Archive for November, 2002

November 22, 2002 Sri Vrindaban

November 22nd, 2002

November 22, 2002
Sri Vrindaban

Humbler Than A Blade of Grass

I found out that Dr. Fakir Mohan Prabhu is staying at the Gaura Govinda Seva Ashram–the house next to the japa-kutir (my place). I met Prabhu two years ago at Govardhana. He is a retired chairman of the Department of Sanskrit at Utkal University, a research scholar on Oriyan Vaishnavism, a senior Vaishnava, and the foremost authority on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. In fact, he recently rediscovered the original Radha-Madhava deities of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in Choti, the native place of Bhaktivinoda. He has dedicated himself to restoring that place under the auspices of ISKCON.

Fakir Mohan stays in Vrindaban during the month of Kartik and keeps Sri Sri Radha-Madhava on the altar of our ISKCON temple. He desires that “Their Lordships hear the kirtans of the international devotees” and for “devotees from around the world to have Their audience.”

I went to see Fakir Mohan this morning with Indradyumna Swami. Fakir Mohan literally dived at our feet when he saw us, even though he is 73 years old. He is a lifelong celibate, but has never taken sannyasa. Still, out of etiquette and genuine humility, he reveres all gurus and sannyasis. We were embarrassed to see the care and devotion by which he made a small makeshift asana for us out of a blanket so we could sit comfortably for his class.

He again lectured from the Bhagavatam, 2.9.36, on the glories of the holy name, as he has being doing for the last six years. I didn’t take notes, but I remembered a few points:

  • “Chanting should come first from the heart, then the lips, and then the ears. Then comes rupa, nama, and lila, the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes.”
  • “One must chant with sambandha, a relationship with the holy name.”
  • “There are two serious offenses to the holy name: the elephant offense and the lion offense. The elephant offense is criticism of devotees. If you are attacked by a mad elephant nothing can save you except for a lion, for a lion can kill an elephant. Similarly, if you criticize a devotee, only your guru can save you. But if you are attacked by a lion no one can save you. Similarly, the most grievous offense is the lion offense–guru-avajna–to disobey, or disrespect, the guru. If you offend the guru nothing can save you.”

Indradyumna Maharaja introduced Craig to Fakir Mohan just as we were all leaving. Craig is an old high school friend of Maharaja who is visiting India on Maharaja’s request. To our surprise, Fakir Mohan immediately paid his full obeisances to Craig. Craig was naturally also a bit surprised, but visibly moved by Prabhu’s gesture. As Fakir Mohan was getting up, Indradyumna Swami explained, “Craig is my friend from school and he is becoming a devotee!” With a sweeping upward gesture of his right hand, Fakir Mohan declared with conviction, “Then he is better than George Bush, the President of the United States!”

On my way to the temple in the evening I again ran into Fakir Mohan. Whenever he hears of a visiting ISKCON sannyasa, he immediately goes to see them and pays his respects. He had just returned from visiting Sacinananda Swami, but lamented that he couldn’t find Partha Sarathi Prabhu. When I told him that I knew where he was staying, he immediately begged me to take him.

At Partha Sarathi’s room Fakir Mohan sang a beautiful song called “Mangala-gita,” describing the deep separation felt by the residents of Vrindaban for Krishna as He mounted the chariot with Akrura to leave for Mathura. It is such a moving song, but unfortunately, after a short while Partha Sarathi had to excuse himself to see his mother, sister, and other family members who were visiting from England. Fakir Mohan asked Partha Sarathi if he could also please see them, so we all went.

Like most senior ISKCON leaders, Partha Sarathi neglected his parents and practically anything they represented when he joined ISKCON in the early ’70s. That was our mood as the pioneers of the Hare Krishna movement and as its dedicated missionaries. Like most of us, Partha Sarathi is now trying to make up for his past indifference. He told me that he had practically nothing to do with them for 28 years, but had now come to the realization that he should be compassionate to his family and try to give them some appreciation for Krishna consciousness. Although they know practically nothing about what he is doing, they have all become quite favorable during their short visit to Vrindaban.

Partha Sarathi’s mother is a very refined, reserved, and sweet English lady from Oxford. His sister was five years old when he left and is eager to revive her relationship with her brother. His aunt, brother, and sister-in-law are also here. All seem to be favorably overwhelmed by their experience in Vrndaban.

When Partha introduced Fakir Mohan to his mother, again to our astonishment, Fakir Mohan immediately paid his obeisances to her. He then began glorifying Partha Sarathi by quoting verses describing how when someone becomes a devotee “14 generations in the past and 17 generations in the future become liberated.” Afterwards, he paid obeisances to each and every family member. Partha Sarathi was a little embarrassed, so he explained Fakir Mohan’s position as “a distinguished professor, a naisthika brahmacari (a perfect celibate), a research scholar, a sangeetacarya (master of classical Indian singing), and an exalted saint.”

“Yes,” Fakir Mohan responded, “it is our etiquette to offer respect, but it is not just etiquette.” He paused for just a moment, and then said with an utmost conviction, “It is not just etiquette. We feel it.”

Sri Vrindaban Japa Kutir I’m

November 21st, 2002

Sri Vrindaban
Japa Kutir

I’m back in Vrindaban today. I didn’t know if I would have a place to stay here because the japa-kutir, my place of residence, was sold by the previous owner. My things are still there.

Years ago when I left the gurukula I vowed to be satisfied by just living in Vrindaban. I didn’t want to be overly concerned with where that residence might be. I reasoned that any residence in the dhama is mercy. I also noticed how, often, devotees who build or purchase houses for themselves rarely spend time in Vrindaban.

When someone told Srila Gaura Kishor dasa Babaji that he had purchased some land in the dhama, Babaji Maharaja was furious with him. “The holy dhama is cintamani, a wish fulfilling jewel,” he said. “One grain of sand cannot be purchased for all the money in the world. You do not own a spec of land in the dhama!”

The new owner of the japa-kutir is a nice devotee. He has taken a humble room downstairs, without even an attached bathroom, and seems satisfied to continue to allow my use of the room on the roof–by far the best residence in the building. His generosity reminded me of the magnanimity of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the previous owner, who had also given me the best facility and took a more humble room.

The new owner has also let two mature Indian ladies from Burma, who serve in the temple, use the apartment with the kitchen downstairs. Two Indian brahmacaris use the simple single room across the hall from them. One of the brahmacaris is the younger brother of one of the ladies, so the group operates like a family. They take care of the house and cook lunch, so the owner allows them to stay for free. He also invites different devotees for lunch and my meal is brought upstairs. This arrangement now also gives me the opportunity to invite guests for lunch. Ekacakra is thus also invited daily for lunch.

One of the brahmacaris is also an expert kirtaneer (Vaishnava singer), so occasionally there are also kirtans outside of my room on the large veranda.

In general, the new residents here are quite cultured, which creates a pleasing atmosphere. They see their house as Krishna’s house and a place to serve others. How magnanimous are the Vaishnavas!

Govardhana For the last five

November 19th, 2002

Govardhana

For the last five days of Kartik I added brijabasi-seva (serving the local residents) to my spiritual practices by sponsoring and distributing first-class halavah for an hour in the afternoon. Our booth was mobbed. According to Nanuram, our simple local brahmana friend, it was the talk of Govardhana town. I calculated that between seventy-five and one hundred-and-fifty thousand pilgrims walked past our ashram every 24 hours for the last five days. Here’s how I did it:

I would watch the front gate from the roof and count the number of people who would pass our gate in a minute. Depending on the time of day, I counted between fifty and a hundred people passing every minute. That’s between three and six thousand people an hour, and fifteen to thirty thousand in five hours. Since it takes an average of five hours to complete parikrama, and since the parikramas continue 24 hours a day, I estimated that a little less than five parikrama parties of fifteen to thirty thousand pilgrims pass every 24 hours. That’s about seventy to one hundred-and-forty thousand pilgrims a day. At least seven devotees were participating feverishly in the operation, preparing and serving the cups, and it was worth it because it gave us a chance to associate intimately with the brijabasis, but in an appropriate way.

One thing was evident: These simple villagers are much happier than people in the West, or other Indians living in the cities and towns. After today’s distribution, I casually spoke about this to Gaura Narayana Prabhu, who grew up in a village near Jagannatha Puri over forty years ago. He related the peacefulness of village life in India:

“They don’t worry so much about money because they are self-sufficient, which is ironically Srila Prabhupada’s professed ideal for how our devotees who are not preaching in cities should live. How is the money problem solved? They all have a house with no mortgage and no property tax. Food is in ample supply from the fields. When I was young, we ate four times a day. We were basically quite healthy because of the way we lived. If someone was sick, the elders knew some home remedies from local herbs and plants, so there were no medical expenses. I can barely remember anyone going to a hospital, whereas today, for the smallest thing, one goes and spends money. For more serious illness, every village had a good vaidya, an ayurvedic doctor, or at least one in a village nearby.

“We had a nice welfare system also. If someone needed help, the whole village would support them with whatever they needed, and we didn’t try to make others feel obligated or dependent because of their misfortune. There was no need for transportation. All our family and friends lived in our village and all of the necessities were provided there, so why would anyone take up the trouble to travel somewhere else besides for pilgrimage? We had weavers, barbers, craftsmen, and so on; everything was right there. And we weren’t bored. At night, a local brahmana would go to someone’s house and recite the Mahabharata. It was so quiet–no electricity, no loud speakers, no noise pollution–that you could practically hear the recitation throughout the entire village. Even those who were illiterate knew more sastra than most devotees today, just from hearing. And if someone got a government job, even a few hundred rupees, he was very well off, as all their other needs were met. Now, even if one makes a lot of money, he feels economically oppressed and in anxiety about money, even when the wife works, because the government and so many artificial expenses plunder whatever they have. Actually, every family would have at least a little money from selling their vegetables.”

I thought, Is the anxiety we pay for modern life worth it? The nature of attachment, even to useless things, is such that they bring us under the false impression that the anxiety of being without them is greater than the anxiety we pay to have them. What an illusion!

One main cause of distress in modern life is the lack of stability. Where to live and find a community? Whom to marry? How to earn and find fulfillment in our occupation? Any one of these problems for many seems like a lifetime of distress. Is there any wonder why so many young people today are under so much stress? Hardly anything in their life is settled and their future is so uncertain.

In contrast, in traditional village life, the community where you were born was the community you lived, a suitable mate would be arranged at an early age, and there was training and service according to one’s nature.

I was especially noticing the contrast between the young local brijabasi girls who stopped by our booth for prasadam and the teenage girls of today. The village girls seem so much more mature and less confused. Almost all of them were married with young children who they carried on their hip. They seemed relatively peaceful and carefree as they walked in groups singing songs about Krishna in brajabhasa (the local vernacular).

Kartik, the month of Sri Radha, ends tonight. I am satisfied that I carefully used my time this month for Her pleasure and feel visibly uplifted by the experience–all Prabhupada’s mercy!

Govardhana Bitterness and Hurt: Bhurijana

November 15th, 2002

Govardhana

Bitterness and Hurt:
Bhurijana visited the ashram today and came to my room. He specifically asked about my chanting this month. I discussed my realizations with him and he shared his.

He asked if I was happy in Govardhana. I said I was, but that I also shared some lingering resentment that seemed to arise occasionally over some past experiences. I liked his advice about how he deals with similar feelings that most of us seem to have:

“Don’t try to artificially transcend those feelings because they could come back to haunt you. I learned an effective psychological technique to deal with them that is congruent with Bhagavat philosophy. You feel the anger and bitterness, not transcend it, and you remove yourself in your mind from the circumstances and people responsible. Then, meditating on those feelings but divorced from the situation in which they arose, transfer them to your own karma and accept them in the mood that it is a token reaction for one’s own mistakes–tat te nukampam. In other words, if needed, keep those emotions, but see yourself as the cause. I usually find this way of dealing with the past very effective in purifying oneself of the type of resentment that can force one to take birth again to repay it. I don’t want to come back.”

I tried his meditation on the spot. Very effective.

Our Door to the Spiritual World:
As I discussed my chanting with Bhurijana Prabhu, we broached the subject of how individualistically spiritual life can develop; how different Godbrothers approach both their spiritual practices and internal spiritual life in such variant ways, yet still within the general framework of the principles of Krishna consciousness that Srila Prabhupada gave us. Bhurijana added a profound point to the discussion:

“It seems that the ‘taste’ that Krishna has given us is our door to the spiritual world and we should follow it.”

  • Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Govardhana Bitterness and Hurt: Bhurijana

Govardhana Japa Thoughts IV Nothing

November 13th, 2002

Govardhana

Japa Thoughts IV
Nothing changed today in my routine. I woke up at the same time. I chanted the same. The result, however, was better: my chanting was clearer and substantially more devotional.

Realization: Success cannot come by effort alone. Mercy is required. If we depend solely on our exertion, our chanting will not be in the proper frame of mind. If we chant in a mood of dependence, relying on His mercy, then to some extent we have already received mercy, for our disposition is already imbued with humility and devotion.

Chant, pray, chant, beg for the mercy. Take full shelter at the lotus feet of Govinda. If our chanting does not come to that point, real chanting has not begun. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati has therefore warned:

“Make your chanting heart deep, not just lip deep.”

Srila Prabhupada describes the relation between work and mercy in attaining the Lord by referencing Narada Muni’s failure to see Lord again by the same process he had attained His audience before:

“When He pleases, being satisfied with the sincere attempt of devotional service depending completely on the mercy of the Lord, then He may be seen out of His own accord.” (Bhag. 1.6.20)

Japa Thoughts V
I can go deeper in my practices with just a little more surrender and a modest effort, but I don’t. Why? I fear the result. I will become a servant. Servant?! Who wants to become a servant? Just see the nature of the mind and its petty attachments. I am doing the work of spiritual life, but I’m not pulling up the anchor of false ego. It’s just like the story of the wedding party: they row all night, but find themselves in the same place at dawn because no one pulled up the anchor! We militantly keep ourselves independent of Krishna’s will to enjoy whimsically.

What to do? How to go further? Just go on chanting. Hopefully, by nama-bala, the strength of numbers, mercy will come.

Japa Thoughts VI
The prayers of a devotee will certainly be fulfilled when one’s appeal is sincere and favorable because God is the ultimate benefactor of the devotee. While chanting this morning, a desire came. “I want to be free again, free to give, without external impediment, all that I have to give to Srila Prabhupada’s mission.” I looked up at Giriraja and offered my desire spontaneously at His lotus feet.

Later in the morning, a parikrama party of one hundred devotees from Khazakstan came by, led by His Holiness B.B. Govinda Swami–a good friend who served together with me in Vrindaban in the late ’70s. He is a forceful person and powerful devotee, so when he asked me to meet his group in our ashram garden, I agreed. I even more reluctantly agreed when he asked me to speak about Govardhana. After I finished, he begged me to also accompany the party at least up to Govinda-kunda, and when we arrived, he asked me to speak once more. I was then invited to come to Khazakstan for a few weeks and Maharaja offered to pay for my ticket from New York. Hmm, I considered. Is this all Giriraja’s response to my humble entreaty?

  • Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Govardhana Japa Thoughts IV Nothing

Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Festival Highlights:

November 8th, 2002

Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Festival

Highlights:

I chanted in Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi until 10 in the morning, so I was late to the pandal (tent) where the program was being held. Still, I heard from quite a few speakers. His Holiness Radhanath Swami alone brought more than a thousand devotees, so a very large professional tent was arranged on the adjacent land to the temple since the Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram Mandir is much too small to accommodate so many.

Sripad Atul Krishna Goswami (a prominent brijbasi, madhva-sannyasi, and Bhagavat lecturer):

“Within the holy name are all 360 philosophies of Indian thought. To distribute the holy name is thus the panacea for all ills. Srila Prabhupada was the most munificent person because he ‘donated’ the holy name to the world.”

Sripad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja (Srila Prabhupada’s Godbrother):

“The disciplic succession: There is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the six Gosvamis, then Srila Prabhupada!”

His Grace Bhurijana Prabhu:

“Brahmananda was reading the philosophy of various great Western philosophers to Srila Prabhupada. A few expressed somewhat profound theistic truths in line with our teachings, so Brahamanda asked Srila Prabhupada, ‘Were they devotees?’ Srila Prabhupada responded, ‘Their sincerity is their devotion.'”

Bhurijana Prabhu then reflected on what sincerity means for a committed disciple. “It is the complete acquiescence of one’s will to the desire of one’s guru. A sincere disciple acts only for the pleasure of his spiritual master, and does nothing independent of his pleasure.”

When Bhurijana was speaking, I thought about how sincere Srila Prabhupada was and how, by his example, he taught sincerity. I also thought about how many sincere devotees were attending the program, devotees who sacrificed everything for Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Bhurijana also humbly spoke on that:

“We are now enjoying so many nice facilities when we come to the dhama, but we should not forget that there was nothing here when Srila Prabhupada started his mission. It was all built on his sacrifice. Not just Srila Prabhupada, but his disciple’s sacrifice; they performed so much austerity in India, and lived in such severe conditions to develop Vrindaban, Mayapur, and Bombay.” Bhurijana then spontaneously mentioned a famous incident with Maithila devi-dasi, the pujari of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari. “When hired thugs tried to snatch our land by ripping down the first make-shift temple, she grabbed onto the railing to protect the Deities and just wouldn’t let go. She had to be dragged off by her hair by several attackers after a great struggle. How glorious the sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada’s followers!”

Sri P.L. Sethi (a very old Bombay Life Member, who must be in his 90s, and was an intimate supporter and friend of Srila Prabhupada, offering invaluable service in the development of Hare Krishna Land):

[P.L. Sethi spoke in Hindi and told many stories about his very close relationship with Srila Prabhupada and his dedication to Prabhupada’s mission. Here’s my favorite story, also about when Hare Krishna Land was attacked. His speech was translated and retold by Dina Bandhu Prabhu in his own words.]

“One Friday night, hordes of armed and dangerous thugs attacked Hare Krishna Land and ripped down our temporary temple. The devotees suspected Mr. Nair, the ruthless businessman who had sold the devotees the land, but was now trying to reclaim it by hook or by crook. The devotees were in trouble because they no longer had legal grounds to stay there. According to Indian Law, the place where a temple stands cannot be repossessed, and that was the crux of the devotees’ case. Since their hearing was on Monday, and it was the weekend, the temple could never be rebuilt, which was evidently the dubious Mr. Nair’s plan.”

In distress the devotees approached Mr. Sethi, an ardent follower of Srila Prabhupada, a well-wisher of his disciples, and a building contractor. Mr Sethi was an elderly and distinguished Raj Put (ksatriya, the noble kingly caste), a determined man of impeccable character who sported a handlebar mustache. To the surprise of the devotees, when he heard how they were attacked, Mr. Sethi vowed the impossible: “I will rebuild the temple in 48 hours!” The devotees warned him that the rogues were in cahoots with the local police and even threatened to attack again if they tried anything, but he turned and nonchalantly said to his son, “Brij, get my gun!” Then, he coolly sent his reply through the devotees: “Tell them the first man on our land is a dead man!”

For 48 hours, in constant pouring monsoon rain, out of deep love for Srila Prabhupada, Mr. Sethi fearlessly sat in front of the property, rifle in hand, to protect the land and to supervise his men who worked non-stop around the clock. The impossible was achieved; the temple was reconstructed in time and the situation was saved!

Gargamuni Prabhu (one of the very first disciples of Srila Prabhupada who joined at 26 2nd Avenue and is now retired in Vrindaban):

I was amused by Gargamuni’s offering, but it also deepened my appreciation for Srila Prabhupada for, as Gargamuni said about himself, “By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, even I am residing in Vrindaban.”

Gargamuni is six feet or more and must be nearly 300 pounds. He always dresses the same, in that Indian hippy look: the cheap cotton pajamas, colored T-shirt, thin cloth vest, long hair, beard, and dark sunglasses. When he was asked to give his offering, rather than sit on the Vyasasana on the stage as the
other speakers had done, he chose to pace back and forth with the microphone in his hand. He spoke nicely and with fervor about three words used by Srila Prabhupada at the end of his letters–“Your ever well-wisher”–to expand on the theme of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. Often he would almost break down in tears. His whole appearance and manner, however–the way he held the mic and passionately paced the stage, combined with his slight accusatory tone–almost reminded me of an interview with one of those professional wrestlers. One line in particular stuck out in reference to the criticism he gets for apparently pirating the BBT and BBT archive material: “Many people would like to see me shipwrecked off an island of Fiji, but Srila Prabhupada was my ever well-wisher!”

Many cultured Indians from Bombay were in the audience, and I wondered what they thought of the spectacle: Srila Prabhupada’s seniormost disciple dressed like a hippy and pacing across the stage.

My conclusion was that, despite his look and demeanor,everyone saw beyond the exterior to see exactly what I saw–an ISKCON icon with deep love for Srila Prabhupada, and living proof of Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy.

  • Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Festival Highlights:

Govardhana-puja Govardhana I tried to

November 5th, 2002

Govardhana-puja
Govardhana

I tried to take benefit of being in Govardhana on Govardhana-puja by circumambulating Govardhana Hill. The visiting devotees would start coming to our ashram by 7 o’clock, so I divided my parikrama in two parts–the first half, the Aniyor side, which I would go around early morning so I could return in time, and the second half, the Radha-kunda side, which I would circle late afternoon after the feast so I could return for the Damodarastakam.

Festive, uplifting, walking among the throngs of singing brijabasis on Govardhana-puja day!

The temple program: His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami, His Grace Gopiparanadhana Prabhu, and Kesava Bharati Prabhu spoke, followed by go-puja (worship of the cows) in the front garden, annukuta (a mountain of bhoga across from the ashram at the foot of Govardhana Hill), and finally, a sumptuous feast.

Highlight: Loving the devotees, living the pastime.

Our ashram rests exactly on the parikrama path of Govardhana Hill where thousands upon thousands of pilgrims stream by on major festivals, especially Govardhana-puja. It is an excellent location to serve them. Gaura Narayana Prabhu, the temple president of our Bhaktivedanta Ashram, asked if I would like to help distribute prasadam to the pilgrims, since it was sponsored by my disciples in America. There are many uplifting devotional programs here today and I wasn’t expecting the prasadam distribution to be the most inspirational for me, but it was. Perhaps it’s because of the inherent mood of this activity–loving reciprocation with the devotees, especially the brijabasis–that brought the pastime of Govardhana-puja alive. The pilgrims, practically all devotees, mobbed our booth to get one of the thousands of Giriraja laddus prepared last night by our devotees. They were respectful, however, and not wild. And by their gestures–a nod, a smile, a slight bow at the waist or head–they acknowledged their appreciation. Several sadhus even spontaneously hugged me. For hours we happily distributed our mountain of sweets as fast as we could to the outreached hands of the happy pilgrims circumambulating Govardhana Hill, just as their forefathers did at the time of Lord Krishna:

“The honest and simple cowherd men, headed by Nanda Maharaja, accepted Krishna’s proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. [Following the inauguration of Govardhana-puja, people in Vrindaban still dress nicely and assemble near Govardhana Hill to offer worship and circumambulate the hill, leading their cows all around.]” –Krishna Book, Chapter 24.

Highlight II: The secret of avoiding and overcoming Vaishnava aparadha.

After the feast I spoke with Dr. Fakir Mohan, an elderly unassuming Vaishnava scholar from Oriya. Last year we went on Govardhana parikrama together and I noticed that he was fervently chanting a simple bhajan. I asked him to translate what he was singing. The song, Sri Vaisnava-Vandana, by Devakinandana dasa, offers respect with limitless enthusiasm to all Vaishnavas–systematically beginning with the devotees of Vrindaban, then Mahaprabhu’s associates in Puri, next the devotees of Navadvipa, and after that, the Vaishnavas anywhere in Bengal. I especially liked some of its concluding lines:

“With upraised arms I pray to the feet of all of Gauranga’s bhaktas, in whichever country they may reside!”

“Holding a straw between my teeth, I submit at the feet of all the servants of Mahaprabhu that were in the past and will be in the future!”

Today when I discussed this song with Fakir Mohan Prabhu, he revealed an important and somewhat startling detail of the song’s history. Devakinananda dasa, its author, was the initiated name of Gopala Capala, mentioned in Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita as the envious person who offended Srivasa Thakur and then suffered from leprosy. What I discovered today is that he later repented, took initiation from one of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s direct associates, and became a great Vaishnava known for his unbounded appreciation of the devotees–a veneration resulting in this song, Sri Vaisnava-Vandana.

I’d recently begun to chant this song daily, and this seemed to deepen my respect for the devotees. When I shared this with Fakir Mohan Prabhu, he revealed with conviction the mahima (glories) of this song:

“Anyone who sincerely chants Sri Vaisnava-Vandana by Devakinandana dasa will be protected from Vaishnava aparadha (offense to the devotees), and like Gopala Capala, will also be relieved of any offense already committed at the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas!”

I circumambulated Govardhana Hill, served the brijabasis, and fully honored this auspicious day, but the fruit of my worship was this simple insight of worshiping the devotees.

  • Uncategorized
  • Comments Off on Govardhana-puja Govardhana I tried to