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.
” Upon seeing His mothers whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, who is bound with His devotee’s love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Damodarastakam)
We are now in 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.
Following song lyrics is a link of Vishnujana Swami chanting the Damodara Prayers
Today we honor the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur with a half day fast, and songs composed by the great pioneer of Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan movement. The following is one of the many devotional songs written by Srila Bhaktivinode.
Gopinatha by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura translated from Bengali by Acyutananda Svami
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is one of the most important spiritual masters in the Krsna consciousness line of disciplic succession. His devotional songs and poems express the perfectional emotions of a pure devotee of Lord Krsna (Gopinatha).
O Gopinatha, Lord of the gopis, please hear my prayer. I am a materialistic rascal, always full of lust. I have no good qualifications.
O Gopinatha! You are my only resort. As Your eternal servant, I take shelter of Your lotus feet.
O Gopinatha! How can I uplift myself? I don’t know anything regarding devotional service. I am weak-minded and have fallen into a pit of illusion.
Today we honor the Appearance Day of Lord Nrsimha, with a full day fast, followed by an evening feast. To help remember and praise the Lord we have posted the “Sri Nrsimha Pranama” from the “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”. There is also a purport given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Śrī Nṛsiṁha Praṇāma Translation from the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas 1972 Edition
namas te narasiḿhāya prahlādāhlāda-dāyine hiraṇyakaśipor vakṣaḥ-śilā-ṭańka-nakhālaye
ito nṛsiḿhaḥ parato nṛsiḿho yato yato yāmi tato nṛsiḿhaḥ bahir nṛsiḿho hṛdaye nṛsiḿho nṛsiḿham ādiḿ śaraṇaḿ prapadye
“I offer my obeisances to Lord Nṛsiṁha -deva, who is always giving bliss to His devotees like Prahlada Maharaja and chiseling at the hearts of demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu. The devotee always sees Lord Nṛsiṁha everywhere. Lord Nṛsiṁha is within and without. Therefore let us take shelter of Lord Nrsimha.”
tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛṅgaṁ dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛṅgam keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare
“O my lord Nṛsiṁha-deva, Your hands are very beautiful, like the lotus flower, but with Your longs nails You have ripped apart the wasp Hiraṇyakaśipu. Unto You, Lord of the Universe, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Prayers to Lord Nṛsiṁha from Dasavatara by Jayadeva Gosvami)
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.
by Narottama dasa Thakura
From Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas
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.
Today we celebrate the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivonda Thakur, and we thought it fitting to make available the original songbook in honor of that great song writter and poet Bhaktivinoda Thakur.
It is with great pleasure that we share with you the Original 1974 Edition of the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas. This Song Book and The Hare Krishna Cookbook, were probably my two favorite books as a new devotee. They were so cherished that I had the pages laminated in plastic to preserve them.
One of the most used books in our temple room is the songbook. Everyday it seems, I am flipping through the “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”, singing one of the many songs or reciting some of the numerous pranams (prayers) as part of my daily sadhana. The following post is the first 13 pages of songbook, which in my mind is a nice way to start the day and is a good prelude to other devotional service.
The Happening Album: “Krishna Consciousness”
by Hansadutta Das on KRSNA Tunes
This is the first Hare Krishna record album, produced in 1966 by Alan Kallman in New York. Satsvarupa das Gosvami has written about it: First Hare Krsna Albums (posted at bottom). Mr. Kallman, a record producer, and his wife came to see Prabhupada at 26 Second Avenue one evening in 1966, and inspired by the joyous kirtan, suggested that Prabhupada and the devotees make a record. Continue reading →
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.