Dear Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya-varya Astottara-sata Sri Srila Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaja
We are at your lotus feet offering our most humble obeisances.
All glories to our param gurus Srila Govinda Maharaja, Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Swami Maharaja. All glories to you and we wish you a very happy vyasa-puja and pray to Srimati Radharani for many happy returns of this auspicious day!
I offer you my life and everything I own. It is all at your disposal to do as you wish. My wife, my children, and I wish to take this opportunity, as with each day, to rededicate ourselves to you and your divine mission.
As I gaze upon your picture on my simple altar, I’m reminded of how fortunate I really am to have you, Srila Giri Maharaja, as my guru maharaja. Although not deserving of your shelter, Lord Krishna showed me His mercy and sent you to me.
You have all knowledge of the absolute, whereas I am swimming in an ocean of misery and ignorance. You are divine and it is only through you that I should ever hope to be a particle of dust at the Lord’s feet. I am forever lost, wandering through this material world, a world you have cast off so that you can guide fallen jivas such as I, and that this fallen soul may have even a small taste of divine nectar.
In the last year I hid from your Diving Grace for a few months. Ashamed of my actions. I had not followed your instructions nor did I seek any. I followed the inspiration of my own desires. Desires which led me to an offence. I recoiled from your discipline and ran away like a child. When I returned, you welcomed me back to your shelter*. For that, I can never be more grateful.
Thank you for your tolerance and patience. I do hope to move forward with your instructions and further our mission under your guidance here in the Philippines.
I pray you accept our humble offering. It could never compare to the vast gift you have us of your Divine shelter in this age of confusion. I further pray that I may never again falter or swerve away from my complete faith in your Divine Grace and your guidance.
yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”—Svetasvatara Upanishad
taṁ tvā gatāhaṁ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
jijñāsayāhaṁ prakṛteḥ pūruṣasya
namāmi sad-dharma-vidāṁ variṣṭham
Devahūti continued: I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet because You are the only person of whom to take shelter. You are the ax which can cut the tree of material existence. I therefore offer my obeisances unto You, who are the greatest of all transcendentalists, and I inquire from You as to the relationship between man and woman and between spirit and matter.
Maharaj, we are wishing you a very happy and wonderful vyasa-puja celebration! We pray that someday, by the Lord’s mercy, we can be with you and benefit from the nectar of your personal association.
Your foolish servants life after life,
Jagadananda dasa, Malini devi dasi, Siddhartha, and Lily Ann.
Fresh Fruits, Chocolates (I made them) Olives, raisins, rice, milk, papaya curry, fried tofu…and…Your birthday cake- kiwi- calamansi-mango cheesecake (I made it myself. First time ever making a cheesecake)
* Date: 11/2/19
Dear Sriman Jagadananda dasa,
Please accept my blessings and well-wishes.
I would like to speak with you via Skype but I’m preoccupied at the present with replacing the boiler/DHW units that are used to heat the Math and supply our hot water as well as other ongoing projects . . .
. . .
I don’t know it very well but, as I recall, the main takeaway from the story of the prodigal son is that upon his return his father was very pleased and the full inheritance of the son was restored. That is the operative principal now with you and me.
It is good to remember: “There is danger, even on the royal road.” It is easy to become distracted, difficult to maintain focus. The latter, therefore, requires our constant attention:
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
Money and making money is not a problem for devotees. You can make as much money as you like, so long as, after accepting what is needed for your maintenance, it is utilized for the service of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga:
īśāvāsyam idaḿ sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.
“What is needed for your maintenance”, of course, begs the question “What is needed for your maintenance?” In that, your spiritual conscience must be your guide.
I was sculpting two Deities to eventually install on my altar. To be honest, I wanted to finish them and show you. I thought you would be pleased. Again I was standing on tip-toe and not standing firm. I was seeking to be noticed by Your Divine Grace.
If getting my notice was what you wanted, you succeeded.
Like wishes given to a genie, what we wish for may not always come in the way we expected. New relationships, like ours, often produce unexpected results. As no two persons are the same, no two gurus are exactly the same. Srila Prabhupada accepted and encouraged Deity worship in a very broad way with little supervision EXCEPT for those Deities installed in one of his temples. There too, he was very forgiving early on while gradually introducing more and more strict standards.
What I learned from Srila Sridhara Maharaja shifted my thinking somewhat with respect to Diety worship and caused me to give closer attention to the particulars in certain respects. I think those lessons are very valuable and in passing them on to you brought forth some consternation on your part, which was not unexpected by me, until I lost contact with you, making me suspect you had overreacted. It is not pleasant to be rebuked for an action we have taken. But without it we would remain as we are with little or no progress in spiritual life. Judging from your other life stories you are aware that being subjected to unpleasantness is a constant in this world. Accepting a guru is, in some way, simply a shift in who will chastise us, the spiritual master or material nature. Either way, chastisement is inevitable for the conditioned soul. The former method ensures our release from the bondage of maya, the latter ensures more of the same.
I never thought much of it. I suppose I assumed if I could merely purchase them online, why not make my own?
Yes, everything can be purchased online but we should consider the relative value of such things. Japa mala can be purchased online but that mala has little value when compared to the mala given to us by our guru. During one of Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s early visits (before he was initiated) to the Math of Srila Saraswati Thakura he was offered a book. Sridhara Maharaja modestly refused saying “I already have it.” To this one of Srila Saraswati Thakura’s disciples (who was giving the book at the direction of his guru) said “This is different.” Srila Sridhara Maharaja understood that to mean it was different because it had been offered (and perhaps touched) by a pure devotee.
Once I saw Sripada Parvat Maharaja, a disciple of Srila Govinda Maharaja, refuse the remnants of tea offered to him by Srila Govinda Maharaja in the same cup he had just drunk from. It seems Parvat Maharaja wanted to show his strictness that, as a sannyasi, he did not drink tea. Srila Govinda Maharaja later commented to some of us his surprise that his disciple had refused to accept the remnants (prasadam) of his guru.
Tea can be purchased online, from a shop, etc. That tea is not the same as the tea which comes as the prasadam of a Vaishnava.
Next, do the Deities purchased online come with instructions for Their installation and worship? If so, what is the quality of the person giving the instruction? The quality of the instruction for worship is more important and more vital than the Deities being purchased.
“I don’t read the book, I read the author.” — Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Most people read the book without considering the quality of the author. It is a bad practice. We should avoid it.
In our spiritual line we do not worship idols. We worship the Deity and the Deity is Krishna. You can buy an idol online. Can you buy Krishna online?
We had discussed this in one of our Skype calls, so again I had assumed it was ok for me to do so.
Yes, we discussed your sculpting the Deities. All the while I was waiting for you to ask me for guidance. Instead, you simply informed me what you had done and what you intended to do. My comments related to the information you were giving me. I wondered how far you would go and when I thought it was too far, informed you of the fact.
Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.
Is this me?
Not any more.
I pray you can forgive my foolishness and accept me once again under your shelter. I seek my instructions no where else.
I am your “ever well-wisher.” That is never withdrawn. But that is not my guarantee, backed by me alone. It is the guarantee of a long line of pure devotees beginning with my Divine Masters and extending to the Supreme Lord Himself.
We believe in damnation, but not eternal damnation and, although our own actions condemn us, the Lord’s devotees are forever doing the Lord’s bidding in His search for His lost servants. Thus, they are our “ever well-wishers”, eternally. We need only turn to them for our rescue from samsara.
I pray this finds you well in all respects. Please convey the same to your good wife, family and associates.
Swami B.K. Giri