Tag Archives: 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.

Lord Jagannatha Rolls Through Town………..Twice!

DSCN2748Our 2014 Ratha Yatra festivals got off to a flying start on Thursday 15th May with Lord Jagannatha rolling down Frederick Street accompanied by the resounding chanting of the Holy Names of Lord Krishna.

Their Lordships Jaganatha,  Baladeva and Subhadra Devi were splendidly dressed and the devotees swiftly took hold of the rope that was attached to the beautifully decorated chariot. Accompanied by kirtan by Bala Krishna Prabhu, His Grace Agni Dev Prabhu, His Grace Gopta Das and Visvarupa Das, the chariot journeyed from the Queen’s Park Savannah through Frederick Street and then onto the Brian Lara Promenade.

Throughout the parade His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami continued to encourage devotees to chant and dance in the ecstatic kirtan. This great festival grabbed the attention of many a passerby as devotees distributed Prasadam(sanctified vegetarian food stuffs) to almost every onlooker.

10330336_10152060652117111_5110117241864859372_nThe parade culminated at the Brian Lara Promenade where prasadam was prepared for over 1000 people. The day’s festivities then continued with a stage program, beginning with the National Anthem and Jaganatha Ashtakham Prayer. This was then followed by a short discourse by His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami as he talked about the importance of this festival. Dances, kirtan, drama and Japanese

10371906_10152060657022111_3293046707223902306_nDragon dancers were also part of the show until final Artik was performed to the deities. The Indian High Commissioner, His Grace Gauri Shankar Gupta as also present to bring greetings on behalf of the Indian High Commission. This, the 5th consecutive year of Ratha Yatra was indeed a grand success thanks to Baladev Prabhu and all the other devotees.

10325338_10152060777302111_2474343168927485729_nAs the saying goes, when it’s nice we should do it twice. and so it was that Lord Jagannatha spread His mercy is South Trinidad on Saturday 17th May 2014 with the second installation of Ratha Yatra 2014.The procession commenced at the Bakal recreation ground near Gopi Trace in Penal and  the chariots looked as majestic as ever carrying Their Lordships Jaganatha , Baladeva, Subhadra Devi , as well as Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The parade began around 2p.m.  and proceeded towards NAMDEVCO Market, Debe. With blissful kirtan beingled by various kirtaniyas, the procession caught the attention of many spectators as devotees danced gracefully throughout.

10403456_10152060780462111_747738260578414736_nOn arrival at the Namdevco Market sight, the stage program commenced with Jaganatha Ashtakam by Paramodara Devi Dasi and kirtan by His Grace Amala Kirtan Prabhu from the USA. A short message was then delivered by His Holiness Bhakti Prabhupada Damodara Vrata Swami. Kirtan and drama then continued deep into the night while all attendees took part in a delicious feast prepared by the devotees of the South Centre.

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” 

Welcome to iskcontt.org

ISKCONTnTLogoDear Devotees, Friends and Well-wishers,

On behalf of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Jagannatha-Baladeva-Subhadra and Srila Prabhupada, with great pleasure, we welcome you to your window into your local Hare Krishna Movement.

This website has been a long time coming and is born of a genuine desire to improve the quality of our service to you. From our humble beginnings during the 1970’s ISKCON Trinidad and Tobago has grown considerably and is continuing to grow and as such there was a greater need for our organisation to raise the bar of our service to our devotees, congregation members and the wider public.

cropped-Header-vr1.jpgIt is to meet this need that we embarked on the development of this website. The site will contain information that would be relevant to visitors on many levels:

    • The casual visitor will find some introductory information on the ISKCON movement, our philosophy and practices as well as a very efficient means of contacting us.
    • A more serious spiritual seeker will find articles and videos dealing with different aspects of spiritual practice and guidance on how they can practically inculcate these measures into their own lives.
    • Our regular devotees will find dates of all our upcoming events, including ekadasi days as well as the time to break the fast, schedules of all visiting guests and timely posting of all relevant ISKCON News.
    • The site is also being populated by our online Flikr Albums, Sound-cloud audio service, Vimeo and YouTube video feeds and a direct feed from our Official facebook page Iskcon Trinidad and Tobago. It also has a direct link to our live broadcast on Mayapur.tv.

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    • Through the use of specially designed Contact Forms visitors can contact us directly to make general inquiries, sign up as a volunteer or even request a satsang or program.
    • Additionally the website will allow us to connect with our congregation and devotees. Visitors will be be given to option to enter their email addresses so they can be placed on our mailing list and receive our local e-Newsletter which we will be launching on the day of Apara-Ekadasi (May 24th 2014). This newsletter will be mailed out each ekadasi to all subscribers. This feature will be launching this Wednesday 14th of May 2014.

There is much more than can be said but we prefer to allow you use the site, and hope you will do so regularly.

It is our sincere desire that this project acts as a means for bringing all of our temples closer together and to bring our organisation closer to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

We sincerely pray for your blessings that we may be able to continue this service, primarily for the purification of our own hearts and also for the pleasure of the Vaisnavas.

Respectfully, Your Web-Servants, ISKCON National Board.