Posted by: jagannathramdas | June 19, 2009

HG Sankarsana Das Adhikari Prabhu’s visit to Melbourne

This week we had the good fortune of having HG Sankarasana Das Adhikari Prabhu and HG Visnupriya Mataji in Melbourne. They graced 4 Bhakti Vrksa groups in Melbourne in addition to Prabhuji’s morning SB classes – which I could not attend all being on workdays ūüė¶

They are an exemplary Grhasta couple and have dedicated their lives to spread the message of Love of Godhead to all corners of the world. I am always dumbstruck by their back2back travel itenerary. All this despite the fact that they are never in the pink of health.

HG Sankarasana Prabhu is an intense personality and whose words have the¬†sharpness to cut through ignorance, even¬†when he is mentioning something which we have heard on umpteen occasions before.¬† I find it best when I hear from him directly sitting across….as I¬†get a better feel of his enthusiasm, conviction¬†and purity of purpose. He seems to enjoy questions so we had a plethora of those for him at each home program. More importantly, his answers were brief, spot-on and¬†very often¬†times¬†‘cutting’. Isn’t that¬†what a sadhu is supposed to do ūüôā

This morning he performed, possibly his 1st initiation ceremony in Melbourne (which I missed witnesssing), in which he renamed Bhakta Kunal as Krsna Prema das.  With his powerful preaching style, he has inspired a good # of other devotees as well in his recent visits to this part of the world.

I am¬†pretty poor¬†with the camera,¬†so you may generally not find too many photos on this website…I do beleive though in their power to enhance the liveliness of any discussion.¬† I wish I had captured few moments on¬†film …oops jpg¬†…pretty intense….sorry to have disappointed you….will attempt this going forward, whenever possible….

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Posted by: jagannathramdas | June 9, 2009

Farm Retreat – New Nandagram, Melbourne

It was an exciting long-weekend as over 120 devotees from Melbourne participated in a spiritual retreat anchored by HG Bhurijana Prabhu and HG Jagattarini Mataji. The retreat was held in the outskirts of Melbourne in  a country-town  called Bambra, past Geelong near Winchelsea.  ISKCON has a farm here named New Nandagram and the retreat is therefore referred to as New Nandagram Retreat.

Most of the devotees arrived at the farm by Friday evening. This year, HG Bhurijana Prabhu¬†focussed on Dhruva Maharaj’s pastime while HG Jagatttarini Mataji discussed Srila Madhavendra Puri.

As for me, the best parts of the retreat were the 2 puppet shows, apparently personally directed by HG Jagattarini Mataji. The first show was on how Lord Krsna stole sweet rice to fulfil the desire of Srila Madhavendra Puri and thereby came to be known as Ksira-cora Gopinath. The second one, focussing on Ramachandra Puri and his offensive behavior towards Lord Caitanya and His devotees, was hilarious yet insightful.

Retreats are¬†excellent¬†channels for re-charging one’s spiritual batteries.¬†In addition,¬†they break¬†the humdrum¬†of urban life and thought and enhance¬†congregational bonding too.

You can soon expect to find details (including pictures) of this retreat on 9days8nights.wordpress.com.

Posted by: jagannathramdas | June 2, 2009

Key Lessons from Daksa yajna pastime

As promised, I thought of penning the key lessons that one learns from a detailed study of the daksa yajna: –

1/ Be mindful of Vaisnava offence sadhu nindaРWe see that Daksa insulted Lord Siva (a Mahajana Himself) and paid a heavy price for the same. He lost his life initially and was revived but with the head of a goat!

2/ Vaisnavas are¬†forgiving – Despite the fact that Daksa drove Lord Siva’s consort to suicide, Lord Siva restored him back to life on the request of Lord Brahma and his entourage. A real Vaisnavas is quick to pardon¬†others and¬†never holds a grudge within his heart for anyone. I heard in a class that even if we hold a grudge against 1 Vaisnava in this world, there is no entry in the spiritual kingdom ūüė¶

3/ We cannot satisfy Lord Krsna while ignoring His devotees РWe see that the Lord accepts His share of the sacrifice only after Daksa apologizes to Lord Siva and give the latter His due share of the yajna.

4/ It is the duty of a Vaisnava to¬†protest another’s blasphemy¬† – We see that Sati does not give up even after Daksa fails to invite Lord Siva (her husband) for the second yajna. She goes there are fights for the honor of her husband and gives up her body when unsuccessful.

5/ The wife will always benefit by¬†following instructions¬†of a self-realized husband – Sati¬†ignored Lord Siva’s instruction to abstain from the Daksa yajna and allowed her emotions to get the better of her intelligence. She had to pay with her life.

6/ Siva-tejas is much superior¬†to Brahma-tejas – The power that Daksa atains from¬†ritualistic sacrifices is¬†very insignificant compared to that of Lord Siva’s. In other words, fruitive work is inferior to work in Krsna Consciousness.

There are many more learnings but these are “top of the mind recall” for me at the moment…

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 27, 2009

Pareto Analysis in Krsna Consciousness

Pareto¬†as an analytical framework is popular in B-schools¬†and is widely deployed,¬†both in manufacturing as well as¬†the service¬†industry. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.¬† It is a common thumb rule in business that 80% of one’s sales come from 20% of one’s clients. Yesterday while studying Srimad Bhagavatam, I realized that we could apply this principle to Bhakti Yoga too!

A devotee’s¬†schedule is usually choc-a-bloc,¬†as in addition to managing his own¬†family and¬†spiritual life, he has to engage in cultivating others.¬†Thus he engages in¬†myriads of activities¬†and it is not too uncommon for one to lose strategic focus and worse, not realize it. This is akin to an organization that has scaled up in terms of geography, products and processes to such an extent that the sheer scale of activities it has to manage leaves¬†scarce bandwidth for¬†a fundamental introspection. At this time an organization engages in pruning its processes and tries to identify those 20% of entities that contribute to 80% growth,¬†be it in topline or bottomline.

The sastras¬†unambiguously declare that chanting is the principal yuga-dharma and¬†our ¬†acaryas have reiterated time and again that ‘Quality of¬† Chanting ‘ (which is that 10% activity given a devotee¬†adheres to¬†the minimum stipulated 16 rounds in a 24 hr day) has the maximum impact in our spiritual progress.¬† I have heard lectures where it was mentioned that 99% of spiritual progress comes from this single most-important activity and all others fall into the remaining 1% bucket.

What perplexes me most is that, even after¬†comprehending this Pareto principle well, one consciously ends up¬† relegating ‘quality of chanting’¬†to the background and¬†instead focuses one’s energies on so many other aspects that will offer instant recognition, possibly from all quarters¬†save Guru and Krsna. If this is not enough evidence of the subtle yet awesome power of Maya, what is?…

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 26, 2009

Writing from the heart

I am sorry that I could not put pen to paper for nearly a week. However, this time it was neither laziness nor a lack of desire…since¬†I started blogging¬†I have realized that its¬†not only difficult¬† but nearly impossible ¬†for me to write anything if I don’t feel pure enough internally, on the day. I coerced myself into scripting something on a couple of occasions out of a sense of guilt arising from procrastination;¬†eventually realized the futility of the exercise. Nevertheless I do not have any intentions to use this as an alibi¬†and conceal my indolence….thats chiefly because I do genuinely enjoy blogging ūüôā … therefore please stay tuned….something coming up soon…

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 18, 2009

HH Vedavyaspriya Swami’s Melbourne visit

It was an extra special weekend, in that, I got an opportunity to associate closely with HH Vedavyaspriya Swami (vvpswami.com¬†and vedavyasapriyaswami.wordpress.com, who made a trip to Melbourne as part of a¬†rather ‘unscheduled’ visit to Australia.¬† Maharaj addressed several Bhakti Vrksa programs in Melbourne and also conducted an ecstatic diety welcoming ceremony in the house of a¬†congregational¬†devotee.¬† Maharaj is very popular¬†with his Vaisnava bhajans, moresoever¬†playing on his own¬†tabla, however in this trip he rarely used it and preferred the mrdanga route instead. In my next blog, I’ll try and post some photographs from his visit…….and yes; I¬†remember I still owe you¬†more on¬†¬†Daksa yajna!

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 12, 2009

Daksa Yajna pastime – in brief

As promised earlier, I thought of penning the gist of Srimad Bhagavatam (SB)¬†Canto 4, Chapters 1-7, popularly known as the Daksa yajna.¬† Below is the pastime in brief: –

Daksa¬†was the son of Lord Brahma and the father-in-law of Lord Siva. His daughter Sati (known as Parvati in her next lifetime) was given in marriage to Lord Siva. ¬†Daksa, as one of the prajapatis, was vested with the responsibility of creating progeny in the material world and was endowed with all kinds of¬†opulences viz. fame, power, prestige, wealth, looks etc.¬†However, these very opulences proved to be his nemesis, when under¬†their influence he developed pride and insulted Lord Siva with harsh words during a yajna¬†in which he had invited all the demigods.¬† Despite these affronts, Lord Siva maintained a dignified¬†posture and simply walked away from the yajna, without retaliation. However there is an exchange of curses and counter-curses between the sages and Lord Siva’s entourage.

Soon therefater, Daksa performed another yajna wherein he intentionally omitted Lord Siva from the list of invitees. When Sati, ignoring Lord Siva’s advice to stay away from the yajna, went ahead and attended, Daksa continued his tirade, making her feel persona non grata and¬†drove her to the point of self-immolation. When Lord Siva heard this, through Narada Muni, he created a powerful demon from his hair, who decapitated Daksa and destroyed the entire sacrificial arena.

The latter part of the SB revolves around how Lord Siva was pacified by Lord Brahma and the demi-gods, in his abode of Mount Kailasa and how he restored the life of Daksa alongwith the sacrificial arena such that the yajna could be successfully accomplished. Lord Visnu personally appears in His 8-handed form at the arena, blesses the yajna and partakes His share of the same. A repentant and reformed Daksa glorifies Lord Siva with the same mouth that vilified him and offers the latter his due share of the sacrifice.

There are powerful lessons to be learned from this pastime and it has multifarious dimensions.¬† In my next blog, I will share some insights.¬† While studying this section, my¬†top of the¬†mind¬†realization was “How important it is to study Srimad Bhagavatam under a senior Vaisnava?”. I am¬†pretty sure, had I read these sections on my own, I would not have derived the same depth of understanding.¬† In short,¬†I encourage you to¬†join the Bhakti Sastri or Bhakti Vaibhava course if your local temple is offering one.

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 8, 2009

Added yet another link

I have added yet another link yesterday, that of the newly released website of HH Radhanath Swami.¬† As a serious spiritual seeker since childhood, he had hitchiked his way from Greece to India, travelling amidst other countries, through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Recently, he released his autobiography titled “Journey Home – Autoboigraphy of an American Swami”, wherein he narrates in great detail his adventures, including several near-death experiences in his sojourn¬†towards the highest spiritual truth. I finished reading this book recently…. and frankly haven’t¬†encountered anything better in this category¬†in my¬†lifetime as yet. …a highly recommended read both for the¬†layman with¬†penchant for real mystery and adventure as well as¬†for the¬†ardent spiritual seeker.¬†¬†For the latter, the book offers¬†exceptional insights into the mystic yoga practices prevalent in the Himalayas even today and expounds the¬†spiritual process of Bhakti-yoga or devotional service as practised in the holy land of Vrndavana.¬† As one of my friends put it “The¬†only disappointment with this book is the fact that it has a finite no. of pages!”…

As per¬†my¬†present understanding this book¬†is yet under a private supply chain network and details¬†around ‘How to Order’ can be found at http://radhanathswami.iskcondesiretree.info/order.html

You will get a good synposis, in the new link I’ve pasted under ‘Blogs I read’. Happy reading!

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 6, 2009

Lyrics of Vaishnava Bhajans

Today, under Blogs I read section, I have added¬†link to a website that offers lyrics to almost all popular bhajans and kirtans that we sing in the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya….Plus one can find useful mrdanga lessons¬†and harmonium notes to some of the oft-sung bhajans.

If you want to actually ‘download and hear’ kirtans you can always click on the spiritual repository link¬†¬†(am not sure though whether they’re offering lyrics as yet).

Posted by: jagannathramdas | May 4, 2009

Bhakti Vaibhava exam

We¬†spent quite a bit of time this weekend,¬† studying SB Canto4, 1-7…..essentially cramming for our Bhakti Vaibhav closed-book exam scheduled tonite:-)…This section deals with the pastimes of Lord Siva, his chaste wife Sati and her father prajapati Daksa. Its a fairly intense section and¬†one can derive¬†quite a bit of realization¬†by¬†meticulous study.¬†¬†

It was Srila Prabhupada’s instruction and desire that devotees must take such examinations and sharpen their philosophical understanding to be able to preach effectively. I will post a few interesting points from this section later this week (after my exam!!).

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