Lord Balarama’s Appearance Day

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)

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Very Important History!

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:

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Arsha Prayoga – Part IV

This series of papers (in four parts) written by Locananda Prabhu, is amongst the most compelling of arguments, for not changing the books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. At the bottom of post are the links to the other parts of Arsha Prayoga, as well as links to other papers written on the subject of Book Changes.

Arsha Prayoga – Part IV
By Sriman Locanananda Prabhu

For those who saw the Hare Krishna movement spread from city to city and from country to country, it was clear that the original version of Srila Prabhupada’s books was full of spiritual potency and did not require to be changed in any way for his words to act upon the hearts of the conditioned souls.

The question as to whether the writings of the Acharya may or may not be revised by his disciples after his disappearance is answered by the rule of arsha-prayoga.

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Leave the Books Alone!

The following is a letter I read some years back by one of my God brothers; Bhagavat das. Very interesting account of the Importance of Srila Prabhupada’s books, and the need to have them remain in their original state. I am personally opposed to the changing of Srila Prabhupada’s books by the present editors of the BBTI.

Leave the books alone!
by Bhagavat das

My Dear Godbrothers and Godsisters:

Please accept my most humble obeisances! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I am very glad that we as disciples of Srila Prabhupada are finally doing something about this great offense to our Spiritual Master. I would like to tell three stories that are personal experiences of mine with Srila Prabhupada and his books. It is my earnest hope that these stories will once and for all lay to rest the controversy of anyone ever editing Srila Prabhupadas books.

The first story takes place in Mayapur where Srila Prabhupada was talking about why he came to the material world.

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Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Today marks the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu otherwise known as Gaura Purnima. We will honor it today with a fast till moonrise followed by a feast. The following post is a beautiful biography on Lord Caitanya, written by Stephen Knapp.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
by Stephen Knapp

      Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu [pronounced Chaitanya] (February 27,1486 to 1534 A.D.) was born in Navadvipa, Bengal, on a full moon night during a lunar eclipse. It is typical for people to bathe in the Ganges during an eclipse and chant the Lord’s holy names for spiritual purification. So, everyone in the area was chanting the holy names when He was born. His parents, Jagannatha Misra and Sachidevi, gave Him the name of Vishvambhara, meaning the support of the universe, because astrologers had predicted His super human qualities and that He would deliver the people of the world. He was also nicknamed Nimai because He had been born under a nima tree.

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Nitai-pada-kamala

Today we celebrate the Appearance day of Lord Sri Nityananda with a song composed by Narottama das Thakura entitled “Nitai-pada-kamala”, followed by a purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given January 31, 1969.

“If you are anxious to go back to home, back to Godhead, and become associate with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, then the best policy is to take shelter of Nityānanda.” (from purport to song)

Manaḥ-śikṣā (Nitāi-pada-kamala)
from Prārthanā by Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura

nitāi-pada-kamala, koṭi-candra-suśītala,
je chāyāy jagata jurāy
heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi,
dṛḍha kori’ dharo nitāir pāy

“The lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda are a shelter where one will get the soothing moonlight not only of one, but of millions of moons. If the world wants to have real peace, it should take shelter of Lord Nityānanda. Unless one takes shelter under the shade of the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda, it will be very difficult for him to approach Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. If one actually wants to enter into the dancing party of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, he must firmly catch hold of the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda.”

se sambandha nāhi jā’r, bṛthā janma gelo tā’r,
sei paśu boro durācār
nitāi nā bolilo mukhe, majilo saṁsāra-sukhe,
vidyā-kule ki koribe tār

“Anyone who has not established his relationship with Nityānanda Prabhu is understood to have spoiled his valuable human birth. Such a human being is actually an uncontrollable animal. Because he never uttered the holy name of Nityānanda, he has become merged into so-called material happiness. What can his useless education and family tradition do to help him?”

ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā,
asatyere satya kori māni
nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe,
dharo nitāi-caraṇa du’khāni

“Being maddened after false prestige and identification with the body, one is thinking, Oh, what is Nityānanda? What can He do for me? I don’t care. The result is that he is accepting something false to be truth. If you actually want to approach the association of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, you must first achieve the mercy of Lord Nityānanda. When He is merciful toward you, then you will be able to approach Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you should firmly grasp the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda.”

nitāiyer caraṇa satya, tāṅhāra sevaka nitya,
nitāi-pada sadā koro āśā
narottama boro dukhī, nitāi more koro sukhī,
rākho rāṅgā-caraṇera pāśa

“The lotus feet of Nityānanda are not illusion; they are a fact. One who engages in the transcendental loving service of Nityānanda is also transcendental. Always try to catch the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda. This Narottama dāsa is very unhappy, therefore I am praying to Lord Nityānanda to make me happy. My dear Lord, please keep me close to Your lotus feet.”

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“I have instructed everything in my books.”

Srila Prabhupada with books

“I have instructed everything in my books.”

Srila Prabhupada wrote and published over 80 volumes of spiritual literature which he considered to be his most important contribution. Despite the heavy demands of establishing and managing a worldwide movement, Srila Prabhupada never failed to rise early in the morning to perform his beloved writing work. He applied great devotion and care in translating the ancient Vedic literatures into English from the original Sanskrit and Bengali languages. He would then dictate his famous “Bhaktivedanta Purports,” further explaining the meaning of each verse and its relevance to the modern age. His books are highly acclaimed by scholars and students alike (see reviews below). They have been translated into more than 60 languages and have been sold in the hundreds of millions. TWe encourage everyone to take advantage of these timeless literatures which are so full of spiritual knowledge and potency.

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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)

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