Wednesday, February 15, 2017

THE BIRTHPLACE OF SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKURA

Thakura
at Sri Jagannatha Puri Dhama

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was a foremost scholar and Lord Krishna’s devotee of his day. Born on 6 Feb 1874 at Jagannatha Puri, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is the child that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to Lord Jagannatha for, wanting an able assistant to preach Krishna Consciousness. His divinity was evident from birth. When he was born, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his body like a brahmana thread. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave his son the Harinama Maha-mantra and Nrsimha mantra at five years of age. He entered the Sanskrit University in 1892 and received the honorific title of “Siddhanta Sarasvati” in recognition of his vast knowledge of astrology and Bhakti. He was extremely intelligent and excelled in math, astronomy, Sanskrit, and other languages. The University of Calcutta offered him a chair, but he declined so that he could dedicate his life to continuing the spiritual work of his father, Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In 1900 he took initiation from Srila Gaura-Kisora Dasa Babaji and received the name Sri Varsabhanavi-Devi [meaning the servant of the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Srimati Radharani.]

Five years later, he took a vow to chant one billion Holy Names of Lord to prepare himself for Krishna consciousness preaching. It took him 10 years to fulfil his vow, during which time he lived in a small bamboo hut chanting:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare |
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||
in front of his deity, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu which is in the Rudradvipa island of Navadvipa Dhama. He then began to preach Krishna Consciousness all over India, establishing Lord Caitanya’s mission with such vigour no one had seen before. He established 64 mathas, initiated over 60,000 disciples, and re-established Vraja-mandala and Navadvipa-mandala Parikramas. He also established printing press in Mayapur, Delhi, Chennai and other major cities. He asked his disciple A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to go to the West to teach Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada went to New York in 1965 and carried on his spiritual master's mission on a grand scale. On 31 Dec 1936, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura left his body in Kolkata surrounded by his disciples singing bhajans. His life-size murti is worshiped at Sri Caitanya Math in Mayapur.

Birthplace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura took birth in Jagannatha Puri Dhama. His father, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a house in Puri on Grand Road, close to Jagannatha Mandir, next to Narayana Chara Matha. At that time, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had been appointed by the British government as the Jagannatha temple administrator. He had prayed to Lord Jagannatha to give him one son who could preach Krishna Consciousness. When his wife, Bhagavati Devi, gave birth to a son, Bhaktivinoda Thakura named him Bimala Prasada, meaning the mercy of Bimala Devi, the para-sakti of Lord Sri Jagannatha.

The care of the house where Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was born was later taken on by the Gaudiya Matha. Now the entire house has been developed nicely, with a beautiful temple, devotee quarters, etc. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s murti is worshipped in the same spot where he took birth. When devotees were digging the soil to construct this temple, a nice smell of candana manifested from the place where he took birth. Six months after Bimala Prasada’s appearance was the event of Lord Jagannatha’s Rathayatra. As the procession moved towards Gundica temple, by the desire of the Lord the chariots stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house. At that time Srimati Bhagavati Devi took the child and placed him at the lotus feet of Lord Jagannatha. Immediately one flower garland fell from Lord’s neck, encircling the child’s body. Thus Bimala Prasada was blessed by the Lord.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established 64 Gaudiya Matha’s around India. He asked one disciple, Sri Abhaya Caranaravinda Dasa Adhikari to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. That disciple later became Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He took his spiritual master’s instruction as his life and soul and spread Krishna Consciousness worldwide through his International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which was created specifically to fulfil that instruction.

Birthplace of  Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura located at Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math in Sri Jagannatha Puri Dhama. This is on the Grand road (big street) leading to Jagannatha Mandir (Shree Mandir).
 Birthplace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was a foremost scholar and Lord Krishna’s devotee of his day. Born on 6 Feb 1874 at Jagannatha Puri, he is the child that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed to Lord Jagannatha for, wanting an able assistant to preach Krishna Consciousness.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

KANCHIPURAM BENARES OF SOUTHERN INDIA

Kanchipuram
Benares of Southern India

cid:image001.jpg@01D243E6.8068B310
Lord Sri Varadaraja Perumal

Important temples in and around Kanchipuram:
1. Sri Deepa Prakasar Perumal Temple (or Thiruthanka)
2. Sri Ashtabujam Perumal Temple (or Sri Aadhikesava)
3. Sri Azhagiya Singar Perumal Temple (or Thiru Velukkai)
4. Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple (or Thiru Kanchi)
5. Sri Yatoktakari Temple (or Thiru Vekka)
6. Sri Ulagalantha Perumal Temple (or Thiru Ooragam) and Sri Thirukkaar Vaanar Temple (or Thirukkaar Vaanam)
7. Sri Vaikunda Perumal Temple (or Thiruparameshwara Vinnagaram)
8. Sri Pandava Dhootha Temple (or Thiru Paadagam)
9. Sri Pachai Vannar Temple and Sri Pavalai Vannar Temple (or Thiru Pavala Vannan)
10. Sri Ekambaranathar Temple and Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple
11. Sri Kamakshi Temple and Sri Aadhi Varaha Perumal Temple
12. Sri Vijayaraghava Perumal Temple (or Thiruputkuzhi)
13. Sri Koorathazhwan Temple at Kooram
14. Sriperumbudur (birthplace of Sripad Ramanujacarya, 32km from Kanchipuram)
15. Sri Veeraraghava Perumal Temple (or Tiruvallore)
16. Sri Bhatavatsala Perumal Temple (or Thiru Nindravoor)
17. Hare Krishna (ISKCON) Chennai Temple - Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Temple
18. Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Elanagar
19. Ramanujar Sannidhi at Sevilimedu
20. Ranganathar Temple at Nathamedu
21. Sri Lakshmi Narayana Perumal at Pulikkundram
22. Sri Adhi Kesava Perumal Temple at Kazhiyur

Other temples: Sri Muktheeswarar temple, Sri Kachapeswarar temple, Sri Kumarakottam temple, Sri Kailasanathar temple

Kanchipuram, also known as Benares of Southern India or The City of Temples, is one of the most ancient and sacred cities of India. Kanchipuram is an eternally holy place and has some of the most magnificent temples. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven sacred cities (sapta-moksha puri) as giver of moksha. They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi, Kanchipuram, Avantika (Ujjain) and Dwarka. Kanchipuram is one of among such holy place. It is 75km from Chennai, 130km from Tirupati and 32km from Sriperumbudur (birthplace of Sripad Ramanujacarya). 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

NEW MULTI-SPECIALITY HOSPITAL TO OPEN AT SRI MAYAPUR

New Multi-Speciality Hospital to Open at Sri Mayapur

By:  for ISKCON News on Dec. 8, 2016
 The city of Sri Mayapur is expanding with its number of residents and visitors increasing every passing year. Owing to this, a brand new multispecialty hospital project has been initiated to provide health care at Sri Mayapur. 
On November 12th, a ground breaking ceremony for the hospital took place which was graced by Jayapataka Swami, Hridaya Chaitanya Das, Bhakti Purushottam Swami, Bhakti Nityananda Swami and other senior Vaishnavas.
Nanda Suta das, Kirtan Priya Krishna das and Prana Gauranga das are in charge of making the hospital a reality by not only overseeing the project but by contributing financially towards it. They are committed to see the hospital as an important endeavor in assisting people in Navadwip dham. Jayapataka swami said that Srila Prabhupada had instructed that no one within the ten mile radius of the ISKCON Mayapur campus go hungry and that he was concerned about the needy in Navadwip Dham. The hospital, he said, would be an extension of this instruction. He also said that Srila Prabhupada envisioned Mayapur to be a city of 50,000 people and as part of the infrastructure planning for a spiritual township, a health care facility is an important feature to be incorporated. 
Villages in India haven't been able to get good access to first class medical care. The Mayapur Community Hospital would be a great feat in this regard and would be certainly appreciated by the Government as a valuable contribution. Kirtan Priya Krishna Das and others are hoping that devotees who are Medical professionals would take this opportunity and come to render their services at the hospital.
They expect the hospital to be completed in two years from the beginning of the construction. The 30 bedded hospital will be equipped with an emergency unit and will have a 4 bedded I.C.U (Intensive Care Unit).  All the devotees assembled prayed for the blessings of Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada in making the endeavor a successful one.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

EKADASI VRATA QUOTES BY SRILA PRABHUPADA

Ekadasi Vrata

To observe Ekadasi-vrata and Dvadasi-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those interested in advancing in krsna consciousness must observe ekadasi-vrata regularly.
SB 4.28.35-36
We can definitely see that to advance in Krsna consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who intends to advance in Krsna consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat only prasada and no more than required. ACCORDING TO THE VAISNAVA CALENDAR, THERE ARE MANY FASTS, SUCH AS EKADASI AND THE APPEARANCE AND DISAPPEARANCE DAYS OF GOD AND HIS DEVOTEES. ALL OF THESE ARE MEANT TO DECREASE THE FAT WITHIN THE BODY SO THAT ONE WILL NOT SLEEP MORE THAN DESIRED AND WILL NOT BECOME INACTIVE AND LAZY. Overindulgence in food will cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant for austerity, and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be cleansed.
SB 7.14.20-23
Visuva, or Visuva-sankranti, means Mesa-sankranti, or the day on which the sun enters the sign Aries. Tula-sankranti is the day on which the sun enters the sign Libra. Both of these days occur only once within a year. The word yoga refers to a certain relationship between the sun and moon as they move in the sky. There are twenty-seven different degrees of yoga, of which the seventeenth is called Vyatipata. On the day when this occurs, one should perform the sraddha ceremony. A TITHI, OR LUNAR DAY, CONSISTS OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE LONGITUDE OF THE SUN AND THAT OF THE MOON. SOMETIMES A TITHI IS LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. WHEN IT STARTS AFTER SUNRISE ON A CERTAIN DAY AND ENDS BEFORE THE SUNRISE OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, THE PREVIOUS TITHI AND THE FOLLOWING TITHI BOTH “TOUCH” THE TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DAY BETWEEN THE SUNRISES. THIS IS CALLED TRYAHA-SPARSA, OR A DAY TOUCHED BY SOME PORTION OF THREE TITHIS.
Srila Jiva Gosvami has given quotations from many sastras stating that the sraddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on Ekadasi tithi. WHEN THE TITHI OF THE DEATH ANNIVERSARY FALLS ON THE EKADASI DAY, THE SRADDHA CEREMONY SHOULD BE HELD NOT ON EKADASI BUT ON THE NEXT DAY, OR DVADASI. In the Brahma-vaivarta purana it is said:
ye kurvanti mahipala
sraddham caikadasi-dine
trayas te narakam yanti
data bhokta ca prerakah
IF ONE PERFORMS THE SRADDHA CEREMONY OF OBLATIONS TO THE FOREFATHERS ON THE EKADASI TITHI, THEN THE PERFORMER, THE FOREFATHERS FOR WHOM THE SRADDHA IS OBSERVED, AND THE PUROHITA, OR THE FAMILY PRIEST WHO ENCOURAGES THE CEREMONY, ALL GO TO HELL.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ARE TATTOOS DEVOTIONAL OR NOT ? BY KRISHNA KRIPA DAS


The article describes the process of branding the body with symbols of Visnu, but this is done specifically by followers of Ramanuja in the Sri Sampradaya.
In Raga-vartma-candrika, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that for Gaudiya Vaisnavas branding the body with marks of Visnu is not appropriate.
Closer to home, Srila Prabhupada never encouraged such a practice. One might argue that he didn’t oppose it either, but I think it’s safer to conclude that if he didn’t specifically condone it we shouldn’t introduce a new so-called devotional practice.
How is a tattoo any different than a picture? In fact, it often is a picture. Do we take a painting of Krsna into the toilet? Of course, one can quote Gopala Guru Gosvami, who said to Lord Caitanya that the holy name is so pure that it can be chanted anywhereeven in the restroombut no such concession has ever been given for a deity of the Lord.

“The deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties: stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind, or jewels.” (Haribhakti- vilasa)
“One of the eight kinds of deity is the two-dimensional, painted picture. The devotee may worship the picture mürti . . . just as he worships a three-dimensional mürti.” (Pañcaratra-pradipa, ISKCON GBC Press)

The author tries hard to establish that tattooing is a Vais- nava practice, but other than one quote from Baladeva Vidyabhüsana he gives no other scriptural reference and not a single precedent for such a practice in our Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. Baladeva Vidyabhüsana writes that branding the symbols of Visnu on the body is an example of austerity, but again, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura (Baladeva’s guru) clearly states that Gaudiya Vaisnavas themselves don’t do this. Did Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji, or Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brand their bodies with symbols of Visnu or have tattoos? No. In fact, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote against branding:

“In the Sri Sampradaya of Ramanuja, tapa [austerity] is given by branding the body with the symbols of conch and disc, but Sri Caitanyadeva has instructed that we mark the body with harinama using sandal paste, etc., instead of brands. This rule is a blessing for the souls of Kali-yuga.” (Pañca Saµskara, page 2)