Tag Archives: Krishna

Remembering Srila Prabhupada – The Mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

A godbrother of Srila Prabhupada’s remembers their early friendship and their meeting again after many years.

Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor, a scholar and devotee, and a friend of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, gave this interview at his home in Vrndavana, India, in October 1996. The interviewer, Hari Sauri Dasa, served as Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant from November 1975 to March 1977. During that time, he kept a detailed diary that has become the basis of his multi-volume book A Transcendental Diary.

Today in Trinidad and Tobago marks the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance in this world. Coming to the West in 1965 on the order of his own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada would champion the mission of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna in 12 years in a way that was unprecedented in Gaudiya Vaishnava history. We present here, a very nice exchange between one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants, Hari Sauri dasa and one of Srila Prabhupada’s God Brothers, Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor.

HARI SAURI DASA: I understand that you first met Srila Prabhupada when he was a householder in Allahabad.

Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor
Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor

Dr. Kapoor: I was with Prabhupada for about eight years in Allahabad, from 1931 to 1939. We used to meet almost every day. I first met him in 1931 at the Rupa Gaudiya Math [temple and asrama]. The first time I saw him he was playing the mrdanga [drum] at the matha. There was a discourse that evening, and then sankirtana. After the sankirtana the leader of the matha introduced me to him as a research scholar at Allahabad University and a disciple of Prabhupada [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura]. I had just taken diksa [initiation] from Prabhupada. After that meeting our acquaintance developed into friendship, and friendship developed into intimacy, and so on. We were very good friends. I used to call him Dada, “elder brother.”

After 1939 we didn’t meet for almost twenty-nine years, because I went out of Allahabad. I joined the government service, and he remained there. After some time he took sannyasa [the renounced order of life], and he was going about here and there, so we never met.

We finally met in 1967, here in Vrndavana. In 1967 I retired and came to Vrndavana to settle down. One day I had gone to the Radha Damodara temple. [Bhaktivedanta Swami] Prabhupada had come from the West, and he was staying in a room at the Radha-Damodara temple. I was sitting, waiting for someone, on the verandah just outside his room. And Prabhupada came out.

He was dressed in saffron. I had never seen him like that before. I had only known him as Abhay Babu, as a householder and a businessman. He was now in saffron with a tridandi [renunciant’s staff] in his hand, and two disciples in saffron were following him, like sadhus.

I couldn’t recognize him; thirty years had made a difference in his appearance, and he was dressed in saffron. But he seemed to be looking, trying to recognize me. Then he hazarded a guess. He said, “Dr. Kapoor?”

Oh, I recognized him from his voice! I said, “Abhay Babu?” And he embraced me.

HSD: A very happy meeting.

DK: Yes. He was going somewhere, but he canceled his plans. He took me inside the room and told me all about his preaching work in the West. He showed me the newspaper cuttings and so on. Very interesting meeting, very interesting.

In Allahabad we used to meet almost every day. Sometimes he used to come to my place, but mostly we met in the Rupa Gaudiya Math, in the evening during the discourse and kirtana.

HSD: Can you say something about how Srila Prabhupada conducted his household affairs while he was also developing his spiritual life.

DK: I didn’t know much about his household affairs, because we met mostly at the matha in the evening. He had a shop. He sold medicines, and he also manufactured them. Once he manufactured a tonic, and he gave it to me.

I said, “That’s nice, this gift of yours. I must accept it. But I wish you would give me the tonic which you yourself take the tonic of Krsna-prema [love of Krsna].”

prabhupada2He said, “I don’t have that tonic. But I have the formula.”

I said, “Oh, wonderful! If it is not a secret, tell me what the formula is.”

He said, “No, it is not a secret at all:

trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih*

This is the formula, and I am going to preach it all over the world.”

*”One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respects to others. In that way one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)

At that time I couldn’t recognize the significance of his words, but he was going to preach it all over the world. I thought it was just a casual statement. But now I look back, and I can see that he was even then thinking and planning to preach all over the world, which he did.

HSD: Yes, very wonderfully.

DK: Wonderfully. Ten years, I think, only. All the world over he preached. Almost a miracle. Almost a miracle.

HSD: Unrepeatable.

DK: Hmm. Unrepeatable. Even Emperor Ashok he preached Buddhism, he was the owner of such a big empire and even he couldn’t do as much as Prabhupada did in ten years.

HSD: You once told me that you saw a great change in Prabhupada from when you knew him in Allahabad.

DK: Of course, in one sense there was a world of difference between the Abhay Babu I had known and the Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada I met in Vrndavana after thirty years. He was now the president of a huge organization, an international organization. He was preaching all over the world. All the same, he was as humble as ever. I could never have imagined that he could one day become Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada. I could never have imagined. He was so simple. But, you see, he had the blessings of [Caitanya] Mahaprabhu. It is the blessings of Mahaprabhu that made him Prabhupada.

Getting the Most From Shri Krishna Janmashtami

janmashtami1Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the appearance anniversary of Krishna, the Supreme Person. He’s not “born” like we are—He comes and goes as He likes—but He appears here to please His devotees, rid the earth of evildoers, and give the rest of us something worthwhile to talk about.

His pastime of janma, birth, occurred on the ashtami, eighth day of the waning moon in the lunar month of Hrishikesh. Janmashtami is one of the world’s biggest spiritual festivals, and is observed by followers of many faiths. For Krishna devotees, Janmashtami is a day of non-stop chanting, cooking, worship of Krishna in His Deity form, and fasting until midnight, when a grand feast is served.
janmashtami2The Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam describes the events leading up to and including Krishna’s appearance on earth. Srila Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to read about Krishna’s pastimes in the Bhagavatam, cook a feast for Krishna’s pleasure, and chant Hare Krishna all day and into the night each year on Janmashtami.

For those are very serious about advancing in Krsna Consciousness the day of Janmashtami is much more than a ritualistic celebration that we celebrate each year. Here are a few tips for elevating our Janmashtami from the ritual level to the spiritual level.

Fasting

Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad Gita that one’s determination in Krishna Conscoiousness is marked by the effort to keep fast on days like Janmashtami and Ekadasi. Fasting has two sides, one positive and one negative. The negative is that we should not eat or drink for the entire day until midnight, and then to break the fast with Ekadasi prasadam. If we are unable to do that, water is permissible and in extreme circumstances one may take some fruit if he is unable to keep the fast. This fasting helps us the control the demands of the body and allows us to focus on the positive side of fasting which is the increase the level of our spiritual practices like hearing and chanting. Any serious devotee MUST make the effort to keep fast on the day of Janmashtami.

Chanting Japa

chanting-japaKrishna is non-different from His Name, therefore an excellent way to celebrate Janmashtami is to immerse ourselves in quality japa. We can gain so much spiritual benefit from chanting japa on days like Janmashtami. Initiated members of our organisation chant a minumum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna japa each day, but if you are not initiated as yet you can try to chant 16 or any number you can. And if you are really adventurous you can try to chant with a vow of 64 rounds of japa. Either way chanting is a super way to boost the level of your Janmashtami celebration.

Reading Srimad Bhagavatam or Krishna Book

bhagavatam_bigSrila Rupa Goswami writes in his Nectar of Devotion that there are five most potent forms of devotional service, one of which is to read Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna’s pastimes are specifically described in the 10th Canto and the details of His appearance are described in the first 3 chapters. When read with Srila Prabhupada’s commentary these chapters unlock very deep meaning and insight into the Lord’s Appearance and the way we can apply it in our own lives and practise. The same can also be read in the Krishna Book which is Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Bhagavatam’s 10th Canto.

Attend the Program at an ISKCON Temple near you.

DSC02617The central focus of ISKCON Temples is the worship of Krishna. In fact every day is like Janmashtami for us. But, on Janmashtami every service is done at the temple as if its on steroids. All the stops are pulled out and no holds are barred. The decorations are out of this world, the deities are dressed so impressive that one gets the experience that “YES……Here IS Krishna!”, the kirtan is soul stirring, the prasadam tastes even more amazing (at the time of breaking fast it’s even more sweet), and the atmosphere is surcharged with Krishna Bhakti (devotion of Krishna). Everyone is welcome to take part in our celebration; come and chant, hear krishna katha, take part in the worship of the deity of Radha and Krishna and sit and talk about Krishna with the devotees. It can be a life altering experience.

Listening to Lectures about the Appearance of the Lord

In today’s world almost everything is available on the internet. ISKCON Desire Tree has a MASSIVE catalog of lectures and classes give by Srila Prabhupada and many of his disciples and grand-disciples on the Appearance Day of the Lord. Visit them and spend some time hearing about the pastimes of the Lord from the devotees and if our mood is right we can feel the inner stirring to increase the depth of our spiritual practise.

These are just some suggestions to make the best of your Janmasthami festival and can actually be applied to any special day. We hope this Janmashtami proved to be a revolution in your spiritual journey. Drop us a line to let us know what you did to make this Jamnashtami more special for you or to share any special experience you had.

Appearance Day Of Lord Nrsimhadeva

“O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half man, half lion! All glories to You! Just as one can easily crush a wasp between one’s fingernails, so in the same way the body of the wasp Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderfully pointed nails on Your beautiful lotus hands.”

Jayadeva Goswami – Das-avatara Stotra

nrsingadeva1Today we celebrate the auspicious  appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva, who appeared to give protection to His unalloyed devotee Prahlada. On this occasion we present here an excerpt from a lecture by Srila Prabhupada in February 1970 where he gives a purport to the Jayadeva Goswmai song, Das-avatara Stotra. We have extracted the segment that deals specifically with Lord Nrsimhadeva.

Srila Prabhupada: “The fourth incarnation is Nrisimhadeva. Nrisimhadeva appeared to save Prahlada Maharaja, who was five-years-old boy and he was being tortured by his atheistic father. So He appeared from the pillar of the palace as a half-man, half-lion. Because this Hiranyakasipu took benediction from Brahma that he’ll not be killed by any man or any animal.

So the Lord appeared neither man nor animal. This is the difference between the Lord’s intelligence and our intelligence. We are thinking that we can cheat the Lord by our intelligence, but the Lord is more intelligent than us. This Hiranyakasipu wanted to cheat Brahma by indirect definition. First of all he wanted to become immortal. Brahma said, “That is not possible because even I am not immortal. Nobody in this material world is immortal. That is not possible.”

So Hiranyakasipu, the demon… The demons are very intelligent. He thought that “Round about way I shall become immortal.” He prayed to Brahma that “Please give me the benediction that I shall not be killed by any man or any animal.” Brahma said, “Yes, that is all right.” “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water or on land.” Brahma said, “Oh yes.” “I shall not be killed by any man-made weapons.” “That’s all right.”

In this way he utilized his intelligence in so many ways just to come to the conclusion of being immortal. But the Lord is so cunning that He kept intact all the benediction given by Brahma, still he was killed. He said that “I’ll not be killed either during daytime or night.” Brahma said “Yes.” So he was killed just in the evening, just in the junction of day and night. You cannot say it is day or night. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed in the sky, on the water, on the land.” So he was killed on His lap. He took the benediction that “I shall not be killed by any man-made or any God-made weapons.” That was given, “All right.” So he was killed by the nails. In this way, all the benedictions were kept intact, still he was killed.

Similarly, we may make plan, we may make very advancement in scientific knowledge, but the killing process of nature will be there. Nobody can escape. By our intelligence we cannot escape. The four principles of material existence means birth, death, old age and disease. We can manufacture many medicines, many weapons, many means, many methods, but you cannot escape these four principles of material existence, however great you may be. That was proved by Hiranyakasipu.

Hiranyakasipu was one of the stalwart materialistic and he wanted to live forever, enjoy, but he also could not live. Everything was finished”