• "Here in this world there are thousands of newspapers and magazines reporting the stale, repetitious happenings of this limited space. So for reporting the news of the unlimited spiritual realm, concerning the eternal, ever-fresh Supreme Personality of Godhead, we could publish a newspaper at every second, what to speak of daily."
    - Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Bala Gopala's Mrdanga : An insignificant attempt (by an insignificant entity) to render service to this instruction.

29/05/06

Super Ecstatic Story That Should Send Shivers Up Your Spine!

How's that for a title? :)

Here's the story from www.bdsnews.net:

"A story that Tara Prabhu often tells is that of a woman who approached a book distributor and asked him, "Do you have the Krsna book?!" He said yes and showed her volume one. She replied, "No; no!! Volume two is what I want. I already have volume one!!" Since she seemed annoyed, the devotee asked her to explain herself. She explained/complained that she had made the mistake of buying volume one from a devotee sometime back, and that she had made the second mistake of reading it to her son at bedtime. The kid became addicted to Krsna's stories and only wanted to hear them and nothing else. She read the whole book several times to the kid, who still wanted more and more. Finally, out of personal frustration at reading the same volume again and again, she went searching for volume two."

Jaya Gopala!

p> The Krishna Book in its entirety can be downloaded here.

24/05/06

Birth Of A Devotee

Categories: Quotes

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada

Question: When a devotee is born in a fam ily, does that family benefit from his or her birth?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta: When a great saint, a pure devotee, appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for a hundred generations each are elevated. When a devotee of the middle stature (madhyama bhāgavata) appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for fourteen generations each are elevated. When a neophyte devotee appears in a family, then his ancestors and descendants for three generations each are elevated.

Question: Why are devotees sometimes born in lowclass families? If devotees are not subject to the results of their actions (karma), then why are they sometimes illiterate or diseaseridden?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta: Devotees are never subject to the result of their karma. It is by the will of the Lord that they take birth and perform other pastimes. But when it is seen that they are born in lowclass families, are illiterate, or are disease ridden, we should know that there is a great or noble purpose behind it. If people saw that devotees were always born in high class families or were always strong or educated, then they would become discouraged. So the merciful Lord, in order to benefit people of all classes, sends his devotees to different classes of society to give his mercy to other living entities. This is something like catching a wild male elephant by sending a trained female elephant. Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur has said in the Caitanya Bhāgavata that a vaisnava delivers everyone just by taking birth. In a land and in a family where a vaisnava descends, many hundreds of miles around that place become purified by his influence. Even if you see some external misery in a vaisnava’s life, you should know that he is in great ecstasy. Those who are blinded by pride in their material possessions do not know any of these things. Intoxicated with pride in their education, money, and family, they do not recognize a vaisnava.

If a devotee appears in a low-class family, then we should not think that it is a result of his sin that he was subject to the result of his action. Rather, we should know that he has purified a low-class family. If a good person becomes successful only in the devotional process, then we should consider him a great soul.

23/05/06

Bala Gopala's Darsan

Categories: Bala Gopala's Darsan

gaja-sāmī gajoddhārī
kāmī kāma-kalā-nidhiḥ
kalaṅka-rahitaś candro
bimbāsyo bimba-sattamaḥ

He is powerful like an elephant (gaja-sāmī and gajoddhārī), passionate (kāmī), a treasury of amorous arts (kāma-kalā-nidhi), pure (kalaṅka-rahita), splendid like the moon (candra), with a face splendid like the moon (bimbāsya), and splendid like the moon (bimba-sattama).

- Sri Gopala-sahasra-nama - Text 9

Dadāti Guhyam

Categories: Realizations, Happenings

Haribol.

Over here you can read about Vidyapati Prabhu's quest to barter his airfare for a trip to Sri Mayapur Dham.


Sri Panca-tattva

He was inspired by an individual in Canada who is doing something similar in hopes of securing a house. This guy started with one red paper clip and has already traded various items up to a year's rent in a house in Pheonix, Arizona. ! (yes - Google it - i'm too lazy to find the link but i think its oneredpaperclip.com or something.)

So as a grhastha (householder) devotee its part of my social function to give in charity to the renunciate asrams. I'm pretty choosey about how and when I do this but these guys are the real deal and making the most of their training opportunities. What I did was swap an old modified Yamaha electric bass guitar for a pair of well-worn priceless sankirtana shoes from a very sweet, inspirational and sincere devotee and friend of mine named Bala Gopala Prabhu. His reaction upon hearing that his old shoes had been put up for barter:


Bala Gopala Prabhu - And His Divinely Purifying Shoes

So as of now this bass guitar is in the care of Vidyapati Prabhu, and in an attempt to save on postage, I will send it on to whomever will barter something that will help progress Vidyapati Prabhu's quest for the dust from Sri Mayapur Dham. (A worthy cause for sure.)

So here's the specs on this bad boy: (Click on pics to see a bigger size image.)



Be quick! My son is developing an interest. :)

As you can see from the first picture, I've taken all of the frets off the neck and filled the ridges in so that it is, in-effect, a fretless bass. The inspiration to do this came from when, before I took any serious interest in Krishna Consciousness, I was listening to a Terrence Trent D'arby album where the fretless was prominent and was lulled by its subtleties. Although I'm way out of practice, I used it to record a sloppy (non-subtle) demo so that you can get an idea of the unique sound of this type of bass:

Fretless bass demo: [download] (less than 1MB)

The sliding woody sound is what makes it distinct from a typical electric bass. As for now this instrument just sits around in storage and since it might actually be put to some good use by a devotee I thought it was time to let it journey on to better destinations. For some reason I got inspired to sand off the YAMAHA logo then although retrospectively I should have left it on because it resembles tilakas:

If anyone is interested then you need contact Vidyapati Prabhu or leave a comment here that I'll forward on to him.

And now that I have your attention, its time to do a bit of preaching ....
(cut and paste, Prabhus - speculators gotta type it all out! :) )

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.5.32

naiṣāḿ matis tāvad urukramāńghriḿ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
mahīyasāḿ pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekaḿ
niṣkiñcanānāḿ na vṛṇīta yāvat

TRANSLATION

Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
-----------------------

"One cannot obtain kṛṣṇa-bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, by official execution of the Vedic rituals. One has to approach a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: "Who has been elevated without rendering service to a pure Vaiṣṇava?" It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja that unless one is able to accept the dust from the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of achieving the platform of devotional service. That is the secret."

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 8.17 Purport
-----------------------

"The person who has not at any time received upon his head the dust from the feet of a pure devotee of the Lord is certainly a dead body."

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 2.31 Purport
-----------------------

"The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. In all the revealed scriptures this is loudly declared again and again. Therefore, my dear devotees, please hear from me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation. From these three one achieves the highest goal of life — ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. This is the greatest mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The evidence is Kālidāsa himself.

- Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 16.60-63
-----------------------

The Nectar of Instruction 4

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuńkte bhojayate caiva
ṣaḍ-vidhaḿ prīti-lakṣaṇam

TRANSLATION

Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.

20/05/06

A True Cow Protection Story

Categories: Cow Protection

May 15, VRINDAVAN, INDIA (SUN) — An excerpt from the May issue of the Care For Cows newsletter.

The following is based on a true story from Gauseva Chamatkar, an historical collection of cow miracles.

The riot of 1857 was spread all over India - Delhi was the centre of it. Each and every street had become a mortuary. There was blood shed everywhere. The rioters had lost discrimination between good and bad. I was the chief of the Muslim rioters.

At the end of a long day of looting and killing I was exhausted and hungry. Our pockets and bags were full of money but the markets were desserted out of fear of the riots, and all the houses were locked. We gathered in an empty courtyard and my men went out to search for food. Soon four of my men returned pulling a chubby cow behind them. I didn’t know how that poor one fell in the claws of those hungry wolves. One of them had tied his turban around her neck and before I could say anything they tied the legs of that crying cow and threw her down on the ground. Who would save a dumb cow from the hands of the Muslims in the middle of that riot?

At that time all those so-called leaders of Hindu religion, those who give long lectures on cow protection, were all safely hidden in holes. The cow was tired. Tears were falling from her eyes and I was agitated out of hunger. My body was weak. It is against my religion to consider the cow holy and to serve her. But seeing that innocent cow surrounded by those cruel wolves who were sharpening their knives and about to kill her, I felt pity on her. The cow was frightened and pregnant, and seeing her I remembered my pregnant wife, and I began to shiver.

I stood up with courage and said to my friends, "Can’t you see that out of hunger I'm about to die, and you fools are not yet able to provide me food. All of you immediately go and collect wood and salt and I will take care of this." As soon as my friends left I took the knife which was meant for killing the poor cow, cut her loose, and patted her back. At first she couldn’t stand up, unable to believe this behavior from me. I stroked her again and she stood up, stretched herself and swished her tail. At that moment she glanced at me in such a way as if telling me "You will be rewarded for your kindness". She then left, quickly disappearing out of sight. When my friends returned I was lying on the ground, as if unconscious from hunger. They shook me and asked about the cow. I pretended that I had no idea what had happened. Having no energy to pursue her, they made some chapatis and ate them instead.

When the riots came to an end I was caught by the authorities and sentenced to death by hanging. Hundreds of people gathered outside the jail to watch the event as I was brought up to the gallows. A red hood was pulled over my eyes, and everything went dark. A noose was then secured around my neck. My throat was dry. Within moments the floor opened beneath me and I fell to what I thought would be my death. Suspended mid-air, almost unconscious from fear, I struggled to regain my senses as I realized I was not in fact dead, nor dying, but somehow my feet were being supported upon what seemed to be two sharp horns. The noose around my neck miraculously remained slack. Thinking me dead I was brought out from under the platform. Seeing me in fact alive, the doctor was shocked and moved back in astonishment.

According to the law at that time, I was hung thrice, and every time two horns caught my fall. As the noose of the gallows was unable to take my life even after three attempts, the court set me free. I came out of the jail with my relatives and there I saw a cow. She looked at me with her cooling eyes, then turned and walked away, followed by her calf. Immediately I remembered the pregnant cow I had saved during the riot in Delhi. That cow had looked at me in the same way when I had released her.

In my religion serving forms is considered a sin - but I bowed down to that cow who I believe had saved my life. Since that time I consider serving cows my duty, and I will continue to serve cows till the end of my life. I put the dust of the cow’s feet on my head, then I go to do namaj .

17/05/06

Cooperation With Those Who Are God Conscious Brings Results

Scheverman: Well I would be very interested, as the man who lives across the street right over here, pastor of St. Mark's parish, in talking with your local leadership and discussing whatever programs you are interested in working in this particular community. And I think perhaps...

Prabhupāda: No community—everyone is welcome.

Scheverman: Well, there are ways in which we might work together and cooperate.

Prabhupāda: Just like a school. A school is open for everyone. Whoever wants to take up education, he can come.

Scheverman: I can understand that very well, because I have been a teacher for many years, and also the principal of the school, and can understand your educational concepts and the importance of them. You cannot operate a school without discipline, without training. People cannot use their brains useless they are in order.

Prabhupāda: No, there must be proper training.

Kern: God consciousness..., would you explain something of the religious experience of God consciousness?

Prabhupāda: No, God consciousness is the highest level. It is not possible for everyone. But in whatever platform he is, if there is cooperation with God consciousness movement, then he gets the result. Just like in this body.... Same example: leg's duty is different and brain duty is different, hand's duty is different, belly's duty different, but when there is cooperation, all the parts of the body derive the same benefit.

Scheverman: Yes, I see. So if one has the experience of God in a cooperative, well, good and sound social body, then all will profit from that experience.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

- Conversation: June 15, 1976, Detroit

16/05/06

The Lord Teaches The World By Teaching The Devotee

Categories: Sastra

The popular saying is that a housewife teaches the daughter-in-law by teaching the daughter. Similarly, the Lord teaches the world by teaching the devotee. The devotee does not have to learn anything new from the Lord because the Lord teaches the sincere devotee always from within. Whenever, therefore, a show is made to teach the devotee, as in the case of the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā, it is for teaching the less intelligent men. A devotee's duty, therefore, is to ungrudgingly accept tribulations from the Lord as a benediction.

The Pāṇḍavas were advised by Bhīṣmadeva to accept the responsibility of administration without hesitation. The poor subjects were without protection due to the Battle of Kurukṣetra, and they were awaiting the assumption of power by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. A pure devotee of the Lord accepts tribulations as favors from the Lord. Since the Lord is absolute, there is no mundane difference between the two.

- SB 1.9.17 Purport

15/05/06

Would You Like To Do Something That Pleases Krishna?

Categories: Happenings

There is a older devotee named Madhava Gosh Prabhu who has a blog here. He has had some problems with his aging body and is now recovering in the hospital. If you've ever had to spend a bit of time in the hospital as a devotee then you'd know how austere it is being bereft of association and subjected to the atmosphere there.

Here's an interesting technological application.If you want to send Prabhu a personalised card while he is recovering, please visit the hospital website below. They will print the card you create out in colour and hand-deliver it to him in bed.

http://ecards.upmc.com/GetWell.asp

Information you will need:

To: Mark Meberg
Hospital: UPMC Presbytarian
Room Number: 777

This is such a nice way to serve Gopala's devotees and directly give satisfaction to Gopala in a way that surpasses even service to Gopala Himself.

ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha
na me bhaktāś ca te janāḥ
mad bhaktānāḿ ca ye bhaktās te
me bhaktatamāḥ matāḥ

"My dear Pārtha, those who say they are My devotees are not My devotees, but those who claim to be devotees of My devotees are actually My devotees."

- Spoken by Sri Krishna in Adi Purana

maj-janmanaḥ phalam idaḿ madhu-kaiṭabhāre
mat-prārthanīya-mad-anugraha eṣa eva
tvad-bhṛtya-bhṛtya-paricāraka-bhṛtya-bhṛtya-
bhṛtyasya bhṛtya iti māḿ smara loka-nātha

O enemy of Madhu and Kaiṭabha, O Lord of the universe, the perfection of my life and the most cherished mercy You could show me would be for You to consider me the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Your servant.

- King Kulaśekhara in Mukunda-mālā-stotra 25

Giridhari Gopala

Categories: Podcasts

This is a traditional glorification of Gopala. Can you hear how this genre of music conveys devotional subtlety? Compare that to contemporary fare and its pretty clear how these arts are on the brink of extinction.

Giridhari Gopala - [download] - 3MB

12/05/06

Bala Gopala's Darsan

Categories: Bala Gopala's Darsan

sarva-maṅgala-dātā ca
sarva-kāma-pradāyakaḥ
ādi-kartā mahī-bhartā
sarva-sāgara-sindhu-jaḥ

He is the giver of all auspiciousness (sarva-maṅgala-dātā), the fulfiller of all desires (sarva-kāma-pradāyaka), the original creator (ādi-kartā), the maintainer of the earth (mahī-bhartā), and the father of all rivers and oceans (sarva-sāgara-sindhu-ja).

- Sri Gopala-sahasra-nama - Text 8

11/05/06

Japa Therapy Podcast

Categories: Podcasts

Need to troubleshoot your chanting? This is the best Japa Reform class I've ever heard. Its by HG Bhurijana Prabhu given recently in Melbourne. I chanted along with the devotees in the recording and it was helpful. Hopefully I'll keep this inspiration for a while to keep attentive to my rounds.

Japa Therapy [download] 13.8MB

śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham

Categories: Sastra

tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham

"To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth."

- Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12

07/05/06

Who is a Brahman?

Categories: Quotes

"The Brahmana has no concern with the secular affairs of society. One who has no taste for secular affairs should be freely allowed to follow the best of such natural inclination. But he must not be recognized as a Brahmana at the same time. He will be classed as Kshatriya or Vaishya or Shudra or as outside the pale of civilized society, according to his disposition. But if he wants to be a member of the daiva varnasrama society he must accept the Brahman as the spiritual teacher of himself."

- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur - Harmonist pg.20 (Who is a Brahman?)

04/05/06

Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara - Candan Yatra 2006

Categories: Bala Gopala's Darsan

02/05/06

We Should Keep Reading So We Don't Miss Out

Categories: Sastra

Thanks Vidypati Prabhu for this quote:

"All the devotees connected with the Krsna consciousness movement must read all the books that have been translated (the Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and others); otherwise, after some time, they will simply eat, sleep and fall down from their position. Thus they will miss the opportunity to attain an eternal, blissful life of transcendental pleasure."

- Srila Prabhupada's purport, Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 25.278

01/05/06

A Clear Idea Of Religion

Categories: Quotes, Sastra

jive daya name ruci vaisnava sevana
iha chara dharma nahi suna sanatana

(sometimes rendered iha bai…)

“Hear, Sanatana! Kindness to all living beings, taste for the holy name, and service to Vaisnavas — apart from these there is no other religion.”

Told by Lord Caitanya. Often quoted or alluded to by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, e.g. in Caitanya Bhagavat Adi-khanda 1.1 ppt. Original source unknown.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare