Finding a Genuine Guru

Saw this nice post in my mailbox this morning courtesy of my friend Padmapani Prabhu over at  Prabhupada Connect and thought we would share it with all of you.  The photo is by Mathuranath Prabhu I believe.
Finding a Genuine Guru
Excerpted from Science of Self Realization Chapter 2
Reporter: Have you ever had people come to you who had previously been involved with a fake
guru?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, there are many.
 
Reporter: Were their spiritual lives in any way spoiled by the fakegurus?
 
Srila Prabhupada: No, they were genuinely seeking something spiritual, and that was their qualification. God is within everyone’s heart, and as soon as someone genuinely seeks Him, He helps that person find a genuine guru.

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Identity of Lord Chaitanya

lord-caitanya-krsna-radha

 

Identity of Lord Chaitanya
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1960 Vol. 3 Part 16

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no other than the combined form of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. He is the life of those devotees who strictly follow the footprints of Sri Srila Rupa Goswami.

Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami both are principal followers of Sri Swarup Damodar Goswami who acted as the most confidential servitor and constant companion of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whose name was known as Viswambhar in His early life.

And from Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami comes as the direct disciple and the author of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita i. e., Sri Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami stands to be his direct follower.

From Goswami Krishna Das Kaviraj the direct disciple is Srila Narottam Das Thakur who accepted Viswanath Chakrabarty as his servitor. Viswanath Chakrabarty accepted Jagannath Das Babajee from whom Srila Bhaktivinode Thakore was initiated and Srila Gour Kishore Das Babajee the spiritual master of Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad-the Divine spiritual Master of our humbleself.

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The Most Extraordinary Person

Srila Prabhupada early years

I have read and re-read the Foreward to The Science of Self Realization by Mukunda dasa Goswami many times now, and every time I am moved by this written account.

…From the very start, I knew that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda was the most extraordinary person I had ever met. The first meeting occurred in the summer of 1966, in New York City. A friend had invited me to hear a lecture by “an old Indian svāmī” on lower Manhattan’s Bowery. Overwhelmed with curiosity about a svāmī lecturing on skid row, I went there and felt my way up a pitch-black staircase. A bell-like, rhythmic sound got louder and clearer as I climbed higher. Finally I reached the fourth floor and opened the door, and there he was. (Mukunda dasa Goswami from Foreward to The Science of Self Realiztion)

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Letter by Srila Prabhupada to His Disciples

Srila Prabhupada with devotees

Vyasa Puja Reply

Letter to: Devotees
Los Angeles
26 August, 1972
72-08-26

My dear beloved Children,

Please accept my blessings. I am so much pleased with your kind and affectionate words on the occasion of my birthday anniversary on the Nandotsava day this year (1972). My Guru Maharaja wanted me to spread this Krishna Consciousness Movement in western world, and you are all helping in this great attempt.

My Spiritual Master knew it that alone I could not do this great work. Therefore He has very kindly sent you all to help me in this task. I accept you therefore as representatives of my Guru Maharaja playing as my affectionate disciples.

It is said that child is father of man. Kindly therefore continue your help in this great task and act as my young father and mother in my old age. I am

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ACBS/sda

A Conversation between A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami & Allen Ginsberg

046_-_BTG_Year-1968_Volume-01_Number-17_Page_01

This morning I was cleaning out one of the sheds, and found this old suitcase filled with cassette tapes. There were some of the old Bhaktivedanta Archive tapes, Golden Avatar tapes, various lectures, bahjans and kirtans. I started to listed to some of the old vintage kirtans and lectures and I was filled with a nostalgic mood of yearning, for the early days of the Hare Krishna Movement. This lead me to re-examine the old Back to Godhead magazine issues. The following is one article I found very reminiscence of those early days.

A Conversation between A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami & Allen Ginsberg
Recorded by Guru Das Adhikary

Swamiji had come to San Francisco in late January, 1967 for the opening of the Krishna Consciousness Temple there, at 518 Frederick Street. Allen Ginsberg had always shown friendly and helpful interest in the Society; and he agreed to attend a giant “Mantra Rock Festival,” which the temple members were planning to hold in the Avalon Ballroom. And so, a few days before that event, the good poet came to early morning Kirtan (7 A. M.), and later joined the Swami upstairs in the apartment his pupils had rented for him.

We were sitting in the glow of this holy man, munching on Indian sweetballs cooked by the Swami, when Allen Ginsberg came through the door, a warm smile on his face.

The Swami offered him a sweetball: “Take.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, radiating mutual love.

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Vidura Prabhu 1944 – 2016

viduradas1

Vidura Prabhu holding the umbrella serving Srila Prabhupada

On Febuary 20th a friend and Godbrother, Vidura Prabhu, left his body peacefully at his home in New Vrindaban, WV, on the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nityananda, February 20, 2016, at the age of 71. Vidura Prabhu is survived by his wife of 45 years, Tryadhisa Dasi, and many friends around the world.

Vidura Prabhu 1944 – 2016

Vidura Das, born November 25, 1944, left his body peacefully at his home in New Vrindaban, WV, on the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nityananda, February 20, 2016, at the age of 71.

A disciple of Srila Prabhupada and long time resident of New Vrindaban, Vidura and his wife of 45 years, Tryadhisa, have been serving in the Dhama since 1984.

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Bhagavata Dharma Discourses

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This concludes our series on the “Bhagavata Dharma Discourses” at New Vrindavan in 1972.

…So this Bhāgavata discourse is meant for giving enlightenment to the people of the world. It is not a sectarian religion; it is meant for all human beings. They should take advantage of the instruction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, and make their life perfect. That is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lecture
Given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New Vrindaban, September 7, 1972
Canto One, Chapter 2, Text 9

Full Lecture More

Unalloyed Affection in the Land of Vṛndāvana

Krsna splashing the gopis by Shyamarani devi

…In His boyhood at Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa was notorious as a teasing friend in transcendental love to all the girls His age. His love for them was so intense that there is no comparison to that ecstasy, and the damsels of Vraja were so much attached to Him that their affection excelled that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. Lord Kṛṣṇa finally admitted His defeat before the transcendental affection of the gopīs and declared that He was unable to repay them for their unalloyed affection. (from purport SB 3.2.14)

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Sri Siksastaka

sri caitanya mahaprabhu

Although I have posted the Sri Siksastaka prayers from this site in the past, the importance of these eight prayers by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu can not be over emphasized. Therefore we are posting them again along with a Commentary by Srila Prabhupada and a sound file by Achutananda Prabhu.

…Although Lord Caitanya was widely renowned as a scholar in His youth, He left only eight verses, called Śikṣāṣṭaka. These eight verses clearly reveal His mission and precepts. These supremely valuable prayers are translated herein.

Śrī Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka
Eight Instructions of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu

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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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Letter on Initiation

Letter to Hansadutta

I read this letter today, by Srila Prabhupada to Hamsadutta Prabhu, written in 1973, putting in practice, the process of ritvik initiation (although we did not have a name for it then, it was simply how it was done); “…Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated April 7, 1973 and am pleased to accept the following boys and girls as my initiated disciples.

I am also enclosing Gayatri Mantras for the 14 disciples and 10 sacred threads duly chanted upon by me for the men disciples. You show them how to count on the fingers, and let them hear the mantra chanted by me on the tape through the right ear.”

What I find interesting is how devotees today will decry and belittle the Ritvik Process of initiation, but this was how the initiations were performed in the early days of our movement. The majority of disciples, initiated by Srila Prabhupada when he was personally present, received initiation exactly as it was described in above letter. We almost all recieved Ritvik initiation from Srila Prabhupada. I know I did.

Anyway, food for thought.

Letter More

Krishna’s Childhood Pastimes

Krishna kicking cart

Continuining our month long attempt to stay focused on the childhood pastimes of Krsna, during this month of Damodara (Kartika), we bring you another exciting chapter from; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Today we are posting the chapter entitled “The Salvation of Tṛṇāvarta”.

…Baby Kṛṣṇa had been placed underneath a hand-driven cart, and while He was kicking His legs, He accidentally touched the wheel of the cart, and it collapsed. Various kinds of utensils and brass and metal dishes had been piled up in the handcart, and they all fell down with a great noise. The wheel of the cart separated from the axle, and the spokes of the wheel were all broken and scattered hither and thither. Mother Yaśodā and all the gopīs, as well as Mahārāja Nanda and the cowherd men, were astonished as to how the cart could have collapsed by itself.

…If someone takes advantage of hearing the pastimes of the Lord, the material contamination of dust, accumulated in the heart due to long association with material nature, can be immediately cleansed. Lord Caitanya also instructed that simply by hearing the transcendental name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one can cleanse the heart of all material contamination. There are different processes for self-realization, but this process of devotional service–of which hearing is the most important function–when adopted by any conditioned soul, will automatically cleanse him of the material contamination and enable him to realize his real constitutional position.  (Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead)

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Ecstasy of Rememberance

gopal

I guess we all have our favorite verse or sloka from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and a favorite picture as well. This is probably my favorite verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam. It speaks to me, and I find that I quote this verse often when I am speaking with others about the joyous nature of Krishna consciousness.

I will be away from the computer for the next few weeks as we are taking a ‘spring break’, but I wanted our last post to be about Remembering Krishna.

My dear Vyāsa, even though a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.19)

…Pure devotional service is so spiritually relishable that a devotee becomes automatically uninterested in material enjoyment. That is the sign of perfection in progressive devotional service. A pure devotee continuously remembers the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and does not forget Him even for a moment, not even in exchange for all the opulence of the three worlds. (from purport)

Full Verse and Purport More

Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī

Sukadeva Goswami

…those who are really anxious to get out of this material existence may take shelter of this Bhāgavatam because it is uttered by the liberated Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is the transcendental torchlight by which one can see perfectly the transcendental Absolute Truth realized as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. (from purport to SB 1.1.4)

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“God is Great”

KRSNA Book

click on image to enlarge

This morning my attention was drawn to the Krsna Book. The book was laying on my book stand unopened, but it was so attractive, that I just had to open it, and read the Preface again. Back in the early 70’s, this was the first book I received from a devotee at the Chicago O Hara Airport, and I remember when I first opened it, and began to read this Preface, I was immediately convinced that Krsna was God. Immediately! Such is the power of the words of the pure devotee; Srila Prabhupada.

In these Western countries, when someone sees the cover of a book like Kṛṣṇa, he immediately asks, “Who is Kṛṣṇa? Who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa?” etc.

The immediate answer is that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How is that? Because He conforms in exact detail to descriptions of the Supreme Being, the Godhead. In other words, Kṛṣṇa is the Godhead because He is all-attractive. Outside the principle of all-attraction, there is no meaning to the word Godhead. How is it one can be all-attractive? First of all, if one is very wealthy, if he has great riches, he becomes attractive to the people in general. Similarly, if someone is very powerful, he also becomes attractive, and if someone is very famous, he also becomes attractive, and if someone is very beautiful or wise or unattached to all kinds of possessions, he also becomes attractive. So from practical experience we can observe that one is attractive due to 1) wealth, 2) power, 3) fame, 4) beauty, 5) wisdom, and 6) renunciation. One who is in possession of all six of these opulences at the same time, who possesses them to an unlimited degree, is understood to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (from Preface to “Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead”)
Entire Preface More

Krsna, The Reservoir of Pleasure (Free pdf Download)

Krsna the Reservoir of Pleasure

Here is another free download made possiable by our friends at Krishnapath.org. I love these early publications, when preaching was the essence of our mission, and the message was so sublime.

Click on following link to view or save; More

The Gifts of His Divine Grace

Prabhupada smiles 1

The following is an older Back to Godhead article that that I fondly remember, which was published in 1978, shortly after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. We reprint it here to honor the memory of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

The Gifts of His Divine Grace
by Jayadvaita dasa [Swami]
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine 1978 Vol. 13, No. 1-2

In just a dozen years, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gave the world a legacy that will last forever.

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The Mission of Lord Buddha

Buddha's

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For some reason, I have always been attracted to Buddha since my early childhood. Later in my life as I turned 18, I also became interested in vegetarianism, which peaked my interest in spiritual life as well. So it was, I began the practice of yoga and meditation. It is interesting to note that later (age 21) when I became a Hare Krishna devotee, was when my actual education in Lord Buddha began. We share with you two select verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam describing the mission of Lord Buddha.

The mission of Lord Buddha was to save people from the abominable activity of animal killing and to save the poor animals from being unnecessarily killed.

Lord Buddha, a powerful incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, appeared in the province of Gayā (Bihar) as the son of Añjana, and he preached his own conception of nonviolence and deprecated even the animal sacrifices sanctioned in the Vedas. At the time when Lord Buddha appeared, the people in general were atheistic and preferred animal flesh to anything else. On the plea of Vedic sacrifice, every place was practically turned into a slaughterhouse, and animal killing was indulged in unrestrictedly. Lord Buddha preached nonviolence, taking pity on the poor animals. He preached that he did not believe in the tenets of the Vedas and stressed the adverse psychological effects incurred by animal killing. Less intelligent men of the age of Kali, who had no faith in God, followed his principle, and for the time being they were trained in moral discipline and nonviolence, the preliminary steps for proceeding further on the path of God realization. He deluded the atheists because such atheists who followed his principles did not believe in God, but they kept their absolute faith in Lord Buddha, who himself was the incarnation of God. Thus the faithless people were made to believe in God in the form of Lord Buddha. That was the mercy of Lord Buddha: he made the faithless faithful to him.

Select verses: More

Meaning of Yoga

yoga_beach-sunset

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When we think of Yoga, we used to think of some old bearded yogi standing on his head, or more recently of young beautiful men & women in athletic clothing posing serenely, or a class full of people stretching on yoga mats. But actually the meaning of yoga is far beyond any of the physical gymnastics we tend to associate with the word. There are many systems of yoga, namely; karma yoga, jnana yoga, dhayana yoga, hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, and so many patterns of yoga. But as we understand from the Bhagavad-gita:

…in the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that…yoga means to get into touch with the Supreme Lord. The process, however, includes several bodily features such as āsana, dhyāna, prāṇāyāma and meditation (from purport SB 1.2.28-29)

…The word yoga means “link.” Any system of yoga is an attempt to reconnect our broken relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are different types of yoga, of which bhakti-yoga is the best. In other yoga systems, one must undergo various processes before attaining perfection, but bhakti-yoga is direct. (from purport SB 10.2.6)

…The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, rāja-yogī, haṭha-yogī, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.

It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogī. (Bhagavad-gita 6.47)

The very word yoga means connecting link with the supreme being. We accept Krishna as the supreme being, and nobody is equal to him or greater than him. (Letter to Sri Krishna C. Batra – Vrindaban 8 December, 1975)

Full Letter + References More

The Meaning of the Hare Krishna Mantra

Srila Prabhupada room conversation

So this sound, this Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord.

Lecture on Maha-mantra
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Recorded September 8th, 1966, New York

Prabhupada: Now, some of you members have asked me to explain the meaning of this chanting, Hare Krishna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Now, this sound is transcendental sound, transcendental sound, incarnation, sound incarnation of the Absolute Truth. Just try to understand what is incarnation. Incarnation means… The Sanskrit word is avatara, and that is translated into English as “incarnation.” Of course, the root meaning of incarnation I cannot exactly explain to you, but the root meaning of the… (aside:) The root meaning of avatara is “which comes from the transcendental sky, the spiritual sky to the material sky.” That is called avatara. Avatarana. Avatarana. Just like… Avatarana means “coming from up to down.” That is called avatarana. And avatara is understood that when God or His bona fide representative comes from that sky to this material plane, that is called avatara.

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Previous Older Entries

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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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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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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