Month of Damodara: Kartik

Yesterday was the start of the month of Damodara, or as it is otherwise known, the month of Kartik.

Kartik, or the month of Damodar, is considered the best of months and is most auspicious for spiritual advancement. In the Skanda Purana it is stated:

“As Satya-yuga is the best of yugas, as the Vedas are the best of scriptures, as Ganga is the best of rivers, so Kartik is the best of months, the most dear to Lord Sri Krishna.”.

Also in the Skanda Purana it is stated:

“A person who offers a ghee lamp to Lord Krishna during Kartik burns away a collection of sins as big as Mt. Meru or Mt. Mandara, will not take birth again in this world and attains to the eternal spiritual realm where there is no suffering. Even if there are no mantras, no piety, and no purity, everything becomes perfect by such an offering.”

The Padma Purana describes the month of Kartik as Krishna’s favorite month. Devotional activities performed during this holy month are rewarded with greater spiritual results than usual so devotees often take vows to increase their spiritual practices or to simplify their material needs for the entire month. It is a way that they can remember Krishna more and increase their service to Him.

We sing the following song morning and evening and offer a ghee lamp.

Sri Damodarastakam
By Sri Satyavrata Muni
From the original 1974 “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas” songbook

This eight sloka prayer is sung morning and evening during the month of Damodara, which begins Friday Oct. 19, 2013

namāmīśvaraḿ sac-cid-ānanda-rūpaḿ
lasat-kuṇḍalaḿ gokule bhrājamanam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānaḿ
parāmṛṣṭam atyantato drutya gopyā

1) To the supreme controller who possesses an eternal form of blissful knowledge, whose glistening earrings swing to and fro, who manifested Himself in Gokula, who stole the butter that the gopis kept hanging from the rafters of their storerooms and who then quickly jumped up and ran in retreat in fear of Mother Yasoda, but was ultimately caught-to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

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Nam Hatta: The Onus is On You

Nam Hatta: The Onus is On You

by Hansadutta dasa

In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter Seven, Lord Chaitanya’s method of preaching and Prabhupada’s comments regarding the process of preaching Lord Chaitanya practiced while traveling throughout South India (a period of about two years) are very necessary for all devotees to study and understand clearly.

Because of the circumstances under which most of Prabhupada’s early disciples joined the movement, a widespread misunderstanding has become a great obstacle for people in general to accept and practice Krishna consciousness in a realistic and progressive way under all circumstances. That misunderstanding is that a serious candidate for accepting and advancing in Krishna consciousness must abandon his worldly environment and responsibilities to join a temple ashram and live a communal or communistic life style under the rigid authority of an ISKCON GBC or guru. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we can plainly understand from the following descriptions of Lord Chaitanya’s preaching method and Prabhupada’s purports, which clearly support and obviously encourage the process introduced by Lord Chaitanya in His dealing with the Kurma brahmana and everyone He encountered throughout His two years of traveling and preaching in South India.

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Brief Biography

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gauḍīya Maṭhas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Śrīla Prabhupāda became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad he became his formally initiated disciple.

At their first meeting, in 1922, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā, assisted the Gauḍīya Maṭha in its work and, in 1944, without assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine, edited it, typed the manuscripts and checked the galley proofs. He even distributed the individual copies and struggled to maintain the publication. Once begun, the magazine never stopped; it is now being continued by his disciples in the West and is published in nineteen languages.

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Janmastami

srila-prabhupada-2-2

Today, being Janmastami, we thought we should include a lecture given by Srila Prabhupada on Janmastami. The following lecture given on August 16, 1968, in Montreal Canada, is very sweet and reminiscent of how this society grew in a very personal and organic way. With Srila Prabhupada inviting his students and guests to speak on their realizations of Krsna, and Krsna Consciousness.

…So today is that auspicious day, Janmāṣṭamī, when Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared five thousand years ago in India, Mathurā. Those who are Indian ladies and gentlemen present, they know very well where is Mathurā. It is about ninety miles south of New Delhi. Mathurā is still existing and it is eternally existing. Kṛṣṇa appeared in Mathurā in His maternal uncle’s house in a very precarious condition. That birthplace, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s birthplace, is now maintained very nicely. One who goes to India, they see.

So anyway, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. Now Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. Divyam means “not ordinary.” It should not be understood just like we take our birth. Kṛṣṇa does not take his birth like us.

…So we shall invite today to speak about Kṛṣṇa from our students, as well as all the members who are present here. So I shall request Janārdana to speak something about his realization of Kṛṣṇa. (pause) All right. Let him speak.

Full Lecture

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Appearance Day of Lord Balarama

Lord Balarama is the first expansion of Lord Krishna appearing as His elder brother eight days before Krishna’s appearance in this world. While Krishna’s complexion is like a dark bluish cloud, Balarama’s complexion is like a white autumn cloud. He assisted Lord Krishna in His earthly pastimes of protecting the devotees and ridding the world of the misguided. Whilst Krishna is known for carrying a flute whose beautiful sound enchants His devotees, Balarama holds a plough in His hand that represents His strength. Devotees fast till noon on this day, followed by a feast in His honour.

An Interview With His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


An Interview in London with
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Excerpted from Back To Godhead Magazine Vol 55, 1973

1973-01-55-04

Srila Prabhupada: The purpose of this Krsna consciousness movement is to awaken man’s original consciousness. At the present moment our consciousness is designated. I am thinking, “I am American,” and you are thinking, “I am Englishman,” or he is thinking, “I am American.” But actually we do not belong to any of these designations. We are all part and parcel of God—that is our real identification. If we simply come to that consciousness, all the problems of the world will be solved. Now due to our designated consciousness we are thinking ourselves to be different from one another, but if we come to Krsna consciousness we shall come to know that we are one-the same spirit soul. The same spirit soul is within everyone, although it may be in a different dress. This is the explanation given in Bhagavad-gita

This Krsna consciousness movement is actually a purificatory process. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam. Its purpose is to make people free from all designations. Tat-paratvena nirmalam. In Krsna consciousness we become purified, and when we are purified our activities carried out by our purified senses make us perfect. That is the ideal perfection of human life. This process is also very simple. It is not necessary for one to become a great philosopher, scientist or whatever. We need only chant the holy name of the Lord, understanding that His person, His name and His qualities are all absolute. This Krsna consciousness process is a great science; unfortunately in the universities there is no department for this science. Therefore we invite all serious men who are interested in the welfare of human society to understand this great movement, and, if possible, take part in it and cooperate with us. The problems of the world will be solved. This is also the verdict of Bhagavad-gita, the most authoritative book of knowledge. Many of you have heard of Bhagavad-gita. It is most important, for our movement is based on it. It is approved by all great acaryas in India—Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Lord Caitanya and so many others. You are all representatives of newspapers, so now I am asking you to try to understand this movement as far as possible for the good of all human society.

“I am asking you to understand this moment… for the good of all human society.”

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Yoga

The word yoga has become very popular in todays vocabulary, but we understand from the Bhagavad-gita the real definition of the word, and its ultimate goal.

A yogī is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogī. (Bg. 6.46)

And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. (Bg. 6.47)

When we speak of yoga we refer to linking up our consciousness with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Such a process is named differently by various practitioners in terms of the particular method adopted. When the linking up process is predominantly in fruitive activities, it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical, it is called jñāna-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord, it is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga or Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the ultimate perfection of all yogas (from purport to Bg. 6.46)

The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal (from purport to Bg. 6.47)

full texts and purports

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Divine Ecstasies

Krsna & the cowheard boys taking Prasadam

Today, being Monday, and the start of another workday week, I wanted to focus my mind, not on all the work ahead, but rather, on some Krishna Nectar from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam. We share with you a few of Srila Prabhupada’s divine ecstasies. As we mentioned is a previous post, there are two kṛṣṇa-kathās; narrations spoken by Kṛṣṇa, and narrations spoken about Kṛṣṇa. Please note text 5 & 6 which is spoken by Krsna.

…devotees who have accepted the essence of life, are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the core of their hearts, and He is the aim of their lives. It is their nature to talk only of Kṛṣṇa at every moment, as if such topics were newer and newer.

Like the whorl of a lotus flower surrounded by its petals and leaves, Kṛṣṇa sat in the center, encircled by lines of His friends, who all looked very beautiful. Every one of them was trying to look forward toward Kṛṣṇa, thinking that Kṛṣṇa might look toward him. In this way they all enjoyed their lunch in the forest.

Among the cowherd boys, some placed their lunch on flowers, some on leaves, fruits, or bunches of leaves, some actually in their baskets, some on the bark of trees and some on rocks. This is what the children imagined to be their plates as they ate their lunch.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 10, Chapter 13, Text 1-12

Translations and purports

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Beautiful Krishna

I just love this picture of Krishna. It is on my desktop computer so I see it every morning when I turn on my computer, and I always pause for a moment, to just gaze at the beautiful face of the Lord. We have included some nice verses which describe the Beauty of Krishna.

“O my Lord, the transcendental body of Krishna is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. The soft smile on His face, which is like the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Madhya, 21.136)

“My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, do not look at the smiling face of Lord Govinda as He stands on the bank of the Yamunā at Keśīghāṭa. Casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, bending in three places, appears very bright in the moonlight.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Adi-lila 5.224)

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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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