The Parampara System

Srila Prabhupada

..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)

Full letter

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Radha Damodara Traveling Sankirtan Party

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 jagojiv jagogauracanda 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”.

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In the Age of Kali

Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga

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.

Full Text and Purport

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The Glories of Maharaja Pariksit

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.

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Remembering Srila Prabhupada

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