Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1977, Vol. 12, # 1
“Dear friends,” said Lord Krsna to the other cowherd boys, “Look at this wonderful place!” He’d brought them to the sun-dappled bank of the Yamuna River, after an adventurous morning in the pastures outside Vrndavana town. “This is an ideal place to eat our lunch. Afterward, we can play on the soft, sandy river bank.”
Krsna turned to the sparkling river and glorified its beauty. “See those lotus flowers in the water, their petals opened wide; and smell their fragrance drifting all around us. And listen—nearby in the trees the peacocks are calling out to one another, and their calls are mingling with the songs of other birds and the whispers of the leaves. This is clearly the best place for us to have our lunch. The calves can stay close to us, drink water from the Yamuna, and graze on the tasty grass.”
This morning I was out in the snow, feeding a little extra birdseed to my many feathered friends. But in addition to birds and ducks, the birdseed, sunflower seeds, ground corn and kitchen scraps also attract the deer, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. I enjoy watching all of this activity from my kitchen window.
I remembered this verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam;
One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals. (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.9)
In the purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada begins to explain how we should treat the animals.
One who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness understands that there is no difference between the animals and the innocent children in one’s home. Even in ordinary life, it is our practical experience that a household dog or cat is regarded on the same level as one’s children, without any envy…
If I had to pick one book that inspired me the most throughout my devotional life, I guess I would have to say it is “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”. I recently went to open it the other day, and it fell open to the Introduction. I took a moment to re-read it. We share it with you here today.
Introduction by Acyutananda Swami
It was my good fortune to be in the service of Srila Prabhupada at Sri Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, in setting up the groundwork of our Society’s international center there. That year (1971) there was a terrible flood, but although for many days the water was rising, it was diverted from floodinging the Society’s property solely due to the embankment created by a road constructed by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our Parama Guru Maharaja. I wrote a letter to His Divine Grace explaining the situation and I mentioned, “The water has not entered our property. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s road has saved us.” Srila Prabhupada, however, wrote back in answer in a different tone: “Yes”, we are always saved by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s road, so go on glorifying the disciplic succession, and your life will be a great success.” Later on, when I suggested writing down the songs of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Narottama Dasa Thakura in English translations, His Divine Grace said, “Yes, we must push on this mission of Bhaktivinoda.” So here in this book, which is the first of a series of translations of the complete works of the Vaisnava acaryas in the line of succession coming after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I have also included a short life sketch of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. In the following volumes, the lives of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, and other Vaisnava acaryas will appear.
Vrndavan is a transcendental beautiful place. It is the spiritual sky, where everything is made of touchstone, which fulfills all desires. All the temples there are bedcked with costly jewels, In that far distant place is the River Yamuna, which is full of lotus flowers, In the midst of that throng of lotus flowers there is a golden boat, appearing like another big lotus flower, with eight petals, who are none but the eight chief gopis who always surround Radha and Krishna, In the surrounding petals there is a golden throne where the two transcendental lovers, namely Radha and Krishna are seated, but of all of them the governing Deity is Srimati Radharani. There is no comparison to Radharani’s beauty and the luster of Her transcendental body. The so-called beauty of the moon has fallen on the ground in the presence of Radharani’s beauty. In that assembly of Radha-Krishna and their principal associates there is a flood of laughing and joking as they address one another. Narottama das says that the eternal pastimes of Radha-Krishna from day to day are full of transcendental pleasure, Let us all remember them now and then and thus become happy even in this material world.
As is the case on most holidays, I spend the morning in the kitchen learning a new recipe, or preparing an old favorite, to offer the Lord.
This morning my wife suggested I prepare sandesh which is a Bengali Sweet favored by Srila Prabhupada, and one I have enjoyed many times (although I have never personally prepared myself). I have made up a fresh batch of panner (cheese curd) yesterday so will experiment today with this sandesh recipe from the Hare Krishna Cookbook.
Sandesh is a dessert, originating from the Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, created with milk and sugar. Some recipes of Sandesh call for the use of paneer (curd) instead of milk, which is how I will prepare it, as I have a fresh batch of paneer I made last night.
…The unmanifested forces of time are so powerful that they reduce all matter to oblivion in due course. In Kali-yuga, the last millennium of a round of four millenniums, the power of all material objects deteriorates by the influence of time. In this age the duration of the material body of the people in general is much reduced, and so is the memory.
The great sage Vyāsadeva could see this by his transcendental vision. As an astrologer can see the future fate of a man, or an astronomer can foretell the solar and lunar eclipses, those liberated souls who can see through the scriptures can foretell the future of all mankind. They can see this due to their sharp vision of spiritual attainment. (from purport to SB 1.4.17-18)
Happy New Year to one and all. Hopefully this coming year will bring with it an end to the pandemic that is afflicting the entire world, and end to hunger, poverty, racism, injustice, animal cruelty and slaughter. I know it is wishful thinking, and that it will not happen without the people of this world adopting a higher consciousness and a less harmful lifestyle, but still on this new years day I am hopeful. Best wishes, chant and be happy.
So today is The Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-gita; Gita Jayanti. It is celebrated on the Ekadasi, 11th day of the waxing moon of Margashirsha month (November-December). It just so happens that today is also Christmas day. So Merry Christmas to all.
In honor of this day we present the Complete 1972 Edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in the PDF format for you to read or save to your computer. Also we include a link to our other page Prabhupadagita Where you can read the entire book online a chapter at a time with the original illustrations.
The following article compiled by Ananda devi dasi, has always been one of my favorites. She has captured the essence of the relationship between the disciple and spiritual master in a very scholarly or academic way.
Vani Seva by Ananda devi dasi May 12 2009, UK
In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.47 we read: “The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.”
Srila Prabhupada makes it crystal clear that after the disappearance of the Spiritual Master, the disciple follows the instructions of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master left His instructions in the form of Books, verbal instructions, letters, tapes, videos, all these are instructions from the Spiritual Master,Vani.
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.