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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This audio series presents narrations of the occassional and eternal pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha and Krishna. In Japa Walk Thru Lila Meditations, we mix japa chanting with meditation on Krishna’s pastimes. The result is a most wonderful, blissful, satisfying and enlightening experience of chanting Hare Krishna japa.
The practice of combining japa with lila meditation is a standard practice among most Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In fact, the founder-acharya of the world famous Hare Krishna Movement, Srila Prabhupada said, “You should know that it is not offensive to think of Krishna’s pastimes while chanting Hare Krishna japa. Rather IT IS REQUIRED!” (SP Letter Dec. 4, 1968)

The Japa Walk ThruLila Meditation Technique

1. Take your tulasi japa mala, and sit comfortably in a clean, sanctified place.

2. Play the desired lila audio tracks while listening through speakers, headphones or earplugs (or one ear plug).

3. Keep the audio player or the remote control within reach of your left hand, so you can occassionally pause or replay the audio track to deepen your contemplation on a particular scene, expression or loving exchange.

4. Start chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra japa either silently in the mind or by softly whispering.

5. Adjust the audio volume so that you simultaneously hear the lila and attentively hear the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Experiment until you find the perfect sound level that affords maximum concentration on both the pastimes of Krishna and His sweet Holy Names.

6. While chanting japa with full-heart concentration, listen to the lila narration while mentally trying to vizualize the pastime, to be there, to feel the loving exchanges of Radha and Krishna, and to think what seva you would be offering Them at that moment.

7. Whenever you want to deeply meditate or reflect upon a particular lila, a part of a lila, or a special exchange or scene within a lila, you can simply pause the audio track while continuing your nama japa. For example, sometimes we adjust our audio player so it repeatedly plays the same lila such as “Radha’s Morning Bath”.
Then while listening to that pastime and continuing our maha-mantra japa, we submerge our minds and hearts in all the minute details and sweet dealings of Srimati Radharani and Her sakhi/manjaris at that tender time of morning.

8. The japa walk thru technique is easy and blissful. Instead of wrestling with our wandering minds during japa, we can fill our minds with Radha and Krishna’s beautiful forms, qualities and pastimes while chanting. By this practice our scattered, monkey-jumping minds become pacified, pointed, and absorbed in hearing Krishna’s sweet Holy Names, mentally seeing Krishna’s form and pastimes, and feeling the hearts of Krishna and His loving friends.

9. After sometime of chanting japa and listening to the japa walk thru series, you will no longer think you are just a listener or observer of the lila. If Sri Krishna is merciful to you, you will feel that you are personally there, directly walking with Radha and Krishna and serving Them in every possible way. This is the perfection of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra japa. And this audio series is presented to help everyone attain this perfection.

Maha-mantra Radha-Krishna lila meditation ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in a family of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas in 1896 in Calcutta. From early childhood he showed signs of pure devotion to Lord Sri Krishna.

At the tender age of five, he single-handedly organized a neighborhood Ratha yatra festival to glorify Lord Jagannatha. He authentically decorated a small cart to resemble the Lord’s colossal chariot in Puri. Besides leading the kirtana party, he organized cooking and prasadam distribution.

With his enthusiasm and ecstatic love for Lord Krishna he engaged the community in chanting:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Unlike other children his age who would waste their time playing, Srila Prabhupada preferred to visit the local Radha Krishna temple. For hours together, he would lovingly gaze upon the transcendental forms of Radha Govindaji, absorbing Their divine blessings and beautiful darsana.

In his youth, Maharaja Pariksit used to dress a Deity of Krishna. Similarly, from his childhood, Srila Prabhupada also began worshiping small Deities of Radha and Krishna. He quickly mastered the traditional beats and ragas on mrdanga and harmonium. With pure devotion Srila Prabhupada would sing sweet devotional bhajanas to please Radha Govindaji.

At twenty-six, he met his eternal spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (Founder Acarya of Gaudiya Math). At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave Srila Prabhupada a divine command: “Go to the West and spread Krishna consciousness in the English language.”

In full faith Srila Prabhupada embraced the order as his life and soul. After realizing his guru’s teachings, he started writing and distributing Back to Godhead, an English language magazine on the science of Krishna consciousness. Although begun in 1944 in a small way, “Back to Godhead” now circulates worldwide in over fifty languages.

Srila Prabhupada, like all pure Vaisnavas, showed immense compassion for the suffering conditioned souls. Although they are rotting in the materialistic life of ignorance, the stubborn conditioned souls insist that they “have no time for spiritual life.”

Neither their indifference, nor the sizzling summer heat of Delhi could keep Srila Prabhupada from distributing the cooling balm of Krishna consciousness. Once while selling Back to Godhead he collapsed on the street from heat stroke. Yet he remained fixed in his determination to please his spiritual master.

He took sannyasa in 1959 after retiring from household life. Taking shelter of Vrndavana, he rented a bhajana kutira in the Radha Damodara temple where he absorbed the association of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Gosvamis. Srila Prabhupada spent the next six years performing intensive Krishna bhajana.

Regularly, he bathed in Yamuna, and took darsana of Madana Mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha, and Radha Ramana. He prayed for the mercy of the six Gosvamis and continued writing and printing. During bhajana he would receive blessings, inspiration, and direct guidance from the all merciful Sri Rupa Gosvami.

At this time, he began his life’s main literary work, an English translation with commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam. For Srila Prabhupada it was more of a devotional outpouring than a mere translation from esoteric Sanskrit to understandable English.

Gaudiya Vaisnava history reveals that some advanced devotees would begin crying in spiritual happiness while reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. Smearing the ink on the pages, their tears would make the lines illegible. Similarly, Srila Prabhupada once said that his Srimad Bhagavatam commentaries are actually expressions of his “devotional ecstasies.”

Working alone, Srila Prabhupada wrote, begged money to print, and personally hauled the paper to publish the first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam. Recollecting these times, he once said humbly to his disciples:

“I did not know anything about writing. But my spiritual master told me to spread Lord Krishna’s glories in English. So this is what I tried to do, following in the steps of my Guru Maharaja. He was such a transcendental aristocrat. I had no great personal qualifications. I just tried to follow his instructions.”

Other disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried unsuccessfully to preach Krishna consciousness in English speaking Europe. Srila Prabhupada, however, had full faith in his guru and Krishna’s name. Fearless as Abhimanyu, he brought Krishna consciousness to the world’s most powerful country, America.

Besides speaking English and being a “super power,” America was leading the world in the sinful activities of meat eating, illicit sex, gambling, intoxication. If Americans would take up Krishna consciousness, thought Srila Prabhupada, then surely it would spread to “every town and village,” as Lord Caitanya predicted five hundred years ago. After all, “What’s a glorious victory without a glorious fight,” which Srila Prabhupada would sometimes say.

At the age of seventy, armed with karatalas and a crate of Bhagavatams, Srila Prabhupada set off to America in 1965 on the steamship “Jaladutta.” During the arduous forty-day sea journey the ship met heavy storms. For two consecutive nights, he had severe heart attacks which almost killed him.

On the third night, Lord Krishna appeared to Srila Prabhupada in a dream. The Supreme Lord Himself was pulling the ship to America, encouraging Srila Prabhupada and giving him all protection. Srila Prabhupada penned this prayer upon reaching New York City:

“My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. How shall I make them understand the message of Krishna consciousness?

“I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and most fallen. Therefore, I am seeking Your benediction so I can convince them. For I am powerless to do so on my own.

“O Lord, I am like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.”

In Manhattan, Srila Prabhupada struggled through the icy cold snowbound winter of l965. He continued writing and occasionally selling a few Bhagavatams. But for one year nothing really happened.

Gradually, a few yoga students began attending his classes on Bhagavad gita. The word spread that an “Indian swami was in town teaching a unique yoga method: chanting Hare Krishna.” After his room was robbed, he moved into a small storefront apartment at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side.

In nearby Tompkins Square Park, Srila Prabhupada led the first public chanting of Hare Krishna in the Western world. On July 13, 1966, he founded ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and initiated a dozen disciples.

To receive initiation disciples must promise to give up all forms of illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling. Srila Prabhupada was well on his way to realizing his mission.

Under Srila Prabhupada’s pure guidance the Krishna consciousness movement quickly flourished. Within months ISKCON Radha Krishna temples opened in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, and London. In the l970’s, he traveled around the world fourteen times, establishing 108 Radha Krishna temples in all the major cities of the America, Europe, Africa, India, Asia, and Australia.

He initiated a total of five thousand sincere disciples from different nationalities. He opened asramas and pure vegetarian “Govinda’s” restaurants. On every continent he started Vedic gurukulas and goshalas. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual master to introduce both elegant Deity worship of Radha and Krishna and the annual Ratha yatra festival of Lord Jagannatha in the western countries.

ISKCON’s Jagannatha Ratha yatra festivals, complete with three beautiful wooden carts carrying Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra, a thunderous sankirtana procession, and massive prasadam distribution, take place every year in over two hundred cities worldwide.

Though constantly traveling and preaching to priests, princes, politicians, philosophers, scientists, and his disciples, Srila Prabhupada kept translating the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote over eighty books about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Some of his most famous works are: Bhagavad gita As It Is, KRISHNA BOOK, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion, Science of Self Realization, and English translations with commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, , Isopanisad, Upadesamrta, Narada Bhakti-sutras, Mukunda mala stotra, and Caitanya Caritamrta.

Prabhupada’s books appear in fifty languages such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Bengali. And almost a billion copies have been distributed worldwide.

In only eleven years, between the ages of seventy and eighty-one, Srila Prabhupada accomplished his mission. He credited his phenomenal success to personal effort, unshakeable faith in his spiritual master, and complete faith in and dependence upon the Divine Names of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

He was not an ordinary person. Srila Prabhupada was personally chosen and empowered by Sri Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spread “Krishna consciousness” and chanting Hare Krishna all over the world.

In Vrndavana, l977, on November 14th, during the most auspicious time of Karttika, while surrounded by loving disciples singing their hearts out in kirtana, Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna and entered the eternal pastimes of Radha Syamasundara. To this day, ISKCON is expanding due to member cooperation, and the strict following of Srila Prabhupada’s ideal example of divine behavior and his pure devotional teachings.

As one of the world’s most dynamic religious and cultural movements, ISKCON has more than four hundred temples on five continents. Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir and samadhi are in Vrndavana at the Radha-Damodara Mandira, and the ISKCON Krishna Balarama Mandira.

(Book Excerpt: Gaudiya Vaisnava Biographies and Samadhis in Vrndavana)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

  1. satāṁ ninda-namnaḥ param aparādham vitanute, yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tu tad vigarhām
    The topmost offense (param aparadha) is to criticize a devotee.
  1. śivasya śrī visnor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalam, dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhita-karaḥ
    One will get no benefit from Harinama (hari-nama ahita karah) if one considers the name or qualities of Siva as equal to or independent (bhinna) of Sri Vishnu.
  1. guror avagya
    To disrespect, disregard or disobey Sri Guru.

  2. śruti śāstra-nindanaṁ
    To disrespect any scriptures describing God.

  3. tathārthavādo
    Think the glories of Krishna Nama are exaggerations or empty praise.

  1. hari nāmni kalpanam
    To give imaginary or concocted meanings to Krishna’s Holy Names.
  1. nāmno balād yasya hi pāpabuddhir, na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ
    To commit sin on the power of Krishna’s Name means one has sinful intelligence (papa buddhi). Such an offender cannot be purified by any type of rule or regulation (yama na suddhi).
  1. dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutādi-sarva, subha-kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ
    To consider Krishna’s transcendental prema giving Holy Names to be a form of shubha karmas (good deeds) like varnashrama duties, vows, austerities, yagyas.
  1. aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yas copadeṣaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ
    To describe the glories of Krishna Nama to the faithless (ashradha); or one whose face is turned away from God  – agnostic, not interested  (vimukhe); and to one who does not want to hear anything about Krishna (ashrnvati).
  1. śrute’pi nāma-māhātmye yah prīti rahito naraḥ, ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha-kṛt
    To not have faith, taste or affection (priti) for Krishna’s Holy Names even after hearing the glories of Krishna Nama, and to not give up material attachments and continue to think and act only in terms of “I and mine” (aham mam adi).

Nama Acharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Sri Harinama ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in a family of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas in 1896 in Calcutta. From early childhood he showed signs of pure devotion to Lord Sri Krsna.

At the tender age of five, he single handedly organized a neighborhood Ratha yatra festival to glorify Lord Jagannatha. He authentically decorated a small cart to resemble the Lord’s colossal chariot in Puri. Besides leading the kirtana party, he organized cooking and prasadam distribution.

With his enthusiasm and ecstatic love for Lord Krsna he engaged the community in chanting: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Unlike other children his age who would waste their time playing, Srila Prabhupada preferred to visit the local Radha Krsna temple. For hours together, he would lovingly gaze upon the transcendental forms of Radha Govindaji, absorbing Their divine blessings and beautiful darsana.

In his youth, Maharaja Pariksit used to dress a Deity of Krsna. Similarly, from his childhood, Srila Prabhupada also began worshiping small Deities of Radha and Krsna. He quickly mastered the traditional beats and ragas on mrdanga and harmonium. With pure devotion Srila Prabhupada would sing sweet devotional bhajanas to please Radha Govindaji.

At twenty six, he met his eternal spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (Founder Acarya of Gaudiya Math). At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave Srila Prabhupada a divine command: “Go to the West and spread Krsna consciousness in the English language.”

In full faith Srila Prabhupada embraced the order as his life and soul. After realizing his guru’s teachings, he started writing and distributing Back to Godhead, an English language magazine on the science of Krsna consciousness. Although begun in 1944 in a small way, Back to Godhead now circulates worldwide in over fifty languages.

Srila Prabhupada, like all pure Vaisnavas, showed immense compassion for the suffering conditioned souls. Although they are rotting in the materialistic life of ignorance, the stubborn conditioned souls insist that they “have no time for spiritual life.”

Neither their indifference, nor the sizzling summer heat of Delhi could keep Srila Prabhupada from distributing the cooling balm of Krsna consciousness. Once while selling Back to Godhead he collapsed on the street from heat stroke. Yet he remained fixed in his determination to please his spiritual master.

He took sannyasa in 1959 after retiring from household life. Taking shelter of Vrndavana, he rented a bhajana kutira in the Radha Damodara temple where he absorbed the association of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Gosvamis. Srila Prabhupada spent the next six years performing intensive Krsna bhajana.

Regularly, he bathed in Yamuna, and took darsana of Madana Mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha, and Radha Ramana. He prayed for the mercy of the six Gosvamis and continued writing and printing. During bhajana he would receive blessings, inspiration, and direct guidance from the all merciful Sri Rupa Gosvami.

At this time, he began his life’s main literary work, an English translation with commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam. For Srila Prabhupada it was more of a devotional outpouring than a mere translation from esoteric Sanskrit to understandable English.

Gaudiya Vaisnava history reveals that some advanced devotees would begin crying in spiritual happiness while reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. Smearing the ink on the pages, their tears would make the lines illegible. Similarly, Srila Prabhupada once said that his Srimad Bhagavatam commentaries are actually expressions of his “devotional ecstasies.”

Working alone, Srila Prabhupada wrote, begged money to print, and personally hauled the paper to publish the first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam. Recollecting these times, he once said humbly to his disciples:

“I did not know anything about writing. But my spiritual master told me to spread Lord Krsna’s glories in English. So this is what I tried to do, following in the steps of my Guru Maharaja. He was such a transcendental aristocrat. I had no great personal qualifications. I just tried to follow his instructions.”

Other disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried unsuccessfully to preach Krsna consciousness in English speaking Europe. Srila Prabhupada, however, had full faith in his guru and Krsna’s name. Fearless as Abhimanyu, he brought Krsna consciousness to the world’s most powerful country, America.

Besides speaking English and being a “super power,” America was leading the world in the sinful activities of meat eating, illicit sex, gambling, intoxication. If Americans would take up Krsna consciousness, thought Srila Prabhupada, then surely it would spread to “every town and village,” as Lord Caitanya predicted five hundred years ago. After all, “What’s a glorious victory without a glorious fight,” which Srila Prabhupada would sometimes say.

At the age of seventy, armed with karatalas and a crate of Bhagavatams, Srila Prabhupada set off to America in 1965 on the steamship “Jaladuta.” During the arduous forty day sea journey the ship met heavy storms. For two consecutive nights, he had severe heart attacks which almost killed him.

On the third night, Lord Krsna appeared to Srila Prabhupada in a dream. The Supreme Lord Himself was pulling the ship to America, encouraging Srila Prabhupada and giving him all protection. Srila Prabhupada penned this prayer upon reaching New York City:

“My dear Lord Krsna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. How shall I make them understand the message of Krsna consciousness?

“I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and most fallen. Therefore, I am seeking Your benediction so I can convince them. For I am powerless to do so on my own.

“O Lord, I am like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.”

In Manhattan, Srila Prabhupada struggled through the icy cold snowbound winter of l965. He continued writing and occassionally selling a few Bhagavatams. But for one year nothing really happened.

Gradually, a few yoga students began attending his classes on Bhagavad gita. The word spread that an “Indian swami was in town teaching a unique yoga method: chanting Hare Krsna.” After his room was robbed, he moved into a small storefront apartment at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side.

In nearby Tompkins Square Park, Srila Prabhupada led the first public chanting of Hare Krsna in the Western world. On July 13, 1966, he founded ISKCON (The International Society for Krsna Consciousness) and initiated a dozen disciples.

To receive initiation disciples must promise to give up all forms of illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling. Srila Prabhupada was well on his way to realizing his mission.

Under Srila Prabhupada’s pure guidance the Krsna consciousness movement quickly flourished. Within months ISKCON Radha Krsna temples opened in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, and London. In the l970’s, he traveled around the world fourteen times, establishing 108 Radha Krsna temples in all the major cities of the America, Europe, Africa, India, Asia, and Australia.

He initiated a total of five thousand sincere disciples from different nationalities. He opened asramas and pure vegetarian “Govinda’s” restaurants. On every continent he started Vedic gurukulas and goshallas. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual master to introduce both elegant Deity worship of Radha and Krsna and the annual Ratha yatra festival of Lord Jagannatha in the western countries.

ISKCON’s Jagannatha Ratha yatra festivals, complete with three beautiful wooden carts carrying Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra, a thunderous sankirtana procession, and massive prasadam distribution, take place every year in over two hundred cities worldwide.

Though constantly traveling and preaching to priests, princes, politicians, philosophers, scientists, and his disciples, Srila Prabhupada kept translating the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote over eighty books about Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion, The Science of Self Realization, and English translations with commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad gita As It Is, Isopanisad, Upadesamrta, Narada Bhakti sutras, Mukunda mala stotra, and Caitanya Caritamrta are some of his works.

Prabhupada’s books have been translated into fifty languages such as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Bengali. Almost a billion copies have been distributed worldwide.

In only eleven years, between the ages of seventy and eighty one, Srila Prabhupada accomplished his mission. He credited his phenomenal success to personal effort, an unshakeable faith in his spiritual master and the holy names of Lord Sri Krsna.

He was not an ordinary person. Srila Prabhupada was personally chosen and empowered by the Supreme Lord to spread Krsna consciousness and chanting Hare Krsna all over the world.

In Vrndavana, during the auspicious month of Kartika in l977 on November 14, while surrounded by loving disciples singing their hearts out in kirtana, Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krsna and entered the eternal pastimes of Radha Syamasundara. To this day ISKCON keeps growing through cooperation and strict following of Srila Prabhupada’s pure example and perfect instructions.

As one of the world’s most dynamic religious and cultural movemments, ISKCON has more than three hundred temples on five continents. Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi is in Vrndavana at the ISKCON Krsna Balarama Mandira.

(Book Excerpt: Gaudiya Vaisnava Biographies and Samadhis in Vrndavana by Mahanidhi Swami)

Mahanidhi Swami

When Mahaprabhu came to Benares, a local Brahmin narrated His transcendental glories to Sri Prakashananda, a famous Advaitin acharya.

The Advaitin then laughed very much (bahuta hasila) and criticized Mahaprabhu: “Yes, I heard He is called Chaitanya. He has hypnotized a bunch of sentimental followers into believing He is Ishvara. And now they dance around like madmen!”

Feeling very much aggrieved to hear this, the Brahmin immediately left and went to describe his meeting: “O Mahaprabhu! Although he offended You that Advaitin said Your name, “Chaitanya Chaitanya Chaitanya”. But why could he not say “KRISHNA?”

Sri Krishna Chaitanya replied, “The Mayavadi Advaitins are Krishna aparadhis. Thus they only keep saying ‘brahma’, ‘atma’ ‘chaitanya’ kahe niravadhi. (129) Therefore, Krishna nama never manifests in their mouths.

“Krishna’s name and transcendental form are identical, krishna nama krishna svarupa duita samana. (130) Sri Krishna’s name, murti and personal form are one form of transcendental blissful consciousness, nama vigraha svarupa, cid ananda rupa. There is no difference between them. (131)

“There is no difference between Krishna’s transcendental body and Himself or between His name and Himself. But by nature the jiva’s name, body and soul are all different. (132)

deha dehira nama namira, krishne nahi bheda
jivera dharma nama deha, svarupe vibheda

“Therefore, Krishna’s transcendental name, form and intimate pastimes are not perceptible or self-manifest to the material senses. (134)

ataeva krishnera nama, deha vilasa
prakrtendriya grahya nahe, haya sva-prakasha

“Sri Krishna Himself and His name, qualities, and pastimes are all equal in transcendental consciousness and bliss. (135)

Krishna nama krishna guna, krishna lila vrnda
Krishnera svarupa sama, saba cid ananda

“The complete absolute bliss of Krishna’s lila rasa forcibly pulls the jnanis away from brahman bliss of and conquers their souls.”(137) [i.e. Sri Shuka Muni]

brahmananda haite purna, ananda lila rasa
brahma jnani akarshiya, kare atma vasha

These are Sriman Mahaprabhu’s direct and personal teachings on the glories of Sri Krishna’s Divine Names. During His discourse, however, Sri Chaitanya spoke the following two essential verses about Nama Tattva that all devotees should know, memorize and remember while chanting Sri Harinama japa and kirtana.

nama cintamanih krishnash, chaitanya rasa vigrahah
purnah shuddho nitya-mukto, bhinnatvan nama naminoh

“The peerless gem of Krishna’s transcendental name fulfills all thoughts and desires. Nama Prabhu is the living form of consciousness and divine loving rapture. Krishna nama is completely immaculate—ever existing on the transcendental plane.”

atah sri krishna namadi, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, svayam eva sphuraty adah

“Sri Krishna’s transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes cannot be perceived by the material senses. However, they all automatically self-manifest [svayam sphurti] on the tongue and other senses of one with a service attitude [seva mukha].” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.114-137)

Sri Harinama ki jai! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Who is performing our daily sadhana of chanting Hare Krishna japa, dhyana, Thakuraji puja, and other sevas? Is it me, or is Krishna Himself actually doing everything?

It’s Krishna Himself who is permitting and empowering us to do all the sevas we perform for His pleasure. The great cirana jiva Maharishi Sri Markendeya confirms this fact in the Srimad Bhagavatam (12.8.40):

“O Almighty Bhagavan Sri Vishnu! How can I possibly describe You? For it is You alone who move the prana or vital air within all living entities beginning with Sivaji and Brahmaji , which in turn impels the mind, senses and power of speech within everyone to act. But for those who worship You, You become their intimate loving friend.”

Tika Sri Jiva Goswamipada:

“The Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.4.18) says, “Sri Vishnu is the life of the prana (vital air), the power of eyesight, the power of hearing, and He is the power of mental discrimination.” (Bk. San.144)

Tika Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti:

“Sri Vishnu, it is You who moves the life air, mind, senses and voice within all living entities. The Sruti says, ‘Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is the ear of one’s ear.’

“Kena Upanisad (1.2) says, ‘O Sri Vishnu! It is You alone who enable Your devotees to worship You by enlivening their minds and senses. And then like a friend You become controlled by the love of Your devotees. And most astonishingly, You feel indebted to Your loving servitors, and that You can never repay them for their worship. Thus You become controlled by their love. Just see the greatness of Your mercy!’”

To further prove that Krishna and not us is doing our daily sadhana, Sri Rupa Goswamipada says, “Krishna and His transcendental names cannot be grasped, experienced or perceived by the material senses (atah sri krishna namadi, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih) However, when a devotee develops a service attitude (sevon mukhe hi jihvadau), or the tendency to accept Sri Krishna’s nama and rupa, then Sri Krishna spontaneously manifests (svayam eva sphuraty adah) on the tongue and in the other senses of the devotee.” (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.234; Padma Purana)

Tika Sri Jiva Goswamipada:

“By the mercy of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, not only humans can chant His transcendental divine names, but Sri Krishna even empowers and enables animals to chant Vishnu nama. ‘When Bharata Maharaja gave up his body of the deer, he smiled broadly saying, “All respects to Sri Narayana Hari.’” (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.14.45)

‘Thereafter, the elephant king Gajendra fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and did japa of a mantra memorized from his prior human birth as Raja Indradyumna. By the grace of Sri Krishna, he remembered this mantra.’” (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.3.1)

Summary: The above shastras prove that we are not chanting Hare Krishna japa. It is being done by Krishna who is empowering us to chant by appearing on our tongue. By His sweet will Krishna appears, stays for some time, and may also leave us whenever He chooses. Every step in bhakti and every devotional expression is Krishna’s mercy alone. We are not and never will be—THE DOER!

However, the good news is that Sri Krishna agrees to become a “bhava bandhu”, a loving friend, to anyone who serves Him. Krishna is our dearest friend (bandhu) because Krishna gives us bhakti, devotion to Him, and gives us the desire, power and ability to serve and love Him.

It is Sri Krishna alone who is giving us ideas to serve Him; moving our senses for His pleasure and making us speak His charming sweet glories. Devotees are happy puppets dancing on the strings of a sweet puppeteer named Shyama.

The conclusion is that independence is an illusion. Sri Krishna is doing everything, beginning with creating our initial attraction and interest in bhakti. Sri Krishna is maintaining our devotional practices as well. And it is Sri Krishna who is causing us to become weak, strong, stay or go away.

Our spiritual advancement, success and perfection in Krishna consciousness is completely in Krishna’s hands. We can’t plan or force bhakti or prema to appear within us. The fruit ripens in its own time. We have surrendered our lives to a benevolent, carefree, independent eternal master, Bhagavan Sri Krishna. And He can do whatever He deems best. Just remember: “All is His will, and His will ever be!”

(concept: madangopal blogspot)

Zero independence ki jai! Sri Krishna samarpanam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

About anyone who is even slightly inclined to Krishna bhakti, we often hear people say, “O, this person is a good devotee, a nice Vaisnava!”

But exactly how does one define who is and who is not a Vaisnava, a “devotee”? The correct and most authoritative answer to this question is found in the sacred texts of our Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. By reading and understanding these passages, one can then accurately determine who is a Vaisnava.

  1. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

“A Vaisnava is one who rejects the association of materialistic people (asat-sanga tyaga), the unsaintly (asadhu), and those not devoted to Bhagavan Sri Krishna (krishna abhakta)” (Cc. 2.22.87)

  1. Sri Kapila Muni:

One is a sadhu Vaisnava if he/she is:

  1. Tolerant.
  2. Merciful to all living entities.
  3. Not inimical toward anyone.
  4. Follows rules of scripture.
  5. Peaceful. (SB 3.25.21)

 

  1. Sri Sanatana Goswami:

Simplest definition of a Vaisnava:

“The wise have determined that a Vaisnava is one who is initiated into a Vishnu [Krishna] mantra and engaged in the worship of Sri Vishnu [Krishna, Rama, Nrsimha].” All others are known as non-Vaisnavas. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 1.55)

 

A Vaisnava is one who meets these criteria;

  1. DIKSHA: has received Krishna mantra diksha from Sri Guru.
  2. SEVA: dedicated to serving Sri Krishna.
  3. EKADASHI: follows Ekadashi vrata without fail.
  4. BALANCED MIND: is equipoised toward all living beings.
  5. MAINTAINS VAISNAVA BEHAVIOR: follows Vaisnava niyamas and sadachara. (HBV 2.12.338-340):

 

III. Sri Jiva Goswami:

PREMA: “The greatness of a Vaisnava depends on the amount of Krishna prema.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 187)

  1. Srila Prabhupada:

“A devotee is one who is always pleasing Krishna. He has no other business. That is a devotee.” (folio: PQPA 5)

In summary, a Vaisnava is one who is devoted to seeing, serving, pleasing, loving and living eternally with the Absolute Supreme Person, GOD—Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Rama, Vishnu.

A Vaisnava is a devotee, and a devotee is one who cares for God, and is loyal to Sri Guru, Sri Hari and the Vaisnavas. A devotee is committed, determined, dedicated and steady in serving and pleasing Sri Krishna with deep feelings of attachment and mine-ness. A devotee genuinely feels, “I belong to Krishna and Krishna is mine.”

A true devotee feels his loving Lord’s presence everywhere, and he/she shows sweet affection to all, big and small, from an ant to a President.

A devotee adores and worships his/her beloved Sri Krishna with great enthusiasm, attentively offering everything available at every moment throughout the day and night.

Vaisnava sadhu sanga ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

While discussing japa, Sri Sanatana Goswami does not distinguish between harinama japa and diksha mantra japa. For both he gives the following important rules which all devotees should follow.

First of all, he defines japa as silent murmuring of the mantra, upamshu, and then lays down the rules for it. This is the way Srila Prabhupada chanted his daily nama and mantra japa. Sri Rupa Goswami says, “Very soft repetition of the mantra is called japa.” (Brs.1.2.149)

Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “If one speaks during japa, one’s japa will be fruitless. One will not attain perfection in his mantra chanting if he chants japa while speaking, walking, lying down on bed, thinking of something else, sneezing, hiccupping or yawning.” (HBV 17.132-3)

He furthers explains the dangers of public chanting saying, “Ghosts, Rakshasas, Vetalas and other subtle beings steal the benefits of japa done in public. Hence the wise must do japa in secret, bhuta, rakshasas, vetalas haranti prakatam tasmat guptam japet sudhih.” (HBV 17.131)

“After completing one’s daily japa sankhya, the japa mala should be worshiped and kept in a secret place [one’s temple room or home], japanya-kale malam tu pujayitva sugopayet.” (HBV 17.130)

Proper japa means solitary concentration on the mantra while sitting in a sanctified place with one’s mind and heart focused only on the mantra—its meaning and form. The Srimad Bhagavat Mahatmya (5.73) says, “Japa is lost through a restless mind.”

The key to success in bhakti is having the right attitude and feeling of devotion, sincere humility and hankering for mercy expressed through all of one’s sadhana practices. In bhakti, it is quality and not quantity that brings perfection and success in sadhana.

In this regard, Sri Vallabhacharya teaches, “Lots of sadhana does not please Sri Hari, na hi sadhana sampattya na hari toshanam. It is only the devotees’ humility that can satisfy Hari, bhaktanam dainyam evaikam harih tushyati.” Humility means submitting to and following the authority and orders of Sri Guru and Shastra.

Sri Rupa Goswami says that the holy name only manifests within someone who has a humble service attitude, sevonmukhe he jihvadau svayam eva sphurat yada. (Brs. 1.2.234)

Often it is seen that pride and ego manifest in one who chants a high number of japa without the right devotional attitude. In his tika on nama-aparadha # 10, Sri Sanatana Goswami explains how false pride—EGO manifests in different devotees. “To think ‘I’ and ‘mine’ to be the greatest in connection with the holy name is the 10th offence to the holy name. ‘I am chanting more than you’, aham bahutara-nama-kirtaka. My tongue is the greatest chanter of the holy name. Thus chanting is under the control of my tongue. I am chanting the holy name myself.” (HBV 11.524)

This kind of feeling and attitude—EGO—which often arises, is far far away from Mahaprabhu’s order to chant with the utmost humility.

Commenting on His own trnad api sunichena verse (Cc. 3.20.21) Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, ““These are the symptoms of one who [correctly] chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Although he is very exalted, he thinks himself lower than the grass on the ground, and like a tree, he tolerates everything in two ways. When a tree is cut down, it does not protest, and even when drying up, it does not ask anyone for water. The tree delivers its fruits, flowers and whatever else it possesses to anyone and everyone. It tolerates scorching heat and torrents of rain, yet it still gives shelter to others.

“Although a Vaiñëava is the most exalted person, he is prideless and shows respect to ALL LIVING ENTITIES knowing that Krishna is within them (jive sammana dibe jani krishna adhisthana). If one chants the holy name of Krishna in this way, pure love for Sri Krishna’s lotus feet will appear.” (Cc. 3.20.21-26).

In simple words, humility leads to prema and pride leads to failure. Chant Sri Krishna’s holy names with humility, full heart and attention, and soon the fruit of Krishna prema will be attained.

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

In Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna describes the “third eye” or Ajna Chakra Meditation Method.

In verses (5.27 & 8.10) Sri Krishna says, “A sadhaka should fix his vision and attention on the point between the eyebrows, the ajna cakra, chakshus antare bhruvoh: bhruvoh madhye.” Yoga sutras say that focusing one’s outer and inner vision on this point, bhruvoh madhye, will stop the stream of random, wandering thoughts that often distract us from attentive harinama/mantra japa efforts and remembrance of Radha-Krishna.

Then concentrated, focused, attentive and heart-felt japa and smarana can proceed smoothly. Commenting on this, Srila Prabhupada said, “By this yoga meditation practice one can control the senses, become free from fear and anger, feel the presence of the Antaryami Sri Krishna, and prepare for liberation.” (Bg. 5.27 p.)

It may be argued that just chanting Hare Krishna and sincerely practicing Krishna consciousness does all these things and more; it gives spiritual perfection. That is absolutely true! Our personal experience and Srila Prabhupada’s numerous statements to this effect are the proof.

Nevertheless, we are highlighting this physical concentration technique in the mood of accepting and doing things that will be helpful for our metaphysical development i.e. increasing our Krishna bhakti. Every day we chant Hare Krishna and try to think about, remember and meditate upon Radha-Krishna in Vrindavana. But where is the absorption, what to speak about attention and concentration?

Frustrated but steadily going, we cry out, “O Krishna” my mind is restless, very mad, powerful and relentless, chanchalam he manah Krishna, pramathi balavad drdham.” (Bg. 6.34) Our wayward minds just won’t let us concentrate on the beautiful sweet names, forms and pastimes of Radha-Krishna.” What to do—just chant more, remember more?

Yes!!! And also try the Chakra Japa Method.

  1. Sit comfortably straight;
  1. Take 5 very deep and slow breaths; inhale while thinking “Shyamaa Shyamaa, Shyamaa” and exhale thinking “Shyama, Shyama, Shyama”. Radha-Krishna, Hare Krishna, are our very Prananatha and Praneshvari, the beloveds of our life force.
  2. Focus your eyesight, vision and attention on the ajna chakra, the physical/psychic point between the eyebrows. Locate it and press it firmly with the tip of your middle finger. That’s your focal point.
  1. Now with closed eyes (if alert and well rested) or half-closed eyes do your daily harinama japa sankhya, mantra dhyana and lila smarana.

Whenever you sit for Radha-Krishna bhajan try this chakra japa technique and see/feel/taste the results. Simply wonderful!

It works for me and I hope it works for you too.

Raganuga Bhakti bhajan ki jai! Nama japa lila smarana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

IV. Create a Japa Cave

Having described the three salient features of a cave (darkness, solitude, silence), we will now explain how to make one. To obtain the positive effects of the Goswamis’ japa caves, we must try our best to establish something like a cave inside our house. It must be a solitary place as dark and quiet as possible; just like a real cave.

  1. Create Solitary Space

It is best to have one room reserved for puja and solitary prayer: “The Temple Room”. If you don’t have, then use temporary room dividers to section off part of your living room as your “Japa Space”.

For example, I have a 35 square feet “japa cave” sectioned off from a greeting room of 150 square feet. Call it your japa cave, puja room, prayer room, or meditation room.

Don’t bring your mobile into the cave. Keep it in another room, switched on silent and no vibe mode. Beg your dear ones to spare you for two hours, leaving you alone in the peace of solitude to communicate with Krishna. Enter your “cave”, sit on a pure asana of wool or silk and use it only for japa.

Now you can freely open your heart and reveal your mind; voice your divine aspirations; and feel the presence of Radha and Krishna as you attentively absorb yourself in chanting Hare Krishna. By doing this, you will realize that “Silence is Golden, but Solitude is Platinum”.

  1. Create Silence

When creating your “cave room”, try to make it as soundproof as possible. But remember that totally soundproof means no oxygen!

For concentrated japa, chant during the silent times of early morning and late night (3-6 a.m. & 11p.m.-3 a.m.). To enhance the silence during these times, or to create silence during noisy times in your home, you can wear plain “hearing protection headphones” [without built in sound system]. For the last 30 years, I have been regularly using a comfortable pair (Peltor H10A Optime 105) that very effectively create the silent space necessary for focused, concentrated japa.

If you are not so fortunate as to have a private japa cave in Vrindavana, then such headphones are the best alternative. Either alone or in combination, headphones and early morning hours provide the essential silence which will definitely improve the quality of your nama japa. And one thing I can definitely say is that at least for India, such headphones are a MUST!

  1. Create Darkness

Besides chanting in the naturally dark times of night and early morning, you can create cave darkness at any time by following the following steps:

  1. Turn off all lights (including clocks, night lights and power cords) in cave room and adjoining room if cave is within a larger room.
  2. Block all incoming sunlight by closing doors and using thick, dark colored window curtains. If you can’t see your hand in front of your face when sitting for japa, then you have created cave darkness. Even a little light will stop melatonin production and impede concentration.
  3. Cover the eyes with eye covers or masks as used for sleeping in airplanes.
  4. Cover the head and face with dark colored cotton cloth. Take a piece of thick cloth measuring 48 by 24 inches (120/60 cm.); fold it in half for a final size of 24 by 24. Use this cloth to cover the top of head and face to below the chin. Gather the excess cloth at the neck and close it with a clip or clothes pin. It should be so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your nose. Of the two, I find colored cloth more effective and comfortable then wearing eye shades or masks. Colored cloth provide additional benefits as well.

Those aware of color healing can use different colored cloths to cover their heads. I will describe the qualities of two colors, indigo and green. Some say indigo is Krishna’s color, and green as in emerald or dark (Vrindavana) forest green is the color of the unified jyotis of Radha Govinda Yugala.

Green:

By nature green is a restful color which calms emotions and soothes the body and mind. Green represents energy, growth, hope and new life. Yogic healers say the sahasra chakra (crown chakra on top of head), which is the controller of all chakras, is nourished by green.

Indigo:

Indigo is a cooling and calming color. Indigo governs the ajna chakra (between eyebrows), which is the meditation point to focus on during japa that is mentioned in Gita 8.10, madhya bhruvoh. Healers say the indigo color helps raise the consciousness.

Now you are ready to practice “cave japa” in your private bhajana cave. However, the solitude, silence and darkness of your cave room might put you to sleep. To avoid this and get the full benefit from cave japa, one should rest early the night before in order to be fresh and completely awake.

You may feel a little uncomfortable at first, adjusting to headphones, head cloths, and chanting for two hours alone in the darkness. It would be a lot easier if we had private snake and scorpion free caves in the sacred land of Vrindavana.

By implementing these suggestions for improving japa, we are showing Krishna how sincere we are about chanting purely and lovingly. Krishna sees how seriously we are absorbing ourselves in this most important practice of Krishna consciousness. Gita says, as one surrenders, so Krishna rewards. Every surrendered devotee experiences that reward in his own way.

We guarantee that if you chant japa in a cave room of darkness and silence, especially in early morning, you will become very peaceful, centered on Krishna, and have many divine and richly rewarding spiritual experiences.

If this does not happen, then you can get a full refund by returning the darkness and silence to Krishna. Close your cave, sit down on the living room couch to chant japa, and then fall asleep with all the lights on.

Hare Krishna Maha Mantra ki jai! Cave Japa ki jai!

Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jai!