Happy New Year! My first post of the New Year, an issue very dear to my heart, Cow Protection.
…The Srimad-Bhagavatam says the cow is an offenseless living being. It’s Krsna’s arrangement that the cow takes so little and gives so much. From her milk you can make hundreds of delicious preparations. She simply performs her service very peacefully without any bother to anyone.
Cow Protection – Practical Necessity for a Peaceful Society
(excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine January 1976 Vol. 11, No. 1)
by Visakha-devi dasi
Speaking on the troubled condition of our modern world, the late historian Arnold Toynbee once said, “The cause of it [the world’s malady] is spiritual. We are suffering from having sold our souls to the pursuit of an objective which is both spiritually wrong and practically unobtainable. We have to reconsider our objective and change it. And until we do this, we shall not have peace, either amongst ourselves or within each of us.”
The conditions of our urbanized, technology-oriented society that prompted Dr. Toynbee’s remarks are no mystery to us. Especially in the West, and increasingly in the rest of the world, the mad quest for artificial luxuries has created a chaotic atmosphere pervaded by greed and power-seeking.
“Consider this example: when the sun is in the sky, there is no question of darkness. Similarly, when the Hare Krsna mantra is vibrating on your tongue and you are hearing attentively, then your consciousness becomes Krsna consciousness, or clear consciousness, and there is no question of maya, or hazy consciousness. Just as when light and darkness come together the darkness cannot stand before the light, maya cannot remain in the presence of Krsna.
“In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says to offer Him at least a leaf or a flower. It is not that Krsna needs a flower or leaf. He is full. He does not need you. But He wants you to come to Him in love. Therefore Krsna says, ‘Just stop all your nonsense and surrender to Me.’ “
“People are thinking that if they get a car and an apartment, everything will be all right. But the problems are still there. Still they must undergo death, old age, and diseaseóso how is everything taken care of? They are thinking in terms of this spot life. They do not know that they are eternal. There are so many kinds of bodies, and they don’t know which kind they will have to take in their next life. But if they take to Krsna consciousness, all problems are solved.”
This is perhaps my favorite cover of Back to Godhead Magazine. Always loved this picture of Krishna & Arjuna.
The following is a nice compilation of 108 quotes, taken from Srila Prabhupada’s books, lectures, letters, and conversations, on the importance of the 1972 Original Authorized Edition of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
This collection of quotes was compiled by Yasoda nandana Prabhu as his Vyasa-puja offering.
I always enjoy going back through our collection of Back to Godhead Magazines and re-reading some of the old articles. We share with you the original article with photos just as it appeared in BTG in 1974.
Vrndavana, Krsna’s Transcendental Abode
by Visakha-devi dasi
Ninety miles southeast of New Delhi, India, is a railway station known as Mathura. From Mathura, a bumpy seven-mile ride by horse-cart brings one to a unique town called Vrndavana. This simple village is unlike all other places in the world, for when Lord Krsna, the Supreme Godhead, comes to earth with His associates to display His pastimes, He comes only to Vrndavana. Indeed, Krsna never leaves Vrndavana-and, by His grace, pure devotees can appreciate the Lord’s presence in Vrndavana even today.
An Interview in London with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpted from Back To Godhead Magazine Vol 55, 1973
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.”
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.”
Some Day the Tiny Soul Will Want to Get Out of Illusion
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol. 1, Number 65, 1974
by His Holiness Visnujana Swami
New York City, March 31, 1974
Instructions to the devotees of the Hare Krsna movement
His Holiness Visnujana Svami, joined the Krsna consciousness movement in San Francisco in 1967. He has recently returned to the U.S. from India, where he sailed down the Ganges, stopping at towns and villages along her banks to chant Hare Krsna, distribute food first offered to Krsna and preach Krsna consciousness.
“One may artificially repress the desires of the senses, although the taste for sensual enjoyment remains; but by ceasing such enjoyments, experiencing a higher taste, one is fixed in consciousness.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.59)
When one experiences ruci, which, means a taste for Spiritual life, he can rise above the attraction of the illusory energy by the mercy of the Lord. Then he is able to feel vairagya. Vairagya is the strength that protects us, even when we are neophytes in Krsna consciousness, from breaking the Krsna conscious regulative principles and being attracted to the flickering sensual enjoyments of the mundane world. Ruci, and vairagya-the taste for spiritual life and the strength to maintain it-are rarely achieved.
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?
Origin of the Hare Krishna Movement By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Back to Godhead Magazine Volume 01, Number 20, 1968
Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Great Apostle of love of God and the Father of the Sankirtan Movement, advented Himself in the City of Nabadwipa in Bengal, India. This was in February, 1486, by Christian reckoning.
By the will of the Lord there was a lunar eclipse on that evening. It is the custom of the Hindu public to bathe in the Ganges of any other sacred river during the hours of eclispe, and to chant the Vedic mantras for purification. When Lord Chaitanya was born during the eclipse, then, the whole India was roaring with the holy sound of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
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.
Identity of Lord Chaitanya
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1960 Vol. 3 Part 16
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no other than the combined form of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. He is the life of those devotees who strictly follow the footprints of Sri Srila Rupa Goswami.
Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami both are principal followers of Sri Swarup Damodar Goswami who acted as the most confidential servitor and constant companion of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whose name was known as Viswambhar in His early life.
And from Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami comes as the direct disciple and the author of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita i. e., Sri Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami stands to be his direct follower.
From Goswami Krishna Das Kaviraj the direct disciple is Srila Narottam Das Thakur who accepted Viswanath Chakrabarty as his servitor. Viswanath Chakrabarty accepted Jagannath Das Babajee from whom Srila Bhaktivinode Thakore was initiated and Srila Gour Kishore Das Babajee the spiritual master of Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad-the Divine spiritual Master of our humbleself.