Today marks the Appearance of Lord Vamanadeva. We have posted the summaries of the 18th – 22nd chapters from the eight canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which briefly describes the pastimes of Lord Vamanadeva and Bali Maharaja.
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Canto Eight, Chapter 18-22, Summaries
Lord Vāmanadeva, the Dwarf Incarnation
This chapter describes how Lord Vāmanadeva appeared and how He went to the sacrificial arena of Mahārāja Bali, who received Him well and fulfilled His desire by offering Him benedictions.
Full chapter summaries; Continue reading
In honor of the appearance of Srimati Radharani, we will observe a 1/2 day fast, discussions on the glories of Radharani, followed by a feast. Today we are posting a very beautiful song composed by Srila Rupa Goswami entitled “Radhika Stava”, with both the English and Sanskrit translations.
Radhika Stava: the Glory of Srimati Radharani
by Srila Rupa Goswami
Glories, Glories to Sri Radharani, the beloved of Madhava and most worshipable of the the cowherd girls of Gokula Mandala!
Decorated by the dress of Lord Damodara’s increasing ecstasy, You are the lady of the house of Lord Hari and the groves of Vrndavana.
From the ocean of Vrsabhanu has arisen a new moon which is overwhelming the qualities of Lalita and Visakha.
O Goddess, Your qualities are described by Sanaka and Sanatana Rsis and by Sanatana Goswami. Please bestow your mercy upon me.
Full song in Sanskrit Continue reading
Joyous Celebration at Krishna’s Birth
Today we celebrate the birth of Lord Krsna, or Krishna Janmastami, with a full day fast and a feast after his appearance at Midnight tonight. We honor this auspicious day with a post from the Krsna Book.
The joyous vibrations at Krsna’s birth ceremony could be heard in all the pasturing grounds and houses.
KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5, Meeting of Nanda and Vasudeva
Although Kṛṣṇa was the real son of Vasudeva and Devakī, because of Kaṁsa’s atrocious activities Vasudeva could not enjoy the birth ceremony of his son. But Nanda Mahārāja, the foster father, celebrated the birth ceremony of Kṛṣṇa very joyfully. The next day, it was declared that a male child was born of Yaśodā. According to Vedic custom, Nanda Mahārāja called for learned astrologers and brāhmaṇas to perform the birth ceremony. After the birth of a child, the astrologers calculate the moment of the birth and make a horoscope of the child’s future life. Another ceremony takes place after the birth of the child: the family members take baths, cleanse themselves and decorate themselves with ornaments and garlands; then they come before the child and the astrologer to hear of the future life of the child. Nanda Mahārāja and other members of the family dressed and sat down in front of the birthplace. All the brāhmaṇas who were assembled there on this occasion chanted auspicious mantras, according to the rituals, while the astrologers performed the birth ceremony. All the demigods are also worshiped on this occasion, as well as the forefathers of the family. Nanda Mahārāja distributed 200,000 well decorated, dressed and ornamented cows to the brāhmaṇas. He not only gave cows in charity, but hills of grains, decorated with golden-bordered garments and many ornaments.
The transcendental Scent of Kṛṣṇa’s Body
excerpted from; Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
…Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī expressed to Her gopī friends how She hankers for the transcendental scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recited that same verse and made its meaning clear.
” ‘The scent of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body surpasses the aroma of musk and attracts the minds of all women. The eight lotus like parts of His body distribute the fragrance of lotuses mixed with that of camphor. His body is anointed with aromatic substances like musk, camphor, sandalwood and aguru. O My dear friend, that Personality of Godhead, also known as the enchanter of Cupid, always increases the desire of My nostrils.’
“The scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body surpasses the fragrances of musk and the bluish lotus flower. Spreading throughout the fourteen worlds, it attracts everyone and makes the eyes of all women blind.
“My dear friend, the scent of Kṛṣṇa’s body enchants the entire world. It especially enters the nostrils of women and remains seated there. Thus it captures them and forcibly brings them to Kṛṣṇa.
“Kṛṣṇa’s eyes, navel and face, hands and feet are like eight lotus flowers on His body. From those eight lotuses emanates a fragrance like a mixture of camphor and lotus. That is the scent associated with His body.
“When sandalwood pulp with aguru, kuṅkuma and musk is mixed with camphor and spread on Kṛṣṇa’s body, it combines with Kṛṣṇa’s own original bodily perfume and seems to cover it.
Srila Prabhupada’s Trancendental Qualities
by Ajitananda dasa
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who successfully distributed the message of Lord Krsna throughout the world, was not an ordinary conditioned soul, governed by the harsh laws of material nature. Although to the unenlightened he may have appeared to exhibit commonplace characteristics, it is evident through the careful study of his life and activities, that Srila Prabhupada perfectly displayed the twenty-six qualities of a pure devotee of Lord Krsna. We learn from Vedic literature that one who possesses these qualities is necessarily free from material bondage, and enjoys an eternal position in the intimate association of the Supreme Lord. Such a great soul is very rarely found within this material realm, and owing to his unparalleled purity and exalted status, he is worshipable by the entire world. Individually, and as a collective society of aspiring devotees, we must always strive to appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s divine qualities, teach this application to others, and perform all of our devotional activities for his satisfaction. This treatise is an imperfect but hopeful attempt to please Srila Prabhupada by illustrating, in a practical way, how he perfectly displayed the twenty-six qualities of a pure devotee of Lord Krsna.
This is the list of 108 of the most important slokas from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 Macmillan Edition) by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The index to these verses was taken from the Bhakti-sastri Study Guide compiled by Atmatattva dasa as used by the Bhaktivedanta Academy in Mayapur. [*Note for this collection of slokas, we are using the Original Translations rather than the later re-vised Translations. These were the Translations that Srila Prabhupada approved and which were memorized by heart, by all of the early disciples of His Divine Grace.]
These are important verses for memorizing. Srila Prabhupada has said, that when you quote a verse, your argument becomes authoritative. -Vyasasana dasa
One of the most used books in our temple room is the songbook. Everyday it seems, I am flipping through the “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”, singing one of the many songs or reciting some of the numerous pranams (prayers) as part of my daily sadhana. The following post is the first 13 pages of songbook, which in my mind is a nice way to start the day and is a good prelude to other devotional service.
from the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas
SRI GURU PRANAMA
om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
om-address; ajnana-of ignorance; timira-by the darkness; andhasya-of one who was blinded; jnana-anjana-by the ointment of spiritual knowledge; salakaya-by a medical instrument called a salaka, which is used to apply medical ointment to eyes afflicted with cataracts: caksuh-eyes; unmilitam-were opened; yena-by whom; tasmai-unto him; sri-gurave-unto my spiritual master; namah-obeisances.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.
Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day
Today marks the auspicious appearance of Lord Balaram. We honor it with a half day fast and celebration.
Lord Balarama is Krishna’s elder brother and His appearance day takes place on the full moon day (purnima), two weeks before Krishna Janmashtami. Krishna and Balarama were the darlings of Vrindavan/ Vraja. Together They would spend the day enjoying the company of the cowherd boys in the forests of Vraja. Their wonderful pastimes are related in the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which Srila Prabhupada also translated as The Krishna Book. Lord Balarama is also considered the original spiritual master and His worship is therefore most important for Vaishnavas.
Lord Balarāma has two weapons, a plow and a club, from which He takes service when they are required.
(from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 65 Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana)
…In the Upaniṣads it is stated, nāyam ātmā bala-hīnena labhyaḥ. The purport is that one cannot attain the supreme platform of self-realization without being sufficiently favored by Balarāma. Bala does not mean physical strength. No one can attain spiritual perfection by physical strength. One must have the spiritual strength which is infused by Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa. Ananta, or Śeṣa, is the source of the power which sustains all the planets in their different positions. Materially this sustaining power is known as the law of gravitation, but actually it is a display of the potency of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa, is the source of spiritual power, or the original spiritual master. Therefore Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, who is also the incarnation of Balarāma, is the original spiritual master. And the spiritual master is the representative of Balarāma, the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who supplies spiritual strength. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is confirmed that the spiritual master is the manifestation of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. (from Kṛṣṇa Book Chapter 2: Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)
This is the last written instruction we have on initiations. It is a very important letter that all members of ISKCON should be familiar with, regardless of your position. It was adressed to All G.B.C., and Temple Presidents. This is where the first eleven names originated, and how initiations were to be carried out. This letter was based on the equally important May 28th Conversation between the GBC and Srila Prabhupada, as regards to how initiations in the future, will go on, particularly at that time when Srila Prabhupada is no longer with us.
It is essential for devotees to understand that all ISKCON members are first and foremost followers of Srila Prabhupada and that it is by his blessings that we advance in Krishna consciousness. The eternal spiritual master is a resident of Vaikuntha and is our ever well-wisher. It is he who is preparing a place for us in the spiritual world.
Very important history!
The full text is as follows: