Indradyumna Swami FaceBook post November 2017.
November 28, 2017: Rainbow Splash
Leaving Vrindavan for South Africa tonight to attend a major 3-day festival on the Durban beachfront called, “Rainbow Splash.” We’ve been invited to do what we like the most; chant, dance, explain Bhagavad Gita and distribute prasadam.
hari bhakti sudhodaye
visnu bhaktasya nrtyatah
padbhyam bhumer diso ‘ksibhyam
dorbhyam vamangalam divah
“The Hari bhakti-sudhodaya says: In a variety of ways, the inauspiciousness of the earth is destroyed by the feet, the inauspiciousness of the directions is destroyed by the eye-glances and the inauspiciousness of the heavens is destroyed by the arms of a Visnu bhakta dancing out of ecstatic joy!”
[ A similar verse is quoted in the Caitanya-bhagavata 2.184 ]
November 27, 2017: Update On Agnideva Prabhu’s Condition
Dear devotees, friends and well-wishers:
I just received this update on Agnideva prabhu’s condition from doctors in the hospital in Sydney, Australia, where he is being treated:
“Agnideva’s open heart surgery was very successful. The procedure was much more complicated than expected, with coronary bypass being done on 3 arteries, including the main artery. The Mitral Valve could not be repaired but was successfully replaced , and everything is functioning well. All the coronary and respiratory buds have been removed and he is breathing normally with all vital signs stable. Yesterday the catheter was removed from his arm, and we are pleased to report that he is eating well and on oral medication only .
“After a week to 10 days, if we are satisfied that there are no adverse reactions from the surgery, he will be transferred to a fully supervised rehabilitation centre. On Wednesday the rehabilitation team will examine him to determine the period and cost of rehab.
“Airlines will allow him to fly home to America after 6 weeks with our certification of fitness.”
Dear devotees: We still require $45,000 more for all Agnideva prabhu’s medical expenses and rehabilitation. If you would like to help this wonderful devotee to continue spreading the glories of the holy name all over the world, please visit:
Thank you so much!
November 25, 2017 : Praying For Protection
Boarding a flight from Sydney to Delhi in a few hours. Praying for the protection of Lord Nrsimhadeva!
“May the finger-nails of Narahari, who are assuming a
reddish color and are thinking, ‘The enemy has only five
life-airs while we are ten in number, so how can the enemy
win against us?’ protect you all!”
“They have become as reddish as a parrot’s beak due to
contact with the blood flowing like a river from the crevices
in the broken bones of the demon Hiranyakashipu. They
appear curved like the waxing moon on the second day.
May those fingernails of Hari, who assumed the form of
a lion, protect you!”
“May the fire born out of the friction of the teeth of
Hari’s saw against the chest of the demon purify you!
On the demon’s skin, this fire made the noise, ‘cata cata’.
His flowing blood created the noise ‘chama chama’. The
fire burning his fat made a loud, ‘dhaga dhaga’ sound,
while the fire burning his bones, created a loud cracking
sound, ‘kada kada.’”
[Translator’s note: Lord Nrsimha’s arm is compared
to a saw and the fingernails attached to that arm are
compared to the teeth of that saw.]
“Even his own fingernails are not able to look at the angry
face of Nrisimhadeva, made angrier by the slaughter of
Diti’s son in battle. That is the reason why these nails are
bent down [as if cowing away in fear]. May the sole hero
of the universe named Narahari (Nrisimha) bestow happiness
“Fearing the destruction of his body, the enemy
[Hiranyakashipu] entered into Nrsimha’s nails. Nrsimha,
being astounded at this disappearing act, thought ‘Where
is he? Where is he?’ and looked everywhere. Not finding
him, Nrsimha said, “Oh! It was all in vain!” and banged
his palm [on the wall]. Thus the demon fell down like a
speck of dust on the ground. Seeing him like this, the
Lord laughed loudly. All glories to that Lord Nrsimha!”
“If I throw away the body of this enemy of the demigods,
then the oceans will overflow, the earth will drown in the
causal ocean, the lower planets will be destroyed, the
universe will be shattered into pieces and the heavens
will fall down.” Thinking like this, he kept bearing the body
of dead Hiranyakashipu on his lap. May that Hari, who
appeared as a lion, protect you all!”
[ Translated by Hari Parshad Das from the Subhita-ratna-bhandagaram, Nrsimha section. Compiled by Kashinath Sharma.]
November 25, 2017: The Parchment
The Parchment – Dearest Prahladananda das and Vraja Kumari dasi. Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I see myself as a “scripted devotee” someone who puts pen to paper to organize his thoughts. And so it is that I read an offering to you on this auspicious day of your marriage. Having a written parchment will afford you the opportunity to revisit this day of mirth and joy, and remember whatever humble advice I can offer to you about how to make your journey together on the path of Krsna consciousness both materially and spiritually rewarding.
I say “materially rewarding” because the basic needs of life, which everyone seems to struggle to obtain, are easier to achieve when husband and wife cooperate together.
Mother Teresa once said:
“I can do things you cannot. And you can do things I cannot. But together we can do great things.”
What great things can a househoulder couple in Krsna consciousness achieve? One significant achievement is that by working together they can simplify their lives and find time for the most essential things in life: chanting Hare Krsna, reading Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with devotees and sharing their good fortune with others.
Srila Prabhupada writes in a purport in the fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:
“Another feature of the devotee is nirihaya, simple living. Niriha means “gentle,” “meek” or “simple.” A devotee should not live very gorgeously and imitate a materialistic person. Plain living and high thinking are recommended for a devotee. He should accept only so much as he needs to keep the material body fit for the execution of devotional service.” [ SB 4.22.24 purport ]
You, Vraja Kumari, were born into an affluent family in which your parents have set a wonderful example by sacrificing most their wealth for the propagation of Krsna consciousness. Embracing that example, you yourself showed the utmost detachment and compassion by donating your entire first year’s salary to my festival tour in Poland. It was a significant donation and it was only by your generosity that we were able to function that year. You could have used any amount of that money for yourself to buy clothes, jewellery or even a car, but despite your access to wealth you always remain simple at heart—even austere in some ways.
Yesterday evening when I met your husband to be, Sriman Prahladananda das, I mentioned how much I appreciated your frugal nature and how it would surely continue in household life even though he, a capable and responsible individual, could provide whatever you needed. He nodded, appreciating your endearing qualities, but then smiled and said, “But look at the engagement ring I bought her!”
Glancing at your hand I noticed the beautiful ring, which you showed to me, blushing a little bit. Your shy demeanour only convinced me more that you and your husband will live well, but simply, using all your energy in the service of guru and Gauranga. Thus, your household life will surely also be spiritually rewarding.
Now for some practical advice. To ensure that those spiritual rewards manifest, remember a cardinal rule in household life: never be so busy that you don’t have time to sit together as a family, chant your rounds, read and peacefully take prasadam. Together those simple activities are the very essence of our spiritual progress; this is true for individuals, couples and the society of devotees as a whole.
Challenges will come: none of us are perfect (at least at this stage) and sometimes there will be disagreements between husband and wife. But those differences can be tolerated and overcome when the relationship between husband and wife is rooted in service to their spiritual masters and Krsna. Such a genuine, deeply spiritually and satisfying relationship can never be broken. Srila Prabhupada used to give the example that although many powerful rivers flow into the ocean, the ocean is never disturbed because of its greatness. Your greatness as a couple is the depth of your love for the vaisnavas, your spiritual preceptors and Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
That kind of love is unknown to most people in this world because it is a pure, selfless love. It pervades all relationships in Krsna consciousness: the relationship between disciple and their spiritual master, between parents and children, between friends and between husband and wife. Selfless love is the fundamental theme of Krsna consciousness and is most perfectly demonstrated by the cowherd girls of Vrindavan.
In closing I would like to share, once again, my favorite wedding story; I repeat it again and again at each vivaha-yajna I attend! It reveals the secret for success in holy matrimony and serves as a good example for both of you.
A few years ago, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles where I was to attend another devotee marriage, I was contemplating what I might say when asked to speak at the event. Being late for the flight that day I was unfortunately assigned a middle seat between a more desirable window and aisle seat. As I settled in, an elderly couple appeared and squeezed in on either side of me: the man took the window seat and his wife took the aisle seat.
As soon as the flight took off the elderly man said very loudly, “Martha, I love you! I can’t want to get to Los Angeles to celebrate our seventy-fifth wedding anniversary!”
She screamed back at him, “Georgie, I love you too! It will be fun! It’s always fun with you!”
It was obvious to me that they were both very hard-of-hearing.
“Wow!” I thought to myself. “They’ve been married for 75 years! I can get some tips from them about successful marriage and use it in my talk at the wedding.”
“Excuse me,” I said, turning from side-to-side to get both of their attention.
“What’s that young man?” screamed the old lady. “Speak up!”
“Young man?” I thought. “I’m 66 years old!” But I said aloud, “How old are you, Ma’am?”
“We’re both 96.” she replied.
“We were childhood sweethearts,” chimed in the old man.
“I see,” I said. “Well, I’m going to a wedding on the West Coast and I’d like to ask you for some advice that I can share with the young couple. What would you say is the essential ingredient for a successful marriage?”
They looked at each other for a moment, paused, then smiled and said simultaneously in their equally loud voices:
“Love means to give more than you take!”
I leave you, Prahlad and Vraja Kumari, with those words of wisdom found both in our ancient scriptures and from the mouths of an old couple in the USA. I have no doubt that many years from now you will share those words of wisdom with your own children and grandchildren, thus ensuring this magical formula for successful marriage is passed down through generations.
I wish you a prosperous marriage full joy and laughter. I pray the good Lord will send you saintly sons and daughters who will carry on the legacy of this great movement. And I wish that by serving the devotees, your spiritual masters and the Lord successfully throughout your married life together, you will indeed reach perfection in Krsna consciousness and go back home, back to Godhead in this very lifetime!
As you come together in sacred marriage on this most auspicious day, I pray that this old parchment—new actually, but steeped in the knowledge of our ancients—will be of some use to you, both today and in the years to come.
Your ever well-wisher,
November 21, 2017: Agnideva Prabhu’s Health Update
One of my main objectives in coming to Australia was to visit Agnideva prabhu in the hospital in Sydney. Myself and Sri Prahlada dasa spend over an hour with him this afternoon in ICU. He had triple-bypass heart surgery 2 days ago. He was unable to speak, but squeezed my hand tightly as Sri Prahlada led kirtan and I shared some pastimes of Lord Caitanya with him. When I mentioned how so many devotees around the world were praying for him and donating towards his medical expenses, tears rolled down his cheeks. He will be in ICU for another week and then rehab for 2 months. Although his discomfort was obvious he managed a smile just before we left. If you would like to contribute to his care please visit:
November 20, 2017: Walk Through A Forest
Today on a walk through a forest north of Sydney, here in Australia, I came across some very friendly creatures. I was surprised by their calm demeanor and innocent nature. And I was happy to share some fruit with them!
November 18, 2017: Every Single Door Must Be Knocked
Two days ago I left Vrindavan for a short preaching tour in Australia, which will conclude with the wedding of one of my disciples next week. Shortly after, I will go to South Africa for a large public festival program in Durban. So happy to be sharing the mercy I received while staying two months in Vraja. The words of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati give me great inspiration:
“Everyone’s auspiciousness will come by preaching about Lord Caitanya. Like itinerant merchants you should take the wares of Caitanya-vani throughout the globe. If necessary, go to all four corners of the earth. Violence to oneself and others under the name of nirjana-bhajan must be stopped. Every single door must be knocked on at least once. If the inhabitants sincerely inquire as to which manner of hari-bhajan may be performed aright, tell them that the only way is through the bhaktivinode-dhara, the line of Bhaktivinode Thakur.”
[ From an address at the disappearance festival of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode in 1936. Quoted in Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava, volume 1, by Bhakti Vikas Swami. Also in Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindhu, issue no. 412 ]
November 15, 2017: In Memoriam
My dear Braja Vallabhi, Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Though you have departed this world I pray that through the transcendental medium my words will be communicated to you wherever you are serving—be it in this world, or at the lotus feet of Radha Syamasundara in the spiritual world. I am convinced it is in the latter, for Srila Rupa Goswami writes in his Mathura-mahatmya, quoting Skanda Purana:
sarpa dastah pasu hatah
labda pamrtyavo ye ca
mathure mam loka gah
“Those in Vraja-maṇḍala who are bitten by a snake, killed by animals, killed by fire, water or any other unnatural cause certainly become residents of My very own spiritual planet.”
[ Skanda-purnam, Margasisa-mahatmya, chapter 17, verse 50 ]
My dear spiritual daughter, although I am your spiritual master, supposedly learned in sastra and fixed in devotional service, nothing could prepare me for your sudden and unexpected departure. This is not a weakness, rather it is the nature of love; the love of a guru for his disciple, and a disciple for her guru.
In a letter on September 28, 1966, Srila Prabhupada wrote:
“At his first sight of me my spiritual master also saw me with such love. It was in my very first darsan of him that I learned how to love. It is his boundless mercy that he has engaged an unworthy person like me, in fulfilling some of his desires. It is his causeless mercy to engage me in preaching the message of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha.”
In the same way, Vallabhi, it was from your love for me, demonstrated through your continuous selfless service, that my appreciation and love for you as my spiritual daughter, manifested. Because of your inherent talents, recognized by one and all, you were instrumental in the organization and running of all my major preaching programs for many years; from the Festival of India in Poland, to Krishna’s Village of Peace at Woodstock, throughout the grand festivals in Gujarat and Maharashtra and here in Vrindavan during Kartika. I can honestly say I would not have been successful without you. I was fully dependent on your service in helping me preach Krishna consciousness around the world. What will I do now that you are gone?
It was in this mood that Srila Prabhupada wrote to a disciple on January 22, 1976:
“You cannot survive without my mercy and I cannot survive without your mercy. It is reciprocal. This mutual dependence is based on love – Krishna consciousness.”
Indeed, I was always aware of your excellence in service. Whenever a difficult task came up, such as organizing the Sacred Sounds kirtan mela at New Govardhana, it was enough to simply say to you, “Vallabhi, please get it done.” Things won’t be so easy now that you’re gone—and not as relishable, either. It was your joyful smile, your enthusiasm, and your determination to please others that made performing devotional service such a pleasure in your association. My dear spiritual daughter, I cannot properly express how much I will miss you!
Once again, the wisdom of the poet George Eliot rings true: “Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”
Dearest Vallabhi, some of my fondest memories will be of our time spent here in this holy abode of Sri Vrindavan dhama. For many years you assisted Rasika Siromani dasi and her husband, Govinda caran dasa, in organizing large Kartika parikramas. It was an overwhelming task to say the least, but nevertheless you always found time to sit and hear the lectures and relish the kirtans of the holy names. Just the other night you said to a friend during a particularly enthusiastic bhajan, “I would be happy to leave my body in the midst of such beautiful singing of the holy names.”
And, in essence, that’s exactly what you did. On that fateful day you departed, you were on your way to the Holy Name retreat at Govardhan Hill. Devotees who were in the vehicle with you told me you were enthusiastically chanting japa all the way when, just minutes away from sacred Radha Kunda, the accident happened. You left your body immediately. Though it was a tragic demise, it enabled you to achieve your heart’s desire. Such is the all-merciful nature of Sri Vrindavan. Srila Rupa Goswami writes in Utkalika-vallari:
“O handsome, fragrant tamala desire tree blooming in the Vrindavan forest and embraced by the madhavi vine of the goddess ruling this forest! O tree, the shade of whose glory protects the world from a host of burning sufferings, what wonderful fruits do the people find at your feet?”
[ Srila Rupa Goswami, Utkalika-vallari, A Vine of Hopes, text 66 ]
You were born into a family of devotees, you lived a fully Krishna conscious life and you departed in the holy dhama of Sri Vrindavan chanting the holy names. Let me now describe in detail your journey from that point on. Most surely it corresponds with Srila Rupa Goswami’s description of entering into the eternal realm of Vrindavan in his famous poem, Uddhava-sandesa. Krishna is speaking to Uddhava:
“Oh my brother, the path you will follow to faraway Nadisvara Hill is said to be beautiful, straight and good. When you fall into the ocean of bliss in Gokula I will become very happy. When a friend becomes happy, good persons think themselves happy too. “
“First you should go to the place named Gokarna, where Lord Siva, who captains the ship that leads people out of the ocean of troubles stays. O wise one, nearby you should go to the place where the Yamuna meets the Sarasvati, a place that fulfills the living entities’ desires.”
“It is this place that I first entered Mathura. There I was kissed by waves of sidelong glances from a host of beautiful women who said, ’O slender friend, we have become most fortunate, for the graceful flutist whose music made the gopis’ garments slip now walks on the pathway of our eyes.’”
“From that place, flooded with bliss, please take the nearby path to Ambikavana, where, rescuing Nanda from a snake in Kaliya lake, and delivering a Vidyadhara, I gave a festival of happiness to the cowherd girls of Vraja.”
“O wise one, don’t take your chariot on the path that goes by the hilly place on the Yamuna’s bank where Kuvavalapida again and again attacked Me with his tusks. Saintly persons never take the paths where the demoniac walk.”
“Avoid the southern path. Go north to the king of holy places, a place beautiful with many blossoming sumanah flowers and graceful birds, the place where, by My mercy, Akura first saw the world of the gopas.”
“Even if you don’t wish to pass by the doors of the yajnika-brahmanas who because they slighted Me are not dear to you, you should still glance at the brahmanas’ wives, who are always singing my glories. If you do not wish to see them, your eyes will be cheated of something very valuable.”
“Then please quickly go to the place named Kotika, which is near Mathura city, and which is filled with a great circle of blossoming trees. When I walked through that place, a girl picking flowers uncovered part of her shoulder and smiled at Me.”
Dearest Vallabhi, Srila Rupa Goswami’s beautiful description of a pilgrim’s journey into Vrindavan continues in his poem, as will the Lord’s mercy upon you as He guides you further on this path of pure devotion to His lotus feet. As such your love for Vrindavan and the Divine Couple will blossom day by day. Such things are attainable for those who follow our beloved Srila Prabhupada, as he indicated to one of my godsisters early in our movement:
“As your devotional service becomes mature you shall see Krishna more and more, and more and more you shall realize the qualities of the holy land of Vrindavan.”
[ Letter to Hladini dasi, January 28, 1973 ]
Dear Vallabhi, I once asked my godbrother, Tamal Krishna Goswami, what is the most important characteristic of a disciple. He immediately replied, “Guru-nistha, faith in the spiritual master.” You embodied that faith, and it was your most endearing quality. I then asked him, “What is the greatest challenge in becoming an initiating spiritual master?” He paused for a moment and then replied softly: “Sometimes you are obliged to accept disciples who are more advanced than yourself.”
I am so fortunate to have you, and so many others like you, as my disciples. I will never forget you. Your final words to me, in a prophetic message texted only minutes before you left this world, will always remain with me. We had been discussing how we’d soon be serving in different countries. Little did we know it would be different worlds.
“I will be waiting to serve you Srila Gurudeva.”
Please be patient Vallabhi. I’ll be Home soon enough. And as Srila Prabhupada said, “One day we’ll have our ISKCON in the spiritual world.”
Your ever well-wisher,
November 14, 2017
Yesterday we had the cremation ceremony for Braja Vallabhi dasi on the bank of the Yamuna river. Three hundred devotees attended. Just as the fire began, a cow appeared and stayed with us for several hours. It was a sign of great auspiciousness. Devotees who live in Vrindavan are invited to her memorial service at 11 a.m. tomorrow ( Wednesday ) in the Balarama Hall at the Krsna Balarama Mandir. We will have kirtan and devotees will share their memories of Braja Vallabhi dasi. A sumptuous feast will be served at 2 p.m. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
November 12th 2017
Dear devotees living in Vrindavan: The Bhaktivedanta Hospice on the parikrama marg has agreed to let the friends and well wishers of Braja Vallabhi dasi, who departed this world yesterday, to come and see her and offer prayers throughout the day. Tomorrow we will leave the Krsna Balarama Mandir at 9:30 a.m. in a procession to the Yamuna river for cremation.
November 11, 2017
Dear disciples, friends and well wishers,
Today my beloved disciple, Braja Vallabhi dasi, from Brisbane, Australia passed away in a tragic car accident while on her way to attend a seminar at Govardhan Hill here in Vrindavan. She was only 23 years old. She was a wonderfully talented devotee with an effervescent smile, who most recently helped tremendously in organizing our month long Karitka parikrama. We will miss her dearly. Please everyone say a prayer for her, as well as for her parents, Sakhi Rai das, Vraja Laksmi dasi and her sister Kaishori Sindhu dasi who must now all bear her separation.
November 11, 2017: Eternally in Vraja
Kartika is over and most pilgrims have left for their respective countries and homes. I am enjoying the opportunity for chanting and reading in the peaceful and quiet atmosphere. For the moment I have no desire to go anywhere else.
“Even if I have the opportunity to bathe in the ocean of pure love of Krishna, and even if I have the pure devotees of the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead as my associates, I will not consent to live even for a single moment, in any sacred place other than Vrajabhumi. Even if the residents of Vraja appear to be ordinary, and even if they fill my ears with useless gossip, I pray that I may remain among them, eternally residing here in Vraja.”
[ Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami ]
November 6, 2017: Mumbai Fest
Today I flew down to Mumbai to participate in the launch of an upcoming event in Mumbai, called Mumbai Fest. It will be a cultural extravaganza at the end of December with many forms of entertainment. Most important, the event will hold a World Peace Summit with many of India’s prominent spiritual leaders. The organizers asked the head of the Jain religion Dr. Lokesh Muni and myself to address the press on the theme of world peace. Afterwards, I met many prominent people of Mumbai who were present. Practically every one of them glorified Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON for the work our movement has done in sharing Vedic culture all over the world. It was so satisfying to hear Srila Prabhupada glorified in that way.
November 4, 2017: Yavat
Today we visited Yavat, a small village where Srimati Radhani lived. After offering our pranams, we took one of our favourite walks through the fields to reach Tera Kadambha. This is where Krsna kept his cows and where Srila Rupa Goswami performed his bhajan and wrote Upadeshamrita. Through Krsna Katha and Kirtan we can experience some of the sweetness of these magical places.
November 3, 2017: Most beautiful Lakes
Yesterday we visited several of the most beautiful transcendental lakes in the material creation!
November 2, 2017: Prem Sarovara
Prema Sarovara is a lake in Vrindavan that manifested from the combined tears of Radha and Krsna as They were experiencing separation from each other. It is a deeply spiritual place while at the same time it’s external beauty is beyond compare!
November 2, 2017: Moon of Gaura and Ocean of Radha Krishna
The interesting thing is that while in the west, my thoughts often drift towards Vrindavan and while in Vrindavan I often think of my services in the west. My conclusion is that each activity nourishes each other.
yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde
vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ
tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmāt
Translation: “To the degree that a fortunate pious person attains devotion unto the lotus feet of Gaura, to that degree he spontaneously finds the nectar-ocean of attachment to Sri Radha’s lotus feet rising in his heart.”
[ Sri Caitanya Candramrta, Chapter 8, text 88, by Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati Thakura ]
[Note: The commentator named Anandi says that this verse depicts a beautiful visual imagery. Just as a progression in the phase of the moon spontaneously causes the ocean to progressively swell, similarly, an increase in one’s devotion to the moon-like Gaura spontaneously causes the ocean of attachment to Sri Radha to rise higher and higher.]