Written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in 1958,
Published December of that Year in Gauḍīya Patrika,
The Magazine of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti.
I am sitting alone in Vṛndāvana-dhāma
In this mood I am getting many realizations.
I have my wife, sons, daughters, grandsons, everything,
But I have no money so they are a fruitless glory.
Kṛṣṇa has shown me the naked form of material nature,
By his strength it has all become tasteless to me today. yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ
“I gradually take away all the wealth of those upon whom I am merciful.”
How was I able to understand this mercy of the All-merciful?
The following verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the qualities of a Vaiṣṇava, devotee of the Lord
May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.9)
…Just like a desire tree, a Vaiṣṇava can fulfill all the desires of anyone who takes shelter of his lotus feet… he prays not for himself, but for all living entities—the gentle, the envious and the mischievous…This is the attitude of a Vaiṣṇava, who always thinks of the welfare of the entire universe.
…If the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads all over the world, and if by the grace of Kṛṣṇa everyone accepts it, the thinking of envious people will change. Everyone will think of the welfare of others. (from purport)
As explained on the cover of the record album, this transcendental vibration– by chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare– is the sublime method for reviving our Krsna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our asociation with matter since time immemorial, our consciousness is now poluted by material atmosphere. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in our complexities.
This illusion is called maya, or hard struggle for existence over the stringent laws of material nature. This illusory struggle against the material nature can at once be stopped by revival of our Krsna consciousness.
I still remember very clearly when I opened the book Raja-Vida by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, back in the early 70’s and read the first page…and Srila Prabhupada described very simply the definition of God…
śrī bhagavān uvāca
idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt
“The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most secret wisdom, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.” (Bg. 9.1)
The opening words of the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā indicate that the Supreme Godhead is speaking. Here Śrī Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Bhagavān. Bhaga means opulences, and vān means one who possesses. We have some conception of God, but in the Vedic literature there are definite descriptions and definitions of what is meant by God, and what is meant is described in one word—Bhagavān. Bhagavān possesses all opulences, the totality of knowledge, wealth, power, beauty, fame and renunciation. When we find someone who possesses these opulences in full, we are to know that he is God. There are many rich, wise, famous, beautiful and powerful men, but no one man can claim to possess all of these opulences. Only Kṛṣṇa claims to possess them in totality. (Raja-Vidya, Chapter One)
This was my first real introduction to Krishna Consciousness, and it was enough to convince me that Krishna was God. And that Srila Prabhupada was my spiritual master.
The Science of Self Realization
Foreword By Mukunda Das
From the very start, I knew that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda was the most extraordinary person I had ever met. The first meeting occurred in the summer of 1966, in New York City. A friend had invited me to hear a lecture by “an old Indian svāmī” on lower Manhattan’s Bowery. Overwhelmed with curiosity about a svāmī lecturing on skid row, I went there and felt my way up a pitch-black staircase. A bell-like, rhythmic sound got louder and clearer as I climbed higher. Finally I reached the fourth floor and opened the door, and there he was.
About fifty feet away from where I stood, at the other end of a long, dark room, he sat on a small dais, his face and saffron robes radiant under a small light. He was elderly, perhaps sixty or so, I thought, and he sat cross-legged in an erect, stately posture. His head was shaven, and his powerful face and reddish horn-rimmed glasses gave him the look of a monk who had spent most of his life absorbed in study. His eyes were closed, and he softly chanted a simple Sanskrit prayer while playing a hand drum. The small audience joined in at intervals, in call-and-response fashion. A few played hand cymbals, which accounted for the bell-like sounds I’d heard. Fascinated, I sat down quietly at the back, tried to participate in the chanting, and waited.
click on link at bottom to download entire book in pdf format
The Hare Krsna Cookbook
1973 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Compiled by Krsna devi dasi and Sama devi dasi
“The Hare Krsna Cookbook”, originally published in 1973, was the first widely distributed book of vegetarian recipes, throughout the Movement. This was the book myself and many early devotees learned to cook from, and remains today my all time favorite cookbook, and is a constant companion in our kitchen. We offer the complete book on a PDF Format as a gift to all our readers this Holiday Season.
Prasadam means mercy, and this Prasadam Cookbook is dedicated to the fountainhead of all mercy, the spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is by nature kind to every living entity, but that ocean of mercy becomes fully visible in his devotees.
Srila Prabhupada has not given us some dry, canned philosophy to chew; he has given us the nectar for which we have sought so long: he has taught us how to render transcendental loving service to the Lord in all our daily activities. This book illustrates on of them.
The Process of Krsna Consciousness is usually described as one of dinging, dancing and feasting. We have already demonstrated to the world how anyone can sing and dance to the holy names of God, Hare Krsna, and now, with the publication of this Prasadam Cookbook, we hope that the whole world will feast in honor of the Supreme Lord. That will make this world like Vrndavana, the transcendental abode of Krsna, where Krsna, Balarama and the monkeys visit every kitchen with thieving intend and bless the devotees with pure love of God. (Dedication from The Hare Krsna Cookbook)
The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (SB. 3,25,21)
A sādhu, as described above, is a devotee of the Lord. His concern, therefore, is to enlighten people in devotional service to the Lord. That is his mercy. He knows that without devotional service to the Lord, human life is spoiled. A devotee travels all over the country, from door to door, preaching, “Be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Be a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Don’t spoil your life in simply fulfilling your animal propensities. Human life is meant for self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” These are the preachings of a sādhu. He is not satisfied with his own liberation. He always thinks about others. He is the most compassionate personality towards all the fallen souls. (from purport)