Gave an online lecture on 7th of July, 2022 glorifying Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The class was attended by devotees of Srila Prabhupada.
Pancha Tattva tmakam Krishnam
Bhakta rupa svarupakam
Namami bhakta saktikam
I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Sri Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Sri Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Sri Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Sri Srivasa Pandita).
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Lord Nityananda, His incarnation Sri Advaita Acharya, His internal potency Sri Gadadhara Pandita, and His marginal potency Srivasa Pandita. Lord Chaitanya is in the midst of them as the Supreme Lord.
#1 Why do we need a Guru ?
Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
Samit panih srotriyam brahma nistham
(Mukunda Upanishad 1.2.12)
One who desires to know the absolute truth must approach a bonafide spiritual master and offer him everything required for sacrifice. Such a spiritual master must be fixed in the absolute truth, having heard it in disciplic succession.
Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
Tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
(Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23)
Only unto those great souls who possess implicit faith upon Guru and Krishna are all the imports of the Vedas fully revealed.
Janana-maranadi-samsaranala santapto dipto sira
Jala rasim iva upahara panih srotriyam
Brahma nistham gurum upasrtya tam anusarati
(Vedanta Sara 11)
Just as a person whose head is afire runs towards water, similarly one burning from the fire of material existence birth, death, old age, and disease must run to a Guru for relief. Such a guru must be well versed in the conclusions of Vedic literature. One should strictly follow the Guru’s instructions and become subservient to him.
Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-Krsne prasade paya bhakti lata bija
(CC, Madhya, 19-151)
Wandering throughout the universe, by the mercy of Guru and Krishna, a fortunate living entity receives the seed of the plant of devotion.
Iskcon Bhakti Kuti is situated beside the sea, near Haridas Thakura’s samadhi, in the well-known area of Swargadwar, in Jagannath Puri. ‘Bhakti Kuti’ is the original name that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur gave to his bhajana Kutira. This is the same area where the sapta-rishis (seven celestial sages) had performed severe austerities and hari-bhajana millions of years ago. The place is now administered by Iskcon who have founded a beautiful temple at the site. Radha Giridhari jiu and an enchanting deity of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bless all who visit this sacred place. A pure Sattvik restaurant is now located on the ground floor of the temple premises. Deities of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur grace the simhasana in the temple hall.
On the 6th of February 1874 AD at 3.30 pm, Bimala prasad Datta (later renowned as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) appeared in this world, at a place not very far from the Jagannatha temple in Puri. He was the fourth son of Bhaktivinoda Thakura (Kedarnath Dutta) and Srimati Bhagavati Devi. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, an exalted Vaishnava acharya, was then posted as the regional governor. He was also in charge of the administration of the Jagannath Puri temple. Sri Bimala Prasad Datta exhibited thirty-two bodily symptoms of a great personality, at the time of his birth. He was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck like a Brahmin’s thread, perhaps a sign of his glorious mission. Analyzing his horoscope, a renowned astrologer commented, ‘I have done many horoscopes in my life, but never before have I witnessed a horoscope filled with all the signs of a great personality. This child shall become world-famous as a brilliant teacher of life’s ultimate goal’.
When Bimala Prasada was just six months old, Lord Jagannatha’s Rathayatra cart had halted in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda’s house in Puri for three continuous days. It could not be moved. The cart began moving only after little Bimala was brought before Lord Jagannath. As soon as Bimala came out, a garland fell off from the Lord’s neck and wrapped the child. This was taken as a sign of special favor by the Lord. The child’s grain ceremony was observed on the cart and it was done with Jagannath Maha-Prasad.
While in Jagannath Puri, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who was a magistrate, faced numerous challenges. There was an imposter, named Bisak Sen, belonging to the Ati-bari sect (a non bonafide religious group of pseudo devotees) who claimed himself to be an incarnation of Maha-vishnu (a manifestation of the Supreme Lord lying in the causal ocean). Bisak Sen held a few mystic powers that he had obtained by performing some austerities, and he used them to deceive the local people. He could cure some incurable diseases, could emit fire from his matted hair, read others’ minds, etc. Now the scriptures assert that there are eight yogic siddhis, which can be achieved by anyone performing suitable yogic processes. But it does not imply that one holding these siddhis becomes God. The imposter Bisak Sen had even organized Rasa Lila and sexually exploited the wives of others, while claiming himself to be God.
Sri Madhavendra Puri was the spiritual master of Isvara Puri who in turn was the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Sri Madhavendra was almost always intoxicated with an intense love for the Supreme. He was mostly devoid of his external consciousness and had no awareness of where he was or what time of the day it was. Sometimes standing and sometimes falling, all the ecstatic symptoms manifested in his body simultaneously. Sri Madhavendra Puri, a devotee in the line of Madhvacharya, is designated as the first sprout (ankura) of the desire tree of devotion.
Kind (Kripalu), Compassionate (karuna), Magnanimous (vadanya) & works for the welfare of everyone (sarva-upakaraka)
By the time Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada passed away in 1977, he had already established 108 temples across six continents. These temples are a shelter for those who want to learn, preach and practice the science of devotion unto the Supreme Lord. He inaugurated the Rathayatra festival of Lord Jagannatha in major cities across the globe. He had initiated more than 5000 disciples and launched the ISKCON life membership program enrolling thousands of members. He encircled the globe fourteen times in these 10 years. He established major centers in Vrindavan, Bombay and Mayapur. He established the ‘Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust’ to unearth and renovate the holy places of Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes. He founded the BBT (Bhaktivedanta Book Trust) in 1972. He wrote approximately seventy books on the science of Krishna consciousness, sleeping only a few hours per day. These books continue to be an inspiration for devotees all over the world. Dozens of prominent scholars and educators from leading universities highly praised his work. Srila Prabhupada was magnanimous in the truest sense of the word, as his gifts to the world were unlimited and filled with tremendous spiritual value. In Chaitanya Mangala, Locana Das Thakura quotes Lord Chaitanya predicting that if the sinful people, giving up their religious principles, travelled to far off lands, His empowered commander in chief (senapati bhakta), would go there in due time to deliver them as well. Srila Prabhupada was the commander in chief of Lord Chaitanya. Another of Lord Chaitanya’s prediction that in every town and village of this world, the chanting of His holy name would become heard, came to pass through the pastimes of Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (prthibite ache yata nagaradi grama,sarvatra prachar haibe mora nama).
A brahmana named Keshavacharya, a descendent of Harita, the compiler of Dharma Shastras, lived in a village named Sriperumbudur (Mahabhuta Puri) situated about twenty-six miles from Madras (Chennai). Keshava and his wife Kantimati were pious and possessors of all good qualities. One day, desiring to have a son, they bathed in the river Kairavani and prayed to the Supreme Lord. Lord Hari being pleased with them soon fulfilled their desire. During those days, the land of Bharata-Varsha suffered from a lack of devotion to the Supreme Lord Vishnu. People were largely opposed to the principles of devotional science. To deliver the land of Bharata (India), Lord Hari empowered a suitable entity with the potency of His sankarsana to usher in an age of devotion. Thus Sri Ramanujacharya was born in the year 1017 AD to Keshavacharya and Kantimati devi on a Thursday during the period of Adra Nakshatra in the village of Mahabhuta Puri. He became the acharya of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya and the proponent of Visistadvaita philosophy.
Narayana Bhatta, a pious brahmana who had hailed from the exalted Madhyageha family, lived with his wife Vedavati at Pajaka Kshetra on the shores of the Papanasini river. This place is situated by the Vimanagiri mountains on the southeast of Udupi Kshetra (Karnataka, South India) and is famed to be the place where Lord Parasurama had created holy tirthas. In due course of time, Narayana Bhatta and Vedavati devi had two sons but unfortunately, both died prematurely. The brahmana couple, then being bereft of any progeny, performed severe austerities for twelve years while subsisting only on milk. They yearned to have an immortal son. The Supreme Lord was pleased with their austerities and wanted to reward them. This was the time when pure devotional service was scarce all over Bharata-Varsha. Sanatana Dharma was on the decline while atheism, in the form of Buddhism, and covered atheism, in the form of Shankaracharya’s Mayavada, was forcibly pushing people towards existence in dense ignorance. To revive Sanatana Dharma and its essence of pure devotional service, Vayu, the demigod of wind, appeared in this world by the divine will of Lord Vishnu. Just as he had previously appeared as Hanuman in Treta Yuga and as Bhima in Dvapara Yuga, similarly, Vayu appeared as Sri Madhvacharya (Purnaprajna) in this age of Kali from the womb of mother Vedavati. He was born in 1238 AD, on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami, and he was named Vasudeva.