Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Newton, Iowa
Cold Water Please!
Ice water and Gatorade were coming my way all day.  It was a response by the public to the radio, newspaper, and facebook articles which were being circulated.
Rajasuya and I took to a pretty, shaded, residential street and, as we did so, we encountered Wally, Diana, and grandson, Braden.  Diana’s sister had just passed away.  She asked for my prayers and I was happy to oblige.  Diana kept replenishing our cups with ice water.  We all got quite comfortable being in each other’s company in their front yard.  We even broke out into song with George Harrison’s, “My Sweet Lord,” Simon and Garfunkel’s, “Slow Down,” as well as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails.”  Braden, who’s about eight, didn’t have a clue about these songs from the 50’s and the 60’s.
Our meeting went from grave feelings to happy ones.  That’s just what the walking does, even in the midst of steaming heat and fatigue.
Were we ever relieved to enter the cooling AC’d Newton Library.  The weather was unforgiving at times, as we reached high noon.  Some of the water donated to us was taken as head-shower fluid.  At 107 degrees Fahrenheit, who wouldn’t employ H2O in that format? I’ve even found the umbrella as a shield to be effective as the heat rose.
I imagine the desire for water rose in just about everyone in the State of Iowa.  This is all relative to the need within the season.  Had we been in frigid conditions, the element of fire would be most desirable.  Needs change in relation to the body.
In connection to the soul, there is a constant contentment.
May the Source be with you!

20 miles.

OK, Really, What are the Vedas?

The Veda is the beginningless information self-manifest by reality itself. It was to the first entity, Brahmā, that Viṣṇu first revealed full access to it. Brahmā then verbalized it to his initial children. Those children, especially the Seven Sages (Sāpta Ṛṣi) codified his words into specific mantra, thus creating the original Yajur Veda.

Over time, the meaning of these mantra became garbled and confusing, even to Brahmā.

Vyāsa repairs this by editing. His edit creates four divisions pertaining to four aspects of sacrifice, and a fifth division for the important contextual information underlying the sacrifices. These divisions are elaborated upon  over a long span of time by scholars under Vyāsa’s instruction and guidance. (Vyāsa is superhuman, although even without this, his influence and representatives could have overseen the further development of the five divisions.)

The elaboration resulted in enormous volumes of Vedic text nearly impossible for a single human to study in a single lifetime. Also, the elaboration resulted in many diverse viewpoints, difficult to reconcile. Seeing this as a shortcoming, Vyāsa set out to harmonize all the diversity, while also shrinking the enormity of the Veda into a single book of mystical codes: the Brahma-sūtra.

Upon completion, he found the codes to be too mysterious, so he set out to illustrate them using vivid and colorful stories related to Krishna and great historical personalities. This resulted in the epic Mahābhārata.

Upon completion he remained dissatisfied, for the ultimate esoteric essence of the Veda was not yet perfectly clear, even when reconciled and condensed into the Brahma-sūtra and illustrated by the Mahābhārata. Vyāsa then took the foremost Purāṇa, named Bhāgavata, and revised it in light of Brahma-sūtra and Mahābhārata. Thus he created Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the ultimate fruit of the Vedic tree, and became fully satisfied that he had restored, and perhaps even improved, the original exposition of the Veda.

This is the answer to one of the homework questions in the second session of an online course called, “The Role of Sacred Text in Gauḍīya Bhakti.”

– Vraja Kishor

www.vrajakishor.com

Tagged: Sastra, shastra, Veda, Vedas, Vedic, Vedic Scripture

Merciful to all

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 27 March 2016, Durban, South Africa, Ratha Yatra Lecture)

Question: Does Krsna only favour pure devotees?

Srila-Prabhupada-on-morning-walk-in-Vrindavan

And everyone else, Krsna just lets them rot? [laughter] That sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it? Rather, I found that even long before coming to Krsna consciousness, Krsna was also in my life. It wasn’t that it just started from the day that I joined the Hare Krsna movement that suddenly Krsna became active. Krsna was there before and he was doing all kinds of things. 

I have told many stories about this. One story is that I had a dog by the name of Krsna. That was mercy. That was a blessing in my life. In the beginning of my Krsna consciousness journey, I had my difficult moments and I tried to leave several times. Once I had left the temple and I went to the movies. I went to this movie and then suddenly in the movie, there were devotees. [laughter] I mean give me a break! But something was wrong, the tilak was wrong, there was no leaf on the nose. I said, “But what is this? This is not real, this is imitation!” Next thing, those fake devotees went into a bar and then some girls sat on their laps and they said, “It is good to have a drink after a hard day’s work!” I was so angry at seeing that.

But meanwhile, it saved me. Even then I could see Krsna was there and Krsna somehow or other interfered in my attempt to turn away from him. Somehow, he made an arrangement that while I was trying to turn away from him, he was there again. So we should know that Krsna is there in the life of everyone.

He is doing two things. He is upadrsta, a witness, but he is also anumanta, the one who gives anumiti – permission. As anumanta Krsna sometimes gives permission and sometimes he does not but still, Krsna is there actively in the lives of everyone to an extent. But when it comes to a pure devotee then Krsna is very close and very intimate, just like how Prabhupada found that he was totally relying on Krsna and Krsna was there, helping him in every possible way. It happened like that!

Prabhupada used to say, “If I want to know what Krsna wants, I just ask him.” Prabhupada had that capacity to just ask Krsna. One professor was accusing Prabhupada of being dogmatic and Prabhupada said, “Why is he so dogmatically saying that Krsna is not God when he has not seen him?” So Prabhupada was seeing Krsna directly. He could relate to Krsna at every moment as he so desired. Krsna was so accessible. That is what happens with the pure devotee, this is on another level. Krsna sometimes interferes in the life of even conditioned souls. Krsna takes mercy on anyone and everyone.

Krishna Bhat gets lost in Hari Katha in Madhuvan

The Pushti Marg saints: Chapter 2: Krishna Bhat — Parts 10-11.


One time Nihal Chand Bhai accompanied Krishna Bhat to Gokul to see Sri Gusainji. He was delighted to have his darshan. One day, the two of them were going from Gokul towards Mahavan. They caught sight of an isolated cave on the way. They went close to it and sat there.

Finding the place congenial, they began to speak of the Lord’s pastimes. They ended up staying there for a whole three days. They forgot their bodies,so immersed were they in this bliss of the Divine Stories.

On the fourth day Sri Gusainji was sitting in his meeting hall (baithak) after the Rajbhog Arati. Many Vaishnavas came there to pay their respects. Sri Gusainji enquired of them, “I have not seen Krishna Bhat nor Nihal Chand Bhai for three days. Has any of you seen them?”

The Vaishnavas said they they had also not seen them for three days. Sri Gusainji told them to go on the road to Mahavan and climb up a hill to try to find them, and to bring them back to him if they were able to do so.

The Vaishnavas all set out for Mahavan to look for them.When they went up the hill they caught sight of the two devotees sitting in front of that cave. The Vaishnavas approached them and told them that Sri Gusainji had summoned them because he had not seen them for three whole days and was now thinking of them.

Hearing what the Vaishnavas had to say, Krishna Bhat and Nihal Chand Bhai got up and immediately returned to Sri Gusainji and bowed to him. At that moment Sri Gusainji had just finished his prasad and was eating some paan leaves.

Sri Gusainji asked them, “Oh, you have come?”

They supplicated Sri Gusainji, “You were remembering us so why would we not come?”

The two of them paid their respects to Sri Gusainji and returned to their lodgings. Sri Gusainji had recognized the state of their hearts and so did not ask them anything further. He is, after all, the Inner Witness. That is why he sent the Vaishnavas to fetch them back.

Not long after Krishna Bhata and Nihal Chand Bhai took their leave and returned to Ujjain. The two of them were recipients of Gusainji’s grace and accomplished Vaishnavas.

PART 11

In Gokul Sri Gusainji would give discourses on the Sri Subodhiniji [Vallabhacharya’s commentary on the Bhagavatam]. The Vaishnavas got to hear his discourses. Two Vaishnavas from among them did not understand what he had said. They asked him, “O Maharaj! We hear the discourses that you give, but we do not understand them. What can we do to solve our confusion?”

Sri Gusainji told them to ask some other Vaishnavas for help, but still their questions were not answered. He then told them to go to Krishna Bhat for he would be able to allay their doubts. The two Vaishnavas set off for Ujjain on Sri Gusainji’s instructions. When they arrived Krishna Bhat had just made the lunchtime offerings to his Sri Thakurji and was outside on the porch reading his daily texts. Krishna Bhat got up to greet them. He was very glad to see them especially since Sri Gusainji had sent them.

He greeted them with the Lord’s name and invited them to sit down. Suddenly he recited one verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam and then explained it to the Vaishnavas. He explained its inner meaning. As soon as they heard it the two Vaishnavas’ doubts were dispersed.

Bhavaprakasha

The question that arises here is that when Sri Gusainji explained it to them they still did not understand,but they did when Krishna Bhat explained it to them. Why was this? The verse is from the 10th canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, from the chapter entitled “the Song of the Flute.” It reads,

barhāpīḍaṁ naṭa-vara-vapuḥ karṇayoḥ karṇikāraṁ
bibhrad-vāsaḥ kanaka-kapiśaṁ vaijayantīṁ ca mālām |
randhrān veṇor adhara-sudhayā pūrayan gopa-vṛndair
vṛndāraṇyaṁ sva-pada-ramaṇaṁ prāviśad gīta-kīrtiḥ ||

Exhibiting [before their mental eyes] an exquisite form resembling that of an actor [on the stage], adorned with a crest of peacock feathers, wearing karnikara flowers on his ears, a wreath of flowers of five different colours and a golden cloth [round his lips], and filling the holes of his flute with the nectar of his lips,the Lord entered Vrindavan, charming with his footprints found at every step, his glory being sung by hosts of cowherd boys. [SB.10.21.5]

Sri Gusainji had explained this verse as describing the Lord’s form. However, those devotees were attached to Sri Gusainji’s form and therefore not able to be satisfied by his explanation. They still had doubts. Sri Gusainji then sent them to Krishna Bhat who immediately used this verse to describe Sri Gusainji’s form. How? This verse contains the full description of the Lord’s divinely decorated form, which generates the heartfelt mood of excitement. Steeped in this very mood Krishna Bhat nicely described Sri Gusainji’s form.

Sri Gusainji reigns within the heart of Krishna Bhat. Through him Sri Gusainji revealed his spiritual form to those two Vaishnavsas and their questions were answered.

Hearing these words the two Vaishnavas were totally satisfied and very happy. Krishna Bhat entered his Sri Thakurji’s temple in order to accept back the Rajbhog offerings as prasad. He offered the Lord some paan leaves and then opened the temple doors. The Vaishnavas were delighted to have Sri Thakurji’s Holy Sight.

Krishna Bhat performed the arati, settled the Lord down for his afternoon rest and came outside to offer the prasad to the Vaishnavas. Afterwards they said that they were going to set off for Gokul. Krishna Bhat asked them why they were in such a hurry since they had only arrived that same day. They replied that the reason for their visit had been fulfilled. Krishna Bhat asked they what that was, and they told him everything in detail. Krishna Bhat begged them sincerely and so they stayed on for four more days. Whilst they were there they all got together to discuss the Lord’s pastimes and the Vaishnavas felt most contented.

Previous: Krishna Bhat’s Guru Bhakti.

The post Krishna Bhat gets lost in Hari Katha in Madhuvan appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

Vraja Vilasa : Krishna’s sister-in-law, Kundalata

I worship Kundalata, who, on the order of Queen Yashoda, daily comes to take Sri Radha to Nanda’s abode to cook for Krishna, who always greatly delights Radha by lovingly having joking discussions about Hari with her on the way and who is herself also most satisfied with this.


VERSE 32:

sakhyenālaṁ parama-rucirā narma bhavyena rādhāṁ
pākārthaṁ yā vrajapati mahiñyājñayā sannayantī
premnā śaśvat pathi pathi harer vārtayā tarpayantī
tuñyatvetāṁ param iha bhaje kunda pūrvāṁ latāṁ tām

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Das Goswami worships Sri Kundalata, the special nourisher of Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s pastimes. We have already said that Vraja is like a beautiful garden full of flowers of love. The minds and hearts of the worshipers are scented by the loving expertise of the various companions of Krishna in Vraja. Although the fragrance of the flowers causes everyone’s heart to blossom, the rasika bee is as if intoxicated by the relish of this honey. In the same way, although everyone’s heart is delighted to hear about the great love of the Vraja companions, the heart of the jāta-rati-mādhuryopāsaka, the worshiper who is in the madhura-rasa and whose love of God has manifested, becomes even more intoxicated by rasa.

Das Goswami is in the kingdom of mahābhāva, so in his heart a wonderful current of relish of the wonderful and great love of the Vraja companions is constantly flowing. And after relishing it, he has recorded it for the rasika bhāgavatas (great experts in experiencing the devotional moods) to relish afterwards.

In this verse Das Goswami praises the wife of Krishna’s cousin, Kundalata. Because of a boon from the sage Durvāsā, Sri Radharani has become <i>amṛta-hastā</i>, i.e., whatever her hands touch while cooking turns into nectar. The vegetables and grains she cooks are not only delicious, they also bestow appetite and extend the life span of the eater. For this reason Sri Yashoda, out of love for her son, daily sends Kundalata to Jatila to ask her permission to bring Sri Radha to her home to cook for Sri Krishna.

Kundalata relays the request of the Queen of Vraja to mother Jatila and then goes to Sri Radha and her sakhīs, who are already floating in oceans of bliss. This is described in Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta:

The sakhīs, who are all equal to Sri Radhika in affection, kindness and luster, became ecstatic when they experienced the nectar-shower of Radhika’s and Kundalata’s meeting, their exchange of smiles and their inquiry about each others’ welfare.

Sri Radhika got up to welcome Kundalata and told her:

“Sakhi! By Vrajeshwari’s grace you have come here quickly! Your arrival here is as indescribably beautiful as the moonrise in the east at nightfall! I understand that Queen Yashoda showers me with the nectar of mercy by giving this order to cook for Krishna! If I had not gotten it, my mind would be so sad that it would have been better for me to leave my body! O Rasavati (humorous girl, or good cook)! I see you have come to take me there to cook, but first ask my superiors for permission and then we can go!”

Drinking the nectar of fair-eyed Radhika’s words, Kundalata blissfully smiled and said: “Sakhi! You know it is all arranged, so don’t delay and come along with me and bring your friends along!” (Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta 4,110 and 5,1-4)

Jatila also follows the order of the Queen of Vraja and sends her daughter-in-law to Nanda’s house, giving her various beneficial instructions:

jaratī yatano kori, kohe śuno sundari,
sakhī saṅge koroho payāna.
uḍanī yoḍanī māthe, dekhiyā colibe pathe,
lakhite nā pāre yeno āna.

Jatila carefully said: Listen, O beautiful girl, go now with your sakhīs. Keep your veil on your head, so that no one else will see you while you walk down the road.

boḍura jhiyārī baṭa, kule śīle naha choṭa
saba guṇe hao paravīṇa.
thākiho sabāra mājhe, bujhibā āpana kāje,
āmi āra jība koto dina

You are a high-born daughter; indeed, your dynasty and your customs are far from common! You are full of great qualities. Stay in the midst of all the other girls and understand your duties. After all, how much longer will I live?

sadaye vidāya kore, jaṭilā colilā ghare,
ulasita rasavati rādhe
raṅgiṇī saṅgiṇī tāra, lei saba upahāra,
cololi pūraite sādhe.

Kindly sending Radha on her way, Jatila went back in the house, and blissful rasika Radha and her playful girlfriends took all their paraphernalia and went off to fulfill their desires.

gajendra gamana jini, cole rāi vinodinī,
sughaḍa sakhīra heli aṅga.
kohoye śekhara rāy, puchite puchite yāya
rajanī vilāsa rasa raṅga

Rāi Vinodinī thus left, walking like the king of elephants, leaning on her sakhīs. Raya Shekhar says: “While walking along with her, the sakhīs asked her about her amorous pastimes of the previous night.”

While they were on the way to Nanda’s house Kundalata jokingly told Sri Radha:

O Radhe! Even though your husband was out for three or four days to have the newly purchased fertile cows inseminated by the bulls, he came home last night and slept alone in his own room! Still we can see that your breasts are full of nailmarks and your lips are full of bitemarks! We are all very happy that you show such clear signs of fidelity to your husband now!”

Seeing Radha’s hidden smile and her wide, slightly squinted eyes, Lalita told Kundalata: “Why are you causing needless anxiety to Radha’s heart? Yesterday some bold parrot in the forest sat on her breasts, thinking them to be pomegranates and scratched them; then he bit her lips, thinking them to be bimba fruits. That’s why she is bruised like this!”

Kundalata saw that Radhika’s body shivered after hearing Lalita’s words, billowing on waves of playfulness while remembering her pastimes with Krishna the previous night. Slightly smiling Kundalata looked at a nearby pond and said, as if addressing a female lotus:

“O bewildered Padmini! Why are you vainly shivering in ecstasy? Kundalata’s (a vine of kunda flowers, or she herself) devara (brother-in-law Krishna, or bestower of joy) Madhusudan (Krishna, or a bee) is restless; he has already enjoyed you (leaving you after drinking your honey). Now will he drink your nectar again? (rest assured that he won’t!)”

By being absorbed in such joking discussions with her, Kundalata immerses Sri Radha in the pinnacle of bliss and is herself similarly caught up in the relish of bliss. (Govinda-līlāmṛta 3:29-33)

Das Goswami says: “I worship this Kundalata.”

vrajapati mahiṣī yaśodāra ājñāte;
rādhāre ānena yiho pākera nimitte
sakhya bhāve rādhikāya pathe kautukete;
paritṛpta korena śrī kṛṣṇa prasaṅgete
kṛṣṇa kothā rasotsave ḍagamagi yini;
sei kundalatāya nirantara bhaji āmi

I constantly worship Kundalata, who, on mother Yashoda’s order, brings Radha to the abode of the Queen of Vraja, who satisfies Radhika on the way there by making fun with her about Krishna in a friendly mood, and who is always immersed in an ocean of nectarean Krishna-kathā.


anantadas_thumbCommentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.

Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.

© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.

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What is the True Spirit of Renunciation?

Question to Radhanath Swami: Beautiful. I’d like to ask you about the true spirit of renunciation because it’s something a lot of us don’t understand. We think of it as just giving up things but there’s a richer side of renunciation that gives one things we can’t get from the world.

Radhanath Swami Answers: True renunciation is not becoming a monk or swami, living homeless and sleeping on the floor.

CORRECT SEXUAL ETIQUETTE AND SPIRITUAL FAMILY PLANNING

Letters of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda

correct sexual ettiquette and spiritual family planning

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – The eternal Spiritual Master of the Hare Krishna Revolution

Regarding your question: “What is the correct sexual etiquette for a strict Grhastha; and what is spiritual family planning?” Unless one wants to beget a child, there should not be any sex life. The best thing is to forget sex, but it is not possible immediately or all of a sudden, especially in the Western countries where sex life is so liberal. So under the circumstances, one should try to have sex life only for children, not for any other purpose. Spiritual family planning is that one should be determined to train up children in Krishna Consciousness. According to Bhagavata, the spiritual family planning is that one should not become a father or one should not become a mother, unless he is able to maintain their children to the extent of liberation. It is the duty of the parents to see that the children are growing luxuriantly not only materially, but spiritually also. So spiritual training should be given from the very beginning. Kaumaram acaret prajna—In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Prahlada Maharaja has instructed that spiritual consciousness or Krishna Consciousness should be taught to the children from the very beginning as they are given education from early childhood.

[Letter dated 24th August, 1968 to Dayananda and Nandarani]

Villa Vrindavan in Italy, 2016

Written by Nimai

After leaving the Czech Summer Camp, Kadamba Kanana Swami stayed for one night (04 July) at the Prague temple. He needed this little recess to gain some strength after the busy days at the camp. It was just a quick stop though, as we were already thinking about the upcoming kirtan event in Italy which was happening over the weekend (08-10 July). En route to Florence, we did another stay-over in Berlin where Maharaj did an evening program at the temple.

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On Wednesday (06 July), as we stepped-off the plane in Florence, we knew that we were in for some hot weather. Since we arrived at Villa Vrindavan a few days before the start of the Sravanam Kirtanam Festival, Maharaj had time to settle in and prepare. He even led kirtan a few times before most of the guests arrived, to warm up for the weekend.

On the first day of the festival, Maharaj gave the morning lecture where he spoke from the 12th canto of Bhagavatam. The verse (12.3.51) described Kali yuga and the people in it as an ocean of faults, but Maharaj especially focused on a different aspect i.e. the chanting of the holy name. He elaborated on something he had already said a few times in the recent past which is: chanting is our saving grace! Maharaj explained that we are too weak to perform heavy austerities or to meditate, etc. like people used to do in other yugas, so the only thing that can save us is to chant the holy name and to rely on Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. Maharaj made the point that the importance of chanting can never be overestimated. The question of which service is the “best” came up, to which Maharaj responded by saying that pure devotional service in all its forms is always equally transcendental. However, in our conditioned state, we cannot always see this so in order to uplift ourselves, chanting is the way! He was also asked to say a few words to inaugurate the festival later that day, but in a way this was already done in the morning class!

In the afternoon, Maharaj led a wonderful kirtan in a slightly slower than usual fashion. Madhava Prabhu complimented Maharaj on the kirtan afterward and said that he would steal that tune! After leading kirtan, Maharaj didn’t leave the temple room straightaway but stayed-on to listen to some of the other kirtaniyas.

Since Villa Vrindavan is located on a hill, we struggled to find a suitable route for our daily walk. One day, we went down the hill but when we came back up soaking in sweat, we didn’t do that again!

The temple president showed us around their art museum which has paintings from all kinds of different pastimes. The paintings were really impressive and some took the space of a whole wall as they were that big.

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We stayed for almost week after the festival had ended and Maharaj was asked to give two more Bhagavatam classes so he did. The Bhagavatam verses were from the 6th canto where Prahlad Maharaj was instructing his demoniac friends about the dark well of household life. After speaking about enjoyment and entanglement, Maharaj gave a conclusion on the matter – there is nothing wrong with enjoying and Hare Krsna devotees don’t oppose enjoyment as long as we do not engage in sinful activities because this is how one gets entangled with the material energy again! Rather, we enjoy devotional service.

Maharaj also clarified the meaning of the words ksudratma (small minded person) and mahatma (broad-minded person). He explained how we should try to see the bigger picture of things, to see the long-term perspective and not to live in the moment only. The goal of life is to go back to Godhead after all!

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Since we were in Italy, Maharaj adapted his diet too. He started having salad and stayed true to one of his favourite sayings, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which he would always mention when putting some extra olive oil on his prasadam.

For the remainder of our time in Villa Vrindavan, Maharaj needed to recover from the intense period of events of the previous weeks, including all the travelling and meeting with lots of people! On 16 July, we flew to London next to attend the famous Ratha Yatra there!

Visit Flickr to see all the photos.

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Big increase in annual development funds for Mathura district

Mathura 2016.07.22 (VT): Durga Prasad Yadav, MLA from ruling Samajvadi Party and Minister in-charge for the urban development plan of Mathura has approved a budget of 275.81 crores for the development of the city. Now the doubt is how much of this amount will actually be released for development, as last year only 8.95% of the approved amount was released by the Planning and Development Board.

Durga Prasad Yadav

Durga Prasad Yadav

In a meeting held yesterday at the city collectorate office, Durga Prasad Yadav said that the amount approved for the development also includes 63 crores 63 lacs and 40 thousand rupees of contribution from Central Government. He further said that the amount of 275.81 crores is 92 lacs higher than the approved amount for last year.

The District Magistrate said that the entire fund will be used as per development plans that are already in the pipeline, and others that have been approved by the Government.

He also said that photos and a brief of development work done in previous years will also be made public on the demand of several NGOs and social welfare organisations. Chief Development Officer Manish Kumar Verma and SSP Babloo Kumar were also a part of the meeting held in the conference room of city collectorate office.

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Czech Summer Camp 2016

Written by Klara 

Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived at Prague airport on Thursday evening (30 June), travelling from Radhadesh. He spent some time at the temple in Lužce and the next day, he went to Kamenice nad Lipou where the summer camp took place. There were about 180 devotees at the camp already and the atmosphere was full of enthusiasm.

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On the first evening, Maharaj gave the opening lecture together with Danavir Goswami and Bhakti Gauravani Goswami. In his lecture, Maharaj took us to Vrindavan! He said that the camp in itself is not transcendental but by the presence of devotees it changes, simply by hearing and chanting the holy name…

On Saturday, there was a seminar based on Caitanya Caritamrta. Maharaj also led wonderful kirtan and mentioned that we cannot reach love of God just by sadhana. Although there is no limit to what we can do in sadhana, we should come up to the point where we please Krsna such that he notices us. In the evening, there was another shared lecture by Kadamba Kanana Swami, Bhakti Gauravani Goswami and Bhakti Prabhava Swami.

In Sunday’s class, Maharaj pointed out that we must engage everything and everybody in Krsna’s service otherwise we will not satisfy our thirst for happiness and therefore we will remain unfulfilled. Another interesting comment was when Maharaj reminded us that a devotee does not care about the material energy – the devotee just looks at the material energy searching for opportunities to serve Krsna and there are ample of opportunities for service…

Later that day, there was intimate kirtan and lecture during the initiation of Bhaktin Kristyna whose name is now Kaveri devi dasi.

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And after these wonderful days, it was a very sad moment as Maharaja’s left the camp on Monday afternoon (04 July). There was big kirtan and a crowd of devotees blocked the road as long as possible until finally they had to let him go as he travelled to Berlin…

Visit Flickr to see all the photos

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Yamuna water level on the rise, Parikrama Marg partly underwater

Vrindavan 2016.07.22 (VT): Heavy rains in the hilly areas have resulted in increased water levels in the Yamuna. Old parikrama road is completely water logged with 3 feet deep Yamuna water flowing on it, due to which devotees are bound to change route to offer Vrindavan parikrama. Illegal societies at Kalidah and Pani Ghat are also facing the threat of flood as the Yamuna water level rises.

Water in huge quantity has been recently released from the dams located at Tajewala and Hathani Kund, due to which water level has increased sharply in the river within four days. Generally Yamuna flows by a distance of around 500 metres from Keshi Ghat, but has returned to the ghat in the past few days. The same situation is with around six other riverfront where Yamuna is flowing touching the old ghats.

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Across from Madan Mohan.

Vihar Ghat, Jugal Ghat, Cheer Ghat, Shringarvat, Bhramar Ghat, Keshi Ghat and Vanshi Vat are in their full glory these days as the Yamuna is flowing touching riverfront and recalling the pastimes and beauty of Vrindavan. Devotees from around the world are taking advantage of the situation by taking boat rides across the river and spending time on the riverside.

Devotees offering Vrindavan parikrama have to divert their route via Cheer Ghat and Radha Raman to complete the “panch-kosi” parikrama of the holy city. Officers from Irrigation Department said that the water level has risen due to heavy rainfall in hilly areas, but the situation will return to normal soon.

Water level touched the sign of danger

Yamuna flowing near danger mark at Prayag Ghat, Mathura

Yamuna flowing near danger mark at Prayag Ghat, Mathura

More than 100,000 cusecs water released from Tajewala and Hathini Kund dams and heavy rains in nearby areas have resulted in a rise in Yamuna water level, where water level flowing at the sign of danger in Mathura. The water level at Prayag Ghat is touching the danger mark of 165 metres. Gokul Barrage has also been releasing more water in the past few days, due to which many areas near the river are dipped in water.

Devotee drowned in flood water

A devotee from Khurja drowned in the river after his feet slipped on the stairs at Keshi Ghat. Divers took around three hours to find the dead body in 25 feet deep water.

Dinesh Kumar (19 years) had came along with 42 villagers for Braj darshan last week. During the trip, he went to take a holy dip in river at Keshi Ghat, where his feet slipped and he fell in the river.

A cowherd drowned while he took his buffalo out for a walk

A cowherd from Mathura drowned in the river when he went out for a walk along with his buffalo. 23 years old Ram Gopal went out with his buffalo as a part of daily routine but hasn’t returned till evening after which his family reported the case with the local police station. The dead body is still missing.

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Building 700ft Vrindavan temple: A mix of faiths, expertise and nationalities

Vrindavan, 2016.07.20 (Hemendra Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times): The Chandrodaya Temple being built in Vrindavan is a tall order. At 700ft, the temple will be three times the height of Delhi’s Qutub Minar. But what is more unique about the project is that the temple is being constructed – both in terms of funding and logistical support – by people of several faiths and nationalities.

A project by Bengaluru devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the temple is being worked on by 25 specialist consultants from across the world. The core architectural team itself comprises of people from different faiths.

Jagminder Singh, a Sikh, leads the principal architect’s team, while Misam Imam heads the structural design team. Chris Meering, a Christian, is in-charge of the team handling vertical transport.

“Srila Prabhupada, while beginning the ISKCON movement in 1965, made clear that this was for an international society comprising of all castes, creeds, religions, nationalities and beyond boundaries. With this ideology, the temple at Vrindavan is coming up and is open for all,” said Suvyakta Narasimha Das, the senior vice-president and project director.

Explaining further, he said Krishna had never meant the message of Bhagavad Gita only for Hindus, and was for everyone who believed.

“This has been the driving spirit of ISKCON… (which is why) even in the construction of the temple, people from all faith including Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Sikh are involved and this makes it a structure of international acceptance,” he added.

Planned at a cost Rs 700 crore, the temple will have four halls – one for Acharya Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, one for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, one for Radha Krishna and the Ashta Sakhis, and one for Sri Krishna Balaram, Das said. A devotee will have to walk 1.2 kilometer to reach the room for ‘darshan’.

“Once constructed, it will be the tallest and largest religious structure in India covering an area of 5 acres. Piling work will continue till next Holi after which the work for raising the tower will begin,” the project director said.

The temple’s foundation stone was laid by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in March 2014. Later that October, President Pranab Mukherjee visited the site for the Ananth Sesh Sthapna poojan. Work for the temple finally began in 2015, with the deadline set for 2022.

However, working with such a diverse collection of experts on such a colossal project has many challenges. Not the least is adhering to local aspirations.
“We are done with the concept phase and are now working on schematic details with focus on durability of the structure over several centuries,” the Misam Imam said. As head of structural design, he says the trick is in figuring out solutions based on materials available in India.

“Another challenge is to work with people who view it spiritually,” he added.
One way around building a 700ft structure is to build it in components and then put it together. “It is more of an assembled structure, hence all features are to be incorporated and ideas from 25 different specialist consultants are being clubbed for better results,” said Singh, the principal architect who has been part of the project since day one.

Much like Misam Imam noted, for Singh, the project is more spiritual than religious.

“The project’s spiritual association reflects lot of energy and is a memorable experience for me.”

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Apart from the main temple structure, the compound will be surrounded by verdant forests, clear water lakes, waterfalls from hillocks – all recreated from descriptions in the Srimad Bhagvatam, Das said. Other attractions will include a Yamuna Creek, Bhagvad Gita Expo and a Krishna Heritage Museum.

Architecturally, a capsule elevator is being included within the core temple structure that will take visitors through different planetary systems in the universe as it rises. The experience will be enhanced with sound, light and dioramas. Once at the top, one will get a spectacular view of Braj Mandal.

Touted as the first LEED Gold certified temple building, it is being designed to have minimum radiative heating of the internal environment. The structural design for this has been given to M/s Thornton Tomasetti, led by Leonard Joseph who is presently designing the Kingdom Tower at Jeddah, the world’s tallest upcoming structure. The fire safety system is being put in place by Sunil Sahani, who designed a similar system for the Burj Khalifa.

Given its height, the temple structure is being designed to withstand an ultimate wind load of 226 kilometer/hour. It is also being designed to withstand intense earthquake tremors. The worst earthquake Mathura faced was on September 1, 1803, which measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Once completed, the temple should be able to withstand almost twice that intensity.

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Firm Faith, Then Taste

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By Swami Tripurari, from Siksastakam of Sri Caitanya.

Bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam

The second effect of nama-sankîrtana is deliverance from the great fire of material existence, bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam. The metaphor of a forest fire is often employed to help us understand the nature of material existence. Just as a forest fire often has no external cause but ignites on its own by the friction of two trees, similarly the responsibility for the conflagration of material existence rests with the desires of its inhabitants. God is not to blame. Karma is the stern hand of nature that responds in kind to any and all forms of exploitation. Nature is not to be exploited by the mind’s idea of what her purpose is. She belongs to God.

While a forest fire often starts on its own, it does not stop on its own. Moreover, human efforts to extinguish a forest fire often prove futile, leaving firefighters praying for rain. Similarly, although God is not responsible for the suffering of material existence, only he can bring an end to it. Atonement and the culture of self-knowledge are compared to human efforts to extinguish a forest fire. They are insufficient. Atonement fails to extinguish the fire of desire, and the culture of knowledge attempts to extinguish desire in a way that leaves no room for new growth, no possibility of spiritual desire.

Where human effort falls short, only God can make up the difference. Nama-sankirtana descends from God. Narottama dasa Thakura writes, golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana: “Harinama-sankirtana is Goloka’s charity of love.”1 In order that the gift of Goloka’s love may be embraced, nama-sankirtana first extinguishes the forest fire of material existence. When by the grace of Krishna nama the fire of material desire is extinguished, one’s sadhana becomes nistha, fixed, even as the smoke of such desire lingers. With both feet still in this world, the sadhaka’s eyes are fixed on a vision of Goloka. At this stage one’s spiritual practice is both outwardly unflinching and illumined within. The spirit of the sadhaka’s practice in this stage is discussed in the third stanza of Siksastakam.

Sreya-kairava-candrika-vitaranam

The phrase sreya-kairava-candrika-vitaranam speaks of ruci-bhakti. This is the sixth stage mentioned in Rupa Goswami’s verse detailing the sadhaka’s development from sraddha to prema. Sri Krishna Caitanya describes it here as the third effect of nama-sankirtana. This effect—the stage of ruci—will be elaborated on in the fourth verse of Siksastakam.

The word sreya speaks of something auspicious and beautiful. Krishna nama is that which is most auspicious among all that is auspicious, including other names of God. Gaura Krishna has given the world nama-srestham, the most auspicious and splendidly beautiful conception of the holy name. In this connection Thakura Bhaktivinoda cites the well-known stanza of Skanda Purana glorifying the holy name of Krishna, madhura-madhuram etan mangalam mangalanam: “Sweetest of the sweet, most auspicious among that which is auspicious.”

When the burning effect of the fire of material existence is extinguished by nama-sankirtana, Krishna nama begins to benedict his disciple with the cooling moonlike rays of his splendor. These splendorous rays are the svarupa-shakti emanating from Krishna nama. Here the sadhaka’s heart is compared to the white night-blooming lotus, kumuda. At the stage of ruci, the sadhaka’s heart is pure like a white lotus, uncolored by the passion of the world. For this reason Mahaprabhu has chosen the metaphor of a white kumuda rather than a red one. In ruci-bhakti, the heart, previously contracted in the shadow created by lust, begins to bloom in love like the white lotus in contact with the rays of the moon.

The moon’s light is reflected light, and here it represents a semblance of actual bhava. In ruci-bhakti one is still a sadhaka, and the ray of the sun of prema that is bhava has not yet dawned in the heart; however, one experiences a semblance of bhava and an uninterrupted taste for chanting and other devotional practices. Ruci-bhaktas have no material attachment, yet they are attached to the means to attain prema. Their sraddha/saranagati are mature, and they have thus erected within their hearts the stage on which the drama of Krishna lila will soon be performed.
———

  1. Prarthana 4.2

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Krishna Bhat puts on the Ras Leela

A nice offering for Guru Purnima from Krishnaa Kinkari. The Pushti Marg saints: Chapter 2: Krishna Bhat — Parts 8.


Once all the Vaishnavas from Ujjain came to Krishna Bhat’s home. Krishna Bhat greeted them all with the Lord’s name and offered them a seat. The gathered Vaishnavas requested Krishna Bhat to tell them about the Lord’s Rasa Lila [his Great Circle Dance]. Krishna Bhat replied, “The Rasa Lila happens in Vraja. So go to Vraja and have the Holy Sight of it there. The Rasa Lila only happens in Vraja.”

The Vaishnavas heard this and said, “Our hearts desire is to see the Rasa Lila now and Vraja is far away. With your permission, why don’t we make all the necessary arrangements here itself?”

Krishna Bhat saw how insistent they were. He said, “On your insistence we all celebrate the Rasa Lila here itself on the Full Moon Night.”

On the following full moon all the Vaishnavas gathered together and Krishna Bhata facilitated their wish to watch the Rasa Lila play. Krishna Bhat helped to dress and adorn all the Rasa Lila Svarupas [players] and then he adorned the Rasa Lila Svarupa whose role was Sri Thakurji, and placed the mukut crown upon his head.

All the Svarupas were ready. Then Krishna Bhat asked the extremely beautiful daughter of one of the Vaishnavas to apply collyrium to all of their eyes,and she did. Krishna Bhat then welcomed the Svarupas onto the Rasa Mandal, took the opportunity to have the Holy Sight of each of them very carefully and bowed to each of them in turn. Those players were then all filled with the Divine Spirit of the Supreme Lord and all the Vaishnavas bowed to them.

Bhavaprakasha

The principle of the Path of Grace is that Sri Krishna manifests through the intense divine loving sentiment of the devotee. In the Vedic lawful path (maryada marg) the manifestation of the Lord depends on mantras, whereas in the Path of Grace it is effected by the Divine Love of the accomplished Vaishnava.

Sri Acharyaji has written in his Sannyasa-nirnaya treatise [“Conclusions on renunciation,” verse 8]:-

kauṇḍinyo gopikāḥ proktā guravaḥ sādhanaṁ ca tat |
bhāvo bhāvanayā siddhaḥ sādhanaṁ nānyad iṣyate ||8||

Kaundinya Rishi and the gopis are said to be gurus, because they showed by example rather than precept. There is no other method to effect the mood of Divine Love other than emulating it within one’s heart.

On this path reward is perfected by heartfelt love alone. Krishna Bhat’s heart is replete with such love for Sri Krishna and all his pastimes and thus he is situated there. Therefore, through Krishna Bhat’s heartfelt divine mood the Supreme Lord and all his lilas manifested right there.

After this all the mandali svarupas started to dance. Their dance was divine as were their musical accompaniments. This vision was perfectly divine. All the Vaishnavas were very, very happy as they experienced this other-worldly joy. Only Krishna Bhat felt distressed, thinking, “O no! I have caused so much trouble to the Lord.” He felt so bad, burning with worry about this. He began to cry profusely. But the Lord is merciful. He heard Krishna Bhat’s plea. All the Vaishnavas had a divine experience. The Lord is most kind to his devotees.

The boy who had played Sri Thakurji became so absorbed in the lila that he did not return to his senses for three whole days afterwards and did so only on the fourth day. One year later the leader of that same troupe of players, the Rasadhari, came there and Krishna Bhat told the Vaishnavas, saying that if they wanted to organize the Rasa Lila performance again then they could but that he would not be involved.

The Vaishnavas organised the performance. However they did not get that same joy as before. They said amongst themselves that only Krishna Bhat was able to generate such love in the Rasa play. This was the conclusion to which they came. Krishna Bhat was indeed such an accomplished Vaishnava.

 

PART 9

Once on the occasion of Vasanta Panchami [the start of the Spring Season and festival], part of the fourth day of the calendar was still current. Krishna Bhat was unaware of this. On that day in Ujjain Krishna Bhat made arrangements in his house for playing Holi.

After he had accepted back the Rajbhog offerings as Prasad Krishna Bhat began to play Holi with his Sri Thakurji. At that very time Sri Gusainji in Sri Nathdwar on Sri Giriraji was offering paan to Sri Govardhananathaji after having accepted back the offerings as Prasad. At that time Sri Nathaji gave the priest Ramdasji a vision of the Holi Play.

Ramdasji approached Sri Gusainji and said, “O Maharaj! In whose house did Sri Nathaji play Holi today?”

Sri Gusainji replied, “Today Sri Nathaji has played Holi with Krishna Bhat in Ujjain.”

Some days later Krishna Bhat came to Gokul and after bowing to Sri Gusainji sat down. Sri Gusainji asked him on which day had he played Holi with the Lord. Krishna Bhat told him the day. Sri Gusainji stated that that date had been a mix of the 4th and 5th days of the lunar month and that it had been that day when he had played Vasanta with his Sri Thakurji. “Sri Nathaji Himself actually came to your house to play Holi! On that day in the Rajbhog Seva Sri Nathaji told this to myself and revealed this to Ramdasji the priest of the Inner Sanctum. Sri Nathaji told Ramdasji that it had been in your house that Holi was played. Today I am finding this out! From now on be more careful with your interpretation of the festival dates.”

Bhavaprakasha

Why? Sri Acharyaji made strict rules about the Seva of the Lord. Festivals should be celebrated on good and pure days after consulting the astrology of the planets. This is because only the best and most pure can be offered to Sri Nathaji.

The Lord can’t wait to play Holi, and he runs to wherever it is being played in the way prescribed in Sri Acharyaji’s Path. Sri Gusainji showed Krishna Bhat that Sri Nathaji had had to go all the way to Ujjain on that wrong day, and his botheration should be considered!

The other principle revealed here is that Sri Nathaji himself goes to those places where his pastimes are being celebrated with love.

Krishna Bhat piped up. “O Maharaj! I did it unknowingly! I will not do it again.From now on I will be very careful about the dates of festivals etc.” After this Sri Gusainji used to send the proper and complete calendar of the year’s festivals to Krishna Bhat, who followed it in his home in Ujjain.

Krishna Bhat returned home to Ujjain after spending quite some time with Sri Gusainji. Sri Gusainji was always blessing Krishna Bhat with such advice and understanding. While Krishna Bhat was staying with Sri Gusainji, his daily routine was to have the Holy Sight of the early morning Mangala Arati and then to cross to the far bank of the Sri Yamunaji River. He would go to the Vada Lake and perform his ablutions and bath, etc., and then return to Sri Gusainji by the time of the Rajbhog period of Seva. He would come to Gokul to have the sight of Sri Gusainji in this way on a regular basis.

 

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Prabodhananda Saraswati: The three great commitments

Yesterday was Prabodhananda Saraswati’s tirobhava tithi. Jagannath and Tamal Prabhu organized a meeting of Vaishnavas at the samadhi in Kalidaha. I went at 5 when it was to begin and found several sannyasis from the Gaudiya Math, Gopananda Bon Maharaj and Bhaktivedanta Madhusudan Maharaj were sitting on in front of the samadhi temple. Prawal and I went to visit Siddha Jagadish Das Baba’s samadhi, which is just next door. We met Prem Das Shastri there and exchanged a few words.

Amazingly enough, there has only been a celebration here for two years now. The ashram is a poor babaji ashram, and I suspect that there was no celebration of Prabodhananda’s tithi, sampradaya-wide, for many, many years. Last year, for the first time, Jagannath Poddar and Tamal Krishna Brahmachari of Imli Tala decided that Prabodhananda Saraswati was too important a figure in the history of Vrindavan that a meeting to discuss his contribution was a necessity.

The place is itself small and has been broken up into many kutirs for bhajanandis. I can imagine what it was like when it was surrounded by sand dunes, but now it is hidden away behind Kalidaha Ghat. In front of the samadhi there is an empty dirt space out in the open, with room for perhaps 100 people at most to sit. It was filled up quickly with devotees from various places — many babajis, devotees of the Gaudiya Math including several sannyasis.

The talks though given in Hindi could practically have been given in Bengali the crowd was so overwhelmingly Bengali and Gaudiya Vaishnava, and renounced, committed to living in Vrindavan. Bhajananandis, in other words.

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Tamal Krishna Brahmachari addresses the congregation.

Naturally, there was talk about Prabodhananda Saraswati’s identity. Perhaps I should take some credit, as I opened by asking whether there was one, two or three Prabodhanandas? But I admired the elegance with which Madhusudan Maharaj gave his shloka bedecked talk to glorify the three nishthas, the three grand commitments that are exemplified in Prabodhananda Saraswati’s works: the grand and total commitment to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Chaitanya Chandramrita, the grand and total commitment to Radha in the Sudha Nidhi, and then his total self-loss in residing in Vrindavan.

Madhusudan Maharaj took the position that there were two Prabodhanandas, one who was in South India and Gopala Bhatta’s guru, and the other who was Prakashananda and then wrote all the works attributed to Prabodhananda.

To support the former, he said it was impossible in those days for a brother born in a family of Ramanujaite priests to become a Mayavadi sannyasi, and yet the author of Sudha Nidhi, in the Gaudiya recension, concludes with the following verse to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu–

sa jayati gaura-payodhir
māyāvādārka-tāpa-santaptam |
hṛn-nabha udaśītalayad
yo rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhinā ||

May the Golden Lake be ever glorious, who has cooled the sky of my heart, which was burning from the summer heat of the Mayavada sun, with the ocean of nectar that is Radha rasa, or, by revealing the verses of this book, Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi to me. (RRSN 272)

Premadas

Prema Das Shastri, like all the speakers, chose verses that illustrate the same three kinds of dedication. He pointed out that Prabodhananda, from the verses he wrote about Vrindavan, clearly did not believe in accumulating money to build temples or anything of the sort. His renunciation was immense and his bhajan intense.

For Chaitanya nishtha, he chose the following well-known verse from Chandramrita–

saṁsāra-sindhu-taraṇe hṛdayaṁ yadi syāt
saṅkīrtanāmṛta-rase ramate manaś cet |
premāmbudhau viharaṇe yadi citta-vṛttiś
caitanya-candra-caraṇe śaraṇaṁ prayātu ||143||

If your heart yearns to cross the ocean of material suffering,
If your mind takes pleasure in relishing the nectarean taste of sankirtan,
and if all your mental functions wish to swim in the ocean of prema,
then you should take shelter of the feet of the moon-like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. (CC 143)

For Radha nishtha —

yasyāḥ kadāpi vasanāṁcala-khelanottha-
dhanyātidhanya-pavanena kṛtārtha-mānī |
yogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano’pi
tasyā namo’stu vṛṣabhānu-bhuvo diśe’pi ||

I bow down to the direction in which Vrishabhanunandini is present,
for even Madhusudan, whose characteristics are incomprehensible to even the greatest yogis, thinks himself to be most fortunate and fulfilled when the most glorious breezes arising from the playful movement of the hem of her garments wafts his way. (RRSN 1)

And for Vrindavan Dham nishtha, he cited the following verse from the Mahimamrita,

bhrātas tiṣṭha tale tale viṭapināṁ grāmeṣu bhikṣām aṭa
svacchandaṁ piba yāmunaṁ jalam alaṁ cīraiḥ sukanthāṁ kuru |
saṁmānaṁ kalayātighora-garalaṁ nīcāpamānaṁ sudhāṁ
śrī-rādhā-muralīdharau bhaja rasād vṛndāvanaṁ mā tyaja ||

O Brother! Stay each night at the foot of a different tree. Beg for food in the villages. Freely drink the Yamuna waters. Make yourself a nice shawl from torn and discarded cloth. Consider praise to be a most horrible poisonous cup, and lowly condemnation to be nectar. Worship Radha and the Player of the Flute with relish. Never leave Vrindavan. (1.48)

And of course, each verse was elaborated on with a sweet explanation. Other speakers included Achyuta Lal Bhatt Goswami and Sushri Savita Devi.

AchyutalalBhat
There is talk about protecting the samadhi (there is no other temple there) or “improving” it. I suppose they will have to improve it, probably by enclosing it with protection from the monkeys and perhaps from the rain, building a small nat mandir and so on. Many devotees came forth with contributions on the spot to enhance the facility and glory of Prabodhananda Saraswati.

But I was happy to see that both representatives of the Gaudiya Math and from the Gaudiya babaji community sitting together. But of course, any discussion of Prabodhananda Saraswati’s glories without the presence of representatives from the Radha Vallabha sampradaya is to be considered incomplete.

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Devotees throng to watch crocodile attack elephant

Vrindavan 2016.07.20 (VT): Rangnath Ji temple organised its annual “Gajendra-moksha leela,” an enactment of the Bhagavatam story of Lord Vishnu where he save an elephant from a crocodile. In the course of this festival, Thakur Rangmannar comes out on a golden chariot to roam around the temple grounds.

Yesterday, Thakur Ji also took a bath at Pushkarni Kund before giving darshan to devotees, who thronged the temple.

Thakur Rangmannar sat on a golden chariot in the shape of Garuda to the chanting of traditional mantras by the temple priests. He then took a round of the huge temple campus and stopped at Pushkarni Kund to take a bath. The temple priest worshiped the Lord according to the South Indian traditions, as have been followed by the temple in the Ramanuja sampradaya for centuries.

Thakur Rangmannar on his golden chariot at Rangji Temple

Thakur Rangmannar on his golden chariot at Rangji Temple

Gaja-Graah (elephant and crocodile) leela was organised at 6 pm during which a large number of devotees congregated at the temple. Priests were singing “Gajendra Moksh” bhajan during the leela.

Dr. Rajkumar Sood (a member of temple organising committee) said that this leela is based on Hindu calendar dates, and is organised every year to remember the pastimes of Lord Rangmannar (South Indian name of Lord Vishnu).

See here also.

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Recordings: April/May 2016


For various reasons, we were delayed in bringing to you these recordings of Kadamba Kanana Swami captured during the months of April and May.

Download ALL 

India

KKS_IND_Vrindavan_02May2016_Lecture_SB_6.9.36

KKS_IND_Vrindavan_02May2016_Evening_Kirtan

KKS_IND_Vrindavan_03May2016_Lecture_BG_3.34

KKS_IND_Coimbatore_26May2016_Kirtan

KKS_IND_Coimbatore_26May2016_Lecture

KKS_IND_Vrindavan_29May2016_Lecture_SB_6.10.12

South Africa

KKS_SA_DBN_16April2016_DiscipleProgram_Lecture

KKS_SA_DBN_16April2016_DiscipleProgram_Kirtan

KKS_SA_DBN_16April2016_InitiationCeremony_Lecture

KKS_SA_DBN_16April2016_InitiationCeremony_Kirtan

KKS_SA_DBN_15April2016_NJP_Rama_Naumi_Evening_Lecture

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Number of foreign pilgrims to Braj triples since 2012

Mathura, 2016.07.20 (AU): The efforts by successive governments to attract pilgrims and tourists to Braj-Vrindavan has been having results, if the numbers are to be believed.

According to figures released by the local Tourism Department, the number of pilgrims coming from abroad has soared, more than tripling over the past three years.

In 2012, a total of 13.1 million pilgrims arrived in Mathura, of which only around 29 thousand were from outside India.

In 2013, there was an incredible increase of pilgrim numbers to 32 million. The number of foreigners nearly doubled to 55,560. Those numbers remained steady in 2014, but 2015 again saw a marked increase.  Total numbers came to nearly 45 million, and the foreign visitor component grew to 89,720.

Mathura District Tourism Officer Anupam Srivastava expressed pleasure at the rapidly increasing number of pilgrims visiting. He said, “The places related to Lord Krishna’s leelas as well as the world famous celebrations like Holi and Janmashtami are the prime attractions. This shows the success of efforts by succeeding state and center governments to attract people to the area. Our department is endeavoring to keep these numbers growing.”

He did not make figures for country of provenance available.

Year

Total number Foreign devotees

2012

13.1 million

29,000

2013

32 million

55,560

2014

32.3 million 56,910

2015

44.8 million

89,720

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