The Lure of the Gamble

The lure of the gamble is strong. But ordinary gambling destroys consciousness. There is, however, one type of gamble that brings unlimited rewards…

Far too often, the lure of the gamble can draw someone in. Fast breaths, quickened pulse, have I lost, have I won? Ah the fear, the excitement, the tension, the suspense!

It could be a “harmless” little lottery ticket, or that lucky draw, or more serious, an actual gambling addiction.

Some professions, such as speculative trading on the markets, are also gambling.

In the famous Mahabharata, a gambling match was the genesis of the world war war that led to destruction of the entire clan and millions of soldiers.

In fact, gambling is really cheating. What is the logic or fairness behind a few people each giving some money to one person unnecessarily? There should be an exchange of value, at minimum – what value do I provide to someone when I roll the dice and win? What value to I derive when someone else wins at gambling?

And it is even worse when there’s a middleman involved, like a casino or a club. Then you can be sure there is no fairness, “the house always wins”.

But of course, even if mathematically, by the law of large numbers, one can be confident that the roll of a fair dice may be seen as random, up against a cheat, that is surely a match impossible to win.

द्यूतं छलयतामस्मि dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi

I am also the gambling of cheats

There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Kṛṣṇa. As the Supreme, Kṛṣṇa can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Kṛṣṇa chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided – it is all-sided

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/36/

Some ask “so, if I invest on the stock-market, is that gambling”, I respond “check your pulse, if your pulse has quickened, then it is”.

Spiritual life entails giving up the lure of the gamble.

But there is one type of gamble that is most adventure…

द्यूतं छलयतामस्मि तेजस्तेजस्विनामहम् ।
जयोऽस्मि व्यवसायोऽस्मि सत्त्वं सत्त्ववतामहम् ॥ ३६ ॥ dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi
tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo ’smi vyavasāyo ’smi
sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham

I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/36/

Whatever you may be able to accomplish, you can never cheat God. To a person who does not strive to meet God when alive, God meets them in the form of death. And everyone eventually finds out that life is all too short.

Don’t waste your time doing the little stuff. If you do want to gamble, go on, yes you do, then give your life to God. Life is an unlimited thrilling adventure at every moment, you will never know what’s coming at you the next moment. Try it.

Serving those who serve the Supreme

Serving the servant of God is even more powerful than serving God directly…

This morning, very early, before 4AM, I was driving three souls to the Hare Krishna temple.

As I drove on the nearly empty roads, the car was filled with a buzz, and not just the hum of the tires cruising on the asphalt or the sound of the engine. It was my car-load of chanters…

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra

Three voices, chanting this mantra in their own cadence, with their own sweet lilting speciality chanted, some softer than others, some slower than others, but all chanted.

The words of one mantra being chanted by one soul blended with another, it was impossible to clearly tell where the mantra started and where the mantra ended. But I was very happy to hear the mantra in this way, like the buzzing of bees.

Even though I had sacrificed my own chanting to drive, I was very satisfied that I was serving three very exalted souls, while I drove, they could chant. They were all chanting very sincerely. They were tasting the sweetness of the Holy Names of God.

Just by hearing them all, I was feeling very happy. So I resolved to try and serve anyone who was serving the Supreme, in any possible way, small or big.

By serving those who serve the Supreme, we serve the Supreme also. But even more importantly, we serve the souls who are dear to the Supreme.

ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha
na me bhaktāś ca te janāḥ
mad-bhaktānāṁ ca ye bhaktās
te me bhakta-tamā matāḥ

“[Lord Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna:] ‘Those who are My direct devotees are actually not My devotees, but those who are the devotees of My servant are factually My devotees.’

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu quotes this verse from the Ādi Purāṇa. The verse is also included in the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (2.6).

https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/madhya/11/28/

Simple formula, find a servant of God, be their servant. Your own service will be that much sweeter, and God will be pleased with you.

Try it. Even if for a little bit.

The grain of rice, who gave up his life

What did you eat this morning? Was it a brother? A mother? A father? Every living entity is intimately related to us. We owe it to them to make their life worthwhile, even if they were just a grain of rice…

There was a family gathering, a few family members got together. On the family WhatsApp group, one said “Oh, I wish you were there”, another said “it would be great to get the whole family together”.

That got me thinking. Who is “whole” family? Just the ones who were born to your father and/or mother? Maybe the cousins? How about the more distant relatives?

Instead of the “relative” platform, I was reminded that every single living entity came from the same one source, the source of all moving and nonmoving beings, the source of all things in the material Universe, the source of light, the source of space, the source of sound, the source of everything we can imagine and beyond.

Even that grain of rice, who, before he was harvested and processed, had the ability to sprout into a rice plant, he was not conscious of his family, but still had a right to live out his life as a plant.

When I think about it, the wooden furniture I am using right now, the cotton fibres that make up my clothes, the grains of rice I had for lunch today, each and every one of them, was a living being. They sacrificed their lives so I could live.

What a debt of gratitude I owe them! What can I do today to make their sacrificed worthwhile?

The farmer who planted the rice seed, the one who watered it and the one who harvested it. The one who husked that grain of rice, the one who packaged up the rice. The truck driver, the shipyard hand, the grocer, the cook of that rice… they were all involved.

When anything is used in the service of God, then everyone who helped make that service possible is benefited. But if all I did was take the grain of rice for my own gratification, then I will surely pay for my action and everyone else will partake too.

It is the law of the material world…

अहस्तानि सहस्तानामपदानि चतुष्पदाम् ।
फल्गूनि तत्र महतां जीवो जीवस्य जीवनम् ॥ ४७ ॥ ahastāni sahastānām
apadāni catuṣ-padām
phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam

Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/13/47/

If I were to accept that grain of rice just for myself, then it would implicate me in karma, an endless cycle of action and reaction

So, this morning, that grain of rice, in a bowl of rice, was lovingly offered to Krishna in an act of sacrifice.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्य‍ा प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्य‍ुपहृतमश्न‍ामि प्रयतात्मन: ॥ २६ ॥
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/26/

And when Krishna accepted that grain of rice, his life as a grain of rice had become successful.

Do you feel compassion for the countless living entities who die so you may live? Do you want to take a karma-free diet? Please ask me how!

Prayer not answered

A person faithful to God will sometimes pray, and sometimes that prayer may not be answered in the way we expect. What gives?

Filip Misic, 24 July 2017

Hare Krishna. I recently had prayed to Krishna for a materialistic desire. Long story short, I went on a train journey and I didnt have a certain document needed to verify that I am a student, which would give me a small discount for the ticket. So I prayed to Krishna that the conductor wouldn’t ask for the document just like the conductor did the previous time I traveled.
It turned out that what I prayed for did not come true. I am now very confused and I feel betrayed by Krishna. Isn’t Krishna supposed to be merciful, especially to those who serve and love him. Why is it then that he couldn’t fulfill a minor desire even though I trusted him. Could someone please give me an explanation?

Hare Krishna
Sincerely,
Filip

Naresh Poondla, 24 July 2017

Hare Krishna. Lord krishna is testing your devotion towards him. Some people will not pray to Lord Krishna if something does not happen as expected. So, don’t lose hope and keep on praying to Krishna. He is very merciful. Lord krishna is also teaching you how to handle such situations.

Hare Krishna
Naresh

Filip Misic, 24 July 2017

Thank you. Hare Krishna.

Sincerely,
Filip Misic

Manoj Tripathi, 24 July 2017

Hare Krishna,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Maybe some advanced devotee can give a better answer to this question, for example, HG Mahabhagavat Prabhu.

However, as I have heard from senior devotees, a devotee sees even a misery as a blessing from Krishna.
Actually, everything that happens with us is a blessing from Krishna as He is “suhrdam sarva bhutanam”.

There is a little story that I read in this connection:
A bird was building a nest in a place which was in the reach of cats and dogs. When a devotee saw this, out of mercy, he removed the grass from there so that the bird goes somewhere else to build her nest. However, the bird came again with some grass at the same spot. The devotee again removed the grass from there. Ultimately the bird went away from there searching for another place.

The bird may not be knowing the intention of the devotee or the reason why “such a bad thing” was happening to her. But it was for her ultimate welfare (the material examples to explain spiritual reality are always limited, so assume that saving her eggs and herself are analogous to saving the soul).

Devotees know this fact, and consider everything to be the mercy of Krishna.

So, please have faith in Krishna and know that this was for your and everyone else’s ultimate welfare.

Please forgive me (and correct me) if anything I wrote is not according to Shastras and in guru-parampara.

Hare Krishna.

Manoj Tripathi

Filip Misic, 25 July 2017

What a beautiful example. Thank you.
Hare Krishna

Sundar Gopal Das, 25 July 2017

Hare Krishna,
Dear Filip,

Pls accept my pranam.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

First of all I would like to appreciate your honesty to ask such nice question with the simplicity of your heart.

Also would like to thank for the nice answers by Manoj Prabhu and Naresh Prabhu.

Though i am just a practicing struggling neophyte devotee, I would like to humbly attempt to add some additional points to the answer of the question.

  1. From your question it seems that you have been spared previously in similar situation. But not the second time. Have you pondered over it?
  2. Krishna is the all cognizant Supreme Personality of Godhead. He knows perfectly all our in and out situations, even infinitely better than us. That’s why His disposal of some of our proposals are actually for our ultimate benifit only which we realize later.
  3. On the subject line you have written “Prayers not answered”. Is it true?? Or you actually mean “Prayers are not answered as per my desire or expectations”. Please think over it. What should be our prayer?? Is Krishna suppose to response according to our desire?? By this don’t we mean that Krishna’s response should be dependent on our expectations?? Then how come Krishna is independent?? Please think over this.
  4. Practicing Krishna consciousness doesn’t mean we should be irresponsible towards discharging our occupational duties. Krishna never approves such concept. He sung the Bhagavad Gita just to engage Arjun to his administrative duty with proper Krishna consciousness. So as a student you should carry the relevant documents along with you to get necessary student discount while traveling by train. A devotee means one should be perfect gentleman and his or her behavior and dealings with everyone should be exemplary. This is a real preaching of Krishna consciousness.
  5. Lastly, one should not desire any thing material from Krishna. Let me give an example: Suppose you want to collect donation for celebrating Rathayatra in your local Iskcon temple. And you got an opportunity to approach say, Bill Gates and now you ask him : “sir kindly give a 100/ donation for our Rathayatra celebration.” How would Bill Gates feel?? Bill Gates is capable to donate the entire expenses of the Rathayatra. Similarly, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He can bestow the highest gift i.e. deliver you from the vicious cycle of birth and death and transfer you to our original sweet home full of eternal bliss and knowledge free from all sorts of sufferings. Just think yourself, is it justified to pray for such petty trivial things from Krishna. As Krishna loves you and everyone of us He can take care ( again remember in His own way ) of such things without even praying to Him. But again it is always good to pray to Krishna only. Because in due course He will enlighten you from within.

I don’t know how far it is helpful to answer your question. Devotees may correct me if i am wrong in my attempt.

Thanking you,

With regards,
Sundar Gopal Das.

Sacinandana Das, 25 July 2017

Hare Krishna Bhakta Filip,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

It was your mistake, you should have carried your documents. We should not bother Krishna for our material desires. He is not our servant. Infact we are His servant. He is not our order supplier. There is a story. One lady was going through a forest with a log of wood and suddenly it fell down and she said oh God please help me. God came and she asked please put this wood back on my head. God put it up and left. What a waste. She could have asked for better things. Similarly we should ask God to engage us in His service.

We have betrayed Him but He is so merciful that He is with us from million and billions of lifetimes in our heart.Do you have any friend who will go with you in jail for 20 years? God does everything for our own good.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das.

Filip Misic, 25 July 2017

This was very helpful indeed. Thank you.
Hare Krishna

Nuria K, 25 July 2017

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada,

Hari bol,

thank you Bhakta Filip for sharing your story … I am also thinking the same like you … but the fact is that Krsna always listening us. Krsna consciousness is a science and He is like the sun and the moon, even if you cannot see them they are still there.
One example is if we think of the moon phases, for example in the waxing moon the leaves of the plants are growing, but when there is a waning moon something else is growing in another direction, and it is the roots of the plants.

Sincerely,
Nuria

Nashvin, 25 July 2017

Dear Filip,

Hare Krishna!

Co-incidentally, I was just reading this yesterday, which can apply to your situation:
https://www.vedabase.com/en/kb/88

“Lord Viṣṇu is very considerate. Whenever a devotee wants something from Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu first considers whether such a benediction will ultimately be good for the devotee. Lord Viṣṇu never bestows any benediction which will ultimately prove disastrous to the devotee. By His transcendental nature, He is always merciful; therefore, before giving any benediction, He considers whether it will prove beneficial for the devotee. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always merciful, even when it appears that He has killed a demon, or even when He apparently becomes angry toward a devotee, His actions are always auspicious. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is therefore known as all-good. Whatever He does is good.”

your servant,
Nashvin

Brhadnath dasa, 25 July 2017

Hare Krishna Bhakta Filip,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.

Similar type of question was asked during a class at Sri Vrindavan dham by H.H. Dheer Damodar swami. Maharaja gave an example of two devotees walking through a forest and faced with a bear. One of them was able to climb a tree and offered his help to the other. But the other was too overtaken by the fear to grab the helping hand. He cried for Krishna and the bear went in other direction. The question , who did the right act ? After listening to different answers, Maharaja concluded that the person climbing the tree did the right. Because, we should always remember Krishna, but not call for His help every now and then. If Krishna has given us some quality and capability then better to use the same. This discussion took place a long time back and I have just shared it from my noting. So asking for Krishna`s help for such a petty thing is just lack of experience that may come with the association of devotees.

your servant ,
brhadnath das

Filip Misic, 26 July 2017

Thank you. Hare Krishna.

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad, 30 July 2017

Hare krishna

Dear brother, You cannot understand by small acts, he is ever merciful for devotees like Kuchela, Bali Maharaja, Parikshit Maharaj etc. If your desires are sincere and takes you to the right path it will be fulfilled. Since you want a discount without card is not an honest desire if you you have money to pay full . Lastly krishna will not interfere to redeem your karmas , but he will give enough strength to withstand suffering brought by the karma which helps you to elevate your consciousness to a higher level.

Sincerely,
Thunduparambil

Filip Misic, 30 July 2017

Thank you. Hare krishna

Sincerely,
Filip

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 31 July 2017

Dear Filip and all other devotees who participated by reading, answering, or acting as a well-wishing friend silently,

Hare Krishna!

I am very enlivened by this Q&A session, to know that we have such wonderful devotees in our sda_students group.

Dear Filip, your experience has turned into a blessing not only for yourself but for all of us! How fortunate we are to be in your association dear Filip!

May I request each of you who participated to consider participating at least once? By discussing spiritual subject matters in a positive and respectful manner, we are contributing to becoming the solution to the world’s problems, the breath of fresh air, the surgeon’s merciful scalpel, the soothing balm to the problems of the world.

Any place where topics concerning Krishna are concerned becomes a place of pilgrimage for saints of the entire Universe.

Please could you help by personally participating enthusiastically?

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das


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A Lily for Krishna

One Summer’s day earlier this year, I was exhausted.

Having worked hard to serve Krishna and His dear ones in the Vaishnava Sanga Festival, in the kitchen, but not being expert in that kind of service, I was exhausted.

I set out to be alone, walk around, “do nothing”. My elderly father, visiting us from India, who doesn’t see me much, was so glad to be with me at last. He tried to strike up a conversation but quickly found out that I needed to be alone.

So I set about exploring the beautiful trails, with no aim in mind. I chanted Hare Krishna half-heartedly with my beads, taking in the soothing natural beauty, but felt a little aimless, restless, going here-and-there, searching for fulfillment.

There is a lake on the property, and there were some canoes there. So I decided to take one out. It was beautiful, everything was very nice, but I was still restless.

Then I spotted one, it was beautiful bright yellow, suddenly the thought came to my mind “let me get one for Krishna, to take back”.

So I paddled over near one. I’m not an expert, so I missed it. Of course, when you’re in a canoe, it is easy to fall in, and I almost fell in. But I didn’t. I got one.

Then I saw another one, and paddled to the next one.

And the next one.

And the next one.

All of a sudden, it was exciting, I was on a mission, for Krishna, I had a worthy purpose, and I didn’t care for myself so much. I paddled around and with an expertise I didn’t know I had, I scooped up one Water Lily after another, taking care to leave most behind.

What started as an aimless and restless outing “to be alone”, suddenly turned to be a most enjoyable adventure, and the turning point was the moment I thought about doing something for Krishna.

“Being alone”, “Doing nothing” and “relaxing in the great outdoors”, “being on the lake” for my own sake were all just OK, not fully satisfying. But the nicest, most fulfilling experience was collecting those beautiful yellow water lilies for Krishna, doing something for Krishna – the all-attractive One.

Just like that.

We can transform any moment, any day, and any life into a mission.

Krishna with Water Lilies
Krishna Mercifully accepts the Water Lilies.

And once I had successfully offered those hard-earned lilies to Krishna, I felt very satisfied, and afterwards, everyone else, including my father, felt very satisfied with me too.

Is Krishna Govardhana or Meru? One or the other, or both?

Krishna says He is Meru. Krishna also says He is Govardhan? And in some places it is mentioned that Govardhan is a devotee of Krishna. How is all this possible?

Brajanath Das, 12 November 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

I offer to you my respectful obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

Please help me to understand –

In Bg 10.23 Krishna says “… and of mountains I am Meru.” Then who is Govardhana? Govardhana is Krishna or His devotee?

your servant,
Brajanath Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 03 December 2016

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Wrt. “In Bg 10.23 Krishna says “… and of mountains I am Meru.” Then who is Govardhana? Govardhana is Krishna or His devotee?”

It is incorrect to think that Krishna can be either one or the other. Krishna is unlimited.

In SB 10.24.35, this is the direct statement of Krishna:

kṛṣṇas tv anyatamaṁ rūpaṁ
 gopa-viśrambhaṇaṁ gataḥ
śailo ’smīti bruvan bhūri
 balim ādad bṛhad-vapuḥ

“Kṛṣṇa then assumed an unprecedented, huge form to instill faith in the cowherd men. Declaring “I am Govardhana Mountain!” He ate the abundant offerings.”

The purport states this:

quote
In Chapter Twenty-four of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes: “When everything was complete, Kṛṣṇa assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Kṛṣṇa Himself are identical. Then Kṛṣṇa began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Kṛṣṇa and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Kṛṣṇa in the temples. The followers of the Krsna consciousness movement may therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship.”

Lord Kṛṣṇa had induced the residents of Vṛndāvana to assume a significant risk on His behalf. He convinced them to neglect a sacrifice to what is, after all, the powerful government of the universe and to worship a hill called Govardhana instead. The cowherd community did all this simply out of love for Kṛṣṇa, and now to convince them that their decision was correct, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in an unprecedented, huge transcendental form and demonstrated that He Himself was Govardhana Hill.

unquote

Also, in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is answering these questions by Arjuna:

Bg 10.16 — Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which You pervade all these worlds.
Bg 10.17 — O Kṛṣṇa, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Bg 10.18 — O Janārdana, again please describe in detail the mystic power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of Your words.

The words of Krishna describe His opulences. But His opulences are unlimited, still Krishna wants to give a hint of His greatness.
For example, it is not that Krishna is every shark or every banyan tree, or the Gandharva named Chitraratha…
But we can understand that the opulence of every shark, every banyan tree, that is a spark of Krishna’s splendor.

Srila Prabhupada writes this in the purport to BG 10.40:

“As stated in the Vedic literature, although the opulences and energies of the Supreme are understood in various ways, there is no limit to such opulences; therefore not all the opulences and energies can be explained. Simply a few examples are being described to Arjuna to pacify his inquisitiveness.”

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to BG 10.42:

“The Supreme Lord is represented throughout the entire material universes by His entering into all things as the Supersoul. The Lord here tells Arjuna that there is no point in understanding how things exist in their separate opulence and grandeur. He should know that all things are existing due to Kṛṣṇa’s entering them as Supersoul. From Brahmā, the most gigantic entity, on down to the smallest ant, all are existing because the Lord has entered each and all and is sustaining them.”

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 19 December 2016

Hare Krishna! Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
By the mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga, I had a great fortune to go on Vraj Mandal Parikrama this year. On the day of Govardhan Parikrama (22 0ct 2016), all devotees (about 1200 in number) reached Govind Kund. And we had a Srimad Bhagavatam class there. The speaker was His Holiness Prabodhananda Sarasvati Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Radha Raman Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Bhakti Narasimha Swami Maharaj were among the audience.

The question Prabodhanana Sarasvati Swami Maharaj ji put to the audience was

“Is Govardhan- Krishna or Bhakta? Or both?”

Maharaj ji asked us to raise hands. Many hands were in the air for Govardhan is ‘Krishna’. Many hands again for Govardhan is ‘bhakta’. And of the few hands raised for Govardhan is both-Krishna and His devotee, my hand (hesitatingly!) was up too. I remember from a lecture that Govardhan is both Krishna and His devotee but apparently, forgot the details.

Maharaji beautifully explained how Sri Giri Govardhan is both Bhagavan and bhakta.

Inconceivable, but a fact! And this is how we can understand.

[Please note that I am writing on the strength of what I noted down in my journal during the SB class (mentioned above), personal query to His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj and from various lectures I came across (by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj, His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaj, His Holiness Radha Govind Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj)]

Sri Giri Govardhan – Sri Krishna Himself

Mahabhagavat Prabhu has already quoted and given many references to explain this in detail.

Also, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives a Govardhan shila to Srila Raghunath Das Goswami (with the thumb impression of Mahaprabhu on it) and says, He could see this Giriraj Shila as Brajendra Nandan, Lord Himself. Even today one can visit Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda Temple in Vrindavan and have darshan of this shila. I remember, Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji took all of us to this temple during their Vrindavan visit last kartik (year 2015).

Sri Giri Govardhan – devotee

The simple-hearted Gopi-girls of Vraja say:

hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa-pramodah
manam tanoti saha-go-ganayos tayor yat
paniya-suyavasa-kandara-kandamulaih

“Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (SB 10.21.18)

Srila Prabhupada translates, hanta, “oh” (expression reflecting how Gopis were so happy and with great joy talking with other Gopi girls) ayam adrir, “this hill (Govardhan)” is hari-dasa-varyah, “the best among the servants of the Lord (Hari)”, “which is touched by the lotus feet of Sri Krishna and Sri Balaram”- rama-krishna-carana-sparasa. And “he appears very jubilant” (pramodah).

So here is a devotee, who descended from Goloka (a wonderful story of Sri Govardhan’s appearance on planet Earth is described in Garga samhita), only to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. And he is considered the best of the devotees of Sri Krishna (hari-dasa-varyo) because he dedicates his entire body in the service of the Lord and His associates (cowherd boys, girls and cows etc.) He supplies them nourishment by providing clean, refreshing drinking water, different varieties of fruits and roots to eat. The caves and green lustrous pastures on the hill became the sporting grounds for the Lord to play with His friends and for herding His cows and calves. And it is very significant to note here that Gopis mention that Sri Govardhan was so happy and joyfully rendering this service (pramodah). The servant is so happy serving his master and the master is so happy that His servant is so happy serving Him as if a transcendental competition is set between the duo.

This wonderful reciprocation between the Lord and his devotee is further seen in the Govardhan lila- the puja of Govardhan followed by the attack by Indra and how Lord lifts Govardhan on His little (pinky) finger and how Govardhan faced the brunt of the ferocious, thunderous attacks by the ‘pralaya’ clouds (I forgot the name of the clouds summoned during the devastation of the material creation) with great joy just for the Lord and to protect His devotees.

So the conclusion is Giriraj is both Sri Krishna and His devotee simultaneously.

Then the obvious question may arise:

What mood we sadhakas should develop so we get full mercy of Sri Krishna or Sri Giri Govardhan?

Being followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who came in the mood of Lord Hari’s servant and taught us gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah, by becoming and serving the servant of the servant of the Lord, we become recipients of Sri Krishna’s full mercy. And sastras show many pastimes of the Lord where a devotee of the Lord exhibited more mercy and compassion.

No doubt, it is equally potent to worship Sri Govardhan as both Sri Krishna or His devotee, but by following the mood of Lord Chaitanya, the mood of the gopis, the mood of becoming the servant of the servants of the Lord we will always get more mercy and please Sri Guru and Sri Krishna is the conclusion of the lecture.


In the same regard, couple of years ago, in a personal meeting (myself with my brother and parents) I had an opportunity to ask a question to His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj.

(The following is based on what little I could remember from the conversation with His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj, on evening walk outside his asrama, at the foot hill of Sri Govardhan, and also from a lecture by His Holiness on Govardhan Puja, this year 2016 at Barsana)

Q: What is the significance of Govardhan Pastime? (My doubt was why this pastime had to take place for 7 days and nights when the All Mighty, Sri Krishna could have stopped it immediately)

A: It gave an opportunity to all the living entities of Vrindavan to have personal and close association of Sri Krishna. They all spent 7 days and nights at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. And there were many reciprocations between Krishna and every devotee (which of course were very special and unique to each individual.)

And while remembering and writing all this, it suddenly dawned on me what the above answer meant. This pastime clearly shows- when we take shelter of a devotee (Sri Govardhan) we get direct shelter of the Lotus feet of Sri Krishna.

Brajanath Prabhu, I thank you very much and appreciate for asking this wonderful question on this forum, for while attempting this exercise, it helped me drive home with the following message that Indirectly we get the direct benefit of associating with Lord Sri Krishna, when we serve the devotee(s) of the Lord.

Hope this answer is of some help.

And if further inputs or corrections needed in the above, I humbly beg the readers to add/ point them out for better understanding.

Your servant,

Shyamapriya devi dasi


Nashvin, 20 December 2016

Hare Krsna!

Yes, an important aspect of the reason for the Govardhana pastime is that Krsna wanted to associate with all His various devotees. Generally, He associates with different groups of devotees at different times (with cowherd boys during the day, gopis during the night etc). However, during this pastime, He was able to exchange loving glances and feelings with all the residents of Vrndavana, simultaneously.

your servant,
Nashvin

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Love of God – the ultimate variety

Some Fear God though God Loves Everyone… But what about our Love for God? Infinite Variety! Read on…

We discussed how, for a beginner who does not yet really know God or is not following the instructions of God, Fear of God is a powerful motivator.

On one beautiful afternoon, during a long walk with one of my brothers in Christ, Steve, we discussed both Fear of God, and Love. He is very much in the stage of feeling Fear of God, but I urged him to go deeper into Love instead of staying on in fear. He then said that in the Bible, these types of love are described…

  • Eros – sensual, or romantic love
  • Storge – familial love, parents and children, brothers and sister…
  • Philia – brotherly love – usually between those of faith
  • Agape (prounounced uh-gaap-eh) – God’s love, or Love of God – immeasurable and incomparable to other types of love

I brought up how our spiritual masters teach us that everything that exists in the material world is a perverted reflection of everything pure that exists in the spiritual world.

So every relationship in the material world, which is, more often than not, selfish and in fact, more lust than love, is simply a perverted reflection of the original relationships that exist in the spiritual realm.

When “Agape” that pure love of God is fully and perfectly reciprocated back towards God by the living entities, then it manifests as the following five types of mellows (called “rasas”) of relationship with God.

  • Shanta – the mood of neutrality
    • I know you’re God, but I’m over here, not actively interacting or serving You, even though I’m in the spiritual world
  • Dasya – the mood of servitude
    • actively serving, often in the mood of great awe and reverence
  • Sakhya – the mood of friendship
    • see God as a Friend, no awe and reverence
  • Vatsalya – the mood of parental love
    • see God as a Son, actually subordinate to yourself, feel protective, and feel that God is your dependent
  • Madhurya – the mood of conjugal love
    • this is the most nuanced and complex of them all, but basically seeing God as your husband or lover

In addition to these, there are the following seven secondary rasas, or mellows…

  • laughing
  • astonishment
  • chivalry
  • compassion
  • anger
  • dread
  • ghastliness

When these five primary mellows combine with each other and with the seven secondary mellows, an unlimited variety of mellows is generated, and these wonderful mellows are relished by those who are purely reflecting the Pure Love of God back to God.

Some combinations of mellows are incompatible of course, whereas others are perfectly compatible. This is an intricate science, this knowledge of rasa (mellow) and rasabhaas (the pretense of a mellow).

These mellows of loving devotional service cannot be imitated. They are manifested by perfectly pure devotees only, those who have not the slightest tinge of material attachment or material inebriety. Not to be imitated or artificially put on. If a soul who is not fully and completely in perfect spiritual consciousness tries to artificially force themselves into an advanced mellow of personal relationship, such as person is known as an offender against God.

One great saint, Srila Rupa Goswami, in the 16th Century AD, combed through vast volumes of Vedic Literature and extracted the essence of all Vedic Literature, among his incredible contributions, left behind for us a delightful text called the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (The Ocean of the Unending and Unlimited Nectar of Pure Devotion to God).

Another great modern-day saint, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wrote a summary study of Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, calling it the Nectar of Devotion.

This subject matter is very vast, and very deep. And to be honest, I am not qualified to delve into most aspects of this subject.

However, I’d like to bring out a few of my appreciations for how the theology from different traditions connects and expands our understanding of God The Supremely All-Attractive One. Even though one scripture, say from the Abrahamic traditions may not contain all this detail that is mentioned in another scripture, say, from the Vedic tradition, it must be understood that all genuine scriptures talk about the same One Supreme Absolute Truth. And genuine saintly souls, advanced in their understanding of their own scripture, will understand, accept, and relish this.

As for the others, the analogy is “stay on the tree”, which refers to how a sour mango on a branch of a mango tree reputed for giving sweet mangoes, just by staying on the branch, becomes sweet. In other words, someone who cannot appreciate higher aspects of our tradition or other traditions should, instead of blaspheming other traditions, seek inward purification and consequent broader and deeper understanding from God about His Glories.

More on purely spiritual relationships in future posts, but the important takeway is that spiritual life doesn’t mean negation of relationships, it means harmonizing all relationships through perfecting that one very special relationship each of us has, with our eternal emanator. In fact, the very raison-de’etre for our existence is so that the Supreme can enjoy these relationships with us.

Yes, the taste of an individual soul’s relationship is absolutely unique, no two souls can give the exact same taste to God. Even though there are unlimited millions, billions, trillions of us in this Universe and in other Universes.

Not just those in “human” forms, but every single living entity has a unique irreplaceable relationship with Krishna.

Would you not like to awaken your personal relationship with your best well-wisher and friend? Try this mantra, if you really want to get in…

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Hare Krishna Mahamantra

If you want to go deeper, then best to cultivate being a servant of the servant of the servant of the servant…. (ad inifinitum) God – easier said than done! Leave a comment or contact me.