Indradyumna Swami Facebook post March 2018
Yesterday I returned to Mayapura from Africa. Bright and early this morning myself and several devotees went on parikrama beginning from Yogapith, where Lord Caitanya appeared. Walking through villages, fields and forests we visited the bhajan kutir of Jayadeva Goswami, the Madan Gopal temple and a large banyan tree where Mahaprabhu gave darshan to Nimbarka Acarya. But my favorite place of all was where Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati chanted one billion names of Krsna on his japa beads before starting his preaching mission. As we chanted japa there I prayed for “nama-ruci” – a genuine taste for chanting the holy names. I also prayed for more service in delivering the holy names to others, as I know such service gives great pleasure to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and my own beloved spiritual master, Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Today in Mayapura we celebrated my disciple’s Keli Kandali dasi and Syama-vanamali dasa’s wedding. Several hundred devotees attended the marriage at the Jagannatha Temple. All the best you two!
Dear Syama-vanamali dasa and Keli Kandali dasi:
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
In thinking about what gift to give you on the auspicious day of your marriage, I decided to offer you my words and thoughts in written form. The disciple always desires the instructions of his or her spiritual master; I know myself how greatly I value the few written words my spiritual master directly addressed to me, because I can return to them again and again. I hope the humble advice I offer you in this letter will allow you to return to this happy day repeatedly as you traverse the path of Krsna consciousness side by side.
Dearest Syama-vanamali, today you are accepting an immense responsibility to help nurture and guide Keli Kandali in her Krsna consciousness. You’ll be the breadwinner in the family, all the while setting the highest example of sadhana for your wife and children to follow. Every householder can attest to the challenge of balancing one’s material and spiritual responsibilities. The secret is to make your spiritual responsibilities the priority, and then your material responsibilities will naturally follow suit. This is, in fact, the advice of the Lord, spoken 5,000 years ago, but ever more relevant in our modern times:
“In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Visnu, and blessed them by saying, ‘Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.’”
[ Bhagavad Gita 3.10 ]
The yajna for this age, of course, is the chanting of the holy names, specifically the Hare Krsna mantra. Permeate your married life with those holy names and you and your family will bear with dignity the ups and downs we all experience as life goes on. And what’s more important, constant chanting will fill your household with happiness and joy at every moment. It is essential that every day, without fail, you and Keli spend time together chanting the holy names, either in japa, bhajan or kirtan. The golden rule is that you should never be so busy in life that you can’t find time to chant together, read together and peacefully take prasadam together.
By chanting together you make spiritual progress side by side, and such an experience creates a strong bond between you. Yes, there will be moments of discontent, arguments and disagreements. But those differences can be tolerated and overcome when the relationship between husband and wife is rooted in spiritual practice, namely chanting Hare Krsna which Lord Caitanya says, “gives us the taste we are always hankering for”. Such a genuine, deeply spiritually and satisfying relationship can never be broken.
By adhering to these simple instructions, you will fulfill your role as leader of your family. In effect you’ll be their hero, a true “pati guru,” leading your wife and children from darkness to light, from ignorance to truth, from the material world to the spiritual world, much like Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur writes in his famous poem, Saranagati:
“So push thy onward march, O soul,�
Against an evil deed�
That stands with soldiers hate and lust -�
A hero be indeed!
Maintain thy post in spirit world�
As firmly as you can,
Let never matter push thee down -�
O stand heroic man!
O Sharagrahi Vaishnava soul,�
Thou art an angel fair;�
Lead, lead me on to Vrindavan�
And spirit’s power declare.
There rests my soul from matter free�
Upon my Lover’s arms –
Eternal peace and spirit’s love�
Are all my chanting charms.”
My dearest and most beloved Keli-kandali, words cannot describe my deep love for you as my disciple, as my spiritual daughter. Certainly, there are formalities in the relationship between guru and disciple. One is servant and the other is master. The prevailing mood is one of awe and reverence. But the constant and selfless service of the disciple endears him or her to the spiritual master and in time a natural affection and spiritual love develops between the two. This phenomenon was explained by Srila Prabhupada on September 28, 1966 in a letter in which he wrote:
“At his first sight of me my spiritual master also saw me with such love. It was in my very first darsana of him that I learned how to love. It is his boundless mercy that he has engaged an unworthy person like me in fulfilling some of his desires. It is his causeless mercy to engage me in preaching the message of Sri Rupa and Sri Ragunatha.”
Keli, I have known you since you were a mere child, practically a baby. I still remember the first time we met. I was visiting the gurukula at New Govardhan and when we all sat to take prasadam, you sat down next to me, a three-year-old in a mood of fixed determination. Within moments, you were stealthily stealing prasadam from my plate whenever I wasn’t attentive and eating it with full satisfaction. I kept thinking, “Who is this brazen child?” When I finally looked at you in astonishment, you just smiled broadly and stole more prasadam! Such was the beginning of our relationship of “give and take.” Of course, as time went on and you matured in Krsna consciousness the tables turned and your mood was to give, rather than to take. Your faith in your spiritual master – your guru nistha – became and remains your most endearing quality. I am often reminded of Srila Prabhupada’s statement about my godsister, Malati dasi: “She would give her life for me” he once said, “and I would give mine for her.” I share the same sentiments for you, my dear spiritual daughter, Keli Kandali dasi.
And so it is with the greatest pleasure that I watch you take this step forward in your spiritual life on this day of your vivaha yajna, your marriage day. You are capable of doing many things in life, Keli. But together with Syama-vanamali you will do even more. There is a saying that “many hands make light work.” I have great hope that the two of you will set the highest standard for grhastra life, while at the same time carrying forth the mood of our sampradaya, that we always share our good fortune with others. By nature grihastas are meant to give “dan” (charity). In Vedic culture, it was the grihastas that maintained the brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis. In that same mood always open your home to both devotees and non-devotees for Krsna conscious programs. In this way, you can share the wealth of devotional service in the form of kirtan, katha and delicious sumptuous prasadam. These are the pillars of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement. When householders are serious about their sadhana, as I have instructed your husband above, and are always ready and willing to open their home to others to experience Krsna consciousness, then their home becomes just like the spiritual world:
ye dina grhe bhajana dekhi
grhete goloka bhaya
“One day while performing devotional practices I saw my house transformed into Goloka Vrindavan.”
[ From Saranagati, by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur ]
Dearest Keli, knowing your heart I am confident that as you are wonderful disciple, you will also be a wonderful wife and an exceptionally wonderful mother. Fortunate are the devotees who will take birth in your family! In due course of time, you will demonstrate that it is not demeaning in any way to be a “stay at home Mom.” Rather it is the glory of a woman to give her full time and energy to raising her children to become pure devotees of the Lord. In reality, it is a full-time duty. It challenges one’s determination in the practice of sadhana bhakti as well. Every mother knows how hard it is to chant 16 rounds a day with an infant in her arms. But for those mothers who do, spiritual perfection is guaranteed:
“My Dear Kadamba dasi,
Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your note and gift of one ring. Just now I am wearing it. Because you have sincerely offered, I must accept on behalf of my Guru Maharaja although I am not worthy.
I have met your son. His lovely features are very nice and he appears to be a first class brahmacari. Always be an example to him by being steadfast in Krsna Consciousness and your motherhood will be perfected.
Hare Krsna. I hope this meets you well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami”
[Letter, December 8, 1973 ]
In the wedding procedure, there is a powerful mantra from the Rg Veda which is repeated by the husband. While generally it causes the audience to smile, I know you have taken it most seriously.
om imam tvam visno midhvah suputram subhagam krdhi dasa ‘syam putran adhehi patim ekadasam kuru
“O Visnu, impregnate her, make fine, strong sons. Put ten sons in her, make eleven men in the house.”
[ Rg-veda 10.85.45 ]
May the Supreme Lord fulfill your desire to expand the ranks of Lord Caitanya’s samkirtan army with fine young men and women.
My dear Syama-vanamali and Keli Kandali, I am very happy to be present today for your auspicious marriage ceremony. I give to you all my blessings for a prosperous and spiritually rewarding marriage. May the Lord always watch over and protect you, may He bless you with unlimited services, may He fill your home with many happy children and endless contented guests. May He give you the spiritual strength to bear all trials and tribulations and the intelligence to overcome all obstacles on the path of pure devotional service. And when all is said and done, may He transport both you and all your kith and kin back home to the spiritual world to be part of the eternal family of His devotees. As Srila Prabhupada once said, “One day we’ll have our ISKCON in the spiritual world!”
Your ever well-wisher,
My dear Saratbihari dasi,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
It was with great sadness that I received news of your untimely departure from this world due to a tragic car accident the other day. I pray that through the transcendental medium my words may reach you and help guide you further on this path Home, back to the spiritual world.
Those whom you have left behind – two young children, a husband and many friends as well – are all lamenting your sudden demise. As devotees we are prepared for such tragedies by education in transcendental knowledge, nevertheless when such things happen we are often stunned and taken aback. The element of human nature is there and cannot be denied. In Bhagavad-Gita, when Arjuna is crying out of compassion for his extended family members, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“Such symptoms in Arjuna were not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord.” [ Bg. 1.28 purport ]
In the ultimate issue, however, it is transcendental wisdom that gives us the comfort and solace we need when our loved one’s depart. You were a dedicated disciple, a Krsna conscious wife and mother and a loving friend to many. Though you were removed from our midst at a young age, no one doubts that your service is now going on in a wonderful place personally choosen for you by the Supreme Lord, who is always affectionate to His devotees.
In Bhagavad Gita Krsna states that one’s destination at death is determined by his or her consciousness at that moment. I was very proud to read that you called out the Lord’s holy names as you left this world. It means all your devotional training throughout your short life – your chanting, reading, praying and service – all bore auspicious fruit.
But even if a sincere devotee like yourself is unable to remember the Lord at the moment of death, nothing is lost for it is written:
yadi vatadi doshena mad bhakto mam na cha smaret
aham smarami mad bhaktah nayami parama-gatim
“If My devotee is unable to remember Me at the time of death because of disturbances felt within the body at that time, then I shall remember My devotee and take him back to My supreme abode.” [ Varaha Purana ]
Dearest Saratbihari dasi: Thank you for the many services you rendered to me as your spiritual master, to our beloved Srila Prabhupada, to your family and your community of devotees in this lifetime. We will all miss you dearly, but we are content knowing you are nicely situated in devotional service either in this world or the spiritual sky, as per the Lord’s desires.
Your ever well-wisher,
March 10, 2018: Serving To Your Heart’s Content
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Today, March 10, 2018, had you stayed with us, you would have turned 24 years of age. But the ways of the Lord are mysterious and by His arrangement you are now serving Him to your hearts content far from our vision. You touched the hearts of so many devotees while with us and you are not forgotten.
Your ever well wisher,
March 13, 2018: Searching For Blessings
I arrived back in Vrindavan two days ago. Before leaving for my preaching duties in the west in a few days I am visiting various sacred places to receive blessings. I began with Radha Kunda – the topmost holy place in creation.
March 18, 2018: Surya Kunda!
Today we visited Surya Kund, where the Sun God performed austerities to see and serve Lord Krsna. His wish was fulfilled when Srimate Radharani asked him to warm the Lord’s transcendental body with his rays after Krsna came out of the water from battling the Kaliya serpent. Radharani visits Surya-kund every Sunday to worship Surya-deva. It is also a place where Radha and Krsna meet regularly for Their pastimes. I said prayers while gazing at the beautiful lake, begging to keep Vrindavan in my heart as I head for Australia this coming Wednesday.
sri rasa rangasya vikasa candrika
dipavalir ya vrsabhanu mandire
goloka cuda mani kantha bhusanam
dhyatva param tam bhuvi paryatamy aham
“I wander over this earth meditating on Her, who is a moon shining in the rasa-dance arena, who is a host of bright lamps in Vrsabhanu’s palace, and who is the central jewel in the necklace of Goloka.”
[ Narada Muni, Garga Samhita 1.8.12 ]
March 19, 2018
Today I am leaving our most beloved Vrindavan. The pain is mitigated only because I hope to bring Sri Vrindavan dhama to others. May this sacred dhama remain forever in my thoughts and prayers!
“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 single moment in any sacred place other than Vrajabhumi. Even if the residents of Vraja appear to be ordinary, and even if they fill my ears with useless gossip, I pray I may remain among them, eternally residing here in Vraja.” [ Raghunatha Dasa Goswami ]
March 20, 2018: Viva Kultura- USA Tour
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto
Lord Ramacandra, who is all-auspicious,
the Lord of the Raghu Dynasty and the
husband of Sita-devi.”
[ Sita-Rama pranama mantra – Verse 27 of the Rāma-rakṣā-stotram by the sage Budhā-kauśika. ]
sitayah pataye namah
Good news! Jahnavi Harrison has confirmed her participation in the Sadhu Sanga Retreat in North Carolina, USA over the Memorial Day weekend in May. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so. Many luminaries are coming this year! www.sadhusangaretreat.com
yāvat syāc cañcalaṁ cittaṁ na syād yāvat sunirmalam
tāvat tīrthāni puṇyāni vicaret sarvataḥ pumān
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “As long as the heart is fickle and has not become steadfast in nature, till that time one should wander around everywhere in all the holy places.”
tataḥ sunirmale citte sthira-dhīḥ puruṣottame
nivāsaṁ kurute nityaṁ pathikaḥ svāśrame yathā
“Once the heart has attained a steadfast nature, one should reside permanently in Sri Purushottam Kshetra, just as a traveler finally comes back to live in his own permanent home.”
[ Sri Murari Gupta’s Kṛṣṇa-caitanyacaritāmṛtam (3.13.9 – 10) Translated by Hari Parshad Das from the Sanskrit available at Gaudiya Grantha Mandira (www.granthamandira.net) Found in Sri Krishna Kathamrta Bindu, Issue number 421 ]
Tomorrow begins our 3rd annual kirtan mela here at New Govardhan, Australia. Headed up by BB Govinda Swami, Bada Haridas, Sri Prahlada dasa, Janardan prabhu and others the whole community is brimming with excitement. There’s a saying here in Australia, “No worries mate!” That will certainly be true as we absorb ourselves in the holy names for 4 days straight. Srila Prabhupada said it most perfectly …
“Prahlada Maharaja said, ‘My Lord, I have no problem, so why shall I ask You for anything? I have no problem. Everyone has got problem in this material world. They’re trying to overcome the problem. But I have no problem. I have no problem because my mind is always absorbed in glorifying Your Lordship. Therefore, I have no problem.’ So kirtan. You’ll feel immediately refreshed. However burden you may feel, as soon as you perform krsna-kirtana, you’ll find immediately refreshed. So one who has got taste for this kirtana, he has no problem.”
[ Lecture, January 19, 1974, Honolulu, Hawaii ]
Sacred sounds are flooding the beautiful foothills in and around the New Govardhan community here in New South Wales, Australia. Devotees have gathered from all over the country for a weekend of transcendental bliss.