.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simple Living High Thinking

Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada. This picture was taken in 1973 at the opening of the Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir

"We are quarrelling in a foreign land for fictitious gain. But Krsna is engaged in a loving search for His long lost servants" --- Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Maharaja.
Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar Maharaja: (the speech given at the opening):

This ashram is being opened today. What is its position? In Srimad Bhagavatam we find:

vanam tu sattviko vaso gramo rajasa ucyate
tamasam dyuta-sadanam man-niketam tu nirgunam (S.B. 11.25.25)

“Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I (the Supreme Lord) reside is transcendental.”
Vana-vasa means plain living with the minimum of material things to help our life, that is vana-vasa. It is a simple life, plain living and high thinking, but there also we are masters of that little thing, that sattvika-vasa. It is most conducive to our religious life. There is no grandeur of any material enjoyment, etc. That is sattvika-vasa or vana-vasa.

Rajasa-vasa is a life where one is engaged in various activities in the uplifting of society, the world and civilization. That is rajasa, where a maximum amount of energy is spent to improve the paraphernalia where we live to make us comfortable.

Tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam is a life without caring for any social life, only for the maximum amount of sense pleasure and minimum amount of giving to others, to society or any paraphernalia. It is a reckless life, a life in the clubhouse or hotel – something like that. It is irresponsible life – tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam.

Man-niketam tu nirgunam – if we spend our life in the house of the Lord, we may live in any amount of grandeur, or anything of the type – but still it is nirgunam, because we are not masters there, we are servants.

In the vana-vasa, we lead so simple a life with a minimum of material things with which we surround ourselves to live, but still there, we are masters to command others. Here we are all servants – everything is to be served. Whatever we shall see, all around, even a tree, even a creeper or even a particle of dust is to be served and is not to be enjoyed or renounced. That is the form of life, a life of worship, a life of devotion. It is not only to please the Lord but also all of His paraphernalia and to see that they are also serving the Supreme Entity. With this idea – to be a serving factor in the all-serving environment of the Lord – this is man-niketam tu nirgunam.

So, we have come here to a nirguna life, crossing all sorts of relativities of this material world, whatever conception it may be, and to learn that isavasyam idam sarvam, the fundamental truth given in the Isopanisad, that isavasyam idam sarvam – everything here is the presence of the Supreme Entity, the Supreme Lord. With this conception we are to live in such a training house.

I was told that in Back to Godhead one gentleman wrote that the so-called universities, colleges, and schools are slaughterhouses. I am very much pleased with this idea. Yes. They are nothing but slaughterhouses, and this sort of institution, that our Guru Maharaja (Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) has inaugurated in this world is to uplift us and all jivas toward the worship and loving service of the Supreme Entity. Each is like an oasis in the desert. They are life-giving and not flattering institutions, like so many educational institutions that we find.

Sa vijna mammate jaya – where this sort of training comes, that goes towards the centre, towards reality, towards beauty, towards harmony, towards a solution of life, towards nectar giving life – these institutions are only helpful and this is necessary.

Once Madana-mohana Malaviya, a famous leader in the recent history of India, came to visit our Guru Maharaja and after listening to his words he told, “Every village should have one centre of your Divine Grace.” But our Guru Maharaja answered in return that, “I want to make everybody a temple of the Lord, every human being, every human body I want to make a temple therein, not only villages.” So, that was his idea.

prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

With this idea he started his mission, Gaudiya Math, Gaudiya Mission. And we are seeing that Swami Maharaja (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja) by his grace, he is able to spread it around India and throughout the world and different continents. We are very happy to see new faces around us for the preaching purpose and spreading the news of Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and Sriman Mahaprabhu, and the vision of Sri Krsna and His beloved.

There are elevationists, there are renunciates, but we are servitors. Geham jusam api mansy udiyat sada nah – true to the kindred point of the heaven and the heart. Cloister and the heart, the knowledge of these – but the hearts has been made the cloister. The gopi-bhajana is to make the heart the cloister. Not that the cloister has a separate place. The heart is the cloister and this is only possible with the Krsna conception of Godhead. All will be converted wholesale, every nook and corner. Nothing should be left out. No vacancy should be left out for any other purpose but to devote all respects to the Supreme Entity, to be faithful to the extreme. Nothing should be left. This is only possible in the Krsna conception of Godhead (akhila rasamrta murti). All sorts of ecstasy, happiness, and everything of the type can be possible in its divine form when we find Sri Krsna as the Supreme Lord and nowhere else.

One western gentleman told that there are many conceptions of religion in different parts of the world, but we do not find any conception of religion where twenty-four hours can be devoted in the service of the Supreme Lord. Not only engaged on Sunday, not only twice in the day, not only thrice in the day, but every hour and second should be devoted in the service of the Supreme Entity and then nothing will be left behind. This sort of service is only possible in kirtaniya sada harih and in the asta-kaliya-lila of Sri Krsnachandra Himself in the madhurya-rasa. Sri Chaitanyadeva came down to this world to preach that, to give that nectarine life to one and all. Nrmatrasy-adhikarita – take the Name of the Lord and you will find yourself in His harem one day. For religion, money is not necessary, physical energy in great quantity is not necessary, nor are other helping things necessary. Only try to take the Name sincerely.

It should be acquired through the right channel, otherwise there will be some disturbance tampering with it. Trade in the name of religion is also going on here and there, and we should save ourselves from those difficulties by following a bona-fide path. So, on the day of the advent of Sri Krsna Chaitanya, which means serving Krsna in all aspects, this laudable attempt is being done in great quantity by our Svami Maharaja. We are very happy to get the chance to attend this function. Swami Maharaja ki jaya!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pure In Any Circumstance

Mahamsa das: (regarding some young Indian ladies about to take initiation from Srila Prabhupada)

I don't know what is the position of the ladies being initiated. They are young girls. They may get married to someone outside the society.

(Srila Prabhupada): Still they can chant and observe the rules and regulations.

(Mahamsa das): Even if her husband does not follow?

(Srila Prabhupada): That does not matter. It is individual. My sister, when she married, everyone at her father-in-law's house were all eating fish. She was a young girl, ten, eleven years old. She was given this foodstuff with fish and everything and she started to cry. Her mother-in-law asked, "Why are you crying?"

"No, we do not touch all these things."

Her mother-in-law immediately arranged special cooking for her. So her husband and other family members were taking fish, but she never touched it. She does not know what fish is.

If one wants to keep oneself pure, he or she can keep pure in any circumstances.

- Room conversation, 22 August 1976 Hyderabad.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Take the Nectar and Throw The Bitter

Thousands of pilgrims would have and will be gathering at Vrindavan at the month of Karthik. It's the best place to be. Yet parikrama can test one's patience and tolerance level. Firstly, many devotees are bound to fall sick. Then there are those who are really nice people, suddenly turning into temperamental creatures. Tempers flare and patience tested to the brink.

I suppose at the end of the day, Vraja parikrama teaches us something. To tolerate, to accept, to forgive.

Srila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja once said during Karthik, "Take the nectar and throw the bitter."

That sums up parikrama. Only take the nectar, the Hari-katha, and wonderful association with sadhus.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sowing the Seed of Compassion

Once when Srila Gurudeva was in Kuala Lumpur, and was hosted by a family in a residential area, the neighbours complained that the devotees were making too much noise early in the morning, meaning during mangala arati.
This matter was brought up to Srila Gurudeva by some devotees. Below is the excerpt of the conversation:
(Devotees): Srila Gurudeva, there's been some complain about us making too much noise early in the morning.
(Srila Gurudeva): O you should all tone down. Do not disturb anyone.
(Devotee): But I already talked to them and they said it was alright.
(Srila Gurudeva): No, No. We should still keep it down and not disturb them.
Also, a similar incident happened in the Philippines in 1999 when Srila Gurudeva was hosted in a beach resort during Christmas. There was loud blaring of music and much merriment was going on. One of the devotees complained the matter to the resort management. The devotees were also planning to move Srila Gurudeva to another beach house.
As for the noise it was somewhat quiet, then back to its fullest volume!
At that time Srila Gurudeva was resting and now His Divine Grace woke up.
(Devotee): Srila Gurudeva, we complained the matter to the management to keep it down. And we may also have to move.
(to their surprise Srila Gurudeva answered)
(Srila Gurudeva): Oh no harm. It is like Krsna playing His flute. Did you make any complaint? You should not complain. These people are like children. They want to be happy in this material world. Soon they will become old and die.
(The maha-bhagavata is not disturbed at all. He is most calm and most compassionate. He showers love to all those around Him. His character is exemplary so that one day such truths will manifests in our hearts.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Krsna Is In Everyone's Heart

Sometimes devotees tend to forget that people out there who have no inkling about Krsna consciousness, should not be judged or criticised. Each time I talk to a person, devotees will query me whether they are devotees or not.

Also, there are those who are bent on saying they cannot get along with non-devotees. They rather not work for them and find all kinds of excuses just to be judgemental about non-devotees.

I personally feel such persons are living on a self-denial mode. Krsna is in everyone’s heart. If we know how to conduct ourselves as devotees, then even the non-devotees will know how to reciprocate with us.

It is not that now ‘I am initiated, I should only be with devotee group.’ Although, there is no doubt it is for good association, we must not neglect the outside world when we are not ready to do so. Artificial renunciation is definitely not accepted.

Why not start making friends with them and slowly bring them to Krsna consciousness. After all we are Krsna’s one big family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not Yet

Once I missed Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja's class. Maharaja queried me why I did not come to which I answered I had to work.
In jest, Maharaja told me to give up my work.
I simply replied, "Not yet, Maharaja."
(It's better to be slow but steady.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Monkey Renunciation

Once a devotee had an interesting darshan with Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja.

(Devotee): I have given up everything. My job, my house, my family, my wealth. Everyhing!

(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja): Yes, that is monkey renunciation.

(One who has really given up would not realise they have given up anything. Only a great soul, maha-bhagavata knows our hearts.)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kali Maharaja's 2 Disciples

In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, (Kali-yuga), Kali Maharaja has 2 disciples, that is duplicity and hypocrisy. We are quick to point others’ duplicitous and hypocritical character, forgetting our very own.
Where there is duplicity and hypocrisy, there's a tendency to commit sin. Just like in Mahabharata, Duhsasana tried to disrobe Draupadi. Duryhodhan always wanted to kill the Pandavas.
Krsna-katha is full of teaching for us to imbibe in our daily lifes.

When we point a finger at others, 3 other fingers are pointing at us.

It is difficult to clean our own backyard first, but by constant chanting and praying, it is possible for us to cross over this insurmountable task. Therefore, we must constantly beg for the mercy of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaishnavas.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Toll Collection---Drama Within A Drama

It sure was a frantic night, having to stage a drama on Krsna-lila called Dan-ghati or toll collection. The children whose ages range from 5 to 18 years did a good job performing on Radhasthami. They were really nervous. Performing in front of so many people obviously saw some glitches.

3 days later, with a proper stage put up, courtesy by one of the parents, the children were to perform live yet again. Now, in front of Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja and Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja.

All the kids came to the temple at around 6:30 p.m. or earlier. I did a trial run on stage with them, pointing out their positioning and everything. It was almost 7:00 p.m. One of the main actress as "Srimati Radhika" was no where to be found. After some panic, one of the older girls in the cast said, "'Srimati Radhika" will come, and that she will be delayed as she had to attend a function."

The time now was almost 7:30 p.m. Panic turned into desperation. The younger ones were almost in tears as they were practising really hard for this drama. They certainly don't want their drama to be cancelled because of this one missing actress!

That's when the neighbour girl, Zara, about 8 years old, was watching us rehearse. Her grandmother gestured her to behave over the wall fencing.

I really did not know what came over me. I coolly walked over to her grandmother and said, "O she can watch us rehearse. It's alright. In fact, your grand-daughter is going to take part."

Zara's grandmother simply smiled and nodded her head.

What happened later was a miracle of sorts. I scuttled Zara and the rest of the cast into an empty room in the temple to change into their costumes. Obviously, Zara did not have any "gopi dress" or what so ever with her.

We had to get another girl's skirt and blouse. Luckily she brought an extra. The skirt was too big and we had to pull it up all the way to her chest and secure it with pins. Then came the blouse and a golden belt. I roped in another lady devotee, Gomathi didi, to do Zara's make-up and hair.

And so we had our replacement "Srimati Radhika." All I had to tell Zara was to learn up the simple dance steps and I will mimick her voice. Voila!!! Perfect.

Everyone cooperated. The rest of the cast, I believe gave another 10% more because of Zara.

What did I learn from all this. ----- Krsna arranges everything. He can create a drama within a drama. Now, it's up to this insignificant soul to propel even further.

Zara, looking all dolled up as "Srimati Radhika."

Zara and the rest of the cast performing a dance. The "gopis" are taking many palatable food-stuffs for the yajna of Bhaguri Rsi.

"Krsna" stops the "gopis" and demands toll from the "gopis." This angers "Lalita-devi."

"Krsna" claims He is married to Vrnda-devi. And anything that belongs to the wife automatically belongs to the husband. "Vrnda-devi" then denies having anything to do with "Krsna."

"Krsna" and the gopas did not care. They forcible took the "gopis" offerings.

Later the "gopis" hatched a plan to teach the gopas and "Krsna" a lesson. They made "Srimati Radhika" walk alone with many palatable foodstuffs. "Krsna" demanded toll. Just then all the "gopis" came out of hiding and beat up the "gopas." "Krsna" was made to wear a skirt and the "gopis" did abhishek of Him.

The cast beat the boys in Kung-fu style!!

"Krsna" and the "gopas" asks forgiveness from "Srimati Radhika" and proclaims that She is the Queen of Vrindavan.

The cast singing the Maha-mantra dikir barat style.

Singing the glories of the Lord.

Sweet Zara with Nitya, Vidya, Yasodhan, Arvind Junior, Arvind Senior, Radha-priya and Tamal-kishen with their presents.

The cast cutting a cake with Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja.

Later Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja told me, "O this drama should appear in TV!!"

(Phew! As far as I am concerned: 'All is well, that ends well. Krsna is behind all our drama.)

I really must thank my students Darren Chan who lend his CD player for Janmasthami, Mr. Wong Peng Nam for repairing his CD player, Joee Heng for assisting me during the play on Janmasthami and downloading the songs, Rachel Lau for giving me her pom-pom to make "Krsna's" flute look really attractive and her cousin Louis for downloading the songs and last but not least Zara for standing in as the replacement for "Srimati Radhika."

These souls do not have an inkling what Krsna consciousness is all about. Little do they know how much spiritual piety they have accumulated. Only Krsna can repay them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

True Meaning of Brahmacari

After His Divine Grace's usual morning walk in 1990's, Srila Gurudeva spoke of the true meaning of the word brahmacari.

"What is the meaning of brahmacari? Is it just wearing saffron cloth and being celibate? True brahmacari means one who is constantly searching or finding for Krsna. "Cari" always seeking, searching for Krsna. 'Where is Krsna?! Where is Krsna?!'"
(May such truths manifests in my heart)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Janmasthami to All Souls!!

In his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.3.47, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes this topic: "Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur discusses that Krishna appeared simultaneously as the son of Devaki and as the son of Yasoda, along with the spiritual energy Yogamaya.
As the son of Devaki, He first appeared as Vishnu, and because Vasudev was not in the position of pure affection for Krishna, Vasudev worshipped his son as Lord Vishnu.
Yasoda, however, pleased her son Krishna without understanding His Godhood. This is the difference between Krishna as the son of Yasoda and as the son of Devaki. This is explained by Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur on the authority of Hari-vamsa."

Just Like A Mother

Way back in 1997, Srila Gurudeva talked about how He is willing to help anyone who comes to him.

What His Divine Grace said made a huge impact in my heart. (see quote below)

"I will continue to help whoever that comes to me. If a child was to urinate and pass stool on the mother, the mother will simply wash herself and the child included.

She is not going to stop loving her child. She will continue to nourish and help her child. In the same way, I will continue to do so even if they are criticising me."
(When will I be able to imbibe such a mood in myself? I can only cry and pray for this.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Praying and Trying Not To Expect

Most of the time, we are looking for appreciation for the things we do. Although we say we are not, but deep down inside we feel good when someone acknowledges what we have done. We glow inwardly when others give us some sort of credit. A dangerous situation in spiritual aspirants for we do not wish to enjoy. We may also go on an ego trip stating “I have done this or that.” After a while those around us will eventually start to tire of us. We will be left all alone to lick our wounds. Perhaps even become bitter.

Only when we actually do seva without enjoying the results of it, we are on our way to peace and bliss. Everything is in Srila Gurudeva's hand. Success or otherwise, if it gives pleasure to the Divine Couple, then so be it. We have to accept.

O When will I realise such truths?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Must Help

Way back in 1999, Srila Gurudeva asked his audience this question:
(Srila Gurudeva): When you're chanting and suddenly you saw an accident. What must you do?
(Devotee 1): We must continue chanting. We must not leave our chanting.
(Devotee 2): We can see if there are others helping, then we can go our way and continue chanting.
(Devotee 3): We have to see whether they are related to Krsna or not?
(Srila Gurudeva): What?? All are related to Krsna!
All your answers are completely bogus, bogus, bogus. Although we are chanting, if someone is in trouble we must try to help. Anyhow render some help.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Observing Caturmasya

Today is the beginning of Caturmasya. When I was in Hong Kong I asked Srila Gurudeva the benefits of fasting during these 4 months.
(Ald): What is the benefit of observing caturmasya, Srila Gurudeva?
(Srila Gurudeva) O the benefits are endless. Limitless. Our entire guru-parampara followed it. The 4 Kumaras also observed caturmasya. My Guru Maharaja also.
You cannot imagine the benefits. All in our lineage followed it.
(Sripad BV Madhava Maharaja & Sripad Brajanath Prabhu in unison): And our Srila Gurudeva is also following it.
Below are the foods restricted for the entire 4 months and particular foods during each of the 4 months:
Eggplants, tomatoes, loki, parmal, urad dahl and honey
Particular foods that are restricted during the first month:
No leafy vegetables, such as spinach, salads of all types, cabbages of all types, kale, leafy herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, curry and powdered leafy herbs and teas.
2nd month:
No yoghurt
3rd month:
no milk
4th month:
No mustard seeds, mustard oil, sesame seeds, sesame oil.
Also today there is a a penumbral lunar eclipse, which is an inauspicious moment.
16:32:16 start of the eclipse
18:44:57 end of the eclipse
During this time, avoid sleeping, eating, drinking and using the bathroom. Constantly chant Harinama.

Relationships in this Material World

(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja was one of the three pillars of devotion in Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, which was established by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. His Divine Grace left this world on November 7, 2002)

Some time ago, I a devotee told me of an interesting darshan she had with His Divine Grace.

Below is the excerpt:

(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja): Do you love your husband?

(Devotee): Yes, I do.

(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja): Do you think he loves you?

(Devotee): I suppose so. Surely he must love me.

(Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja): This is the dealings of the material world. As long as someone does exactly what you want them to do, then they become your husband, wife, good friends and so on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Opposites Attract

Once an elderly Vaishnavi, said how some brahmacaris only want to speak hari-katha to young girls.
Apparently, when an old woman requests them to speak hari-katha, they (the brahmacaris) always say they are busy.
Pondering about that fact, it only goes to show how opposites attract, especially when we are in our blossoming youth.
I know of someone who wanted some ladies to get to gather and speak hari-katha or do some seva. Most of the ladies seem to be "extremely" busy. One even said it may be a waste of time for her. But when the same concept was introduced by a male, they seem to be interested.
Of course this cannot be true to every single person. There are some successful ladies sanga group. Unfortunately, such situation is not pretty common.
Opposites do attract. And this can lead to dangerous liaisons, especially for aspiring spiritual practitioners.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Too Much Wanting

We have too many "wants."

I want a nice big car and house,
I want a good husband,
I want a beautiful wife,
I want delicious foodstuffs,
I want lots and lots of money.

Always wanting this and that. Most of the time we contemplate of these things.

Why not start to want:

I want to serve the Vaishnavas more,
I want Sri Guru to sit in my heart,
I want the Divine Couple to sit in my heart,
I want to see only the good in others,
I want to see the bad in me,
I want to go home, back to Godhead.

O I want these prayers answered.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Recently a mother of five was a little distressed about her children. She feels they don't really need her they way they used to. She was wondering where did that little patter of feet and that cute gurgle all gone to.
Before puberty, it was almost always, "Mom! Where are you?" or "I want my mommy!"
Then all of a sudden they have all grown up. They have their own set of friends. Their own life to live. And most of all not much time for mommy.
So this mother is totally bewildered. She wonders at the turn of events. The truth is she don't seem to realise that she herself has made a cycle. She does not realise that once before she was a baby, toddler, a young child, a teenager, a woman, married lady and now a mother.
She herself did exactly the same things to her parents. The same cycle goes on. Yet, a lot of us can identify with her. We get bewildered by Krsna's time factor.
We have been mothers, fathers etc etc before. Married and had children a zillion times over.
If one is properly situated, they will not be like that. Instead they will take such an opportunity to get closer to Sri Guru and Krsna.
And most importantly ------ not to be bewildered again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Cycle

We are wandering and wandering in 8 million and 400 thousand species of life. Of that 400,000 are humans. How many ethnic groups or race do we know of? There's Indian, Malay, Chinese, French, Italian etc etc. The list goes on and on.

Just like that we have been caught up in this vicious cycle of birth, disease, old age and death. When is it ever going to end?

I saw these little birdies and said to myself: "I too was once a bird, perhaps. Or a dog, hog etc etc."

Now I have this human body. Should I waste it in bickering and politics? Even when I have come to a bona fide guru, should I caste it away, and go back to this vicious cycle?

No! O Gurudeva, I want to go home--- Back to Godhead. That should be my business now.

O Little Birdies, I can only chant the maha-mantra to you. May you with the mercy of my Gurudeva and the entire guru-parampara, Nitai and Gauranga become Krsna bhaktas in your next life.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Service Attitude

Are we the doers? Sometimes we maybe doing so much of "service." We tend to forget at times we are not capable of even moving a blade of grass. Everything happens with the sanction of Lord Krsna.
As Srila Gurudeva once mentioned we want to do service but Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatana Gosvamis are in the service itself. But they never feel they have done anything at all. Even Srimati Radhika Herself, the personification of Tolerance, says She has not served Krsna at all. Instead She glorifies the deer and everything else in Vrindavan.

So, are we the doers?

Sometime back His Holiness Hrishikesh Maharaja mentioned what Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja said about service.

"It is not the service itself. But the attitude towards the service."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Mood of Sri Guru

Sometimes it is so hard to see the good in others. We almost always contemplate how others have wronged us in many ways. The truth is we may have wronged them too. Perhaps not in this life but many, many life times ago. It's just that we don't seem to recall about such things. What goes around, comes around. It's karma. Whether we like it or not.
How is it different for those who have come under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master? He protects and guides us from within. Whatever karma we may have to suffer, the pain is somewhat eased due to His mercy. So instead of calling it karma, we must look at it as mercy. For without such pain and suffering, we will not be able to go deep within our self and seek solace.
What do we do when we, the spiritual aspirants are faced with such situations? Constant prayer at the lotus feet of Srila Gurudeva will help alleviate whatever pain we may be going through. He will show us the path to enlightenment.
We must really try hard to see the good in others and see the bad in ourselves.
Sripad Vallabhi Kanta prabhu had an interesting conversation with Sripad Bhakti Saran Damodara Maharaja quite recently. Below is the excerpt:
(Maharaja): "During my guru-maharaja, Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja's time, we used to go to him and complain about so and so devotee who is doing somethings wrong in the math.
My guru-maharaja would only chastise us for complaining about that devotee. He would hardly chastise the person who is doing wrong.
(Vallabhi Kanta prabhu): Why is that?
(Maharaja): My guru-maharaja used to say that his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur could forgive. Why can't he do the same. He used to weep. And that would put a deep dent in our hearts.
My guru-maharaja knows how the devotee who is doing all that nonsense needs guidance. If Gurudeva withdraws his mercy, then where and what would happen to that soul. So guru-maharaja would work on that devotee from within."
The more chastisement we get from our Gurudeva, means we are getting very close to Him.
(I am praying at the lotus feet of my Srila Gurudeva that I maybe able to see the good in others and the bad in me. Only then will I be able to capture the mood of my Gurudeva)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Of The Possessed And The Saved

This incident happened to me a long time ago. Each time I tell this story, it only reinforces my faith in the maha-mantra. When it happened I have not met my Srila Gurudeva. Even then the maha-mantra can protect and save you.
Read on:
I once had a colleague who was a pretty good dresser. She's also quite a looker as she gets all the attention from the boys in the office.
One fine afternoon, I was sitting right opposite her cracking my head as I was suffering from writer's block. She (let's call her Sherry) started to shiver. My initial reaction was the air-conditioning was too cold. Besides, everyone was almost down with the flu at that time.
Soon my other colleagues scooted her off to a room adjoining to our main writers' room. The poor girl was really sick, I thought. I continued doing whatever work since there were others looking after her at that moment.
All of a sudden, my colleagues started running out of the room. Their faces looking quite blank. I tried to stop them to find out what was the matter. None answered me. It was as though I did not exist.
I then ventured to the back room. I saw Sherry lying down and crying.
"Why did they have to do that. Leaving her alone. Poor girl!"
I was like really DUH??!!
I asked Sherry whether she wanted a blanket or a hot drink. She was shaking now.
She simply said, "I am feeling really, really cold."
I then bent down to check on her temperature. That's when she cried out, "Help me! Help me! It's coming inside me! Help!!!!!!"
It just struck me that she was possessed! Her face started to twist and she snarled at me. Sherry or whatever that was laughed hysterically.
At that moment, (being a real scaredy cat that I am), I kept reciting the maha-mantra.
I pushed her down commanding the thing to shut up and get out of that body.
Giving a haunted laugh, "Sherry" started to push me over. My back was facing an open window in that room. Luckily, that thing wasn't strong enough or else I would have been pushed out of the window and would not live to tell this story today.
It was a battle between the possessed and the sane.
While all this drama was going on, not once did I forget to chant my maha-mantra.
After some time Sherry started to calm down. Crying she said she wanted to go home. I ran out of the room to look for help.
By now my boss had called her family. Soon they arrived and took her home.
Months later Sherry came back to work. A much calmer person.
So what saved me that day? Nothing but the maha-mantra. Never every stop chanting no matter what.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Desperate Book Distributor

Yesterday was Wesak Day. My god sister Lalita didi and I decided to distribute our Srila Gurudeva’s books outside the Buddhist Temple in Brickfields. Lalita didi wanted to go there after lunch. So we met up about 2:30 p.m. The heat was intense. Beads of perspiration were trickling down my face. To make matters worse, I forgot my sun-hat!

When we arrived here, Lalita didi wanted to go inside the temple premises to check things out. I said I will wait for her outside near a stall with a big shady umbrella. Many people passed by me. Some did not even bother to look. I tried really hard to distribute. The heat was getting to me.

I was thinking to myself: “What am I doing? Am I able to distribute here?”

The gentleman who was manning his sweets-stall asked me to come closer towards his shady umbrella. Out of desperation I said: “I will, if you take a book from me.”

The man smiled. And I was like: “O Krsna, Gurudeva, how am I to do this?!”

After about 20 minutes, the man came up to me and asked my name. I then handed out our preaching centre’s address. We exchanged names and what do you know, he bought a book!!

By this time, Lalita didi came out and we thought we will wait at the junction towards the temple. It was much cooler there as the road was lined up with some nice shady trees.

As we were walking I spotted a familiar face at one the many make-shift stalls selling all kinds of everything. The individual was another “missing-in-action” devotee. I called out to this person. Startled, the devotee returned a wide, warm smile. While talking, other book distributors from the centre joined us.

Now my spirits were high. Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja, Krsna Kanta Brahmacari, Prem Ras Prabhu, Jaya Govinda Prabhu and Ramesh Prabhu were very happy to see us both.

Somehow after that my distribution techniques changed. I would shove our centre’s address to whomever I met. And then place a book in their hands. This would be followed by a small amount of donation.

I also learnt one very valuable lesson during my book distribution. These books are transcendental personalities. They would decide on whose hands They wished to go.

A case in point. It was almost 5:00 p.m. I was thinking of making one last hit before calling it off. Besides Lalita didi wanted to head home and so did the rest of the party of book distributors. I walked up and down the sweltering heat. I managed to give out the invitation to our centre but not one person wanted to give even RM1.00 for a book of considerable thickness. I tried to appeal to them by saying 3 books for RM10.00 or even RM5.00, but no one wanted it.

I thought to myself that I have to call it quits. I headed where the rest of the party was and started packing my stuff.

And what do you know. A young lady rushes to me and gushed, “Are you Hare Krsnas?” I want the Mahabharata. It’s for my friend.”

I was taken aback and told her I don’t have those but I have the ‘Essence of Bhagavad-gita’ and others. She looked at them and bought 2 books right away!

Book distribution really opens up a new understanding about Them. That They are the masters and we are the servants taking Them around. They decide on whom They wish to shower Their causeless mercy.

As for a desperate book distributor like me, well, in trying to help others, I’m actually helping myself.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Being Persistent

Preaching and bringing in new people to chant is not an easy task. We have to be persistent. Srila Gurudeva often says, "Preaching is really for the preacher himself/herself. The more we preach, the more realisation we can acquire."

There's this university student, Priya, whom I got in touch with 2 years ago by one god-sister. Since my god-sister, Malati, who resides in India cannot always be in constant preaching contact, she therefore forwarded Priya's e-mail and contact number to me.

Many times I had invited Priya for programmes at our preaching centre, which she will politely decline. This is because she lives very far away and she don't own a car, as yet. She is a student after all. Besides, her mother do not approve of her going out after dusk. To this I usually advised her to listen to her mother.

Just 4 days ago I decided to have a lunch house programme this Sunday. So I text ed message Priya and to my surprise she confirmed her coming through e-mail.

My initial reaction was, perhaps she's being really polite as I had invited her many times. Anyway, I shall wait and see. Everything is in Sri Guru & Krsna's hand.

Lo and Behold! Not only did Priya came on time, she also brought along her friend, Akeela.

After the initial "getting to know you" I started off the programme with mangala caranam and then with the song "Gurudeva Krpa Bindu Diya." Soon we were joined by another god-brother and his children.

One god-brother who was "missing-in-action" for a long time, decided to join us at this function as well. He said house programmes are more convenient for him to attend as it does not clash with his work commitments.
Right after that Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja (our guest speaker) and Krsna Kanta Brahmacari walked in. We proceeded with our kirtan followed by arati and then class by Maharaja. Before the class started, Maharaja asked us what is most important to most of us. My husband said 'money,' just to generate an interest in the students.
Below is a short excerpt of the class.

Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja explaining the importance of chanting to the 2 university students.

"There is nothing wrong in us earning money as it is needed in our daily lives. We are not against money. But don't forget God, Krsna. For without Him, nothing is possible. He gives us everything. We must use our time to worship Him always."

Then he turned to the 2 university girls.

"Both of you are students, right? We are not saying you must give up your studies. Do your duty and study well. Get good results. But try to chant always. At least allocate 20 minutes from your daily activities to chant. The more you chant, the more intelligence you will beget. You will also have good rememberance. This is a fact. Try this for 6 months. You will notice a change within you.

I will tell you a story. There was once a lady who always comes to the temple. She was a really busy lady with children and other duties to take care off. I always requested her to chant at least 2 rounds daily. I told her this every time we met. Then one day she said she will chant 2 rounds a day.

After some time, she herself was telling everyone she met to chant 2 rounds a day. Soon she became a joke of sorts as everyone spoke of her as the one who requests everybody to chant 2 rounds!
I asked her husband whether she is still doing her daily duties or is there any problem at all. Her husband said she was very well indeed. In fact her life seem to be better than before.

Therefore, always be in good association. You should constantly be in touch with mataji (maharaja referring to me). If you are not in touch then you will think this is a one time programme and you will forget. Ask questions also. Do your duty but always chant."

Right after the class, we served prasadam. There were more surprises in store. I brought out 3 small books and asked the girls whether they were interested in purchasing them. Priya bought them immediately. After about 5 minutes, Akeela also wanted it. Then Priya asked for chanting beads followed by Akeela. Later Priya bought a beautiful picture of Sri Radha Krsna.

Listening intently to Hari-Katha

Sri Guru and Krsna does wonderful, mystical pastimes. Really we are not the doers. We just have to do our duty and not expect anything. Everything is in Sri Guru and Krsna's hand. And most importantly in the power of the maha-mantra.
And what did I learn today --- be persistent.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Talking Water Pot

by Srila Gour Govinda Mahäräja
(as told in Oriya, translated by Bhakta Pradosh)

Once there was a guru living in an ashram on the bank of the Gangä with a few brahmacari, celibate students, disciples. He was engaging them in varieties of devotional service, like cooking, serving prasädam, gardening, cleaning pots, taking care of the cows, etc.
One disciple, named Govardhan, whose nickname was Govara, had a daily service to go to the river with a big water pot and collect Ganga water for the ashram. He did the service very sincerely for the pleasure of his guru. But after some time, he thought, “Why is it that although I have been doing this service for so long I am not feeling any happiness? Maybe I should leave this ashram, go to the city, get married, and enjoy the rest of my life.”
From his childhood he had lived in the ashram and performed sevä, service. He had no idea of anything else, no experience of any big cities—he didn’t even know where they were. Day by day he was thinking very deeply about this. Finally one day, while sitting on the bank of the Gangä, he decided, “Why should I continue to supply Gangä water to this ashram? I am not getting any benefit. I won’t do it anymore. Today somehow or other I will leave. I have heard that all big cities like Käsi and Prayag are on the bank of the Gangä. If I follow the river bank then eventually I must reach one of them.”
He filled up his water pot with Gangä water, put it down, and told the pot, “You remain here. I am going.”
He looked around to make sure that no one was watching, and then began to slowly make his way towards the south. He had only gone a few yards when he suddenly heard a voice, “Hey, where are you going?”
Startled and frightened, he looked back, but he couldn’t see where the voice had come from. He looked all around, and seeing no one, again started to walk. But suddenly the same voice called, “Hey, where are you going?”
He became more fearful, “Who is calling?”
He was surprised that he couldn’t see anyone. Looking at all directions, he crouched down close to the ground and tried to flee as fast as he could, dodging here and there. But again the voice came, “Hey, Govara, where are you going? It’s me calling. Your—your water pot. Come here!”
Govara became stunned. He was amazed to find his water pot calling him in a human voice.With great eagerness he rushed back to speak to it. The water pot started chastising him:“Do you really think that leaving your guru-seva will give you peace and pleasure? The chief result of your service will be the fulfilment of life’s ultimate goal. Although I am made of dull matter, I can speak like a human being because my life is successful due to my giving service to a pure devotee of the Lord.”
Govara’s guru was a very powerful and pure vaisnava, pure devotee of Lord Krishna. He was making the water pot speak.The water pot continued, “I originated from a muddy, contaminated place. One man collected me, took me to his house, and began to knead me by pressing heavily with his feet. He then formed me into this water pot shape, let me dry, and eventually burnt me in a fire. Finally, he picked me up and flicked me with his finger to see if I had the right sound — ‘ting.’
I passed the test, so he took me to the market to sell. Fortunately I was purchased by this sädhu and engaged in his service. The result is that my life became successful and I am able to speak with you directly. You shouldn’t think that your guru-sevä will be very easy, but if you engage in this sevä then your life will be a success like mine and you will get real pleasure and happiness. Otherwise, if you leave this service you will have to cry and cry. Instead of pleasure you will only get so much pain and anxiety.”
Hearing this story from the water pot, Govara started trembling. Somehow he managed to carry the pot filled with water back to the ashram, where he fell flat before his spiritual master. His guru knew everything because he was a divya-drsta — he could see the past, present and the future.
He asked Govara, “What happened to you?”
Govara spoke of his experience with the water pot and started crying when he revealed how he had planned to leave his guru’s service.
His guru pacified him, and said, “Äre bäbä! It was not the water pot speaking to you. It was I that spoke through it.”
That guru was a most powerful vaisnava; he could speak through anything. He advised Govara that staying in the guru’s ashram and engaging in pure devotional service would gradually purify him, and in a similar way to the water pot, he could make his human birth a success.
(Yes, guru-seva is not easy. But we must march forward, never giving up, to earn that mercy)


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