Krsna and Balarama Nectar

Krsna and Balaram

When I saw this beautiful image of Krsna and Balarama, my mind immediately went to the Krsna Book. So I pulled out some of the pastimes of the two transcendental brothers to share with you today.

…Accompanied by the cowherd boys and Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa brought forward the cows and played on His flute through the forest of Vṛndāvana, which was full of flowers, vegetables, and pasturing grass. The Vṛndāvana forest was as sanctified as the clear mind of a devotee and was full of bees, flowers and fruits. There were chirping birds and clear water lakes with waters that could relieve one of all fatigues. Sweet flavored breezes blew always, refreshing the mind and body. Kṛṣṇa, with His friends and Balarāma, entered the forest and, seeing the favorable situation, enjoyed the atmosphere to the fullest extent. Kṛṣṇa saw all the trees, overloaded with fruits and fresh twigs, coming down to touch the ground as if welcoming Him by touching His lotus feet. He was very pleased by the behavior of the trees, fruits and flowers, and He began to smile realizing their desires. (Chapter 15 Killing of Dhenukasura)

…One day, when Kṛṣṇa, along with Balarāma, was maintaining the calves in the forest, They saw some cows grazing on the top of Govardhana Hill. The cows could see down into the valley where the calves were being taken care of by the boys. Suddenly, on sighting their calves, the cows began to run towards them. They leaped downhill with joined front and rear legs. The cows were so melted with affection for their calves that they did not care about the rough path from the top of Govardhana Hill down to the pasturing ground. They began to approach the calves with their milk bags full of milk, and they raised their tails upwards. When they were coming down the hill, their milk bags were pouring milk on the ground out of intense maternal affection for the calves, although they were not their own calves. These cows had their own calves, and the calves that were grazing beneath Govardhana Hill were larger; they were not expected to drink milk directly from the milk bag but were satisfied with the grass. Yet all the cows came immediately and began to lick their bodies, and the calves also began to suck milk from the milk bags. There appeared to be a great bondage of affection between the cows and calves. (Chapter 13 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma)

…Kṛṣṇa was very pleased with the atmosphere of the forest where flowers bloomed and bees and drones hummed very jubilantly. While the birds, trees and branches were all looking very happy, Kṛṣṇa, tending the cows, accompanied by Śrī Balarāma and the cowherd boys… (Chapter 21 The Gopīs Attracted by the Flute)

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Don’t Be A Crazy Fellow, Be Patient and Return Home

Srila Prabhupada

“Be patient and return home. Don’t be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence. You should not make yourself a showbottle devotee and become a false renunciant. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued: “Within your heart, you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man. Thus Kṛṣṇa will soon be very pleased and deliver you from the clutches of māyā.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Madhya-lila Chapter 16, Text 237-239)

I have always liked this verse, it is sage advise for anyone practicing spiritual life (self-realization), in this age. “Within your heart, you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man.” It is not that everyone who is interested in practicing Krishna Consciousness must artificially renounce the world, shave their head, put on robes, become a nun or monk, and live in a temple. No the instruction is here; “enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it.”

The peace and happiness for which we are all hankering for life after life, moment after moment, we will get when our desires become purified, and dovetailed with the Lord. One who desires sense gratification, the enjoyment of material satisfaction, will never be happy. That is not possible. If you want peace, if you want happiness, if you want perfection in your life, then just begin to dovetail your desires, activities, and potentials with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then you will see what real happiness is, and can tell who is really crazy.

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Belief in the Words of Our Spiritual Master

Srila Prabhupada on morning walk

“I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 7.95-96)

A person who cannot keep his faith in the words of his spiritual master but acts independently never receives the authority to chant the holy name of the Lord. (from purport)

This is one of my favorite verses from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, and the purport here is one of the most important lessons in spiritual life. Namely, success in spiritual life is faith in the words of the spiritual master and following his instructions. Thereby receiving his blessings. If one receives the blessings of his spiritual master he can chant the holy name of the lord constantly.

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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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The Divisions of Faith

The Divisions of Faith Plate 40

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Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 1972 Edition
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Seventeen

The Divisions of Faith

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Disappearance of Haridasa Thakura

HaridasaThakura1

After the passing away of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, the Lord Himself took his body on His lap, and He danced with it in great ecstasy. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 10.46)

Today being the Disappearance of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, we honor him with this short post. We have selected a verse from the Bhagavad-gita 6.44 wherein Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport;

…Lord Caitanya, accepted Ṭhākur Haridāsa as one of His most important disciples. …he was elevated to the post of nāmācārya by Lord Caitanya due to his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand holy names of the Lord daily: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

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The Spiritual Sky

Radha and Krishna  the Spiritual World

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The liberated living entities seek that place where there are no material miseries. The Bhāgavatam says:

samāśritā ye padapallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhāvambudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
paraṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
(Bhāg. 10.14.58)

“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint. Param padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuṇṭha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.” (From purport to Bg. 2.51)

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KRSNA Book Vol. 2 (Free PDF Download)

Krsna Book Vol. 2 cover

Recently I have been reading one chapter from the Krsna Book everyday, something I haven’t done since my children were young. But now in my old age, reading alone and out loud, in front of our deities, I am finding an even deeper appreciation of this beautiful book. To be honest, I am in awe of this Krsna Book, it is not of this world. Rather it is a window to the Spiritual World. With great joy we are posting a scanned version of Vol. 2 of the Krsna Book, in the pdf format, for a free download.

KRSNA_Book_Vol.2_1970_ISKCON

Click on above link and give it a few moments to load…then you can view it or save it to your files. Hare Krishna!

excerpt from book:

…After being received by the cowherd men and boys, the gopīs, and King Nanda and Yaśodā, Lord Balarāma sat down, feeling satisfied, and they all surrounded Him. First Lord Balarāma inquired from them about their welfare, and then, not having seen Him for such a long time, they began to ask Him different questions. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana had sacrificed everything for Kṛṣṇa, simply being captivated by the lotus eyes of the Lord. Because of their great desire to love Kṛṣṇa, they never desired anything like elevation to the heavenly planets or merging into the effulgence of Brahman to become one with the Absolute Truth. They were not even interested in enjoying a life of opulence, but were satisfied in living a simple life in the village as cowherd men. They were always absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa and did not desire any personal benefits, and they were all so much in love with Him that in His absence their voices faltered when they began to inquire from Balarāmajī. (Chapter 11, Lord Balarāma Visits Vṛndāvana)

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Gopal

Srila Prabhupada once said that Krishna Consciousness is “So simple you can miss it”. Sometimes we become overwhelmed with so many books, so much instruction, rules and regulations etc.etc. but actually Krishna Consciousness is very simple, and anyone can begin this blissful process by simply thinking of Krishna. As we can see from the following verse and purport from the Bhagavad-gita:

Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

…Life should be so molded that one will always have the chance to think of Kṛṣṇa. One should always act in such a way that all his daily activities are in connection with Kṛṣṇa. He should arrange his life in such a way that throughout the twenty-four hours he cannot but think of Kṛṣṇa. And the Lord’s promise is that anyone who is in such pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness will certainly return to the abode of Kṛṣṇa, where he will be engaged in the association of Kṛṣṇa face to face. This most confidential part of knowledge is spoken to Arjuna because he is the dear friend of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone who follows the path of Arjuna can become a dear friend to Kṛṣṇa and obtain the same perfection as Arjuna.

…one should concentrate his mind upon Kṛṣṇa—the very form with two hands carrying a flute, the bluish boy with a beautiful face and peacock feathers in His hair.

….One should be attracted by the beautiful vision of Kṛṣṇa. His name is Kṛṣṇa because He is all-attractive. One who becomes attracted by the beautiful, all-powerful, omnipotent vision of Kṛṣṇa is fortunate.

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Ecstasy

Radha Krishna Bhava

No common man can understand the ecstasy of transcendental love between Radharani and Krsna (from Teachings of Lord Caitanya)

That supreme ecstasy of Srimati Radharani is the essence of spiritual life. Her only business is to fulfill all the desires of Krsna (CC Madhya 8.164, Translation)

This morning as I was doing my morning meditations (japa) I happened to be looking at this beautiful picture of Radha and Krishna. I was very much moved by the picture and was reminded of the following verse…

“Glory to the all-merciful Sri Radha and Madana-Mohana, who are always engaged in amorous pastimes. They are the only shelter of my depraved and crippled self. Their lotus feet are the be-all and end-all of my life” (Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas)

…and the word that kept coming up in my mind was “Ecstasy”. I could not even begin to understand what Srimati Radharani must be feeling when She looks at Krishna, or what Sri Krishna must be experiencing when He looks into the eyes of Srimati Radharani. It must be Ecstaic Love!

I went to Srila Prabhupada’s “Nectar of Devotion”, to the “Teachings of Lord Caitanya”, and to try to get a better understanding also did a search on the word ‘ecstasy’ in vainquotes. The results of my readings are as follows:

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The Krishna Conscious Handbook (Free PDF Download)

The Krishna Consciousness Handbook

I always liked this small booklet, as it contained the basic instructions for practicing Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness is not so difficult, it only requires a little sincerity and faith, and in a short time one can realize its positive results.

To read this booklet and/or to save it to your computer, simply click on following link:

The Krishna Consciousness Handbook

The Essence of Everything is the Supreme Lord

govinda with cows

Sometimes when I am sitting and reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam, a verse or sentence from the purport just jumps out from the page almost like it is in 3D, and I catch a glimpse of what the Spiritual World must be like. It is beyond even my imagination, but sometimes I catch a glimmer of light, through a transcendental window, by the grace of my spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

…The transcendental abode of the Lord where the trees are all desire trees and the buildings are made of touchstone. The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation.

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.” (Bs 5.29)

…And those who are artists, overtaken by the beautiful creation, should better see to the beautiful face of the Lord for complete satisfaction. The face of the Lord is the embodiment of beauty. What they call beautiful nature is but His smile, and what they call the sweet songs of the birds are but specimens of the whispering voice of the Lord.

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Becoming Eager to See Krsna

…The gopis are another example of great eagerness to see Krsna. The gopis came to Krsna, being captivated by His beautiful features.

The first thing Krsna is looking for is how eager you are to see Him. Krsna will respond. If you are actually eager to see Krsna …your efforts will be successful. But you must desire Krsna only. In this connection, Rupa Gosvami has written a verse:

smeram bhangi-traya-paricitam saci-vistirna-drstim
vamsi-nyastadhara-kisalayam ujjvalam candrakena
govindakhyam hari-tanum itah kesi-tirthopakanthe
ma preksisthas tava yadi sakhe bandhu-sange ‘sti rangah

The idea is that one gopi is advising another gopi, “My dear friend, there is one boy His name is Govinda. He is standing on the bank of the Yamuna near the Kesi-ghata, and He is playing on His flute. He is so beautiful, especially during this full-moon night. If you have any intention to enjoy in this material world with your children, husband, or other family members, then please do not go there.” Bhangi-traya: Krsna always stands in a three-curved way with His flute. That is Krsna’s tri-bhanga form, bending in three places. So the one gopi says to the other, “If you think that you’ll enjoy your life more in this material world, then do not go to see Krsna. Do not go there.” The idea is that if you once see Krsna, then you’ll forget all this nonsensical materialistic enjoyment. That is seeing Krsna.

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In Any Language

In Any Language

Kevin Lahart of Newsday interviews His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Mr. Lahart: I wonder if you could tell me how you came to found the Krsna consciousness movement here in the United States?

Srila Prabhupada: I was ordered by my spiritual master to do this work, so on his order I came to the U.S. I came alone, with no help or money. Somehow or other I stayed.

Mr. Lahart: How did you attract followers? You landed in New York and

Srila Prabhupada: My attraction was this chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. That’s all. I had no magic. Others had some sort of magic. I never showed any magic. At Tompkins Square Park I was chanting, and gradually some boys came. First a picture was published by the New York Times. Then we started a branch in San Francisco, later Montreal, Boston, then Los Angeles.

Mr. Lahart: You just chanted at Tompkins Square Park, and people came.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, I chanted under a tree. (I think that a picture was also published in the East Village Other in a very big article.) Naturally, some boys came and joined me and began to dance. That was the beginning.

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Killing of Dhenukāsura

During the Purusottama Month, it is always good to read and chant more. It is also important is to remember the wonderful pastimes of the Lord.

…After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukāsura immediately assembled and attacked Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and began to beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.

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Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers

This begins a new series of a True account. A search for meaning carries Bob Cohen, a young American Peace Corps worker halfway around the world, to an ancient village in the midst of West Bengal. There, in a small bamboo hut, he finds a teacher who is able to tell him everything he ever wanted to know. To download the entire book you may click the link at bottom for entire book on pdf, or you can visit Krishna Path .org to download in epub format.

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers
Conversations between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
and Bob Cohen a Peace Corp worker in India

Introduction

God, spiritual life—those were such vague terms to me before I met Śrīla Prabhupāda. I have always been interested in religion, but before I met the Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees, somehow I did not have the proper perspective needed to inquire fruitfully about spiritual life. The existence of a Creator is only common sense—but who is God? Who am I? I had been to Hebrew School and had studied Oriental philosophy, but I could never get satisfying answers to my questions.

I first heard the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in Greenwich Village, New York, in late 1968.

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare

The chanting was captivating, and it made me feel very comfortable. The mantra stuck in my mind, and I soon regretted that I had not taken a magazine from the devotees. As explained to me later, a transcendental seed had been planted that could eventually ripen into love of Godhead.

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A Call to Spiritual Life

…So if we are serious, if we actually want to be happy, we must take to the cultivation of spiritual understanding, an understanding of Krsna consciousness. Of course, in every country of the world there is some religious system, some system for understanding spiritual life. But unfortunately, almost nobody is interested in spiritual life because people have been induced to become addicted to material, or sensual, activities. They are going further and further away from spiritual life and becoming more and more confused. Disappointment is rising all over the world.

So to mitigate this disappointment and confusion, one has to take to Krsna consciousness. Try to understand the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, and act accordingly. Then you will be happy.

A Call to Spiritual Life 

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
An address given in September 1973 (upon arriving for his first visit in Stockholm).

Thank you very much for kindly receiving me on this first visit of mine to your country.

The Krsna consciousness movement is gradually spreading all over the world, but it is a little difficult to understand the purport of this movement because it is completely on the spiritual platform. Generally, people do not understand what the spiritual platform is. But it is quite simple. Every one of us every living being is a combination of two things: matter and spirit. Matter we can understand, but on account of our long association with matter we cannot understand what spirit is.

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Separating the Saints From the Swindlers

The Science of Self Realization
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
From Chapter II, Choosing a Spiritual Master

Separating the Saints From the Swindlers

Srila Prabhupada speaks out in an interview with the London Times: “If you want to be cheated, you will find many cheating gurus. But if you are sincere, you will find a sincere guru… The genuine guru is God’s representative, and he speaks about God and nothing else… A genuine guru is not a businessman. He is a representative of God. What ever God says, the guru repeats. He does not speak otherwise.”

Reporter: Your Grace, it seems to me that more people then ever are seeking some kind of spiritual life. I wonder if you could tell me why this is so.

Srila Prabhupada: The desire for spiritual life is an absolutely natural hankering. Because we are spirit souls, we can not be happy in the material atmosphere. If you take a fish out of the water, it cannot be happy on land. Similarly, if we are without spiritual consciousness, we can never be happy. Today, so many people are after scientific advancement and economic development, but they are not happy because these are not the actual goals of life. Many young people are realizing this, and they are rejecting materialistic life and are trying to search for spiritual life. Actually this is the proper search. Krishna consciousness is the proper goal of life. Unless you take to Krishna consciousness you cannot be happy. That is a fact. Therefore, we invite everyone to study and understand this great movement.

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The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master

The Absolute Necessity of a Spiritual Master
From; The Science of Self Realization
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In February 1936, in Bombay, India, the members of a reputed religious society, the Gauḍīya Maṭha, were astonished by the powerful and eloquent words of a young member who spoke in honor of his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. Three decades later, the young speaker would become the world-renowned founder and spiritual master of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presentation is a memorable statement on the importance of the guru in spiritual life.

sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

“In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshiped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master.”

Gentlemen, on behalf of the members of the Bombay branch of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, let me welcome you all because you have so kindly joined us tonight in our congregational offerings of homage to the lotus feet of the world teacher, Ācāryadeva, who is the founder of this Gauḍīya Mission and is the president-ācārya of Śrī Śrī Viśva-vaiṣṇava Rāja-sabhā—I mean my eternal divine master, Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja.

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Srila Prabhupada speaks out on false Gurus

Srila Prabhupada speaks out on false Gurus

The principle of accepting a spiritual master is essential. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Our Srila Prabhupada is the qualified, self-realized, spiritual master and is directly in line with the disciplic succession. And one can take shelter of him by simply reading his books and following his instructions, and make rapid advancement in spiritual life.

We should be very careful before accepting a Guru

“The sastras enjoin that before we take a guru we study him carefully to find out whether we can surrender to him. We should not accept a guru suddenly, out of fanaticism. That is very dangerous.”
(The Science of Self Realization, chapter 2, ‘Choosing a Spiritual Master’)

Ambition to be Guru is very dangerous

“Our mission is to serve (…). Not that you take the place of the guru. That is nonsense, very dangerous. Then everything will be spoiled. As soon as you become ambitious to take the place of guru-gurusu nara-matih . That is the material disease.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, April 20, 1977)

“That is the difficulty. Everyone sees that “Some way or other, I become guru. Then so many persons will offer me respect. Somehow or other, create some situation. Then I become guru.” This is going on. Not bona fide guru. (…) They will drink, they will hunt after woman and have some attractive singing or dancing and become guru. What is meaning of guru, they do not know. Somehow or other become popular and become guru. This is going on.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, May 2nd, 1976)

One who is disobedient to the order of the Guru cannot be a Guru

“If you become disobedient to guru, then your business is finished.”
(Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture, August 10th, 1974)

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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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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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