Beyond Birth & Death

This morning as I was driving up our lane, I saw a hawk flying past me with a live squirrel in his talons. And I thought, ‘how fragile is this life’. One moment the squirrel was out collecting nuts to store in his home for the winter, and the next moment, he is being carried away to his sure death. I was reminded of the famous quote “Life takes Life”, and of how all of ours lives, hang in the balance.

There is another famous Quote from the Srimad Bhagavatam:

“Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was asked by Yamarāja, “What is the most wonderful thing in this world? Can you explain?” So Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira answered, “Yes. The most wonderful thing is that at every moment one can see that his friends, his fathers, and his relatives have died, but he is thinking, ‘I shall live forever.’”” (The Science of Self Realization)

This is the great illusion (maya)

So today I am moved to post another chapter from the book “Beyond Birth & Death” by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Chapter One entitled “We Are Not These Bodies”.

Also for a Free PDF download of entire book click the link at bottom of post.

Continue reading

Animal Rights

Animal-Rights

Animal Rights

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

Sri-Guru-Carana-Padma

Sri-Guru-Carana-Padma
by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, is performed here by Acyutananda dasa.

Today marks the disappearance of His Dive Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We honor it with a half day fast, prayers, memories, and the following song.

Sri-Guru-Carana-Padma
by Narottama dasa Thakura
From Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

śrī-guru-caraṇa-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,
bando muñi sāvadhāna mate
jāhāra prasāde bhāi, e bhava toriyā jāi,
kṛṣṇa-prāpti hoy jāhā ha’te

The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

Continue reading

Meditation Through Transcendental Sound

Journey of Self-Discovery
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 5, Yoga & Meditation

Meditation Through Transcendental Sound

Lecturing at Boston’s Northeastern University in the summer of 1969, Śrīla Prabhupāda introduces a meditation system renowned for its extraordinary power and the fact that it can be easily practiced almost anywhere and at any time. “If you take up this simple process,” he says, “chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare, you are immediately elevated to the transcendental platform.” He adds, “No other meditation is possible while you are walking on the street.”

My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for attending this meeting. We are spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because there is a great need of this consciousness throughout the world. And the process is very easy—that is the advantage.

Continue reading

Month of Damodara (Kartika)

Mother Yasoda & Krishna1

Today marks the begining of 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.

vishnujana swami

click on underlined link to listen

Sri Damordastaka sung by Vishnujana Swami

after clicking on above link you can return to page and sing along with the words listed below

Continue reading

Remembering Krishna

radharani_with_gopis_purva__original 1

click on image to enlarge

This morning as I was reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, my mind was drawn to the following verse:

The devotees of the Lord are accustomed to licking up the honey available from the lotus feet of the Lord. What is the use of topics which simply waste one’s valuable life? (SB 1.16.6)

Our duration of life is not very long, and there is no certainty of when we shall be ordered to leave everything for the next stage. Thus it is our duty to see that not a moment of our life is wasted in topics which are not related with Lord Kṛṣṇa. Any topic, however pleasant, is not worth hearing if it is devoid of its relation to Kṛṣṇa. (from purport)

Which lead me to remember another very beautiful verse from an earlier chapter entitled “The Passing Away of Bhīṣmadeva in the Presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa”

Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhāma [the gopīs]. The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord [after His disappearance from the rāsa dance].

Continue reading

The Hare Krishna Tree

Inscription on Plaque:

HARE KRISHNA TREE
Tompkins Square Park

One of Tompkins Square Park’s most prominent features is its collection of venerable American elm (Ulmus americana) trees. One elm in particular, located next to the semi-circular arrangement of benches in the park’s center, is important to adherents of the Hare Krishna religion. After coming to the United States in September, 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the Indian spiritual leader, founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in New York. He worked from a storefront on nearby Second Avenue that he used as the Society’s American headquarters. Prabhupada and his disciples gathered in Tompkins Square Park in the fall of 1966 to introduce the East Village to the group’s distinctive 16-word mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

On October 9, 1966, Prabhupada and his followers sat beneath this tree and held the first outdoor chanting session outside of India. Participants chanted for two hours as they danced and played cymbals, tambourines, and other percussive instruments; the event is recognized as the founding of the Hare Krishna religion in the United States. Prabhupada’s diverse group that day included Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997). Krishna adherents continue to return to the tree to acknowledge its significance.

American elm trees are known for their towering canopies, which provide abundant shade through spring, summer, and fall. It is rare today to find such a collection of American elms, since many of the mature elms planted across the country have been killed by Dutch Elm Disease. This incurable disease, a fungus carried by bark beetles ( Coleoptera Scolytidae) which colonize on the branches of the elm tree, swept across the United States in the 1930s and remains a threat to the park’s collection of elms. Despite having lost at least 34 of the trees, Tompkins Square Park still hosts a large assemblage of elms, which continue to this day to enchant park patrons. The East Village Parks Conservancy, a volunteer group, raises significant private funds for the ongoing care and maintenance of the American elms and other historic trees in Tompkins Square Park.

City Of New York
Parks and Recreation

Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor
Henry J. Stern, Commissioner

October 2001

Captain of the Ship of Lord Caitanya’s Mercy

We think we have met your goodness by the will of providence

by Visoka dasa

You are the eternal captain of the lotus ship of Lord Caitanya’s mercy. We were so fortunate that you picked us up from the ocean of maya and gave us shelter aboard your ship. This ship named Iskcon was plying smoothly through the treacherous waters of Kali-yuga, with your beautiful vapu and your eternal vani always there to help us weather the various storms of maya.

Dear Srila Prabhupada, all glories to you.

We think we have met your goodness by the will of providence just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali. (SB 1.1.23)

You are the eternal captain of the lotus ship of Lord Caitanya’s mercy. We were so fortunate that you picked us up from the ocean of maya and gave us shelter aboard your ship. This ship named “Iskcon” was plying smoothly through the treacherous waters of Kali-yuga, with your beautiful vapu and your eternal vani always there to help us weather the various storms of maya.

We held on for dear life to your dhoti and battened down the hatches, and although you warned us of the power of the ocean of maya, sometimes to our great sorrow, a mate would lose his grip and be swept off the deck into the waters, lost again to the sea. You said that we have declared war on maya, and sometimes there would be causalities.

Continue reading

Letters by Srila Prabhupada: Chanting, Dancing and Eating Krishna Prasadam

Back to Godhead - Volume 12, Number 0304 - 1977

click on image to enlarge

…”You write to me that you do not know what is my desire, but my desire is an open secret. I simply want all over the Western countries people may take this simple formula of chanting, dancing and eating Krishna Prasadam, and being happy. I am simply surprised that they should not accept this simple formula and be happy themselves. My only desire is that all people become happy and prosperous in Krishna Consciousness.”
(Srila Prabhupada letter, September 19, 1969)

Full Letter

Continue reading

Prasadam: Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and Food for God

Prasadam: Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and Food for God

by Kirtanananda Swami

Recipes contributed by Sridama das Brahmacari

from Back to Godhead Magazine Vol. 1, Number 32, 1970

Prasadam means food for the body, food for the soul and food for God. More specifically, it is food which has been sanctified by special selection and preparation and then offered to Krsna, God, in love and devotion. Cooking for God? How absurd that sounds to the sophisticates of this modern age! How anthropomorphic! Even most transcendentalists will smile a smile of condescension at the suggestion: cooking for God! But why not? We cook for every conceivable nonsensical purpose. Why not cook instead for the Lord? Why shouldn’t this most important and central activity of life be dedicated to the Supreme? Why not cook transcendentally?

Continue reading