Brahmananda das Departs

Back to Godhead - Volume 10, Number 12 - 1975

Brahmananda das Departs

We are sad to report the departure of Sriman Brahmananda Prabhu, on of the very first disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He was well loved by many.

The following is a report from the Sampradaya Sun News and a letter that arrived in my mailbox this morning from Aprakrita Dasa, reporting the news.

Jun 07, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — We have received news of the departure of Brahmananda das (ACBSP), who left his body in Vrindavan-dham earlier today. Brahmananda Prabhu (Bruce Scharf) joined Srila Prabhupada in New York in September 1966, as one of Prabhupada’s first disciples in New York. He was ISKCON’s first temple president.

Brahmananda was involved in nearly all aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s early preaching mission, from Ratha yatra to harinam and book sankirtan, and publishing the first issues of Back to Godhead magazine. He also arranged many lectures and meetings for Srila Prabhupada.

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How the Hare Krsna Movement Came to Africa

Brahmananda das

How the Hare Krsna Movement Came to Africa
by His Holiness Brahmananda Swami
Excerpted from; Back to Godhead Magazine 1975 Vol. 10, No. 12

The story of how the Hare Krsna movement came to Africa starts in 1971 in the United States. I was in Tallahassee, Florida, teaching an experimental course in Krsna consciousness at the state university, when I received a letter from my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, instructing me to go immediately to West Pakistan for preaching work. I had very little money, and I knew the trip to Pakistan would be long and arduous. However, a disciple takes his spiritual master’s order as his very life and soul, and I was determined that nothing would stop me.

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Vrndavana – Land of No Return

Kusum Sarvara

Kusum Sarvara

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Vrndavana – Land of No Return
by Brahmananda Swami
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1975 Vol.10, No. 11

I once visited Vrndavana, India with His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. As I accompanied him on his daily walk one morning we suddenly came upon a particularly beautiful spot. The cool sands were thick with foliage; the tall trees full of singing birds. As the sun brightened the clear morning sky, peacocks filled the air with their peculiar call.

Srila Prabhupada looked over his shoulder and said to me, “So, Brahmananda, this is Vrndavana. How do you like it?”

“It’s wonderful, Srila Prabhupada,” was all I could reply. I felt that he was actually revealing the glories of Vrndavana to me even though I had no particular spiritual qualification.

Vrndavana is the place where the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appeared five thousand years ago. Lord Krsna descended there from His own spiritual planet, Goloka Vrndavana to attract us by displaying His supernatural pastimes. Srila Prabhupada has explained that when Krsna descends to the material world, this same Vrndavana descends with Him just as an entourage accompanies an important personage. Because when Krsna comes His land also comes, Vrndavana is not considered to exist in the material world. Therefore devotees take shelter of the Vrndavana in India, for it is considered to be a replica of the original Goloka Vrndavana.

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How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World (Part 3)

Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan Party

This is Part 3, or the conclusion, of the very informative article by Sriman Brahmananda Prabhu as it appeared in Back to Godhead Magazine in 1975, which gives not only some of the History of Lord Caitanya’s Mission, but on the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the Hare Krishna Movement here in the West.

How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World (Part 3)
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol.10, No. 1, 1975
by His Holiness Brahmananda Swami

After the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, a great scholar and pure devotee, continued to expand the mission of Lord Caitanya. He wrote many books and established printing presses and sixty-four temples dedicated to preaching the message of Krsna consciousness.

The following is the third of three articles depicting the pioneering efforts of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, and those who have followed them in spreading the benediction of Krsna consciousness throughout the world.)

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How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World (Part 2)

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

This is Part 2 of the very informative article by Sriman Brahmananda Prabhu as it appeared in Back to Godhead Magazine in 1974, which gives not only some of the History of Lord Caitanya’s Mission, but on the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the Hare Krishna Movement here in the West.

How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol.1, No. 68, 1974
Part 2
by His Holiness Brahmananda Svami

[Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krsna Himself in the form of His own pure devotee, appeared 500 years ago in Bengal, India, to teach—by His own example—how one can become fully Krsna conscious. The teachings of Lord Caitanya were recorded and transmitted by many faithful disciples, but they were virtually unknown in the West until 1896, when Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great spiritual master in the disciplic line from Lord Caitanya, published a short book entitled Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu—His Life and Precepts and sent copies to the Western world. The following is the second of three articles depicting the pioneering efforts of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and those who have followed him, in spreading the great benediction of Krsna consciousness to the West.]

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How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World

BTG_Year-1974_Volume-01_Number-63_Page_01

This is a very informative article which gives not only some of the History of Lord Caitanya’s Mission, but on the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the Hare Krishna Movement here in the West.

How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol.1, No. 66, 1974
Part 1
by His Holiness Brahmananda Swami

“He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die When thou art living still in Sound! The Vaisnavas die to live and living try To spread a holy life around!”—verse by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura on the tomb of the great saint Thakura Haridasa at Puri, India

In Calcutta in 1896, the teachings of Lord Caitanya began their journey to the West. In Bengali-speaking Calcutta on August 20th of that year, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura published a small English treatise entitled Lord Caitanya—His Life and Precepts. Seventyone years later, in 1967, in Montreal, Canada, a graduate student came across a copy of this book while browsing through the rare-book collection of the McGill University library. The book was a wonderful find for him because he was a dedicated follower of Lord Caitanya’s, having been convinced of Lord Caitanya’s teachings by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he had accepted as his spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada was born in Calcutta on September 1, 1896, only a few days after Lord Caitanya-His Life and Precepts was published. Thus by a transcendental arrangement this significant book and he who would fulfill the purpose of the book appeared together.

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Vrndavana—Land of No Return Part 2

Vrndavana—Land of No Return
By His Holiness Brahmananda Swami
Originally Published in Back to Godhead 1975 Vol. 10, No. 11

Part 2

I once visited Vrndavana, India with His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. As I accompanied him on his daily walk one morning we suddenly came upon a particularly beautiful spot. The cool sands were thick with foliage; the tall trees full of singing birds. As the sun brightened the clear morning sky, peacocks filled the air with their peculiar call.

Srila Prabhupada looked over his shoulder and said to me, “So, Brahmananda, this is Vrndavana. How do you like it?”
“It’s wonderful, Srila Prabhupada,” was all I could reply. I felt that he was actually revealing the glories of Vrndavana to me even though I had no particular spiritual qualification.

Vrndavana is the place where the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appeared five thousand years ago. Lord Krsna descended there from His own spiritual planet, Goloka Vrndavana to attract us by displaying His supernatural pastimes. Srila Prabhupada has explained that when Krsna descends to the material world, this same Vrndavana descends with Him just as an entourage accompanies an important personage. Because when Krsna comes His land also comes, Vrndavana is not considered to exist in the material world. Therefore devotees take shelter of the Vrndavana in India, for it is considered to be a replica of the original Goloka Vrndavana.

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Vrndavana—Land of No Return (Part 1)

Because Vrndavana is the eternal and entirely spiritual abode of the Lord, it is nondifferent from Him. At Vrndavana, one will find unlimited wealth, strength, fame, wisdom, beauty and renunciation—all the six opulences possessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan Sri Krsna. Indeed Vrndavana is Krsna, and, to go there is to perceive God Himself.

Vrndavana—Land of No Return (Part 1)
By His Holiness Brahmananda Swami
Back to Godhead Magazine 1975 Volume 10 Number 9

From the beginning of time, man has yearned for the perfect home—a paradise, a Shangri-la, a Walden—where he could live eternally in peace and happiness. Such a place cannot be found anywhere in the material world, however, for the material world is by its very nature temporary and frustrating. To end our weary searching, we must go beyond this world of duality, beyond the boundaries of space and time, into the spiritual realm.

Vrndavana, India, is that sought-after eternal resting place because it is at Vrndavana that Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, descended to this planet five thousand years ago. The Lord’s appearance and activities are not mundane; they are completely transcendental. Just as a king may travel with all his retinue, set up camp, and conduct his affairs of state in the same style as if he were in his palace, Lord Krsna brought with Him all His transcendental associates and paraphernalia and created on earth an exact replica of the spiritual world, known as Goloka Vrndavana.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada, as a pure devotee free from all defects, can transmit the Absolute Truth as it has been carefully set down in the Vedic literature, like a mailman who delivers a letter without opening it to add or subtract something. Because Srila Prabhupada is qualified to receive the king of all education, he is empowered to pass it on purely. His books are considered Vedic literature because they are in pursuance of Vyasadeva’s original intentions. Thus Srila Prabhupada’s translations and purports are nondifferent from the original instructions delivered 5,000 years ago by Lord Krsna.

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 7 (conclusion)

One day when several of Srila Prabhupada’s leading disciples were assembled before him, he announced that he had been requested to write a summary study of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. If Srila Prabhupada proceeded translating canto by canto, some students feared, he might not be able to complete the confidential Tenth Canto in his life time. Because this portion had been so misrepresented by materialistic religionists, he wanted to leave behind an edition which presented this important portion in its proper transcendental perspective. He took our approval and then began dictating Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This work is the most entertaining of all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. He conceeded that he was writing it in such a way that the reader would not detect the philosophy. In the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami, its principal reciter, has declared that there are three classes of men who will be attracted to Krsna’s pastimes. Those very advanced in transcendental realization, the liberated souls, will relish the pastimes. Those who are on the path to achievement of liberation will automatically be purified, and even the gross materialist will enjoy them because of the resemblance between Krsna’s affairs with the gopis and the love affairs between ordinary men and women.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada teaches the most difficult and sublime science—the science of how to serve God—in such a way that anyone can understand it. The concepts are presented over and over again, for repetition is a time-tested learning technique in transcendental study. Thus in whichever of Srila Prabhupada’s books one reads first, one will find the entire science of Krsna consciousness presented, yet each succeeding book reveals something more, and with each rereading one will find new light. Srila Prabhupada’s books are the most wonderful vehicle because they swiftly transport the reader to a timeless and ever- green world where everyone is joyfully awakened to the Absolute Truth of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 6

The next book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, was then dictated. It is a summary study of the historic Caitanya-caritamrta. Instead of the exhaustive format of verse to verse translation and purport, Srila Prabhupada presented this book in a shortened but more essential manner. “My books are for my students,” he told us, and so he wanted to write as many as possible. If Bhagavad-gita could be considered the undergraduate study of spiritual life and Srimad-Bhagavatam the master’s study, then Caitanya-caritamrta is the doctorate course. It recounts Lord Caitanya’s teachings to the only five disciples He personally taught. In Teachings of Lord Caitanya, the incomplete philosophy of impersonalism is fully analyzed and forcefully defeated by Lord Caitanya in His discussions with the two biggest impersonalists of His time, Prakasananda Sarasvati and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Also, the quintessence of all detailed knowledge of Krsna and how He acts both in the spiritual and material worlds is disclosed to Ramananda Raya.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada receiving Macmillan Bhagavad-gita As It Is


The chief editor at the Macmillan Company said, “Bring in the manuscript tomorrow morning,” he said, “and we’ll publish it.”

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 5

Bhagavad-gita As It Is stands as a challenge to all the mental speculators who depart from the Gita’s central teaching of devotional service to the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna. Even Mahatma Gandhi stands accused, since his ingenious metaphorical interpretation is simply designed to support his mundane political movement of nonviolence. In India Srila Prabhupada personally requested Gandhi to preach the Gita for what it teaches, Krsna consciousness, just as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja had personally requested the most famous Indian poet of his time, Rabindranath Tagore.

In the Gita’s Ninth Chapter Lord Krsna categorically advises Arjuna to surrender to Him and to love and worship Him only. He specifically uses the Sanskrit word mam, meaning “unto Me.” Yet one commentator, a renowned Indian philosopher and political leader, begins his commentary on this crucial verse, “It is not to Krsna that we have to surrender…” It is very clear that Krsna and Arjuna are standing on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra and that Krsna is telling Arjuna to surrender unto Him. But this scholar wants to turn the reader away from Krsna by insidiously implying that Krsna actually means to surrender to the eternal unmanifested essence within Himself. But Krsna didn’t say this. Significantly, Srila Prabhupada entitles his comments “purports,” not interpretations. In his purports he gives the actual significance of the verses. Srila Prabhupada informs all deluded scholars that because Krsna is absolute, there is no qualitative difference between His within and His without as there is with conditioned living entities like ourselves.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

“The words of Srimad-Bhagavatam are Your incarnation, and if people repeatedly hear them in submissive aural reception, then they will be able to understand Your message.”

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 4

In the opening sentences of Srila Prabhupada’s introduction to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, he affirms that the word “God” refers to the supreme controller and that a controller cannot be impersonal. In the first sloka of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, obeisances are offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

om—O my Lord; namah—my respectful obeisances unto You; bhagavate—unto the Personality of Godhead; vasudevaya—unto Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.

O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

Whereas others have translated the Sanskrit scriptures conveniently to suit their interpretations, Srila Prabhupada always gives word-for-word English equivalents for each Sanskrit verse, and thus the translations cannot be disputed. This is a painstaking process, considering the length of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but it is in keeping with the heritage of the Gosvamis to present the literature of devotional service authoritatively and scientifically. Furthermore, the English-reading public can easily learn the meanings to the Sanskrit words from this format.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 3

Back to Godhead contained timely articles, essays, book reviews and selections from full-length works in progress such as the Sri Isopanisad. It should be noted that this paper was entirely the effort of Srila Prabhupada. He wrote all the material, edited it, typed it for the printer and checked the galley proofs. Then he sold the copies. Each fortnight he would take batches of Back to Godhead into Delhi. To save a few cents bus fare he sometimes had to walk for miles, and often he would sit in tea parlors until late at night, himself not even taking a glass of water there, preaching and distributing his paper and collecting one cent per copy.

At this time Srila Prabhupada also wrote outlines of his dream. It was a worldwide association of God conscious devotees who actively preached the eternal religion of love of God in all fields of society at large and who used all the modern means at their disposal. The League of Devotees, the forerunner of the now worldwide ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was thus formally registered. From international sankirtana parties, to gosalas (cow protection reserves), to authorized teaching of Sanskrit, to a printing press solely for flooding the marketplace with Krsna conscious literature, ISKCON is today the reality of that dream.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

Part 2

The treasure of Radha-Damodara is the samadhi and bhajana(place for executing devotional service) of Srila Rupa Goswami. Of the six Goswami’s, he is the most importnt. Rupa Goswami constructed the largest temple in Vrndavana, Radha-Govindaji, and he wrote the most important book on the science of devotional service, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which was completed in the year 1552. He and his elder brother Sanatana Goswami were among the chief government administrators of their time and were highly learned in Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. Lord Caitanya personally instructed Rupa Goswami for ten consecutive days, and Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu codifies these teachings, with supporting evidence from scores of supplementary Vedic texts.

One great acarya (teacher) in the parampara (disciplic succession) has offered obeisances to the six Goswami’s in the following manner; “They are very expert in scrutinizingly studying all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds, and they are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the gopis and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Radha and Krsna.” In one of Srila Prabhupada’s rooms in the Radha Damodara temple there is a window thatoverlooks the shaded courtyard where the tow tomblike structures that honor Rupa Goswami stand. Just before this window is a bare wood asana (seat) where Srila Prabhupada sat to receive inspiration from the greatest of the Goswami’s From the other where he wrote his books, Srila Prabhupada could look out and see Jiva Goswami’s own worshipable Deities, Radha-Damodara.

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The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Originally published in Back to Godhead No. 52 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1973
By Brahmananda Swami ISKCON East Africa

This will be an eleven part series, as it is a rather legenthy article, but very good source for historical information on Srila Prabhupada, Radha-Damodara Temple, and the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

The Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

“My books are more important than myself.” This was Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to one of his disciples who was being sent from his personal service to open a temple in a distant place. When one considers how much time, energy and intelligence Srila Prabhupada has utilized to single-handedly begin and spread the Krsna Consciousness Movement to an international scale, it is even more astonishing that he has written a score of unique books. Despite his responsibilities in guiding thousands of disciples who operate almost a hundred different centers, that he has produced these books-at substantial sacrifice-proves that the most important factor to the Krsna Consciousness Movement is the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

While still in India, His Divine Grace inhabited two ordinary rooms in India’s most historic literary temple. This Radha-Damodara temple was built almost 500 hundred years ago by Srila Jiva Goswami in the holy site of Vrndavan, where Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared to display His transcendental pastimes 5,000 years ago. The Radha-Damodara temple, which has since fallen into disrepair, houses the samadhi (burial place) of Jiva Goswami, one of the six prime disciples of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya gave His disciples in Vrndavan three important instructions: first, to discover the exact locations where Krsna displayed His pastimes, as revealed in the sastras (scriptures); then, to build temples where the Lord could be suitably worshiped; and finally, to write books fully explaining the real science of devotional service to God. Lord Caitanya Himself wrote only eight slokas (stanzas), but the six goswamis of Vrndavan have left a vast body of literature for the inestimable benefit of all humanity.

When only ten years old, Jiva Goswami wanted to join Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement, but first he prepared himself by becoming fully versed in Sanskrit in Benares. He was then able to write volumes of books, which have prompted one Indian authority to declare Jiva Goswami the greatest philosopher that has ever lived. It is lamentable that due to the lack of qualified translators, the English-knowing world may never be able to take advantage of these books.

The Radha-Damodara temple is also the site of the Samadhi of Krsnadasa Kaviraja, the most important biographer of Lord Caitanya. Krsnadas Kaviraja appeared after Lord Caitanya but was contemporary to the six Goswamis. Directly inspired by Lord Nityananda, one of Lord Caitanya’s principal associates, he wrote his Caitanya-caritamrta at the age of ninety. This book recounts the teaching of Lord Caitanya more vividly than the biographical details which have been preserved by other authors.

…to be continued

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

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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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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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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