Dear Srimans Radha-Syam and Indra Bandhu,
Please accept my humble regards and well-wishes in remembrance of our Divine Master.
I read your report with great happiness, not just to see the seva you are doing for Srila Gurudeva but also to see how much enthusiasm you are feeling for your service. I’m sure your enthusiasm will inspire others also.
And what is the cause for this enthusiasm? Service. Service is life giving. You may remember one of the aphorisms of Srila Sridhara Maharaja posted as a big sign outside the prasadam room in the Kolkata Temple, something like this “We should not be afraid that we will lose energy through service, service produces energy, service produces service, it is giving life.” (if you have the exact quote please send it to me)
Austerity is the wealth of the brahmanas.
sa cintayan dvy-aksaram ekadambhasy
upasrnod dvir-gaditam vaco vibhuh
sparsesu yat sodasam ekavimsam
niskincananam nrpa yad dhanam viduh
sah — he; cintayan — while thus thinking; dvi — two; aksaram — syllables; ekada — once upon a time; ambhasi — in the water; upasrnot — heard it nearby; dvih — twice; gaditam — uttered; vacah — words; vibhuh — the great; sparsesu — in the sparsa letters; yat — which; sodasam — the sixteenth; ekavimsam — and the twenty-first; niskincananam — of the renounced order of life; nrpa — O King; yat — what is; dhanam — wealth; viduh — as it is known.
While thus engaged in thinking, in the water, Brahmaji heard twice from nearby two syllables joined together. One of the syllables was taken from the sixteenth and the other from the twenty-first of the sparsa alphabets, and both joined to become the wealth of the renounced order of life.
In Sanskrit language, the consonant alphabets are divided into two divisions, namely the sparsa-varnas and the talavya-varnas. From ka to ma the letters are known as the sparsa-varnas, and the sixteenth of the group is called ta, whereas the twenty-first letter is called pa. So when they are joined together, the word tapa, or penance, is constructed. This penance is the beauty and wealth of the brahmanas and the renounced order of life. According to Bhagavata philosophy, every human being is meant simply for this tapa and for no other business, because by penance only can one realize his self; and self-realization, not sense gratification, is the business of human life. This tapa, or penance, was begun from the very beginning of the creation, and it was first adopted by the supreme spiritual master, Lord Brahma. By tapasya only can one get the profit of human life, and not by a polished civilization of animal life. The animal does not know anything except sense gratification in the jurisdiction of eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. But the human being is made to undergo tapasya for going back to Godhead, back home.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.6
Tapasya is also vital for the practitioners of Krishna Consciousness.
idam te natapaskaya
na casusrusave vacyam
na ca mam yo ‘bhyasuyati
idam — this; te — by you; na — never; atapaskaya — to one who is not austere; na — never; abhaktaya — to one who is not a devotee; kadacana — at any time; na — never; ca — also; asusrusave — to one who is not engaged in devotional service; vacyam — to be spoken; na — never; ca — also; mam — toward Me; yah — anyone who; abhyasuyati — is envious.
This confidential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious of Me.— Bg 18.67
You like Sripada Siddhanti Maharaja. I also like him very much. He is one of my best friends. He is very affectionate to me. He showed us proper austerity. He was very intent to serve Sri Guru and Vaishnava. Without making any separate endeavor to perform austerity, tapa automatically manifest with him because he was uncompromising with anything that would interfere with his seva.
I heard many of our devotees also express their appreciation for His Holiness, then often adding “But” something. Usually it was something about his fanaticism or something like that. I never added any “But” when glorifying his activities. I saw no need. His heart was one hundred percent the heart of a servant of Sri Sri Guru Guaranga, then how can there be any “But”?
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso ‘nkitani yac
chrnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah
“On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”
We all have some imperfection. Rather, we are saturated with imperfection, that is the state of the conditioned soul. “But” it doesn’t matter if we are engaged in glorifying the “name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord”.
Those who are honest will recognize and appreciate our sincere attempt no matter how flawed it may be. And, we don’t care for the opinion of the dishonest. They cannot be expected to appreciate these things.
“We must not look at the world by being weighed down with the mentality that is oppressed with the sense of deficiency or otherwise, by the poverty or otherwise, of the display of worldly erudition, rank, etc. by any particular person. This is the state of forgetfulness of our real selves. All persons of this world are really superior to us in every way as far as this world is concerned.” –L’Envoi, Srila Saraswati Thakur
These were some of the words Srila Saraswati Thakura used to inaugurate his preaching in the West, a talk he gave to his expeditionary forces who were about to embark for England to begin the conquest of the Western world by causing submission to the Divine Precepts of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
I urge you to remember these ideas as you embark on your own new journey of conquest, taking all you see before you as the property of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga and liberating it from those who would abuse it, thinking it to be their property.
The conquest is the conquering of the heart. First our own hearts. Inviting Krishna “Please enter my heart, if You will only do this one thing, enter just one small area of my heart, then I know you will capture the whole thing, because it is all Your property.”
But to attract Krishna in this way, we must also try to distribute His mercy to others. If we do not do this, the transaction is incomplete.
ya idam paramam guhyam
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.
Generally it is advised that Bhagavad-gita be discussed amongst the devotees only, for those who are not devotees will understand neither Krsna nor Bhagavad-gita. Those who do not accept Krsna as He is and Bhagavad-gita as it is should not try to explain Bhagavad-gita whimsically and become offenders. Bhagavad-gita should be explained to persons who are ready to accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is a subject matter for the devotees only and not for philosophical speculators. Anyone, however, who tries sincerely to present Bhagavad-gita as it is will advance in devotional activities and reach the pure devotional state of life. As a result of such pure devotion, he is sure to go back home, back to Godhead. — Bg 18.68
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi
There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear. — Bg 18.69
Again I urge you to always remember the above words of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Do not think that you are deficient because, as you told me, you are not able to quote many Sanskrit slokas. Mahaprabhu did not say yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa “Whomever you meet, simply talk with him about the instructions given by Krsna or tell him of narrations about Krsna.” “‘But’, first learn Sanskrit and Bengali.”
Our Mission is not to teach Sanskrit and Bengali. Our language is the language of the heart. We feel some spiritual inspiration received from our Gurudeva has helped us and we are trying to distribute that spiritual wealth of his to others who are in desperate need of it. It is that simple.
We have so many books translated into English and other languages. Why translate them if the words, the message, the substance, has no potency except in Sanskrit?
We must certainly take help from these books by trying to develop a firm foundation in the philosophical conception presented by our Sri Guru Varga. That conception is also very simple and easy to understand. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I am His servant, I serve Him best by serving His devotees. It is child’s play actually. Any child can understand this.
But, it is not simple for the complex. For them, the complex personalities, it may be helpful to be able to offer quotations from the shastras to lend support to your preaching. If you believe it will be helpful, then you should do it.
That, however, is secondary to the real business, a spiritual transaction between the preacher of Krishna Consciousness, his Guru, the Lord, His devotees, and the compassionate attempt to offer relief to the conditioned souls.
I pray this finds you both very well in all respects on this glorious day of the advent of our Divine Master, His Divine Grace, Srila Bhakti Sundara Govinda Deva Goswami Maharaja.
“You can live anywhere and in any position, it is not a question of what is your position and what is your living style. It is only necessary to remember Krishna and to try to serve Krishna. Then the illusory environment will go out from you and you will live in that transcendental service world – you will get immediate promotion. And that is not existing in the sky or anywhere else, it is existing within you.” ~Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
On Dec 11, 2011, at 10:20 PM, Radha-Syam das wrote:
Dear Srila Giri Maharaja,
Early wake up for bathing and Gayatri. Left for store to buy fresh flowers. Prepared breakfast for the Lord, and distributed prasadam by 8 am. Breakfast for Lord: bananas, pineapple, yoghurt, water (included flower(s)). I prepared meal, Indra offered it.
After prasadam, morning seva doing house cleaning (Indra), flower arranging on alter (myself).
Late morning nectar offered to the Lord, then prasadam distributed.
My older son Christopher (12; accompanied me a couple times to Eugene Ashram, and pilgrimage to Soquel Seva Ashram) and younger son Skyeler (4 1/2; given name Krsna das by Srila Govinda Maharaja), with Indra, colored pictures from SCS Math coloring book. I prepared lunch for Lord: spinach, rice, vegan oatmeal cookies, water (included flower(s)). Indra offered it. Distributed prasadam.
Distributed and ate Mahaprasadam from Navadvipa Gaura Purnima parikrama.
Had visitor, Ricky Remy, donated $100 to ashram, took both prasadam from this ashram, and Maha from Navadvipa.
Spoke with you, took saffron. Offered myself to Gurudeva, Srila Govinda Maharaja, wearing saffron. Offered Indra and my new clothing with Ashram and main site web addresses, and logo.
Evening meal preparation. I prepared: potatoes and cheese, green beans, zuchini, avacado, tomatoe, vegan chocolate cookies, water (flower(s)). Indra offered. Prasadam distributed.
Before offering dinner, Indra, the boys, and I chanted Hari Nama with kartals, spent some time looking at pictures in book Darsana (Krsna das would ask Whom everyone was, and we’d tell him the different Names of Swami Maharaja and deities pictured).
Evening meal offered after this.
Chris and Krsna das participated all day.
Vegetarian vanilla ice cream offered, that prasadam then distributed to picture of you first, after ice cream offered to you, then we took ice cream.
Ashram earned over $200 today.
Pictures will be sent by Indra Bandu prabhu.