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By: Mahanidhi Swami

To increase our observance of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s Jayanti, appearance day festival, we will cite some valuable points from Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s 276 verse discussion in Hari-bhakti vilasa 16.

Why should I observe Janmastami?

Bhavishyottara Purana: Achyuta Sri Krishna said to King Yuddhisthira, “Everyone from the age of 8 to 80 must celebrate My appearance day. Observing Janmastami is an eternal function in three ways—It pleases Bhagavan Sri Krishna; It is a scriptural injunction; It is a sin if you don’t observe it. O King, by observing My Jayanti one will get good children, good health, unlimited good fortune and go to Vaikuntha after death.”

Vishnu-rahasya Purana: Lord Brahma said to Narada Muni, “One who eats on Janmastami eats all the sins of the three worlds. Eating on Janmastami is equal to eating the flesh of a donkey or a human being.”

How to observe Janmastami?

There are many detailed pujas and procedures mentioned in Hari-bhakti vilasa. But we will mention a few which are easy to perform.

Morning of Janmastami take a sankalpa (vow), “O Supreme Controller Devakinandana please help me to observe a complete fast today with I will break tomorrow after sunrise.”

Spend the day reading and hearing about Sri Krishna’s childhood pastimes.

Charity given on Janmastami yields 100 times more benefit than any other day.

Offer arati to a picture of Vasudeva and Devaki, glorify them, and pray for their mercy and blessings.

During moonrise offer Candradeva and his wife Rohini devi (the nakshatra Krishnaji appeared in) some water in a conch shell (arghya) while chanting Krishna’s Holy Names like “He Krishna, Govinda, Damodara, Madhava, Hari, Kesava, Madhusudana”!

What are the PUJA DETAILS?

* Bathe Krishna at midnight with bhakti-surcharged pancha amrta (milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, sugar water). Offer a new dress, crown ornaments etc. Offer full arati along with kirtana, and sound lots of conches, bells, drums, voices and peacocks!

*Bhoga—offer varieties of seasonal fruits plus coconut, dates, and many cow ghee cooked preps; all made with the utmost loving care.

* Flowers—offer lots of fragrant garlands and flowers like lotus, mogra (jasmine), champaka, malati and mallika along with many tulasi leaves and manjaris.

* Scents—offer Lord Krishna camphor, musk, aguru, kumkum, and sandalwood paste.

*Conclusion:

To conclude, I pray to Sri Krishna’s Mathura father Vasudeva to bless me with pure consciousness (vasudeva-chit), so that someday Sri Krishna will also appear in my heart, and then initiate a grand festival of pure devotional service which will continue throughout every day of my life.

Sri Krishna Jayanti ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

In Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada presents this prayer to speak while offering your new tulasi neckbeads to Thakuraji before wearing them:

“O Tulasi kanthi! You are made of tulasi wood and you are very dear to the Vaisnavas. Now I will wear you around my neck, so please make me dear to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Srila Sanatana Goswamipada gives a wonderful explanation of the word mala, which means necklace as in tulasi kanthi mala. He says the word “MA” means “to me,” and the word “LA” means “to give”. Thus the word mala means, “O tulasi kanthi, the beloved of Hari! Please offer me to Krishna’s devotees!

Our Gaudiya padakarta mahajana, Sri Lochana Dasa Thakura, says, “Condemned and abominable persons who never wear tulasi neckbeads will reside in hell. (tulasira hara, na pare je chara, jamalaye basa tara [“Nitai Gaura Nama” bhajan]

Tulasi Kanthi ki jai! Tulasi Maharani ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahandhi Swami

While visiting New Delhi one day, I noticed a short message repeated over and over again on a boundary wall beside a main road. Everyday thousands of people read that message which says, “Do One Good Deed Today.” Of course, this is a good maxim to live by, but why is it repeated on this particular wall? Inside this wall lies a cremation ground where people lie for their last time. So the message is reminding you, me and all of us to do something good before it’s too late.

In the balance of this article, I will quote Hari-bhakti-vilasa to mention some good deeds one can perform during this most auspicious month of Vaishakha a.k.a. Madhusudana (16Apr-14May). Of twelve months Vaishakha, Magha and Karttika are considered the best because pious acts done in these months give tremendous benefit to the performer.The following significant events occur in the vaishakha month “Chandana Yatra, Bhagavan Nrisingha Deva Appears, Ganga Appears on Earth and Vishnu creates the barley grain.

The following good deeds can be done daily or whenever you can: Public Harinama Sankirtan; Dhama Parikrama; Read Bhagavatam; Attend Gita Class; Upgrade Thakuraji Seva; Serve Saints; Bathe in a Holy Place (best before sunrise); and to good spiritual persons give charity of cow ghee, umbrella, shoes, cloth, money and sesame seed alone or mixed with honey.

*Special days to DEFINITELY observe;

MAY 2 Akshaya Tritya because even one good deed done today i.e., fasting, jagarana, holy bath, charity and mantra sankhya yields INEXHAUSTIBLE RESULTS. Tretya Yuga begins today (when it comes), and Vishnu created the barley grain today.

MAY 6 Shukla Saptami—Maa Ganga appears; remember, pray to, bathe and worship the sweet kind mother of all sacred rivers. Gange! Gange! Gange! Ki jai!

MAY 10 Ekadashi— Stay awake all night chanting Hare Krishna and dancing in Gaura-smarana. Skanda Purana saya, By doing jagarana, one becomes jivana-mukta, “A living liberated soul.”

***MAY 11: Akshaya Dvadashi—— Like the 3rd, deeds yield inexhaustible merits. Skanda Purana suggests: Bathe Thakuraji in milk or Panchamrita; donate money and pots of water (if you are not a Vraja gopi, this means a bottle of water….(!); in the evening, satisfy Thakuraji with sweet drinks and also give sweet scents (itra) to others.

MAY13 Lord Nrisingha Aavirbhava. Watch for new article on How to observe it.

Vaishakha Month of Lord Madhusudan Sri Krishana Ki Jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Is attachment to “I and Mine” (aham, mameti) preventing us from chanting shuddha nama, the pure Holy Name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna? In the Padmna Purana’s list of the ten offenses against Krishna’s Holy Name (nama aparadhas), the last one addresses attachment, which like a ghost haunting even the most sincere sadhakas.

The tenth offense mentioned in the Padma P. (Brahma-khanda 25.15-18) is:

shrutvapi nama mahatmyam yah preeti rahito dhamah

aham mamadi paramo namni so ‘py aparadha krt

“If one has heard the glories of Krishna’s divine name (shrute nama mahatmye), but still thinks in terms of “I and Mine” (aham mamadi), and does not show love for the Holy Name (preeti rahito dhamah), that is an offense (aparadha krt).”

Unfortunately, the ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ mentality runs very deep within all of us. Even the best hearted Krishna bhaktas, who are supposed to fully identify themselves as spiritual beings, Krishna dasa and Radhika dasi, Sri Krishna’s eternal loving servants, are guilty of this mundane mentality.

Despite all our sadhana and chanting, we still think “I am this body, and people and things related to my body are mine.” Minds move fast; but consciousness moves and changes very slowly. Due to the lingering mental embrace of material consciousness, we are still seeking sense pleasures, gain, adoration and distinction.

To show how the “I and Mine” mentality touches all of us, let’s examine Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s tika to the verse above which he discusses in his Hari-bhakti vilasa #11 v. 524. He describes how the deadly enemy of false pride, which is what the 10th offense is all about, manifests within different types of devotee chanters.

  1. First, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the solitary chanters saying, aham bahutara nama kirtaka, which means to think “I am chanting more than you” or to think “I am the greatest in connection with the Holy Name”. And this is the 10th offence.”

One often meets such “advanced devotees” who approach and ask, “How many rounds are you chanting?” Then to assert their supremacy they announce how many lacs of nama (multiples of 64 rounds) they are chanting to insinuate that your chanting is not up to the mark. But your bhajana is not their business. Shastra advises that one’s guru, diksa mantras and sadhana should be kept secret.

Once a “bhajananandi sadhu” approached another saintly person, asking how many lacs of nama he was chanting. The sadhu humbly replied, “What bhajana am I doing? I am only eating and sleeping.”

  1. Secondly, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the preacher devotee saying, itas tato nama kirtanam ca mat pravartitam eva, maya samo nama kirtana paro anyah kah, which means [this is also the 10th offense to think], “Only I am spreading the chanting of the Holy Name all over the world. Who is equal to me in dedication to nama kirtana?”

One often meets such “messiah bhaktas” who openly criticize devotees who are trying to please Sri Hari and Sri Guru by concentrating on bhakti bhajana instead of preaching. Hence they are guilty of false pride, and the offense of “I and mine” mentality; the 10th nama-aparadha.

III. Thirdly, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada addresses the proud chanter, saying, madiya jihva dhinam eva namety adikam eva paramam pradhanam, “My tongue is the greatest chanter of the Holy Name. Chanting is under the control of my tongue, and I am chanting the Holy Name myself.”

Such pride contradicts Srila Rupa Goswamipada’s Bhakti rasamrta sindhu (1.2.234), which says that Sri Krishna’s Holy Name will never manifest through one’s material senses. But if one has a service attitude, then the Holy Name WILL APPEAR first in the tongue and other senses. The reality is that “I” am not chanting so many rounds of japa. But out of His mercy, Sri Nama Prabhu is appearing within me due to my humility, pridelessness and sincere service attitude.

To conclude this article, we will quote Srila Sanatana Goswamipada’s closing remarks on the 10th offense to the Holy Name: nama kirtanam ca kadacit sidhyati na va yasya tatha bhuto yah so piti. ata evadistam bhagavata: trnad api sunicena, taror api sahisnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniyah sada harih:

“Such a proud aham, mameti devotee rarely ever even does kirtana. For Sri Krishna has taught that one should be lower than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, not want honor and give all honor to others. This is how the Holy Name of Lord Hari should always be glorified.” Otherwise the Holy Name will not bestow its desired fruit. (HBV. tika trans. and concept from Sri Advaita dasji)

Sri Hari Nama Prabhu ki jai! Shuddha Hari Nama Japa & Kirtana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!