Tag Archive for: Prabhupada

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The diksha guru is like a father, and you can never reject a father even if he commits some transgression. One’s being a father is not dependent on his making or not making transgressions but on a simple biological act. Similarly, the Guru is guru, not because of any material deeds good or bad, but because he has established for the disciple a real connection to a particular spiritual ideal and practice. In other words, the guru literally gives life to the disciple. So to reject the guru means to reject the life that he has given. And many people do so rather hastily which results in their own spiritual detriment.

There is no way to find the guru inside our heart without first recognizing and appreciating the grace of the Guru standing in front of us. As a disciple, I expect the guru to be perfect because I have a psychological need for such perfection. And if the guru disappoints me, I become angry as described in the Bhagavad gita (2.62-63). Then I forget whatever grace he did gave me (smṛti-bhraṁśa) and I lose my intelligence (buddhi-nāśa).

The main error here is that we have not really seen the guru’s grace for what it is. Instead we mistook something else to be his grace: his wisdom, his charisma, his power to give boons, the ego-expansion that comes from having a famous guru, etc. If we recognize the grace, then we will pursue the perfection that it points to.

Everyone will agree that bhakti is the path of Grace and Gratitude. The Guru embodies Grace and is therefore the principal object of gratitude for a disciple. The Grace that came through the Guru WAS and IS real; it is part of the eternal stream of grace that continues in all time and place. If we find fault with the guru, the flow of grace stops.

Guru’s grace is tangible, and it manifests to the disciple in the form of many wonderful divine assets. In Mukta-carita, Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada mentions all the transcendental gifts that he as a disciple received from his Guru:

radha-kundamgiri-varamaho! radhika-madhavasam,

“I bow my head again and again to the holy preceptor, through whose most celebrated mercy I have received the best of all names, the initiation mantra, Sri Sachinandana Mahaprabhu, Svarupa, Rupa and his older brother Sanatana, the extensive dominions of Mathurapuri, a dwelling place in the pasturing grounds [of Krishna], Radha Kunda, the chief of all mountains, Sri Govardhana, and most pointedly of all, the hope of attaining the lotus feet of Sri Radha Madhava.”
As long as that grace in our life takes the form of serving and striving to realize Yugala Kishor Radha-Krishna, a disciple can never reject his spiritual master. Yet at the same time, one must always increase and revise his understanding of the siddhantas and the methods of attaining the goal of Radha-Govinda’s premaseva in the groves of Vrindavana. If a disciple fails to that, he is like a scientist who is told not to make any new discoveries because Newton had already said everything one needs to know.
We live in a progressive universe filled with vast amounts of information, and more keeps coming all the time. Deeply studying, contemplating, understanding, and acting upon the conclusive truths of bhakti and the Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta is a necessary part of being a disciple.
Grace does not come from an impersonal source, it comes a person, Sri Guru, who is representing the Supreme Personality of Godhead Bhagavan Sri Krishna. In essence, Guru IS the Grace, and Grace IS the Guru. We have to recognize exactly what the grace was that I received from Sri Guru. Fidelity to the guru means fidelity to the Grace, and to forever express gratitude for having received it.
All the divine assets described above by Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami pada, beginning with the Holy Name, and on to the hope of attaining the confidential service of Radha and Krishna, came to me from Srila Prabhupada. And every one of them is important for me, especially at this point in my life. To pursue the cherished spiritual ideals I received forty years ago, I have made some changes in my life. However, I will always remain indebted to and grateful to my “ever well-wisher”, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
Samashti Guru ki jai! Guru Krpa hi kevalam ki jai!
Jai Gurudeva! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Between 1950-1965, Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Bhakti-tirtha (Radha-Krishna nitya-lila pravista) would often meet with Srila Prabhupada in Bon Maharaja’s college in Vrndavana. The following memories of Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji come from a book titled, “Our Srila Prabhupada—A Friend to All”, penned by a Srila Prabhupada disciple named Mula-prakrti devi dasi.

May everyone relish the sweet and sometimes humorous exchanges between the liberated ones.

Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji:

“I was a Sanskrit student and scholar in the early 1960’s in Vrndavana. I was teaching in Bon Maharaja’s Sanskrit college across from ISKCON. At that time, Srila Swami Maharaja also was living in Vrindavana writing English translations and purports to the Srimad Bhagavatam.”

“At the college, some local Gaudiya and Vrajavasi scholars and writers would regularly meet to share their work and ask for suggestions regarding Sanskrit or philosophy. I attended those writers’ meetings and so did Srila Swami Maharaja. That’s how we began our acquaintance and friendship.”

“I remember how delightful Swamiji’s countenance was. He was very charming, full of realization, very humorous and affectionate. He was so kind upon me even though I was a much younger and junior in all ways. Yet Swamiji treated me just like a son or a very little brother. He always encouraged me, asked about my welfare, and shared Hari-katha from his writings.”

“He was a valuable friend during that time. Although his material circumstances were then so poor, he always seemed to me to be one of the richest devotees in spiritual blessings. He was a very learned and humble Vaisnava. He worked very diligently on his manuscripts, and often spoke about the order from his guru maharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.”

“I have one special remembrance of something that occurred during our regular meetings at Bon Maharaja’s college. Swamiji had every intention to somehow spread this Krishna knowledge in the West, despite all obstacles.”

“Prabhupada would often speak of this task of service, and was always looking for opportunities to somehow arrange to travel there. Most of us at that time were quite doubtful that he could succeed to go. He was practically penniless then, without sponsors or connections. Many of us were not so favorable for any Indian to go to the mleccha [western] countries, so we did not encourage him. Nevertheless, he was undaunted.”

“I recall how Swamiji came one day in great happiness and excitement. I think he had just completed his third volume of the Srimad Bhagavatam and he was carrying all three in his hands. He then explained to our group how he had finally printed the last texts and now the books were ready to go to the West.”

“In a very sweet way, he formally asked if we would all please bless his books that they would be able to go across the ocean and be successful in spreading Krishna consciousness in the western countries. Of course, we were willing to do that. So he carefully passed around the stack of three, brick-red, cloth bound books, and asked each of us to touch them and give our blessings, which we did.”

“Immediately after this he did something quite remarkable. Swamiji explained with deep seriousness how these Bhagavata books, now blessed, could not go across the ocean by themselves. Someone would have to take them to the west, popularize them, and distribute them properly to the public. So he then humbly requested, with folded palms, that our assembly would also bless him to accompany the books and preach on their behalf. In this way he took us all by surprise.”

“We all then felt moved to finally give our full blessings to his mission. I thought at that time how remarkable a Vaisnava he was, to request such blessings and to arrange for receiving them so wonderfully. I remember when I gave my blessings to him, I felt a spiritual surcharge in my heart.”

“Many years later, and now still it stands strongly in history how Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja [Srila Prabhupada] was successful in carrying our heritage and philosophy to the whole world. I feel honored to have been some very small part of that glorious success.”

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Pandit Sri Krishna Dasji Babaji Maharaja ki jai!

Sajjana sadhu sanga ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

In Karttika 1972, in his “eternal residence” at the Radha-Damodara Mandira, Srila Prabhupada had the most amazing conversation full of realizations and Vraja illuminations. Present there at that most auspicious time were his fortunate disciples Shyamasundara, Gurudasa, Hayagriva, and Prabhupada’s gurubhai Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor. We hope all our devoted friends will increase their understanding and love for Radha-Krishna, the Vrajavasis and Sridhama Vrindavana by reading the following entries which we have categorized by topic.


Srila Prabhupada: “The Vrajavasis prefer to die rather than give up their Krishna. Throughout India you’ll find that some of the lower castes—the shudras, or vaishyas, or harijans—will convert to Mohammedanism [Christianity], but in Vrindavana even the shudra will not give up Krishna, not even for all the gold in the world.”

“A devotee knows that this Vrindavana right here is Vrindavana. Even if the people living in Vrindavana do not appear very pious, they are most fortunate because they live in the land of Krishna. Jaya jaya vrindavana-vasi yata jana, all glories to all the inhabitants of Vrindavana! It is not said that only the devotees here are glorified. Everyone! Even the pigs. It is more fortunate to be born in Vrindavana than in a rich or aristocratic family, because in the next life, one will go back to Godhead.”


Srila Prabhupada: “No one born in Vrindavana is ordinary. It may not be very palatable to hear, but those who live in Vrindavana and commit sinful activities take birth as dogs, monkeys, and hogs here. In this way, by eating the dust of Vrindavana, they become purified, liberated.”

Disciple: “Gurudeva, how does one get these different bodies?”

Srila Prabhupada: “If a person in Vrindavana engages in too much sex indulgence, he will get the body of a dog, a monkey, a pigeon, or even the body of a tree. The pig body is there for one who overeats or eats prohibited food.”

Disciple: “Gurudeva, what about those guys down by the Yamuna that smoke ganja all day?”

In a very sweet, humorous way with a slight laugh, Srila Prabhupada replied: “They get hippy bodies with big beards and long hair. And they have to take birth in San Francisco U.S.A.”


Srila Prabhupada “The effect of living in Vrindavana cannot be overestimated. At every turn, you are reminded of Krishna here, and your spiritual strength increases due to that contact. For instance, from ’62 to ’65, I would sit in these rooms and chant Hare Krishna and see the samadhis of Jiva and Rupa Goswamis. Just by thinking of how they wrote, I got courage to write. I would type and cook a little. I lived very simply, content to be in Rupa Goswami’s presence. These samadhis are the best in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. They actually inspired me to go to the West.”


Disciple: “Prabhupada, it appears that the Dhama is deteriorated and unclean.”

Srila Prabhupada: “Vrindavana has not deteriorated! Just see. For a materialist, everything is topsy-turvy because his vision is perverted. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the seer. The ugliness that you see here is yoga-maya, Krishna’s covering. Vrindavana appears dirty and deteriorated to drive away the atheists and impersonalists. For a devotee, this Vrindavana is as good as Krishna’s transcendental abode in the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrindavana. But you must have the eyes to see. Vrindavana hides HERSELF from the materialist.

“Vrindavana is so potent that even the dogs and pigs here are going to be liberated. Life here is not polluted because even the most polluted are being purified. So it is not deteriorating. If even the dogs are going to be liberated, how has Vrindavana deteriorated?”


Disciple: Prabhupada, why did you just speak of Vrindavana as a person [ hides herself]?

Srila Prabhupada: “In spiritual consciousness, everything is personal. In Ramayana, we find that even the city of Ravana appeared before Hanuman as a gigantic person, a rakshashi, and Hanuman knocked her down because she challenged him.”


Srila Prabhupada: “Both the pigs and devotees here in Vrindavana are liberated, indiscriminately. Unless one is a devotee in a previous life, he cannot take birth here. He may take a pig’s or dog’s body for a few years, but that’s no impediment. He is simply getting rid of sinful reactions.

Disciple: “Are people in Vrindavana liberated even if they don’t have a bona fide spiritual master?”

Srila Prabhupada: “Yes, because Vrindavan is directly under Krishna’s supervision. Krishna is their spiritual master.”


Living eternally in Vrindavana engaged in the loving personal service of Srimati Radharani is the goal of all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In our hearts, in our minds and with our lives we all try to live moment by moment in Vrindavana. We meditate on Vrindavana, dream of Vrindavana, and try our best to tell everyone about the sweet glories of Vraja Dhama. Every Gaudiya is a messenger of Vrindavana, carrying the good news of Radha-Govinda’s pure loving service to one and all.

In closing his wonderful teachings at this time, Srila Prabhupada humbly said, “I’m simply Vrindavana’s messenger.” (all entries from Vrindaban Days cp. 5)

Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

Kartika Vratosava ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By:Mahanidhi Swami

In every possible way, our Srila Prabhupada was a strict disciple and follower of his beloved Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. On two different occasions Srila Prabhupada’s Guru observed a Karttika Vrata in Vraja Mandala. “In October 1934, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and many disciples stayed in Mathura strictly executing the Kartika Vrata. During this time, he spoke on the topics of Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya-lila in Vrindavana.” (Ray of Vishnu) In 1935, Sarasvati Prabhupada observed Karttika-vrata in Sri Radha-kunda.

Perfectly following the example of his Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada came to Vrindavana to observe the Karttika Vrata in 1972. In August of 1972, Prabhupada wrote a letter to the T.P. of Krishna-Balarama Mandira: “My plan is to come to Vrindavana for the Karttika Vrata, and I want to sit down there in the Sri Sri Radha-Damodara temple until sometime near the end of November. I will lecture daily in the courtyard on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, especially for the benefit of the devotees.”

Srila Prabhupada came to the Radha Damodara temple, the place of Sri Rupa Goswami and the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Damodara—the source of the nectar of devotion. The time was Karttika 1972 and the audience was filled with fledgling disciples eager for nourishment. So it was the natural choice, according to time, place and circumstance for Srila Prabhupada to deliver the “Nectar of Devotion”.

What follows are excerpts from my book Prabhupada at Radha-Damodara, wherein various devotees told me their memories of that astonishing time:

Ganga Mayi dasi: “Every morning the devotees who were staying at Keshi Ghat would assemble outside Prabhupada’s room in the Radha-Damodara courtyard. Thirty devotees would have these real far-out, rip-roaring kirtanas. The sannyasis Subala, Parivrajakacharya, Paramahamsa and Tushta Krishna used to jump up and down with their dandas whirling about. And they would leap into the air, pole vaulting with their dandas. Those kirtanas were pretty amazing, come to think about it. They were very ecstatic. I remember thinking to record one of those kirtanas. But it was so wild I couldn’t figure out where to put the tape recorder. They were leaping around the courtyard like anything in ecstasy.”

Gopala Ghosh: “Prabhupadaji would come out of his room with his stick, and his chaddar wrapped over his shoulder. Two devotees would accompany him, waving camara and peacock fans. First he would do pranams to Radha-Damodaraji, then Jiva Goswami, Rupa Goswami and then sit down to lecture. During his lectures, he often paused and asked Hari Charan Goswami, famous pandit who would attend, if he had any questions. Prabhupada invited him many times to come to New York or London and preach the glories of his Deity, Radha-Raman and the aims of Gopal Bhatta Goswami.”

Ganga Mayi: “Prabhupada spoke from a small asana facing north, between Rupa Goswami’s bhajana kutira and samadhi. It was a tight cluster of fifty disciples sitting in the courtyard, which was just dirt and clumps of grass. The public didn’t pay attention, they just walked around us. During the talks, the monkeys would be jumping about in the trees, dangling on loose wires, or occasionally bounding amongst the devotees.”

Next we have some very enlightening quotes from Prabhupada’s 1972 Karttika Nectar of Devotion lectures. Gurudeva’s classes focused on four main topics: Guru, devotees, Goloka and living in Vrindavana. By reading these entries one can appreciate the special flavor of Srila Prabhupada’s intimate preaching to his disciples within the sanctified setting of Seva Kunja, Vrindavana.


Srila Prabhupada: “A spiritual master does not think of himself as Hari, although he is offered the respect of Hari. He thinks of himself as the humble servant of Hari and all others. He takes his own disciples as his spiritual masters, and thinks himself to be their servant. They have to be trained, and Krishna has appointed me to train them.”


Srila Prabhupada: “We should always be ready to offer respects, not only to devotees but to everyone.”


Srila Prabhupada: “Once we go to the spiritual world, we stay with Krishna, dance with Him and play with Krishna. Or we serve Krishna as a tree, a plant, water, cow, land, as cowherd boys, as father or mother, or as gopis. When we go to Krishna, we live forever with Krishna in either of these capacities. Let me live at Vrindavana in any of these capacities, it doesn’t matter, but live there.”


Srila Prabhupada: We should be very much respectful toward Vrindavana Dhama. If we remain here in Vrindavana, we should know that we are living with Krishna. How much we should be cautious, how much we should be careful, if we actually understand what the dhama is. The Holy Dhama is also Krishna. If You actually live in Vrindavan carefully without committing any offense or sinful life, then in this life you are going to Krishna.”


Srila Prabhupada: “Cupid is one of the agents of this illusory material energy. There may be thousands of beautiful girls before a devotee, but that does not disturb his mind. He sees that they are all energies of Krishna. They are gopis of Krishna. They are enjoyable by Krishna. I have to serve them, they are gopis, because I am a servant of the servant: gopi bhartuh pada kamalayor das anudas anudasa.


Srila Prabhupada: “Just like in Vrindavana, they always speak of Radharani, because the Vrajavasis have taken shelter of Radharani to approach Krishna very easily. The facility of Vrindavana is that you take shelter of Radharani directly, and Radharani will help you to approach Krishna very soon. This is the idea of coming to Vrindavana.”


Srila Prabhupada: “This is the sign of a devotee, appreciation. The devotee always appreciates the qualities of the other devotees. A devotee who is actually freed from all contaminations does not find any fault with other devotees. He does not think that he’s a bigger devotee or greater devotee than others. He thinks himself as the lowest of all.”

The Dancing Lions

All narrations and dramatic performances should end on a sweet note, madhureëa samäpayet.

Thus we are concluding this Karttika article with a very funny true story that happened in Vrindavana during Karttika 1972.

A great Vrajavasi Gaudiya Vaisnava named Shri Gopala Chandra Ghosh, who has now gone serve his beloved Gopala, personally told me the following anecdote revealed in a conversation Srila Prabhupada had with Vishvambhara Goswami during Karttika in 1972.

Visvambhara Goswami: “Prabhupada, are you doing a circus in Vrindavana?”

Srila Prabhupada: “Circus? I am not doing a circus.”

Visvambhara Goswami: “Yes you are. You have caught many lions, and you have thrown them in the Vrindavana market. Many lions are now dancing there.”

Srila Prabhupada: “Lions dancing…. Goswamiji, you are an advocate, a big, big scholar and a leading person of Vrindavana. And you are my friend. So why are you saying this?”

Visvambhara Goswami: “Swamiji, with my own eyes I have seen five of your disciples riding on rickshaws, snatching from the shopkeepers and eating. The shopkeepers asked me, ‘Goswamiji, will you please save us! These Englishmen are snatching our yogurt, and snatching our pera, our sweets and our fruits. And as they do it they just say, ‘Hari Bol and Hare Krishna!’ This is very bad. Will you please go tell Prabhupada.’”

Srila Prabhupada: “Who has done this work?”

A short time later, five errant disciples came into Prabhupada’s quarters to plead their case.

Disciples: “Prabhupada, Lord Krishna stole yogurt and butter, so why can’t we? We are also following Him?”

Srila Prabhupada: “Lord Krishna played flute and performed rasa lila. So you do maha-rasa lila? And Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill, so you will lift Govardhana Hill? And Krishna danced on a serpent, can you do? Therefore, first of all you obey our Vaisnava order: trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna; be humble and always chant Hare Krishna. When you go out on the road and see the Vaisnavas, you say Hare Krishna and bow your head.

“And when you go to the market, you can simply beg the shopkeeper to give you a sample of his sweets and then you can purchase. And if you have no money, then ask a Vrajavasi and he will surely give you some yogurt, sweets or anything you want. But you have snatched, this is very shameful.”

Karttika Vratotsava ki jai!

Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

By Mahanidhi Swami

The Karttika Vrata means, “Don’t eat, don’t sleep; just chant Hare Krishna 24/7!”

In 1972, Srila Prabhupada once observed Karttika month in Sri Vrindavana beginning on Ashwina Shukla Ekadasi, and he advised his American disciples to do likewise. Before leaving America to go to India for Karttika, Srila Prabhupada said, “In Vrindavana, we shall have Urja vrata [means Karttika vrata] for one month. You also could observe Karttika vrata here [Los Angeles] from the next EKADASI for one month.” (721005DP.LA)

When Srila Prabhupada arrived in India, some disciples asked, “Srila Prabhupada, can you describe how to observe the Karttika vrata? Srila Prabhupada replied, “You should chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra twenty-four hours a day for one month. That’s all! Yes! And don’t sleep, don’t eat. This is Karttika vrata. Can you execute? (721018ND.VRN) Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

More Karttika posts coming soon. Karttika niyama-seva Vrata ki jai!

Srimati Radharani ki jai! Shyama-kunda Radha Kunda ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

We are chanting the greatest of all possible mantras: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!!!

And we are all chanting our diksha mantras with faith, love, determination, steadiness, knowledge and hope. The firm hope that these mantras will purify our minds, fill our hearts with joy, and engage us eternally in the loving service of Radha and Krishna in the spiritual world, Sridhama Vrindavana.

But how do mantras, which are APPARENTLY just sounds and vibrations like any other names or words, have supernatural, unlimited transcendental powers?

Authentic Vedic mantras have inconceivable powers to transform, to purify, to elevate, to elate, to enliven, to inspire, to reveal, to empower, and to please Bhagavan Sri Krishna, attract His affectionate mercy, His loving embrace and to award perfection in Sri Krishna’s eternal service.

Let’s read on and learn how mantras work in all their amazing and astonishing ways.

All Vedic mantras (those coming from the Srutis—Rg, Sama, Yajur, andAtharva Vedas), such as the Brahma-gayatri, are eternal sound vibrations of spiritual import. The Vedas are apauruseya, not composed by any man at a certain point in history. The mantras of the Vedas are eternal representations of God in the form of sound, sabda brahma. By repetition of a particular mantra under authorized guidance a purified person can realize the spiritual purpose of the mantra.

The Narada-pancaratra, Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya, Hari-bhakti-vilasa, and many other scriptures explain that the potency of a mantra manifests only when it is received from a bona fide spiritual master and recited without impurities. Although one may see mantras written in books by the previous acaryas, by Srila Prabhupada, or in this one, and then try to chant them, these mantras will produce results only when received through the process of diksa. Mantras are like seeds in that they contain vast potencies within them, but they need outside factors to manifest their power.

The tiny seed of a banyan tree contains the form of a huge, full-grown tree. Placing the seed directly into the ground, however, will not produce a tree. But if a sparrow eats the seed and passes it on the ground with its stool, then a majestic banyan will grow forth. The banyan seed must be processed in this way to give results. Similarly, if one begins chanting a mantra after randomly hearing or reading it in a book, it will not produce Krishna-prema. But if one properly receives the mantra by hearing from apremika-bhakta, then that mantra, which is coated with the guru’s prema, will produce prema in the heart of the sincere disciple.

“A mantra is purified when chanted with proper knowledge.” (SB 11.24.32) In the purport to this verse Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says, “A mantra becomes purified when it issues from the mouth of a Sad-guru. The bona fide spiritual master instructs the disciple in the method, meaning and ultimate purpose of the mantra.”

“It is confidential in this sense: one may receive a published mantra anywhere, but unless it is accepted through the chain of disciplic succession, the mantra does not act. It is said by authoritative sources that any mantra chanted without having been received from the disciplic succession has no efficacy.” (SB 4.8.53 p.) “Mantras and the process of devotional service have special power, provided they are received from the authorized person.” (SB 8.16.24 p.)

Even the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, though not waiting for nor requiring initiation, has more effect when received from an advanced devotee. Acaryas claim that chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra without receiving or hearing it from an advanced Krishna conscious Vaisnava will bring one the fruits of bhukti or mukti but not the precious sweet ambrosia of prema-bhakti.

The hearts of pure devotees are compared to gem-filled mountains of Radha-Madhava prema; rivers of madhurya-rasa rush down from these mountains to drown anyone who accepts the mercy. The holy name chanted by a pure devotee is saturated with Krishna-prema. When this prema-nama is poured into the ear of the eager disciple, it nourishes the tiny creeper of devotion and eventually produces the nectarean fruit of prema-bhakti.

Srila Prabhupada said, “When the Hare Krishna mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved.” (SSR)

The pure sound vibration from a realized guru works like a forest fire to burn up all the sins and impurities within the mind and heart of the disciple. When Krishna and Arjuna were traveling on a chariot through the covering of the universe, the Lord used His Sudarsana cakra to penetrate the dense and fearful layers. In the same way, Krishna’s holy name acts like a cakra to burn away all the dark coverings of a sadhaka’s heart and clear the path to prema. The effect of hearing a mantra from an advanced, empowered devotee also depends on the intensity of the sadhaka’s hankering for perfection in pure love of Radha and Krishna.

In great humility and lamentation, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu expressed the mood of the unfortunate conditioned soul.

“O Govinda, You have invested Your full potencies in each individual holy name, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment for chanting Your holy names.” (Cc. Antya 20.19) Attachment will come if one is fortunate enough to hear the holy name from a truly empowered Vaisnava. However, attachment for chanting and serving Krishna will not manifest within the sadhaka who hears the holy name from a Vaisnava devoid of Krishna-sakti.

kali kalera dharma—Krishna-nama-sankirtana, Krishna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana

“Unless one is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one cannot spread the holy names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra throughout the world.” (Cc. Antya 7.11)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura called this type of chanting without connection and backing from a realized guru “alphabet nama,” wherein only the letters of the holy name are received, and not the fully manifest beautiful forms of Radha and Krishna dancing together in the yugala-mantra for prema-dharma.

A bona fide spiritual master must have the strength of devotional purity to empower the holy name that he bestows upon his disciple. If for some reason the guru is not empowered, then a sadhaka can still receive full strength for bhajana by hearing from a realized and empowered siksa-guru. In the Gaudiya tradition the uttama-adhikari devotees come down to the madhyama platform to preach either as diksa or siksa gurus.

During His South Indian preaching tour Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed thousands of people, who had already received diksa mantras elsewhere, to chant Hare Krishna. By Mahaprabhu’s siksa they received the power to chant, realize the full potential of Krishna’s holy names, and spread the mercy to others.

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja confirms the need to hear the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and other diksa mantras directly from a guru: “One has to learn about the beauty and transcendental position of the holy name of the Lord by hearing the revealed scriptures from the mouths of devotees. Nowhere else can we hear of the sweetness of the Lord’s holy name.” (Cc. Antya 1.101)

“It is said in the Padma Purana: atah sri Krishna namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. Chanting and hearing of the transcendental holy name of the Lord cannot be performed by the ordinary senses. The transcendental vibration of the Lord’s holy name is completely spiritual. Thus it must be received from spiritual sources and must be chanted after having been heard from a spiritual master. One who hears the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra must receive it from the spiritual master by aural

reception.” (Cc. Antya 1.101 p.)

In this regard, Srila Prabhupada said, “Lord Siva voluntarily came to bless the sons of King Pracinabarhi as well as do something beneficial for them. He personally chanted the mantra so that the mantra would be more powerful, and he advised that the mantra be chanted by the King’s sons.

“When a mantra is chanted by a great devotee, the mantra becomes more powerful. Although the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is powerful in itself, a disciple upon initiation receives the mantra from his spiritual master, for when the mantra is chanted by the spiritual master, it becomes more powerful. Lord Siva advised the sons of the King to hear him attentively, for inattentive hearing is offensive.” (SB 4.24.32 p.)

Further Srila Prabhupada said, “There are different types of mantras for different types of devotees (e.g.Rama-mantra, Nrsimha-mantra, Gopala-mantra and so on). Each and every mantra has its own spiritual significance. The spiritual master has to select a mantra for his disciple, according to the disciple’s ability to chant different mantras.” (Cc. Madhya 24.331 p.)

At the time of initiation, the Guru gives a Vedic or pancaratrika mantra to the disciple according to the tradition of the parampara. While doing puja a duly initiated disciple who is free from ignorance will realize the relationship between the spiritual meaning of the mantras he chants during japa and Deity worship, and the identity of his individual spiritual master and his personal ishta-devata.

Although there are specific mula and Gayatri mantras for meditation upon the spiritual master, the sastras advise that one should see the spiritual master in all the mantras received from him.

The Vedas say: yo mantrah sa guruh sakshat, yo guruh sa harih svayam, guru-yasya bhavet tustas-tasya tusto harih svayam, “The mantra which is given by the guru is itself the guru, and the guru is directly the Supreme Lord Hari. If one pleases the spiritual master, then he also pleases Sri Hari Himself.”

Acaryas explain that through the medium of a mantra the spiritual master conveys his internal mood of service to Radha and Krishna to his disciple. The disciple will not perceive this immediately, but he will gradually understand everything by guru bhakti, seva and meditation upon the given mantra. The mantra, therefore, is the direct representation of the spiritual master.

The story of Gopa-kumara in Brhad-bhagavatamrta illustrates the power of steadily chanting one’s diksha mantra. Due to good karma, Gopa-kumara took birth in a cowherd family in Vrndavana. While taking the cows out one day he noticed a saintly person singing and crying profusely. Gopa-kumara became attracted and started serving him by bringing milk. One day the saint gave him the Gopala-mantra.

After chanting just half the mantra Gopa-kumara started crying, and upon completing it he fell unconscious. The saint, however, disappeared without even teaching how to chant the mantra properly. Nonetheless, Gopa-kumara started chanting it faithfully, and soon all his material desires vanished.

By continually chanting the Gopala-mantra he traveled throughout the universe and into the spiritual sky. After visiting Brahmaloka, Sivaloka, Vaikuntha, Ayodhya, Dvaraka, and Mathura, Gopa-kumara finally met Krishna in Vrndavana, attained Krishna’s loving embrace and fainted on the ground in transcendental bliss. Gopa-kumara attained this extraordinary fortune by chanting the Gopala-mantra.

The results of chanting a mantra depend on the conception in the mind while chanting it. Ordinarily, the Brahma-gayatri gives mukti, but understanding that Savita is Lord Visnu takes the chanter to Vaikuntha. If one chants the Kama-gayatri understanding that it is non-different from Krishna in His ultimate rasika form, then one will attain that.

It is the same as chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, which contains everything. If one chants Hare Krishna with material desires, he will attain those; and if one wants mukti, one will get it. If one chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra understanding that Radha and Krishna are personally present there enjoying intimate pastimes in Vrndavana, then one will attain Their eternal loving service.

Ultimately the content of the mantra cannot be separated from the sadhaka’s mentality. Both have a part to play. “One must know the meaning of the mantra which he is reciting; without knowing the meaning of a mantra, one cannot reach the goal.” (Yajnavalkya-smrti)

Success in chanting mantras depends on steadiness, sincerity, absorption and concentration, meditation on its meaning, a prayerful, humble attitude, and a grateful heart expecting wonderful miracles from the mantras. Simply do these things, and by the grace of Sri Guru, Gauranga and Govindaji the mantras will fulfill all your spiritual desires.

(Excerpt from book Gayatri Mahima Madhuri by Mahanidhi Swami)

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

The Brahma-gayatri, om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam… is certainly a most powerful and purifying mantra available to the fortunate few. However, the pancharatrika diksha mantras and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra are supremely powerful, and they are available to everyone irrespective of one’s caste, creed, country, color or gender. Now let’s examine the power of the famous Gopala or Krishna mantra and the universally all inclusive Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said (Cc.Adi 7.73): “Simply by chanting the Gopala or Krishna mantra one will be delivered from material existence. But by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra one will get the lotus feet of the Lord,” Krishna mantra haite habe samsara mocana, Krishna nama haite pabe Krishnera carana.

The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is perfect, independent, and completely pure. It requires no samskaras or initiation process to be effective. Anyone can chant this mantra whether he is qualified or not. There is unlimited power in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Even without a guru, initiation, sadhu sanga or anything else one could still attain Krishna-prema by chanting Hare Krishna.

By staunch faith in God, sadhu-sanga, and purity of heart acquired in a previous life, a person can attain Krishna-prema just by sitting down and chanting Hare Krishna. However, such an individual may be one out of a million. Generally, due to ignorance, aparadhas, anarthas, mental impurity, and severe lack of faith one needs training, encouragement, and association with .an advanced devotee to attain perfection in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

The initiation process involved in taking the Hare Krishna maha-mantra means that one accepts the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. Receiving the guru’s mercy, the disciple is guided safely and quickly on the path of spiritual perfection. Gaurkisora dasa Babaji said one can realize his svarupa just by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Srila Prabhupada encourages us all by saying, “The conditioned souls are engaged in a struggle for existence. Simply by chanting the Gayatri mantra, one can be delivered. Usually only brahmanas and demigods are allowed to chant this mantra. In Kali-yuga, everyone is in a very difficult position. Only a powerful mantra can deliver one from the dangers of this age. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as Lord Caitanya, gives us the Hare Krishna mantra.” (SB 8.6.15 p.)

“The whole thing is that Sridhara Svami is giving stress very strongly that you can simply chant Hare Krishna mantra without undergoing any ritualistic ceremonies. Madhavendra Puri has composed a nice verse wherein he says, ‘My dear Gayatri mantra, I offer you my respects, but no more I can chant the Gayatri mantra.’ Taking bath early in the morning is a good recommendation for spiritual advancement. But Madhavendra Puri also said, ‘Now I am unable to execute this order. Please excuse me.’ In this way he has described in many ways. At last he concludes that, ‘I shall sit down somewhere underneath a tree, and simply remember Govinda’s name. That is sufficient. Yes.’ He says, ‘Please excuse me, please excuse me. Please excuse me.'” (SPT 18/2/71)

(Excerpt from Gayatri Mahima Madhuri by Mahanidhi Swami)

Sri Harinama Prabhu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

The word namaḥ is uttered by all disciples whenever they offer respects unto the lotus feet of their respective spiritual masters: om ajnana timirandhasya, jnan anjana shalakaya, chakshur unmilitam yena, tasmai sri guruve NAMAH.

But exactly what does the word namah mean?

In general, namah means, “I am offering obeisance unto the lotus feet of my beloved Gurudeva.” On a deeper level, namah means to submit one’s self with the meditation, “I am giving up my worldly vanity and false ego. I renounce the false sense of being the supreme controller and enjoyer.”

The word namah means NA or saying no to MAH which means false ego. In other words, NAMAH means to annihilate the false identity, and fully surrender to the servitorship and control of God standing before you as Sri Guru.

Renouncing one’s pride or vanity is actually the primary and most important object to be offered in one’s worship of Sri Guru. Therefore, the act of offering obeisances to the spiritual master means to give up the pride of thinking one’s self the doer, possessor and enjoyer of anything in this world.

The real Vyasa-puja begins here. The moment the disciple realizes this and acts solely for the pleasure of Sri Guru, he starts engaging in the true worship and eternal service of his spiritual master.

To conclude, I invite every disciple to join me in the following prayer: “I pray that someday I can fall at Sri Guru’s lotus feet, and with the full backing of my dedicated heart, utter this phrase, ‘Dearest Gurudeva, please accept my most respectful and genuinely humble obeisances.’’’

(Excerpt from Tribute of Love by mahanidhi swami)

Srila Vyasadeva ki jai! Sri Gurudeva ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura describes how Caitanya Mahaprabhu instituted the first Vyasa-puga ceremony in 1509 a.d. through Sri Nityānanda Prabhu in Srivāsa Angana, Mayapura, West Bengal:

“Srivasa Pandita, the head priest for the function, gave Lord Nityananda a flower garland to offer to a painting of Vyasadeva. Holding the garland in His beautiful lotus hand, Nityananda Prabhu hesitated and began glancing here and there as if He was looking for someone. Then to everyone’s surprise, Nityananda offered the garland to Sri Caitanyadeva instead. At that moment, Lord Caitanya immediately manifested His six-armed form, sad-bhuja.” (Caitanya Bhagavata (Madhya khanda chp. 5)

Thus, Sri Nityananda Prabhu completed the Vyasa-puja ceremony by offering a garland to that personality from whom everything emanates and whose empowered incarnation is Sri Vyasadeva. By this Nityananda Prabhu established the real meaning of Vyasa-puja by worshiping the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Gauranga is the guru of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Therefore, the worship of Vyasadeva is actually the worship of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Lord Gauranga in the form of the present acarya.

In the scriptures, Sri Krishna tells Uddhava that the acarya is the manifestation of Himself: “One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.” (SB 11.17.27)

If Sri Guru is not regarded as identical with the Supreme Lord, the worship of the acarya is not properly performed, and the said worshiper will not realize the true purport of the following edict from the Shruti: “For one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of the Lord, as well as in the spiritual master, the real import of Vedic knowledge can be revealed.” (Shvetashvatara Up. 6.23)

(Excerpt from Tribute of Love by mahanidhi swami)

Jagat Guru Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By Mahanidhi Swami

To serve and not to be served is the constitutional position of the jiva, the living entity. Forgetting his real eternal nature, the conditioned soul becomes the false master of the material world. He plays the role of God and tries to enjoy his senses in every way imaginable and unimaginable. Though he tries very hard to be the supreme enjoyer, in reality the conditioned soul becomes a completely bound slave of Maya. Ironically, the more one strives for lordship, freedom and pleasure, the more he increases his bondage of servitude and misery.

For a fortunate soul, the spiritual master, Sri Guru, appears in his life to remove the darkness of misconception and establish him in the light of eternal truth. Sri Guru proclaims, “O lost soul! Verily, my dear friend, you are actually the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord Krishna (jivera, svarupa haya nitya krishna dasa).” Ahh…… A new life begins. Joy awakens and the highest divine prospect descends to lighten the burden of a million previous births.

But who is the spiritual master? What is his relationship with Sri Krishna and Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of all Vedic thought? And lastly why and how is Sri Guru worshiped in a ceremony commonly known as Vyasa-puja?

Since the Vedas contain all the knowledge and mantras one needs to achieve both material happiness and spiritual perfection, why can’t one just study the Vedas by himself, without a spiritual master, and attain all material and spiritual perfection? Besides, it is said that the Supreme Lord is within everyone, so why does one need a spiritual guide to realize God?

The sacred books alone are not the revelation. The acaryas, spiritual teachers, are a necessary part of revelation. The Vedic texts preserve the spoken words of the Supreme Lord and various liberated saints known as rishis. But alone, the books cannot speak personally to us.

God is transcendental sound and He must be heard. Therefore, the Vedic literature is called Shruti, which means that which is heard or communicated orally from the beginning; sacred knowledge orally transmitted by the spiritual teachers from generation to generation. The word Shruti also means the ear organ or the power of hearing.

The transcendental sound spoken by a God realized soul, the spiritual master, to the surrendered disciple disposed to rendering unconditional service to Sri Guru, is not the same as the transcendental sound written in or read in the sacred scriptures, the Vedas. The personal factor, Sri Guru, provides the essential link connecting the covered consciousness of the disciple and the Absolute Truth. The Supreme Lord engages select persons to act as His delegated, empowered representatives, the spiritual masters, who act in this world to dispel the ignorance eclipsing the original, pure and brilliant consciousness of the conditioned souls.

By His own will the Absolute Truth appears on the lips of a surrendered devotee. But the Absolute Truth, which is fully experienced as Sri Krishna the transcendental autocrat, forever reserves the right of not revealing Himself to the mundane senses of the conditioned soul attached to material sense enjoyment. Personal submission to the living pure devotee is the key to spiritual perfection. The spiritual preceptor is the empowered representative of Srila Vyasadeva, who is none other than Lord Narayana Himself.

Mundane scientists research the phenomenal world to make discoveries to improve the quality of human life. Similarly, one may argue that, “Since God is within everyone, why can’t a spiritual seeker independently research within himself, and thereby gain transcendental knowledge and realization of God? Why does one need a spiritual master?” Such statements reveal one’s ignorance about the essential nature of the Absolute Truth and transcendental knowledge of Him.

In summary, the Absolute Truth is the fully conscious, supreme Absolute Person. In other words, God is the supremely conscious individual. Connection with the Absolute Truth depends solely on His sweet will, which God expresses by sending his agent, the spiritual master, when I am qualified with transcendental faith and surrender.

(Excerpt from Tribute of Love by mahanidhi swami)

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!