Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2010 01(jan)


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Madhu Pandit Dasa the president of ISKCON Bangalore | Madhu Pandit the chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

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Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2010 01(jan)

  1. 1. Vol 11, No.1 Jan 2010 CONTENTS The Soul of the Universe 4 Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out 8 Life: Real and Artificial 10 Celebrating Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita 14 Tracing the Hindu Heritage 21 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder- Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to Please chant... America in 1965, at age 69, to fulfill Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare his spiritual master’s request that he ...and be happy! teach the science of Krishna consciousness throughout the English- Published and owned by Sankirtana Seva Trust, speaking world. In a dozen years he editing by Chamari Devi Dasi. published some seventy volumes of Layout, design and graphics by ISKCON Design translation and commentary on India’s Group, Bangalore. Vedic literature, and these are now For all information contact: Editor, Krishna standard in universities worldwide. Voice, SST, Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Bangalore - 560 010 INDIA Phone: 91-80-2347 Meanwhile, travelling almost nonstop, 1956, 91-80-2357 8346 Fax: 91-80-2357 8625. Srila Prabhupada moulded his © 2010 Sankirtana Seva Trust, Bangalore. All international society into a world wide Krishna art and the works of Srila Prabhupada confederation of ashramas, schools, are © BBT International. temples and farm communities. He All rights reserved throughout the world. passed away in 1977, in Vrindavana, Reproduction in any manner is strictly prohibited. the place most sacred to Lord Krishna. Printed for ISKCON, Bangalore, at Manipal His disciples and followers are carrying Printers (P) Ltd., Manipal. forward the movement he started. Cover pages-4 Text pages-24 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 3
  2. 2. The Soul of the Universe How to understand the universe as the external body of God A lecture given in Los Angeles, October 5, 1972 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness etad rupam bhagavato hy arupasya cid-atmanah maya-gunair viracitam mahadadibhir atmani The conception of the virat universal form of the Lord, as appearing in the material world, is imaginary. It is to enable the less intelligent [and neophytes] to adjust to the idea of the Lord's having form. But factually the Lord has no material form. —Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.30 This is a very important verse. When we speak of "formless" we mean that God or the living entities—all of us— have no material form. Our present form—our body—is temporary, and after death it will never come again. As soon as this form is finished, I will have to take another form. And that form may not be exactly like this one. Unlike us, Krishna has no material form. He has a spiritual form. Therefore His form is eternal. Because our form changes, we do not remember our past lives. But Krishna remembers because His form does not change. The evidence for this appears in Krishna's teachings in the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna asked Krishna, "How can I believe that You spoke this philosophy of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god 400 million years ago?" Krishna replied, "Yes, you were also present there, because you are My constant companion. But you have forgotten; I remember." As long as our form stays the same we do not forget things. But when our form changes we forget. We experience this every night. My form is lying on the bed, but I am dreaming in a different form: I am flying in the sky and forgetting that my real form is lying on the bed. We forget "I am American" or "I am the son of such and such gentleman." We forget everything. As soon as the form is forgotten, then everything is forgotten. The impersonalists are very fond of the universal form. But what is the universal form? It is an external expansion of the supreme form, Krishna. We living entities are very minute spiritual forms. Materially we cannot understand this. We cannot see the spiritual form with our material eyes. But we get information from the shastra, scriptures. Shastra says that the size of the living entity is one ten-thousandth the tip of a hair. Just imagine the tip of a hair, and divide it into ten thousand parts. One such part is the size of the living entity. balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate "When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul." (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 5.9) That is the dimension of the living entity. That atomic particle of spiritual energy takes shelter by superior control. When a person dies, the spirit soul is taken to the court of judgment of Yamaraja, the lord of death. And according to the living entity's previous actions, he is then given a new body for his next life. How? The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, karmana daiva-netrena: "by superior arrangement." When you work somewhere, your service record is kept. So many things are judged. At the end of the year, or at the end of some period, the service record is checked, and you are given a promotion. Similarly, all our activities are being recorded. And after death we are taken to the court of Yamaraja for the day of judgement. As the higher authority, Yamaraja decides what kind of body we shall get. Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 5
  3. 3. You cannot say, "Now give me the body of a king." Now you are an American, but you cannot dictate, "Give me another American body—as the son of Rockefeller." No. What you have done will be judged, and you will get your next body accordingly. Of course, you have received your present opportunities because of past pious activities. To take birth in a rich family or nation is due to pious activity. Janmaishvarya-shruta-sribhih. Janma (birth), aishvarya (riches), shruta, (education), and sri (beauty)—these things are obtained according to past activities. Not that everyone becomes educated. There is no such chance. Nothing by Chance We were discussing this morning how nothing happens by chance. Everything depends on some cause. Not that by chance anyone becomes a very rich man. No. One has to work for it. Not that by chance one becomes very educated. These things are not chances. So if there is no chance, then there must be a cause, and there must be judgment. Otherwise why is one man born rich while another man works hard but has to sleep in the street? By superior judgment the small spiritual particle—the living entity—is transferred to the semen of a particular father. Then the living entity is injected into the womb of the mother, the male and female secretions combine, and the living entity develops a body. This is the science. If you use contraceptives, that means you contaminate the emulsion, and the poor living entity cannot take shelter there. You cannot kill the living soul, but you make the circumstances unfavorable for his staying. Then he has to be transferred to another womb. After conception the body develops. That we can see. Not that on the day of pregnancy the body develops at once. No. First it is just like a small pea, then gradually it develops. After birth the child also develops. That is not really development but transmigration from one body to another. For example, in a cinema film there are many pictures, but when they are moved very swiftly we see the action. Similarly, the process of our change of body is so swift that we cannot perceive it. We think the body is growing. But the body is not growing; we are getting different bodies. Krishna's External Body So our point is that the small spiritual spark develops the body. Similarly, the huge gigantic body of the universal form is the development of Krishna's external body. As your bodily functions go on nicely because the spiritual spark is within, similarly all material activities in the universe are going nicely because of the presence of the Supreme Lord. The rascal scientists cannot understand that our bodily functions are going on nicely only as long as the spirit soul is there. But any sane man can understand this. Similarly, the big manifestation of the material world is going on nicely because Krishna is there. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna asks, "Krishna, kindly explain how Your energies are acting." Krishna explains in the Tenth Chapter. Then He says, atha va bahunaitena kim jnatena tavarjuna vistabhyaham idam krtsnam ekamsena sthito jagat "Arjuna, I shall go on explaining how My energies are working, but you can summarize that I—in one of My plenary portions—enter the material world, and therefore it is going on so nicely." (Bg. 10.42) As our material body is not our real form, the universal form is not Krishna's real form. Our body is described as a garment. A garment is made when there is a real form. Because you have arms, your coat has arms. But you are not the coat. Similarly, because we are spiritual forms we grow our hands and legs and head and so on. We are materially "coated." The Great and the Small Here it is explained that people are very fond of the universal form. They cannot imagine that a person—Krishna is a person—can work so wonderfully. They think that He is very small, like us. They do not understand that we are like a small fire and Krishna is like a big fire. A spark can burn only a small area of your cloth, but a big fire can burn so much more. Similarly, although God and we are qualitatively one, He is great and we are small. We have the same qualities as God but in very small quantity. We can play very wonderfully by inventing some machine, say the capsule that goes to the moon. Or we float something in the sky. But that is imitation of God. God is floating gigantic planets like the sun and moon in space. You cannot do that. You can float a small sputnik. 6 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  4. 4. You have creative power, and God has creative power, but God's creative power cannot be compared with your creative power. You cannot become God. You can imitate or do something very small—just like little children playing with little toys. You can play with little toys and advertise yourself as a great scientist. That's all. But you are nothing. That is to be realized. That realization is called bhakti-yoga. The rascals are puffed up—"I am God." Foolish. How can you be God? You may have some very minute quality of God, but you cannot claim you are God. A small particle of gold is gold, but it cannot be compared with the gold mine. People very much appreciate the gigantic universal form. They think, "Oh! Why shall I worship Krishna? I worship the gigantic universal form." But this gigantic form is a product of Krishna's energy. They do not know that. Here it is said, maya-gunair viracitam: by Krishna's material energy the universal form is created. The material energy— as much as the spiritual energy—comes from Krishna's body. Whatever we see consists of different energies of Krishna. In the Vishnu Purana it is said, eka-desa-sthitasyagner jyotsna vistarini yatha parasya brahmanah saktis tathedam akhilam jagat The vast universal form you are seeing is nothing but parasya brahmanah saktih, the manifestation of the energy of the Supreme Person. How? The example is given, eka-desa-sthitasyagneh: just like fire. Take the example of the sun, the biggest fire within the universe. The sun is situated in one place, but the sunshine is distributed everywhere. The sunshine may cover the whole universe, but that is not very important. The sun globe is important. Similarly, Krishna is playing with the gopis, the cowherd girls, in His spiritual abode Goloka Vrindavana, and His shine is creating the whole universe. Not that because Krishna is playing there He is absent elsewhere. No. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah: Krishna is in Goloka Vrindavana, but He is present everywhere. That is Krishna. I am sitting here, so I am not in my apartment. That is my position. But Krishna's position is that although He is always in Goloka Vrindavana, He is present everywhere. How? Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: He is within every universe and every atom. That is Krishna. Don't think that because Krishna is playing as a cowherd boy or as a friend of the gopis He is an ordinary man. The rascals imitate Krishna. They say, "Oh, Krishna has enjoyed the gopis? Oh, let me gather some young girls and enjoy." We say, "But first you become universally represented everywhere. Then you enjoy." But the rascal cannot do that. He can simply imitate how to be in the midst of young girls and enjoy. That is the difference. Thank you very much. Fasting Festivals Jan 26 Ekadashi Jan 16 Ratha Yatra in Bangalore (fasting till noon Jan 22 Sri Advaita Acharya - Appearance for Varahadeva’s Appearance) fasting till noon Jan 27 break fast Jan 27 Sri Varahadeva - Appearance Feb 10 Ekadashi Jan 28 Nityananda Trayodashi Feb 11 break fast fasting till noon Feb 3 Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati - Appearance fasting till noon Feb 6 Ratha Yatra in Hubli Feb 13 Ratha Yatra in Dharwad Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 7
  5. 5. SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT We Are Offering, ‘Here is GOD’ During a morning walk in Los Angeles on June 25, 1975, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami speaks on the value of Krishna consciousness with Dr. J. Stillson Judah, then of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Srila Prabhupada: Neither the theosophist nor the theologian has a clear idea of God. Do you agree? Dr. Judah: I would make a distinction between knowing God and knowing about God. There is knowledge about God in various books, but one does not know God unless one somehow experiences God. I feel that this is the one thing the bhakti movement of Sri Chaitanya has done: it has allowed its devotees to experience God, to know Him personally in a way that changes their lives. Srila Prabhupada: That is the Vedic civilization. Dr. Judah: Yes. Srila Prabhupada: Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum. Materialistic persons do not know 8 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  6. 6. Vishnu, or God, nor do they know that the ultimate goal gold." Not that the gold has been polluted because it is of life is to know Vishnu. That knowledge is essential to in a filthy place. If there is some gold in the filthy place, human life. But it is missing. People do not care to know don't hesitate. Take it. the ultimate goal of human life. That is their defect. And nicad apy uttamam vidyam. Generally, people used Nobody cares to know, especially in this age. to take education from brahmanas. So Chanakya Pandita So that is the defeat of human civilization. They have advises, "If actual education is available from a lower- come to the human form of life. Now they must know class man—a shudra [laborer] or chandala [outcaste]— what God is. Otherwise, it is defeat. take it. Accept him as your master." Dr. Judah: That's true. And stri-ratnam duskulad api. In India, according to Srila Prabhupada: The opportunity is given by nature, Vedic civilization a young man marries a girl only after which grants the human being good consciousness to scrutinizing her family tradition. But Chanakya advises, know God, Vishnu. Now, practically, especially in the "If a nice, educated, beautiful girl comes even from an Western world, no one can say what is God. abominable family, accept her." Ratnam means "jewel." If the girl is like a jewel although born of a low family, Dr. Judah: That is quite true. accept her. Srila Prabhupada: So, if we are offering, "Here is God," One should accept anything very good, even if it is why do they not accept? What is the objection? available from an undesirable place. So if you are Dr. Judah: I think the great problem in the Western actually seeking God and God is available from the world is that it has always been involved in materialism. Vedic literature, why don't you accept it? Why you should refuse that knowledge? That is not a very good sign. Srila Prabhupada: That means the people don't want to know God. That is a very horrible condition. Dr. Judah: No, that is true. Dr. Judah: That's true. Srila Prabhupada: So we are offering God. Why should people not take seriously what we are offering? Srila Prabhupada: Not only horrible—it is the animals' condition. People who do not want to know God are Now, people may object, "Krishna is Indian, Krishna is just like the animals. Animals are uninterested in God. Hindu, so we shall not accept Him as God." But in the They have no church or temple. But in the human Bhagavad-gita it is written sri bhagavan uvaca: "God society, whether one is Hindu or Muslim or Christian, said." So the verses are the words of God. And Krishna there is some arrangement for understanding God. Now says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: people are also neglecting that, all over the world. The "There is no element superior to Me." Only God can Communists hate to say anything about God. So say that. You may not like the word Krishna, but take ultimately people are coming to such a condition—no the words of God. Who can be superior to God? word about God. So that is the condition of ordinary Dr. Judah: That's true. persons today. Srila Prabhupada: So in this way you can read the Now, apart from them, the theologians and theosophists Bhagavad-gita and remove the word Krishna, and it is are at least trying to understand God. But they cannot still God's word. It is all factual knowledge. So why know God definitely. So why don't they accept knowledge should people not take the science of God from from us? We are offering, "Here is God." Why should Bhagavad-gita? they object? If you do not know something and if I give you the information, why should you not take it? Dr. Judah: Yes. Dr. Judah: That's a good question. Srila Prabhupada: God can say, "There is no principle superior to Me." And that is stated in Bhagavad-gita: Srila Prabhupada: For example, to gain higher technological knowledge, people from India go to foreign mattah parataram nanyat countries. One can take knowledge from anywhere. kincid asti dhananjaya There should not be sectarianism: "Oh, why shall I take mayi sarvam idam protam knowledge from here and there?" Wherever knowledge sutre mani-gana iva is available, we should take it. That is the real position "O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. of the seeker of knowledge. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a Chanakya Pandita says, "If in a pot of poison there is thread." Every word here is God's word. You may accept a little nectar, take the nectar." And amedhyad api Krishna as God or not, but the words are God's words. kancanam: "If there is gold in a filthy place, take the That is Bhagavad-gita. Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 9
  7. 7. Life: Real and Artificial By Sadaputa Dasa In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a group of scientists, mainly the future will consist of crystallike arrays of many from the Los Alamos National Laboratories, held a thousands of microminiature processors, nearly atomic conference on "Artificial Life." The theme of the in size, all computing at once. Toffoli described such conference, which I attended, was that the essence of computers as "programmable matter." life lies not in biological substance but in patterned Indeed (though Toffoli didn't say so), we might regard organization. matter itself, with its interacting atomic subunits, as such If this idea is valid, the thinking goes, life forms should a computer. According to this idea, life is already a be able to set themselves up through many different computer simulation running on the "programmable types of material stuff. In particular, life should be able matter" of the universe itself. to exist as a pattern of electronic activity in a computer. Now, if life is but a computer simulation, a series of The conference organizers, casually dressed, long- computational states, then life too must be essentially haired men in their thirties and early forties, say that unreal. Words such as "flower," "dog," and "human" are artificial, computer-based life forms are developing even simply names, symbols we attach to patterns of matter. now—and may evolve to dominate the earth. This, in fact, is the Vedic understanding not of life but According to this view, the evolutionary role of man is of the material body. In the eleventh canto of Srimad- to give birth to silicon-based life patterns that will Bhagavatam, Krishna says to Uddhava that the gross eventually look back on him as a primitive ancestor. and subtle forms of material bodies have no existence The conference sponsors counseled a broad-minded of their own; they are only temporary patterns manifested attitude toward such evolutionary progress: we should by the eternally existing reality, the Absolute Truth. transcend parochial anthropocentrism and welcome Krishna illustrates this idea with an example: "Gold advanced life in whatever form it may emerge. exists before it is made into gold products, and the gold But some attending scientists doubted whether a remains when the products have been destroyed. The programme running on a computer could properly be gold alone is the reality while used under various names. thought of as alive. Philosopher Elliott Sober argued Similarly, I alone exist before the universe is created that when engineers make a computer simulation of a and after it is destroyed, and I alone exist while it is bridge, no one would think of it as a real bridge: the maintained.... simulation merely shows a picture in which computations "That which did not exist in the past and will not exist tell us something about bridges. In the same way, when in the future has no existence of its own while it lasts.... a computer simulates an organism, we see a picture in Whatever is created and revealed by something else is which computations tell us something about life—we're ultimately only that other thing" (Bhagavatam 11.28.19, not seeing life itself. 21). Tommaso Toffoli, a computer scientist from So we can look at the temporary forms of the material Massachusetts Institute of Technology, responded to universe as patterns in Krishna's energy to which various this argument. Suppose, he said, that simulated people names have been assigned. In essence these patterns were driving in simulated cars on a simulated bridge. If in Krishna's material energy (bahiranga-shakti) are the the bridge were to collapse, the people would fall to same as the patterns of electrons that form and disappear their simulated deaths. in the circuitry of a computer during a simulation. So we The patterns in a faithful simulation match the patterns can view the material universe as the ultimate computer found in reality: the simulated people cross the simulated simulation, and Krishna as the ultimate simulator. bridge just as real people cross a real bridge. And since But seeing the material body as a succession of flickering these patterns, Dr. Toffoli proposed, are the essence of patterns doesn't mean we should view life the same what is happening, we can think of the simulation the way. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (2.20) that the soul, same way we think of the original. the individual conscious self, eternally exists: "For the In principle, then, if a real material scene can exhibit soul there is never birth or death. He has not come into life, so can a simulation. being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval. In practice, of course, present computers, operating He is not slain when the body is slain." with a single processor, are weak at matching the patterns of reality. Tommaso Toffoli's simulated people on the simulated bridge lack one main element: consciousness. A series But Toffoli suggested that the powerful computers of of computations might simulate the changes a person's 10 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  8. 8. body undergoes, including those in the brain. But why should patterns of electric current generate the conscious experience of these changes? We may easily imagine that the patterns of current that make up a machine's computations may flow without conscious awareness. This suggests that if consciousness of the results of these computations exists in the computer, this must be due to some element that our understanding of computers has not yet taken into account. Here's how some might reply: It may be hard to understand how patterns of computer states could generate consciousness, but we already know that similar patterns generate consciousness in human brains. So why can't this take place in a computer? The answer is that we don't know in any scientific sense that patterns of brain states do generate consciousness. Resolving how such patterns A "data-glove" electronically senses his hand movements, might do this in brains would be just as hard as figuring and another device the movements of his head; the out how they might do it in computers. resulting data control the movements of his simulated hand and head. Bhagavad-gita provides a simple solution by postulating that consciousness in the material body is due to the Thus the person experiences the simulated world through presence of an entity fundamentally different from matter. a simulated body, moves about in that body, and handles Given the difficulties philosophers and scientists have simulated objects in that world. run into in trying to understand consciousness as patterns If it is possible to link human consciousness with an of material elements, they should think about this solution. unreal, virtual body in a simulated world, why shouldn't If we tentatively adopt this solution, then we may ask: it be possible to link spiritual consciousness with similarly How would the nonmaterial conscious entity be linked unreal bodies in the "real" material world? to the material body? We can understand how this link The Vedic philosophy known as Sankhya describes the might work by returning to Toffoli's story of the simulated workings of such a communications link. The third canto bridge. of Srimad-Bhagavatam describes Krishna's material energy as including an element called "false ego," or How could we introduce consciousness into the ahankara, which serves as the interface between the simulation? One way would be to make a "real-time" nonmaterial soul and the material energy. This false simulation, one in which the simulated events take place ego serves like the eyephones and data gloves that link at the same pace as corresponding events in the real a human being with a computer running a virtual reality world. (One would simply need a fast enough computer.) programme. Then one could put consciousness into the simulation by electronically linking the senses of real, conscious Both the material body as understood in Vedic literature people with the simulated senses of the simulated and the simulated body in a computer-generated world people. The intentions of the conscious people would are merely temporary patterns in an underlying substrate. move the bodies of the people in the simulated world, But the conscious self—the real essence of the living and the conscious people would have the experiences being—has a substantial reality outside the realm of the simulated people would have. transient patterns. Far-fetched? Some people in computer science are In the computer-generated reality this conscious self is already working on it. VPL Research in California is a human being not part of the computer system, and in experimenting with "virtual realities" in which a person's the Vedic philosophy this self is a transcendental entity eyes, ears, and one hand are hooked up electronically distinct from matter. with virtual eyes and ears and a virtual hand in a One lesson we can learn from the thoughts and simulated world. The person looks through "eye-phones," experiments of computer scientists is that such a small TV screens placed directly in front of his eyes, relationship between the self and the material world is and sees as though in the simulated world. possible. And it just might be our actual situation. Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 11
  9. 9. VEDIC THOUGHTS Those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—, to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have. —Lord Sri Krishna Bhagavad-gita 9.22 Spirit and matter are completely contradictory things. All of us are spiritual entities. We cannot have perfect happiness, which is our birthright, however much we may meddle with the affairs of mundane things. Perfect happiness can be ours only when we are restored to our natural state of spiritual existence. —His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada The Science of Self-Realization A pure devotee of the Lord whose heart has once been cleansed by the process of devotional service never relinquishes the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, for they fully satisfy him, as a traveller is satisfied at home after a troubled journey. —Parikshit Maharaja Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.8.6 A person who worships the demigods and gives up Lord Vasudeva [Krishna] is like a man who gives up the protection of his mother for the shelter of a witch. —Skanda Purana The beauty of the cuckoo is her sweet voice. The beauty of a woman is her chastity. The beauty of an ugly person is his knowledge. And the beauty of an ascetic is his power of forgiveness. —Chanakya Pandita A person becomes purified simply by hearing the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose lotus feet create the holy places of pilgrimage. Therefore, what remains to be attained by those who have become His servants? —Durvasa Muni Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.5.16 Even if one distributes ten million cows in charity during an eclipse of the sun, lives at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna for millions of years, or gives a mountain of gold in sacrifice to the brahmanas, he does not earn even one-hundredth part of the merit derived from chanting Hare Krishna. —Srila Rupa Gosvami Laghu Bhagavatamrta Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 13
  10. 10. Celebrating Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita A 16th-Century Bengali Masterpiece By any standards, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu led a most for both its biographical and philosophical excellence. In By Kalakantha Dasa remarkable life. As a child-scholar, He refuted the leading the early 1970s, one of America's leading specialists in philosophers of His day. Later, as a young renunciant, Indian religions began an eagerly awaited first English He traveled widely, converting kings, panditas, Muslims, translation. He intended to make the work available for Buddhists, and thousands of their followers to the path scholars and postgraduate students of Indian religions. of Krishna-bhakti. In His final years, He exhibited During the same period, His Divine Grace A.C. unprecedented miracles and devotional ecstasies. Even Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada began his own today, five hundred years later, Lord Chaitanya's translation of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Srila movement reverberates around the world with startling Prabhupada's purpose, however, was quite different. He religious vitality. had founded the International Society for Krishna Yet Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is much more than a famous Consciousness in 1966, and now many of its thousands medieval Indian religious leader. He is Lord Sri Krishna, of members, his disciples, had begun to mature in Krishna- the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, appearing bhakti. So Srila Prabhupada, having completed the as a devotee. Lord Chaitanya fulfilled the ancient Puranic Bhagavad-gita As It Is (the fundamental text of spiritual prophecy that Lord Krishna would incarnate in the present life) and many volumes of the vast Srimad-Bhagavatam age of godlessness, known as Kali-yuga, to distribute (a graduate-level scripture), at his disciples' request began love of Godhead throughout the world. work on Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, a text he called the "postgraduate study of spiritual life." Among his many In the late 1500s, the aged and learned Krishnadasa other gifts, Srila Prabhupada wanted to leave his followers Kaviraja Gosvami chronicled Lord Chaitanya's pastimes an authorized translation of this ultimate devotional classic. in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Working in a simple mud dwelling on the bank of the sacred lake known as Radha Like Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Srila Prabhupada Kunda, Krishnadasa Kaviraja drew extensively from the began his project at an advanced age. Unlike his great diaries of Lord Chaitanya's secretaries. From their predecessor, Srila Prabhupada was the leader of a The Bhaktivedanta worldwide spiritual society that needed his constant travel Book Trust edition of descriptions, and first-hand accounts of other Sri Chaitanya- eyewitnesses, he compiled a detailed biography. He and challenged him with diverse problems. Rising early charitamrita (above), emphasized the Lord's later pastimes, as well as His and working before dawn each day in the course of his in nine volumes. At divinity and His profound philosophical teachings. international travels, Srila Prabhupada nonetheless right, Lord Chaitanya, managed to complete Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita in just who is Radha and Over time, prominent Bengali-literate Western scholars eighteen months. He painstakingly translated each Bengali Krishna combined, of religion came to value Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita highly and Sanskrit verse to English, word for word, followed descended to spread the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. A devotee realized that Sachi Devi snatches dirt from In a dream, the Lord’s elder The Lord debates with the local Chaitanya is Krishna her divine son’s hand brother invites Him to leave home Muslim magistrate 14 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 15
  11. 11. The Production Line—1975 Composing Srila Prabhupada dictates Editing Transcribing Typesetting The Lord reveals His form of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya tries The Lord reveals His identity to A bird attacks a group of Varaha to Murari Gupta to teach Vedanta to the Lord Ramananda Raya offensive Buddhists 16 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  12. 12. Off to the printer Opaquing negatives Layout Artists Outputting text Out to the streets Photographing the paintings Sri Sadbhuja—the Lord as Devotees from Bengal visit the Lord Chaitanya and His devotees The Lord dances Krishna, Rama and Chaitanya Lord in Puri clean the Gundicha temple at Rathayatra Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 17
  13. 13. by a full translation and purport. The result of his Typesetters worked in shifts twenty-four hours a day. extraordinary literary efforts would ultimately be published The typesetting computer man barely slept. Determined in seventeen full-sized volumes. to fulfill Srila Prabhupada's order, the devotees pushed themselves to new heights of accomplishment. But to Srila Prabhupada's dismay, publication lagged behind. The two leading managers of the BBT, Soon new volumes of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita began Prabhupada's Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, were still to be offered on the altar in Los Angeles, BBT's home working on the Bhagavatam. Yet they presented temple. To the trained eye, the shiny gold volumes fell Prabhupada an ambitious plan for increasing the BBT's slightly short of BBT's high editorial and artistic standards. pace of production fourfold—one book a month. Srila Nonetheless, Srila Prabhupada handled each new Prabhupada shocked them by his response: "It is not volume with satisfaction. fast enough. You have to do all the books in two months' Two months from the day of Srila Prabhupada's order, time." the last of the seventeen volumes of Sri Chaitanya- The managers stared in disbelief. Seventeen books in charitamrita arrived from Kingsport Press. The jubilant two months? BBT press workers basked in the glow of Srila Prabhupada's blessings. By the grace of guru and "Srila Prabhupada," one ventured, "I think that's Krishna, an "impossible" miracle had been done. impossible. Maybe we can go faster ..." In addition to larger runs of certain volumes, the BBT Srila Prabhupada responded without anger, but very printed twenty thousand complete seventeen-volume gravely: "Impossible is a word found in a fool's dictionary." sets. Many sets were instantly snapped up by eager Consulting among themselves, the BBT leaders and scholars and academic libraries. Readers bought staff resolved to meet Srila Prabhupada's challenge. thousands more for their home libraries. Devotees sold Srila Prabhupada himself agreed to provide special individual volumes in public places. In addition, BBTs help. Thus began an unparalleled two-month publication in India, South America, and Europe began translating marathon in which Srila Prabhupada's personal example Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita into dozens of languages. fueled the BBT workers with inspiration. Grateful scholars heaped praise upon the publication. The managers quickly assembled a team of fifty devotee Dr. J. Bruce Long of Cornell University called it "a cause workers. Photographers flew off to India. Bengali editors for celebration." Teachers could now introduce their double-checked each text with Srila Prabhupada, while students to direct source material about Lord Chaitanya's the English editors, typesetters, proofreaders, and layout life and teachings, and they loved it. artists worked seven days a week from dawn to midnight Many years later, when the noted American Indologist and beyond. The BBT artists whose original paintings finally published what was now the second English would illustrate each volume sacrificed their personal translation of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Srila styles to accommodate a faster, more efficient method Prabhupada's work had already circled the globe. But of finishing one another's work together. Even the BBT's Srila Prabhupada's translation did much more than printer, Kingsport Press in Tennessee, pushed back simply fill a significant vacuum in the academic study other work in order to accommodate the intense printing of Hinduism. As a pure devotee of Lord Chaitanya, Srila schedule. The marathon was on! Prabhupada conveyed the true spirit of Lord Chaitanya's The BBT workers adopted the devotional mood of atma- life and teachings. As a result, Lord Chaitanya has now nivedanam, surrendering everything to Krishna. touched millions of hearts and become part of millions Jungle animals dance at the South India: The Lord visits Deities Sri Panchatattva—Lord Chaitanya Junior Haridasa, in a heavenly Lord’s command of Krishna and Krishna’s parents and His four principal associates form, sings for the Lord 18 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  14. 14. of lives in every corner of the world. In this way, Srila of the scholar, the devotee, or the general reader. Prabhupada has fulfilled one of Lord Chaitanya's own Dr. J. Bruce Long prophecies: "In every town and village of the earth, My Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University holy name will be sung." Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami: Scholarly Praise Empowered Biographer of the Lord As with Srila Prabhupada's other books, scholars greatly The author of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadasa appreciated his presentation of Sri Chaitanya- Kaviraja Gosvami, born around the beginning of the charitamrita. Here we present excerpts from one of sixteenth century, was a disciple of Raghunatha Dasa many favorable reviews when the book first appeared. Gosvami, a confidential follower of Chaitanya The appearance of an English translation of Krishnadasa Mahaprabhu's. Raghunatha Dasa, a renowned ascetic Kaviraja Gosvami's Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita by A.C. saint, heard and memorized all the activities of Chaitanya Bhaktivedanta (founder-acharya of the International Mahaprabhu told him by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Society for Krishna Consciousness) is a cause for After the passing away of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu celebration among both scholars in Indian studies and and Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha Dasa, unable to lay people seeking to enrich their knowledge of Indian bear the pain of separation from these objects of his spirituality. ... It will fill a most serious lacuna in our complete devotion, traveled to Vrindavana, intending to libraries and in our courses on the religious traditions commit suicide by jumping from Govardhana Hill. In of India. Vrindavana, however, he encountered Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, two of the most For the first time we possess a readily accessible edition confidential disciples of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. They for this great religious classic that will provide opportunity convinced him to give up his planned suicide and for scholars in Indian literature and followers of the impelled him to reveal to them the spiritually inspiring Krishna conscious tradition alike to compare the original events of Lord Chaitanya's later life. Krishnadasa Kaviraja text with a modern English translation and become Gosvami was also residing in Vrindavana at this time, acquainted with the deeper spiritual meaning of this and Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami endowed him with full work through the learned commentary of Sri comprehension of the transcendental life of Sri Chaitanya Bhaktivedanta. Mahaprabhu. Anyone who gives a close reading to the commentary By this time, contemporary and near-contemporary will sense that here, as in his other works, Sri scholars and devotees had already written several Bhaktivedanta has combined a healthy mixture of the biographical works on the life of Sri Krishna Chaitanya. fervent devotion and aesthetic sensitivity of a devotee These included Sri Chaitanya-carita, by Murari Gupta, and the intellectual rigor of a textual scholar. At no point Chaitanya-mangala, by Lochana Dasa Thakura, and does the author allow the intended meaning of the text Chaitanya-bhagavata. This latter work, by Vrindavana to be eclipsed by the promotion of a particular doctrinal Dasa Thakura, who was then considered the principal persuasion. authority on Sri Chaitanya's life, was highly revered. These exquisitely wrought volumes will be a welcome While composing his important work, Vrindavana Dasa, addition to the libraries of all persons who are committed fearing that it would become too voluminous, avoided to the study of Indian spirituality and religious literature, elaborately describing many of the events of Chaitanya whether their interests are sparked by the motivations Mahaprabhu's life, particularly the later ones. Anxious Nityananda attracts the Lord to The Lord sports with His One day, the Lord eats enough Lord Chaitanya dreams of the festival at Panihati devotees at a Puri festival for a hundred people Radha Krishna’s pastimes Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 19
  15. 15. to hear these later pastimes, the devotees of Vrindavana requested Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, whom they respected as a great saint and scholar, to compose a book narrating these episodes in detail. Upon this request, and with the permission and blessings of the Madana-mohana Deity of Vrindavana, he began compiling Sri Chaitanya- charitamrita, which, due to its literary excellence and philosophical thoroughness, is today universally regarded as the foremost work on the life and profound teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishnadasa commenced work on the text at a very advanced age and in failing health, as he vividly describes in the text itself: "I have now become too old and disturbed by invalidity. While writing, my hands tremble. I cannot remember anything, nor can I see or hear properly. Still I write, and this is a great wonder." That he completed the greatest literary gem of medieval India under such debilitating conditions is surely one of the wonders of literary history. In a spiritual dream, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami sees Lord Nityananda, (From the Introduction to Sri who tells him to go to Vrindavana Chaitanya-charitamrita) In ecstacy, mistaking a sand A fortunate fisherman catches Lord Chaitanya sees Lord In a spiritual trance, Lord dune for Govardhana Hill the Lord Krishna’s pastimes Chaitanya sees Krishna 20 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  16. 16. Tracing the Hindu Heritage Written in 1991 by Navina Krishna Dasa A few more years and the twentieth century will be over. Five thousand years have gone by since the historic times of Lord Krishna's appearance. Since then, untold stories have been written about men and women, nations, ideas, and civilizations. Mother Earth has seen hundreds of chapters open and close. Somewhere in those chapters, you and I have appeared. And as more chapters are written, we will disappear in the pages of history and be forgotten. Today some of us are Hindus. We are proud to be Hindus. And we try hard to convince our children that they need to be good Hindus too. Of course, we don't always find it easy to explain to them why being Hindu is important and what it's all about anyway. Still, we want to stand up for Hinduism, India, temples, and other things somehow connected with our birth and heritage. Nonetheless, it's entirely possible that a few hundred years ago, in a previous life, we lived as proud Muslims. In that life, we stood up for Islam, tried to raise our children to be good Muslims, went to the mosque, and perhaps broke down Hindu temples to build new mosques. And before that, in some other life, who were we, what religion did we adhere to, and what did we fight for? In this life we may be Indians, Americans, Chinese, Russians. We may be Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, or whatever. And so we may be friends or enemies, live peacefully or make war. But this all comes from a great misunderstanding. Let's not just read one insignificant chapter of our existence. Let's think about all the chapters. Because now we may we see ourselves as Indians, as human beings born in India or born from Indian parents twenty, thirty, fifty, or seventy years ago. But the more we think that way, the more deeply we have failed to understand the most basic message of Bhagavad-gita. Lord Krishna calls Arjuna a fool for identifying with his body and not understanding his spiritual nature. And for us too, how foolish or intelligent we are depends on our own self-understanding. When we trace back our heritage—long before we were Indians—we will understand that we are all spirit souls, parts of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. At some remote time, long before we can ever hope to remember, we gave up being loyal, loving servants of the Lord. Mistakenly, we chose to leave the Lord's abode. And we ventured instead into this temporary, miserable material world to try to enjoy. Taking on different bodies for millions of lives, we have uselessly tried to enjoy what is not enjoyable, forgetting the spiritual bliss found only in the Lord's abode. In Bhagavad-gita (8.16) Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate "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 Kunti, never takes birth again." Lord Krishna invites us back to His abode. And He gives us the means to become free from illusion and go there. The Lord says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Abandon all other so-called dharma and just surrender to Me." And if we're worried about family obligations, career, community duties, or anything else, the guidance and advice of the all-knowing Supreme Lord are available to us in Bhagavad-gita. In fact, we'll find that when we cooperate with Lord Krishna's plan, our life becomes peaceful and joyful in every way. This message of the Bhagavad-gita is the true message of India's greatest saints. It is the real heritage of India. And now is the time for all Indians—and all followers of Vedic culture—to take advantage of this great heritage. Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 21
  17. 17. Sri Vaikuntha Ekadashi The Supreme Lord Vishnu reclines on Ananta Sesha, served by Lakshmi Devi and glorified by Brahma and Saraswati, Shiva and Parvati and the four Kumaras, above the Vaikuntha Dvara (above) at Hare Krishna Hill’s Sri Radha Krishna-chandra temple. The Lord was bathed with a variety of items and then sprinkled with turmeric on the occasion of Vaikuntha Ekadashi. (right) Devotees thronged to have darshana of the Lord on this auspicious festival. (below) 22 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  18. 18. Sri Vaikuntha Ekadashi Devotees chant Sri Krishna Ashtottara on the occasion of Vaikuntha Ekadashi, at Hare Krishna Hill (above) and Vaikuntha Hill (below). Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 23
  19. 19. Sri Vaikuntha Ekadashi Former Prime Minister of India, H D Deve Gowda visited the ISKCON temple in Rajajinagar on Vaikuntha Ekadashi. Eminent musicians Ubhayagana Vidushi Shamala G Bhave and Padmashree Kadri Gopalnath performed devotional music as an offering to the Lord on Vaikuntha Ekadashi. (above and left) 24 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  20. 20. Udupi: Inauguration of Nava Kanaka Ratna chariot Above: Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON - Bangalore seen with HH Visvesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt and HH Sugunendra Tirtha Swami of Puttige Mutt in Udupi during the ceremony of the inauguration of Nava Kanaka Ratna chariot of Sri Krishna (seen in the background with the vigraha of Udupi Sri Krishna) on Dec 26, 2009. Other sannyasis of the Udupi Asta Mutt are also seen. Below: Madhu Pandit Dasa addresses the gathering. Krishna Voice, Jan 2010 25
  21. 21. Akshaya Patra presents social development arena to Shri Salman Khurshid Successful NGO’s from across the state presented their case studies and pan India achievements. Akshaya Patra Foundation, the world’s largest NGO run school meal programme today conceptualised and gave a platform to the social development sector to share their achievements and case studies with Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, Sri Salman Khurshid. The event garnered a good response as nine successful NGO’s participated and interacted about their programme in the social development arena. The primary focus of the event was to inform the Minister of the impact of their social programme. Sri Salman Khurshid, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs and Minority Affairs during his visit to ISKCON - Bangalore and the Akshaya Patra Facility, being received by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa. Sri Mohandas Pai and Sri Abhay Jain, co- Trustees of Akshaya Patra Foundation are also seen in the background. Sri Salman Khurshid interacts with the NGO representatives at the ISKCON temple The Minister was impressed with the work done by various development organizations and has invited them to look into the possibility of replicating the same in his constituency Farukabadh, Uttar Pradesh. Sri Khurshid has extended a special invitation to The Akshaya Patra Foundation to establish a kitchen and to cater to the school meal programme to the children of the district. It may be remembered that a few years ago Rahul Gandhi, Secretary, National Youth Congress had visited Akshaya Patra and had explored the possibility of extending the programme to different cities in Uttar Pradesh. The organizations that participated were Azim Premji Foundation, India Skills—a Manipal Education-City & Guilds Initiative, Parikrama Foundation, EduMedia India Pvt. Ltd, Manipal K-12 Education Pvt. Ltd, Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Arghyam, Sanjeevani and Avesthagen Limited. Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman, Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “We are very happy to facilitate this platform for these developmental organizations to interact with Honorable Minister Khurshid. We are committed to all round development of the nation and believe that together we can achieve a better India.” 26 Krishna Voice, Jan 2010
  22. 22. Krishna Voice Monthly Magazine, January 2010 Vol11, No.1 Price Rs 15/- Posted on 5th or 10th of the Month at MBC, Manipal, License to post without prepayment No. WPP(CO-8), Reg No. KA/BGGPO 2521/ 2009-11, Registered with Registrar of Newspapers for India under No. RNI 71022/99, Posted at MBC, Manipal, 576104. 28