Sri Krishna Balarama Ratha Yatra Queens, NY

Sri Krishna Balarama

Sri Krishna Balarama Ratha Yatra on Sunday, August 5, 2012!

The devotees of Queens invite all to come and celebrate our annual Ratha Yatra parade. It will begin at 1:00 pm sharp from the corner of Liberty Avenue and 123rd Street, and will continue all the way to our Mandir at 111-14 101 Avenue at 3:00 pm, followed by a Festival of India until 8:00 pm. Free sumptuous prasadam will be served all day long and we will have a full afternoon packed with dramas, dances, bhajans, devotional talks
and fun for the entire family.

Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir
111-14 101 Avenue
South Richmond Hill, New York 11419
website: http://www.krishnabalaramanyc.org

For more info, please contact:
Sunandana Das: 917-604-1085 ; sunandanadas@hotmail.com
Govinda: 347-480-5357

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Balarama Jayanthi

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Balarama Jayanthi
Appearance of Lord Balarama
Aug. 1, 2012

Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir,
Serving the mission of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
India Heritage Foundation
1235 Reamwood Avenue
Sunnyvale California 94089
United States

Lord Caitanya: The Golden Avatara

… When Rupa Gosvami, the principal disciple of Lord Caitanya, first saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he offered a nice prayer to Lord Caitanya. This prayer says, namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te/ krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah. “My dear Lord, You are the most munificent of all the incarnations.” Why? Krsna-prema-pradaya te: “You are directly giving love of God. You have no other purpose. Your process is so nice that one can immediately learn to love God. Therefore You are the most munificent of all incarnations. And it is not possible for any personality other than Krsna Himself to deliver this benediction; therefore I say that You are Krsna.” Krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne: “You are Krsna, but You have assumed the name Krsna Caitanya. I surrender unto You.”

Lord Caitanya: The Golden Avatara
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine Vol. 1, Number 39

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatara, appeared in India nearly 500 years ago. It is the custom in India that when a child is born, an astrologer is called for. When Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared 5,000 years ago, Gargamuni was called by His father, and he said, “This child formerly incarnated in five complexions, such as red and golden, and now He has appeared in blackish color.” Krsna’s color is described in the scriptures as blackish, just like a cloud. Lord Caitanya is understood to be Krsna appearing in golden complexion.

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Teachings to Rūpa Gosvāmī

Today we honor the disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami.

Teachings of Lord Caitanya
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter One

Teachings to Rūpa Gosvāmī

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the younger brother of Sanātana Gosvāmī, went to Prayāga, the modern city of Allahabad, with his younger brother Vallabha. When the two brothers heard that Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was staying there, they both became very happy and went to see the Lord. At that time the Lord was on His way to visit the temple Bindumādhava. On the way to the temple, the Lord was chanting and dancing, and thousands of people were following Him. Some of these people were crying, and some were laughing. Some were dancing, and some were singing, and some were falling on the ground, offering obeisances to the Lord. In all cases, all of them were roaring the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. It is said that in spite of being at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamunā, Prayāga was never flooded until the appearance of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, at which time the city was overflooded by love of Kṛṣṇa.

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Spark of Kṛṣṇa’s Splendor

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter Ten, Text 41-42

yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
mama tejo ‘ṁśa-sambhavam

Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

Purport
Any glorious or beautiful existence should be understood to be but a fragmental manifestation of Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, whether it be in the spiritual or material world. Anything extraordinarily opulent should be considered to represent Kṛṣṇa’s opulence.

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Kṛṣṇa, The Source of All Power

…There are many powerful kings, leaders, learned scholars, scientists, artists, engineers, inventors, excavators, archaeologists, industrialists, politicians, economists, business magnates, and many more powerful deities or demigods like Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, Candra, Sūrya, Varuṇa and Marut, who are all protecting the interest of the universal affairs of maintenance, in different positions, and all of them are different powerful parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord.

The Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the father of all living entities, who are placed in different high and low positions according to their desires or aspirations. Some of them, as particularly mentioned above, are specifically endowed with powers by the will of the Lord. A sane person must know for certain that a living being, however powerful he may be, is neither absolute nor independent. All living beings must accept the origin of their specific power as mentioned in this verse. And if they act accordingly, then simply by discharging their respective occupational duties they can achieve the highest perfection of life, namely eternal life, complete knowledge and inexhaustible blessings.

As long as the powerful men of the world do not accept the origin of their respective powers, namely the Personality of Godhead, the actions of māyā (illusion) will continue to act. The actions of māyā are such that a powerful person, misled by the illusory, material energy, wrongly accepts himself as all in all and does not develop God consciousness. As such, the false sense of egoism (namely myself and mine) has become overly prominent in the world, and there is a hard struggle for existence in human society. The intelligent class of men, therefore, must admit the Lord as the ultimate source of all energies and thus pay tribute to the Lord for His good blessings. Simply by accepting the Lord as the supreme proprietor of everything, since He is actually so, one can achieve the highest perfection of life.

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Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Siva

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My dear Lord, Your two lotus feet are so beautiful that they appear like two blossoming petals of the lotus flower which grows during the autumn season. Indeed, the nails of Your lotus feet emanate such a great effulgence that they immediately dissipate all the darkness in the heart of a conditioned soul. My dear Lord, kindly show me that form of Yours which always dissipates all kinds of darkness in the heart of a devotee. My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto Four, Chapter 25, Verse 52

Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Siva

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Guru-Disciple Relationship

The bona fide guru will simply present what the supreme guru, God, says in bona fide scripture. A guru cannot change the message of the disciplic succession.

The guru’s business is to bring his disciples from darkness to light.

The guru’s business is to see that no human being suffers in this material world. No one can claim that he is not suffering. That is not possible. In this material world, there are three kinds of suffering; adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. These are miseries arising from the material body and mind, from other living entities and from the forces of nature. We may suffer mental anguish, or we may suffer from other living entities-from ants or mosquitoes or flies-or we may suffer due to some superior power. There may be no rain, or there may be flood. There may be excessive heat or excessive cold. So many types of suffering are imposed by nature. Thus there are three types of miseries within the material world, and everyone is suffering from one, two, or three of them. No one can say that he is completely free from suffering.

Guru-Disciple Relationship

The Guru – Guide to the Spiritual World
from the Bhakta Handbook

On hearing the word guru, we tend to envision a caricature like image: a bizarre-looking old fellow with a long, stringy beard and flowing robes, meditating on distant, esoteric truths. Or we think of a cosmic con man cashing in on young seekers’ spiritual gullibility. But what really is a guru? What does he know that we don’t? How does he enlighten us?

In a talk given in England in 1973, Srila Prabhupada provides some enlightening answers.

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Changing Bodies

We Are Not These Bodies, We Are Soul

…within this body there is soul, and the body is changing every moment, but the soul is there. Just as a soul comes from the womb of his mother with a small body, and that small body changes—it becomes the body of a boy, it becomes the body of a youth, then it becomes the body of an old man, then it vanquishes… That we have to admit. We may say that the body is growing, but actually, the fact is, body is changing. It is medically admitted that we are changing our body every second. We are changing our blood corpuscles, and therefore a change of the body is taking place, and that is being manifested in a different shape only. Actually, we are changing every moment our body. So the ultimate change, when this body cannot be worked any more, just like a dress, when it is torn, when it is too old, you have to change it. Similarly, when this body becomes useless, no more, it cannot be pulled on any more, you take another body. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir. As we are, in our practical life, we are changing our body every moment, similarly, the last stage of changing this body is called death. Just as I give up this body, I have to enter into the womb of some kind of mother. These things are explained in the Vedic literatures. (Srila Prabhupada from lecture; San Francisco, April 2, 1968)

The soul is eternal, it is changing body, different bodies, and there are 8,400,000 different forms of body. According to his desire, he is entering another body.

…in the hundreds and thousands of universities all over the world there is no department of knowledge where the science of the soul is taught. Actually, we are all spirit soul. From Bhagavad-gītā we understand that we are transmigrating from one body to another, even in our present lives. All of us had at one time the body of a small baby. Where is that body? That body is gone. Presently I am an old man, but I remember that I was once a small baby. I still remember when I was about six months old; I was lying down on the lap of my elder sister, who was knitting, and I was playing. I can remember that, so it is possible for everyone to remember that he had a small body. After the baby’s body I had a boy’s body; then I had a youthful body, and now I am in this body. Where are those bodies? They are gone now. This is a different body. It is explained in Bhagavad-gītā that when I give up this body, I will have to accept another body. It is very simple to understand. I have changed so many bodies, not only from childhood to boyhood to youth, but according to medical science we are changing bodies every second, imperceptibly. This Process indicates that the soul is permanent. Although I have changed many bodies, I remember my baby body and my childhood body—I am the same person, soul. Similarly, when ultimately I change this body, I shall have to accept another. This simple formula is stated in Bhagavad-gītā. Everyone can reflect on it…(Srila Prabhupada from; Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System)

A person or an animal is not the material body; rather, the material body is the covering of the living being. Bhagavad-gītā compares the body to a dress and elaborately explains how one changes dresses one after another. The same Vedic knowledge is confirmed here. The living being, the soul, is constantly changing bodies one after another. Even in the present life, the body changes from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth, and from youth to old age; similarly, when the body is too old to continue, the living being gives up this body and, by the laws of nature, automatically gets another body according to his fruitive activities, desires and ambitions. The laws of nature control this sequence, and therefore as long as the living entity is under the control of the external, material energy, the process of bodily change takes place automatically, according to one’s fruitive activities.

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The Deliverance of Śiśupāla

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…Śiśupāla went crazy because of Kṛṣṇa’s being elected the supreme first-worshiped person in that meeting, and he spoke so irresponsibly that it appeared that he had lost all his good fortune. Being overcast with misfortune, Śiśupāla continued to insult Kṛṣṇa further, and Lord Kṛṣṇa patiently heard him without protest. Just as a lion does not care when a flock of jackals howl, Lord Kṛṣṇa remained silent and unprovoked. Kṛṣṇa did not reply to even a single accusation made by Śiśupāla, but all the members present in the meeting, except a few who agreed with Śiśupāla, became very agitated because it is the duty of any respectable person not to tolerate blasphemy against God or His devotee. Some of them, who thought that they could not properly take action against Śiśupāla, left the assembly in protest, covering their ears with their hands in order not to hear further accusations. Thus they left the meeting condemning the action of Śiśupāla. It is the Vedic injunction that whenever there is blasphemy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one must immediately leave. If he does not do so, he becomes bereft of his pious activities and is degraded to the lower condition of life.

All the kings present, belonging to the Kuru dynasty, Matsya dynasty, Kekaya dynasty and Sṛñjaya dynasty, became very angry and immediately took up their swords and shields to kill Śiśupāla. Śiśupāla was so foolish that he did not become even slightly agitated, although all the kings present were ready to kill him. He did not care to think of the pros and cons of his foolish talking, and when he saw that all the kings were ready to kill him, instead of stopping, he stood to fight with them and took up his sword and shield. When Lord Kṛṣṇa saw that they were going to engage in fighting in the arena of the auspicious Rājasūya yajña, He personally pacified them. Out of His causeless mercy He Himself decided to kill Śiśupāla. When Śiśupāla was abusing the kings who were about to attack him, Lord Kṛṣṇa took up His disc, which was as sharp as the blade of a razor, and immediately separated the head of Śiśupāla from his body.

…Śukadeva Gosvāmī assured Mahārāja Parīkṣit that the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa–the killing of Śiśupāla and Jarāsandha and the releasing of the imprisoned kings–are all transcendental vibrations, and anyone who hears these narrations from the authorized persons will be immediately freed from all the reactions of the sinful activities of his life.

Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead 1970 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Vol. 2, Chapter 19

The Deliverance of Śiśupāla

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Does the Guru have to be Physically Present?

…”What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living.”

Paramananda:
We’re always feeling your presence very strongly, Srila Prabhupada, simply by your teachings and your instructions. We’re always meditating on your instructions.

Srila Prabhupada:
Thank you. That is the real presence. Physical presence is not important.

“But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection.”

Does the Guru have to be physically present?
Quotes by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

“Physical presence is immaterial. Presence of the transcendental sound received from the Spiritual Master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you.”
(SP Letter to Brahmananda and other students, 19/1/67)

“But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection.”
(SP Letter to Gaurasundara, 13/11/69) 

“So we should associate by vibration, and not by the physical presence. That is real association.” 
(SP Lectures SB, 18/08/68) 

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Teachings of the Vedas

…The Vedas are not compilations of human knowledge. Vedic knowledge comes from the spiritual world, from Lord Krsna.

“Teachings of the Vedas” 

[Delivered as a lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on October 6, 1969, at Conway Hall, London, England.] 

Ladies and gentlemen, today’s subject matter is the teachings of the Vedas. What are the Vedas? The Sanskrit verbal root of veda can be interpreted variously, but the purpose is finally one. Veda means knowledge. Any knowledge you accept is veda, for the teachings of the Vedas are the original knowledge. In the conditioned state, our knowledge is subjected to many deficiencies. The difference between a conditioned soul and a liberated soul is that the conditioned soul has four kinds of defects. The first defect is that he must commit mistakes. For example, in our country, Mahatma Gandhi was considered to be a very great personality, but he committed many mistakes. Even at the last stage of his life, his assistant warned, “Mahatma Gandhi, don’t go to the New Delhi meeting. I have some friends, and I have heard there is danger.” But he did not hear. He persisted on going and was killed. Even great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, President Kennedy — there are so many of them — make mistakes. To err is human. This is one defect of the conditioned soul.

Another defect: to be illusioned. Illusion means to accept something which is not: maya. Maya means what is not. Everyone is accepting the body as the self. If I ask you what you are, you will say, “I am Mr. John; I am a rich man; I am this, I am that.” All these are bodily identifications. But you are not this body. This is illusion.

The third defect is the cheating propensity. Everyone has the propensity to cheat others. Although a person is fool number one, he poses himself as very intelligent. Although it is already pointed out that he is in illusion and makes mistakes, he will theorize: “I think this is this, this is this.” But he does not even know his own position. He writes books of philosophy, although he is defective. That is his disease. That is cheating.

Lastly, our senses are imperfect. We are very proud of our eyes. Often, someone will challenge, “can you show me God?” But do you have the eyes to see God? You will never see if you haven’t the eyes. If immediately the room becomes dark, you cannot even see your hands. So what power do you have to see? We cannot, therefore, expect knowledge (veda) with these imperfect senses. With all these deficiencies, in conditioned life, we cannot give perfect knowledge to anyone. Nor are we ourselves perfect. Therefore we accept the Vedas as they are.

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Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master

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The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was written in Sanskrit by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. He was the chief of the six Gosvāmīs, who were the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and has since been translated into English by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

The author of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous ācāryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity. (From introduction to Nectar of Devotion)

Nectar of Devotion
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 7 “Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles”

Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master

In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Chapter, verse 21, Prabuddha tells Mahārāja Nimi, “My dear King, please know for certain that in the material world there is no happiness. It is simply a mistake to think that there is happiness here, because this place is full of nothing but miserable conditions. Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. Everyone should try to find such a bona fide spiritual master in order to fulfill his mission of life, which is to transfer himself to the plane of spiritual bliss.”

The purport is that one should not accept as a spiritual master someone who is fool number one, who has no direction according to the scriptural injunctions, whose character is doubtful, who does not follow the principles of devotional service, or who has not conquered the influence of the six sense-gratifying agents. The six agents of sense gratification are the tongue, the genitals, the belly, anger, the mind and words. Anyone who has practiced controlling these six is permitted to make disciples all over the world. To accept such a spiritual master is the crucial point for advancement in spiritual life. One who is fortunate enough to come under the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master is sure to traverse the path of spiritual salvation without any doubt.

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“Vedic Knowledge Points To Krsna”

“Vedic Knowledge Points To Krsna”
Lecture on Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 20.146-151
New York, December 3, 1966
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Prabhupada:

mukhya-gauna-vrtti, kimva anvaya-vyatireke
vedera pratijna kevala kahaye krsnake

So Lord Caitanya says, “You study Vedas in any way, directly, indirectly. In whatever way you like you study Vedas, but the ultimate objective is Krsna.”

Now, Caitanya, Lord Caitanya, is describing about the various forms of Krsna. This is very important subject. How Krsna is all-pervading, He is describing.

krsnera svarupa-ananta, vaibhava-apara
cic-chakti, maya-sakti, jiva-sakti ara

Krsnera svarupa ananta. The transcendental forms of Krsna, innumerable, vaibhava, and His opulence, that is also innumerable. Nobody can estimate. How many forms are there of Krsna or how much opulent He is, nobody can estimate; nobody can measure. This is inconceivable. The first proposition. Cic-chakti maya-sakti jiva-sakti ara. And His potencies are also unlimited, out of which, three potencies are generally accepted: cit-sakti, spiritual potency; material potency; and marginal potency. These three potencies I have described many times. Cit-sakti, the spiritual potency, is a manifestation of the spiritual world, and material potency is a manifestation of this material world, and the marginal potency, we are, we living entities. We are marginal potency. Why it is marginal? Because although we belong to the spiritual potency, but we have got tendency to come into contact of this material potency. Therefore it is called marginal, “this way or that way.” That a slight independence which is there in every living entity, he can use that, and he may select either to live in the spiritual potency or in the material potency. Therefore the living entities are called marginal potency. So parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate [Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]. Although the energies of the Supreme Lord are innumerable — nobody can count or measure — but they are divided into three.

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Meditation upon the Transcendental Form of Viṣṇu

In our previous post Fix your mind upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead it was recommended that we should fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead. Now the next step is to meditate upon the form of the Lord. To move from the impersonal to the more personal aspects of the Absolute Truth.

Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Viṣṇu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of the complete body. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.

…Therefore, thinking of Viṣṇu or meditating upon the transcendental form of Viṣṇu, specifically upon Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the last word on the subject of meditation.

…it is definitely assured that the Supreme Lord is not impersonal. He is a person, but His body is different from those of conditioned persons like us. Otherwise, meditation beginning from the praṇava (oṁkāra) up to the limbs of the personal body of Viṣṇu would not have been recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī for the attainment of complete spiritual perfection. The Viṣṇu forms of worship in great temples of India are not, therefore, arrangements of idol worship, as they are wrongly interpreted to be by a class of men with a poor fund of knowledge; rather, they are different spiritual centers of meditation on the transcendental limbs of the body of Viṣṇu. The worshipable Deity in the temple of Viṣṇu is identical with Lord Viṣṇu by the inconceivable potency of the Lord.

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Mother Ganges

Some selected quotes on the river Ganges

Mother Ganges is worshiped by the water of the Ganges: a devotee takes a little water from the Ganges and offers it back to the Ganges. When the devotee takes the water, mother Ganges does not lose anything, and when the water is offered back, mother Ganges does not increase, but in this way the worshiper of the Ganges is benefited. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord offers the Lord patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam—a leaf, flower, fruit or water—in great devotion, but everything, including the leaf, flower, fruit and water, belongs to the Lord, and therefore there is nothing to renounce or to accept. One must simply take advantage of the bhakti process because by following this process one does not lose anything but one gains the favor of the Supreme Person. (SB 9.9.12)

When there was a meeting of great sages at Naimiṣāraṇya, Sūta Gosvāmī was reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the importance of the Ganges was stated as follows: “The waters of the Ganges are always carrying the flavor of tulasī offered at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and as such the waters of the Ganges are ever flowing, spreading the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Wherever the waters of the Ganges are flowing, all will be sanctified, both externally and internally.” ( Nectar of Devotion Chapter 7)

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Fix Your Mind Upon the Personality of Godhead

In our previous post Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, which is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m, was discussed. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, was a means of changing the habit of the mind, to bring the mind under control. But in this next verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step in God Realization, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

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The Choice; Krishna or Maya?

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…So Krsna and maya are side by side. As soon as you forget Krsna, or as soon as you want to utilize Krsna for your sense gratification, it is immediately maya, darkness. And as soon as you want to serve Krsna, immediately it is light. So if we keep ourself on this side, light side, always serving Krsna, then there is no possibility of our being in contact with maya.

“The Choice; Krishna Or Maya”
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18
August 21, 1972, Los Angeles

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
[SB 1.2.18]

Translation: “By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.”

Prabhupada: So here it is said bhagavata-sevaya, not bhagavan-sevaya. Bhagavan is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and bhagavata means in relation with Bhagavan, who has got relationship with Bhagavan. So here it is recommended bhagavata-sevaya, not bhagavan-sevaya. The idea is that you cannot approach Bhagavan, God, directly. That is not possible. First of all, you have to serve bhagavata, the devotee bhagavata.

There are two kinds of bhagavata: book bhagavata and devotee bhagavata. So in the Siva Purana, there was a question by Parvati to Lord Siva. Lord Siva and Parvati, husband and wife. Parvati means the material nature. Srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga [Bs. 5.44]. Durga-devi. Durga-devi is in charge of this material world. It is called durga, durga, just like fort. And the superintendent of this fort is Durga. You cannot go out of this fort; you are imprisoned. So such Durga-devi, who is so powerful energy — she can create, annihilate, maintain, srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana — she is always sitting by the side of her husband, Lord Siva, and questioning about spiritual enquiries. Just see. Such powerful deity is also ignorant about spiritual life. So the husband, Lord Siva, is Vaisnava, and she’s always asking, and sitting down underneath a bael tree. She can create so many universes, but for her, no building; only underneath a tree.

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Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization

…Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, which is a transcendental but mechanical way of getting into trance, as devised by the experience of great mystics, one is able to bring the mind, which is materially absorbed, under control.

Oṁkāra is the seed of all transcendental sound and it is only the transcendental sound which can bring about the desired change of the mind and the senses. Mind or desire cannot be stopped, but to develop a desire to function for spiritual realization, the quality of engagement by the mind has to be changed.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, the praṇava (oṁkāra) has been accepted as the direct, literal representation of the Supreme Absolute Truth. One who is not able to chant directly the holy name of the Lord, as recommended above, can easily chant the praṇava (oṁkāra). This oṁkāra is a note of address, such as “O my Lord,” just as oṁ hari om means “O my Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” As we have explained before, the Lord’s holy name is identical with the Lord Himself. So also is oṁkāra. But persons who are unable to realize the transcendental personal form or name of the Lord on account of their imperfect senses (in other words, the neophytes) are trained to the practice of self-realization by this mechanical process of regulating the breathing function and simultaneously repeating the praṇava (oṁkāra) within the mind.

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Devotional Service and Worship of Kṛṣṇa

…Pure devotees concentrate their minds in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in full devotional service; therefore they are always situated in the transcendental position. Devotional service and worship of Kṛṣṇa are very clearly indicated in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad-gita verses eight to eleven. That is the way of pure devotional service.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 10, Text 8-11

The Opulence of the Absolute

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.

To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.

Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

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