The Year Long Lunch

The Year-Long Lunch

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.”

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Animals and Innocent Creatures

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…

Full Text and Purport

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Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Songs of the Vaisnava Acharyas

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.

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Gita Jayanti; The Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-gita

Krishna and Arjuna

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.

click on links below:

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We Are Not Concerned with the Skin but with the Soul

Letters by Srila Prabhupada

Bombay, India

April 29, 1977


My Dear Charles, (Krishna Balarama das)

Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your very nice letter dated 18th April, 1977.

We are not concerned with the skin but with the soul. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

vidya-vinyaya-sampanne
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva svapake ca
panditah sama-darsinah
(BG 5.18)

“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).

So Krsna consciousness means not to make any distinctions of black or white, Christian or Muslim or Hindu, African, American or Indian. Krsna claims everyone as His son. This movement of Krsna consciousness is an attempt to enlighten the whole world on the spiritual platform. We are trying to do this. Please try to help us. By your letter, you appear to be a very intelligent young man. Try to understand this whole philosophy and work cooperatively with Brahmananda Swami to spread Krsna consciousness to all of your countrymen.

Your letter is so nice that I have asked that it be published in our Back to Godhead magazine. Thank you very much for your nice sentiments. I hope this meets you well.

Your ever well-wisher

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

The Hands of Man

A man who works with his hands is a laborer.

A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.

A man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

-Louis Nizer

My wife shared this quote with me she saw on Facebook. I have spent the morning thinking about it and drawing inspiration from it. It has aslo reminded me that the Supreme Artist is God (Krishna). The following is a lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given at an art gallery in Auckland in 1972

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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

Vegetarian Ethics

loving-mother-cow-and-calf1

I ran across the following article on the Sampradaya Sun the sometime ago, on Vegetarian Ethics. It is a very nice collection of quotes on the importance of a vegetarian diet, and a case against animal slaughter.

“Many people consider the ethical reasons the most important of all for becoming vegetarian. The beginning of ethical vegetarianism is the knowledge that other creatures have feelings, and that their feelings are similar to ours. This knowledge encourages one to extend personal awareness to encompass the suffering of others.” (The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking)

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”  (St. Francis of Assisi)

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