Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thulasi Vivah

On Sunday, November 1, 2009, Bhartiya Cultural Society will be celebrating Tulasi Vivah in their temple. They have invited us to participate in this celebration. There will be a brief ceremony in our temple at 9:30 am. The marriage party (barat) representing the bridegroom, Lord Krishna, will be leaving our temple at approximately 9:45 am that day and reach Bhartiya Cultural Society at 10:00 am. The marriage ceremony, between Lord Krishna and Tulasi Maharani, will be conducted from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at Bhartiya Cultural Society. Following the marriage ceremony, there will be bhajan kirtan and Preetibhojan. All of you are invited to attend this ceremony on behalf of the Bhartiya Cultural Society.

Although our temple will be open for darshan that day, there will be no regular Sunday Feast program on November 1, 2009 in our temple (Sri Sri Radha Govindaji Temple). Therefore you are all requested to proceed to Bhartiya Cultural Society for Preetibhojan.

As well, please note time change on Sunday, November 1, 2009 as the clocks will be put back by one hour.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vijaya Dasami

Come and participate in this glorious event on Sept 28 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009


Although I've been chanting since July, the cosmos has not unfolded psychedelically before me, as I had hoped. What am I doing wrong? Why haven't I seen that apocalyptic vision witnessed by Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra? Where is that virat-rupa, the Universal Form containing myriad eyes, hands, heads, and flaming mouths devouring worlds?

"If hundreds of thousands of suns rose up at once into the sky, they might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form."

According to Swamiji, Sri Krishna revealed this form to Arjuna as a special favor. What Arjuna saw, of course, is beyond description and human imagination. He saw the entire creation contained within the Lord's body.

"The pure devotees are not eager to see this form," Swamiji tells us. "Devotees prefer the two-armed form of Krishna as a cowherd boy. The virat-rupa is exhibited to materialistic men who can be impressed only by the might and opulence of the Supreme."

Well, after all, aren't we Western materialists by birth? Isn't this the form meant for us?

I finally gather the courage to approach Swamiji, waiting until he is alone in his room, sitting behind his footlocker, reading.

"Why can't I see Krishna as Arjuna saw Him on the battlefield?" I ask bluntly.

"You can," Swamiji says. "This is the process, chanting Hare Krishna."

"I've been chanting Hare Krishna more than four months," I complain, "but I still don't see that universal form with all the heads and arms. What am I doing wrong?"

Swamiji looks at me a moment, his eyes magnified behind his glasses. Then he silently hands me the manuscript of his recent translations of Eleventh Chapter verses. I read:

O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see here before me Your actual position, I yet wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours. If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that universal self.

"There," Swamiji says. "'If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form.' So what does that mean?"

I look at the verse again and think more deeply about it. Then I look up at Swamiji. His eyes are fixed on me, awaiting my reply. Suddenly I begin to feel stupid again, as I had when trying to defend the Buddhists.

"It means that Lord Krishna is the best judge," I say at length. "So Arjuna leaves it up to Him."

"Yes," Swamiji says. "That is the process. Arjuna was a great warrior, a great devotee of Krishna's. He didn't want to see the virat-rupa for his personal gratification. He was asking on behalf of the materialists. Yet he says to Krishna, 'If You think that I am able. This is the attitude we should have. Now what do you think?"

Again he looks at me, awaiting my reply, and for a moment I think that if I insist, he might even deliver the vision.

"I don't think I'm ready," I finally say.

"Yes," Swamiji smiles as I hand the verses back. "Yes, my spiritual master used to say, 'Don't work hard to try to see God. But work in such a way that God sees you.' So we should just go on with our chanting, and see Krishna in our service. Carry on devotional service sincerely, and everything will come in time."

His Secretary In Calcutta

One of Prabhupada's dreams was to establish a World Headquarters of the Krishna Consciousness Movement in Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya. Mayapur is located approximately 90 miles north of Calcutta along the sacred Ganges River. Negotiations had been going on to purchase the first piece of land there-this was governed at every step by Prabhupada's personal direction. In Mayapur, Jayapataka prabhu (my Godbrother) was living in a hut on the land we were attempting to purchase. We were getting legal advise from a lawyer, one Mr. Das, and Tamal Krishna prabhu was trying to get this deal finalized. Somehow I became involved, and Prabhupada asked me to accompany Tamal Krishna to Mayapur to finalize the purchase and see that the land was formally registered with the government in the name of ISKCON. In preparation, we visited Mr. Das's house in Calcutta to review legalities involved in transferring title of the land. While we were there, the family priest also visited and proceeded to light up a waterpipe he had brought with him. As the room filled up with a smell reminiscent of Haight-Ashbury, Tamal Krishna and I looked at each, shocked to find ourselves in this situation. Eager to leave the intoxicating fumes from the Hookah, we made our excuses to our host and walked a little unsteadily back to the temple.

We were to travel to Mayapur by train with thousands of rupees for the land purchase stuffed in moneybelts under our clothing. At this time, traveling in Bengal was not considered safe. Bands of Naxalites roamed the countryside, killing, robbing, and burning their victims. We were confident of Divine Protection, however, and so leaving the congestion of Calcutta we were soon in rural Bengal, a most beautiful sight. Bright green paddy fields interspersed with flowing ponds and lush forest. When we arrived in the current city of Nabadwip, we stayed at the family home of Mr. Das, our lawyer. We made arrangements for prasadam from one of the temples. Our morning meal consisted of flattened rice mixed with fresh mango and misthi dahi, a sweet beige yogurt that, once tasted, can never be forgotten. We traveled by boat to the island of Mayapur to meet the Muslim farmer from which the land was being purchased. Seeing the spires of temples rising from the landscape was quite inspiring, as was the Yoga Pith (the actual site of Lord Chaitanya's birth). At our prospective land, we met Jayapataka, who showed us his hut and the surrounding land.

Negotiations were soon completed, papers signed, and the final activity involved registering the deed at the district capital at Krishnanagar. Due to the dacoit danger, we were transported in an army truck surrounded by armed soldiers. We paid the money and saw that all our papers received all the proper stamps, seals and signatures. Deed in hand we became eager to return to Calcutta to bring Srila Prabhupada the good news.

Returning to Calcutta, the train was packed and people kept trying to force their way into our compartment. One of the passengers feigned a contagious disease to persuade others to look for another compartment to barge into. Very late at night we arrived at the Calcutta temple. We were filthy from our journey and exhausted and it appeared everyone was asleep. Then we noticed a light emanating from Srila Prabhupada's room and we could understand that he was awaiting our return. Entering his room, we fell down at his feet to offer our obeisances. Under Prabhupada's questioning gaze, we explained the successful outcome of our journey and produced the legal papers. ISKCON's Mayapur plans had now become a reality. Prabhupada's anxious demeanor gave way first to relief and then to a broad smile of unabashed joy. It was an ecstatic moment that will never be forgotten. The whole room was spiritually energized. Glowing with the pleasure of seeing his dreams become reality, Prabhupada ushered us off to take rest. Our mission completed, my Guru Maharaj pleased, I lay down on the floor to take rest, still basking in the golden glow of Srila Prabhupada's merciful glance.

Srimad Bhagavatam - Canto 1 Chapter 18 Text 24

ekada dhanur udyamya
vicaran mrgayam vane
mrgan anugatah srantah
ksudhitas trsito bhrsam

jalasayam acaksanah
pravivesa tam asramam
dadarsa munim asinam
santam milita-locanam

ekada--once upon a time; dhanuh--arrows and bow; udyamya--taking firmly; vicaran--following; mrgayam--hunting excursion; vane--in the forest; mrgan--stags; anugatah--while following; srantah--fatigued; ksudhitah--hungry; trsitah--being thirsty; bhrsam--extremely; jala-asayam--reservoir of water; acaksanah--while searching for; pravivesa--entered into; tam--that famous; asramam--hermitage of Samika Rsi; dadarsa--saw; munim--the sage; asinam--seated; santam--all silent; milita--closed; locanam--eyes.


Once upon a time Maharaja Pariksit, while engaged in hunting in the forest with bow and arrows, became extremely fatigued, hungry and thirsty while following the stags. While searching for a reservoir of water, he entered the hermitage of the well-known Samika Rsi and saw the sage sitting silently with closed eyes.


The Supreme Lord is so kind to His pure devotees that in proper time He calls such devotees up to Him and thus creates an auspicious circumstance for the devotee. Maharaja Pariksit was a pure devotee of the Lord, and there was no reason for him to become extremely fatigued, hungry and thirsty because a devotee of the Lord never becomes perturbed by such bodily demands. But by the desire of the Lord, even such a devotee can become apparently fatigued and thirsty just to create a situation favorable for his renunciation of worldly activities. One has to give up all attachment for worldly relations before one is able to go back to Godhead, and thus when a devotee is too much absorbed in worldly affairs, the Lord creates a situation to cause indifference. The Supreme Lord never forgets His pure devotee, even though he may be engaged in so-called worldly affairs. Sometimes He creates an awkward situation, and the devotee becomes obliged to renounce all worldly affairs. The devotee can understand by the signal of the Lord, but others take it to be unfavorable and frustrating. Maharaja Pariksit was to become the medium for the revelation of Srimad-Bhagavatam by Lord Sri Krsna, as his grandfather Arjuna was the medium for the Bhagavad-gita. Had Arjuna not been taken up with an illusion of family affection by the will of the Lord, the Bhagavad-gita would not have been spoken by the Lord Himself for the good of all concerned. Similarly, had Maharaja Pariksit not been fatigued, hungry and thirsty at this time, Srimad-Bhagavatam would not have been spoken by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, the prime authority of Srimad-Bhagavatam. So this is a prelude to the circumstances under which Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken for the benefit of all concerned. The prelude, therefore, begins with the words "once upon a time."

Vamana Jayanti

Vamana Jayanti will be celebrated on Monday, August 31, 2009 starting at 6:00 pm with Bhajan Kirtan followed by Gaura Aarati.

We humbly request all of you to participate in this glorious celebration. As well please forward this message to your friends and relations to encourage them also to participate in this celebration.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Radhastami 2009

Thanks all for participating on this glorious event and making it a big success. The only day we could see the lotus feet of our Supreme Mother.

Prabhupada's compassion

One night in Prabhupada's apartment I awoke from a sound sleep about 1:30 a.m. to the ring of Prabhupada's bell. Entering his room, which was dark except for a reading light on a small podium, Srila Prabhupada was sitting reading from a large red Bhagavatam. He motioned for me to sit down. His voice cracking and tears forming in his eyes, he began talking to me about the glories of Prahlad Maharaj and the true meaning of being a Vaishnava. He talked about how Prahlad's only desire was for others to be rescued from this world of birth and death. He described the compassion of the Vaishnava for the fallen souls and, seeing how hard he worked to spread Krishna Consciousness, I could feel his own heart overflowing with this intense form of Vaishnava love.

As Prabhupada spoke, I could only think: why me? I did not deserve such intimacy. If only the world could know Prabhupada's glory, a Mahabhagavata Devotee, a nitya-siddha, eternally liberated soul, whose thoughts day and night focused on how to free the conditioned souls from their bondage. Para duhka duhki, Prabhupada uttered softly while contemplating the incomparable qualities of a true Vaishnava, which he exemplified perfectly. If there is another person living with these attributes, I have not met him.

Prabhupada's mood gradually changed and soon he was describing his youthful acting in transcendental dramas, and we were laughing as he graphically recreated characters for me. After some time, Prabhupada indicated that I should return to take rest. I was walking in a cloud surcharged by the pure devotional energy emanating from the mouth of the Lord's dearmost representative. As I lay down to sleep, I thought that no possible dream could surpass the reality I had just experienced.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The sign of a devotee

Srila Prabhupada: "That is the sign of a devotee, appreciation. Narada Muni says that the devotee always appreciates the qualities of the other devotees. Yes, that is the sign, appreciation of the activities of devotees.

"A devotee who is actually freed from all contaminations does not find any fault with other devotees. He does not think himself that he's a bigger devotee or greater devotee than others. He thinks himself as the lowest of all. As Chaitanya Caritamrta author, Krishna das Kaviraj says, 'I am lower than the insect within the stool, I am a greater sinner than Jagai and Madhai. Anyone who takes my name, immediately all the results of his pious activities become vanquished.'

"It is not imitation or any bluff. Any devotee who is actually advancing, he feels like that. Just like the great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, used to say, 'I've simply collected a few grains of sand from the ocean of knowledge.' Actually, that is a fact, everything is unlimited.

"So nobody should be proud falsely, that he has become a great devotee. Everyone should be very humble, 'Trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna, amanena manidena, kirtaniya sada Harih.' If one thinks that he has become very advanced devotee, then that is very dangerous.

"Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'My spiritual master saw Me as a great fool, therefore he has chastised Me. 'Don't read Vedanta, chant Hare Krishna.' He presented Himself like that. Is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu murkha? (fool) But that is the conception of an advanced devotee. They never think that they are very highly advanced devotee. What is advanced. What devotion can we offer to Krishna. He is unlimited. He is kindly accepting our little service that's all. Don't be proud of becoming a great devotee. That is first-class falldown." (72/55)

- From the "Prabhupada at Radha-Damodara" by HH Mahanidhi Swami

Srimad Bhagavatam - Canto 1 Chapter 18 Text 14

ko nama trpyed rasavit kathayam
nantam gunanam agunasya jagmur
yogesvara ye bhava-padma-mukhyah

kah--who is he; nama--specifically; trpyet--get full satisfaction; rasa-vit--expert in relishing mellow nectar; kathayam--in the topics of; mahat-tama--the greatest amongst the living beings; ekanta--exclusively; parayanasya--of one who is the shelter of; na--never; antam--end; gunanam--of attributes; agunasya--of the Transcendence; jagmuh--could ascertain; yoga-isvarah--the lords of mystic power; ye--all they; bhava--Lord Siva; padma--Lord Brahma; mukhyah--heads.


The Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna [Govinda], is the exclusive shelter for all great living beings, and His transcendental attributes cannot even be measured by such masters of mystic powers as Lord Siva and Lord Brahma. Can anyone who is expert in relishing nectar [rasa] ever be fully satiated by hearing topics about Him?


Lord Siva and Lord Brahma are two chiefs of the demigods. They are full of mystic powers. For example, Lord Siva drank an ocean of poison of which one drop was sufficient to kill an ordinary living being. Similarly, Brahma could create many powerful demigods, including Lord Siva. So they are isvaras, or lords of the universe. But they are not the supreme powerful. The supreme powerful is Govinda, Lord Krsna. He is the Transcendence, and His transcendental attributes cannot be measured even by such powerful isvaras as Siva and Brahma. Therefore Lord Krsna is the exclusive shelter of the greatest of all living beings. Brahma is counted amongst the living beings, but he is the greatest of all of us. And why is the greatest of all the living beings so much attached to the transcendental topics of Lord Krsna? Because He is the reservoir of all enjoyment. Everyone wants to relish some kind of taste in everything, but one who is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord can derive unlimited pleasure from such engagement. The Lord is unlimited, and His name, attributes, pastimes, entourage, variegatedness, etc. are unlimited, and those who relish them can do so unlimitedly and still not feel satiated. This fact is confirmed in the Padma Purana:

ramante yogino 'nante satyananda-cid-atmani
iti rama-padenasau param brahmabhidhiyate

"The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rama."
There is no end to such transcendental discourses. In mundane affairs there is the law of satiation, but in transcendence there is no such satiation. Suta Gosvami desired to continue the topics of Lord Krsna before the sages of Naimisaranya, and the sages also expressed their readiness to hear from him continuously. Since the Lord is transcendence and His attributes are transcendental, such discourses increase the receptive mood of the purified audience.

Radhastami 2009

Our next event is Radhastami 2009. We will be celebrating it on the 27th August 2009.

Please come and participate in this glorious event. This is the only day we can have darshan of the lotus feet of Srimathi Radharani.

Rath Yatra 2009

The Rath Yatra 2009 went really well. Thanks for all the volunteers who helped us make this event successful.

More on this in our upcoming post.

Friday, July 10, 2009

HH Gopala Krishna Goswami Maharaj Visit to Edmonton

His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaj appeared on the auspicious day of Ekadasi, on August 14, 1944 in New Delhi, India.

After graduating from the Delhi University, His Holiness studied Business Management at the University of Paris in Sorbonne and later obtained his Master's degree in Business Administration from the McGill University of Montreal.

His Holiness Gopal Krishna Maharaj's life changed dramatically after he met His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on June 1, 1968. In two weeks he knew that he would accept Srila Prabhupada as his spiritual master.

After taking a formal initiation from Prabhupada on May 22, 1969, he got fully involved serving him. Srila Prabhupada sent him to India after he had served him as his personal secretary in 1975.

His Holiness was appointed the Governing Body Commissioner (GBC) of ISKCON, India, where he utilized his talents for promoting Srila Prabhupada's books all over the world. In 1982, His Holiness took sannayasa, the vedic order of renunciation.

His Holiness is now GBC of over 30 temples around the world with disciples in Russia, America, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. His Holiness is actively involved in many of ISKCON's current projects.

On the auspicious day of Ram Navami in 1998, His Holiness successfully opened the multi-crore temple in New Delhi, India, known as the GLORY OF INDIA which includes a multi-media visual display, a Vedic cultural museum and an open air theater. This was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Rath Yatra 2009

We will be celebrating a glorious Rath Yatra 2009. Please find more information regarding the event and the place and route in the flyer below.

Please come and take part in this glorious event.

Janmasti 2009

We will be celebrating Sri Krshna Janmastami 2009. Please come and take part in this glorious event. For any further information please read the flyer below.