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Mahanidhi Swami

In 1973, Srila Prabhupada and his learned disciple Sri Hrsikesananda dasji worked together to produce an English edition of Sri Rupa Gosvami’s Upadeshamrita (Nectar of Instruction). Before meeting Srila Prabhupada in Mayapur, Hrsikesananda dasji had spent some time living in a Gaudiya Math temple.

At that time, Srila Prabhupada and Sri Hrsikesananda dasji had a most IMPORTANT AND TODAY MOST RELEVANT DISCUSSION. Srila Prabhupada revealed some extremely important truths for everyone to understand. All our readers are humbly asked to read, reread and deeply think about this most important and monumental conversation between Srila Prabhupada and his dear disciple.

In summary, Srila Prabhupada said, “The Guru gives the siddha deha to his disciple; raganuga-bhakti and manasi seva are completely bonafide and correct; and the relationship between Sri Guru and his/her disciple is eternal!”

Now here is the entire conversation downloaded from I-net.

A MONUMENTAL CONVERSATION

SRILA PRABHUPADA: So what you have learned in Vrindavana?

HD: About Nitya-lila, Siddha-pranali, and asta-kaliya-lila-smaran. Right, Gurudeva?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: YES, but who is siddha?

HD: One out of millions of seekers, but isn’t nitya lila our goal?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Yes, we are the followers of Rupa-Raghunatha. This is the highest understanding, to be dasanudas in Radha-Krishna’s lila.

HD: But what about siddha-pranali? How to qualify? Who will give?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: GURU WILL GIVE. You just chant Hare Krishna.

HD: How to receive this eternal information about siddha pranali, Gurudeva?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: GURU WILL GIVE. There is no material consideration about Guru is here or there. When you reach that level, Guru will give.

HD: Gurudeva, what about manasi-seva, like the Brahmin who burnt his finger in meditation [while mentally offering kheer to his Thakuraji]? Isn’t that bhajan?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Krishna makes no distinction. But if you serve Krishna by mind [manasi seva], Krishna will accept. THAT IS SURE!

HD: Gurudeva, whenever I mention anything about raganuga bhakti, many of my God brothers get angry and say it is all a bunch of Gaudiya Math nonsense, and you never taught that!

SRILA PRABHUPADA: Everything is coming, they will also know it.

HD: Gurudeva, what about raganuga bhakti? What is the eternal relationship between us (disciples) and you?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: [Quoting the last pada of the famous prayer to Sri Guru, nikunja-yuno rati-keli-siddhyai, ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya]

Srila Prabhupada said, “tatrati-dakshyad ati-vallabhasya, vande guroh sri-caranaravindam, The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis. So the Guru is serving under his master and you all [my disciples] can do likewise. In Nitya-lila every disciple thinks like that, ‘my master is the most dear to Radha-Krishna.’”

HD: So that means that my relationship with you is eternal, that it will continue in Nitya-lila in the sweetness of Gokula Vrindavana?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: YES!

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Siddha Pranali ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Birth and Childhood

His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in a family of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas in 1896 in Calcutta. From early childhood, Srila Prabhupada showed clear 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, Srila Prabhupada engaged the entire neighborhood 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 engrossed in Their beautiful darsana and absorbing Their divine blessings.

Youth

As King Pariksit and many siddha purushas have done, from his earliest years, Srila Prabhupada 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 bhajans to please Radha-Govindaji.

Meeting Sri Guru and Diksha

At twenty-six years of age, Srila Prabhupada 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.”

Preaching and Outreach Programs

In full faith, Srila Prabhupada embraced this command as his life and soul. After realizing his guru’s teachings, he started writing and distributing Back to Godhead [Bhagavata-darshana, Hindi ed.], 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.

New Delhi Book Distribution

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 magazines Srila Prabhupada collapsed on the street from heat stroke. Yet he remained fixed in his determination to please his spiritual master.

Sannyasa and Vraja Bhajana

In 1959, Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa after retiring from household life. Taking shelter of Vrndavana, he rented a bhajana kutir in the Radha-Damodara temple where he absorbed the association of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Gosvamis. Srila Prabhupada spent six years there performing austerities and 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 sometimes receive blessings, inspiration, and direct guidance from the all-merciful Sri Rupa Gosvami.

Senior disciples say Srila Rupa Goswamipada once blessed Srila Prabhupada with sakshat darshana and a blessing: “Swamiji, just go preach in the west, and tell the people about the teachings of the six Goswamis. And I guarantee, you will be successful!”

Srimad Bhagavatam: Srila Prabhupada’s Love Offering

While living in the Radha Damodara Mandira, Srila Prabhupada began his life’s main literary work, an English translation with his personal 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 in the wee hours of night, begged money to print, and personally hauled the paper around Chandi Chowk, Delhi to publish the first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam. Me personally and everyone on this planet has been immensely and immeasurably benefitted by Srila Prabhupada’s devotional presentation of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the divinely sweet, mercy-filled Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. For this, we are eternally indebted!

Humility and Guru Krpa

Recollecting these times, Srila Prabhupada 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.”

Worldwide Preaching

Other disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried in various ways to preach Krishna consciousness in English-speaking Europe. One Bengali brahmana named Shri Premananda Bharati, a Gaudiya sannyasi, preached Krishna bhakti in America with some surprising success from 1902-1912. History shows, however, that it was Srila Prabhupada’s preaching mission alone that became a worldwide sensation and a fabulous success in just ten too short years. Of course, this happened by the divine sanction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Fearless as Abhimanyu, Srila Prabhupada went to the world’s most powerful country, America, and introduced Krishna consciousness there in 1965. Besides speaking English and being a “super power,” America was leading the world in sinful activities and influencing other nations to follow their lead.

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,” said Srila Prabhupada.

Perilous Sea Journey & Dancing for Krishna

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

Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself was pulling the ship forward to America, encouraging Srila Prabhupada and promising him all protection. Upon safely reaching New York City by the mercy of Krishna, Srila Prabhupada penned this prayer

“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 You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.”

New York City Struggle

In Manhattan, Srila Prabhupada struggled through the icy cold snowbound winter of 1965. 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, Srila Prabhupada moved into a small rented storefront apartment at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side where all the seekers of transcendence were gathered.

On July 13, 1966, he founded ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and initiated a dozen disciples. To receive initiation disciples must daily chant 16 malas of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, read Srimad Bhagavatam, and give up illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling.

Preaching Success

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, Germany and London. In the 1970’s, Srila Prabhupada traveled around the world fourteen times, establishing 108 Radha-Krishna temples in all the major cities of the Americas, Europe, Africa, India, Asia and Australia. He initiated five thousand disciples of different nationalities.

When news reporters queried Srila Prabhupada about his fantastic success, Srila Prabhupada replied, “Whatever has been accomplished has been done only because I had complete faith in the Holy Name of Krishna and the order of my spiritual master!” Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

He opened ashrams and pure vegetarian prasadam “Govinda’s” restaurants. On every continent he started Vedic gurukulas and goshallas to serve and protect Gomata. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual master in the western countries to introduce both full-fledged and elegant Deity worship of Radha and Krishna and the annual Ratha-yatra festival of Lord Jagannatha.

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

Books, the Greatest Charity

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 i.e. The Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion and the Science of Self-Realization. Srila Prabhupada also published his English translations with commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Isopanisad, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Upadesamrta, Narada Bhakti-sutras, Mukunda mala-stotra, and Caitanya Caritamrta.

Srila Prabhupada’s books have been translated into fifty languages i.e. as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Marati, Gujarati and Bengali. Millions of copies in various world languages have been distributed worldwide.

The Crowning Glory

In only eleven years, (1966-1977) between the ages of seventy and eighty-one, Srila Prabhupada accomplished his mission. He credited his phenomenal success to his personal effort, and his unshakeable faith in his spiritual master and the Holy Names of Lord Sri Krishna. He was not an ordinary person. Srila Prabhupada was personally chosen and empowered by Sri Krishna to spread prema bhakti through the chanting Hare Krishna all over the world.

Entering Goloka Dhama

In Vrindavana, during the auspicious Radharani month of Karttika November 14 1977, Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna and entered the eternal pastimes of Radha-Syamasundara while his loving disciples cried their hearts out in kirtana.

ISKCON and Future

Because of cooperation and strict following of Srila Prabhupada’s pure example and perfect instructions, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which he founded 50 years ago, continues expanding the world over. As one of the most dynamic religious and cultural movements, ISKCON has hundreds of temples on five continents.

May we always remember Srila Prabhupada, and continually chant with full heart and pure mind the song he brought to save the world:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sri Srimad 108 Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Since ISKCON 2014 resolution against it, is anything really wrong it one chants Radha nama in kirtana?

By gurus grace (bvnm) radhas name has been enshrined in your heart. All Gaudiyas since 500 yrs mostly chant the hkmm in kirtan. Everywhere Mahaprabhu chanted Krishna nama and instructed others to do the same with slokas like krsna nama nirantara lao and the famous kirtaniya sada hari. Sometimes during Vraja yatras or vraja-lila kathas radha nama kirtans and bhajans are often sung by various Gaudiya lineages. Laws cannot touch the heartland of the soul; they are meant just to regulate a system. For Vrajavasis radha nama is inseparable from their existence. So if one is blessed by radhika with vraja vasa, then no law can restrict the chanting of radhe radhe kirtana. For those less fortunate ones, then law is the binding force.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

Determination, sincerity and devotion in mantra chanting will definitely bring perfection. Iskcon’s Deity worship manual also encourages correct posture along with manasika or silent japa chanting:

“Japa refers to the silent chanting of the Deity mula mantras, and the Gayatri mantras given by the spiritual master. Try to realize that the mantra is nondifferent from the Deity being worshiped. Sit properly on an asana, perform acamana, and cover the right hand with the upper cloth while chanting. The counting of mantras chanted with the fingers should not be exposed to view.” (Pancha Pradipa)

One will never attain the goal of life by worldly intelligence. By increasing the quality of the chanting, bhakti will enter the heart and carry one to the lotus feet of Giridhari. The only purpose of chanting these mantras is to develop pure love for Krishna. Chanting Gayatri is a powerful form of meditation that yields great results when done with sincerity and seriousness.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains how even premamayi Srimati Radharani performs intense meditation upon Her beloved after offering prayers to Her Ishta-Devata:

“’If it is not false when people say, “Gandharvika and Giridhari are eternally one soul,” then please O Giridhari! In order to make this half of our soul happy, kindly appear now right here before My eyes!’

“Praying thus, Srimati Radhika then closed Her eyes, and began to meditate upon the beloved of Her soul, Sri Giridhari. Shutting off all the activities of Her senses just like a yogini, Radhika sat motionless while totally fixed in an unbreakable condition of silence.” (Prema Samputa)

All Vaisnavas who take initiation (mantra-diksa) are duty bound to chant their diksa mantras purely without offense daily for their entire lives. Such daily performance of religious rites is called ahnika. The mantras given by the guru may vary, but they usually include the Guru-mantra/gayatri, Gaura & Pancha Tattva m/g, Gopala-mantra, Kama-gayatri, Radha m/g, Panca-tattva mantra, and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Conceiving these mantras to be the form of Bhagavan, one should chant them with great faith, love and affection. These mantras are not ordinary; they are completely transcendental and full of unlimited spiritual power.

Before chanting one should bathe, apply tilaka, dress in clean cloth, tie the sikha, and sit on a pure asana. Diksa mantras should be chanted in a quiet, sanctified and peaceful place, ideally in view of the temple Deities or one’s personal Thakuraji.

One can only imagine how quiet and peaceful Vrndavana must have been five hundred years ago during the time of Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami. Still the Gosvamis chose the most secluded places to concentrate on their chanting and lila smarana. In Gokula, Srila Sanatana Gosvami did bhajana in a cave fifteen feet underground. Raghava Gosvami stayed in a cave at Govardhana. And in Unchagoan, Narayana Bhatta Gosvami had a bhajana kutira twenty feet underground. These acaryas show the importance of a “distraction free enviroment” for proper concentration in bhajana.

In the absence of caves for chanting, some devotees today wear earplugs or sound headphones to block out distracting noises while chanting. Using such devices to create a quiet, distraction free environment will definitely improve the quality of one’s chanting. If one tries this technique he will realize the inner meaning of the phrase “silence is golden.” Personally, we often use such headphones while chanting and find them very helpful.

One should try to always chant near Thakuraji or Tulasi Maharani. Alternative places prescribed in sastras include simply facing east, or sitting beside or standing waist deep in a sacred river such as the Yamuna or Ganga. Also sitting beside the ocean or on a mountaintop are auspicious places to chant mantras.

Mantra benefits vary depending on the chanting location: “Chanting diksa mantras on one’s personal purified asana yield one time the benefit; chanting outside yields 1,000 times the benefit; chanting in a river yields 100,000 times the benefit; chanting in front of Thakuraji or the Deities gives unlimited benefit.” (Linga Purana)

“Gayatri japa done in a tulasi garden, in a goshalla, on a temple grounds, or in the presence of the guru very easily controls the mind, brings perfection and spiritual joy.” (Tantrasara)

One should not chant Gayatri in a moving vehicle, on a bed, or with one’s back to a temple, fire, peepul tree (ashvatta vrksha), or a body of water. After selecting the proper time and place, one should sanctify the mind and consciousness. This is done by performing acamana, bhuta-suddhi, and by begging for the mercy of Sri Guru and other personal guardians of devotion.

Bhuta-suddhi will be described in the next article.

(Excerpt from Gayatri Mahima Madhuri by Mahanidhi Swami)

Asana and Mantra Phala ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!