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.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jai Srila Gurudeva!

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.

nama om vishnu padaya radhikayai priyatmane sri srimad bhaktivedanta narayana iti namine

I offer pranama to om vishnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, who is very dear to Srimati Radhika.

sri krishna lila kathane sudaksam
audarya madhurya gunais ca yuktam
varam varenyam purusam mahantam
narayanam tvam sirasa namami

Srila Narayana Maharaja is expert in describing krsna-lila. He is endowed with the qualities of magnanimity and sweetness, and he is the best of the great souls. Because he is always relishing Krsna's sweetness, he is able to freely distribute that sweetness to others. I bow down and place my head at his lotus feet.

tridandinam bhakta siromanim ca sri krsna padabja dhrtaika hrdi
caitanya lilamrta sara saram narayanam tvam satatam prapadye

Srila Narayana Maharaja, the crown jewel of devotees, always keeps in his heart the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna, especially when Krsna serves Srimati Radhika. He deeply meditates on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the internal reasons for His descent. I bow down to the lotus feet of Srila Narayana Maharaja, who possesses innumerable transcendental qualities.

= = =

Tomorrow is the holy disappearance day of my beloved spiritual master, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja. I do not know where to begin in glorifying him or sharing his pastimes and sweetness. I do not feel at all qualified to speak on him in any way, and yet tomorrow I will be asked to speak, and I do want to say something.

Earlier in the year I wrote a poem for him...perhaps I will write another poem. This morning at the temple I live at we spoke on verse 11.11.32 of the Srimad Bhagavatam, in which 28 qualities of a saintly person are described. We picked the first two - merciful, and not taking offense even when people say offensive things about him - and spoke on how Srila Gurudeva is a perfect example of these two qualities.

Many times people would slander my Gurudeva horribly, but he said he considered them as children, and did not take offense. To each who came to him, he would treat them very affectionately. And to those who, very late, realized his potency and purity, he accepted their offerings.

I have one close person to me who, during my Gurudeva's last tour of the West, made a garland for him - after years of feeling unfavorable and disinclined to his lotus feet - and at first he simply let the garland stay on his table in front of him. She thought, "Maybe I am too offensive, so he won't accept it." Then my Gurudeva accepted that garland, and wore it for the whole class (which he doesn't usually do). How merciful! And just see how he does not take offense.

There is so much to say on Gurudeva...I did not get a lot of association, but even just a glance from him was association and filled with nectar. I have never met anyone else who could affect me so. He could make me cry with a laugh, or make me feel about to burst with happiness. His gaze was very sweet, and he could convey so much just by it - chastisement, or joy, approval, so many things.

Once, I was sitting in class and he looked at me. His gaze was so powerful. Just by having him look into my eyes with his beautiful blue eyes, I felt blessed. I wanted to share that glance with him forever. But his gaze was so powerful! I was the first to look away. Perhaps he was slicing anarthas away from me with his glance, and that was why I could not keep my gaze locked with his - I am so material and offensive.

I also feel so blessed to have offered him a little service, just a little. Each year I would greet him every morning with flowers. It felt like I was offering my heart, and it felt like each flower bound me tighter and tighter to Srila Gurudeva. One year, I worked at a booth selling posters of Syamarani didi's art inspired by Srila Gurudeva's transcendental harikatha and rose-like heart. When my Gurudeva heard that I had helped in this service, he gave me a very brilliant, sweet smile. I felt like it was a shot of love injected in my heart to stay there forever. That was one of the times I had made extra effort to serve him; it was one of the first times I felt, "Oh, I belong to this person - not to myself, not to family, but to him, this beautiful personality smiling at me."

He has so much can flood the universe. I feel so indebted to have received that love...I am a small, nothing person, who does not learn - even after years of hearing his harikatha, I did not follow, I do not follow, I remain so confused and lost sometimes - and yet he accepted me, and he will never, ever let go. It is said that just ONE MOMENT with a pure devotee makes one's life how fortunate am I, to have gotten momentS, days, with His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja? It is truly making the impossible possible, that I can have hope of serving Srimati Radhika and Krsna - and Gurudeva has given me this hope.

I want to share a song he wrote:




rādhe syām syāmā syām


mor mukuṭa makarākṛta-kuṇḍala, gala vaijayantī-māla,

caraṇana nūpura rasāla

rādhe syām syāmā syām


sundara vadana kamala-dala locana, bākī cita-vana-hārī,


rādhe syām syāmā syām


vṛndāvana dhenu carāve, gopī-jana manahārī

śrī govardhana-dhārī

rādhe syām syāmā syām


rādhā-kṛṣṇa mili aba dou, gaura-rūpa avatārī

kīrtana dharma pracārī

rādhe syām syāmā syām


tum vinā mere aur na koi, nāma-rūpa avatārī

caraṇana meń balihārī,

nārāyaṇa balihārī,

rādhe syām syāmā syām


(Refrain) Krsna gives happiness in the hearts of all the Vrajavasis - Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

1) He wears a peacock feather mukut, swinging makara-shaped earrings and a vaijayanti garland around His neck, and the sound of His anklebells is full of rasa! Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

2) His lotus face is very beautiful and His eyes are like lotus-petals. Wandering here and there, He charms everyone with His flute and threefold curved form! Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

3) In Vrndavana He tends the cows in the pastures, steals the gopis' minds, and holds up Sri Govardhana Hill! Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

4) Sri Radha-Krsna have united and now the two have come as the beautiful golden avatara, preaching kirtana-dharma. Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

5) I have no one but You in this world. You descend as the avatara of the beautiful name and beautiful form. Your lotus feet fill me with wonder - so this Narayana is filled with delight! Radhe! Syama! Syama! Syama!

Jai Srila Gurudeva! May his glories spread everywhere, and may I some day get the dust of his lotus feet not only externally, but internally, so that I can understand his heart and please him to the utmost...

- in service of sri guru and vaisnavas

Friday, December 16, 2011

"I will never allow you to give up the path of pleasing the senses of the Lord".

Final Instructions of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur by Srila Bhakti Pramode Puri Maharaja:

"Please preach the kirtana of the Supreme Lord, even if in doing so you have to incur debt; then in order to pay off that debt, you will have to be even more engaged in seva. When your creditors put pressure on you, you will be forced to beg more alms. Again, as the pious householders will not give you alms unless your character and conduct are pure, you will be forced to preserve a pure lifestyle with great determination and care.

I will not leave one penny for you, so that in future you won't indulge in laziness and you won't be able to give up your devotional lives full of hari-kirtana and hari-seva.

The math is the center of hari-kirtana, and hari-kirtana is life and consciousness.
To ensure that there is no place for laziness, bad conduct, trivial thought, gossip, or vulgar desire in the math, you have to go from door to door, where your hari-kirtana will be tested by the public. When the public will think that they are the givers of alms and you are the receiver of alms—in other words, that their status is higher than yours—they will critizice you in many ways, thinking you are objects of their mercy. Perhaps some of them will also be ready to kick you out.

Then, on one hand, you will be able to become trnad api sunicha (humbler than a blade of grass) and manada (respectful to others), and on the other hand, you will
take great care to make your lives and characters pure and exemplary.

Furthermore, what will be beneficial for you is this:
as you will correct the mistakes of the common people by citing the message of sadhu, sastra, and guru-varga, you will not make those same mistakes.

Please do not be upset if someone criticizes you personally. But your guru-varga, sastra, and mahajanas are completely faultless, supremely liberated, and eternal associates of the Lord. If, due to ignorance, someone criticizes them, then you should correct that person's mistakes by telling them the real truth. This will be very beneficial for both you and the ignorant people. If you become lazy about begging for alms from door to door to collect ingredients for hari-kirtana, and if you indulge in laziness and bad habits, preferring reclusive bhajan so you can escape others' criticism, then your character will not be purified. You will not have the life of devotional practice.

I will never give you any opportunity to live in a reclusive place so that you can become undisciplined in your heart, thinking no one will come to see or hear you there.

You are my dear-most friends. I will never allow you to give up the path of pleasing the senses of the Lord so you can please the senses of the people of the world, as well as your own, because you received some temporary position or you could not
tolerate some temporary criticism."

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur - belated


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.

An entire month gone by without a post! Please forgive me!

The other day we celebrated the auspicious disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Jai!!

Here is some nectar from him:


A dull headed boy was once happily flying a kite from an unwalled rooftop. He became so engrossed in playing that he lost his awareness. His playmates were also encouraging him very much. The boy got so carried away that he failed to notice that one of his legs was hanging over the edge of the roof. None of the other boys alerted him to this peril; rather they simply continued to encourage him to fly the kite.

At that critical moment, a wise man happened to pass by. He saw that the boy was in imminent danger of falling from the roof. He immediately rushed up to save the boy although the others saw no danger. He pulled the boy away from the edge, tore off the thread of the kite and took away the spool of thread.

But the foolish boy and his friends, rather than feeling thankful, began to curse the wellmeaning gentleman. They called him a thief, rascal, trespasser, gunda, hooligan, ruffian and other such names. They even threatened to take the gentleman to court after complaining to their over-indulgent parents. Some even tried to physically assault him. Bearing all this, the kind-hearted gentleman saved the boy from imminent death.


Materialistic persons embrace their certain death by accepting whatever is apparently palatable to them. By no means are they prepared to accept anything which is apparently bitter but ultimately pleasant. Many of our so-called friends in this material world also encourage us in sense gratificatory activities that lead us to certain death and destruction.

By chance if one comes across a benevolent saintly person, he preaches to us out of his sheer mercy some real truths although in an unpleasantly stern exposition (like a dose of strong medicine) in spite of our unwillingness to accept it. Therefore we should accept all good sermons from saintly persons delivered in the cause of our eternal welfare, even if those words appear utterly bitter and heart rending.

-from Upakhyane Upadesa, Instructive Stories from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura