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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In his comments on Sri Rupa Goswamipada’s “Upadesamrta”, Srila Prabhupada reveals the unique identity of Sri Radha-kunda and the glories of visiting, living, and bathing there. To more deeply understand Srila Prabhupada’s wonderful illumination, we introduce each quotation with a question.

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, of the many holy places in Vraja Mandala like Mathura, Vrindavana, Varsana, Nandagrama and Govardhana—which is the topmost place?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Radha-kunda is superior to all!”

  1. Devotee: What makes Radha-kunda so special and superior, Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because it is there [at Radha-kunda] that love of Krishna overflows!”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada! If one wants to live somewhere in Vraja Mandala in Vrindavana, where should one stay?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Radha-kunda.”

  1. Devotee: Why is that Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because this place [Radha-kunda] is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Krishna and Radharani [rati-vilasa].”

  1. Devotee: Can you say more about why Radha-kunda is so glorious, Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Why is Radha-kunda so exalted? The lake is so exalted because it belongs to Srimati Radharani, and among all the gopis, Radharani is the most beloved of Krishna!”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, what does Bhagavan Sri Krishna think of Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Radha-kunda is also described by great sages as the lake that is as dear to Krishna as Radha Herself. Indeed, Krishna’s love for Radha-kunda and Srimati Radharani is the same in all respects!”

  1. Devotee: Wow, that’s amazing Srila Prabhupada! I never knew that Radha-kunda was so special and dear to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada is there any limit to the glories of this most wonderful and sacred Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “There is no limit to the glory of Sri Radha-kunda.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, why does Sri Rupa Gosvami glorify Radha-kunda so much?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami has given much stress to Radha-kunda because of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire to find it.”

  1. Devotee: So, Srila Prabhupada, since we are Gaudiya Vaisnavas and worshipers of Mahaprabhu, does this mean that we should live at Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Of course] Who, then, would give up Radha-kunda and try to reside elsewhere? No person with transcendental intelligence would do so.”

  1. Devotee: “So what you’re saying Srila Prabhupada is that an intelligent, mature devotee should live at Radha-kunda and worship Radha-Krishna in order to attain spiritual perfection?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Living entities who are eager to return home to the transcendental kingdom of God, Goloka Vrndavana, by means of attaining their spiritual bodies (SIDDHA DEHAS) SHOULD LIVE AT RADHA KUNDA, take shelter of the confidential serving maids [manjari/dasis] of Sri Radha, and under their direction engage constantly in Radha’s service.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, are there any special benefits of bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “It is stated that a devotee will at once develop pure love of Krishna in the wake of the gopis if he ONCE TAKES A BATH in Radha-kunda. If one bathes even once, he can develop his transcendental love for Krishna, exactly as the gopis did.”

  1. Devotee: But Srila Prabhupada, many devotees are confused about this point. So is it okay to bathe in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami recommends that even if one cannot live permanently on the banks of Radha-kunda, he should at least TAKE A BATH in the lake AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE! This is a most important item in the execution of devotional service.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, can you say anything more about bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “One should bathe there regularly and give up all material conceptions, taking shelter of Sri Radha and Her assistant gopis.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, it seems you are saying that devotees should bathe in Radha-kunda and also live in Radha-kunda. Is that right?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes!] It is also recommended that ONE SHOULD LIVE on the banks of Radha-kunda and should be absorbed in the loving service of the Lord.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, these days we see many devotees serving Radha-kunda in various ways like parikrama, offering lamps, sweeping, cleaning the sacred waters, planting trees, and renovating the kutirs and samadhis of the Goswamis.

Srila Prabhupada, can you say something about the benefits of serving Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “By serving Radha-kunda, one can get an opportunity to become an assistant of Srimati Radharani [become a manjari] under the eternal guidance of the gopis.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, from everything you said so far, it seems that the conclusion is that to bathe and live always in Radha-kunda is the perfection of Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “The conclusion is that to live on the banks of the Radha-kunda, and to bathe there daily constitute the highest perfection of devotional service.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, are you are saying that Radha-kunda is the ideal place for cultivating Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes!] Therefore, everyone interested in Krishna consciousness should ultimately take shelter of Radha-kunda, and execute devotional service there throughout one’s life.”

  1. Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, to summarize everything we discussed, can you please answer this last question?

What will happen to a devotee who bathes regularly in Radha-kunda, and lives his whole life in Radha-kunda meditating on serving Srimati Radharani in the mood of the gopis?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “If one is thus constantly engaged during his lifetime, after giving up the body he WILL GO BACK TO GODHEAD to serve Sri Radha in the same way as he contemplated during his life on the banks of Radha-kunda.”

(Upadesamrita “Nectar of Instruction” v. 10-11/ SP purports)

Sri Radha-kunda ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Why do we speak on rasa lila? We discuss rasa lila to please Srila Prabhupada, purify our heart, increase our devotion, dedicate our life to the Bhagavata (nityam bhagavata sevaya), deepen our love and attachment for Radha and Krishna, and to share the blessings of our teacher.

After publishing “Krishna Book” in 1969 as one of his foremost foundational works, Srila Prabhupada ordered all disciples to read it every night before sleeping. Thus, for the last 44 years, Krishna Book has been a main part of our life. And of all the lilas therein, Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila has especially thrilled and enlightened us regarding the divine reality of true love—pure, selfless, blissful and eternal: The immaculate, transcendental romantic love of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Srimati Radharani and the beautiful cowherd damsels of Vraja.

To answer the often asked questions regarding Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila, we will quote His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

  1. Who can hear rasa-lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One who has faith in Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can both describe and hear the rasa-lila.”

  1. Who can speak rasa lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One should hear the rasa-lila from an authorized spiritual master person in the disciplic succession who is always engaged in Krishna consciousness. In this way, one will understand the whole situation, lose all traces of lust, and be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life.”

  1. What benefit does one get by hearing rasa-lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One who actually hears the rasa-lila will become completely freed from lusty desire.” (“Krishna Book” chapter 33)

Indeed, this is a most astonishing benediction which Sri Suka Muni himself proclaims at the end of his rasa lila description.

vikriditam vraja-vadhu, bhir idam ca visnoh
sraddanvito ‘nusrnuyad, atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati, pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinot, yacirena dhirah

“A person who with a reverential attitude hears the transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna with the damsels of Vraja from the mouth of a pure devotee and then describes those pastimes accordingly, achieves the supramundane loving service of Godhead [Sri Krishna] within no time and thereby drives away mundane lusty desires for sense gratification from his heart.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39/trans: Srila Prabhupada “Search Ultimate Goal of Life”)

Second trans: “Anyone who faithfully and continually hears or describes Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrndavana will attain Vraja madhurya Krishna prema, quickly destroy the heart disease of lust, and immediately become steady and serene.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally described the incredible power and benefit of Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila:

ye sune ye pade, tanra phala etadrsi //
sei bhavavista yei, seve ahar-nisi
tanra phala ki kahimu, kahane na yaya //
nitya-siddha sei praya, siddha tanra kaya

Mahaprabhu said, “Anyone who hears or speaks the rasa-lila will attain the fruit of being absorbed in bhava. Day and night such a person will serve Radha and Krishna, and his/her body will become perfect and transcendental [siddha-deha] like Sri Krishna’s eternal associates.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 3.5.49-50)

May all devotees now become inspired to hear, study, meditate and enter the rasa-lila of Radha and Krishna in order to see the most beautiful “smiling face of Krishna” and to experience the “five life airs” (panca-prana) of the Srimad Bhagavatam!

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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

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, [Hari Bhakti Vilasa says start on Purnima also ok] 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!

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.

SPIRITUAL MASTER

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.”

HUMILITY

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

DANCING IN GOLOKA

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.”

VRAJA VASA

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.”

CORRECT VISION

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.

RADHARANI

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.”

TRUE DEVOTE

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! Joi Damodara Jeu! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

Mahanidhi Swami

In the following dialogue with a disciple, Srila Prabhupada personally reveals the unique identity and the glories of visiting, living in and bathing in Sri Radha-kunda.

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, of the many holy places in Vraja Mandala like Mathura, Vrindavana, Varsana, Nandagrama and Govardhana—which is the topmost place?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Radha-kunda is superior to all!”

  1. Dasa: What makes Radha-kunda so special and superior Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because it is there [at Radha-kunda] that love of Krishna overflows!”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, if a mature devotee wants to live somewhere in Vraja Mandala, where should stay?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Radha-kunda.”

  1. Dasa: Why is that Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because this place [Radha-kunda] is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Krishna and Radharani (rati-vilasa).

  1. Dasa: Can you say more about why Radha-kunda is so glorious, Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Why is Radha-kunda so exalted? The lake is so exalted because it belongs to Srimati Radharani, and among all the gopis, Radharani is the most beloved of Krishna.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, what does Bhagavan Sri Krishna think of Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Radha-kunda is also described by great sages as the lake that is as dear to Krishna as Radha Herself. Indeed, Krishna’s love for Radha-kunda and Srimati Radharani is the same in all respects!”

  1. Dasa: Wow! That’s amazing Srila Prabhupada, I never knew that Radha-kunda was so special and dear to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada is there any limit to the glories of this most wonderful and sacred place?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “There is no limit to the glory of Sri Radha-kunda.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, why does Sri Rupa Gosvami glorify Radha-kunda so much?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami has given much stress to Radha-kunda because of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire to find it.”

  1. Dasa: So, Srila Prabhupada, since we are Gaudiya Vaisnavas and worshipers of Mahaprabhu, does this mean that we should live at Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Of course] Who, then, would give up Radha-kunda and try to reside elsewhere? No person with transcendental intelligence would do so.”

  1. Dasa: “So what you’re saying Srila Prabhupada is that an intelligent, mature devotee should live at Radha-kunda and worship Radha-Krishna in order to attain spiritual perfection?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Living entities who are eager to return home to the transcendental kingdom of God, Goloka Vrindavana, by means of attaining their spiritual bodies (siddha-deha) SHOULD LIVE AT RADHA KUNDA, take shelter of the confidential serving maids of Sri Radha, and under their direction engage constantly in Her service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, are there any special benefits of bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “It is stated that a devotee will at once develop pure love of Krishna in the wake of the gopis if he once takes a bath in Radha-kunda. If one bathes even once, he can develop his transcendental love for Krishna, exactly as the gopis did.”

  1. Dasa: But Srila Prabhupada, many devotees are confused about this point. So is it okay to bathe in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami recommends that even if one cannot live permanently on the banks of Radha-kunda, he should at least TAKE A BATH in the lake AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE! This is a most important item in the execution of devotional service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, Can you say anything more about bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “One should bathe there regularly and give up all material conceptions, taking shelter of Sri Radha and Her assistant gopis.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, it seems you are saying that devotees should bathe in Radha-kunda and also live in Radha-kunda. Is that right?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes!] It is also recommended that ONE SHOULD LIVE on the banks of Radha-kunda and should be absorbed in the loving service of the Lord.

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, these days we see many devotees serving Radha-kunda in various ways like doing daily parikrama, offering ghee lamps, sweeping the steps and cleaning the sacred waters. Srila Prabhupada, can you say something about the benefits of serving Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “By serving Radha-kunda, one can get an opportunity to become an assistant of Srimati Radharani under the eternal guidance of the gopis.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, from everything you said so far, it seems that the conclusion is that to bathe and live always in Radha-kunda is the perfection of Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “The conclusion is that to live on the banks of the Radha-kunda and to bathe there daily constitute the highest perfection of devotional service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, are you are saying that Radha-kunda is the ideal place for cultivating Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes] Therefore everyone interested in Krishna consciousness should ultimately take shelter of Radha-kunda and execute devotional service there throughout one’s life.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, to summarize everything we discussed, can you please answer this last question?

What will happen to a devotee who bathes regularly in Radha-kunda, and lives his whole life in Radha-kunda meditating on serving (manasi-seva) Radharani in the mood of the gopis?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “If one is thus constantly engaged during his lifetime, AFTER GIVING UP THE BODY HE WILL RETURN BACK TO GODHEAD to serve Sri Radha in the same way as he contemplated during his life on the banks of Radha-kunda.”

Sri Radha-kunda ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

(from Srila Prabhupada’s purports to Upadeshamrita)

Mahanidhi Swami

Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, people have a choice within maya, isn’t that a fact? They can choose what they want to do in the material world. People say that they can do this or that.

Srila Prabhupada: “What they can do? They cannot do anything. At any moment, you can be kicked out, ‘Get out.’ Therefore it is called conditioned life. There is no question of independence. That is foolishness.

“That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita [3.27] that they are not independent; everyone is completely under the control of the laws of material nature, and still they are thinking independent. There is no independence. All foolishness! By false egotism, one thinks that ‘I am independent.'” (Trans. Diary 5th July 1976)

Surrender to Krishna ki jai! Be an Instrument of Krishna’s will ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

My Friend You Begot a Son!

Srila Prabhupada said, “This date of Nandotsava is a very fortunate occasion. After Krishna’s birth, Maharaja Nanda celebrated a ceremony and this day is called Nandotsava. Nanda Maharaja was a little elderly when Krishna was born. At that time, some of his friends came to congratulate, ‘My dear friend, you have got a son in your old age!’ To his friends, Nanda Maharaja said, ‘How can you say I am old? Can old man cannot beget a child. I am young man!’” (Folio 690905VP.HAM)

A Blissful Nandotsava in 1960

Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Shri Gopala Chandra Ghosh recounted, “In 1960 or ‘61, Krishna’s birth ceremony abhisheka was performed at the Radha Damodara Temple at midnight. The next day all temples celebrate Nandotsava, Nanda Babas festival honoring Lord Krishna’s birth. They throw rupees, offer fruits and wear new clothes in the temple. Curd and turmeric are mixed up and thrown on the visitors. They sing of how the son of Nanda appeared here in Gokula. This service is performed with kértana, dancing, and chanting of hari-nama.

“Later, I learned that this was Srila Prabhupada’s own appearance anniversary day. At that time, I saw Prabhupada very playfully dancing in the Radha Damodara Temple’s open courtyard. He was covered with this yellow-colored pauri, the prasada from Thakuraji Damodara. Prabhupada was dancing in Braja style, singing, “Nanda ke ananda bhaiyo, jai kanaiya lala ki”. I also saw him throwing some sugar candies, annas and paisas to the local small boys.” (Our Srila Prabhupada, a Friend to All)

“Nandu—My Childhood Name”

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “My birth name was Abhaya, which means there is no fear of death of this child. However, in my maternal uncle’s house, because I was born on the Nandotsava, they always called me ‘Nandadulal.’ (Folio 770719R1.VRN)

Just Nandu

Once Srila Prabhupada told Yamuna dasi, “I am so glad that you remember my childhood name “Nandu”’ given by one of my uncles.” (SPL 70-09-16)

Birth Tithi—Srila Prabhupada

In his diary, a disciple named Shri Tamala Krishna Goswami writes that Srila Prabhupada said, “I was born on Nandotsava. It was a Tuesday, Mithuni Rasi, Mrgashirsha nakshatra.”

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! Srila Prabhupada Janamotsava ki jai!

Nandadulal ki jai! Jai Jai 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!

Mahanidhi Swami

My Friend You Begot a Son!

Srila Prabhupada said, “This date of Nandotsava is a very fortunate occasion. After Krishna’s birth, Maharaja Nanda celebrated a ceremony and this day is called Nandotsava. Nanda Maharaja was a little elderly when Krishna was born. At that time, some of his friends came to congratulate, ‘My dear friend, you have got a son in your old age!’ To his friends, Nanda Maharaja said, ‘How can you say I am old? Can old man cannot beget a child. I am young man!’” (Folio 690905VP.HAM)

A Blissful Nandotsava in 1960

Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Shri Gopala Chandra Ghosh recounted, “In 1960 or ‘61, Krishna’s birth ceremony abhisheka was performed at the Radha Damodara Temple at midnight. The next day all temples celebrate Nandotsava, Nanda Babas festival honoring Lord Krishna’s birth. They throw rupees, offer fruits and wear new clothes in the temple. Curd and turmeric are mixed up and thrown on the visitors. They sing of how the son of Nanda appeared here in Gokula. This service is performed with kértana, dancing, and chanting of hari-nama.

“Later, I learned that this was Srila Prabhupada’s own appearance anniversary day. At that time, I saw Prabhupada very playfully dancing in the Radha Damodara Temple’s open courtyard. He was covered with this yellow-colored pauri, the prasada from Thakuraji Damodara. Prabhupada was dancing in Braja style, singing, “Nanda ke ananda bhaiyo, jai kanaiya lala ki”. I also saw him throwing some sugar candies, annas and paisas to the local small boys.” (Our Srila Prabhupada, a Friend to All)

“Nandu—My Childhood Name”

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “My birth name was Abhaya, which means there is no fear of death of this child. However, in my maternal uncle’s house, because I was born on the Nandotsava, they always called me ‘Nandadulal.’ (Folio 770719R1.VRN)

Just Nandu

Once Srila Prabhupada told Yamuna dasi, “I am so glad that you remember my childhood name “Nandu”’ given by one of my uncles.” (SPL 70-09-16)

Birth Tithi—Srila Prabhupada

In his diary, a disciple named Shri Tamala Krishna Goswami writes that Srila Prabhupada said, “I was born on Nandotsava. It was a Tuesday, Mithuni Rasi, Mrgashirsha nakshatra.”

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! Srila Prabhupada Janamotsava ki jai!

Nandadulal ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!