Blog Description

This blog is for sharing one of the six loving exchanges between vaishnavas - bhajana katha sravanam alapa - sharing and discussing bhajan topics with devotees.

It is also my humble attempt to follow the instruction my gurudeva would give at the end of every class: take these pastimes and instructions into your heart. Therefore in the hopes that it will make some impression in my heart, I am sharing lecture notes, quotes, book excerpts, and other words from the brahma-madhva-gaudiya sampradaya and vaisnava/is around the world.

Monday, January 18, 2016

This Blog is Moving to Wordpress!

My respects to everyone,

I wanted to inform any who are still following or reading this blog, that the blog is moving. From now on, the blog will be hosted - and UPDATED REGULARLY! - on Wordpress!

The new address is here.

Currently Wordpress is still moving my old content here to it, so the address won't work yet. I am keeping this blog up for a little more until the Wordpress one is fully functioning and setup.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Begin from the Root

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
"O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance."

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja:
Begin from the root of the tree and climb up from there.
Srila Vallabhacarya's bhajana, Sri Madhurastakam, tells us that everything is sweet (madhura) about Krsna, the original lord of sweetness. His Yamuna is madhura, His nikunjas (groves wherein Radha and Krsna perform their confidential amorous pastimes) are madhura, and His flute playing and sidelong glances are also very sweet.

Who is actually speaking about the sweetness of Krsna here? Is it Kamsa Maharaja, Aghasura, Bakasura, or Putana? Radhika herself is telling this; She alone is qualified to speak in this way. The history behind Her words is that a sakhi once told Her, "Krsna has left Vrndavana. He now has 16,108 queens, and millions of others also want to marry Him. Why do you have so much love and affection for that crooked Krsna? He has no love for you and no love for Vrndavana. Give Him up and try to forget Him forever." Srimati Radhika replied, "O sakhi, what you are saying is true, but I cannot forget Him. Everything about Him is so sweet"

Demons like Kamsa, Jarasandha, Duryodhana, Putana, Bakasura, Aghasura, Kesi, Canura, and Mustika were seeing that very same Krsna, but they thought of Him as a very cruel, powerful, and dangerous enemy. They did not see or experience His sweetness.

Do you know why I am speaking in this way? These demons are against Krsna. Therefore instead of experiencing His sweetness, they simply experience their own enmity. Similarly, if we imagine that we are meditating on Krsna's asta-kaliya-lila and we have not reached the stage of rati, we will also not experience His sweetness. Rather, we will experience our own lusty and other material desires. In this connection, Kamsa and other demons represent our material desires. Krsna, and the realization of the sweetness of Krsna, is our goal, but do not try to "jump up to the top of the tree." Begin from the root of the tree and climb up from there; then you can realize your goal.

aspiring to serve,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Mercy of the Spiritual Master

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

"O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance."

Today I am very happy to be posting again, after nearly one year away. This will be a good encouragement for me to keep reading spiritual books and keep me accountable. Today, I am sharing from Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: Guru, the spiritual master, is the representative of Krsna. He is a very dear devotee of Krsna, who is caitya-guru, seated in the heart as Supersoul. The spiritual master is always there. Don't think that he is not physically present...He is always there. If you have developed love for the spiritual master, if you have developed that eye, ten you can see him, you can talk to him. And he is also present in the form of books, vani-rupa; his instructions are there.
<Katha Upanisad 1.2.23 quoted>
You cannot understand the absolute truth through your own mundane scholarship, you own mundane intelligence....those who are not devotees, who never come under a bona fide disciplic succession, cannot know it. 
 Then how can you know? ...Assuming a body, He personally comes as spiritiual master to teach paramatma tattva. He is caitya-guru. Unless He speaks, you cannot understand. Krsna's mercy you get a bona fide spiritiual master, and by the mercy of the spiritual master you get Krsna. Paramatma arranges that meeting. So we must be very eager, very inquisitive, as Dhruva Maharaja was, to get the Lord. Paramatma arranged for Narada Muni to appear before him. "All right, he is very eager now. You go and show him the path, help him."
Similarly, for that disciple who is crying, "O my spiritual master has disappeared. How can I be helped? Who will teach me? How can I know? His instructions, books are there, but I cannot understand the purport. Although it is there, it is very difficult for me to understand it."
When you become very, very inquisitive, sastra has its mercy.......One who is very, very eager and very, very inquisitive, prays to his spiritual master, "O my spiritual master, you have departed. You are not physically present, so I cannot understand. I am such an ignorant fool. I have not qualification. Though your instructions are there, I cannot understand what you have said. Please help me."

- from After the Disappearance of Sri Guru, a darsana, 18 July 1986, Paris, France

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Ultimate Conclusion

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

"O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance."

After months of being away, I am so happy to be able to share what I am reading and what is inspiring me once again with you.

Recently we celebrated the holy month of Kartik, the month which Srimati Radhika especially prevails over. Sripad Premananda Prabhu at Radhe Kunj temple in Sri Vrindavana Dham has been giving some very nice classes on the Damodarastakam song.

From the Bhaktabadhava website,here is some commentary on Verse 8 of Damodarastakam:

Sripada Premananda Prabhu: We are going in circles in the cycle of birth and death. We do not know the way to escape. There is only one door to escape this material existence. This door brings us to the lotus-feet of God. We have come here, but we are blind, without faith. The wall is there and the door will come, and we will achieve everything, but we have no faith. Then, we go around and around hopelessly.
We can follow all vratas, but if we have no faith, if we do not take shelter, and if we do not understand anything, then everything is useless. The result will be zero. We may bind ourselves so tightly in rules and regulations, but when we open the knot, we will find nothing.

“Namo radhikayai tvadiya-priyayai—I offer pranama to Srimati Radharani, and to Krsna who is Her beloved. I do not offer pranama to any other.” Damodara’s servants and devotees in other rasas are not as close to Krsna’s heart as those in srngara-rasa. Their hearts are shared with others. But, in srngara-rasa, the gopis hearts are only one-pointedly devoted to Krsna. Srimati Radharani is the crest-jewel of all the gopis.
Namo ’nanta-lilaya devaya tubhyam. We pray to Damodara, “You have so many incarnations. I offer them all pranamas. But, I don’t need their blessings. I am only waiting for the mercy of Your beloveds. Namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai. If Her mercy comes to me, that is enough. You have given me a chance to really follow Your footsteps, O Damodara. My ultimate welfare lies in giving pleasure to Your beloved gopis. Please help me. In sastras, many different incarnations are described. There are the manvantara-avataras, yuga-vataras, avesa-avataras, and saktyavesa-avataras. They are all glorified extensively by scholars of many different ideas.”

tarko ‘pratishthah srutayo vibhinna
nasav rishir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
—Mahabharata, Vana-parva 313.117

All the different sages establish their different points of view, and cut their opponents’ points of view, telling different philosophies. Gautama, Yajnavalka, Javali, Patanjali, Kapila all give different philosophies. One says, “This is the truth,” and then another says, “No, that is wrong. This is the truth.” Which one is really right? Who can tell us this? Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah—follow the footsteps of the mahajanas.

Who are the mahajanas?

svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhishmo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.20

These are the twelve mahajanas. At the end, Vaiyasaki is mentioned. Vaiyasaki is Sukadeva Gosvami.
Sukadeva Gosvami did not openly describe the glories of Radharani in the Bhagavatam. He did not say to follow Narayana. He said to follow Krsna. Prahlada Maharaja and the other mahajanas glorified Krsna Himself. But, how can we please Krsna, conquer His heart, and do everything for Him? This is hidden. You must completely take shelter of Sukadeva Gosvami. In the Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami does not mention Radharani’s name directly. Her name is not written. Her name is hidden because She is very secret and hidden. That Sukadeva Gosvami indicates that we should go to Vraja-mandala, to the Vrajavasis. Then, we can cross santa, dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya. We can see that Krsna is pleased by their service, but not completely. He is pleased with the sakhas, but only half pleased. He is with them from the morning to the afternoon. With his mother He is even more pleased, but still not completely. Only when He is with Srimati Radharani is He fully pleased.

Now, at the end, Satyavrata Muni finally comes to the ultimate conclusion—the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. He prostrates at the lotus-feet of Srimati Radharani and begins a vrata. Which vrata? This is called Katyayani-vrata and it is to please Srimati Radharani.
Now he is one-pointed, and he follows Srimati Radharani’s vrata.

katyayani maha-maye
maha-yoginy adhisvari
nanda-gopa-sutam devi
patim me kuru te namah

Nanda-gopa-sutam devi—this is direct. This is the vrata we must follow. The son of Nanda Gopa Himself worships Devi. Which devi? Srimati Radharani. Who is the priya, or beloved, of Krsna? That is only Srimati Radharani.

We must take a certificate from this school. We have passed this school, and now we will go to college and university. Which university will we go to? There is only one university—the service center, the Seva-kunja of Srimati Radharani. How can we attain Her service? How can we please Krsna?

Satyavrata Muni says, “O Radharani, I give up all my pride.” Namo means, “Giving up my pride, I offer my obeisance and I surrender unto You.”
“O Srimati, I do not know You,” the sage says. “When the sakhis and manjaris accept me and make me qualified for Your service, then I can serve You.” Therefore, namo radhikayai. This means that Radharani has many groups, or yuthas. There are 108 prominent sakhis and each have eight prominent manjaris, and all together there are millions and millions of gopis. Where should we go? Where is our service-post? Who will teach us and give us shelter?

People chant ‘aham brahmasmi’. They want to become Brahma. They strive for sahujya-mukti. On the other side, in this line even, some people chant ‘aham manjari, aham gopi’. They should more accurately say, “Aham bhogi.”

This behavior will not work. It is not helpful. It is a bogus idea. We must surrender. Namo radhikayai. “Giving up all pride, I have offered myself to You, O Radhe, please, whatever service You see beneficial for me, whether You want me to be a monkey, a cuckoo, a peacock, a deer, or anything—my own choice is useless. I do not know who I am. I don’t know where You will send me or into which species. I don’t know where I will serve. I am completely saranagata to You. If You like, send me to the sakhas, the servants, those in vatsalya-rasa, or those in madhura-rasa. I don’t know who will be my guru and guardian. I have no idea of this. I offer myself. Please, accept me.”
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aspiring for the service of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When O when!

Sri Gaura Nitai, Imli Tala, Vrndavana

When O When

When O when will I see
Merciful Gaurnitai
When can I wash Their lotus feet
See Their brilliant dancing forms?

When O when will I hear
Merciful Gaurnitai
Singing gleefully
in kirtan

When O when will I see
Merciful Gaurnitai
Their almond lotus eyes
Tearing up with love?

When O when will I see
Merciful Gaurnitai
Their chests glowing with yellow tilak
Their pink lotus palms?

When O when will I see
Merciful Gaurnitai
Their long, strong arms embracing devotees
Again and again

When O when will I see
Merciful Gaurnitai
Dhotis whirling in kirtan
Ornaments jangling from Their ears?

When O when will I smell
Merciful Gaurnitai
The fragrance of Their bodies
Purifying my offenses

When O when will I feel
Merciful Gaurnitai
Their long, strong arms, embracing

O if I taste
Enough Gaurnitai mahaprasad
Maybe one day
They will embrace me

Gaurnitai, let me wash your feet
With tears because
I am most fallen and wretched
Destitute and offensive

O Gurudeva
Please help me
I want to serve
Merciful Gaurnitai

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jai Gauranga!!!

The auspicious occasion of Sri Gaura Purnima is coming up soon!

"I worship Sri Caitanyadeva, whose hair is intertwined with beautiful garlands of pearls, whose face is splendorous like a radiant moon, whose limbs are smeared with candana and aguru and who, adorned with wonderful clothes, garlands and transcendental, glittering ornment, dances while absored in ecstaties of sweet mellows. His body of golden complexion, being adorned with the ornaments of bhava, makes Him appear like an enchanting Cupid amidst the presence of His intimate associates."

- as quoted in Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's book, Sri Bhajan Rahasya, commentated on by Sri Srimad Bhaktivednta Narayana Goswami Maharaja

Sunday, January 12, 2014

According to one's qualification

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

"O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance."

sve sve 'dhikāre  niṣṭhā
sa guṇaḥ parikīrtitaḥ 
viparyayas tu doṣaḥ syād 
ubhayor eṣa niścayaḥ
"To have unyielding steadiness on the path of dharma, according to one's own qualification, is a virtue; conversely, to make endeavors that do not accord with one's qualification is a fault."

- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.21.2