My dear friend and senior Godbrother, Gurudas Prabhu was well know for his photography. We are going to include from this site, some posts revealing his artistry. Also are a few taken with his camera of him with Srila Prabhupada, most likely taken by Yamuna devi dasi.
Today marks the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu otherwise known as Gaura Purnima. We will honor it today with a fast till moonrise followed by a feast. The following post is a beautiful biography on Lord Caitanya, written by Stephen Knapp.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
by Stephen Knapp
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu [pronounced Chaitanya] (February 27,1486 to 1534 A.D.) was born in Navadvipa, Bengal, on a full moon night during a lunar eclipse. It is typical for people to bathe in the Ganges during an eclipse and chant the Lord’s holy names for spiritual purification. So, everyone in the area was chanting the holy names when He was born. His parents, Jagannatha Misra and Sachidevi, gave Him the name of Vishvambhara, meaning the support of the universe, because astrologers had predicted His super human qualities and that He would deliver the people of the world. He was also nicknamed Nimai because He had been born under a nima tree.
Today we celebrate the Appearance day of Lord Sri Nityananda with a song composed by Narottama das Thakura entitled “Nitai-pada-kamala”, followed by a purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given January 31, 1969.
“If you are anxious to go back to home, back to Godhead, and become associate with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, then the best policy is to take shelter of Nityānanda.” (from purport to song)
from Prārthanā by Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura
je chāyāy jagata jurāy
heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi,
dṛḍha kori’ dharo nitāir pāy
“The lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda are a shelter where one will get the soothing moonlight not only of one, but of millions of moons. If the world wants to have real peace, it should take shelter of Lord Nityānanda. Unless one takes shelter under the shade of the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda, it will be very difficult for him to approach Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. If one actually wants to enter into the dancing party of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, he must firmly catch hold of the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda.”
se sambandha nāhi jā’r, bṛthā janma gelo tā’r,
sei paśu boro durācār
nitāi nā bolilo mukhe, majilo saṁsāra-sukhe,
vidyā-kule ki koribe tār
“Anyone who has not established his relationship with Nityānanda Prabhu is understood to have spoiled his valuable human birth. Such a human being is actually an uncontrollable animal. Because he never uttered the holy name of Nityānanda, he has become merged into so-called material happiness. What can his useless education and family tradition do to help him?”
ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā,
asatyere satya kori māni
nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe,
dharo nitāi-caraṇa du’khāni
“Being maddened after false prestige and identification with the body, one is thinking, Oh, what is Nityānanda? What can He do for me? I don’t care. The result is that he is accepting something false to be truth. If you actually want to approach the association of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, you must first achieve the mercy of Lord Nityānanda. When He is merciful toward you, then you will be able to approach Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you should firmly grasp the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda.”
nitāiyer caraṇa satya, tāṅhāra sevaka nitya,
nitāi-pada sadā koro āśā
narottama boro dukhī, nitāi more koro sukhī,
rākho rāṅgā-caraṇera pāśa
“The lotus feet of Nityānanda are not illusion; they are a fact. One who engages in the transcendental loving service of Nityānanda is also transcendental. Always try to catch the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda. This Narottama dāsa is very unhappy, therefore I am praying to Lord Nityānanda to make me happy. My dear Lord, please keep me close to Your lotus feet.”
“I have instructed everything in my books.”
Srila Prabhupada wrote and published over 80 volumes of spiritual literature which he considered to be his most important contribution. Despite the heavy demands of establishing and managing a worldwide movement, Srila Prabhupada never failed to rise early in the morning to perform his beloved writing work. He applied great devotion and care in translating the ancient Vedic literatures into English from the original Sanskrit and Bengali languages. He would then dictate his famous “Bhaktivedanta Purports,” further explaining the meaning of each verse and its relevance to the modern age. His books are highly acclaimed by scholars and students alike (see reviews below). They have been translated into more than 60 languages and have been sold in the hundreds of millions. TWe encourage everyone to take advantage of these timeless literatures which are so full of spiritual knowledge and potency.
This morning I was reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam:
…Any living being, if he terrifies other living beings, is a most wretched subject, and the king should at once kill such a disturbing element. As the wild animal is killed when it creates disturbances, similarly any man who unnecessarily kills or terrifies the jungle animals or other animals must be punished at once. By the law of the Supreme Lord, all living beings, in whatever shape they may be, are the sons of the Lord, and no one has any right to kill another animal, unless it is so ordered by the codes of natural law. The tiger can kill a lower animal for his subsistence, but a man cannot kill an animal for his subsistence. That is the law of God, who has created the law that a living being subsists by eating another living being. Thus the vegetarians are also living by eating other living beings. Therefore, the law is that one should live only by eating specific living beings, as ordained by the law of God. The Īśopaniṣad directs that one should live by the direction of the Lord and not at one’s sweet will. A man can subsist on varieties of grains, fruits and milk ordained by God, and there is no need of animal food, save and except in particular cases. (from purport SB 1.17.10-11)
Full text and purport Continue reading
click on image to enlarge
Whenever I get nostalgic for the ‘old days’ of the Hare Krishna Movement, I re-examine the old Back to Godhead Magazines. There are a number of very good web sites where one can re-visit the whole collection of Back to Godhead Magazines. We will share with you all, some of these amazing sites.
http://btg.iskcondesiretree.com/ This is my personal favorite. All the text and images from back issues are available.
http://www.backtogodhead.in/ This is the official Krishna.com site
http://back2godhead.com/ This site is an off shoot of the Krishna.org site
http://www.prabhupada-books.de/btg-magazin.html This site offers the reader to read them in either English or German
http://www.krishnapath.org/free-ebooks-audiobooks-of-srila-prabhupada/back-to-godhead-magazine-in-pdf/ This offering is from Krishnapath.org
http://theharekrishnamovement.org/category/back-to-godhead-2/ And this one is, of course, my other site.
There are many ways to enjoy or research the back issues of Back to Godhead Magazine. We hope you will take advantage of all the work done by these various web masters, allowing us to take advantage of this most beautiful gift by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
click on image to enlarge
In the modern age Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by practical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through the medium of Śrī Caitanya’s causeless mercy. Therefore a short sketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the real merit of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
It is imperative that one learn the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the person Bhāgavatam. The person Bhāgavatam is one whose very life is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in practice. Since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavān and Bhāgavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happened to take their birth in India.
Ran across this fine devotee cookbook on the Sampradaya Sun sometime back, and thought we should share it with our readers. The recipes did in fact remind us of the early “love feasts”, and devotee diet in the early days of the Hare Krishna Movement. Very Nice!
The following cookbook manuscript, which contains a wonderful collection of vintage Hare Krsna recipes, was reproduced from an old photocopy. While the manuscript doesn’t bear the author’s name, we’re told that it was likely compiled in the early 1970’s by Revatinanda dasa.
1970’s Devotee Cookbook
“This is a very limited presentation of recipes for prasadam offerings that I have become practiced in preparing over the last few years. The ingredients and basic techniques used in the preparations are according to parampara tradition. Whether the details are as Srila Prabhupada would have exactly instructed, I do not know, but I have experienced on many occasions that He has been pleased by some of these exact preparations. Also I have experienced that devotees especially, and usually karmies (non-devotees) as well, are very much attracted by my preparations. For these reasons – to increase the attractiveness of our offerings to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, and to increase the satisfaction of both the devotees and karmies with the prasadam they take to purify their existence – I have prepared this small cook-book. It is simply an offering of one devotee’s experience in the matter of prasadam preparation.
The verses 30 and 32 from the Brahma-samita are sung in the morning Srngara Arati in all ISKCON temples, while the first track of the 1970 album “Radha Krsna Temple” is played. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed this track very much and was so moved that he said that this track will play at all ISKCON temples for the Srngara Arati. As a result, no one ever leads kirtan for this song, as it is played through that track.
The Radha Krsna Temple Album
Sung by Yamuna devi
Produced by George Harrison
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalāyatāksam-
govindam ādi-purusam tam aham bhajāmi
veṇum—the flute; kvaṇantam—playing; aravinda-dala—(like) lotus petals; āyata—blooming; akṣam—whose eyes; barha—a peacock’s feather; avataṁsam—whose ornament on the head; asita-ambuda—(tinged with the hue of) blue clouds; sundara—beautiful; aṅgam—whose figure; kandarpa—of Cupids; koṭi—millions; kamanīya—charming; viśeṣa—unique; śobham—whose loveliness; govindam—Govinda; ādi-puruṣam—the original person; tam—Him; aham—I; bhajāmi—worship.
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock’s feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids.
angāni yasya sakalendriya-vrtti-manti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciram jaganti
govindam ādi-purusam tam aham bhajāmi
aṅgāni—the limbs; yasya—of whom; sakala-indriya—of all the organs; vṛtti-manti—possessing the functions; paśyanti—see; pānti—maintain; kalayanti—manifest; ciram—eternally,; jaganti—the universes; ānanda—bliss; cit—truth; maya—full of; sat—substantiality; ujjvala—full of dazzling splendor; vigrahasya—whose form; govindam—Govinda; ādi-puruṣam—the original person; tam—Him; aham—I; bhajāmi—worship.
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.
Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas
Hymns and mantras composed for the glorification of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna
Of all the books in my library, this is perhaps my single most favorite. I have always taken great pleasure in learning and singing these beautiful songs.
We share with you a free PDF download of this very special book. Please click on the following link to view or save to your computer;
Published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) in 1974