• "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.


A Fruitful Tree Bows Down

Srila Prabhupada once used the tree as a metaphor, comparing it to a humble and proud human being. During the lecture he was posturing as he spoke, in order to emphasize his point. He said that a tree laden with fruit bends forward like a humble human, whereas a tree devoid of fruits, flowers and leaves tends to stand erect like a proud person.


The Deliverance of Pauṇḍraka and the King of Kāśī

Here's a short story revealing how our sweet little Gopala deals with those who try to imitate Him.

from CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX of Krishna Book by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (you can download the whole book by clicking the link above. You might need to install this font though.)

The story of King Pauṇḍraka is very interesting because it proves that there have always been many rascals and fools who have considered themselves God. Even in the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, there was such a foolish person. His name was Pauṇḍraka, and he wanted to declare himself God. While Lord Balarāma was absent in Vṛndāvana, this King Pauṇḍraka, the King of the Karūṣa province, being foolish and puffed up, sent a messenger to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but King Pauṇḍraka directly challenged Kṛṣṇa through the messenger, who stated that Pauṇḍraka, not Kṛṣṇa, was Vāsudeva. In the present day there are many foolish followers of such rascals. Similarly, in Pauṇḍraka’s day, many foolish men accepted Pauṇḍraka as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because he could not estimate his own position, Pauṇḍraka falsely thought himself to be Lord Vāsudeva. Thus the messenger declared to Kṛṣṇa that King Pauṇḍraka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had descended on the earth out of his causeless mercy just to deliver all distressed persons.

Surrounded by many other foolish persons, this rascal Pauṇḍraka had actually concluded that he was Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This kind of conclusion is certainly childish. When children are playing, they sometimes create a king amongst themselves, and the child selected thinks that he is the king. Similarly, many foolish persons, due to ignorance, select another fool as God, and then the rascal considers himself God, as if God could be created by childish play or by the votes of men. Under this false impression, thinking himself the Supreme Lord, Pauṇḍraka sent his messenger to Dvārakā to challenge the position of Kṛṣṇa. The messenger reached the royal assembly of Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā and conveyed the message given by his master, Pauṇḍraka. The message contained the following statements.

“I am the only Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. No man can compete with me. I have descended as King Pauṇḍraka, taking compassion on the distressed conditioned souls out of my unlimited causeless mercy. You have falsely taken the position of Vāsudeva without authority, but You should not propagate this false idea. You must give up Your position. O descendant of the Yadu dynasty, please give up all the symbols of Vāsudeva, which You have falsely assumed. And after giving up this position, come and surrender unto me. If out of Your gross impudence You do not care for my words, then I challenge You to fight. I am inviting You to a battle in which the decision will be settled.”

When all the members of the royal assembly, including King Ugrasena, heard this message sent by Pauṇḍraka, they laughed very loudly for a considerable time. After enjoying the loud laughter of all the members of the assembly, Kṛṣṇa replied to the messenger as follows: “O messenger of Pauṇḍraka, you may carry My message to your master: “You are a foolish rascal. I directly call you a rascal, and I refuse to follow your instructions. I shall never give up the symbols of Vāsudeva, especially My disc. I shall use this disc to kill not only you but all your followers also. I shall destroy you and your foolish associates, who merely constitute a society of cheaters and the cheated. O foolish King, you will then have to conceal your face in disgrace, and when your head is severed from your body by My disc, it will be surrounded by meat-eating birds like vultures, hawks and eagles. At that time, instead of becoming My shelter, as you have demanded, you will be subject to the mercy of these lowborn birds. At that time your body will be thrown to the dogs, who will eat it with great pleasure.’ ”

The messenger carried the words of Lord Kṛṣṇa to his master, Pauṇḍraka, who patiently heard all these insults. Without waiting any longer, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa immediately started out on His chariot to punish the rascal Pauṇḍraka, the King of Karūṣa. Because at that time he was living with his friend the King of Kāśī, Kṛṣṇa surrounded the whole city of Kāśī.

King Pauṇḍraka was a great warrior, and as soon as he heard of Kṛṣṇa’s attack, he came out of the city with two akṣauhiṇī divisions of soldiers. The King of Kāśī also came out, with three akṣauhiṇī divisions. When the two kings came before Lord Kṛṣṇa to oppose Him, Kṛṣṇa saw Pauṇḍraka face to face for the first time. Kṛṣṇa saw that Pauṇḍraka had decorated himself with the symbols of the conchshell, disc, lotus and club. He carried an imitation Śārṅga bow, and on his chest was a mock insignia of Śrīvatsa. His neck was decorated with a false Kaustubha jewel, and he wore a flower garland in exact imitation of Lord Vāsudeva’s. He was dressed in yellow silken garments, and the flag on his chariot carried the symbol of Garuḍa, exactly imitating Kṛṣṇa’s. He had a very valuable helmet on his head, and his earrings, like swordfish, glittered brilliantly. On the whole, however, his dress and makeup were clearly imitation. Anyone could understand that he was just like someone onstage playing the part of Vāsudeva in false dress. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw Pauṇḍraka imitating His posture and dress, He could not check His laughter, and thus He laughed with great satisfaction.

The soldiers on the side of King Pauṇḍraka began to shower their weapons upon Kṛṣṇa. The weapons, including various kinds of tridents, clubs, poles, lances, swords, daggers and arrows, came flying in waves, and Kṛṣṇa counteracted them. He smashed not only the weapons but also the soldiers and assistants of Pauṇḍraka, just as during the dissolution of this universe the fire of devastation burns everything to ashes. The elephants, chariots, horses and infantry belonging to the opposite party were scattered by the weapons of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, the whole battlefield became scattered with smashed chariots and the bodies of men and animals. There were fallen horses, elephants, men, asses and camels. Although the devastated battlefield appeared like the dancing place of Lord Śiva at the time of the dissolution of the world, the warriors on the side of Kṛṣṇa were very much encouraged by seeing this, and they fought with greater strength.

At this time, Lord Kṛṣṇa told Pauṇḍraka, “Pauṇḍraka, you requested Me to give up the symbols of Lord Viṣṇu, specifically My disc. Now I will give it up to you. Be careful! You falsely declare yourself Vāsudeva, imitating Me. Therefore no one is a greater fool than you.” From this statement of Kṛṣṇa’s it is clear that any rascal who advertises himself as God is the greatest fool in human society. Kṛṣṇa continued, “Now, Pauṇḍraka, I shall force you to give up this false representation. You wanted Me to surrender unto you. Now this is your opportunity. We shall now fight, and if I am defeated and you are victorious, I shall certainly surrender unto you.” In this way, after chastising Pauṇḍraka very severely, He smashed Pauṇḍraka’s chariot to pieces by shooting an arrow. With the help of His disc He separated Pauṇḍraka’s head from his body, just as Indra shaves off the peaks of mountains by striking them with his thunderbolt. Similarly, He also killed the King of Kāśī with His arrows. Lord Kṛṣṇa specifically arranged to throw the head of the King of Kāśī into the city of Kāśī itself so that his relatives and family members could see it. Kṛṣṇa did this just as a hurricane carries a lotus petal here and there. Lord Kṛṣṇa killed Pauṇḍraka and his friend Kāśīrāja on the battlefield, and then He returned to His capital city, Dvārakā.

When Lord Kṛṣṇa returned to the city of Dvārakā, all the Siddhas from the heavenly planets were singing the glories of the Lord. As far as Pauṇḍraka was concerned, somehow or other he always thought of Lord Vāsudeva by falsely dressing himself in that way, and therefore Pauṇḍraka achieved sārūpya, one of the five kinds of liberation, and was thus promoted to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, where the devotees have the same bodily features as Viṣṇu, with four hands holding the four symbols. Factually, his meditation was concentrated on the Viṣṇu form, but because he thought himself Lord Viṣṇu, it was offensive. By his being killed by Kṛṣṇa, however, that offense was mitigated. Thus he was given sārūpya liberation, and he attained the same form as the Lord.

When the head of the King of Kāśī was thrown through the city gate, people gathered and were astonished to see that wonderful thing. When they found out that there were earrings on it, they could understand that it was someone’s head. They conjectured as to whose head it might be. Some thought it was Kṛṣṇa’s head because Kṛṣṇa was the enemy of Kāśīrāja, and they calculated that the King of Kāśī might have thrown Kṛṣṇa’s head into the city so that the people might take pleasure in the enemy’s having been killed. But they finally detected that the head was not Kṛṣṇa’s but that of Kāśīrāja himself. When this was ascertained, the queens of the King of Kāśī immediately approached and began to lament the death of their husband. “Our dear lord,” they cried, “upon your death, we have become just like dead bodies.”

The King of Kāśī had a son whose name was Sudakṣiṇa. After observing the ritualistic funeral ceremonies, he took a vow that since Kṛṣṇa was the enemy of his father, he would kill Kṛṣṇa and in this way liquidate his debt to his father. Therefore, accompanied by a learned priest qualified to help him, he began to worship Mahādeva, Lord Śiva. The lord of the kingdom of Kāśī is Viśvanātha (Lord Śiva). The temple of Lord Viśvanātha is still existing in Vārāṇasī, and many thousands of pilgrims still gather daily in that temple. By the worship of Sudakṣiṇa, Lord Śiva was very much pleased, and he wanted to give a benediction to his devotee. Sudakṣiṇa’s purpose was to kill Kṛṣṇa, and therefore he prayed for a specific power by which to kill Him. Lord Śiva advised that Sudakṣiṇa, assisted by the brāhmaṇas, execute the ritualistic ceremony for killing one’s enemy. This ceremony is also mentioned in some of the tantras. Lord Śiva informed Sudakṣiṇa that if such a black ritualistic ceremony were performed properly, then the evil spirit named Dakṣiṇāgni would appear to carry out any order given to him. He would have to be employed, however, to kill someone other than a qualified brāhmaṇa. In such a case he would be accompanied by Lord Śiva’s ghostly companions, and the desire of Sudakṣiṇa to kill his enemy would be fulfilled.

When Sudakṣiṇa was encouraged by Lord Śiva in that way, he was sure that he would be able to kill Kṛṣṇa. With a determined vow of austerity, he began to execute the black art of chanting mantras, assisted by the priests. After this, out of the fire came a great demoniac form, whose hair, beard and mustache were exactly the color of hot copper. This form was very big and fierce. As the demon arose from the fire, cinders of fire emanated from the sockets of his eyes. The giant fiery demon appeared still more fierce due to the movements of his eyebrows. He exhibited long, sharp teeth and, sticking out his long tongue, licked his upper and lower lips. He was naked, and he carried a big trident, blazing like fire. After appearing from the fire of sacrifice, he stood wielding the trident in his hand. Instigated by Sudakṣiṇa, the demon proceeded toward the capital city, Dvārakā, with many hundreds of ghostly companions, and it appeared that he was going to burn all outer space to ashes. The surface of the earth trembled because of his striking steps. When he entered the city of Dvārakā, all the residents panicked, just like animals in a forest fire.

At that time, Kṛṣṇa was playing chess in the royal assembly council hall. All the residents of Dvārakā approached and addressed Him, “Dear Lord of the three worlds, a great fiery demon is ready to burn the whole city of Dvārakā! Please save us!” In this way all the inhabitants of Dvārakā appealed to Lord Kṛṣṇa for protection from the fiery demon who had just appeared in Dvārakā to devastate the whole city.

Lord Kṛṣṇa, who specifically protects His devotees, saw that the whole population of Dvārakā was most perturbed by the presence of the great fiery demon. He immediately smiled and assured them, “Don’t worry. I shall give you all protection.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is all-pervading. He is within everyone’s heart, and He is also without, in the form of the cosmic manifestation. He could understand that the fiery demon was a creation of Lord Śiva, and in order to vanquish him He took His Sudarśana cakra and ordered him to take the necessary steps. The Sudarśana cakra appeared with the effulgence of millions of suns, his heat being as powerful as the fire created at the end of the cosmic manifestation. By his effulgence the Sudarśana cakra illuminated the entire universe, on the surface of the earth as well as in outer space. Then the Sudarśana cakra began to freeze the fiery demon created by Lord Śiva. In this way, the fiery demon was checked by the Sudarśana cakra of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and, being defeated in his attempt to devastate the city of Dvārakā, he turned back.

Having failed to set fire to Dvārakā, the fiery demon went back to Vārāṇasī, the kingdom of Kāśīrāja. As a result of his return, all the priests who had helped instruct the black art of mantras, along with their employer, Sudakṣiṇa, were burned to ashes by the glaring effulgence of the fiery demon. According to the methods of black art mantras instructed in the tantras, if the mantra fails to kill the enemy, then, because it must kill someone, it kills the original creator. Sudakṣiṇa was the originator, and the priests assisted him; therefore all of them were burned to ashes. This is the way of the demons: the demons create something to kill God, but by the same weapon the demons themselves are killed.

Following just behind the fiery demon, the Sudarśana cakra also entered Vārāṇasī. This city had been very opulent and great for a very long time. Even now, the city of Vārāṇasī is opulent and famous, and it is one of the important cities of India. There were then many big palaces, assembly houses, marketplaces and gates, with large and very important monuments by the palaces and gates. Lecturing platforms could be found at each and every crossroads. There were buildings that housed the treasury, elephants, horses, chariots and grain, and places for distribution of food. The city of Vārāṇasī had been filled with all these material opulences for a very long time, but because the King of Kāśī and his son Sudakṣiṇa were against Lord Kṛṣṇa, the viṣṇu-cakra Sudarśana (the disc weapon of Lord Kṛṣṇa) devastated the whole city by burning all these important places. This excursion was more ravaging than modern bombing. The Sudarśana cakra, having thus finished his duty, came back to his Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, at Dvārakā.

This narration of the devastation of Vārāṇasī by Kṛṣṇa’s disc weapon, the Sudarśana cakra, is transcendental and auspicious. Anyone who narrates or hears this story with faith and attention will be released from all reaction to sinful activities. This is the assurance of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who narrated this story to Parīkṣit Mahārāja.

Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Sixty-sixth Chapter of Kṛṣṇa, “The Deliverance of Pauṇḍraka and the King of Kāśī.”

Jaya Gopala! (In a much different mood from what we are used to here! But you gotta love him, eh?)


Crooked Disciples

Categories: Readings, Stories

by Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

Once a guru went to the house of one of his disciples. The disciple prepared nice food, and after the guru had eaten, the disciple wanted to show his guru-bhakti. In Ayurveda the haritaki fruit is recommended for good digestion, so the disciple came with haritaki for his guru. The guru said, "All right. Remove the unnecessary things and give me the necessary part."

That disciple was a speculator, a crooked person. He thought, "Oh, the outer portion of the haritaki is unnecessary and the inner portion is necessary." So he threw away the outer skin and gave the inner portion, the hard seed, to the guru. But with haritaki the outer skin is necessary and the inner portion is thrown away. That disciple did the opposite because he was a speculator— bharavahi, saragrahi nahin— he always accepted the unnecessary things that are not the essence.

His guru could not enjoy the haritaki. "You are such a unintelligent fellow," he said. "Don't you know? The inner portion, the hard nut of haritaki, is unnecessary. The outer portion, the skin, is necessary."


The next day, after the guru had eaten, that so-called disciple brought some cardamom. Remembering the previous day's event, he thought, "Oh, the guru has taught that this inner portion is unnecessary and this outer portion is necessary." So he threw away the inner portion of the cardamom and offered the outer skin to the guru. But with cardamom, the seed is necessary and the skin is useless. That means that those who are kapati, crooked persons, only speculate. They will not accept anything as it is.

Therefore the mahajanas have said that one who is very serious and eager to achieve perfection in his human birth, that is krsna-bhakti, should cultivate simplicity. Simplicity is Vaishnavism. Those who are real vaisnavas are simple by nature. Kapatya, crookedness, is a great hindrance on this path of perfection. It is a sort of disease. And because a crooked person becomes envious towards the doctor who has come to cure him, his disease is incurable.

In Bhakti-Sandarbha, Jiva Goswami has said that there are many such persons who pretend to be devoted, but inside their heart there is great crookedness. Outwardly they pay dandavats, falling down like a rod from a great distance, as if they are very humble. Yet they criticize sadhu, acarya, and gurus. They may even offer worship, but actually they have no respect at all. They are very keen to find out the faults of the sadhu.

Such persons take to karma, jnana, yoga, tapasya, tyaga, and niti— fruitive activities, speculative knowledge, penance, renunciation, and morality. Externally they practice these things and pose as if they are of very high moral character, but actually their hearts are very hard.

Unreal Shelter

Those persons who leave the bona fide guru and go elsewhere due to crookedness cannot be delivered. In Skanda Purana it is said, bhumau skhalita-padanam, bhumir evavalambanam — "If your feet slip up from the ground, only that same ground can give you shelter." Similarly, if you have slipped up from the lotus feet of a bona fide guru, only that guru can give you shelter. A crooked person who pretends to be a humble follower of the guru will leave that guru and go somewhere else to take shelter. But he should understand that no one can give him shelter. It may seem that someone may give him shelter, but that is not real shelter at all because he cannot make any advancement there.

Rather, for his offense he will definitely fall down and go to hell. If he does not come back to his guru and beg to be excused, his offense cannot be destroyed or counteracted. If he is really an intelligent, simple-hearted person, he will understand this and come back. Unless he comes back, he must be entrapped by this crookedness. In this way, Jiva Goswami has discussed kapatya in his Bhakti-Sandarbha, and how it is a great stumbling block on the path of devotional service.

Stool of a Hog

Sastra, sadhus, and mahajanas have all warned us about kapatya. But still you will find this crookedness going on in the Vaisnava community. Why is it that people do not become simple? It is because they are running after name, fame, and prestige. Our Vaisnava acaryas have said, vaisnava pratistha, sukarera vistha, such fame is the stool of a hog. A real Vaisnava will never run after it. But all are running after this by cultivating crookedness. "How can I get labha, puja and pratistha? How can I get worship from others and occupy a superior position?" Those who think in this way cannot understand that an incurable disease has infected them. They have given up kanaka and kamini, wealth and women, but they have not given up this pratistha, the desire for worldly reputation.


The Rescue of Govindaji

Categories: Stories, Inspirational

(A devotee-king uses his royal power and opulence To protect and glorify the Supreme Lord.)
by Jagatguru Swami and Satyaraja dasa

There are indeed many examples of kings who've misused their royal position. But there have also been many saintly rulers. Jai Singh II, king of Amir from 1699 to 1745, ascended the throne at the age of thirteen. He quickly mastered engineering, architecture, mathematics, and astronomy. And like his father and grandfather, he was a devotee of Lord Krishna. With daring and devotion, at the age of nineteen he rescued the Govindaji Deity and took Him to his fort in the hills of Rajasthan.

Sawai Jai Singh II

Although the rulers of ancient India and their royal states have passed into legend, the mere mention of a Maharaja or a royal palace of India still conjures up exotic, romantic images. A Maharaja's luxury was a reflection of his power, and the palace in which he, his family and retinue lived represented an ethos and a way of life that have all but vanished. Nowadays most people are unaware that the greatest of ancient India's rulers were devotees of Lord Krishna who used their wealth and influence in His service. Indeed, the primary purpose of Vedic India's ruling class was to protect religious principles. This they did, and the stories surrounding their activities are more alluring and fascinating than the myths that have grown up over the centuries.

=> Read more!


"Come Out With Your Samosas Up!"

Braja Bihari das

It was 1984 and after distributing books at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida. We had parked in a Days Inn parking lot for the night. Our van of five brahmacharis was fast asleep when we heard over a megaphone, "Alright in there! Come out slowly with your hands raised!" I looked out the window surprised to see the van surrounded by ten police cars and more than a dozen officers with their guns drawn!

We emerged from the van squinting from the bright flashlights burning our eyes. The officers began to frisk each one of us, though we were dressed only in gamshas (bath towels).

"What are you doing here?" the officer in charge demanded.

"We are distributing love of God in the form of books," I explained.

"Prove it!"

I opened the van doors, thinking this to perhaps be a dream. I reached into one of the boxes, pulled out a Bhagavad-gita and handed it to the officer in charge. He intently inspected the book, then me, then the book again, until finally he broke the silence declaring, "All glories to Srila Prabhupada!"

I was taken aback as were his gun-toting subordinates. At this point I was convinced this was all a dream! The officer in charge proudly explained, "I used to go to the University of Florida and regularly ate the Krishna Lunch. You practically put me through college. I even stayed two days at the temple!"

Turning to his associates he pronounced, "These are great books and you should all buy one." On his order, the officers began reaching for their wallets. Of the twenty cops, I think about 90% of them took books. We made almost $200!

Our new friend then apologized for the abrupt entry, telling us that earlier that night a gun store had been robbed and the description of the getaway vehicle exactly matched our van. I doubt we got back to sleep that night after one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. But thanks to prasadam distribution it turned into a great sankirtan story!


"Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You."

by Badrinarayana das

We hear many stories of devotees receiving special treatment from people who used to attend the Krishna Lunch program-bank managers, police officers and many more have gone out of their way to show their appreciation. This ongoing column will highlight the best stories about the power of prasadam.

In our first installment, Badrinarayana Prabhu, Governing Body Commissioner tells about his experience with a former Krishna Lunch patron.

It was around 1990 and I was temple president in San Diego when I was invited to be on a radio talk show hosted by Dan Something. This guy was famous for haranguing and being rude to his guests so I was apprehensive. This was during the time when deprogramming and anti-cult groups were prevalent, so I hesitated. On the one hand, it was a great opportunity to reach thousands of people (his show was one of the most popular in San Diego). On the other hand, Dan may just grill me and criticize and "slap us from pillar to post" in front of everyone.

Deciding to go, I armed myself with a whole tray of sweets and cookies and went down to the studio. Dan greeted me and took me into the small booth where we sat face to face; just Dan, myself and the plate of prasadam. The technician came in and started to remove the prasadam from the table and Dan said, "No, that stays here," and pulled the prasadam close keeping his hand on the plate.

I started thinking "This guy might be alright."

During the interview Dan asked good questions. He started taking calls from the audience and the first caller, obviously a Christian, started in on us. Dan shot back, "As far as I'm concerned the last Christian died 2000 years ago," and he hung up on her.

I thought, "Wow, he's heavy! I wonder what he has planned for us?"

When we took a break and were off the air I had to ask him what was going on-is he planning to bring out Ted Patrick (a famous deprogrammer) or spring some other surprise on me, so I asked him, "I thought you would be a lot rougher. So what gives?"

Dan explained, "I got my degree from UF and you guys fed me every day. My mother taught me, 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you.' The microphone is yours, say whatever you like."

While I talked, Dan snacked on the prasadam, but he stayed completely mindful of what I was saying and even asked good follow up questions after each caller. Sometimes he would pile on his own strong reply when the callers were overly challenging. He was having a great time interacting with the callers and giving it his shot at preaching.

The show was a great success thanks to Dan. I was only scheduled for thirty minutes, but we ended up staying on the air for an hour.

Although infamous for tearing into his guests like a tiger, he was tamed by the power of prasadam.


The History Of Lord Jagganatha in Sri Mayapur Dham

Categories: Stories

This is the first part of a series that I will be posting here. An investment of time in this sort of katha will prove immensely beneficial and enthusing for one's bhajan.

These deities of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra are amazingly powerful. They reside in a place within Sri Mayapur Dham that is considered non-different from Jaganntha's Dham in Puri. It is said that within Sri Mayapur Dham all the other Dhams are accessable so, while I was staying in Mayapur from Oct 2003-April 2004 I would try to make a pilgrimage every Ekadasi to see Jagannatha, offer Him some bananas and serve His caranamrita to the pilgrims. In an effort to continue my service to their Lordships, over the next few days I will be posting some of the intriguing and mystical histories and pastimes of Lord Jagannatha here which will prove very good reading for those capable of focusing their attention. (Sorry but I don't have many relevant pictures to decorate the postings with for those with spastic absorption thresholds.)


Five hundred years ago, at the time of Lord Caitanya, there lived a very wonderful devotee named Jagadish Ganguli. His residence was in a small village near Mayapur. Although he was advanced in age, still yearly he would make the 900 km journey to Jagannath Puri on foot to associate with his mentor Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, take darshan of his beloved Lordships Sri Sri Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra Devi and participate in the all-auspicious Ratha Yatra festival. One day, less than a month before his scheduled departure for Puri, Jagadish’s plans were foiled. He was stricken with a terrible disease that left him completely blind. Optimistic and buoyant by nature, this did not dampen his desire to make the yearly padayatra to Puri. He would no longer be able to see the divine, all-merciful forms of Lord Caitanya and Lord Jagannatha, that was for sure. But still he could relish the sound of sweet kirtan and discourses given by exalted Vaisnavas. His friends and associates were not so keen for him to travel. They considered the annual pilgrimage too long and dangerous for a blind man and refused to take him with them. They left without him. This broke the heart of Jagadish. His existence became a constant lamentation and despondency. Somehow he passed his days, calling out for the all-merciful Jagannath to be merciful to him.Then one night Lord Jagannatha appeared to his devotee in a dream. The Lord told him that on the following day when he went for his daily bath in the Ganges, a log would touch his head and restore his vision. The Lord instructed Jagadish to take that log to a nearby village and request a certain devotee carpenter there to carve a Deity of Lord Jagannatha. The Lord also explained that at first the carpenter would refuse to do the work because he was a leper and his hands were very deformed. It was Jagadish’s task to convince him to do the service. The Lord assured him that when the carpenter had completed the Deity his leprosy would be cured.

=> Read more!


The Flight of the Crow

Categories: Stories

The following story, told by Salya to Karna, from the forty-first chapter of the "Karna-parva" of Mahabharata nicely illustrates the dangers of pride.

There once lived a wealthy vaisya by the side of the ocean. He performed many sacrifices and gave generously in charity. He was quiet, observant of the duties of his order, and was pure in his habits and mind. The vaisya had a number of sons all of whom were pious and kind to all living creatures. Living in a place that was ruled over by a pious king, the vaisya was peaceful and free from anxiety.

There was a crow that daily came to the home of the vaisya to feast on remnants of the family's food that the children gave him. After eating every day the opulent milk, puddings, yogurt, honey, butter, and other foods, the crow became very arrogant and began to think little of all other birds.

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