Seasons Greetings

Gaur Niti 2013 200

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The Peacock

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We ran across this image one day while searching for garden images. Liked it very much and thought we would share it with our readers. Thanks to the unknown artist.

Karma-yoga—Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

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…This Fifth Chapter is a practical explanation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, generally known as karma-yoga. The question of mental speculation as to how karma-yoga can give liberation is answered herewith. To work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to work with the complete knowledge of the Lord as the predominator. Such work is not different from transcendental knowledge. Direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness is bhakti-yoga, and jñāna-yoga is a path leading to bhakti-yoga. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure soul is the eternal servant of God as His fragmental part and parcel. He comes into contact with māyā (illusion) due to the desire to lord it over māyā, and that is the cause of his many sufferings. As long as he is in contact with matter, he has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, brings one into spiritual life even while one is within the jurisdiction of matter, for it is an arousing of spiritual existence by practice in the material world. The more one is advanced, the more he is freed from the clutches of matter. The Lord is not partial toward anyone. Everything depends on one’s practical performance of duties in an effort to control the senses and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And, attaining Kṛṣṇa consciousness by controlling the above-mentioned passions, one remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahman-nirvāṇa. The eightfold yoga mysticism is automatically practiced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because the ultimate purpose is served. There is gradual process of elevation in the practice of yama, niyama, āsana, pratyāhāra, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, prāṇāyāma, and samādhi. But these only preface perfection by devotional service, which alone can award peace to the human being. It is the highest perfection of life.

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The Glories of Purusottama Month

Purusottama Month begins Saturday, August 18, 2012

…Once upon a time, thousands of sages came together in the holy place called Naimisaranya to perform sacrifice. To their very good fortune the great sage Suta Goswami, who had been traveling to different pilgrimage sites, arrived there along with his disciples. The sages present were very enlivened to see him. They all stood up immediately to pay their respects to the great sage, offered him a very nice Vyasasana, and requested him with folded hands to sit down on it.

The sages of Naimisaranya said to Suta Goswami with folded hands, “O Sutaji! We humbly request you to tell us something about the wonderful activities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many thousands of such narrations, but we want to hear the most perfect one, by following which we can all be delivered from this Material Ocean and return back to Godhead.

Simplified Recommended Worship for the Purushottama month:

* Establish the Deity or Picture of Sri Sri Radha Krishna in your home and worship Them with love and devotion.

* Offer daily puja and by chanting the mahamantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

* Study Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita, especially Chapter Fifteen, Purushottama Yoga.

* Daily offer a ghee lamp to Sri Sri Radha Krishna.

* Give charity to qualified Brahmanas. Engage in Go Seva and distribute prasadam.

* Bathe in the holy rivers and associate with saintly devotees.

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Transcendental Knowledge

Bhagavad-gītā As It Is
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 4

Transcendental Knowledge

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Karma-Yoga


Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 3

TEXT 1
arjuna uvāca
jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te
matā buddhir janārdana
tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ
niyojayasi keśava

arjunaḥ—Arjuna; uvāca—said; jyāyasī—speaking very highly; cet—although; karmaṇaḥ—than fruitive action; te—your; matā—opinion; buddhiḥ—intelligence; janārdana—O Kṛṣṇa; tat—therefore; kim—why; karmaṇi—in action; ghore—ghastly; mām—me; niyojayasi—engaging me; keśava—O Kṛṣṇa.

TRANSLATION

Arjuna said: O Janārdana, O Keśava, why do You urge me to engage in this ghastly warfare, if You think that intelligence is better than fruitive work?

PURPORT

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa has very elaborately described the constitution of the soul in the previous chapter, with a view to deliver His intimate friend Arjuna from the ocean of material grief. And the path of realization has been recommended: buddhi-yoga, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa consciousness is misunderstood to be inertia, and one with such a misunderstanding often withdraws to a secluded place to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious by chanting the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. But without being trained in the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is not advisable to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place where one may acquire only cheap adoration from the innocent public. Arjuna also thought of Kṛṣṇa consciousness or buddhi-yoga, or intelligence in spiritual advancement of knowledge, as something like retirement from active life and the practice of penance and austerity at a secluded place. In other words, he wanted to skillfully avoid the fighting by using Kṛṣṇa consciousness as an excuse. But as a sincere student, he placed the matter before his master and questioned Kṛṣṇa as to his best course of action. In answer, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately explained karma-yoga, or work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in this Third Chapter.

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Contents of the Gita Sumarized 2B

This is the second half of Chapter Two “Contents of the Gita Sumarized”

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Macmillan Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 2, Text & Purports 37-72

TEXT 37
hato vā prāpsyasi svargaṁ
jitvā vā bhokṣyase mahīm
tasmād uttiṣṭha kaunteya
yuddhāya kṛta-niścayaḥ

hataḥ—being killed; vā—either; prāpsyasi—you gain; svargam—the heavenly kingdom; jitvā—by conquering; vā—or; bhokṣyase—you enjoy; mahīm—the world; tasmāt—therefore; uttiṣṭha—get up; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; yuddhāya—to fight; kṛta—determination; niścayaḥ—uncertainty.

TRANSLATION

O son of Kuntī, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination.

PURPORT

Even though there was no certainty of victory for Arjuna’s side, he still had to fight; for, even being killed there, he could be elevated into the heavenly planets.

TEXT 38
sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā
lābhālābhau jayājayau
tato yuddhāya yujyasva
naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi

sukha—happiness; duḥkhe—in distress; same—in equanimity; kṛtvā—doing so; lābhālābhau—both in loss and profit; jayājayau—both in defeat and victory; tataḥ—thereafter; yuddhāya—for the sake of fighting; yujyasva—do fight; na—never; evam—in this way; pāpam—sinful reaction; avāpsyasi—you will gain.

TRANSLATION

Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat-and, by so doing, you shall never incur sin.

PURPORT

Lord Kṛṣṇa now directly says that Arjuna should fight for the sake of fighting because He desires the battle. There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That everything should be performed for the sake of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental consciousness; so there is no reaction to material activities. He who acts for his own sense gratification, either in goodness or in passion, is subject to the reaction, good or bad. But he who has completely surrendered himself in the activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is no longer obliged to anyone, nor is he a debtor to anyone, as one is in the ordinary course of activities. It is said:

devarṣi-bhutāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyamṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam

(Bhag. 11.5.41)

“Anyone who has completely surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, Mukunda, giving up all other duties, is no longer a debtor, nor is he obliged to anyone-not the demigods, nor the sages, nor the people in general, nor kinsmen, nor humanity, nor forefathers.” That is the indirect hint given by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna in this verse, and the matter will be more clearly explained in the following verses.

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Contents of the Gita Summarized 2A

As this is a very long chapter we are posting it in two parts. Today we are posting text 1-35, and tomorrow we will conclude the chapter entitled “Contents of the Gita Summarized”

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Macmillan Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter Two, Text and Purports 1-35

Contents of the Gita Summarized

TEXT 1
sañjaya uvāca
taṁ tathā kṛpayāviṣṭam
aśru-pūrṇākulekṣaṇam
viṣīdantam idaṁ vākyam
uvāca madhusūdanaḥ

sañjayaḥ uvāca—Sañjaya said; tam—unto Arjuna; tathā—thus; kṛpayā—by compassion; āviṣṭam—overwhelmed; aśru-pūrṇa—full of tears; ākula—depressed; īkṣaṇam—eyes; viṣīdantam—lamenting; idam—this; vākyam—words; uvāca—said; madhusūdanaḥ—the killer of Madhu.

TRANSLATION

Sañjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words.

PURPORT

Material compassion, lamentation and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization. The word “Madhusūdana” is significant in this verse. Lord Kṛṣṇa killed the demon Madhu, and now Arjuna wanted Kṛṣṇa to kill the demon of misunderstanding that had overtaken him in the discharge of his duty. No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress-the gross material body. One who does not know this and laments for the outward dress is called a śūdra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kṣatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. Lord Kṛṣṇa, however, can dissipate the lamentation of the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gītā was sung by Him. This chapter instructs us in self-realization by an analytical study of the material body and the spirit soul, as explained by the supreme authority, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This realization is made possible by working with the fruitive being situated in the fixed conception of the real self.

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The Guru: Via Media to God

I like these early articles published in Back to Godhead Magazine. The mood was different in the early days of this movement, as the emphasis was on preaching. We understood the importance of Hari Nama Sankirtan, Book and Prasadam distribution, and there was not so much politics and internal wrangling, as we see today. Devotees had such profound appreciation for Srila Prabhupada, and the Mission of Lord Caitanya. We were unified; “Srila Prabhupada built a house the whole world could live in”, and we were in a unique position to change the world. To go back to those early days, we need only to put Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, back in the center of all our activities.

The Guru: Via Media to God
By Hayagriva das
“Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ magazine, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc., http://www.Krishna.com.”; 1970 Vol. 1, No. 34

It is always best to assume that we are in the modes of ignorance, and at least we will be right on that point. When knowledge is staggeringly finite, humility is the best policy. On the spiritual path one tries to make progress to the modes of goodness and then transcend, for it is not always possible to transcend the modes all at once. God alone is perfect, and we are always imperfect, even in our so-called liberated state. It is because we are imperfect that we have to take shelter of the perfect.

Lord Caitanya advises that we take shelter of a sadhu, who is a holy man of spotless character, sastra, which is scripture, and guru, who is the perfect spiritual master. The scriptures should be the guidelines for the other two. The guru is liberated because he follows scriptures, and the sadhu is pure and honest because he accepts scriptural principles. The insistence on the authority of the scripture is to discourage people from inventing their own religions and to warn others against following such fabricators.

Actually, only God can establish a religion that is bona fide. Religion refers to man’s relationship with God or the Supreme Absolute Truth; it is neither a mere ritual, nor a set of regulations, nor a conglomeration of mental speculations concocted by man. Actual religion is to know God and one’s relationship to Him. And this is not possible unless God reveals who and what He is and reveals man’s relationship to Him. It is not that we can artificially say, “Oh, I think God is this, so I think if I do this or this I will become God, and then I’ll be happy.” One who invents in this way may be well intentioned, but he is actually misguiding himself and others.

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Giving Shelter to Others

They have dedicated their lives to the welfare of others. They are the perfect example of noble life.

One may take excellent lessons from the pious trees, who offer innumerable benefits, such as fruits, flowers, cooling shade and medicinal extracts. Even when a tree is suddenly cut down and dragged away, the tree does not protest but continues to give service to others in the form of firewood. Thus, one should become the disciple of such magnanimous trees and learn from them the qualities of saintly conduct. (Srimad Bhagavatam)

Taking shelter of the shade of the trees, Kṛṣṇa became very happy. While walking He began to address the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. “My dear Stokakṛṣṇa, My dear Varūthapa, My dear Bhadrasena, My dear Sudāmā, My dear Subala, My dear Arjuna, My dear Viśāla, My dear Ṛṣabha–just look at these most fortunate trees of Vṛndāvana. They have dedicated their lives to the welfare of others. Individually they are tolerating all kinds of natural disturbances, such as hurricanes, torrents of rain, scorching heat and piercing cold, but they are very careful to relieve our fatigues and give us shelter. My dear friends, I think they are glorified in this birth as trees. They are so careful to give shelter to others that they are like noble, highly elevated charitable men who never deny charity to one who approaches them. No one is denied shelter by these trees. They supply various kinds of facilities to human society, such as leaves, flowers, fruit, shade, roots, bark, flavor extracts and fuel. They are the perfect example of noble life. They are like a noble person who has sacrificed everything possible–his body, mind, activities, intelligence and words–in engaging in the welfare of all living entities.”

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Where’s the House the Whole World Could Live In?

Home is where the Heart is.

This is a recent post published on the Sampradaya Sun which we felt was noteworthy, and worth re-printing here.

Where’s the House the Whole World Could Live In?
BY: ANONYMOUS DAS
Dec 08, 2011 — CALIFORNIA (SUN)

Anonymous das writes…

I recently received the email below (my reply follows) from an old Bhakta friend who I contacted after several years of separation. It’s very revealing, as it tells the same story I and many Godbrothers and Godsisters speak and write about almost on a daily basis. However, it is even more telling because it gives the same perspective from a non-initiated well-wisher of ISKCON who happened to also be present to experience firsthand the potency of the Krishna consciousness movement during the latter days of Srila Prabhupada’s presence, through the Zonal Acarya period on up to the present. It really gives a birdseye view of what’s happened to the house Srila Prabhupada built for the whole world to live in.

“Hare Krsna.

As I mentioned I have been to the temple a handful of times since 1988. This is between you and I what I’m now writing and I would appreciate your feedback. Over the years I had a lot of difficulty due to my involvement with the temple. Let’s call it disillusionment. I had gone there religiously since 1976 and it was an integral part of my life. Over time my enthusiasm gradually diminished as I felt the place changed dramatically. With the advent of the new breed the temple culture became highbrow, clickish, judgmental and downright cold hearted. The priorities changed to how much money you had…it became quite yuppy.

I no longer felt comfortable there whatsoever. I can truly say that I don’t care for any of the devotees. In general I found it had become anything but personal. Let me add that I felt branded as some kind of low-class sudra due to not being initiated. I never aspired to be initiated and never requested that. I lived in the temple and followed the principles long enough but never inquired into it. I viewed the lifestyle and responsibility as being too serious of a commitment… generally I never knew what I was doing the next week.

My understanding was that the guru suffered for my mistakes and I simply could not accept that responsibility. I never knew clearly what I was going to do in the future and most certainly could not accept a lifetime vow. To me that was honesty. How many people remain that took those vows? I could not have lived with what I would have considered a failure.

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Samsara Davanala Lidha Loka (Sri Gurvastakam)

Srila Prabhupada sings Sri Gurvastakam Prayers

Sri-Sri-Gurv-astaka
(Eight prayers Glorifying the Spiritual Master)
By Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, who appeared in the latter half of the 17th century, is a great spiritual master in the Krsna Consciousness chain of gurus and disciples. He says that one should loudly chant the following eight prayers, with great care and attention, during the brahma-muhurta, the auspicious time an hour and a half before sunrise when devotional practices are especially potent. Anyone who thus chants these eight beautiful prayers glorigying the spiritual master will certainly get a chance to render direct service to Krsna, the Lord of Vrndavan, after the demise of his body. (from 1974 edition of “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas)

For complete sanskrit text, translation and purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada…

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The Mystic Yogī


…The real purpose of yogic performances is to control the mind and the senses. In other words, one cannot attain the mercy and benediction of the Supreme Lord until one is able to control the mind and the senses. This is actually possible when one fully engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness…

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 3: “The Status Quo”
SB 3.15: Description of the Kingdom of God

There is no defeat in this material world for persons who control the mind and senses by controlling the breathing process and who are therefore experienced, mature mystics. This is because by such perfection in yoga they have attained your mercy.

Purport

The purpose of yogic performances is explained here. It is said that an experienced mystic attains full control of the senses and the mind by controlling the breathing process. Therefore, controlling the breathing process is not the ultimate aim of yoga. The real purpose of yogic performances is to control the mind and the senses. Anyone who has such control is to be understood to be an experienced, mature mystic yogī. It is indicated herein that a yogī who has control over the mind and senses has the actual benediction of the Lord, and he has no fear. In other words, one cannot attain the mercy and benediction of the Supreme Lord until one is able to control the mind and the senses. This is actually possible when one fully engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person whose senses and mind are always engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord has no possibility of engaging in material activities. The devotees of the Lord are not defeated anywhere in the universe. It is stated, nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve: one who is nārāyaṇa-para, or a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is not afraid anywhere, whether he is sent to hell or promoted to heaven (Bhāg. 6.17.28).

Pasted from; PrabhupadaBooks.com

Practicing Krishna Consciousness at Home (via The Hare Krishna Movement)

Practicing Krishna Consciousness at Home Practicing Krishna Consciousness at Home by Padmapani Prabhu Since the vast majority of our readers are coming to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Consciousness for the first time through Internet searches, and without access to devotee association or a nearby Hare Krishna temple, many people have inquired about how they can set up an altar in their homes and start practicing Krishna Consciousness at their own pace. The first and foremost principle o … Read More

via The Hare Krishna Movement

Process of Devotional Service


Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
Madhya-lila Ch. 6, Text 241-242

TEXT 241

bhakti-sādhana-śreṣṭha śunite haila mana
prabhu upadeśa kaila nāma-saṅkīrtana

TRANSLATION

Then the Bhaṭṭācārya asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu, “Which item is most important in the execution of devotional service?” The Lord replied that the most important item was the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

PURPORT

There are nine items to be executed in devotional service. These are enumerated in the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.23):

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

Hearing the glories of the Lord, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering worship in the temple, offering prayers, becoming a servant of the Lord, becoming the Lord’s friend, and sarvātma-nivedana, offering oneself fully at the lotus feet of the Lord-these are the nine devotional processes. In The Nectar of Devotion, When Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya asked the Lord which item was most important, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately answered that the most important item is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. He then quoted the following verse from the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa (Thirty-eighth Chapter, verse 126) to confirm His statement.

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Srila Prabhupada Photo

Photo taken by Hasti Gopal Prabhu

The Srila Prabhupada photo Chicago 1975 is my favorite of all. I took this and was initiated on July 26th 1975. Srila Prabhupada was waiting for his car to pick him up and take him back to his place of residence. The car was late so Srila Prabhupada joked to Brahamananda Swami that he take the Visnu Jana Swami Sankirtan bus that he was standing near. Then some devotees saw that Srila Prabhupada was exposed to the sun too much ( in their hearts ) so they spread one Hari Nam chader over him and themselves. That was Krsna and the devotees protecting Srila Prabhupada. It is tearfull with joy to remember that eternal moment.

-Hasti Gopal Das

A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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