"Pada Seva means to serve the lotus feet of Guru and Krishna.You cannot serve Krishna without Guru, or serve just Guru without serving Krishna. They must be served or offered pada seva simultaneously." - Srila Prabhupada

  • "A highly advanced Vaisnava lives in such a way that no one can understand what he is or what he was." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.3.14, Purport)
  • "... there is nothing as profitable as the association of pure devotees." (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Page 341)
  • "By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement." (Sri Sri Gurv-astaka, Verse 8)
  • "A pure devotee cannot forget the Supreme Lord for a moment, and similarly, the Supreme Lord cannot forget His pure devotee for a moment." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 8.15, Purport)
  • "The Spiritual Master is present wherever his sincere disciple is trying to serve his instructions. " (Srila Prabhupada letter, 12/01/73)
  • "I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him." (Sri Guru Pranama)
  • "My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee." (Lord Krsna, Adi Purana)
  • "Pure devotees of the Lord are more powerful than the waters of the sacred river Ganges. One can derive spiritual benefit out of prolonged use of the Ganges waters. But one can be sanctified at once by the mercy of a pure devotee of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.1.15, Purport)
  • "No one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. One must approach Him through His pure devotees." (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12)
  • "Real knowledge can be obtained from a person who is in perfect Krsna consciousness. Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Krsna consciousness is. The spiritual master can drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 5.16, Purport)

Srimati Radharani - The Universal Mother



Krishna means “all-attractive”, someone who is supremely opulent enough to attract everybody. However, Srimati Radharani is so great that She attracts Krishna.
tapta-kanchana-gaurangi - radhe vrindavaneshvari
vrishabhanu-sute devi pranamami hari-priye

Srimati Radharani, I offer my respects to You whose bodily complexion is like molten gold. O Goddess, You are the queen of Vrindavana. You are the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, and are very dear to Lord Krishna.
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Who is a Guru or Spiritual Master?




In general today everyone wants to become the  master and no one wants to be subservient to anybody. In this scenario when someone talks about accepting a guru or a spiritual master then no one is ready for it. Now the question comes to our mind is why no one wants to be under a master? This is because this material world is full of exploitation, almost everywhere we can observe that the master exploits the servants for their own benefit. This is the reason for many to not accept anyone as their masters, instead, there is always a competition to become the master of masters.

In contrast, the reality is that one has to be under a master to learn things in this material world and also if one wants the knowledge of the spiritual world.

Now the real problem is that we do have some knowledge about this world but how to find out the true spiritual master who has the knowledge of the spiritual kingdom. Especially when the world is filled with so many fake people and self proclaimed Godmen.


In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is said:

sarva-deśa-kāla-daśāya janera kartavyaguru-pāśe sei bhakti praṣṭavya, śrotavya
“It is therefore the duty of every man – in every country, in every circumstance and at all times – to approach a bonafide spiritual master, question him about devotional service and listen to him explain the process.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 25.122)

In the Mundaka Upanishad it is said

tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchetsamit-panih śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
“To learn transcendental subject matter, one must approach the spiritual master. In doing so, in doing so one should carry fuel to burn in sacrifice. The symptom of such a spiritual master is that he is expert in understanding the Vedic conclusion, and therefore he constantly engages in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
(Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12)

Also, the most munificent incarnation, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, gave a very simple definition of guru as

kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene nayayei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ‘guru’ haya
“Whether one is  a  brāhmaṇa or a sannyāsī or a śūdra – regardless of what he is – he can become spiritual master if he knows the science of Krishna.”
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.128)

By all these Vedic injunctions we can find out that based on one's mundane scholarship he can neither become nor to be considered as a guru or spiritual master. On this context Srimad-Bhagavatam states:

śabda-brahmaṇi niṣṇātona niṣṇāyāt pare yadi śramas tasya śrama-phalohy adhenum iva rakṣataḥ
“If through meticulous study one becomes expert in reading Vedic literature but makes no endeavor to fix one’s mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one’s endeavor is certainly like that of a man who works very hard to take care of a cow that gives no milk. In other words, the fruit of one’s laborious study of Vedic knowledge will simply be the labor itself. There will be no other tangible result.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.11.18)

In regard to this transcendental knowledge of the Vedas was first spoken by God, Krishna, to Brahma (the creator of this particular universe). From Brahma, the knowledge descended to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhvacharya, and in this way, it was transmitted to the others until it reached Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Chaitanya although He was Krishna, posed Himself as a disciple in the disciplic succession of Sri Isvara Puri, to teach us the importance of Guru Parampara. In this way today we all are receiving this knowledge which is not different from the knowledge that God imparted it to Brahma in succession.

If one follows this system of disciplic succession one can become a guru for the whole world.


In a more simple way we can set up the criteria to accept a guru or spiritual master as follows:

1. A person who claims himself to be God cannot be considered as a guru or spiritual master.

2. A person who claims that he doesn’t have a guru or spiritual master, cannot be considered as a guru.

3.  A person who claims himself or his guru to be God / Incarnation of God (unless it is revealed in Vedic Literature), cannot be considered as a guru.

4. A person who proposes that you can worship any God that you want, can be rejected as a guru.

5. The guru or spiritual master should be in a bonafide disciplic succession if not can be rejected. For this age we have four  sampradaya or disciplic succession as follows:

     (i) Brahma-sampradaya, Acarya is Sri Madvacarya
     (ii) Rudra-sampradaya, Acarya is Sri Visnu Svami
     (iii) Sri-sampradaya,  Acarya is Sri Ramanujacarya
 (iv) Kumara-sampradaya, Acarya is Sri Nimbarkacarya

6. A guru must pass on the exact same message to his disciples as received from his guru, without addition or subtraction, thus preserving the original message.

7. The words of Guru must be verifiable against the previous bonafide acharyas and Vedic Scriptures.

8. A guru must follow the strict guidance of Vedic Injunctions and does not compromise the Vedic standards for getting more followers.

9. A guru must have control over his senses, he should not be indulged in sense gratification by strictly following the prescribed four regulations (avoiding non vegeterian diet, intoxication, gambling, illicit relation) 

These criteria mentioned above can be the litmus test to find out who is the actual bonafide spiritual master. By this time we all are now clear how to identify a genuine spiritual master in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy.





Hare Krishna to all.


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Who are we? | Our Identity as Revealed by Science





Sometimes, if not always, we get this question - “Who am I?”

This question has kept spiritualist, philosophers, poets, scientists engaged for a long time. And this is a very vital question for the human race.

The Vedanta-sutra (1.1.1) states, athato brahma jijnasa: "Now one should inquire about Brahman - The absolute truth, the transcendental, spiritual nature"

The first aphorism in the Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma jijnasa. In the human form of life one should put many questions to himself and to his intelligence. In the various forms of life lower than human life the intelligence does not go beyond the range of life's primary necessities--namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Dogs, cats and tigers are always busy trying to find something to eat or a place to sleep, trying to defend and have sexual intercourse successfully. In the human form of life, however, one should be intelligent enough to ask what he is, why he has come into the world, what his duty is, who is the supreme controller, what is the difference between dull matter and the living entity, etc. There are so many questions, and the person who is actually intelligent should simply inquire about the supreme source of everything: athato brahma jijnasa.
[SB. Canto 4, Chapter 25, Text 5, Text26, purport]


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What is Success? | How to be successful? | "Success is what you define it to be." - Is it true?

[Source: http://giphy.com/]

Success as Dictionary.com Defines

Dictionaries defines success as –
  • The accomplishment of an aim or purpose
  • The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
  • A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.
  • The good or bad outcome of an undertaking

Incompleteness of the above definition 

It says - The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
My aim is to reach office in time, and, I do reach in time. Am I to consider myself a successful person?

It says - The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
What amount of Fame (if can be measured), wealth or status can be considered a success? If a beggar sleeping on road side gets a job which can provide him a daily meal, a place to live and fresh clothes to wear – is a success for him, but, the same job for a multi-billionaire would mean nothing.

A kid – might find the joy of success in completing a puzzle game or builder game, but for a grown up adult it returns no emotion.

For a toddler learning to walk is a great achievement, which is applauded by every relative, but, he cannot carry that achievement throughout his life. It would be really ridiculous if in a job interview he addresses that one of his achievement is He has learned to walk when he was a toddler!!

Many look at fame & glamor as the criteria of being successful. They “worship” film stars, sports stars, politicians as “Successful Personalities”. But meet any person who is too busy with their life, who doesn’t have time to waste in front of Television, they might not even recognize these so called “stars”. 

The term Success and being Successful if analyzed without a proper knowledge seems so contextual and personal that it is very difficult to come to a specific definition.

Hence most of the books and website say – Success is what you define it to be.

But is it not vague?

Manuals of Life

Any machine or gadget we buy comes with an operational manual. It is being advised by the manufacturers that each and every users must read these manuals first. Users are really FREE to disregard the manual but there comes a warning. They might run into accidents or spoil their gadgets or even harm or kill themselves.

We also have been provided a Manual to lead our life happily – Vedic Scriptures.We disregard The Vedas and that is why we run into so many problems.

Current generation is so much worried about being Successful but they have no idea what is Success. They all land up with some vague concepts, set some “aims” or “goals” of life (which keeps changing) and end up making their life more miserable. Many conveniently call these miseries “hard work”. Real Success should always be accompanied with Satisfaction & Happiness, not a momentary happiness. Then what is a Real Success?  

Attempting to Understand Success.

Be it a dictionary or any counselor or scriptures, all will be agreeing to a common definition of Success – Overcoming a problem.

Now, what is a problem?

Normally our perception is any distress or miseries we face or hurdles we encounter, we think them to be a problem.

Few examples of problems can be a puzzle for kids, exams for students, promotion for an employee, votes for politicians, groceries for a homemaker, recipes for a chef etc.  Now as we have seen earlier a problem for a kid might be of least interest to any grown up, problem for a student would be of least interest to an employee.

There was once an employee, disappointed due to not being promoted for the seventh time and thus being rejected by the lady of his life, went to a cliff with a wine bottle in hand, for committing suicide. There he met another person who was sleeping there. Upon asking the reason, he came to know that this fellow had lost his home, entire family, relatives, his entire neighborhood in a Tsunami. Hence he sleeps on the cliff. Then he realized his problem was too petty to end his life.

Thus our so-called miseries are very insignificant, they will come and go like season changes. As stated by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita – 2.14


O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O son of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.



These personal problems are like common cold which is not a major concern for an intelligent person (even though the patient suffering might foolishly assume it to be) but a life threatening disease like Cancer is a real concern for entire humanity.

Similarly, a Real Problem is one which is common for everyone but with a solution not known to many.  Real success would be to conquer these problems.


Understanding the Big Problem.

There are four major problems in each one of our life – Birth, Disease, Old Age and Death.



Meet any counselors or go through any books or go to any top universities or any scientists – no one can give you any solution how to overcome these Major Problems. Instead, they would divert our attentions from these. The reason is, they themselves do not know the solution, because, they have not gone through the Manual of Life (Vedic Scriptures)

BIRTH:

While modern science was blind about life in a womb until few hundred years back, Srimad Bhagavatam , written thousands of years back, already has a detailed information about the Human Embryo growth on a weekly interval span.

Similarly, a mundane materialist celebrates birth, but, they are unaware of the terrible pain, trauma and helplessness the soul is undergoing in the tender body when in womb, which is again mentioned in great details in Shrimad Bhagavatam [Canto 3; Chapter 31].

DISEASE, OLD AGE, DEATH: 

It would be easier to understand the pain and suffering undergone when one is in either of the above conditions. What is inconceivable to us is also said in scripture (Garuda Purana), when a person dies he suffers an unbearable pain of 42,000 scorpion bites.

None of us want to be diseased, grow old or to die. (This is the reason why we work hard and spend our money in gym & parlor to look young and lovely always, but fail.) After reading the pain of birth as described with great accuracy & details in Shrimad Bhagavatam, the intelligent amongst us, would not opt for that even.



It will be a REAL SUCCESS to overcome the aforesaid FOUR MAJOR PROBLEMS of our life  – BirthDiseaseOld Age and Death.


How to be Successful?

Just imagine a life where we never have to take birth again, yet have our identity, never get diseased, never grow old and never die!!! Is it not what all of us want?

Have you ever wondered why do all of us want this? 

Because we all are Sat-Chit-Ananda, we are eternal and blissful. We all want eternity and happiness. But we do not know how to get it. Because no one has taught us where to look for an answer. Instead, we were taught to disregard the Manual of life - Veda with an escuse of scientific advancement.

It is stated in Bhagavad Gita, this material world is a place of miseries & is temporary in nature (duhkhalayam asasvatam), a place where everything has to perish; everyone has to die, starting from an insignificant bacteria to great demi gods like Indra, Brahma everyone. Since we aim for is eternity, this temporary world is not our place. But where to go?

Scriptures, like Bhagavad Gita, give us an idea about a world which is eternal, where no one dies.

Bg 8.16From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.

Just like an ignorant tribal person might laugh at us if we say we have a device called telephone using which two people from two different countries, can speak; a frog in the well laughs when he comes to know the size of Antarctic Ocean is million times its well, some of us too may laugh when they hear about The Eternal World, but, the fact doesn’t change. There IS a telephone, there IS Antarctic Ocean and there IS an Eternal World.

Now that we know we are eternal in nature but trapped in a temporary world, we have to escape to The Eternal World. Our success formula will be to reach Krishna.


Why reach Only Krishna?

Because, apart from the fact that, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also says something that neither anyone else has said in past nor anyone else can say in future.

Bg 15.6That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.

Bg 8.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection

Bg 7.14This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

How to Reach Krishna?

Bg 8.14For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.

Bg 8.8He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.

Bg 9.25Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.

Bg 9.34Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.

Bg 8.5And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

How to remember Krishna?

How much ever we try to remember Krishna at the time of death, it will be very difficult, as we would be suffering a tremendous pain of 42,000 scorpion bites!!

So from now only we need to practice calling him out. This will re-establish our forgotten sambandha or relationship with Krishna.

This is done by chanting the Holy Name, Mahamantra - Greatest Mantra.

Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.

5 Keys to Success

Easiest way to reach Krishna and His abode of eternity, thus REAL SUCCESS in life can be summarized as -

i. Chanting His Holy Name (Mahamantra)

ii. Surrendering unto Krishna

iii. Always remembering Krishna without deviation

iv. Worshipping Krishna

v. Being completely absorbed in Krishna


We pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai, may each one of us get an intelligence to understand what Real Success means and become Really Successful in our life.

 ***

Thank you for reading this article. 
If You have Liked it, then please Share it with your friends and contribute to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission of spreading The Holy Name. Please feel free to suggest how can we further improve our service. 

Hare Krishna!
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Transforming a Goat into a Human

In any roadside meat shop, a common scene in India, we can find that a butcher chops a goat while unearby a herd of goats is tied and given leaves to eat. Goats are seen happily eating them. Not even for once they wonder:
  • Why is the butcher taking away goats one by one and not returning them?
  • Whose flesh is hung?
  • Am I really safe, will it be my turn next?
They keep ignoring the evident symptoms of death and think "Let's enjoy and eat even the last piece of green leaf." However, if there were a group of human (supposedly intelligent than goats) kept in the place of goats, they would have definitely enquired these questions. They would have tried to break free, rejecting the sweet aroma from the delicious food.

In The Mahabharata, when Yaksha asked: “What is the greatest wonder in the world?” Yudhishthira replied: “That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die...

Early last year, I was speaking with one of my previous company colleagues and came to know a very close friend of our left his body while taking shower.   


Almost every year we get an eMail from Human Resource Team informing us about sad decease of our office employees. A few months back, we got a sad news at office. One of our office morning cabs met with an accident, a head-on collision with a bus, killing the cab driver and our office colleagues on the spot.  


An under-construction flyover came crashing at peak hours of noon over one of the busiest street-crossings of Kolkata, smashing people like insects.

Few years back one of my close relative, was washed away to death in a river.

Every month, if not daily we see or hear or read in the newspaper about someone or other's death. Most of these deaths are accidental, unexpected, sudden and without warning.

Most of us, when we hear these news, we feel little sad but then continue with our normal life i.e. run after accumulating unlimited wealth and attain all the comforts of life. We subconsciously think we won’t die, at least not in near future. Hardly anyone of us realizes, that we might die the very next minute.

This is Goat-Syndrome and almost each one of us is like the Foolish Goat.

***
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita,
One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again.
[Bhagavad Gita - 2.27]

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
[Bhagavad Gita - 2.20]

So it is foolishness to pamper something which is perishable (body) and not focus on something which is eternal (soul) .

There was once this little girl, who was gifted by her mother, a small rose plant. There was a beautiful big rose on the plant. The little girl looked at the rose and was awestruck with its beauty. She used to take care of the rose like anything, spray water so that no dust clings to it and drive away the flies & other insects. However in spite of her immense love and care the flower withered to death after few days. She was heartbroken. Adding to her grief the plant also died, since she was so much attached to the flower, she neglected the plant.

We shouldn’t behave like this little ignorant kid by neglecting the eternal thing and pamper what is short-lived. Death is certain, how much ever we try to close our eyes and ears and try to avoid the fact, reality still remains the same.

If we are Goats then who is The Wise?

Goats spend their entire life grazing and get surprised by the death.

Human suffering with Goat Syndrom also spend their entire life in merry making and get surprised by the death.

But The Wise men, on the other hand, spend their entire life in preparing for their death.

There is a famous quote by Rousseau - Man has forgotten how to die because he does not know how to live.

We all have to die for sure, so we must know how to die, and to do that we should start learning how to live. This is only possible if we take shelter of Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita & Srimad Bhagavatam.  

How to be Wise?

If you reach out to any materialistic person, his entire focus is to “secure” his future. Ask any financial adviser how to ensure a secured future, he will ask you to do a planning – financial planning.

Similarly, real wise men plan their life so that they can face death as it should be.

This can be done by 4 easy steps:

1. Understand the Goal of Life.

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”
[Bhagavad Gita – 8.16]

All the goals that we have been “taught to have” are okay only till the time we have this body. Like, let us say “I want to be famous in the world.” That is great. But, what if I die before I attain it? Or even if I attain my goal, what will I do with it once I die, as I will be in some other body - probably with a different name (if at all I get a human birth again)? With our death, every attended & unattended materialistic goals become useless.

Hence our actual goal of life should be independent of this body, it has to be something that we will find useful even after quitting this body.

This is why we need Scriptures to guide us as no one else can provide us this knowledge. Vedic Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatham says that we – the spirit soul has been transmigrating from one body to another since time immemorial, from the bodies of various species of life (8.4 million to be precise). Now we have got a human body which is the only body capable of doing Spiritual Activities. This human body should not be wasted in sophisticating the animalistic acts of eating-sleeping-matting-defending. Instead, this human form should be made instrumental in setting and attaining the highest goal - “to attain the abode of Krishna – our Home.”

Because once we reach the spiritual realm (abode of Krishna), there is no chance of our falling back into the miserable cycle of 8.4 million species of life [Bhagavad Gita –  15.6]

2. Live the moment but carefully Plan for future.

Each one of us gets 24 hours. However, we spend our entire 24 hours for something which will be of no use after our certain death. Students spend maximum time in studying, youths spend maximum time in activities to earn money and comfort or chit chatting with friends over drinks, or match or movies, and retired old people spend maximum time in watching TV, gardening or reading mundane newspaper and magazines.  There is not too much harm in these activities, but the thing is, we need to find some time for our spiritual growth so that we can attain our higher goal.

Easiest excuse is – we are too busy to invest in spiritual activities. 

Krishna narrated the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, who was a warrior, in the middle of a battlefield with 640 million heavily armed and equipped soldiers ready to kill each other. Did you ever wonder why did Krishna choose to teach Bhagavad Gita in middle of the battlefield? 

The reason is,  Krishna is challenging each one of us (the so called busy people who don't even have a moment's time to spare) that, are we really busier than Arjuna who was on a battlefield with those 640 million soldiers who are eager to kill at the drop of a hat? Even in that extraordinary consequential moment of destruction and annihilation, Krishna requested Arjuna to take out 45 minutes of his crucial time to teach entire Bhagavad Gita. Therefore, we should realize however occupied we are with our work or family,  we should still take out some time to remember the Lord and hear about Him.

The fundamental thing to know is – we do not quit anything, we continue to do our regular activities, work, school or office – only thing is keeping Krishna in the center.

Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
[Bhagavad Gita – 8.7]

Having said this many of us will come up with a question - Why reach Only Krishna, why not someone else?

Because, apart from the fact that, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also says something that neither anyone else has said in past nor anyone else can say in future.

That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.
[Bhagavad Gita 15.6]

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.15]

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.14]


Intelligent amongst us will ponder over a vital question - How to Reach Krishna?

Answer is again provided by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad Gita;

For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.14]

He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.8]

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 9.25]

Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 9.34]


3. Remember Krishna at the time of Death.

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.5]

But how much ever we try to remember Krishna at the time of death, it will be very difficult, as we would be suffering a tremendous pain of 42,000 scorpion bites or some of us will be feeling separation from our loved ones!!

Just like a final stage performance requires numerous practices, we need to practice calling out to Him from now on – when we are healthy, fit and fine. This will re-establish our forgotten sambandha or relationship with Krishna. Once our relation is reestablished, no pain can stop us from remembering and calling out our beloved Krishna.

This is easily done by chanting the Holy Name, Mahamantra - Greatest Mantra.
Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.

4. Beware of the pitfalls

Most of the time we give up the idea of spirituality because either we follow other rich & famous materialist or get demotivated by others (who can be our close & loved ones). But we need to embed a fact in our mind that – the world is filled with foolish (ignorant) people who are incapable of taking on to Krishna Consciousness and there are very very very few (rare) intelligent souls who will (at least try to) understand the great science of Krishna Consciousness, as said by Krishna Himself.
Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.15]

I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.25]

Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.3]

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.19]

Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.28]


So we must not follow the ignorant foolish majority around us, instead, try to educate them about reality and motivate them to become Krishna Conscious - and finally become human from a goat.




We pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai, may each one of us get an intelligence to understand how rare and special their birth is.


 ***

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Become Extraordinary from Ordinary



Human society can broadly be classified into Atheists and Theists. Both these worlds can be sub divided into two categories - Agnostic & Gnostic as described below.

1(a). Gnostic-Theist: believes and is 100% sure that God exists.

1(b). Agnostic-Theist: believes God exists, but the existence is unknowable. Which means, his faith is much like, "I believe in God but I am not sure, it might be stories."

2(a). Agnostic-Atheist: does not believe God exists, but again they say "I am not very sure, might be He exists."

2(b). Gnostic-Atheist: believes it can be proved that God does not exist.

Majority of us (especially in India), are born in a category 1(b) family. A family where, mainly due to tradition, rituals are followed, but, the exact philosophy behind the rituals remains unknown. Many a time, they prefer shutting their mental doors. 

However, our generation and the upcoming generation is the generation of (so called) advancing material science. We believe in theory - "Show me to believe in you". 

Now when we, enlightened with scientific and rational education system, try to question the age-old ritual practices, we get no answers which can satisfy our "intellect" (pun intended). This forces us to slip from 1(b) to category 2(a). You see, 1(b) and 2(a) isn't very different. Slowly, not getting a proper answer we tend to fall to 2(b) category.

As we grow in 1(b), 2(a) or 2(b) circumstances of life, we see the gross material world very closely. 

Since our school days we see a rush, a race to reach somewhere, a destination quite virtual and vague in definition. Most of the times, people don't even know where are they heading to. They prefer to hide in the crowd and follow the flow.  

We see beautiful skyscrapers being erected  all around. Beautiful complexes with luxurious swimming  pool and other (un)necessities. 

We become amazed by the glittering nightlife. 

We reject the virtuous personalities and our role models become the people like Movie Star, Sports Stars, Politicians or someone rich or famous. We see and follow their lifestyle very closely and define success and happiness accordingly. 

Hence finally understand and accept, the only means to happiness is money and glamor. 

Even though subconsciously we accept even a 1-day-OLD toddler is growing old and not young, we still want to fool our self when we look into the mirror using cosmetics and hair dye.

Wikipedia defines Rat Race as:
A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of lab rats racing through a maze to get the "cheese" much like society racing to get ahead financially. The term is commonly associated with an exhausting, repetitive lifestyle that leaves no time for relaxation or enjoyment.

We join the rat race for earning (unlimited) money to attain (uncertain) happiness. 

And then a twist comes in some of our life. We meet some people or bump into a webpage or a blog preaching the forgotten "science of self-realization". 

They prove us The Supreme Lord is a reality and not Myth or Mythological personality. 

They prove us the decaying nature of our life dedicated in the pursuit of money. 

They  prove us real happiness can only be found in the service of The Lord. 

As they go on making their point clear, we tend to virtually see a great wall separating the two worlds - our world which we grew up in and their world. 

The biggest confusion - Which part of the world should we choose? 

# We admit, our world is miserable. Their world is full of promises,  but, we never know. What if they are wrong? 

# We see a huge number of people going the other way. Shouldn't we stick with the majority, after all so many people can't be wrong. 

# Spirituality means giving up. This is my age to earn and not give up.

# Spirituality is for elderly people, and, I am still young for it. I will follow it when i grow old (because I know how many years I will live)

In case of any confusion, intelligent takes shelter of Lord and His words / instructions from scriptures.

Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 7.3
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.

Bhagavad Gita 7.19:
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

If one out of thousands try to understand Krishna, who is that person? And who are those huge number of people who continue their rat race? 

Krishna continues in Bhagavad Gita 7.15
Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.

Bhagavad Gita 7.16: 
O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me – the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.

Bhagavad Gita 7.17:  
Of these, the one who is in full knowledge and who is always engaged in pure devotional service is the best. For I am very dear to him, and he is dear to Me.

Bhagavad Gita 7.18
All these devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider to be just like My own self. Being engaged in My transcendental service, he is sure to attain Me, the highest and most perfect goal.

There are many such verses from many other vedic texts to show how rare and precious is the chance to Serve Krishna or become His devotee. A devotee is so very precious to Krishna that He personally takes care of His devotees. In the Bhagavad-gita (9.31) the Lord assured everyone that His devotees are never to be vanquished. 

Biggest misconception of many is that, spirituality always means giving up everything that we do, like our job. 

But in Bhagavad Gita 5.2, Krishna says: 
The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But, of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work.

So any field of work we do, if it is not forbiden by scriptures and if we devote to Lord Krishna, it is perfect. Normally we work for our self, our promotion, our impression, our status, our family, it is we in the centre. But, we should change this idea. We should keep Krishna in centre and do the same work in order to please Him. We should give our 100% effort to get the best possible outcome from our self. Not for us but for Krishna. 

We can earn 1 million a day, no harm, provided it is to serve Krishna. 

We may build / buy best home we can afford and keep Krishna in centre by inviting him to reside in the form of deity with us. He should be the owner of our home and our family, not us.

***
Point is, spiritual life is not a change in our current situation, but an upgradation of our consciousness. It is shifting from thinking I-and-My to Krishna-and-Krishna's. It is very simple if we understand it's essence - Rise in Love of Krishna and Serve Him!! Any other definition of spirituality known to us, might be erased off our mind and confidently thrown out of window. 

As we go on practicing this, one day, we may, with His mercy and sweet will, become the intelligent great soul which Krishna says is very rare. Thus we become Extraordinary from Ordinary.


 ***

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Hare Krishna!
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The Supreme Person - Lord Krishna



Cherish the treasure all, the happy day has come,
The Supreme Person Lord Krishna has appeared;
Mathura The holy place, the all auspicious abode,
The Lord and Master of all the cause of causes.

O Lord You swiftly moved to Vrindavan after appearance,
Accepts Yashoda Nanda your devotees as parents for pleasure;
You are the darling of all Vrajavasis, the loved butter theif,
O dear enchanter Lord Krishna, I want to sing your glories always.

Clad in yellow garment decorated with flowers, You are rising sun,
The Divine flute touches Your sweet lips, the sweet music drowns one;
Your dance pose of three bends attracts even cupids, O Madan Mohana,
O Lord of compassion remove fear of worldy existence, thou salutations.

You as cowherd boy from Nandagrama gives happiness to elderly gopis,
Positioning Yourself as their son when Brahma stole playfully in illusion;
O Lord you are the protector of devotees, the destroyer of miscreants,
So push thy onward march, O pious soul a real hero stands for one indeed.

Fallen in spine-chilling material world, I am in agony till very end,
My heart burns in the fire of sense gratification, I pour butter instead water;
One who associates Your devotees and worships You only suffering ceases,
I try to take shelter of Your lotus feet as my life and death.

When will I meet that Lord Krishna, who is dark in complexion,
When will I be able to serve You in various ways, and give a seat in my heart;
Decorate with peacock feather, Cook food offer sandalwood paste, other fragnances,
O Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda when will these happen, I the fallen soul take pity on me.

Such a wicked mind I have, it binds me to this material world to enjoy the senses,
To acaryas prayers You answered, Your pure and elevated devotees finally has come;
One of Your associates called Srila Prabhupada the expert navigator of material ocean,
O Lord hearing Your devotees words I came weeping to Your lotus feet and tell my story.

Give thou shelter at Your lotus feet O Lord Krishna even Goddess Lakshmi desires,
O Lord I accept my defeat as all my endeavors are useless and sing Your holy name;
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama    Hare Rama     Rama    Rama    Hare Hare.

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The Saviour of the fallen souls



Srila Prabhupada all glories unto you, saviour of the fallen souls,
The inaugurator of Krishna Consciousness across the world;
I the unworthy servant of Your feet tries to glorify you,
On most auspicious appearance day of Yours I humbly pray to you.

If I do not remain true to you, Srila Prabhupada,
I'll lose everything that I spiritually gained;
Your divine words picked me from material nescience,
I hold Your lotus feet to get over from this calamity.

Your Divine Grace instructed to follow the teachings,
Embrace them with all sincerity, make them your very existence;
You said I don't need your worship, I want your very self as an offering,
That is how you worship the representative of Srila Vyasadeva.

With a little knowledge about the spiritual sky I get puffed up,
I start thinking myself a liberated soul actually the topmost fool;
I forget my ultimate goal and start imitating the pure devotees,
Please save me from this mentality as I try to associate thy teachings.

Lust, greed, anger and other vices forcefully invade my heart,
Soldiers of maya, enemy of Krishna mercilessly tear me apart;
As I have fall apart from Your grace which flooded the earth,
With love of Krishna, the magnanimous gift ever received.

Maya offers me all that I want wealth, women, money, name and fame,
I think these are result of my devotion, try to justify my deceptive claim;
I will start not remain true to you Srila Prabhupada, surrounded by deviants;
To make my position deceitfully strong and I get lost in my path of devotion.

Not recognizing my real friends who criticize me when I am wrong,
I associate myself with a bunch of fools who always praise me;
Forgetting Your glories as the Lord's chosen one I try to eclipse you,
I will become bereft of the Lord's greatest boon and Your mercy.

I see the material nature dreadful ocean, bodies swept away in dangerous currents;
No one can ever swim those waves where deadly aquatics wait for their prey;
On that ocean, there is a ship sailing smoothly with the strong wind,
Of Hare Krsna maha-mantra in its sail, the best captain Srila Prabhupada steering it.

Devotees blissfully chant and dance on the deck, a flag on the mast bears ISKCON,
In the middle of the night world is asleep, only the sound of holy name glides through the air;
Who will ever want to leave that shelter, I came to You being swept away by the holy name,
Mechanically I try to surrender to You even then you appreciate and gave me compassion.

In Caitanya Mangala, Srila Locana das Thakura writes about Your appearance,
A great Senapati-bhakta would preach Krishna Consciousness proclaimed Mahaprabhu;
Yadi Papi Chadi Dharma Dure Dese Yaya Mora Senapati-bhakta Yaibe Tathaya,
Srila Prabhupada it is You who made this happen, the divinely empowered personality.

If I ever deviate from Your instructions, please bring me back Srila Prabhupada,
Help me become free from Maya's allurement as I know now the consequences;
My will is weak and heart is impure, but still, I want to receive your grace,
My only hope is the blessings of Vaisnavas and the blows from Your Divine Grace.

I was unable to serve you in person but make be strong to serve your instructions,
You said never ever leave ISKCON, devotee cooperation and GBC is ultimate;
Srila Prabhupada makes me a speck of dust at your lotus feet to regain my real identity,
I Lokanath Gaura your grand disciple failing, again and again, prays to you.

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5 easy steps to be part of Lord's Pastime




In our previous article, “The Ongoing divine PASTIMES of The Lord”, we shared somethings about the Lord's pastimes which are still going on. We tried to point out, how rare is this opportunity to be part of such pastimes. We have also seen a few examples from the previous ages, how pride and ego blind or deludes a soul from understanding the authenticity and urgency of the movement. We should not be foolishly arrogant like Hiranakashipu, Hiranyakshya, Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana, Chand Kazi, Jagai, Madhai and other demonic personalities who were present right in front of Lord but couldn’t understand that He was The Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Let us see 5 easy steps to become a part of Lord's Pastime and associate ourselves with the movement.

Step - 1: Attaining the qualification to become human beings.



We must understand Lord's movement is for human beings only. We are now born in the human form of life. Actual intelligence is to think, understand and self-evaluate if we are actually leading a life of a human or an animal.

It is said that
AhAra-nidrA-bhaya-maithunam cha
samAnam_etat_pashubhir_narANAm |
dharmo hi teShAm adhiko visheSho
dharmeNa hInAH pashubhiH samAnAH||

"Eating, sleeping, defending and mating, these acts of humans are similar to animals. Of them (humans), dharma (religious conduct) is the only special thing, without dharma humans are also animals"

So if we spend our lives focusing only on eating, sleeping, defending and mating, we will be no better than animals.

We must inquire and try to understand the higher goal or purpose of human life.

Step - 2: Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.

The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.



Just as we all have relationships in the material world, similarly each of us also has a relationship with the Supreme Person, Krishna. Unlike the materialistic relationships which are temporary (because they end with the body), the relationship with Lord is eternal.

Our basic relationship with Krishna is that we are His parts and parcels. He is like the sun, the ocean, or fire; we are like the sun's rays, drops of the ocean or sparks of the fire. Problem is most people in this material world are trying to forget God completely.

Why? Because there are two major hindrances in the path of Krishna Consciousness - Maya Devi & Kali Yuga who bewilder the soul and pull them away from Krishna. They together play the dangerous role of illusionist and bewilders the souls. This bewilderment is so strong that we do not even realize our pitiable condition. Like Srila Prabhupada has said;

There are three kinds of miseries of life: adhyatmika, adibhautika, adi-daivika, Instead of understanding that we are being punished for sinful activities, under the spell of illusory energy we are thinking that this kicking, slapping and thrashing are accidental.

Srila Prabhupada had also said once

Tiny living entities crawling on a little planet and are thinking "I am great"

How to deal with these hindrances?

Dealing with the fangs of Maya.


kṛṣṇa--sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra
yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra

Krishna is compared to sunshine, and Maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Krishna consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish.

Dealing with the ill effects of Kali Yuga.



harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha

Harinama, Harinama, Harinama is the only and foremost means to achieve emancipation. There is no other way, no other way, no other way in this age of Kali.

So the only way to make progress towards Krishna and at the same time remain safe from Maya and Kali Yuga is to chant Hari Naam and be Krishna Conscious.

Step - 3: Making pillars of spirituality strong.

There are four requirements for healthy progress in Krishna Consciousness. These are the pillars of Krishna Consciousness. Even if one is broken, our devotion will collapse.

Pillar 1. Real Compassion. 

Pure water means you do not add anything to it, but take out all the contamination. Similarly, pure love means you don’t put anything external; rather you take out all the dirt from your heart, and then you will experience pure love of God. , Compassion is an essential element of love.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

Only a soft heart can have the qualification to understand the pure love of God. Therefore it is mandatory to be compassionate towards every soul and have mercy on them. The grossest way of being heartless is to kill someone.

Therefore the first point is No Non-vegetarian Diet (meat, fish, egg) / no killing of animals for satisfying our tongue.

Pillar 2. Austerity. 

Austerity means putting aside our selfish ambitions for a higher purpose.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

For all classes of men, be an athlete or a student or a spiritualist, too much of bodily comfort becomes a barrier to his progress. To willingly take discomfort is called tapasya or austerity. Thus, when a student studies while his mind wants to play or sleep, when an athlete exercises even though giving pain to his body or a spiritualist keeps a fast or chants for hours, all of them are doing austerity in their own field. To be austere one must have a strong mind. Weak mind fails to focus. People with a weak mind are being controlled by desires which disturb one's determination. Those who are under the influence of intoxicants have the weakest mind.

Therefore the second point is No Intoxication (cigarette, alcohol, drugs or caffeine products like tea, coffee etc).

Pillar 3. Truthfulness. 


A spiritualist should be truthful as it is considered to be an important virtue. If a person cheats others, he is cheating himself because it is Maya or illusory energy who bewilders his intelligence to take the path of cheating. The grossest way of cheating occurs when one gambles.

Hence No Gambling of any form.

Pillar 4. Cleanliness. 

sex could be a gift of God but when it becomes an obsession, it plunders all intelligence and people are driven to abominable acts to satisfy their lust.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

Needless to say, cleanliness is another very important aspect of spirituality. Normally all of us focus only on the external cleanliness. However, we shouldn't forget internal cleanliness also, which means to have a clean consciousness. The lowest consciousness is to have insurmountable desire to enjoy bodily pleasures. Vedic Scripture allows a religious way of indulging into sexual life, by the bond of marriage, which must not be broken. Sex life outside the sacred vows of marriage is counted amongst, illicit relationship, according to the laws made by God. Animals like dogs and cats mate freely with no bondage because they are not given the higher human life of responsibility, but as humans, we must be restricted by the bond of sacred marriage.

Hence next point is No Illicit Sex.


If you want spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles.
– H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj


Thus if anyone who follows the aforementioned rules of four regulative principles i.e. avoiding

(i) nonvegetarian diet,

(ii) intoxication,

(iii) gambling and

(iv) an illicit relationship,

can advance smoothly in the path of Krishna Consciousness.

Step - 4: Association of Lord's devotees

The four ways which are mentioned are actually the natural behavior of every soul. But at times it seems overwhelming to us because we haven't practiced it since countless lifetimes. The easiest way to revive our original consciousness is to be in the association of devotees.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has repeatedly said:
'sādhu-saṅga', 'sādhu-saṅga'—sarva-śāstre kayalava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya

Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 22.54)

Therefore the point is the association of Vaishnavas.



Getting an association of a Vaishnava was really difficult before 13 July 1966 (when  ISKCON was officially incorporated). However by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and selfless service and sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada, today we can have devotee association in every corner of this globe. It is so easy now. All it requires is our serious endeavor to seek true knowledge.

Step - 5: Making a contribution to the movement.



Imagine a great bridge getting built, which will connect every town and village in this world. This bridge is Hari Naam Sankirtan movement of Lord. We contribute or don't contribute, Lord's name will reach every corner of the world because it is the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So our contribution may not be significant for the movement but will definitely be a great contribution to our consciousness and our spiritual progress. Greatest contribution is by not behaving miserly but rather distributing to others what we were gifted by Acharyas and Krishna - Krishna Consciousness.

The greatest contribution will be to offer our gratefulness. Our gratefulness would be expressed as gratitude for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu and the great souls who have sacrificed their lives so that we can get the bliss of this movement. Now it is our time to follow their footsteps and help other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.

***

Summarizing 5 steps to be part of Lord's Pastime


1. Attaining the qualification to become human beings

We understand that the Lord’s movement is for human beings only. So in order to be a part of His movement, we must first try to be human in real sense and not a sophisticated animal.

2. Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.

The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.

3. Making smoother progress in spirituality.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj: If you want a spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles (avoiding: nonvegetarian diet,   intoxication,   gambling   and   an illicit relationship)

4. Association of Lord’s devotees.

Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Also staying in devotee association helps us to stay safe from the influence of Maya and Kaliyuga as discussed in "In the Middle of a Hunting Ground, with the Predators!!".

5. Making a contribution to the movement.

By helping other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.

***



Let us pray to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda to allow us spiritual strength and intelligence to be connected and make an honest contribution to Their pastimes.

 ***
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Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This website is dedicated to His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness - ISKCON)

Pada Seva

Pada-Sevanam means to serve the lotus feet of the Lord and His devotees. It is one of the nine different processes of executing Krishna consciousness. This website is an offering from us to Srila Prabhupada in the same mood of Pada Sevanam, hence the name.

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