March 1, 2017
Guidelines for Cow Protection from the Mahabharata
1. One should never kick cows, for one who does so will have to suffer in hell for a hundred lives. Cows are the abode of all auspiciousness. For this reason, they always deserve worship.
2. Bullocks should never be struck harshly with a goad or whip.
3. One should not proceed through the midst of cows.
4. When cows are grazing or lying down, one should not disturb them in any way.
5. When cows are thirsty and are refused water [ because a person is obstructing their access to a water tank or river ] merely by glancing at such a person a cow will create great difficulties for him along with all his relatives and friends. What creatures can be more sacred than cows, whose very dung is purifying?
6. That man who, before eating himself, gives everyday for a year a handful of grass to a cow belonging to another person, is regarded as undergoing a vow or observance which bestows the fruition of his every wish. Such a person acquires children, fame, wealth and prosperity and dispels all evils.
7. The cow should never be given away for slaughter.
8. A bull or bullock can be used for ploughing, but a cow should never be used to till the soil.
9. A cow should not be given to an atheist.
10. One should not, even in thought, injure a cow. One should always show compassion towards cows.
11. One should never show disregard for cows in any way.
12. One should never cast one’s urine, excreta and other secretions on cow dung.
13. One should never obstruct cows in any way.
14. One should not disrespect cow dung. The circular marks in the cow dung represent Lord Visnu’s chakra.
15. He who, without being checked by the restraints of the scriptures, sells a cow for slaughter, kills a cow, or eats the flesh of a cow, or for the sake of money causes a person to kill cows, rots in hell for as many years as there are hairs on the body of the slain cow.
[ Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva ]
A letter of appreciation to the devotees of the Christchurch temple in New Zealand on the occasion of the inauguration of their new temple. Their original temple was destroyed in an earthquake in 2011.
Dear Devotees of the Christchurch yatra,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to the presiding sannyasis, His Holiness Ramai Swami and His Holiness Bhanu Swami.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the momentous re-opening of your temple. Yesterday, I watched the live streaming of the installation of Sri Sri Nitai Gauracandra, and I was deeply touched by the devotion shining in your eyes as you welcomed back your beloved deities who so sadly disappeared from your vision on that fateful day of February 22, 2011. The phoenix of a glorious temple has now arisen from the dust and ashes of that terrible tragedy; the temple has been built not only with bricks and mortar, but with your budding love for the Lord as well.
That genuine devotion, brought on by years of separation and expressed so beautifully during Sri Prahlada’s opening kirtan yesterday, reminded me of a prayer by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in his Gitavali:
“My eyes are streaming with tears like a downpour in the rainy season and the world has become void. In Govinda’s absence my life airs no longer stay within me. Tell me how I can go on living? I have become so anxious. Still, taking shelter of harinama once again, Bhaktivinode calls out to Radha’s Lord: ‘Please show yourself to me. Please save me, or surely I will die.’”
The Lord works in mysterious ways. It’s almost as if He disappeared from your vision to increase your attachment to Him. As I continued watching the installation ceremony, I remembered another verse from Srimad Bhagavatam spoken by the Lord to a young Narada Muni. The Lord had briefly appeared to him but had then disappeared:
sakad yad darsitam rupam
etat kamaya te ‘nagha
mat-kamah sanakaih sadhu
sarvan muncati hrc-chayan
“O virtuous one, you have only once seen My person, and this is just to increase your desire for Me, because the more you hanker for Me, the more you will be freed from all material desires.” [ Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.22 ]
Certainly your material desires were greatly diminished by working together to maintain your community in the aftermath of the earthquakes. The Lord left your vision, but never left your hearts. Now, after many long years, you once again have a place to congregate and to serve Nitai Gauracandra together. By doing so, not only will your love for the Lord increase, but your love for each other will also deepen. Please take full advantage of your great fortune and visit the new temple in every spare moment you have. In essence, the temple is your real home. Here you have an ongoing opportunity to glorify the most beautiful Gaura Nitai deities in our entire ISKCON movement.
On this special occasion it’s important to remember and glorify the great effort and sacrifice made by His Grace Ramanuja Prabhu. He has worked hard and selflessly for so many years to manifest the temple in all its glory. No doubt, this new temple is a manifestation of the love he has in his heart for Srila Prabhupada and his mission. We should all understand that without Ramanuja, this temple would not exist. Thank you Ramanuja Prabhu! And thank you to your good wife Bhaktin Carolyn who has stood by your side and supported you in your efforts for the last six years. She herself has been absolutely indispensable to the rebuilding of the temple: as a chartered accountant, she had the contacts through which you were able to secure the insurance settlement after the earthquake. The payment was uncertain for a long time, and it took her hundreds and hundreds of hours of communication and correspondence to obtain the money built this temple.
Let us also remember the pioneering efforts of Alalanath Prabhu, the first temple president in Christchurch. He planted the seeds of devotion that have now matured into the community you see before your eyes. Thank you Alalanath Prabhu! And let us not forget Laksmi Nrsimha dasi who gave her inheritance as the deposit for the Bealey Ave property on which the new temple sits.
Then there is my good friend Kalasamvara Prabhu who held the position of temple president for many years. He watered the seeds that Alalanath Prabhu planted and developed those seeds into a thriving devotee community. It was during that time that I had the good fortune to first visit the Christchurch temple. Oh the kirtans we had! The feasts we relished! And the festivals! It is all etched in my heart of hearts forever!
Many devotees are to be glorified today for their contributions over many decades: devotees like Jahnava-mata dasi, Karunika dasi, Laksmi dasi, Yasoda-dulal Prabhu, and Bhakti-rasa Prabhu who passed away in 2008 and is missed today. It is a long list and I hesitate to mention more names for fear of leaving anyone out. I will simply offer my respects to all devotees — past, present and future — who are part of the Christchurch temple.
sakala vaisnava-pade mora namaskara
ithe kichu aparadha nahuka amara
hoiyachen hoiben prabhur jato bhakta vrnda
vandana kori’ sabara charanaravinda
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of all Vaisnavas, praying I will not commit offences in my attempts to please them. To all Vaisnavas who have ever been, and to all Vaisnavas who will ever be, I offer my obeisances to their lotus feet.” [ The poet Devakinandana dasa ]
Due to my great misfortune I am not able to be present with all of you today. Nevertheless, by the grace of science and technology I am able to witness your great happiness and joy on this special occasion. And we all know that Srila Prabhupada is present through the transcendental medium and is showering you with his causeless mercy.
Let us always remember that the ideal worship of Gaura Nitai is to bring fallen souls back to the shelter of Their lotus feet. The ultimate purpose of the new temple therefore will be achieved when hundreds and thousands of new guests get the opportunity to behold the moon-like faces of Nitai Gauracandra over the coming years. Srila Prabhupada once said that our temples are bases for going out to preach the divine command.
“Chanting the holy name constantly can purify even the most fallen sinner, and after he becomes purified, he in turn is to be counted amongst the saintly persons who can purify others by his association.” [ Brhad Naradiya Purana ]
I offer my humble obeisances to all of you! All glories to your services! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Sri Nitai Gauracandra! All glories to Giri-Govardhan!
“May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.” [ CC Adi-lila, 1.4 ]
After almost 2 months of medical procedures here in South Africa I am leaving for Vrindavan tomorrow. From Vrindavan I will again assume my preaching responsibilities around the world. I pray for the protection of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to carry out my duties!
śiro me pātu caitanyo bhālaṁ viśvambharaḥ prabhuḥ
nayane śrī-gaura-candraḥ śravaṇe dvija-nandanaḥ
“May Chaitanya protect my head! May Lord Vishwambhar protect my forehead! May Sri Gaurachandra protect my two eyes! May he who is the bestower of pleasure on the twice-born protect
my two ears!”
gaṇḍau śacī-suto nāsāṁ jagannāthātmajo ’vatu
rasanāṁ kṛṣṇa-caitanyas tālu kṛṣṇo ’dharaṁ muhuḥ
“May the son of Sachi protect my cheeks! May
the son of Jagannath Mishra protect my nose! May
Krishna-chaitanya protect my tongue! May he who is
the all attractive one always protect my lower palate!
oṣṭhaṁ viṣṇu-priyā-nātho danta-paṅktiṁ dvijottamaḥ
vācaṁ saṅkīrtanānandaḥ svarūpānanda-vigrahaḥ
“May the master of Vishnupriya protect my lips!
May he who is the topmost among the twice-born
protect my teeth! May he who is the joy of saṅkīrtana
and bliss personified protect my speech!”
cibukaṁ dharaṇī-devo viśvarūpānujo mukham
lakṣmīnāthaḥ kaṇṭha-deśaṁ grīvāṁ bhakta-jana-priyaḥ
“May the Lord of the earth protect my chin!
May the younger brother of Vishwarupa protect my face! May the husband of Lakshmipriya protect my throat! May he who is dear to his devotees protect my neck!”
skandha-yugmaṁ dvija-prāṇo manaḥ pātu śacī-sutaḥ
nāma-sūtra-dharaḥ kukṣiṁ hṛdayaṁ nāma-tat-paraḥ
“May he who is the life of the twice-born protect my shoulders! May the son of Sachi protect my mind! May he who is the holder of the threads of the holy name protect my belly. May he who is dedicated to chanting the holy names protect my heart!”
kumati-dhvaṁsano nābhiṁ kaṭi-deśaṁ karaṅga-dhṛk
dhvajaṁ danḍa-dharaḥ pātu ūru nyāsi-śiromaṇiḥ
“May he who is the destroyer of bad intelligence protect my navel! May the holder of a sannyāsī waterpot protect my hips! May the holder of a sannyāsī rod protect my private parts! May he who is the crest jewel among sannyāsīs protect my thighs!”
jānū kāṣāya-vasano jaṅghe pātu dvijottamaḥ
gulpha-yugmaṁ dvijaḥ pātu pādau bhakta-jana-priyaḥ
“May he who is the wearer of saffron cloth protect my knees! May he who is the best among the twiceborn protect my lower legs! May the Lord who appeared as a brāhmaṇa protect my ankles! May he who is dear to his devotees protect my feet!”
gadādhara-priya-prāṇo dehaṁ pātu ca sarvadā
śayane māṁ sadā pātu nityānandaika-bāndhavaḥ
“May he who is the dear life of Gadadhar Pandit always protect my entire body! May the exclusive dear friend of Nityananda protect me during sleep!”
bhojane pātu māṁ nityam advaitaika-kṛtātmabhuk
pātu māṁ gamane sa śrīc-chāyā-gamana-tatparaḥ
“May he who exclusively made Advaita Acharya self-satisfied
protect me always while I accept food! May he who is eager to attain the shelter of Sri Radha protect me while I am going anywhere!”
śrīmad vīrāsanāsīno māmāsīnaṁ sadāvatu
śrīmad bhāgavatādhyāyī kathane pātu māṁ sadā
“May the Lord who is seated in the vīrāsana pose protect me while seated! May the student of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam protect me always when I am speaking!”
bhagavat-pāda-sevāyāṁ pātu māṁ bhakta-rūpa-dhṛk
guru-pādārcane śikṣā- gurur māṁ pātu nityaśaḥ
“May the Lord who assumed the form of his devotee protect me in my service of the lotus feet of the Lord! May he who is the instructing guru of the world protect me always in the service of my guru!”
sarveśvaro gaura-hariḥ sarvataḥ pātu māṁ sadā
jale sthale cāntarikṣe parvatārohaṇe tathā
durga-vartmani vṛkṣe ca pātu māṁ bhakta-vatsalaḥ
May Gaura-hari, the Lord of all, protect me always in all ways — in water, on earth, in space, while climbing mountains! May he who is extremely affectionate to his devotees protect me on difficult roads and forests!”
Sri Chaitanya-Kavacha, from the Uttara-bhāgavatam, translated by Hari Parshad Das, published in the Gaurāṅga-virudāvalī. Edited and Published by Sri Haridas Shastri, Kalidah, Vrindavan, Gaurabda 498. Printed in Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu #395 under the auspicious direction of Madhavanada dasa.
Preparing My Mind and Heart for Gaura Purnima
“The Spotless Moon of Nadia”
Verse 1: “Seeing that the spotless full moon has risen on the earth in the home of Sachi, the spotted full-moon hid itself in great shame on the pretext of a lunar eclipse.”
Verse 2: “The town of Nadia swooned in joy. At this auspicious time, everyone gave various types of riches in charity. They all loudly chanted, “Haribol! Haribol!”
Verse 3: “The young damsels of Nadia felt blinded with joy. Somehow they all approached Sachi’s home. Seeing Gorachand’s face, their eyes were filled with overflowing tears, and the sprout of deep-seated love sprung up in their hearts.”
Verse 4: “Spreading out their two arms, they all took him into their laps one by one and kissed his lotus-face. Dina Bandhu Das says, “The [sight of the] son of Sachi is obtained only after accumulating piety for a long time.”
[ By the Medieval Bengali Vaiṣṇava poet Dina Bandhu Das ]
Translated by Hari Parshad Das from Vaiṣṇava-padāvalī, fourth edition, April 2010. Compiled and edited by Hare Krishna Mukhopadhyay. Published by Shishu Sahitya Sansad Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata. Printed in Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu #395 under the auspicious direction of Madhavananda dasa.
[ Old Photo: The original wooden shoes, waterpot and dhoti of Lord Caitanya in the Gambira Temple in Jagannatha Puri ]
Yesterday I arrived back home in Sri Vrindavan Dhama. After bathing I went to Nityananda Vat, where Lord Nityananda sat under a Banyan tree when he first arrived in Vrindavan 500 years ago. There I prayed for His mercy to take shelter of Lord Caitanya, whose appearance day it is tomorrow. Afterwards I met my good friend, Anup Goswami, who invited me to his room to chant on the original japa beads of Srila Jiva Goswami. I had chanted on them before, but this time took on special meaning because of the difficulties I underwent recently. I tried my best the chant from my heart, begging for continued service to the samkirtan movement of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I am so grateful to be back in Vrindavan, where mercy seems to flow like a river to the sea.
March 12, 2017
A 400 Year-Old Deity of Lord Caitanya
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya, ‘Virabhadra Gosani was the direct son of Srila Nityananda Prabhu and a disciple of Jahnava-devi. His real mother was Vasudha.’” [ CC Adi 11.8 purport ] After the departure of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, Virabhadra brought 3 small deities to Vrindavan to be worshipped at Nityananda-vat; a deity of Lord Caitanya, a deity of Lord Nityananda and a deity of Jahnava-devi. Today, as part of the celebrations for Gaura Purnima, the deity of Lord Caitanya was worshipped right before our very eyes at Nityanand-vat in an unbelievable one-hour bathing ceremony. To see such an historic 400 year-old deity of Lord Caitanya directly in front of us was the greatest mercy we could imagine. I took photos so devotees everywhere could also relish!
March 12, 2017
The main alter at Nityananda-vat, also known as Sringara-vat.
Dear disciples: The following is my Gaura Purnima lecture at the Russian House in Sri Vrindavan Dhama.
Yesterday we had the good fortune to visit Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. A local priest invited us to do arotika to the sacred waters. It was yet another transcendental experience in the wonderful world of Krsna consciousness.
I pray I may remain among them
“Even if I have the opportunity to bathe in the ocean of pure love of Krishna, and even if I have the pure devotees of the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead as my associates, I will not consent to live even for a moment, in any sacred place other than Vrajabhumi. Even if the residents of Vrindavan appear to be ordinary, and even if they fill my ears with useless gossip, I pray that I may remain among them, eternally residing here in Vraja.” Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami
Entering The Renounced Order
Today, at Bhaktivedanta Asrama at the foot of Govardhan Hill in Sri Vrindavan Dhama, Asit Krsna das accepted sannyasa from HH Sivarama Maharaja. Maharaja gave him the name, Asita Krsna Swami Maharaja. HH Kesava Bharati Maharaja was a wonderful host for the event and many distinguished devotees were present to observe the auspicious occasion.
Dear disciples: My talk at the auspicious initiation ceremony of HH Asit Krsna Swami Maharaja at Bhaktivedanta Asrama at Govardhan Hill the other day.
Yesterday we had the extreme good fortune to visit Jagannatha Puri, one of the most sacred holy places in India. We spent many hours wandering through the small streets and broad avenues of Lord Jagannaths’s transcendental abode.
Several days ago we visited the ancestral home of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in Choti, Orissa. We are continuing the efforts of Fakir Mohan prabhu, a friend of ISKCON, to acquire the original land that Bhaktivinode Thakur resided on there for many years. We hope to build a small temple on the property to accommodate his deities, Sri Sri Radha Madhava. We met with the mayor of the village and a number of landholders in the area. They were very favorable to the project. In his book, Maths of Orissa, Bhaktivinode Thakur writes: “I have a small village, Choti Mangalpur, in the country of Cuttack, of which I am the proprietor.” In his autobiography, Sva-likhita Jivani, he writes, “In Choti we have six or seven big thatched houses. Radha Madhava and Jagannath are being worshipped in one of these houses. Behind these houses is a pond named Uasa Pokhari. There is a fence of kanta ( bamboo ) around the palace.” Though Bhaktivinode Thakur took birth in his maternal uncle’s house in Ula, West Bengal, his native place is the village of Choti in Orissa. Srila Bhaktisiddhata Sarasvati would sometimes visit this place. While there he would stay in the compound of a local Durga temple because being a sannyasi he would not stay in the hereditary property. Choti is also know as Tulasi-Ksetra, because of the many Tulasi plants nicely worshipped by the inhabitants of the village. I have added comments to a number of photos so devotees can appreciate them. Jaya Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madhava! Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
ISKCON’s wonderful sannyasi preaching in Orissa, HH Haladhar Swami.