Author: iskconahmedabad

Narasimha Chaturdashi

Narasimha Chaturdashi

Weeping, I will beg at the lotus-feet of Lord Narasimha for the benediction of worshipping Radha and Krsna in Navadvipa, perfectly safe and free from all  difficulties. When will this Lord Hari, Whose terrible form strikes fear into fear itself, ever become pleased and show me His mercy?

Bhakti Vighna Vinashak Narasimha Dev, the destroyer of all obstacles on the path of bhakti, is very merciful to all his devotees and his appearance day, which is celebrated on the chaturdashi tithi of the Vaishakh month, is celebrated by one and all with great enthusiasm, with the desire to please lord Narahari and become fearless on the path of bhakti, so that we may attain the ultimate goal of life, which is the loving service at the feet of the divine couple Shri Shri Radha Shyamsundar.

This material world is nothing but the perverted reflection of the spiritual world, and therefore all the rasas that are experienced here are present in their pure state in the Supreme Lord, and hence when once the Lord desired to taste vira rasa, the mellows of chivalry, the lord’s internal potency, Yogamaya, mada an arrangement that when the four Kumaras, who were exalted devotees of the lord, came to Vaikuntha, to take darshan of Lord Narayan, Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of Vaikuntha, being influenced by Yogaymaya stopped them, and the four Kumaras, displaying transcendental anger at their behavior, cursed them, and told them to choose between taking 7 births as great devotees of the Lord or 3 births as demons, who would be killed by the Lord. Understanding the desire of the Lord and wanting to please him, Jaya and Vijaya chose to become demons, so that the Lord may enjoy vira rasa by fighting with them. There is no one qualified in this entire universe to satisfy the desires of the Lord other than his pure devotees, and therefore this desire of the Lord also had to be fulfilled by the pure devotees of the Lord, and for the pleasure of the Lord his servants descended on this earth as Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu.

After Hiranyaksha was killed by Varahadev, Hiranyakashipu became furious and with a desire to take revenge for his brother’s death and to kill Vishnu, he proceeded to the mountains to perform severe austerities and gain the benediction of immorality so that he may defeat Vishnu. While he was performing severe austerities by not eating or drinking anything and his entire body was eaten by ants, Indra kidnapped Kayadhu, the wife of Hiranyakashipu, with the intention to kill the child within her womb, thinking him to become a threat to the demigods when he would grow up, but Narad muni after convincing indra about how great a devotee the son of hiranyakashipu would be, he took kayadhu to his ashram, where he instructed prahlad, while still in his mother’s womb, about the science of Krishna consciousness. Being thus instructed by Narad, Prahlad maharaj, when sent to school by his father, started preaching to his friends about bhakti and transformed all the demoniac children in to devotees. He gave them the instruction of nava vidha bhakti, which are the nine prominent kinds of bhakti out of the sixty four angas of bhakti mentioned in the shastras.

sri-prahlada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye ‘dhitam uttamam
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24)

[“Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”]

When, however, Hiranyakashipu realized the devotion that Prahlad had for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and he was informed that Prahlad was imparting that knowledge and devotion unto other students as well, he was infuriated, and deciding to kill his very own son, he tried to harm Prahalad maharaj in various ways, like throwing him of a mountain cliff, trying to burn him by putting him on the lap of his sister Holika in the midst of a blazing fire, dipping him in boiling hot oil and many more cruel tactics of torture to kill him. Enraged by the fact that none of his endeavors were harming Prahlad in the least, he demanded to know the source of his strength because of which he was being protected, in answer to which Prahlad maharaj started glorifying Lord Vishnu. Upon hearing the glories of Vishnu from his son, Hiranyakashipu asked him about the whereabouts of the Lord and Prahlad told him that the Supreme Personality is omnipresent and is therefore present in every part of this universe. Envious as he was of the Lord, he immediately struck a pillar with his fist after Prahlad had confirmed that the lord would be present there too, and out came Lord Narasimha dev, the lord’s half lion, half man incarnation, which was so ferocious in his appearance that Hiranyakashipu could understand, his death was now certain. Yet he fought with the Lord, and Narasimhadev, without transgressing the benediction that Hiranyakashipu had received from Brahma, tore open his body and killed him, thus giving pleasure to the entire universe, which had been suffering due to the atrocities of the demon.

After the anger of the Lord had been pacified by the prayers of his dear devotee Prahlad, being desirous to bestow upon Prahlad a boon, he asked him to ask for anything that he may desire. Being a great Vaishnava, Prahlad maharaj prayed to the lord for the welfare of all the conditioned souls, upon which the Lord proclaimed that anyone who would hear the description of the story of Prahlad Narasimha would be quickly liberated and would not have to suffer in this material world. On this auspicious occasion we too implore the Lord to bestow his mercy upon us, so that being freed from all obstacles on the path of bhakti we may make rapid advancement in spiritual life and go back home back to godhead.

In Iskcon Vrindavan, the festival of the appearance day of lord Narasimha dev is observed by all the devotees by keeping a fast for the pleasure of the Lord till dusk.  In the morning all the devotees engage in glorifying the Lord’s pastimes and in the evening all the devotees assemble for the abhishek ceremony of the lord accompanied by uproarious kirtan. After being bathed, Lord Narasimha dev and all the deities are offered an elaborate offering prepared by the devotees with great devotion. After the offering and evening arati, all the devotees honour ekadashi prashad to their full satisfaction.

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛńgaḿ

dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛńgam

keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa jaya jagadīśa hare

O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of half-man, half-lionl 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 like demon Hiranyakasipu has been ripped apart by the wonderful pointed nails on Your beautiful lotus hands.

Radha Raman appearance day

Radha Raman appearance day

All glories to the most beautiful and lustrous Shri Radharaman, the three-fold bending posture of whose soft and shining form submerges the hearts of all the devotees gazing at his smiling, playful, ever fresh and ever youthful face, which puts to shame the beauty of millions of lotus flowers, into an ocean of unprecedented transcendental bliss. His exquisitely beautiful and enchanting lotus like eyes, his arched eyebrows, his gorgeous nose and mischievous broad smile churn the hearts of the devotees with love. His lotus like face, which is said to be like that of Shri Gopinath, profusely oozing with nectar that draws the bumble bee minds of the devotees to him, desirous to relish his beauty which is sweeter than the sweetest honey. His broad and sturdy chest, the resting place of all the goddesses of fortune, tapers down to his thin waist, from which no one is able to remove their eyes, and the lure of his deep, enchanting navel, which cannot be described in words, is likened to the form of Govinda dev. And his charming legs and delicate feet, which are the solace of the living entities burning in the forest fire of material existence, resemble those of Madanmohan. In this way, Radharaman, the most ravishing and gorgeous manifestation of Krishna in the form of a deity, is the combination of the three most prominent deities, namely Madanmohan, Govinda dev and Gopinath. Adorned with beautiful garments and jewels, Radharaman, the one who is enjoying pastimes with Shrimati Radhika, rules over everyone’s heart.

On Vaishakh Purnima, which is tomorrow, the appearance day of Radharaman is celebrated in Shridham Vrindavan with great splendour and enthusiasm. It is on this day that the Lord manifested his, this most attractive, form for the pleasure of his dear devotee Shrila Gopal bhatta goswami.  This most intriguing story, of how the lord is always desirous of fulfilling the desires of his devotees, starts when one of the six Goswamis of Vrindavan, Shrila Gopal bhatta goswami, who had the good fortune of serving Mahaprabhu in his childhood when Mahaprabhu stayed in his parent’s house for chaturmasa during his tour of South India, goes to the river Gandaki in the Himalayas before coming to Vrindavan, as per the instructions of Mahaprabhu, who told him to serve his parents till their departure from this material world and thereafter go to Vrindavan. When bathing in the Gandaki, twelve Shaligram shillas entered the bathing pot that Gopal bhatta goswami was using. He placed the Shilas back in the river as he was not willing to take them with him, but when the same incident occurred thrice, he understood that the Lord wanted him to serve the Shaligrams and therefore he brought them with him to Vrindavan, where he served them with great love and devotion while residing in the association of Shrila Rupa goswami and Sanatan goswami. After some time, a wealthy man came to Vrindavan and wishing to render some service to the Vaishnavas, donated gorgeous garments and jewellery to Shrila Gopal bhatta goswami to use in the service to his deities. However, due to the shilas being round and not displaying the fine features of the Lord, he was unable to utilize these gifts in the service of the lord, and was therefore remorseful, thinking of how it would be so wonderful if he had a deity of the Lord, whom he could dress and adorn with jewels. He spent his entire time contemplating the beautiful form of the Lord and how he would feel very joyous at heart if he could serve a deity of the Krishna. Meditating thus on this matter, he went to sleep. The next morning, when he opened the bag, in which he used to keep his Shilas, to worship his Shaligrams, he saw, that instead of twelve, there were only eleven, and that the Damodar Shila had transformed into an exquisitely beautiful deity of Krishna, resplendent with charming features. He immediately told Shrila Rupa and Sanatan goswami of what had happened, and being overjoyed everyone bathed Radharaman with tears of love and devotion. In this way the lord manifested himself for the pleasure of his dear devotee, who then dressed and decorated the Lord with the garments and jewellery that he had received, thus feeling immense satisfaction and pleasure in his heart.

The worship of Radharaman is, till the present day, being carried out upholding the highest standards, since the time of Shrila Gopal bhatta goswami, by his followers. Shrila Gopal bhatta, who is the author of Sat kriya sar deepika and Hari bhakti vilas, gaudiya literatures describing about deity worship and the different sanskaras, set high standards for the worship of his beloved Radharaman which is still being carried out by the present day goswamis. Radharaman is served and taken care of with utmost care and affection in accordance with the season and the various pastime of the Lord. Various bhajans, suitable to the time of the day and the pastimes that the Lord performs at those times, are sung by the devotees for his pleasure. His form, the beauty of which is unparalleled, is adorned by various decorations, which make him appear even more splendid. When Shrila Prabhupad was establishing the Krishna Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan, he instructed his disciples to go and learn deity worship from the goswamis of Radharaman and follow the standard of worship being followed there.

Praying at the lotus feet of Radharaman on this auspicious day of his appearance, we hope that one day out of his cause less mercy, he will make his divine appearance in our hearts and fill them with Krishna prem. May we all remain forever enamoured by his most enchanting three fold bending form, that puts to shame the beauty of millions of sapphires and is more delicate and soft then butter tinged with the hue of blue lotuses and may we be blessed with loving service to his lotus feet, which would make our lives successful.

Rukmini dwadashi

Rukmini dwadashi

The Shukla paksha Dwadashi tithi in the auspicious month of Vaishakh is the holy appearance day of Srimati Rukimi devi, the eternal consort of Sri Krishna and the foremost of his 16,108 wivees in Sri Dwarka dham, where Krishna performs his eternal pastimes as Dwarkadheesh. Born as the daughter of King Bhishmaka, Rukmini was the princess of Vaidarbha and the sister of Rukmi. Having heard of the superexcellent qualities of Sri Krishna, she had given her heart to him and wanted to marry him, which, when her parents came to know about it, was supported by her parents, but Rukmi, her brother, was a wicked minded person having friends like the evil Jarasandha and Shishupal and, being envious of Krishna, he decided to give her in marriage to Shishupal against her desire. When Rukmini came to know of this, she immediately sent a trusted Brahmana messenger to Sri Krishna in Dwarka, and explaining her predicament, she requested him to come kidnap her and except her as his wife. Excepting her request, Sri Krishna went and kidnapped her and excepted her as his wife. Lord Balaram also went after Krishna when he got news of the happenings and he fought the battle with Jarasandha and Shishupal while Krishna was kidnapping Rukmini. On Rukmini’s request, Rukmi, who had followed the chariot of Krishna, was spared from being killed by Krishna after the fight that ensued between them when Rukmi caught up with Krishna’s chariot, but, as a punishment, Sri Krishna shaved his head and left him to live with the dishonor of being defeated. Taking his newly wedded bride back to Dwaraka, where the residents of the place welcomed them with a grand festival to celebrate the occasion, Rukmini devi went on to be Krishna’s most prominent wife and the mother of Pradyuman and 9 other sons and 1 daughter of Krishna. There are many other pastimes as well, showing the transcendental glories of Rukmini devi, like the time when Satyabhama devi, Krishna’s another wife, gave Krishna in donation to Narad muni, in accordance to a vrata that he told her to do in order to gain more affection from her husband, and then he instructed her to give as much gold and jewels in donation as Krishna’s weight. She put all her jewels and even requested the other queens to give their jewels, but the scale would not budge at all. She finally had to swallow her pride and request Rukmini to solve the situation and Rukmini devi, offering her respects to her husband, placed a leaf of Tulsi on the scale and immediately the scales tipped to the other side. This pastime shows her devotion to her husband and extols her transcendental qualities. Srimati Rukmini devi is extremely devotes and submissive to her husband Sri Krishna and is the epitome of Swakiya rasa. She is the expansion of Srimati Candravali, the lead Sakhi of the rival group in Sri Vrindavan dham. On her appearance day, we offer our respects to her and hope to receive her mercy to someday engage in the service of Sri Krishna in Sri Vrindavan dham as the maid servants of Srimati Radhika.

Srimati Jahnava devi appearance day

Srimati Jahnava devi appearance day

O Jahnava Devi! Be merciful to this servant today. Deliver me from my pain and give me a place in the boat of your lotus feet so that I can be sure to cross over the ocean of birth and death. You are Nityananda’s energy, you are devotion to Krishna and my guru. Please give this servant the desire tree of your lotus feet. How numerous are the fallen souls that you have saved, so this fallen beggar seeks a place at your feet. (Kalyana-kalpa-taru)

Jahnava devi, who was affectionately addressed by the devotees as Jahnava ma, is the shakti of Shri Nityananda prabhu and is considered as the expansion of Revati, the consort of Lord Balaram and Ananga manjari, the Younger sister of Shrimati Radharani. In Gaur lila, Shrimati Jahnava devi appeared as the daughter of Shri Suryadas Sarakhela on shukla navami in the month of vaishakh in the village of Shaligram. Shrimati Jahnava devi had an elder sister named Vasudha, an expansion of Varuni, who is also the wife of Balaram. When both the daughters of Shri Suryadas sarakhela were of marrying age, their father started searching for a suitable match for them, and eventually the marriage of Vasudha was fixed with Lord Nityananda. The marriage of Devi Vasudha and Lord Nityanada was then performed with great festivities. The day after the marriage, there was a great feast held for the pleasure of all the vaishnavas, and Jahnava devi was personally serving everyone who had come for her elder sister’s wedding. While she was serving the assembled devotees, the veil from her head was slipping down again and again, when all of a sudden two additional arms extended from her shoulders and covered her head, while she still continued serving with her other two hands. Seeing this amazing pastime of Jahnava devi, all the devotees were wonderstruck and Nityananda prabhu knew her to be his eternal consort. Thereafter he went to their father Shri Suryadas and jokingly asked him about what he would give him in dowry? Before Suryadas could answer anything lord Nityananda told him that he wanted to accepted Jahnava as his wife as a dowry. Suryadas was overjoyed to hear this and the marriage of Nityanada Prabhu and Jahnava Devi was performed to the satisfaction of all the assembled devotees. Although Jahnava devi did not have any children but she became the initiating spiritual master of Virabhadra prabhu, who was the son of Nityananda Prabhu and Vasudha. Shrimati Jahnava devi was excepted by all the gaudiya vaishnavas as a great authority on Krishna bhakti and they all gave her immense respect.

tumi nityananda-sakti krsna-bhakti-guru

e dase koroho dana pada-kalpa-taru

You are the very pleasure potency of Lord Nityananda, and you are the spiritual master of devotion to Lord Krsna. Kindly bestow upon this servant the wish-fulfilling desire tree of your lotus feet.

After the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his prominent associates, the very first Gaur purnima festival was celebrated by Shrila Narottam das thakur in kheturi dham , where he organized the installation of 5 pairs of Radha Krishna deities and also a deity of Mahaprabhu. All the great vaishnavas present on this planet at that time were invited for this wonderful festival, and Jahnava ma was especially requested to grace the occasion with her presence. Jahnava ma very kindly came for the festival and took charge of all the cooking for the deities and all the devotees assembled for that festival.

Jahnava Ishvari rose early that morning in great delight and took her bath and did her mantra meditation. Then she began to cook innumerable vegetable preparations with great enthusiasm.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 10.686-7)

In that festival the Pancha tattva themselves appeared and danced in the ecstatic kirtan led by Narottama das thakur and the fortunate devotees were able to take their darshan.

While visiting Shridham Vrindavan, where Jahnava ma was received with great love and respect by all the great devotees present at that time like Jiva goswami, Gopal bhatta goswami, Bhugarbha goswami, Lokanath goswami and others, she visited Radha kunda and spend a few days doing bhajan, where she heard the flute of Krishna and had darshan of Shyamsundar, which overwhelmed her with Krishna prem. The place where she performed bhajan at the bank of Radhakunda can still be visited by the devotees.

Shir Jahnava devi is said to have brought her prakat lila( her pastimes in this material world) to an end by entering into the temple of Radha gopinath in Vrindavan dham. A deity of Ananga manjari is worshiped in the temple on the left of Gopinath and Shrimati Radharani is present to his right. Jahnava devi being Ananga manjari herself entered in the temple and never came out again, thus plunging all her dear devotees in the ocean of separation from her.

May Jahnava devi, on the auspicious occasion of her appearance day, bless us with her mercy and take us to the lotus feet of her Lord Shri Nityananda prabhu, who is the only shelter of the fallen conditioned souls in this age of kali.

Srimati Sita devi appearance day

Srimati Sita devi appearance day

oday marks the auspicious appearance day of a very great female personality, namely Sita Devi, the consort of Lord Ram. Sita Devi, one of the most prominent personalities in the great epic Ramayan, is an epitome of pure love and devotion and an exemplary chaste wife. Her character and her pastimes set a great example and high standards for all women in today’s world, whether in the role of a daughter, wife, mother or in fact in any role at all. It also shows the strength pure hearted women can have, and is a good warning to everyone to never disrespect a respectable woman.

The appearance of Devi Sita on this planet was truly extraordinary and was an indicator of her divinity. Once, when there was a drought in the kingdom of Mithila, the janak at that time, maharaj Seeradhwaja, with the instructions of the Brahmanas,  performed a Yajna to invoke the blessings of the Lord so that his kingdom may be freed from the disturbances created by the draught. After the Yajna was performed the Brahmanas instructed Maharaj Janak to plough the earth himself so that the sacrifice would bear the desried result. When Janak, who was a very saintly and learned king, was thus ploughing the land, the tip of the plough got stuck to something in the ground, which when dug, revealed a beautiful golden box. In that box, lay an exquisitely beautiful and divine baby girl. The king, who was childless till then, was extremely happy at heart to receive this girl and excepted her as his daughter, who was then named by the assembled saints as Sita, due her having appeared during the ploughing of the earth, as the tip of a plough is called Sita in Sanskrit. After this incident the king was blessed with a daughter, who was named Urmila and the two sisters grew up under the loving care of their parents. When Devi Sita was a small girl, she attracted everyone’s heart with her noble and beautiful qualities, and she was very devoted to the worship of the Lord.

The ancestors of Maharaj Janak were blessed with the bow that Lord Shiva used to kill the demon tripurasur, and therefore it was kept in the palace and worshiped by everyone. There are two versions of a pastime of Devi Sita with this bow. Some devotees say, that once when the Sita was playing ball with her friends, the ball rolled under the table on which the celestial bow was place. With a desire to retrieve the ball to continue with the play, Devi Sita with great ease lifted the bow, which was otherwise very difficult to lift even for the most powerful fighters on the earth. Another version of the story suggests that Sita would worship the bow and in order to clean the surface on which the bow was placed she lifted it up. In either case, when Maharaj Janak heard of this incident, he was truly amazed, and at that time he took a vow to marry his daughter to the person who was qualified and strong enough to lift the bow of Lord Shiva and string it. After that, in due course of time, Lord Ram came there with Rishi Vishwamitra and he won the hand of Devi Sita in the Swayamvar.

After having peacefully lived in Ayodhya for many years giving pleasure and serving her in-laws, when Maharaj Dasharath wanted to enthrone Ram as the king of Ayodhya but was forced to send him to the forest due to the two boons that he had promised to his wife Kaikeyi, Sita Devi insisted on accompanying Lord Ram to the forest. This shows how she was completely dedicated to her husband and made no considerations about the discomforts that she may have to face in the rough terrain of the forests. Her decision was praised by all respectable personalities in the society and she was considered as the personification of devotion to her husband. When she was thus traversing through the forests with her husband and brother- in-law, never did she complain about any inconveniences, rather she was faithfully serving Ram and keeping a happy demeanor for his pleasure. Once while living in the forest, before the kidnapping of Sita, Lord Ram invoked Agni dev and entrusted Devi Sita in his care, in order to carry out the lila for which he had descended on this earth. Thereafter, in Panchavati after the episode of Shurpanakha and the killing of Khar and Dushan, on Ravan’s instruction Marich disguised as a golden dear to captivate Sita, and Ram went to catch the dear on Sita’s insistence. After hearing the calls for help, that were actually made by marich in the voice of Ram, Sita instructed Laxman to go help Ram, but understanding that there was some demoniac game at play Laxman refused to go. However, he had to eventually submit to the orders of his sister-in-law and for her protection drew a line around the cottage, which he requested her not to cross. In the absence of the two brothers, the deceitful demon Ravan came disguised as a Brahman and begged for alms. When Sita asked for forgiveness for not being able to cross the line and come to serve him and instead humbly asked him to come forward, he threatened to curse her and thus making her fearful forced her out of the line. At that time revealing his true identity and his lusty intentions, he dared to kidnap Devi Sita, who is the mother of the entire universe and thus ensured his destruction in the near future. In truth he had actually only taken Chaya Sita, for if the actuall Sita would be there, due to her fierce purity and sanctity, he would have been burned immediately. But the pastimes of the Lord are inconceivable and Sita wanted to give the credit of saving her to her husband and also the Lord wanted to kill all the demons on the planet which would have been possible only by having a war.

‘Vinash kale vipreet budhi’ is a famous saying which means that at the time of one’s destruction one is not able to think properly and that was the situation with Ravan. Despite the constant requests and suggestions from his wife and brother, to hand over Devi Sita to Lord Ram, Ravan, stubborn and proud as he was, did not heed their wise council, which led to his destruction and the destruction of the entire demon society at the hands of Lord Ram and his army. After the war, however, instead of accepting Sita back, Lord Ram instructed Devi Sita to prove her chastity by entering fire. This was done not because Lord Ram had any doubts about her pristine character, on the contrary he was well aware that the real Sita was under the protection of Agni dev and therefore in order to curtail the possibility of others questioning her chastity and to get back the real Sita, this pastime was performed by the Lord, which is truly inconceivable for the ordinary human brain.

Thereafter, upon their return to Ayodhya and the coronation of Lord Ram, they lived happily in their kingdom till yet another painful pastime came to take place. In Ayodhya, there occurred an incident that one day the wife of one of the citizens returned home after having spent a night elsewhere due to various reasons and the husband refused to accept her in his house, and said that he was not Ram that he could except a woman back in his house who had stayed with another man. This although highly inappropriately said by the person, but Lord Ram, being the king, had to ensure that his subjects had faith in him and therefore he instructed Laxman to take Sita, who was at that time pregnant, to the forest under the pretext of visiting the saints, which Devi Sita was always very eager for, and to leave her in the forest and tell her that Lord Ram had given her up due to the unrest amongst the subjects in the kingdom. With a heavy heart Laxman carried out Lord Ram’s order and took Sita to the forest and left her there. When Devi Sita found out the true reason for their coming to the forest, she was heartbroken, but due to her unflinching faith and love in her Lord, she accepted his order and took up an austere life for his pleasure in the hermitage of Rishi Valmiki. In due course of time she gave birth to two boys, namely Luv and Kush, and they grew up under the care and instructions of Rishi Valmiki.

When Devi Sita was in the forest, Lord Ram decided to perform a horse sacrifice and requested the royal preist Rishi Vashisht to conduct it. Thereupon, the Rishi told Ram that he could only perform the sacrifice with his wife, or if that was not feasible then he should get married again. This however was not exceptable to Ram as whatever he had done was due to the public and he personally had no doubts whatsoever about her purity and he had taken a vow not to marry anyone else. In order to solve this dilemma, the sage instructed Ram to make a golden statue of Sita to sit in the yajna with him, after which every year a new deity of Sita Devi was made. In one such sacrifice, Luv and Kush happened to sing the Ramayan, which they had learned from their guru Valmiki, the author of Ramayan, which stole the hearts of all those who were assembled there. When eventually everyone got to know that they were Lord Ram’s sons, Devi Sita was called to the court to come and once again prove her chastity so that Lord Ram may except her and the boys. When Sita came to the court, she was accompanied by Valmiki Rishi who proclaimed in front of everyone that she was pure and that they should except her on his word as he had never spoken a lie, but despite this, she was asked to prove herself. Then as the ultimate proof, she invoked Mother Earth and requested her to take her back in her lap from where she had originally appeared. Answering her prayers, Mother Earth appeared and to everyone’s dismay Devi Sita entered the earth and in this way brought her pastimes on this earth to an end. Lord Ram was very much aggrieved by Sita Devi’s entering the earth but he then excepted his sons and ruled on the earth for many more years before ending his pastimes.

In this way, the life of Devi Sita is truly inspirational, in the way that despite all the troubles that came her way even though she is the eternal consort of Lord Ram, her mood was always to serve him and she was always most merciful to all those around her.  On her auspicious appearance day, we pray to her for her causeless mercy that we may be able to attain unflinching devotion for Radha Shyamsundar.

Jahnu Saptami

Jahnu Saptami

Maharaj Bhagirath had, after great penances, been successful in bringing the most purifying Mother Ganges, whose waters wash the lotus feet of the Lord and are therefore his charanamrita, from the heavenly planets to this earth for the purpose of delivering his forefathers, and while he was making the way from the Himalayas to the ocean for her to flow, he happened to pass by the hermitage of the great sage Jahnu. Seeing the great river coming in his ashram and disturbing his meditation greatly enraged the pious sage, and in his anger, he swallowed all the water of the river. When Bhagirath realized that mother Ganges was no longer following him and had been swallowed by the hermit, he immediately fell at the lotus feet of the Sage, begging him to release Ganga, as she was the only means of delivering his forefathers and her presence was for the benefit of the entire human race. As is the nature of all the devotees of the Lord, Jahnu muni was naturally very compassionate and therefore he agreed to release mother Ganga, and he did so by expelling her waters from his right ear. Due to having been thus swallowed by Jahnu muni, Srimati Ganga devi came to be known as Jahnavi, the daughter of the Sage Jahnu. It was on this auspicious 7th day of the Shukla paksha in the month of Vaishakh that this pastime of the Lord’s devotees took place and therefore this day is famous as Jahnu Saptami. This pastime actually came to take place in Sri Navadwip mandal at Jahnudvip, where Jahnu muni was absorbed in deep meditation upon Kaliyuga paawan Gaurahari and it was here that he was also blessed with the darshan of Mahaprabhu. On this auspicious day, knowing mother Ganges to be very dear to the Lord, in whose waters Sri Chaintanya Mahaprabhu performed many water pastimes for 24 years of his life when he was residing in Nawadwip as a Grihasta, the devotees offer respects and perform puja to Srimati Ganga devi to get her mercy and the mercy of Jahnu muni, so that they may also be able to someday serve in the pastimes of Sri Nadiyabihari Gaurahari.

Chandan Yatra

Chandan Yatra

The third day of the auspicious month of Vaishakh is celebrated as Akshay Tritiya, which is renowned for bestowing all auspiciousness on anything being started on this day, and it also marks the beginning of Chandan Yatra, one of the most popular festivals in the summer season, when the deities are smeared with the cooling paste of sandalwood.  

In the Shri Shri Radha Govinda Dham, the preparation for the festival starts many days prior to Akshay tritiya, when the devotees start grinding chandan with rose water, mixed with camphor so as to make it even more cooling and pleasing for the lords, in the temple courtyard, while simultaneously singing the holy names of the lord. Each morning and evening the devotees take turns to grind chandan on stone slabs sitting on the marble floor of the temple. The scene of the devotees sitting there and engaging in this service is truly very beautiful and inspiring, as it instills within the heart an image of how it must be in the spiritual world where everyone is constantly engaged in the service of Krishna. In the time span of a few days, the devotees manage to accumulate enough sandalwood paste to smear on all the deities, big and small.

When the auspicious day arrives, their lordships are dressed in a flower outfit in the morning, prepared by the mataji’s who stay up all night engaged in the service of making an exquisitely beautiful flower dress to please the lords with the cooling effect of the sweet scented and colorful blossoms. In the afternoon the deities are covered with chandan, incorporated with the love and devotion of the devotees who ground it, from head to toe and detailed designs are drawn to decorate their most attractive forms. The devotees are extremely overjoyed on this day to see the lords, as their beautiful three bending forms are very visible. Seeing the lord smeared with chandan and decorated with flowers cools the eyes of the devotees and they feel tremendous joy in their hearts. This application of sandalwood paste on the Utsav murtis of the lords continues for 21 days and on the last day the big deities are once again covered in chandan. In this way by observing the chandan yatra festival and making arrangements for cooling the lord from the scorching heat we too can drown in the ocean of transcendental bliss and be freed from the scorching heat of this material existence.

Sri Gadadhar Pandit – Appearance Day

Sri Gadadhar Pandit – Appearance Day

Remember the pastimes of Gaura and Gadadhara. Become a servant of Gaura and Gadadhara. Listen to the beautiful narrations concerning Gaura and Gadadhara and just worship Lord Gaura, the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

Today is the auspicious appearance day of Sri Gadadhar pandit, one of Mahaprabhu’s dear most associates, who is Srimati Radhika herself in Krishna Lila. When, knowing the love of Srimati Radhika for him to be the topmost and being desirous of experiencing all the sentiments that she fells during meeting and separation, Sri Krishna took the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and appeared in this material world. Along with him appeared Srimati Radhika, in the form of Sri Gadadhar pandit, to assist in Mahaprabhu’s lila. However, in Gaur Lila, Sri Gadadhar pandit never showed his identity as Srimati Radhika and rather always acted as a servant of Gaurahari, as that is what would be conducive to the mood of Sri Sachinandan. Taking Sri Gaurachandra to be his very life, Sri Gadadhar always stayed close to him and when Mahaprabhu moved to Puri after Sanyas, Gadadhar pandit too moved to Sri Kshetra Puri dham and took up Kshetra sanyas, meaning that he would not leave Jagannath Puri and go elsewhere. While residing there, he would, with great love and devotion, serve Sri Tota Gopinath, the deities manifested by Mahaprabhu himself from the Garden near chatak parvat. After the disappearance of Sri Gaurahari, due to intense separation, Sri Gadadhar pandit became old very fast and therefore in order to accept service from Gadadhar, Gopinath sat down and is till today present in a sitting position in his temple in Sri Jagannath Puri. However, due to unbearable separation from Sri Gaurahari, the very lord of his life, Gadadhar pandit very soon disappeared from this world by entering into the deity of Sri Tota Gopinath.

On the auspicious occasion of his appearance day, we pray at his lotus feet to please bestow his mercy upon us, so that we may be able to become firmly attached to the lotus feet of Sachinandan Gaurahari and as Srimati Radhika, may he accept us as the maidservant of his lotus feet and engage us in his service

Rama Navami – 2019

Rama Navami – 2019

yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi

By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement.

It is solely by the mercy of the Spiritual master that one is blessed with the opportunity to take to the process of Krishna consciousness and perfect this human form of life. He is the one who gives Krishna to us and it is his mercy that is our sole qualification to have received this glorious Krishna conscious life. Similarly, the Shri Shri Radha Govinda Temple in Ahmedabad is the manifestation of Srila Prabhupad’s causeless mercy upon all his followers. It was on the auspicious occasion of Sri Ram Navami, in the year 1997, when, in order to engage his devotees in the service of Radha Govindaji in their very own abode Ahmedabad.


Today, on the 22th anniversary of the Grand opening, the devotees, being greatly indebted to Srila Prabhupad for having given us this gem of a temple, celebrated the occasion with great pomp and show. After the shobha yatra on the previous day, which marked the beginning of the festivities, the devotees assembled in the temple hall, on this blessed day of the appearance of Lord Ram, for Mangal Arati, to have darshan of the supremely sweet Lords in their new night outfits. After having glorified Prabhupad with the Guruvashtakam prayers and having had darshan of the Lords, the devotees proceed to offer their respects to Srimati Tulasi devi, followed by the chanting of japa in remembrance of the sweet names, forms, qualities and pastimes of the Lord and his eternal associates. Thereafter, the guru puja was performed and the deities then gave darshan in their splendid new attire, bedecked with strands of pearls and innumerable flowers of varied colours. Showering the nectar of their beautiful forms on the thirsty eyes of the devotees, their Lordships bestowed their mercy upon the assembled vaishnavas, who worshiped them with their doe like love laden eyes. Following the darshan, beautiful talks were given by a few of Srila Prabhupad’s disciples, glorifying the pastimes of Lord Ram. After two hours of spiritual discourses, all the utsav murtis from the three altars were brought out to the snan patras decorated with fragrant flower garlands. Accompanied by uproarious kirtan, sung melodiously for the pleasure of the Lord and accompanied by numerous thundering mridangas and kartals, the bathing ceremony of the Lords began with the offering of an arati and various articles of worship followed with the first of the five nectars, namely milk. The blissful bathing of the Lords continued for a quarter of an hour, after which a sumptuous bhoga offering, with various baked, fried, roasted and raw preparations, was awaiting the Lords. An arati preceded the sumptuous feast which was prepared for all the devotees and was relished by them with great pleasure. In the afternoon, the Lords were offered a beautiful flower outfit prepared with great love and affection by the devotees. These festivals are seen by the devotees as glorious opportunities to render extra service for the pleasure of the Lord and therefore they utilize all their energy in making elaborate preparations for the pleasure of the Lords, hoping to please them and receive their merciful glance, so that they may forever remain in their service.

Aindra Prabhu – Appearance Day

Aindra Prabhu – Appearance Day

Aindra Prabhu, a name which almost every single kirtan lover has heard of, a name which immediately reminds a person about the holy names of the Lord and a name which fills the hearts of all those who knew him personally with great love and affection for both him and his worshipful Lords Nitai Sachisuta and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar. It is said that the highest level of Vaishnava is one, the mere sight of whom makes a person chant the holy names of the Lord, and Aindra Prabhu was surely one, whose kirtans had mesmerized millions of people throughout the world to an extent that just by looking at him one would spontaneously chant the holy names of the Lord. Having blessed the entire world by appearing on this day, he was the one who fulfilled Srila Prabhupad’s desire to have 24 hours kirtan in Sri Krishna Balaram Temple in Sridham Vrindavan. Taking the desire of his spiritual master as the mission of his life, he single handedly resolved to establish 24 hour kirtan in Vrindvan, which had stopped soon after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupad. Due to the lack of devotees in the Kirtan department at the time, he would often times sing for up to 10 hours a day, and often he would have to do the night shifts all by himself. Due to his sincere efforts and his firm determination, he was able to establish the 24 hour kirtan mandali, inspiring the youth so effectively that even after his departure from this world, they have been able to continue what he started and innumerable people are being inspired by the Kirtan in Krishna Balram temple. Besides his great contribution in the realm of Sankirtan, he was also an expert at beautifully dressing Radha Shyamsundar. Deeply immersed in the mood of loving devotion to the Lords, he was a great inspiration for one and all. And therefore, on this auspicious day of his appearance, we pray at his lotus feet to be blessed with some taste for the chanting of the holy names of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar.