To all our followers of The Hare Krishna Movement, we wish you all a Happy month of Damodara (Kartik). We will be gone for the month so there will not be any new posts until end of November. But feel free to explore this site and visit our other site which we have archived many articles and posts.
I met Vishnujana Swami off and on from 1970 to 1976. From the first time I met him to the last, he was always the same, always on a mission, and he was unstoppable. I believe he found his relationship with Krishna in his brief time here on Earth as Srila Prabhupada’s dear disciple. He came to Portland, Oregon temple in 1971 or ’72 I believe, and gave a lecture that put me into a sort of trance that I think I never recovered from. Then he did it again in Los Angeles, and again in New York when I saw him there. So each time I was more inspired to go out on harinamwith him and his traveling group of devotees and experience the real thing, the nectar of the holy name in congregational chanting. Anyone who knew him can tell you that he was created for Harinam Sankirtan. His kirtans set a precedent for full-speed-ahead, lose-yourself-totally-in-the-sound-vibration kirtans. When he danced and sometimes ran with the mridanga in his arms chanting till his voice was cracking, like he was crying out to Krishna, and sweating, and losing contact with the world around him, I would say it affected everyone in an emotional way that would make them also transcend the world around them and transport them into spiritual bliss. He was contagious. The milder side of his nature was deep and mysterious, thoughtful and intelligent. His lectures poured out like some kind of hypnotic river of perfectly timed overflow of nectar. And to this day I have not heard anyone ever preach like that.
” Upon seeing His mothers whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, who is bound with His devotee’s love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Damodarastakam)
We are now in the month of Damodara (Kartika). In honor and in celebration of the month of Damodara, we will be focusing our attention on the pastimes of Krishna in Vrndavan. Especially Krishna’s childhood pastimes. The following song is sung morning and evening and it is customary to offer a candle or gee lamp as well to a picture of Lord Krsna and Mother Yasoda.
Following song lyrics is a link of Vishnujana Swami chanting the Damodara Prayers
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).“
So Krsna consciousness means not to make any distinctions of black or white, Christian or Muslim or Hindu, African, American or Indian. Krsna claims everyone as His son. This movement of Krsna consciousness is an attempt to enlighten the whole world on the spiritual platform. We are trying to do this. Please try to help us. By your letter, you appear to be a very intelligent young man. Try to understand this whole philosophy and work cooperatively with Brahmananda Swami to spread Krsna consciousness to all of your countrymen.
Your letter is so nice that I have asked that it be published in our Back to Godhead magazine. Thank you very much for your nice sentiments. I hope this meets you well.
A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.
A man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.
My wife shared this quote with me she saw on Facebook. I have spent the morning thinking about it and drawing inspiration from it. It has aslo reminded me that the Supreme Artist is God (Krishna). The following is a lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given at an art gallery in Auckland in 1972
..Regarding parampara system: there is nothing to wonder for big gaps. Just like we belong to the Brahma Sampradaya, so we accept it from Krishna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhva, and between Vyasadeva and Madhva there is a big gap. But it is sometimes said that Vyasadeva is still living, and Madhva was fortunate enough to meet him directly. In a similar way, we find in the Bhagavad-gita that the Gita was taught to the sungod, some millions of years ago, but Krishna has mentioned only three names in this parampara system—namely, Vivasvan, Manu, and Iksvaku; and so these gaps do not hamper from understanding the parampara system. We have to pick up the prominent acaryas, and follow from him. There are many branches also from the parampara system, and it is not possible to record all the branches and sub-branches in the disciplic succession. We have to pick up from the authority of the acharya in whatever sampradaya we belong to.(from letter to Dayananda: April 12, 1968)
My good friend over at the Prabhupada Connection recently posted an article I had written some years ago. Seeing it again inspired me to post it here as well. Many thanks to Padmapani Prabhu for his years of dedicated service to Srila Prabhupada and the community of devotees.
Radha Damodara Traveling Sankirtan Party
by Vyasasan das
First let me begin by offering my respectful obesiences to all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord, who are so merciful to the fallen conditioned souls that they put themselves in perilous and austere conditions of life voluntarily, in order to help others. And as always, let me offer my most humble obeisances to my beloved spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, haven taken shelter at his Lotus feet.
I had the great fortune to be a part of the Historic RDTSKP in the years 1975-1976. What great and extraordinary personalities did I encounter in that time of my life. There was the legendary Vishnujana Swami who could bring the Hare Krishna revelers to a state of ecstasy with his vibrant and enthusiastic chanting. And his speaking was like honey dripping from the vine, so sweet and relishable. Then there was the remarkable Jayananda Thakur, so devoted to Srila Prabhupada’s mission that most of us never saw him sleeping. He woke me in the morning by touching my feet or shaking my leg and shouting jiv jago, jiv jago, gauracanda bole, “wake up sleeping soul, wake up sleeping soul, Lord Gauranga is calling! How long will you sleep in the lap of the witch called Maya?” Jayananda taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada by his enthusiastic and never ending service. Whether he was taking out the trash, or making 500 Simply Wonderful sweet balls for the festival, he was caught up in a world of joy and devotion. And of course there was Tamal Krishna Goswami, so powerful a personality, you just couldn’t ‘say no to Tamal’. And my dear friend ‘the rascal’ Gurudas Swami, who tricked me into shaving up and traveling on the bus for the next year by promising to introduce me to George Harrison “the Beatle”. But I love him dearly because through his cunning trickery, I instead got to meet His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. And Gurudas was a gifted storyteller, and could entertain devotees and guests alike for hours with his gifts of “Prabhupada Katha”.
O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed. (SB 1.1.10)
This morning as I was reading from the Srimad Bhagavam, and Srila Prabhupada was describing the symptoms of this age.
…In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits. By keeping regular habits and eating simple food, any man can maintain his health. Overeating, over-sense gratification, overdependence on another’s mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy. Therefore the duration of life is shortened.
The people of this age are also very lazy, not only materially but in the matter of self-realization.
In this age, men are victims not only of different political creeds and parties, but also of many different types of sense-gratificatory diversions, such as cinemas, sports, gambling, clubs, mundane libraries, bad association, smoking, drinking, cheating, pilfering, bickerings, and so on. Their minds are always disturbed and full of anxieties due to so many different engagements… In the Kali-yuga the whole atmosphere is surcharged with faithlessness. Men are no longer interested in spiritual values. Material sense gratification is now the standard of civilization.
Although it is indeed a difficult age to live in, still there is a solution. In this First Chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam;
…The sages of Naimiṣāraṇya are anxious to disentangle all fallen souls, and here they are seeking the remedy from Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī.
This morning I was reading about Maharaja Pariksit and of his qualities and position in life. He was in a position to enjoy life to the fullest extent,then why should he give up all these favorable circumstances and sit down on the bank of the Ganges, fasting till death? This is astonishing, and therefore all were eager to know the cause. He gave up everything to hear Sriman Bhagavatam from the lips of the pure devotee.
He was a great emperor and possessed all the opulences of his acquired kingdom. He was so exalted that he was increasing the prestige of the Pāṇḍu dynasty. Why did he give up everything to sit down on the bank of the Ganges and fast until death?
…There was nothing undesirable in his life. He was quite a young man and could enjoy life with power and opulence. So there was no question of retiring from active life. There was no difficulty in collecting the state taxes because he was so powerful and chivalrous that even his enemies would come to him and bow down at his feet and surrender all wealth for their own benefit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a pious king. He conquered his enemies, and therefore the kingdom was full of prosperity. There was enough milk, grains and metals, and all the rivers and mountains were full of potency. So materially everything was satisfactory. Therefore, there was no question of untimely giving up his kingdom and life. The sages were eager to hear about all this.
Last week a friend of mine shared this photo with me. It was a picture I had never seen before, one taken a long time ago in Potomac Maryland, 1976. This was the first time I ever met His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
I was told that I could go on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada, so I tagged along. I remember the morning very clearly. I never took my eyes of Srila Prabhupada the entire time I was in his presence. I don’t remember a thing he said because I was just so in awe of his person.
Seeing him reminded me of a book I read before I joined the Hare Krishna Movement, “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse. When young Siddhartha meet the illustrious Gautama Buddha and could recognize by his every movement and gesture that this was an enlightened being, so was my impression of Srila Prabhupada on that morning walk.
My insignificant self is looking over his shoulder, on the right in this picture. -Vyasasan das